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'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! me in the mornin' 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


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 try to catch with the cup.  There were coloring books, paint boxes, crayons, yoyos, magnets, and 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 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 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'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 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's all I can do!

How about you? Are you making any headway?