Frankieleeee's Blog

Whatever boils over over here!

Archive for the ‘Yule 2010’ Category

Happy Yule; Happy New Year! Happy! Happy! Ever After… Lansing MI. Nov 19, 2010 & Jan 7, 2011.

leave a comment »

Sliding on the ice. Bob (DeTore) woulda fainted slipping and sliding in Tranq the Van from here (Cincinnati) to Michigan and back and or what? FOR WHAT? Scrabble and family and friends; THAT’S WHAT!

Scrabble in Flint, Michigan, in November, 2010. Celebrate yule with fle’s family on the west side in Lansing.

L-R: CB & Connie-doo. “Awww! My favorite. A frog. Thanks, guys, but I ain’t goin’ kiss him just yet. Didn’t you say this is for G audiences only?” (Frog purchased in Rayne, Louisiana, known worldwide as the Frog Capital of the World because of when they claim they used to cut lots and lots of legs off so lots and lots of frogs and send them out to lots and lots of frog leg eaters all over the world). (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R CB & Connie-doo. "What is this, Dad? Something I can open in a crowded restaurant, I presume." (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R Gabi Denton & Jacob Chapman. "It's a back scratcher/hitting stick. Thanks, Dad. Give me back my hittin' stick, Gabi. Gimme! Jacob, watch that magic grog you're drinking; we don't want to see another demonstration of the strange and mystical magic powers it brings out in you. Powers over which you haven't a clue how to control. As I remember, the last time you drank a whole pint of that panther glow (polite speak), you wound up hanging from the eaves trough of our apartment building and we had to call the fire department. Remember that day, son?" (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

Gabi at World Buffet in Lansing. "Who is giving us all these gifts? It's just past Halloween, so it could be the Great Pumpkin, can't it? It's almost Thanksgiving, so could it be the Big Cornucopia? Or Father Winter? Maybe Santa Claus? Whoever it is, let's twist again like this sometimes, like we are doing this winter." (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

L-R Gabi & Jacob. "Yeah, Papa, I know who this is from. How come you wrap all your gifts in newspapers?" murmured Gabi. "Hey, Mom, this backscratcher hitting stick is cool. Can I put it in my bedroom after I finish playing with it?" Jacob. (Photo by Frankie 10/11/2010)

"Hey, I got mine. They're so great and I'm reallllyyyyyy happy. Now can we eat? Santa, for Pete's sake bring me some chow!" (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

An afghan from CB to Connie-doo. Perfect to battle cabin fever. Made colorfully by one of CB's tenants in Cincinnati. (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

From lunch and gifts to the movie house on Lansing's west side. The movie? Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows. I think they slacked off a lot. I'd have been ashamed to foist that crap on a gullible fan base. I'd have been... OH! Did I say everybody else loved it? (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

L-R Unidentified attendant, Connie-doo. The concession counter attendant looked to me exactly like a perfectly cast actor playing the role of a movie theater concession counter attendant in a 40s or 50s black and white movie. She looked too perfect to be real but refused to lend me a body part for examination. (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Is it illegal to take a picture of Yogi Bear in a movie theatre in a prevue of the next/last big Yogi Bear Picture Show? If so, then here's a fine example of oopsy! (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Not so bright for my Canon point and shooter inside the theatre, eh? (Photo by Frankie 11/19/2010)

Celebrate yule with Danny Schey at Taqueria La Rosita on McGraw near Danny’s home in Detroit.

Danny Schey & CB anticipating some of the best Mexican food anywhere. Goat. Fried Pork. Chorizo. Tripe. Pig Stomach. Yum. Yum. Mother Earth took pity on my cold nature and permitted me to get through the 22nd of November 2010 without frostbite. (Photo by Frankie 11/22/2010)

Taqueria La Rosita is CB's and my favorite Mexican restaurant in Danny's part of town. Our usual server (Mary or Linda, I forgot which) who is indeed serving Danny his usual steak fajitas. Me? Menudo, most of which I brought home, and a pig stomach burrito. God, I wish they were down the street in Cincinnati. Danny says the cute little yellow sports car that he had expected to be a beautiful corpse, has be resuscitated .. somewhat. His house has been burgled two or three times in the past year. What to do. What to do? (Photo by Frankie 11/22/2010)

CB enjoying her "usual" steak fajitas. Only problem she has with Taqueria La Rosita is unwelcome (to her) noise. Noise from the jukebox; noise from the TVs. Interestingly, I almost never hear the noise/music until she brings it up. I'm about the same way at Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournaments. I almost never notice the noise until some jerk/s start shushing. Did I say shushing and fingernails screeching across a chalkboard affect me about the same.

And so it went, the weekend, November 19, 20, 21, & 22, spent in a state of ecstasy, or was it the state of Michigan?

A few weeks later in January CB and I headed back out of Cincinnati toward New Year’s celebration with my daughter and step-daughter and their families in Lansing, Scrabble (copyright til you die) in Flint and a luncheon visit with Danny in Detroit.

(L-R: Bob Ryan, fle) I had planned to have Friday lunch with my friend Bob Ryan who's been one of my closest friends for decades. Bob spent most of his working life helping people like me, including me, qualify for disability Social Security. My anticipation was dampened a bit when I finally did find him. He recently had his gallbladder taken out, and is currently undergoing oncological tests on his bladder. CB and I found him in a Rehab facility in Holt, Michigan, near Lansing. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/1011)

Jacob Chapman, Connie Lee & Gabi Denton in inside NCG movie theatre lobby in Lansing, Michigan. We came, we saw "Little Fockers" which I liked (almost a lot). First buttered popcorn I'd eaten since the November movie we all saw. Lots of snow between Flint where CB and I were staying for the Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournament and Lansing. And we still beat 'em (Connie-doo, Gabi and Jacob) to the theater. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

L-R: Jacob, Connie-doo, and Gabi. Same but here you can see the wrinkles. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

World Buffet, West Saginaw Street, Lansing, Michigan. "The men gathered up their multi-colored robes with a deep plunge of their hands; the women plunged more modestly and gently as they gathered up their sedately-colored skirts. The children ran pellmell over their robes as they lunged into World Buffet, stumpling over themselves and others who were foolish enough to have missed the oncoming onrush of their machine gun-like little feet in their pointee steel-toed shoes and sandals. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

Our table looks festive bare as it is before staff and management of World Buffet pitched in to make it even more so and such. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

L-R Connie-doo with her new pigtails (Does she or doesn't she?), Gabi with her new color job, and Jacob looking on with increasing hunger in his eyes, wondering when the feast will begin, waiting for Julie and her brood. (Photo by Frankie 01/07/2011)

Julie and her posse have arrived. Advance trackers report all are hollow whale bellows waiting to be filled with all the krill in the World Buffet Kitchen. (L-R Nikki, Dale, Julie, Brianna's friend and our person who provides pop for tips.) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Dale and Julie seeing our festively festooned table for the very first time, awe, I think we all agree, was a common reaction! (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Julie The Myrthful jollifying the evening crowd as only Julie can do! (L-R Julie, Julie & Julie) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Lansing's World Buffet is one of my favorite buffets, probably because I've been there a sufficient number of times to know what I like and pretty much stick to that. I like to go to a buffet and get two bites of everything good, one bite of every dessert and take a nap all night on the cot they keep in reserve for me in the back of the kitchen. Warm as toast. (Grazer unidentified) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

The Mongolian Barbecue section is my favorite. Except the portions are way too big. Steak and pork chops hot off the grill (chicken breasts, too, if that floats your boat), and a pseudo pad thai filled with with spices, chilies, eggs and noodles and stuff. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Brianna always with a smile lighting up her face and legs that never stop moving, a lady of constant motion, seems like. She's always a treat. (L-R Julie, Brianna) (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Brianna. "Oh, Papa, sure, you can take my picture. How's this? Or this? This? You're welcome, Papa!"

Nikki's tattoos honor her father Rick who was murdered in Lansing. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Nikki and Dale. (Photo by Frankie 1/07/1011)

Driving down I-75 from Flint to Detroit. The iceman has cometh.

Taqueria La Rosita in Detroit again. Lunch with Danny who's having trouble with his new netbook. Skin a cat. Any cat. Someway. (L-R Danny, CB). (Photo by Frankie 1/10/1011)

Mary's face lit up brightly, quite brightly, when we showed up at her front door. "I've been waiting for 6 weeks," she said. "I'm so glad to see you all again." As she brought the chips and salsa marking the beginning of the goat soup, steak fajitas and pig stomach burritos, not to mention a couple of pretty good Mexican beers. (Photo by Frankie 1/10/1011)


Written by frankieleeee

January 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

“To Grandma’s House We Go.” December 24, 2010

leave a comment »

Waiting for consumption: roast beef, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes and lots of high caloric fuel. (See Blair peeking through the glasses at the farrrrr end of the table? She is a hungry girl)

CB serving up a Yule feast on Christmas Eve. Odd similarities. (L-R Jack, CB, and Trey)

Gina and Blair.

A member of the clean hands club: Jack.

Brothers waiting for to eat. Trey (left). Jack (right). CB (deep background).

Apple juice was the liquid of choice for toasting, unanimously for absence of ill-health and bad luck in the year 2-thousand-twelve. So far, with the new year, only hours away, prospects remain steadily optimistic.

Don’t make another move toward that cookie plate, mister. Not one! (Jack)

If play is training for adulthood, Blair will definitely be an expert!

Blair and babydoll. Hard work, but somebody’s got to do it!

Gramma takes a minute to deep-breathe between rounds of gift bombardment.

A shadow of calm softly settles over the party… for about a tenth of a second!

Obviously, the Breitbeil’s  next James Dean! (L-R: Gina, Jack and Rick)

Gina & CB look into the face of Santa!

How quickly those beautiful “presents” become a knee-deep heap of scrap paper. (L-R: Mona (hands), Jack, Rick, Trey, Blair & Gina)

Gramma jumps into the frenzy.

Gifts flew faster and faster. Hand to hand, at first. That, as the excitement grew, thru the air. Towels and footies for Gramma. Beer for Frank. A camping tent (which was too small) and a hand steamer for Mona. Legos and Leap Frog and a learning computer for Trey & Jack. Dolls, a learn your letters and numbers kinda-computer for Blair. A “lights up when you pull out the pen” notepad for Gina. A heavy duty (not to mention big-assed) snow and ice scraper for Rick and Gina. An atomic (always has the correct time) alarm clock for Rick. And a whole bunch of more stuff I don’t remember what it was or who it was for right now (if you respond to this blog with more who got what and/or from whom, I’ll add it on – fle)

Richard the III hugged by Richard the II.

The party was covered quite thoroughly, thank you, with the amateur publicity efforts of Rick (video) (here seen shooting his sister opening a glittery gift box with a cane on top) and me (too often not very) stills.

Taking center stage, Rick regaled us with stories of his car which he has driven for months without benefit of a reverse gear (Don’t ask me how which I suspect is the reason: the challenge of how). “After a narrow escape this week, I’ve decided, once and for all, says Cincinnati’s premier clothier, to put a battery in my other car which does have a reverse and, even more significantly, to DRIVE it. Yessir, no more coasting backwards down hills, across driveways and public streets to go forward.” We shall see, Rick. We shall see.

While everybody else pauses for a breath of air, Gramma gets to open one.

A sampling of the holiday decorations with which CB blanketed the party apartment. And a partridge flew up the chimney, willy-nilly, you silly.


Written by frankieleeee

December 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Family, Yule 2010

Moodys and Smiths. Christmas Day 2010

with 2 comments


First order of the day on Kendrick Crossing Lane was to make sure a boy and his dog were infused with the joy of greeting another Christmas morning together. And here they are! See the doggy's shiny, twinkling eyes? (Photo by Teresa)

The company is obviously showing more nerves as the jingle-jangle of Christmas bells draws ever nearer. "Listen," shushed Fred above the gossiping noise, "listen, I think I saw some Christmas lights moving toward us from across the street. Wake up everybody. Oh, no! It was only Frankie and Connie pulling into the driveway. Dad blast it!!!" (Photo by Sandi)

Being lost did not mean being blind to a beautiful Christmas morning. Somewhere near Verona, Kentucky, looking out from Tranq the Van along Route 491 near I-71. (Photo by Frankie)

It was up a tad early on December 25th, 2010, leave the house by 8 o’clock so we get to eat breakfast at Peggy’s table in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, by ten. I had bet CB we could make the trip from Cincinnati in less than two hours, and while I was checking out Peggy and Joe’s address for my GPS, we flew right past the I-71 exit off I-75 and spent the next half hour finding our way through back ways and two lane highways to I-71 South, which took us way past my two hour estimate. Question: was it all coincidence? Sheer and totally accidental “coincidence” that missing our turn cost me my bet? Nah!!!!!????

It all worked out beautifully, Joe Frankie has built ramps for Junior, Jr, so that Randy, Ronald, Eric and he can push and pull me from the driveway up to the back porch through the sunroom into the kitchen where steaming hot food was piled high begging us all to take a tiny taste or two of the likes of country ham (deeeelicious), grits casserole, sausage balls, biscuits, scrambled eggs, peach preserves, orange juice, mimosa (champagne and juice), monkey bread (from the oven of Teresa and second in yumminess only to the country ham), and, of course, a steaming cup of coffee to put an exclamation mark on the break”feast!”

I was so hungry, I hardly noticed that I’d dragged my shoes off my feet in my haste to get to the breakfast table.

Nick and Tara had other Santa stops before Peggy’s, so we blessed them with a split second of silence and a split of champagne dumped into the orange juice, then  dug in until all buttons and zippers were undone before one or more of us blew a gasket in the breadbasket.

Trembling, Sandi and Tara anxiously await the grand opening. (Sony photo by Ronald)

To formalize introduction of attendees in case of any rumors or lawsuits resulting from our free-for-all party: Ronald and Charlotte had driven up from Tennessee Friday night;

Ronald, in serious contemplation of life's possibilities.Charlotte organizing her receiving line. Photo by Frankie.

Sandra/Sandi & Fred who were up from New Haven,

Ronald, Fred, Teresa, Randy & Eric watch enthralled as Joe Frankie (whom you may know as Santa Claus) performs the softshoe, as part of his annual pre unwrapping minstrel show. (Photo by Sandi)


Wow! This one looks like the outflung arm of Joe Frankie (in red sweater) demonstrating the dual purposes of the lowly snow shovel: clearing away snow and clearing your path of enemies who are trying to steal the goodies Santa's just given you.? L-R: Joe Frankie's arm menacing with a snow shovel, Charlotte, Ronald, Randy, Eric and (just a glimpse of) Peggy. (Photo by Teresa)


Randy, Teresa and Eric from across town;

Randy with bowed head, praying for that cap pistol he's been wishing ever so hard for, forever it seems. (Photo by Frankie.)

Peggy & Joe Frankie, hosts of the party; CB and I who had driven from Cincinnati by way of Timbuktu;

A closeup of Santa making supervising distribution of gifts. "Nobody goes home without something," he insists.

CB just remembering what it was she was hoping Santa would bring her this year: lots of calorie-free chocolate. (Photo by Frankie.)

and, bringing in a whole ‘nother sackful of sly but well-honed humor were Nick and Tara whose names sound like they came from a movie like “The Thin Man” (Nick and Nora).

Tara, "It looks a lot like one I've got at home!" (Photo by Frankie.)

Santa waiting for the rest of us to settle in and settle down before he jumps up to orchestrate his new yule piece, "Santa Visits Louisville as the Pied Piper," which includes strewing of the magi's gifts here, there and yond. And it is magical; no ever is skipped. (Photo by Ronald.)

Santa, having misplaced his hat, wore his new Cincinnati Reds' cap to give a proper air to distributing presents at our party. (L-R: Connie, Santa Joe Frankie, Nick & Sandra) (Photo by Ronald.)

Nick now has a place to park his beer and on a new score keeping corn hole stick. If he ever finds a time when he can drink a beer and not have to worry about being at the beck and call of the railroad (which one, Nick?). In the background Santa grabs more goodies to hand out to us greedy recipients. (Photo by Teresa.)

Definitely not a game! Nick and several others also found practical gifts under the tree, like this industrial strength snow brush and ice scraper which can also serve to ward off muggers. (Photo by Ronald.)

Nick has a new job as a choo-choo train conductor. Sounds like he’s on call just about all the time, has to be ready to hit the (rail) road a running within 2 hours of any hour they wanna disturb his beauty rest.

Seems like most of us have had some medical problems of one kind or another during the past year.

Randy’s been back to work for a while now after his heart surgery. Says he’s been walking on the treadmill for two years now and, despite promises from the medicos to the contrary, has not learned to love it.

Just recently both Peggy and Joe Frankie have helped pay for the extravagant lifestyles of their doctors. Peggy says she was checked over by a cardiologist because she seems to be tired all the time lately, and Joe Frankie, too, but I forgot why he went (somebody email me and tell me why so I can change this)

CB broke her toe trying to help an absentee daughter cope with a flooded basement in her Cincinnati home. “It hurts,” she says.

My cataract surgery a year ago and taking in oxygen 24/7, aided by an excellent no meat/no salt/no fat diet (when I’m not taking a vacation from it – which seems a tad too often of late) have helped me recoup some physical strength and lots of eyesight (although my surgeon is hesitant to operate on my other eye which also needs it because he has to stand during the entire procedure.)

There are probably other medical stories I’ve missed. Lemme know and I’ll include them.

Sleeping contest was a tie between Joe Frankie and Fred, although Eric was in the running for a while. Strangely, Connie wasn’t competitive at all in this field of seasoned veterans.

Peggy was showered with diamonds and things, with hand vacuums and cream, with music and a long list of stuff that very well represented the love of the givers. (Photo by Frankie.)

Obviously, I am a true coiffeur connoisseur.

Sandi, "Cataract surgery didn't do you a whole lot of good, did it, Uncle?" (Photo by Frankie.)

Sandra looks at the next chapter of fame and fortune in her life. "Not bad so far!" (Photo by Ronald.)

For example. I complimented Sandi on her new hair color. “It’s been this color for a year or more,” she said. “You’ve only seen me like this twice before you noticed.” Uh Oh!

For example, I commented on Teresa’s new hair style.

Teresa, speaking stylistically, of course! (Photo by Frankie.)

“I don’t have a new hair style,” she shot back, “but I do have a new hair stylist.”

Teresa also pointed out that taking pictures year after year seems pointless. “We all sit in the very same places.

L-R: Connie, Teresa, Charlotte. (Did we all take our "Usual places, Teresa?) (Photo by Frankie)

Nothing changes. So you can’t tell one year from the next unless you’ve got a memory good enough to remember who got which gifts which years.”

L-R: Connie, Teresa, Charlotte, Ronald, Peggy. (Photo by Frankie.)

The rest of us just sat there and watched the others take their places for the Santa phase and, sure enough, almost all of us plopped down in the same places we’d plopped last year and the year before. Talk about creatures of habit.

As always, Joe Frankie was our Santa Claus, perhaps because he’s the only one who has the patience to wait until everybody else has opened their surprises before he sees what goodies he has received. Peggy was my personal scribe, volunteering once again to make a list of who gave me what with the admonition that perhaps this year I should try a little harder to remember. (I’m trying. I’m trying.)

Santa with a puzzled look. So many packages. Which one to choose. And whose terrible handwriting is this anyhow. Bad enough they wrapped their stuff in them thar cheap newspapers. (Photo by Frankie.)

Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! Everywhere. If everyone’s take was half as good as mine, we all made out like Flynn. Look at all this. I got ice hobnail slip-ons from Sandra & Fred; a Paris (TN) cap & a Frank/Paris TN cup from Ronald & Charlotte; a fruitcake from Sandra & Fred; scrub wipes from Santa; a iHOME docking station (speakers and charger) from Ronald and Charlotte; Nook & Nook cover from all the Smiths (Nook comes with 500,000 FREE books, I’m told – wow!); Mighty Bright XtraFlex LED Book Light from all the Smiths – I’m always reading in the van; an animal magnifier, pen and key chain and flash memory from Randy, Teresa & Eric.

Then came the “fun” part. The grab bag where we all end up fighting for the same thing – paperweights for Charlotte. Charlotte got her paperweight again. I got a talking “Git ‘er dun!” bottle opening. CB got chocolate. Fred got a handy dandy tool chest on a keychain. Then I remember no more.

Peggy finally gets to open her gifts after kowtowing to me all afternoon. To help my nonexistent memory, she jobs down each gift and its giver before she starts shredding her own paper. My gifts are mixed with Peggy's on the coffee table. CB is keeping check on me from behind. It is my belief that the more a person looks like Santa Clause, the finer the treatment that person will receive from his/her North Pole benefactor. But what happens, I wonder, if one year everything is absolutely perfect? mmmmmm!!!!! (Photo by Ronald).

What in the world could it be? Really? I feel like Yogi Bear opening a pica-nick basket. Yum Yum Yum!" (Photo by Sandi)

I haven’t seen Nick’s sister Stephanie since she was 7 years old. Figuring she’s probably in junior, maybe even senior, high school, Nick replied to my query, “She’s 20 years old, Frankie!” What’s happening to those years, folks? I feel like Rip Van Winkle, sleeping my life away.

Opening all those gifts was a lot of work, so, we had to eat something afterwards to renew our energy. Ronald and Charlotte brought enough Trolinger’s barbecue for the feast and there was enough left over for CB and I to bring some back to Cincinnati accompanied by the delicious hot sauce. Then there was ham and sausage and cheese and potato chips and who knows what all else I must rely on secondhand descriptions filtered through two or three layers of verbal gymnasts. And more punch to power the pain pills down.

Peggy made her specialty punch which was so good that I begged a little more from her to drink on the way home – Damn, I forgot to clock our trip home to see if we made it in less than 2 hours! Oh, well, next year, I guess.

"No, Sandra, don't matter how big of a fit you pitch, IT IS NOT your turn to play Santa; you haven't finished elf school yet!" (Photo by Teresa)

Perhaps the fact that December 26th is a major milestone means Joe Frankie won’t be penalized for having a birthday so close to Christmas. Today (December 26, 2010) is his 75th! Congratulations! The old truckdriver just keeps on a truckin’ on down the road, pretty near as feisty as he always has been.

Two old men sitting in their comfy chairs: the one on the nearside waiting to serve up the good stuff from the North of Kentucky; the other waiting anxiously to be served goodies from the North of Kentucky. (Photo by Sandi)

After we sat letting the latest grub settle before we all took off, Joe Frankie went outside in the brrrrrrrr weather to prepare me. A little ramp for the doorsill between the Kitchen and the sunroom. Ramps for going from the sunroom to the back porch. Two looonnngggg ramps making a track for Junior, Jr, from the back porch to walkway by the garage and one more ramp from the walkway up to the driveway. Whew – makes me tired thinking about it. What wonderful people there are in my family, that they would have the patience and the kindness and the willingness to help make my Christmas Day every year. Thank you, guys.

"Man, was that hard work; is it suppertime yet?" Charlotte, Ronald, Randy catch their breath after all that energy-depleting box-lifting and paper trashing. Captured on video for others who follow so they will know where to sit! (Photo by Teresa)

Thence into Tranq the van, up the lift, transfer to the shotgun seat, slip into my navigator’s uniform and home, descriving in minute detail to CB each move she should make as we make our way home to the west side of Cincinnati.

As darkness marked the close of the 25th, the holiday lights of Cincinnati beckoned us to the north side of the Ohio River and home. (Photo by Frankie).

Written by frankieleeee

December 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Family, Yule 2010