Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another "Character"....

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to one of our neighborhood 'characters'. This time, you'll meet one of the family ones.

Trevor is my deceased brother's youngest son. He's 39 years old now. As a child, he was a non-stop mover, full of mischief and fun. As he grew up, he tended to be drawn to the most dangerous things. I don't have any idea why he took such risks, even after being warned, but as a result of his actions, he  often would find himself  physically hurt or with a broken bone here or there. Fortunately, none of his antics killed him...but they might have.

Throughout his life, he's been a 'cut-up'. He hasn't changed much in that regard. "Trevor enters the room, and he's immediately 'on' ", in the words of my daughter. From the minute he arrived, he had us rolling with laughter as he shared his stories. Being raised in SC, he's got a heavy accent, and it's not the southern gentleman type...it's more along the lines of 'redneck country.' I'll do what I can in relating the tale, in my written version of that accent. It will lose something in the translation, and all I can say is, I wish you could hear him yourself.

"Y'all....ah waz alweez gittin' in trubble in school. They'd say, "Trevor, yore goin' home early today." Ah'd say, "wha, whad ah dew?" I wanned t'know so ah cud dew it agin....only earlier in the dye! Hey...meet me in the mornin'...meet me at the front doora the school...jist put me back on th'bus 'n sind me home. He knows where ah lee-ive, he jist picked me up there."

At one point he was talking about his exwife. He told my girls that she is 'slow'.  I said, "Trev, she is NOT!" His answer was, "She shore ee-is....'took her seventeen years to divorce me, didn't it?"

Trev had more stories than I can remember...and we were rolling on the floor as he told them. One thing I can say about him is this...he wears me out!  He's so full of energy, that I can't even understand him sometimes, he'll talk so fast. I can take about an hour, and then I'm ready for a nap! That being said, he's a sweet guy....a goof ball, and he could give Jeff Foxworthy or Jeff Dunham's comedy acts a real run for the money.  I wouldn't trade anything for him....or the laughs he gives us all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stockings...

In my attempts to catch up on the reading of my friends blogs, I noticed that two of them had written recent entries about 'stockings'. One was a guy who spoke of his childhood stocking and what was placed, traditionally, in his stocking each year. The other entry was written about her family tradition of the stockings, and the story went from her childhood when her mother filled her childhood stocking, through to the time when the roles were reversed. Those stories took me back across the years to my childhood.

Growing up, we didn't have a fireplace. We hung our stockings, as kids,  against the console TV. Of course, when they were filled by the jolly old elf, they were too heavy to hang, and were placed on the floor in front of the TV set. What was inside of that faded red, cotton knee sock with the cable design? Inexpensive toys, a favorite candy, an orange or tangerine, or an apple, mixed nuts. Someone else always got the Brazil nuts because I didn't like them back then. We kids might have been given those, rather than Dad, because Dad was allergic to them!  When I say 'inexpensive toys', I mean those wooden paddles with the elastic string with a rubber ball on it (remember those?)  or one of those  clowns that were attached to a 'frame' with string. When you squeezed the little sticks at the bottom of the frame, the strings would relax and tighten, and the clown would dance.  Then there was the small cup on the stick, with a ball at the end of the string...to try to catch with the cup.  There were coloring books, paint boxes, crayons, yoyos, magnets, and oh...one of my favorites....a face on a card, encased in clear plastic. Within the plastic, there were metal shavings which you were to drag around with a magnetized pencil, leaving hair or eyebrows or beards on the face. (Did others of you have those things?) 

I don't know what happened to my stocking, but I guess it was left behind when I left home.  When my kids were little, I made all of us quilted stockings that were larger than what I'd had. It was easier to place gifts into the larger ones, but it also presented the challenge of finding enough inexpensive things to put into them!  Somehow we managed to fill them each year! 

As I grew to an adult, I became a part of the tradition of the elder family members. Each adult woman draws a name, and fills the stocking of the one whose name she drew. We still carry on that tradition today, Mom, my daughters and I do.  We try very hard to fill the 'Christmas sock' with unique items, as well as new things that might have been used up from last years offerings....ie samples of toothpaste or emory boards.  We tend to think about the hobbies of the one we have, and look for things that would interest them. Readers might get a small paperback, those who sew might see sewing supplies. Photographers might find a little picture frame. I think it is a true challenge to fill those stockings. I always add some little thing to the young ones' stockings, and fill one for my husband. I look forward to the fun of seeing what's inside those small wrapped gifts.

I still have those stockings that I made for my kids, because they all have their own for their families. None of us use them anymore, but they are there, if they have want their childhood stocking. As for Mike and me, we currently use the counted cross-stitched  ones that my daughter made for us some years ago.  I guess it doesn't  really matter what the container is.... it's the content that matters, and that's not the wrapped gifts, or the fruit or sweets. It's the sweet fruit of love that is offered with the filling of those stockings at Christmastime...and all year long.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time to be Pampered

In the past I've not been one to frequent hair salons or nail salons. I've gone a few times, but after I left home, where my mother always did my hair trimming,  and after going to school and getting a license in cosmetology, I've almost always cut my own hair. I know my hair, after all, and I know how it will lay on my head, how it will curl, and how it best likes to be styled. Strangers don't know those things.

I think I've had, at most, five manicures outside of my own home. I just don't feel that it's as important as the younger generation does, to go and have someone hold my hand while they trim off the dead skin around the nails, followed by washing, shaping, filing, buffing and then putting layers of color and painted or rhinestone designs on the end of my digits.

As for pedicures, the only reason I discovered the delight of those was a nearly forced-upon-me gift. I went with my daughter, somewhat reluctantly. I don't like to have my feet tickled, but do like a good foot rub. I didn't know precisely what I was in for, and had a bit of an inner 'attitude' about going. However, when I was walking out with smooth spots where there were callouses, and beautifully trimmed cuticles and nicely shaped toenails with just a light layer of clear polish, I felt like a million dollars!  I determined that the pedicure would not be my last, even if I never saw a professional pair of scissors aimed for my head or an emory board wielding nail technician.

Up until that moment, I'd taken care for my own feet. However in the last few years, between my back problems and an annoying hip that seems to lock up at times, it's made it more difficult to comfortably bend to reach to even trim my toenails.  I do what I can, and a few times a year, I take myself to the nail salon, where I sit in the comfortable chair with the warm, vibrating back, soak my feet, and let someone else do the work.  While it wouldn't be my choice of professions, it is what they are there for, so I'm happy to pay them to do it.

I hate to admit it, but I guess I'm getting old. My body won't allow itself to fold in half anymore, or to do many of the things I took for granted up until five or six years ago. The experts are always saying to 'listen to your body'. I'm doing just that, and I'm going to begin putting my head into someone else's hands, as well as my feet. There comes a day when one must realize what time it is...and I've determined that it's my time to be pampered a bit.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaack...

Whew! What a week!  Perhaps you've missed me...or, maybe not.  I've missed you, my readers, when I've had an instant to think...which wasn't often, to be honest!

We started last Saturday, by heading to Georgia for the gathering of  the four daughters and six grandkids and the two old folks, aka US!  We left our house thinking we'd be later than the NY girls would in their arrival. Apparently they called us when they neared the exit off of I85, thinking they might stop for a potty break at our place, but we'd already left. So they went to a gas station convenience store, and continued on their way.  Well, not long after, they spotted our van, which they call 'the Wonder Bread mobile', and they sped up so they could ride behind us, waving some sort of clothing like flags from their windows. Moments later, they passed us, waving, laughing and beeping the car horn (that sounds like 'the Chipmunks' according to the new car owner)....and they left us in the dust.  We were going 70 mph...the speed limit, and before long, they were far out of sight.  I told Mike that I hoped a policeman would stop them for speeding. 

As luck would have it, no speed traps got them, but slow and steady won the race. Driving daughter, who used to live in the area of Georgia to which we were going, trusted a GPS to give her the correct exit off the highway. While she wondered around some  country roads, we continued on, arriving at her sister's house without a problem....about a half hour before the NYers pulled in.  That was an on-going joke all week long. Don't you know, they insist that they 'let us win'.

After a weekend of food,family and fun, we returned to our home. We walked in to the decorated and clean house, and within minutes, I was wondering why I'd spent two weeks trying to make it perfectly clean and neat!  This house was soon rocking!   My daughters and two granddaughters kept us hopping!  There were  conversations, questions, and laughs flowing freely. My gosh...the coffee we went through....with the new Peppermint Mocha  flavored Coffeemate added! 

On Friday afternoon, my nephew arrived. He will be featured in a later blog. Just after dark, one of the Georgia girls came for the weekend.  On Saturday, nephew returned for more time with his cousins. Soon after his exwife/still-friend showed up with their two daughters. All got reacquainted quickly, the younger second cousins hitting it off nicely, while the older cousins carried on as if it was a big party. Well, I guess it was!

Suffice it to say that our normally quiet and normal life was changed during the last week.... we didn't mind a bit, though we were, without a doubt, plagued with fatigue! All the girls left yesterday, they were showered with hugs, warnings not to speed and to be safe, and with many tears.

They updated us on Facebook throughout the day and evening yesterday, as they traveled north. I was accused of paying people to drive slowly in front of them so that they couldn't drive faster than what I deemed 'safe.'  When they got to Virginia, they were stopped by a  state trooper...and then I was accused of bribing him to give them a ticket.  I PROMISE I did not/would not do that....but I was grateful that they were ticketed for driving too fast, and that they were forced to ease up on that gas peddle, to at least the speed limit.  I'm sorry for their 'extra Christmas gift', but glad that they learned a lesson....at least for that minute.  (Forgive me, kids, for hoping you'd get stopped. I just LOVE you and want you to be safe....and to obey the law!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Under Control....

I think  I've got things under control for the big day. I was running behind for a bit, but finally I determined that I'd do what I could, taking every day as it came, and slow and steady would win the race.
With the coming of my NYers, I was pushed to do it sooner than usual, but I think it's all done, but for the cards, now. This week I'll concentrate on the girls, spending time focusing on them and our time together. Next week I can really put my feet up and enjoy the days before Christmas, instead of having them zoom past me without any time to reflect on anything.

We went to Georgia for the weekend, to daughter #2's  house.  The four daughters and their assortment of kids, from 18 years old to 6years old, gathered for photos and food and fun. And FUN it was!  Some of the comedy was fit for the stage...some was not fit for human ears! But that's generally true in this bunch. What's a mother to do? Put in ear plugs, I guess...or just deal with what conversation she doesn't appreciate.

We talked...a lot. We laughed more. We played a word game called "Tabu" and we shared time and love and meals and Christmas gifts with the NYers.  Some of us came home to our house yesterday, some will be here tonight...and the Georgia ones will be here on Friday night. So...we'll have more ruckus and laughs coming up soon.

Other than that, we hope to see some Christmas lights in the area, bake some cookies together, sing a little....and even shop for a possible home for the NYers to move to. (Mom hopes this will happen!! I long so for them to be closer so this family time can be spent more often.)


Meanwhile, whatever the future holds is out of my hands. The rest of the week may be too, but it will be shared, come what may, with my loved ones, and nothing makes this Mama happier than that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still Plodding Along...

Three days 'til the gang arrives from NY. Things to do:

1) Finish the decorating in sunroom
2) Make beds in grandkids room
3) Clean bathrooms
4) Final vacuuming
5) Grocery shop for picky eaters!
6) LOCK door to master bedroom...it's unfit for human eye! (stuff has to go someplace, doesn't it?!)
7) Fresh table cloths on dining and sunroom tables
8) Extra TV to Mom's ...her's quit working.

Things done:

1) Some cards made...waiting for addresses
2) Major cleaning
3) Gifts all wrapped
4) Meals planned (tough job...some don't eat pork, or pork products, some only eat mac and cheese from a BOX, some won't eat tomatoes in anything, some won't eat veggies except corn, some don't like meat with fruit, ie: orange chicken or pork with cranberry/orange sauce, some survive only on carbs, some won't eat carbs at all. Some love my homemade soups, others don't like soup at all... Siiiiigh)
5) Laundry done

Charrrrrrrrrrrrrge!!! on to the top list....something will be finished by the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WHEW! I'm Tired....

Four days 'til my New York kids get here!  We've got a busy few days ahead, and next week even busier.....but it's so much fun to look forward to.

I found myself in the middle of a muddle. Due to the fact that the NYers want to see their sisters in Georgia, we'll go there for a mini Christmas over the weekend. All of our special church activities for Christmas...a dinner, 2 house parties, a pageant, are taking place over the sanm weekend, so we had to make a choice. Church stuff....or family? Should be an easy choice, right?  Not so much.  That is because Mom won't travel, and it's up to us to get her to church, so if we don't go, she doesn't either.  Well, I felt pulled in two directions, and finally decided that we'll go to Friday night's party, go to Georgia on Sat. and skip the other three functions. After all, we don't see our NY family that often, and we've always attended the church things in other years.

So, it's hi ho,hi ho...off to Georgia we will go. We'll return on Monday, and spend the rest of the week here with the girls. On Friday night, one of the Ga. girls and her two girls will come for the weekend. On Saturday, my nephew from Ga. and my neice and her two girls from NC will arrive for a visit with cousins and 2nd cousins and Aunt, Uncle  and Grandma.  These walls will be straining at the seams, the estrogen will be here in massive quantities (3 daughters, 4 granddaughters, 1 neice and 2 grand neices and me)  Nephew and hubby will probably slip off to some hiding place!

What to cook for such a mob that will allow us time to visit?  Something easy.... maybe a big pot of soup or chili, a good salad, a hot, crusty bread and a cake. Sounds good to me....and easy! Yes....that's it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec 1...

This morning, I find myself singing..."On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me......"  I don't know if he's got anything in mind, but I do!  I need a good, swift kick in the pants to get my motor running.  As the saying goes, "I'm so far behind, I just passed myself going backwards."

I haven't got my usual stash of Christmas cards done...I mean, made, not addressed! I've got a few, but since I generally need some to mail and some to hand out at church and to friends that I see, I will need to have about 100 of them. I can do it, if I get at it, but they will be very simple ones this year in order to meet the deadline.

I've got all my presents  half of them on the living room floor so it might inspire me to get crackin' and wrap them up!  The rest are upstairs, waiting for the same job. I still need to take Mom out to finish her shopping. I've managed to get some of them for her while I was doing my shpping, but she's still missing a few.  The tree still stands empty in the corner, but I did manage to nudge Mike hard enough yesterday to get him to the shed for the boxes of lights and ornaments.  He's pretty fussy about the tree lights, so I leave that to him, and then I can do the tree.  Great hope fills me that today will be the tree lighting in our house!  The 3ft tree is lit and stands with its ornaments, gathered from the primitive ornament exchanges I've taken part in this year. I'm going to have to transfer them, I think, to the 5 ft tree, and maybe I'll move the small tree to the dining area, and decorate it with old cookie cutters and wooden spoons painted with snowmen faces.

The baking and spiced pecans will be done when the girls are here in a little over a week. We'll go to see our Georgia family for the weekend next week, and return to do the cookies.  Things will get done by Christmas day, for sure, but I'm not sure I'll be totally ready for that day weeks earlier than normal. Well, I'll do my best...it's all I can do!

How about you? Are you making any headway?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another Character...

When I was a youngster, every now and then a humorous story would be told about someone my parents knew, and invariably the tale ended with 'what a character!'  This morning's offering will be about a 'character' who lives nearby to us now.

When we first moved here, we met Bob before we met his wife, who he called "Edith." It turns out that her real name is something else, but he called her 'Edith' because her voice and New York accent sounds exactly like Edith Bunker.  She's a fun lady who likes to laugh and talented a painter/craftsperson. I liked her on the spot.

One year we were invited to a casual supper at their house during the Christmas season. During the evening, we heard a number of stories that had us laughing, but I'll share only this one for today.  It must be read, thinking of the way Edith Bunker spoke, with her heavy accent and her high pitched voice. 

Marilyn said, "When Bawb and oy lived in Floorida, Kath-a-leen, we built our own home, royte from the ground up.  We built the wawls, we did it awl, but when we gowt to the roof, I said, "Bawb, don't ya think we awt t' hoyah somebuddy to do the roof?"  Bawb said, 'no honey...we can do it.  So, we cloymed up to the roof. " Her eyes got big and her brows raised up.  "Oy thowt oy had awn good sneakahs, but oy didn't!  I stahted t'slip!  When I gowt to the cawnah, my jeans cawt awn a nail, and thayah oy was, Kath-a-leen! Hangin' thayah on the cawnah of the roof, with moy feet danglin'...yellin' "Bawb! Bawb!"  She moved in closer to finish her story....'But Bawd didn't come!  He fell awff the othah soide!"

I laugh every time I think of Marilyn  and that story!  'What a character!'

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Busy Days...

We have a very active church group, and at this time of year, it seems even moreso.  Although many others do, we don't always attend all of the events. We also have other social events to be a part of, family things going on, and sometimes we just need to 'be still'.

The calendar since Nov 14 looked like this:

14th....Church Senior group monthly supper, soup and sandwiches. Bring beverages, sandwiches,
 or desserts.
18th....Fellowship supper at Sue's home. Turkey will be provided...bring sides or dessert.
20th....Dessert and coffee after evening service, Preacher appreciation night
22....All church Thanksgiving gathering....soup and sandwiches....bring your favorite soup,sandwiches,or dessert.
27.... Youth benefit spaghetti luncheon. Please bring desserts. Donations will be accepted and used for the youth group's 'adoption' of families for Christmas.
28....Dinner out for my birthday with family.

December hasn't even begun yet, and the calendar is full!  There will be a Christmas play, three home parties, carolling, a weekend visit to Georgia, 4 NYers coming for a week, hubby's birthday, some riding around to look at lights (slip in one week of 'feet up', hahaha!!!) Then it's Christmas week and two Georgia families coming, some for a week,some for a day or two! Please take note that these events are all in addition to the normal church activities, and I've not mentioned the decorating of the house, the shopping that needs be finished with Mom, the wrapping, the baking and whatever else comes up! 

I'm no Scrooge...not by any means...and I love everything about Christmas, but I'm losing my energy just writing this blog!  I have no idea what I can cut out, and I don't want to miss a thing.  Well, I guess there's January when I can actually put up my feet and breathe easily!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

Personally, I think the whole idea of getting up from a warm bed to fight gargantuan crowds for 'limited supply' of items on sale is NUTS!

That's my opinion, of course, and each of you are respected as people, despite whether or not you agree with me.  So....did you run out to the sales....or did you avoid at all costs, like I did?

THAT is my complete blog entry for today! See ya soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful...

Sometimes things happen in life that are confusing, unpleasant, and upsetting.  I have a one on one relationship with God, and I'm so glad I do. I speak with Him all the time, not necessarily on my knees, but He's always close and I beleive He reads my mind and thoughts.

Recently a sweet family friend disappeared. It was hard to function during the four days that he was 'lost', with no word to anyone from him. We didn't know his whereabouts or his condition. Tough days, full of prayers and caring thoughts from others, as well as encouraging words to each other.  We all felt a little 'stunned' and as if a gray cloud hung over us. Some of us found it difficult to think about a holiday of Thanksgiving when someone we loved was who-knows-where, and there was little motivation to cook and clean in preparation of  a gathering.

Prayers kept flying heavenward. Though we did not know where our friend was, God always did.  I am happy to say that our friend was found alive.... and our gratitude and relief is overwhelming. Today we make our preparations for our dinners and we raise our prayers in thanks to our God who heard our concerns, keeping our friend within His view,  took compassion on us, and answered those prayers.  A day of Thanksgiving for sure!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Caring For One Another...

Recently I read an article about a family in the  local paper from my hometown.  The mother of the young husband had just lost his mother. While the family and out of town family were away from thir rental home,  attending the funeral in a nearby town, the house was destroyed by fire.  The next day, rain poured into the building, further damaging items that might have been retrieved. Soon after, the wife was cleaning her father in law's house, and she fell on the stairs, badly bruising her body.

Sometimes when it rains, it pours", as the old saying goes.  My heart went out to those kids and their youngsters. When I can find an address, I will send a donation to be used for replacement of their possessions.   While I was reading facebook one day, I discovered that the young mother is the daughter of one of my friends.  Further reading made me aware that many are stepping up to help this family, as it should be in any community.

In our own area, one of the first things we took note of was the wonderful spirit of giving when there are those. The TV station we most watch does 25 days of wishes, choosing one story per day and then provides that wish for a needy family. Churches join together each Christmas to collect and hand out warm clothing for those who may be homeless, or can't provide them for themselves.  Our own church congregation is always collecting something for families in trouble.  There have been collections  of clothing and toys for grandparents who suddenly found themselves with  custody of  their four little grandchildren. One of our members is ill and cannot work, and his wife, too, is out of work...we've helped by providing non-perishable foods. We've taken 'love offerings' for two couples who have had fires in their homes.  No one complains about being asked. We truly are taking care of one another, because we care!

In recent weeks, our neighborhood has had some vandalism, to the point where we've met together to discuss what we can do to keep our subdivision safe.  Currently we are in the process of forming a real neighborhood watch. We've determined that it's up to us to stay aware and make others aware of any suspicious activity. We've made inquiries with the Sheriff's Dept. to inform ourselves of the best way to handle any crime, should we discover it, while we wait for the law enforcemnt to arrive. We expect a Deputy from the Dept. to speak at our next meeting. First and foremost, we are watching each other's homes, elderly residents and children in our subdivision. We are showing that we care, not only about our own property, but about other people and their safety. 

That's what we're all here on earth for....to show others that we love them. Caring for people and their situations proves that love.  Remember folks...the Golden Rule says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."   You never know when you might be on the receiving end, so you might want to give your caring today!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Waiting...

My Mom has two sayings referring to 'waiting'.  One is  'All good things come to those who wait.'
and the other is 'Anything worth having is worth waiting for.'  It may be true, and last evening, I was reminded again of that.

On Nov 5, I wrote about missing the Canadian geese that we used to see all the time when we lived on Long Island, and how we rarely see them here in SC.  I was wishing that I'd see a gaggle of them once again and longing to hear their tell-tale honking as they cross the sky on their familiar and invisible tracks.

Last night, while I was waiting for my husband to return to the car with our take-out Greek salad and Greek Pizza...I was people watching. All of a sudden, through the open window, I heard it. Loud honking! The sound of Canadian geese coming from somewhere behind the van!  I opened the car door and looked into the dusky sky. I could hear them, but they were nowhere in sight.....for a minute.  Then, there they were....all helter skelter, trying to gather themselves into some sort of formation. While I watched with complete pleasure, they failed at their attempt to figure out where there place was, and maybe even which was the 'head' goose. They flew in a ragged line across the path toward the East.  I continued to watch and to listen, until they were a dim squiggle in the darkening sky.

As I sat, I remembered Mom's adages, and I also realized that God had heard my thoughts of missing the geese. I thought of the scripture verse in Psalms that says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."   I believe that God cares, even about the little things, and though we may have to wait to see them, sometimes He blesses us with something that makes you realize that He hears even the silent desires of the heart.  This blessing of the geese was definitely was worth waiting for!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More about Sewing...

Well, I got those valances done...two of them....but I'm not happy with them, so I'll begin again. I've got lots of the fabric, as I bought enough to do full length curtains for three windows, plus, and since I've decided to do valances for two windows in another room, there's extra to use for other things (or error!)

I remember learning to sew when I still lived at home. Actually, I think Mom started to teach me when I was about twelve years old.  It was four years later, I believe, that I discovered had half an interest in it, and asked for help in creating something that I could wear.  Of course, I had to be instructed all over again, as I hadn't touched a needle and thread since Mom's first attempt to show me how to use it.  Well, no, that's not true. I had a wee bit of sewing in Home Ec. class in school, but as with most of my classes, I barely scraped through, without learning much of anything.

So...from that springboard, I dove head long into sewing things. I used Mom's machine until my 3rd year of marriage, when we bought that Montgomery Ward model.  I was given a treadle machine when some friends moved away, but for the life of me, I couldn't make it work, and not too long afterward, I decided that it didn't need to take up space, and we took it to the dump. (Oh, foolish child bride that I was! It had no value to me then....therefore, it had no value!)

I sewed grannie dresses and tops for myself in the 1960's, and then maternity things, tiny clothing and blankets for my babies, and made stuffed animals and dolls for them as they grew old enough to play. I made school clothes, then graduated to patchwork quilts and sewn items to sell.  I stopped sewing clothing after awhile, as the kids wanted to wear things like other kids in their classes wore...and I was never good at making clothing fit me correctly. After awhile, I just put that machine away....and didn't drag it out any more. My girls didn't want to learn to sew then, however two of them learned on their own when they got older, and are quite good at it. The other two still can't sew a button on!

Today, I will once again cut and pin and stitch, and hopefully I'll have better luck than I did yesterday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sew Today...

That's my mantra on this Friday morning.  I want to make new valances for the living room...and for the kitchen/dining room too, eventually.  The fabric has been waiting there quite long enough!  I don't know how the time gets away from me, but every day just flies by and I find myself busy, but not getting done what I'd set out to do.

I haven't sewn in years. I've done some hand sewing and mending, but haven't bothered to drag the machine out for anything serious.  It's time I did!  When I was younger and my kids were little, I used to stay up until all hours sewing things...clothing,  doll clothes, stuffed toys, curtains and other household things. I made  quilt tops, pillows, and pot holders. It seems as if that old second-hand sewing machine we bought for $26 in 1969 (an old Montgomery Ward portable that weighs a ton!) was never idle. It's being lent to Mom these days, though it sits idle there more often than not. Over the years, it certainly has been a faithful friend to both of us.

Todays project will be sewn on my newer model....a Singer zig zag which I bought brand new at a yard sale about ten years ago...for $25.  I've used it some, but not much. I prefer the older one, mostly because it responds to my foot on the pedal with gusto!  That baby can sew at least twice the stitches in the same time that the other one pokes along. It drives me crazy.  When I sew, I want the item finished in one sitting.  I don't like unfinished projects.

So...that is my goal for the day...to make, and finish at least two valances!  What are your plans for this cold November day?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Anniversary

Yesterday marked the 6th anniversary of the closing on this house.  Time sure does fly!  I remember that day...November 16, 2005. We met our realtor at his office, and followed him to Greenville to the law office, as we had no idea then where anything was.  We had a short, quick time of signing papers, and then the keys were placed in our hands, and suddenly we were the owners of two homes!  Our realtor, who has become a friend since then, gave me a shopping bag with the gift of a navy throw with the SC state symbol on it....a palm tree and a crescent moon. After a hug, and a short chat, he was off to an appointment. 

We made our way back to the house after having lunch at some forgotten spot.  We went to visit with my brothers and hung out there for awhile. Then we went out to dinner to celebrate.  We had no furniture to place into the house, but we stayed there that very first night anyway. We pulled our sleeping bags from the van, brought in our suitcase and toiletries, and made a bed on the living room carpet. It wasn't extremely comfortable, for sure, but we wanted to stay in our new house!

Our stay was short, as we needed to get back to our hometown for our family Thanksgiving, my birthday, Mike's birthday and Christmas.  Over the next year, we made several visits to the house, taking enough 'essentials' with us for some 'glorified' camping in our home when we went south.  We finally decided to move bag and baggage and make our new farmhouse our home.  It's fun to remember those first days and nights here, to open our home to our family and friends for holidays and visits, and it's good to wake each day to all that awaits us. Nobody can see into a crystal ball and predict tomorrow, but we're happy to take it just one day at a time here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just as we did for over 50 years in my old hometown near the sea.

Life is good. It doesn't matter the altitude wherein  you live, what matters is the attitude that lives within.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mid-Week and Mid-Month

Here we are smack in the middle of the week...and the month. What happened to the last two weeks? They came and went so fast, I can't even remember what I did during those days!

We have finally put up the chandelier over the dining area table. That baby puts out some light...400 watts, currently. (no pun intended!)  Yesterday we bought a dimmer switch, which will allow us to control that glaring fixture, but it will also afford us the light if we're doing something where we need that much. (I can't imagine needing that much for any reason, but...it's there.)  Yes, we might have opted for small watt bulbs in the fixture which holds ten candles, but the day I was shopping for bulbs locally, there was nothing smaller in the candle bulbs than 40 watts. I knew it was too much, but couldn't find anything less that day. Since then, I've found 7-60 watt ones and flickering ones and frosted ones and clear ones and colored ones.  We'll make do with the switch, I think.

Also, believe it or not, the shutters are now hung and making me very happy!  They didn't work in the kitchen/dining room where I wanted to put them, because on one window they'd have covered half of a triple light switch and on the other side, there's a cabinet that would cover half of the shutter, unless I chose to move the albatross cabinet....and I didn't. So, they are hung on the living room windows, and I'm fine with that.

I think today I'll make some new valances with that black and cream checked fabric I bought ages ago.  I'd like to get them done before the kids get here. I'd also like to get my cards made, but I fear that there won't be any home-made ones this year.

I'm going to pull all of the beachy theme stuff out of the half-bath, too. I've got some other things I'll put up in there...some old quilt squares that I'll frame, and a small ladder shelf. The guest rooms are ready, I just need to vacuum them again before anyone uses them.

Meanwhile...we've done a mini- grocery shopping. Some things were on sale this week, so we took advantage of that...turkey, pot roast and the fattest pork chops I've ever seen made their way into the basket with other needful items.  We're making some headway.

So...if I'm going to make any more of that (headway), I'd better wave good-bye and get busy in some way other than dancing on the keyboard with my fingers! 'Til next time...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas is Coming...

Gosh...it's so close, and I'm running behind on so many things. I'm not ready for Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas. Generally by this time of year, I've got all of my gift shopping finished and waiting for wrapping. I also am well under way, if not finished, with making all the cards that will be sent or taken to church to offer my greetings for Christmas. Not this year.

BUT!  In the corner of the living room stands our new artificial Christmas tree!  Yeah, yeah, I know...so please don't scold me about it being too early!  It definitely IS, but there's a reason, you see.  Though we always wait until, at least, the second week of December to begin decorating, this year the New York kids are coming!  I want to have the decorating finished before they arrive, since they can't be here for Christmas itself.  We'll look more festive around here and the exchange of our gifts three weeks early will feel more like  Christmas.

So...there it stands, bare naked, and looking somewhat out of place. But I've got other things to do, and guests coming for Thanksgiving too....so I've got to get things done as early as I can, since my back doesn't allow for long stints of standing and doing. (My back is aged...and so are my feet....but let it be known, I AM NOT OLD!)  Since much of what has to be done requires a good amount of time on my feet, I'll make preparations when I can, regardless of how silly it looks at the time.

I think I should also do a little early baking and freeze the cookies and breads. I will probably not do as much as I have in the past, but I'd like to have some of the baking finished before the girls arrive in early December. Menu planning too, is already underway....not just for Thanksgiving, but for the ten days the kids will be here. We may even shop at the same time for some of the things that will keep in the freezer or pantry for the Christmas meal.

It's such a busy time of year which starts very soon, so forgive me, if you will, for starting so early!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Disrespect

If there's anything that bothers me about people these days, it's disrespect. I was taught, and I taught my kids,  to respect elders, which meant, among other things, not to talk back no matter how wrong I felt they might be. I was taught to keep quiet if I couldn't say something nice about anyone, including my peers. I was taught to realize that things which belonged to others were not mine to take.  That's all a matter of respect.

These days people don't seem give one iota about any of that.  Kids sass their parents, disobey them without regard of consequences, don't pay attention to teachers or others who are older. They roll their eyes, they walk away, they just don't seem to know the meaning of respect.  It goes beyond that too, as far up as the law enforcement and the government of our country.

It seems that the laws are written for those who will obey them. Criminals don't care about any of them. They do what they do, and I think many of them know full-well that they will get a slap across the knuckles, and they'll be out on the street in no time.  Even people who have taken lives and ruined so many other lives in the process, don't get punishment enough for their law-breaking, in my opinion. 

As for the government of our country, it used to be that people disagreed, and maybe they said so, but they knew that the President was an office to be respected, even if you couldn't respect the decisions or policies of the man in office. He was voted into that position by the people,  and most people recognized that, even if their 'guy' didn't win the election. They'd ride it out until next time.  Now we have uprisings and sit-ins and demonstrations of all kinds, which only seems to feed the fire in others. I haven't got a problem with peaceful demonstrations so that those in authority can 'hear' the voice of the people, but more often than not, these gatherings cause more problems in other areas.

On a much smaller scale, our neighborhood is currently dealing with some issues of vandleism. There have been GPS units stolen, an attempted car theft, scratching of a brand new car and some mailbox bashing. We have decided that we need to organize a neighborhood watch situation, in order to prevent more of this kind of disrespect in our area. Our meeting will be held soon...and hopefully we will be successful in our efforts. It won't stop the disrespect, but at least it may move on to another place. Law breakers will always find somewhere to commit their crimes and show their disregard of authority. I wish it was otherwise, but it isn't....and it galls me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Don't Have A Clue...

What to write about today, so bear with me as I muddle my way through this.  Back in the days when I went to a writing group, the moderator always told us to write something every day, no matter what it was, and not to worry about how good it is.  So...this looks like it might be one of those efforts.

I woke to rain, and by the time my coffee had dripped down through the system and made it's way to the pot, it had stopped. There was a wet, drippy fog outside....not thick, but definitely there. I'm one of those people who likes fog. Some people don't, I guess, but it's just kind of eerie and interesting to me. I'm not crazy about standing in rain, especially downpours, I'd much rather be inside, listening to it pound on the roof and window panes. But a wet fog doesn't bother me.

When I went to turn off the coffee pot, I stood at the kitchen window and watched the foggy air  dissipate.  At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, I might ask, "Where does fog go, anyway?"  It's a pretty easy question to answer....it evaporates.  Once the air was light and fog free, I poured my coffee and went to watch the morning local news.

There wasn't much of anything to interest me there, as usual. Traffic reports, weather map showing rain in our area but making it's way eastward, news that had been reported last weekend about three criminals that had been caught in Virginia. It must have been a slow news day or something. The reporters were joking and teasing each other, and I just waited it out until the Early Show came on.

I guess it is a slow news day all around.... this blog entry is boring...even to me.  I hope your day is more exciting than my early morning was, and my blog is!  On the other hand, sometimes boring beats excitement hands down, depending up the type of hooplah going on.  Let me rephrase my wish for you... I hope your day is full of FUN excitement!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day Trip

There's never a time when we spend that day together away from home, that I don't enjoy.  Today was a lovely Fall day, we were comfortable wearing t-shirts, and we decided to take a ride so that we could take a look at a Victorian home that is for sale. Our plan was to look at it from the street, and decide whether or not to make an appointment with the owner to see the interior at a later date. 

We looked on the internet for directions...then we looked at our atlas.  The area is only 29 miles from us, but we haven't been over that way in the five years we've lived here. So, confident that we could find the place with little trouble, we headed to the southeast on a country road.  We were right. The house was easily found. We checked it out from the street, looking for flaws. It appears to need a new roofing in the near future. The chimney brick is looking a little crumbly at the top, which makes us wonder if the chimneys are workable and in good condition.  There are outhouses on the 4plus acres, and big trees, oaks and pines and in the rear there are apple trees, apple-pear trees, pomegranites and pecan trees. There is a double arched front door, old windows with beautiful trim, a front porch and gingerbread trim.

I know from the listing photos that the interior is intriguing. The walls are horizontal boards, some painted, some still natural wood,darkened with age. The floors are all wood...except the large kitchen, which is tiled.  There are old light fixtures, a center hall, 8 fireplaces. Oh...what a dream it would be to live in such a place...!

However, even with the updated electrical wiring, plumbing, town water, newer gas heat/air, blown in insulation, what other work might be needed?  I've always loved old houses....but in the back of my mind, I keep hearing my Dad's words..."Old houses, old problems. New houses, new problems."  Now the question is, will I heed Daddy's words as a warning, or will we take the plunge   and go for it?

I guess there's no way of knowing what lies ahead in any realm. I'm not sure that we two characters are wanting to bite off a 'project' at this point in our lives. But, I think we'll go and see the inside of the place anyway.  How else will we know if we even think we'd want to live in such an old house?  It certainly won't be the first house we've walked through, loved, and turned away from for one or another reasons. The owner is aware that we weren't even looking for a place when I stumbled across the listing on-line, so she won't be surprised if we don't go ahead with a deal.

Excuse me while I go email her.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

SC Fall Days

We are enjoying the sunny, clear, dry weather of Autumn. The days are still reaching into the high 60's and the nights are nearly twenty degrees lower. We wake to frost on the grass, and sometimes even icy windshields on our cars.  But it is beautiful weather to live in! It's comfortable outside with just a sweatshirt or a light jacket.  Since I despise heavy jackets and constricting clothing, I'm grateful for this time before those days come.

I've been reminiscing about the weather back home in NY.  It won't be long before the town pond will be wearing a thin layer of ice in the early mornings. People will have to turn the cars on to let them warm up for a few minutes to be comfortable inside, and the defroster will have to be set to thaw the windshields.
The children will be standing at their bus stops and their breath will be seen in the air. It is a different type of Fall in that northern area than what we experience here.

Oh, our turn will come, too....but it is slower in arriving, and shorter in its staying.  Winter comes fast once the weather turns cold here, but like Fall, the Wintertime is shorter, too, than it is in the north where I used to live.  Here we have 2 months of cool, 2 months of cold,  4 months of warm and 4 months of HOT!   My favorite months are those temperate ones, where short or long sleeved shirts are just enough. Too hot is not my favorite, and I spend a good deal of time inside where it's cooler. The cold has a way of driving me inside, as well, to huddle with a warm cup of something, a down throw and a pair of thick socks.

It is said that' we're never satisfied' as humans.  Maybe that's true of some, but right now, I'm quite satisfied with these November days.  I hope you all are enjoying yours as much as I am delighting myself in ours!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Autumn, Not Forgotten

The corn fields stood green, not so long ago, in tall, even rows. Now, the stalks are dry and have turned to beige and brown. They lean against each other, helter skelter, as their silk waves in the cool air.  Soon they will be mowed down, chopped and tilled into the soil as organic matter, as has been done in adjoining fields.

Those mowed fields appear barren, but there is food enough there for the Canadian geese who come. Their huge conventions take place in the early morning, and again at dusk, beneath steel-gray skies. They eat their fill before taking off for ponds or nests.

They fly amid the clouds, forming deep V formations, honking as they go. They follow their leader, across the same paths, to and fro, every day until it's time for them to move on.  Beyond the brilliant leaves they go, across the miles, toward the south.

Perhaps they will come to winter in South Carolina. I hear that they do that, but we've seen them only on our friend's pond in their back yard farmland.  The geese are something hearing in our skies. We used to watch them from our rear deck when we lived in New York, but they've not made an appearance in our area.  We miss those geese!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stew Under Cover

Tonight's menu is 'stew under cover'...my new name for homemade beef pot pie.  Veddy,veddy easy, my friends. I used left-over pot roast and accompanying vegetables (potatoes, carrots and onions.) Add some chopped celery if you like, sweet green peas, any other vegetables that you care to have in there. Make gravy, using the pot roast broth...place in a crust pie shell and cover with a top crust.  Bake according to your crust recipe until crust is golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting...and eat!

Add a mixed green salad...and ta dah!  Dinner is served!  Dessert of Apple Brown Betty would be great, if there's room in your tummy by then. I tend to doubt it, myself!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yesterday...

Finally I feel that I've accomplished something in a day!  I got my husband up early and while he readied himself to join the living, I puttered around doing little chores. I searched, too, high and low, for two envelopes. One had two receipts in it and one was full of information for Medicare Complete. Both were Mom's, and I was beside myself that I couldn't locate them....and still haven't. I probably picked them up with my paid bills and put them in the pile to be filed. I was about to  check that when Mom rang the doorbell with a couple of checks to be written before the mail lady arrived.

By the time Mike was ready to leave, at noon, to finish some yard work at the Preacher's house, I was ready to sit and create.Before I could do that, though, I prepared the vegetables and the pot roast for the slow-cooker, and then made myself some lunch.  Ahhhh...with a full stomach, I was good to go.  I gathered my sewing 'stuff' and plunked myself down in 'my' corner of the couch. I turned on Pandora radio on my computer, and began working on some ornaments.....snowmen.

I cut out a couple of bodies and embroidered their faces on them.  Since I'm attempting to find something that will suit the ornament exchange with some primitive decorating friends, I took the snowmen to the kitchen and soaked them for a minute in the coffee that was left in the pot from the morning.  I guess that will all work fine, except those snowmen are just a tad smaller than I hoped they'd be.  Then I decided that I needed to change gears. I began cutting out and embroidering just the faces of snowmen instead.  That seemed to work better.  I dyed them with the coffee as well, and am much happier with those.  They're each placed on a wooden spoon handle, standing in a couple of glasses, on my kitchen window sill.

In the end, I'm not sure whether either group of dirty snow men will head to my 14 friends...but if they do, I'm more than a third of the way there. If not, they will go on my own 'prim' tree, or hang from a garland from the old mantle piece.  In that case, I've got to keep thinking, keep experimenting, keep producing ideas. Last night my hands were so stiff from all the hand sewing.  I do have a machine...two, in fact...but if you're going 'prim', then go all the way and do things the way they did it way back then.  But, at least, at the end of the day, I feel as if I accomplished something in the making of 3 bodies and 6 heads.

Oh! By the way, did I ever tell you that I finished those shutters?!  Yes...I did!  Now I'm waiting to get them hung!  Today's big project will take me to the hardware store for some hanging things, and some more paint...black and a quart of colonial red, if you please.  There's a ladder awaiting my attention....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Mess With A Good Thing...

There are some recipes that shouldn't be toyed with, in my humble opinion. Oh, I know. How will you ever know if it works if you don't add a little of this, or a little of that, to a mixture? Well, my thinking is, 'Why do you have to know something else works, when you're original batch is proven?"

My favorite homemade cookie is a good, old-fashioned chocolate chip one.  It doesn't need to be marred by substituting peanut butter, for the butter, or butter for the Crisco, for that matter.  I don't want you to add raisins to the batch. I don't need the nuts, but don't mind too much if they are thrown in. There are some people who seem, lately, to think that pumpkin is the perfect addition to chocolate chip cookie dough. Not me. Don't mess with a good thing!

While I understand that some recipes are enhanced by the addition of spices or removal of some ingredient or another, and I know,too, that everyone's taste buds are different,  there are some things that can't be improved upon. Sometimes simpler is best.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween

Halloween has always been a favorite of most kids, I think, but since we've been here in SC, it seems it's nearly as important to adults and children alike. There have been decorations in many yards for most of the month. TV has been blaring about parties and Trunk or Treat events for almost as long.  And of course, this evening, there will be all manner and sizes of ghouls and ghosts at the door.

I don't remember Halloween being quite so celebrated back home as it seems to be here. Yes, there were  parties in our classrooms, costumed youngsters parading around the school parking lot or gym, much to the delight of parents who rearranged lunch hours to attend.  There were scout troups and classes which adopted a store window to decorate with paints and soap, and then walks around town to see the artistic ventures. Trick or treating took place after school, before dark, for the younger set, and a bit later for the older kids.

 A few homes decorated their yards like graveyards or haunted houses, but for the most part, a few jack o lanterns invited kids to the door. In this neighborhood, there are orange lights lit, pumpkins with electric lit faces, skeletons appearing to rise from the ground, and inflatable goblins. Tonight we'll answer the knock to  people in cute little  princess dresses to sixteen year olds in black hoodies. One year when I opened the door, there was a woman who lives up the street, dressed in a black spotted cow costume...udder and all.  She gave me a good laugh!  And she'd done it just for me...no one else was visited that night by Moo!

 I think I'll get some take out food for our dinner tonight. Invariably the cooking gets interrupted, and often the devouring of it, as well.  It's ok....it's only once a year, and I love seeing the kids with all their excitement over their costumes and over-flowing treat bags! I guess I'd better get out my witch's hat. I'll put on my black sweater and skirt and the tall chapeau, and hand out the goodies! 

                                           The church we were members of focused on missions
                                          during the month of October. The kids were encouraged
                                          to choose a country, and learn as much about it as
                                          they could, and then dress in a costume depicting that
                                          place. Here, my children are representing Africa, Japan,
                                          Spain, China and India...1979

However you choose to celebrate, have fun, Kids...of all ages.... and please, stay safe!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rejoice with Those

This portion of a verse in the Bible has been playing over and over in my mind for more than a week now. You see, a friend and church-mate was operated on not quite two weeks ago. She'd had a non-cancerous brain tumor which could have had devastating results, but didn't.  There is nothing that can make you rejoice in your heart more than seeing God answer your prayers. Robin woke from her surgery, waving her hand around, and rejoicing in God's goodness to her. Knowing that surgery was a success for her caused me to rejoice with her!

To see her attend church 6 days after surgery filled me, as well as our church family, with thanksgiving!  We so often pray for things to happen, and we expect God to work. He never disappoints us, but often does things differently from what we might have asked. You see, He knows ALL things....we have only tunnel vision. He knows what's best.... we see only what we want.  In this case, we got what we prayed for, and as we see Robin recuperating quickly, we are filled with joy and gratitude!

Last night we took a meal to the family, to make things a little easier on them all.  Her husband is at home for a bit of time while she heals, and he's capable of cooking. But, why not help where we can?  We shared a nice visit with them all before leaving them to have their dinner, which was a bit delayed by our visit. We left the home with renewed joy in the fact that other than one foot that doesn't want to respond to the brain's command, Robin is good as new! I have every hope that, in time, the foot will stop being stubborn, and do what it is meant to do. 

In the meantime, we lift our prayers in thanks for all that has taken place in this matter. We rejoice with those who rejoice.... and we continue to ask for complete healing in the future. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There's Thrifty and Then There's.....

my husband.

My husband is of Scotch-Irish descent. Now, I don't know if it's true of all Scots, but this character always says, "I'm too Scotch" whenever he thinks a price is too high, and he will do his utmost not to waste a thing ...other than time and storage space. He saves all the mayonnaise jars, assorted other jars of various sizes, coffee cans with lids, plastic coffee cans with lids, and any other container that he can get away with. Well...you get the picture. When I get tired of tripping over garbage bags full of them in the garage, I strongly suggest, at the risk of starting a war the likes of which would make WWII look like a playground scuffle, that he might take some of them to the dump on his next trip. Then I suggest that it might be a good idea to make that trip soon.

Now, please understand that I am of the ilk to save some things...but not everything. I was reared by parents born in Depression times, and I was taught not to waste. I'm fairly good at it, but even I couldn't believe my eyes today.  Picture this. My beloved marched into the sunroom where I was happily listening to music by Selah while I worked on making some Christmas cards.  In one hand he held a pair of his work boots. In the other hand he held a mismatched pair of sneakers.  He asked me to applaud. I asked why. He told me that these were making their way to the garbage.  WHAT?!!  Did my ears deceive me?!!  My husband is throwing away not one pair, but TWO pairs of shoes?!  I asked if the mates to the mismatched sneakers had already made their way to the refuse bin, and he told me that they hadn't. They still had wear left in them, soles in tact (unlike the flapping ones on the pair that was on the way out.)  His intention was to wear them in the yard....one white one with black trim, New Balance brand, the other white with what used to be Navy trim, by the brand of Fila.  Pardon me... I must correct myself. Neither is white anymore...but one is rustier white than the other from the red clay, and I must say that neither shoe is in very much better shape than the sad things he threw away.

When I picked up my jaw from the floor and composed myself after a rib-splitting fit of laughter, I calmly told him that this little experience would make a terrific blog subject...and asked his permission to share this story, just in case he might find some embarressment in wearing an odd pair of shoes. He leaned back in the wing chair and asked me, "No...I don't mind. Why would I mind?"  I said, "Well, I just thought you might not want me to share this with the world."  His response was, "Go ahead. I'm never gonna meet any of them." 

C'mon. It's not like we can't afford another pair of sneakers. It's not like he'd wear them, either, if I bought him a brand new pair. He'd wait 'til all 'the wear' has left these, and then he'd move the new ones into the 'good wear' group and  demote another old pair to the yardwork set. It's a losing battle. I took my wedding vows very seriously, and truth be known, I wouldn't want to be without this goofy guy...quirks and all.

Sometimes I wonder if  his age is catching up with him, but then I remember how he's been 'Scotch' since before I met him, and also quite good at making me laugh.  Just as long as he doesn't take off to work at the preacher's house or the church wearing those gardening mis-mates, I guess I won't have him committed....yet.  However, I can't vouch for the neighbors when they see him in those things!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Local History...

East Hampton, New York is situated on the eastern end of Long Island, surrounded by ocean and bay beaches. It is steeped with American history...since it's beginning in the mid-1600's. The architecture speaks of the Englishmen who settled there, first around what is now known as Town Pond.

In those days, there were animals who were kept nearby, who watered at the pond.  It is an idyllic and serene area...or would have been in that day. (Today the traffic there is busy, as it is the entrances to the Main Street and the commercial area.) 

I have heard and read, though I don't know if it is factual, that punishments in those days might be a good dunking in the pond on the dunking stool.  Such a device was constructed of a long pole with a seat on the end, which was lowered into the water by strong men on the other end of the pole, which was supported in the center-area by a  horizontal cross pole.  I'm sure the whole procedure was embarrassing to those on the water end of the stick. Probably the entire town came out to witness the carrying out of the sentence. 

The use of stocks, too, was a method of punishment. Offenders would be placed in a sort of wooden yoke, attached between two posts. The head would go into a center half circle, and the hands would be stuck into the openings beside the head, and then another board with the other half circle would come down over the neck and wrists, and be locked, so that the criminal would be standing, trapped, for all to see....or perhaps to be pelted with rocks, dirt, vegetables or eggs.  If that wasn't enough, the stocks were built in such a way that when one was in them, the body was bent at the waist. It would not be so comfortable for the back or legs, I would imagine!

There are tales of shipwrecks and Captain Kidd's treasure off the shores of East Hampton. There are stories which took place during the Revolutionary War and of colorful characters who lived in East Hampton since it's settlement.  There are accounts of famous people, artists and actors, and others, who took up residence in the lovely little seaside community. So much history to learn of, to read of, to know that is a part of my own heritage.

But, I know so little. It is a shame, I think, that the school does not teach a local history class for all the students who live in the area.  Some wouldn't be interested, any more than they are interested in learning about things that happened in foreign countries throughout time, and yet they are forced to learn World History.  I think it would be a terrific service to the children of East Hampton, especially those whose families go back to the beginning, as mine did, to offer them the chance to know the area that their ancestors played a part settling. For those students whose families are newer to the area, wouldn't it be nice for them to learn, too, all that has gone before them?

Maybe I'll write a letter to the school board and suggest  the formation of such a class, and then ask if I might sit in on it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mexican Food

Yesterday morning, I took Mom to an appointment.  As is sometimes the case, she treated me to lunch, following her 'date'.  We chose "Fiesta" this time. It was a perfect choice for me since I hadn't been there in a good while, and Mike isn't really excited about the place. He never gets what he thinks he's ordered, so he's often disappointed.

I'm never disappointed in Fiesta's food. It's abundant, it's tasty, and it is not at all pricey. I always end up taking half of it, or more, home in a styrofoam box. Yesterday I ordered the 'lunch fajita' for  $6.99 and took enough home that I ate it for dinner, as well, and was sufficiently fed at both times.  The dinner fajita is a larger version of the same things...a choice between chicken or beef strips, mixed with peppers, onions and spices,three small tortillas, refried beans, shredded lettuce and tomatoes, quacamole and sour cream. Add a little salsa from the dip bowl they bring with corn tortilla chips when you first sit down, and you can say you've been well-fed! 

I've always liked tacos, tortillas with anything (meat or cheese or vegetables or any combo of the afore-mentioned), chili. I don't like things too spicey, but do prefer just enough 'bite' to know that you've got something different from the norm.  We make these types of meals at home, but somehow, it's not the same as the taste you get at Fiesta or other places like it. 

I will keep trying, though! Do you have a favorite Mexican food? Or maybe you don't like it at all? If you don't, let me know....I'll eat your share!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thinking Back...

We've done some camping in our day...both inside and outside.  My earliest recollection of camping with Dad, Mom and my brothers, we were up around Lake Placid, NY.  Dad had built a camp fire and he and Mom were going to cook supper for us kids. I watched as Dad rubbed a bar of soap all over the outside of the kettle that we used to use for picking blackberries in the summer. When I asked why he was doing that, he explained that it would make the pot easier to clean the soot from when we washed it.  It's a tip that I've never forgotten, and have used many times in our camping....even when we've cooked over the fireplace flames.

Another bit of advice has stuck with me.  Dad once read in the Yankee magazine that you can keep creosote from building up on the walls of your fireplace or woodstove chimney by burning your potato peelings in the fire.  I don't have any idea if that's  truth or falsehood, but I used to do it when we burned our fireplace, and I never had a chimney fire, and very few chimney cleanings.

It's funny, with all the little things you hear in your lifetime, what things stick with you. I could probably come up with a big dump truck-load of things that Dad or Mom have told me that would be far more valuable to my living than those little bits. But...that's what I'm thinking about today!  I'd love to hear if you've got any helpful tips like that, that you've never forgotten. Just curious...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Cold!

This morning, when I woke up, I heard the heat pump kick on. I wonder how many times it did that during the night?  I got up, went to the living room, where the thermostat was set on 63, and the temperature in the room was the same.  I noticed that the french door was open from the kitchen to the sun porch, a space that is unheated. So, I shut the door, and lowered the thermostat to 60 deg. I knew that when the sun rose, it would be slightly warmer in the house. I dressed in my sweats, with a hoodie and warm socks. I haven't gotten warm enough yet.

So I yielded to my urge to hike up the thermostat by one degree....just a few minutes ago. The room is now 62 degrees. It might as well be below zero, it doesn't feel much warmer to me than that, after all those days when we hovered eighty degrees. Then BOOM! A cold front blew through here, and dropped things by twenty degrees.  I feel like it's winter!

 I don't need to drag out the woolies, but with such a difference in daytime temps, it does feel uncomfortable. So, I'll put on more clothing...or heavier.... and just try to get used to it. If I have to turn on the heat, I will, but it's really not what I want to do.  It's too soon, and with the rising rates on the  power bills, I would like to delay that move as long as I can. On the other hand, I don't want to look like I'm having a seizure as I shiver, either. 

I wish we had a REAL fireplace...where we could burn wood. We just might have to consider that option...pretty soon.  The electric stove takes the chill off, and gives the idea that there's a warm flame burning in it, but because it's electric, it's not a saver at all.

We'll manage to get through another cold season, but I don't want it to start too early...or last very long. Meanwhile, I guess I'll just have to take it day by day, and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Computer Stuff...

Just before as I was about to sit down to dinner last night, the phone rang. Generally at that time, it is someone calling to sell us something, get our vote, or offer us a lower rate on the mortgage we don't even have one of. So, if the phone is handy, I check to see, and if it is, I don't answer it. Since the phone wasn't near, I didn't bother to see who was calling. I'd check it, and would call them back, if it was someone I cared to speak with.
Within a few minutes, Mom was ringing our doorbell. I asked why she was wandering over in the rain, and frustrated, she answered, "Well....you didn't answer your phone, so I came over here."  She was in a tizzy because her computer wouldn't work, and she was about to give up. Taking a deep breath, and letting it out slowly, I mustered all the patience I could, and told Mike I'd be right back. Then I went across the street to see what was wrong with the computer.

I listened as Mom vented. I gave her a pep talk, telling her that she just needs to learn the updated programs.  I said, "you told me you could learn this if you practiced, so you have to keep practicing! Don't give up...."  all the while feeling that I was right about my original thoughts that this expensive new machine was going to frustrate her to the limit. But even knowing that before she bought it, and warning her that it would be a challenge, how could I possibly take away her desire to have something to do, or discourage her determination?  I couldn't, and so, against my better judgement....and with a great deal of 'knowing' that I'd be on call whenever she turns on the computer, I said very little.

The problem last night was multi-faceted.  She couldn't get the computer to do 'anything!'  The instructions typed into the keyboard were met with no reaction.  I quickly discovered why. The keyboard was locked. On top of that, the cap lock key was on, so the password wouldn't be accepted.
After we freed all that, I had to, once again, walk Mom through the process of getting to her AOL mail. That's kind of a toughie for her to remember, as it's so different from the  older version she'd been using, which was so simple. 

Adding to Mom's computer problems is my brother, who is somewhat of a curmudgeon. A few months ago, when she could manuever her old machine, she set up an email account for him. He gets very little email, but because of a recent reunion with some Navy buddies, he does get a few forwards, and a lot of Spam.  He is at Mom's daily to read it. He hasn't a clue even how to turn on the computer, let alone get around it. He stands over Mom while she tries to find her way, and when she can't remember, he's impatiently telling her to push this and do that, which only further frustrates them both.  Arrrrrg!  He should get his OWN...but then I'd have to give him a class....and truthfully, I haven't got the patience for that and it ain't-a gonna happen!

So....I begin this day, not knowing what'll come. I will not borrow trouble....for each day has enough surprises. I'm here for Mom...and will be....but also hope that she'll manage to learn this stuff as soon as she can, so that her frustration will be diminished.  

Have a wonderful day, everyone!  May yours be problem-free and relaxing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friends...

An old song that I learned in the Girl Scouts about a hundred years ago says:

"Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver, and the other's gold."

I have always believed it to be so. I've never like losing track of old friends, especially dear ones, but sometimes others just don't hold up their end of communications, so it's often hard to stay updated.

Since I'm a people-person, I enjoy meeting and making new friends,as well. I've met some wonderful people, face to face, and many on-line ones too, who share similar interests.  But today, I'm going to focus on old friends.

Facebook and other networking sites are good for reconnecting. It's been my pleasure to be a part of the Facebook world for awhile now. It keeps me updated on my kids lives, as things happen, as well as affording me the ability to chat with some that I grew up with, went to school with, or otherwise have known in  the past. We've re-established friendships across the wires and have shared memories and current life events. We've visited with some and invited them to visit us in our home.  It's great fun!

This morning we met a guy and his wife for breakfast. We've tried four other times in the last two years to have this reunion, and one couple or the other had to cancel for one or another reasons.  Finally, we tried again...and were successful.  Ron and I last saw each other about 25 years ago.  Since then, we've both remarried, moved to new states and retired from our jobs.  Going back more than 40 years ago, we were teenaged sweethearts...eventually marrying others and having families. I've never been sorry that we didn't end up together, but always wanted us to stay friends, which we did, however lax we were in communicating.  Anyway...it was terrific meeting his wife...and catching up on things in each others' lives. 

I hope that it is the beginning of a more frequent stream of conversation, and perhaps visits. We live ten hours from each other, but still, with the blessing of internet and telephones, there's no reason why we shouldn't keep up with each other in the future.

So...go ahead, make your new friends...but keep those old ones close...in heart, and mind.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Diverted...

Allllllllllllllrighty then...I won't make the apple pie and cookies I'd planned to make today. I can't very well bake without an oven, can I?  The element burned out in the oven the other night. We got through the weekend, though...and will order a new element today.

I've got so much to do, I think my head is spinning with ideas.  Some have time limits, so those should be taken care of first, I suppose, even if my attentions are diverted by things I'd rather do. As my granddaughter sings every now and then, "You can't always get what you wa-aant". True.

So...where shall I start on the many time limited chores?  I have trouble looking at things in small pictures. If I have a mess to clean up, I know the thing to do is to start in one spot, and keep going until the full job is done, but I have a problem doing that. I look at the whole pile of stuff, for instance, and see how much there is to put away, and am prone to walk off and do something else.  I wonder if I'm ADD undiagnosed.   Naaaah...I can focus...I just prefer not to do those jobs that require a lot of time, I guess.

Ok...now that I've let another secret about me out of the bag, I'm going to divert my attentions from this computer to the pile of stuff I've collected on the coffee and end tables.  Time to neaten this place up...and then....I'll start one of the time-limited chores. 

Toodles!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Determination

Every day I hope I can get those shutters painted. Every day something stops me. Again yesterday, it was the weather. Before I got outside after posting my blog entry, the weather turned very breezy,squashing my hopes one more time.  It's not that important, in the grand scheme of things, but it is a job that I'd like to get done. I guess it'll still be there....whenever the planets align or God shows favor at the same time that 92 other things don't  shout my name.

I guess it's true about me....I am determined child. I was told that more than once when I was little...and once I got an idea into my head, it was hard to dissuade me from it.  I can think of one instance, when I was quite little. I don't know where the thought came from, but I really thought that when I grew up, I'd be a man. No amount of talking to me helped, my mind would not be changed from that idea.  I cannot tell you when I realized that  I was wrong about becoming a man, but the light dawned some time or another.

Stubbornness seems to run in our family. My brother is about as determined as anyone can be to be right. He will argue the point until the listener gives up trying, or he gives up and goes off in a huff, but he won't change his mind.  My Mom has a saying, "Never say 'never'. Recently she's adopted another one, "I Won't Give Up."  Determination... it can be a good thing, or a not so good thing.

So....I'll spend this sunny, perfect painting day riding in the car to a new area in order to find a restaurant where we'll be meeting an old friend and his wife on Tuesday. My mind has not waivered from the task at hand....but those shutters will be waiting for me when I can get them done.  I'm determined.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today Is Mine...

My shutters have been sanded for weeks....and waiting for their new coat of paint. First there was a windy week, where I couldn't paint, for fear that the color would dry between the can of paint and the shutter. Yes...I'm going for 'rustic', but not streaks made by a stiff brush!

Then we had a rainy week...and finally I had a very busy week of running around and setting up Mom's new computer. (Oh yes...that was a challenge!  I still haven't figured out why the printer will not install, but I will.  I'm nearly as determined a woman as my Mom is. She is determined that she will overcome all these new changes they've made to computers, AOL, etc. since she bought her last 'toy' five or so years ago. Of course, that will mean multiple phone calls and visits from me to instruct and remind, but in the end...it's all good. It will keep Mom busy with something when there's no one around to keep her company. At the very least, she'll be able to play her Free Cell games until help arrives for other things.
The 21" screen and the fact that you can push control and plus keys to enlarge internet pages, is a great change for her....and a huge help to anyone with vision problems. So, she's off on a new adventure!)

Today is a perfect day for painting. The weather is glorious, and will be 77 deg by 4pm. The paint will go on smoothly and dry quickly.  Today is dedicated to this endeavor, and so I bid you a fond adieu, and will see you when I next see you!  I hope your day goes just as you plan for it to! Enjoy it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Week...

Monday....Took Mom to the radiology office for a bone density scan. She has some osteoporosis, so they do these scans every couple of years or so.

Tuesday....Took Mom to the hospital for a nuclear stress test. When she'd gone for a check up to her family doctor, he listened to her heart with the stethoscope, and he heard her heart skip a beat. (No, not because she's in love with him!) He did an immediate EKG and then determined that she should have a stress test. Thinking that, because she is 85 years old and walks with a cane, she could not withstand a tread mill, he ordered the injection type of test.  I've got news for Dr. S.  Mom could have out-done me, for sure, on that tread mill, but he is a careful doctor, and not one to take chances, so injection-type it was.  It took all morning, and she wasn't terribly pleased about the whole business. When she came out to the waiting room, she firmly reported that she was 'never going to do that again! She was also wearing a Holter monitor which she'd have to wear for the next 24 hours.

Wednesday...Took Mom back to the cardiology unit at the hospital for removal of the monitor. She was glad to get that off and the electrodes and wires that were attached from it to her body.  We were instructed to make a follow up appointment with the doctor. We left the hospital and went to Best Buy to peruse the computer section. Mom's old one quit, and she wants to buy a new one. I'm a bit concerned that she won't be able to operate the updated programs, as she doesn't see well and they can be confusing enough for someone who has perfect vision. I'd hate for her to spend all that money, and not be able to use it. But, she likes to play her games, and can do so little else, I'm careful not to say anything very discouraging. Anyway, she's determined.

Thursday.... I balanced Mom's checkbook (I almost never do my own!)  Then I wrote out her checks for her to sign and addressed envelopes for her. I also made numerous phone calls for her to get work done on two houses.

Friday...today we will go and pick up the new computer, which she has decided is the answer to her long, boring days. It seems to me to be a rather pricey toy, if it will be used mostly for puzzles and card games....but it's not my money, and not my long, boring days.

Not often, but sometimes I feel as if I'm living my Mom's life, rather than my own. When I realize how selfish that sounds/is, I erase the thought!  After all, she can't help it if all of her hobbies and interests have been stolen by poor eye-sight and failing hearing. She can't help it if she's a widow or that can't drive herself hither and yon, and she can't help it that age is causing more and more doctors and appointments.  She can't help the fact that she needs some aid in doing things, like balancing checkbooks and writing envelopes.  God gave this wonderful Mom to me, and she was always there for me and my family, to help in any way she could: babysitting, offering a listening ear or a word of wisdom, even giving a short term loan at times.

I'd so much rather have her with us than not to have her. I'd prefer to help her as much as I can, rather than have her in a nursing home, or even to hire an aide to come to the house. She doesn't need all that much care and we all hope that she never will. She just needs a few hours, sometimes every single day of the week, but that's ok with me. So many other elderly people need so much more requiring their children to be there around the clock. Mom has decided many times over that she will NOT live with us, but will do 'something else' if it comes to that. She's welcome, but she wants to live independently as much as she's able.  I do wish, however, that we could find a person to clean her house. With my bad hip and back, I don't do real well on my feet that long, and my own house suffers because of that. Try as we have, we still haven't located anyone who has shown up.

So, all of my plans for this week, painting shutters, cleaning my house, getting my ornaments made for the Christmas exchange, have been put on hold. It's really alright. Those things will always be there waiting, but who knows how long  Mom will be here?  As long as she is, I will be there for her...and I won't regret a minute of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

At the Hospital

We checked in at the desk in the cardiology dept. We'd no sooner gotten through the signing of the forms when a tall young man summoned Mom to follow him. As I watched her walk away, through the doors which would take her into the nuclear medicine area where I could not accompany her. I felt a little sad as I knew, from experience, what she'd be doing for the next few hours, and it would make her nervous not to have me near. She was about to undergo a 3-4 hour stress test where she'd be injected with nuclear dye which would make her heart race for a few minutes, while the doctor followed the action on a monitor.  It isn't such a bad test, but when you are a legally blind, partially deaf, 85 year old woman, all the waiting (much of it alone) and having nothing to do can be a bit upsetting.

I heard that familiar sound of Mom's cane clicking against the floor and then she was out of hearing distance and out of sight as the doors closed behind her.  I turned and went to the waiting room, choosing a seat at the end of the row near a small table. From there, I could watch the comings and goings of hospital personnel and where I'd be able to see Mom coming when she'd be ushered out. I tried to read, but it was impossible for me to do with the wall-hung tv blaring on the Fox channel. I thumbed through a current issue of Woman's Day magazine, absorbing very little.

Before long, I heard a male voice at the desk in the hall. I looked up to see two elderly men. One was a patient, the other was his younger brother. They came into the waiting room and chose chairs in 'my' row, leaving one vacant between us. The younger man looked at me, and as is the custom here in the south when someone looks you in the eye, I smiled and said good morning.  It was the beginning of a conversation which went on for the remainder of the morning, until they were called to see the older man's doctor.

Mr. M. was easy to talk with, a true gentle man. He was a soft-spoken Christian man, and it was obvious in his statements and in his testimonies. Mr. M. told me that he's 84 years old and in very good health. His wife, he said, is not doing so well. He has two brothers and a sister, the oldest of whom is 93 years old, the youngest one, 78 years old.  He spent his life as a farmer, starting out with cotton until the textile industry was sent overseas, and the local mills closed. Afterward they grew grains, and now they are, in his words, 'just cruising.'  Being a northerner, I'm not familiar with the growing of cotton, and asked him if what we were told was true. "Does cotton deplete the soil so that it's not good for other crops?" He told me, "Not at all. You just harvest your crop, the machines cut the remainders, and it goes back into the soil. You feed your land the nutrients, and it'll grow things. Leave it alone, and you'll struggle."   We talked about women's fashions after a very tall, large-boned but not heavy, woman hobbled by wearing tall wedged shoes that had straps all around the ankle...and a skirt that met her leg about six inches above the knee.  He shook his head and said with a chuckle, "I don't understand".  We talked much about the Lord, about church, about how some churches present over-bearing "requests" for people in church to 'serve the Lord' in specific places. We agreed that service is important, but that ministries can range from a mother staying home to minister to her young children, rather than hiring a sitter, so that her husband can go to choir rehearsal, all the way to the Pastor's position.  He said "there will be lots of time later for that young mother to minister in the church, should the Lord lead her to do that."

We passed the time away in pleasant conversation, until Mr. M's brother was called in for his appointment. Off they went, leaving me with thanks God for bring me someone so kind to share the morning with. I didn't find out where the man lived, or what his name was, other than to hear the nurse call his brother by name. I thought I'd never see him again, but when Mom and I returned yesterday to the hospital for removal of the 24 hour monitor, guess who I met at the elevator! This time, the meeting was brief, as we needed to make our appointment, but what a joy to see him again and introduce him to Mom!

The Lord is good, bringing just the right person along, at just the right time, for just the right reasons..... and I'm grateful!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Taking Leave....

While writing about the leaves of Fall the other day, I found myself with more thoughts than room to write them.
Do you remember collecting the prettiest of the fallen colored leaves?  As kids, and as the mother of five little people, I have spent many an Autumn season searching for just the 'right' leaf. That ever-present sibling rivalry meant each of the kids would hunt for the 'best' one. Of course, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we actually all "won" the competition. 

After we took the leaves back home, we would lay our piles out, carefully sorting them. The red and gold maples, the crimson tinged, the rust-colored, the brillian orange oaks, the bright yellow sassafras....each would be lined up and examined with a critical eye. The ones we chose as 'best' would then be placed between two layers of waxed paper, and Mom would seal them in with a warm iron. That would preserve their color for a little longer, and we could keep our treasure in our rooms to look at for as long as we wanted to.

Each year when Fall comes along, I bring some into the house in various ways. I look for lovely, fallen leaves, but I also bake some.  A few years ago, I found a copper cookie cutter set of leaves and acorns.
There are several shaped leaves and sizes, and they cut the dough with true precision. The doughs are flavored with lemon, sugar and cinnamon, or spices similar to gingerbread. They are baked, and frosted with yellow, orange, red, and rust icings, and piped with dark brown veins. It's fun and creative, as well as tasty. This year, there are new pumpkin and apple shaped cookie cutters. It may be time to start that project!
And with that, I'll take my leave....
(PS: Visit my friend's blog for a giveaway!  http://ajoyfulchaos.blogspot.com/2011/10/time-for-giveaway.html  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Those Autumn Leaves....

Here in SC we are just beginning to see the first signs of color on some of the trees. It will be a few weeks before the blazing glory that they usually show.  It is so pretty here that I often wonder why so many people flock to the north of us to see the display of color. We did it,too, one year...and while the views from the mountain roads looking out over the valleys was indeed awesome, I feel the same way right here in our area when those colors come.

We've got a maple tree in the diciduous stand behind the house. It gives us the most beautiful, brilliant gold every year. There are several varieties of oaks and dogwoods, as well as the sweet gum trees with their 5 pointed leaves, and all never fail to offer their vibrant gifts. Combined with the dark greens of the pines and cedars, it's never a disappointment.


When I grew up on eastern Long Island, NY, there were always leaves to rake. There must have been a certain Tom Sawyer game going on between parents and children to get us to rake, but we never caught on, if there was. We would rake the crisp, colored leaves into large piles, and then tear across the yard, taking turns destroying the crunchy mountains with our bodies. We'd pick up huge handsful of the leaves and toss them high into the air.



Eventually, all of the leaves would be raked out into the road in front of Grandma's house where we lived. Once the piles made it to the street, we were cautioned not to jump into those piles. For reasons of safety from passing cars, of course, but also because those piles would be burned and no one wanted to have to sweep them up again for that purpose.  One early evening, the leaves would be ignited, and we kids would get to toss the horse chestnuts into the fire where they would pop and snap when the heat reached a certain point. The chestnuts were enclosed in a thick covering that had 1/2 inch 'stickers' on the outside. They weren't really sharp thorns, but they looked like they would be, and we collected bags full just so we could send them flying into the leaf fire. I never knew anyone to eat that sort of chestnut, althought it might have been an edible item. I tasted one when I was pretty young, and it was just fresh from the tree...green and bitter. That was it for me. I never ate another chestnut of any kind after that day.

From the time I was a youngster to this day, I've always loved the coming of Fall. The air seems clearer, the stars brighter, the days cooler, the sun more brilliant. The show-offy leaves a-turning, the rising woodsmoke on the night air and the brisk walks through the crispy, fallen, musty-smelling leaves, makes Fall one of my favorite times of the year...and this year reinforces that for me!