Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

T’was the week before Christmas
And all through the place
Santa was watching
As we worked with some haste.

The gardeners said “Yes”
When we asked them to help;
The tree was cut down
And Santa made svelte.
The Blides were with joy
As they saw the tree grow
As Santa looked up
from the view just below.

Next, presents were wrapped
And one stocking made big
At least for our daughter. . .
Why huge? Just go fig!

Dick was prepped up
When Di cut his hair
While Kids at the store
Made presents less bare.

Later that day,
In the dark of the night. . .
Reflections were there. . .
Oh Boy! What a sight

Two days later
When Leslie flew in,
We feted her birthday
With joy in her grin.

During her stay
we walked in the park
And grinned with the Totem;
Just for a lark!
Next, Christmas Eve
Brought Cousins of Dick
So, we ate in the glow
Of food and St. Nick.

The table set nice
With name tags and “plan”
Resulted in talk
And a little of “ham!”

Next came the day
To open our gifts
Excitement was high,
So our tale is a hit!


Monday, August 9, 2010


Do you remember Shel Silverstein’s MAGIC? . . .

“Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins’ gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.”

Well, that’s the life the 25 or so former Lake Highland High School students from Dallas seem to have been living since I last saw them . . . some thirty years ago.

Lake Highlands High School

In fact, it seems they have been making a lot of magic.

It actually was those thirty years ago when a couple of these high school students, at the end of that Spring day, rushed into my Lake Highlands High School classroom, excited and anxious as they blurted out, “Mrs. Blide, will you sponsor us for our club?”

“What club? Doing what?” I asked.

“We’re starting a film club. The Principal won’t let us have this as a school club unless we have a teacher sponsor. We need you to say, Yes.”

“But I know absolutely nothing about film.”

“That’s just fine,” they responded. “We know everything.”

“But, why me? I am sure there are other teachers here more knowledgeable than I . . .”

“Well, you’re more off the wall . . . ” I heard them gush.

“Hmmmm,” I responded, daring not to ask for a closer explanation, “I’ll take that as a compliment. OK, just let me know when and what I need to do.”

And so Fantastic Cinema Productions (FCP) was born. In 1980 they created their first film, “Friday Night 2112.” Not being too hopeful with their Super 8 mm product vs. a 16 mm film, they took their achievement down to Houston, Texas to enter it in a film festival competition. The judges were literally “blown away” and awarded them first place. This was just the beginning..

This July, 2010 became the 30 year reunion of that earlier small band of high school “nerds” some of whom ended up sharing the glow and glory when John Davis, one of their own, was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Animated Feature for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in 2002.

Even those other creative best friends who went on to other occupations (one of whom is with NASA, many others who are continuing to use their creative and technical “fun” beginnings at FCP in other ways) will, it seems, never forget what great friendships developed through FCP that will most probably last a life time. And it all started with a kid in a school who had the gumption to get other kids excited … along with a certain teacher who who didn’t know a thing about film.

The "Mutants" thirty years older, as Jimmy Neutron looks on.

Early morning get together of Mutants with families meeting at Lake Highlands High School waiting for buses to tour the old sites where "2112" was filmed, and to renew memories

"2112," starring Lane Wimberly and Greg Jones with the movie's actual house of horror.

Brad Vanderburg, one of the FCP tour leaders for revisiting "2112."

Allen Black, Bryan Holloway and John Davis reminisce at Richland College, another site in the movie.

As was tradition, next was an Ethiopian dinner at the Queen of Sheba Restaurant followed by a huge party bash at John and Kim Davis' beautiful home including viewing the new DVD of "2112" which brought laughter, tears and fond memories of those times thirty years ago.

JOhn, Mak, Brad, Allen and Lane face the accolades

But wait. There’s more. This former teacher of 36 years is enjoying what every single teacher’s hope, expectation, dream of addressing that chalk board on day one of their chosen life’s work. There is not one working teacher who does not look over his packed room of riveted eyes (well, at least at first) toward her, who does not believe that some young face will one day write the Pulitzer novel, invent that needed robot or create the solution for World Peace and be a good person who will find hope and growth lasting a lifetime.

Life is good.

PS: A post reunion momento from John Davis to Patti Blide.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


(Written by Dick Blide at request of Blogmaster, Patti Blide)

Our summer vacation was melded with getting together with our son and family. We flew from Portland; they drove up from Cape May, NJ, to Upper Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. We had rented a cottage on this lovely lake for a weeks get together … Patti and me, son Alex with wife June, grandson Zachary and June's son Josh.

I had lived and worked in Saranac Lake, NY from ’69-’75 as medical director of the Will Rogers Hospital, a general chest disease facility. This return brought back great memories including those of skiing and hiking in these mountains.

Our first day was foggy and rainy but, being intrepid adventurers, we scaled Whiteface Mountain (would you believe they have an elevator?). The top was “socked in” so views were of clouds vying with fog. June was ecstatic to find her fear of heights “fogged out.” We had been here many times before so we knew there was a spectacular panoramic 360 degree vista with Montreal visible on a clear day. We recalled that two years ago Alex and Zach had rented mountain bikes and had ridden from top to bottom following the old ski trails.
Next was our venture to the Olympic Ski Village in Lake Placid to watch the ski jumping on to wetted-down plastic mats. “Wet and Wild” was the most exciting event with Olympians and future Olympians competing, skiing or snowboarding down a ramp, then doing somersaults and twists before landing in a pool of water on a mid-summer day, representing snow.

Perhaps our happiest moment was celebrating Zachary’s 20th birthday with cards and an ice cream cake in Ben & Jerry’s in Lake Placid.
Smiling and excited, June made dinner fun, picnicking at the cottage most evenings while absorbing the sunsets at lakeside.

All three boys are guitarists so they entertained us by jamming most evenings. Alex could be faintly heard early each morning softly playing his guitar in the boathouse.

Between adventures we shopped, now and again, in Lake Placid to the delight of Patti (she has to have her daily Latte) and June (who must have her trinkets). One of my favorite lunchtime restaurants, The Cottage on Mirror Lake, found us enjoying their delicacies. We even stopped in the recently enlarged library in Lake Placid to see if my book, Heartfelt, which I had dropped off two years previously, was still there. It was and had been checked out a few times.

We enjoyed walks in the woods around Upper Saranac Lake and we got to use the motor boat and canoe to explore the entire lake.
We discovered a champion in our midst for rock-skipping on the lake water surface. Josh won with eleven skips testing every flat rock available.

After a week in paradise, Patti and I took off for Dallas, where Patti had been invited to attend the 30th reunion of Fantastic Cinema Productions, a student film club she had sponsored while a teacher at Lake Highlands High School in 1980. How many teachers are even remembered, no less feted, thirty years after their students have graduated? See the accompanying blog for Patti’s description with pictures of this event that brought happy tears to her eyes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Well, Folks, you gotta agree, five is better than two, or even zero, when one is planning a reunion. Everyone didn’t show up, so the beauty of sharing, listening, watching, learning from one to another did not fully happen. Tuesday, June 22, 2010 to June 26 was half-baked so to speak. No one’s going to cry over that; moan a little maybe, but finally rejoicing in the realization of all the money we saved. After all, we few did take turns in taking the rest of us out to dinner; sometimes with coupons even! Yep, the rest of you kids who did not come can feel hungry, a little sad, and wistful for next time. Anyway, just know that you were missed!

Working backwards, I must say that the last adventure was just about the best with the Woods taking us all to the Long Beach Yacht Club where we watched with delight as glorious ships sailed by while beautiful people strolled the board walk. Then a trumpet blew, the flag was lowered on deck and all stood at attention, hand over heart, in what turned out to be a very emotional event.

The next amazing happening was the many white jacketed waiters seeming to out-number us few guests! Not bad. Good. More food to eat! And we took full advantage! Pete, having come from D.C., smiled and ate and ate the whole time, looking slim and trim. Must be some wicked diet!

The Blides (below, on left), as well as host, Fred, ate scrumptious prime rib surrounded by veggies and special potatoes, carefully saving room for desserts.

Nicholas, (two below) burgeoning administrator working on grad school plans, entertained us with his student stories while Penelope, as hostess, made sure that each had his/her time to shine. This is a Talking, Eating family.

Of course, much more than just eating kept us full of joy at the fun of sharing sibling time, here at Woods home.

Almost every day began with Bungee-walking to Peets’ Coffee House with outdoor patio, where Patti guzzled down beloved Coffee Lattes as others ordered their favorites. Then off for more adventures for all but Pete who spent much of his time at his work-out place, feeling the need to “pump iron,” tighten already flat abs, and bathe in the joy of sweat.
One especially enjoyed outing was the Nature Walk where the beauty of a California sunny day of turtles, birds of all kinds, lizards and gorgeous plantings made us happy to be alive!

Even log-sitting in the bright, but cool weather was special for the twins and camera man, Fred.

Perhaps the most enjoyable time for us five was from 5:00 pm on, when the group was all together for talking, reminiscing and dining.

The most amazing event for most, was Pete’s causing each of us to gawk and gasp in awe at the “Pete diet menu” brought by him, prepared by him, and eaten by him for what seemed hours at a time. The man never stopped eating, all the while exhibiting a most long, lean but muscular body. Which is to say Peter Blackledge has the secret to success in dieting in a way to out-do the evil cholesterol death knell and should write a book about it with photos of him working out and eating!

Cute, isn’t he? Guess he can just eat them veggies, drink that water and out live us all.

Life is good,

patricia of kalama

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


With the promise of being ‘greeted’ by closely hugged coconuts above, froth-led beach waves splashing below, and the lure of new and luscious foods, Patti and Dick escaped the WA wind and rain for a February two weeks at Maui, Hawaii.

Following a 5 ½ hr. flight, Dick and Patti, per friend Betty’s suggestion, took a quick trip to Costco (yes, Costco is every where) to fill the rented car with veggies for sauté, steaks to grill, and fruits for breakfast smoothies, leaving of course, plenty of plans for surprises as to the Hawaiian fare.

We were happy to find that our ocean view bedroom condo actually had two full bathrooms with all amenities including washer/dryer, as well as a well-appointed kitchen.

Bright sunshine greeted us daily with only a couple of light rain hours; it was the unexpected that we still talk about.

We knew that February was the best time for whale breaching, but seeing so many so often was pure delight. We had opted not to go out in the boats this year, but watched from beaches where many other watchers gasped and pointed with us. It was interesting on conversing with others how many of them had selected visiting Hawaii at this time of year just for the whales.

Another unexpected experience was Patti’s initial snorkel adventure. Worrying somewhat on her first foray in some time, she carefully lowered her snorkel-hugged head. . .and then laughed out loud. . . under water. . .as three six-inch round but flat lavender-edged, purple fish rushed straight toward her goggles to check her out! From then on Patti joyfully remained face down several hours at three different beaches counting the differently shaped and brightly colored big and little fish. The huge brown lumpy fish (some with eye brows!) were hard to see among the rocks and corals as they were almost invisible via Nature’s disguise. Ain’t nature grand?

And then there was the Red Flag experience. Patti soon realized that there was a good reason for those red flags, some stuck in the beach sand three at a time. One very cool and windy day, Patti just couldn’t wait any longer and decided to give the flag warning a test, thinking that a strong swimmer need not worry. NOT! Those red flags mean what they indicate: UNDER TOW, UNDER TOW. Patti is now a swimmer with bowed head for more reasons than one.

And so, what does one do, instead? Ahhhh, sitting in a provided beach chair. . .on the edge of the ocean, high enough to watch without sitting/swimming/snorkeling in rough water is the answer.
And/or reading one of those great books brought for “just in case.”

Or one could simply spend “rough water” time, eating! And eating with beautiful birds visiting at these outdoor/indoor restaurants, such as Napili Bay, were a further treat!

And, oh yes! There’s eating, such as at Longhi’s, or in town meeting ‘solid’ citizens:

But the best of all was wonderful WALKING on the most beautiful of winding trails along roiling ocean waves at Kapalua Bay on the Coastal Trail which, when discovered by us, found us there almost daily, visiting our favorite coffee shop on the way.

Which leaves us with forever memories of the wonders of: Nature’s beauty, Nature’s caring for the living, and for Nature’s gentleness of powers. Which is to say,