Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Busy Time

Yes, I'm going to sound somewhat like a billion others at this time of year when I say, "I'm not ready for Christmas."  Well, I truly am not.... mentally, spiritually, physically, and financially...I'm not ready for this holiday this year.

It's been a busy time. I've run behind in making my cards, so there won't be many sent. I may get a few sitting moments when I will send out some boxed ones, but I may not get that far. My decorating is simpler than most years...an evergreen garland over the archway to the dining room, a five foot tree in the living room, decorated with ornaments I've collected for 19 years for the grandkids. There's a 4 foot tree in the dining area, decorated with only ornaments from exchanges I've had with some gals in an online decorating site. The 7 foot tree is in the sunroom, this year bearing only angels, snow babies and snowflakes...in honor of the victims in Connecticut.

I was already running behind with shopping for gifts and for the gifts Mom would give, when she developed some health issues. Two visits to the ER in one week, amounting to a total of 17 hours within the walls of the hospital, no diagnosis yet, multiple tests run during the following 3 days, and two doctors visits, with another to come on Friday.  That may not seem like much in the way of time, but the two ER visits kept us 'til the wee hours of the morning, and after each one, the next days I was good for nothing, having so little sleep.

Cleaning remains....some wrapping...some baking...menu planning for the week of Christmas family guests. I have three days before they arrive...and I'm going to have much busy time 'til then.  Whether or not I'm ready....Christmas will come...and go. And this year, I will admit, I'll be ready to see it over and to go forward into the new year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where Does The Time Go?

Here it is...December 10 already!  It appears that I've not written an entry here since November 15. Where does the time go???

I look at the tiny Christmas tree in the kitchen. It's covered with little ornaments received in several ornament exchanges with an online group I've been apart of. We have 2 Christmas exchanges per year, one in July and one starting in November. We each make a handmade ornament, and duplicate it, sending it to a list of women who are doing the same for me. Each of us receives as many ornaments as those we've made.  It's great fun! No one knows who is making what until it arrives, and then we must keep silent, until everyone has received all their trinkets, at which time the organizer posts photos of everyone's treasures.  This year, most of the 8 ornaments which came were snowmen of some type!

December is always a busy time...we have five family members with birthdays this month. On top of all the Christmas business, we must shop and make time for those! This year, I've been aware that I'm busier than usual. Not only have I collected ideas from family members, I've had to pass them back and forth to others, in order that everyone knows what someone else is hoping for. I've done all of Mom's shopping this year, because it's difficult for her, ...and some for my brother too. Next year he'll have to dream up his own ideas and shop for them. I'm overwhelmed this year, and each year things get more difficult to spend time in the stores, even though I typically buy things throughout the year.
I'm feeling somewhat 'Grinchy' about it!  It's not Christmas, per se, but the extra activities I've taken on for those who can do it themselves, but don't want to. Well...I'll leave it at that.

We've had a few extra trips, out and about, because of dr visits and prescriptions. Sometimes there just seems to be too little time in a day  or in a month. I'm so far behind...and I'm not happy about that, but I know from the past that this is something I feel every year about now.  Important things always gets done, and what doesn't get done is not worth worrying about.

Christmas will soon be here and the family will gather here for our celebrations. It will all be over too soon, as most things do, because time just moves along whether we are ready or not.  I don't know where time goes, but it certainly does!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SONGS IN THE NIGHT

I have a friend who was going through a really difficult time in her life.  She was a 'praying woman', and she cried out to God in her distress. She came to a point where she felt she'd been given a promise from Him, that He would give her 'songs in the night.'

Her life went on and she saw her share of struggles as it did, but she also saw some joys, as do most of us do. Moving toward her seventies, she found herself in a place where divorce loomed over her. No breaking up of a marriage is pleasant, and this seemed to be a particularly sad and hurtful time. Her friends were supportive of her and we tried to encourage. We couldn't, however, take the pain away. We just had to wait with her, pray for her, for her to find her healing.

In not-much-time, what seemed to be 'too quickly', a new man entered her life. We,her friends, were concerned about a 'rebound' relationship and one that might bring her even more suffering. However, we didn't know this man. We listened to her talking about him, and he almost seemed to be too good to be true. I think we feared that she, like so many of us do, couldn't see anything through the rose colored glasses.  We got to see through those spectacles ourselves, hearing her words. He 'doted on her', he seemed to be most pleased to please her.  Having a husband much like that myself, I could see how it would be possible for a man to do that for a woman. Still, we had reservations. I don't think any of us spoke  negatively about this relationship, but I think we all gave our loving 'warning' to be careful.

The heart does not have ears ...only a voice. Our friend was listening only to the voice in her heart. Soon we heard her news, she and her new guy were making plans to marry!  Perhaps we questioned the wisdom of such a swift move. Maybe we were sincerely worried that this was a mistake. However, she sounded so happy, so peaceful, more so than we'd ever known her to be in the years we'd known her. And so, we gave her our congratulations, our sincere wishes that she would be very happy in her new life with her Mr.Wonderful.

Now, the years have passed. My friend is still as happy as she seemed to be at the beginning of her relationship with him. They appear to have a loving and firm relationship, built on the idea of making each other happy and sharing their days together.  I, for one, am over-joyed for them, and I'm glad that my worries and concerns were in vain.

Thinking about all of it this morning, I came to realize that God kept His promise,as He always does. It was a bit slow in appearing, but at the darkest time in her life, God brought a partner who brought her love like she'd never known. This man was truly her 'song in the night'.

 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time to Create...

It's about that time again...time for me to create.  What am I saying? It's always time for me to create!
But, looking at the calendar, I see that I'm way behind on making Christmas things. By this time, I've usually got piles of gifts, some even wrapped, some bought, others made by hand. It's mid-October, and generally my Christmas cards are made and ready for addressing. Not so, this year.

So, today I will put a pork roast into the oven, with some baked cinnamon apples, and I'll gather the glitter, the cardstock, the paint, the paper cutters, the glue, the ribbon,etc. I'll put on my 'creative thinking cap' and I will park myself in the sunroom. I'll play an instrumental Christmas cd, and I'll begin the creation of those cards to be sent to all the people on my list. I expect that I'll need to stoop to purchasing some for our church card exchange, for example. There are just too many now to make each one.  Especially this year, when I'm so late, I'll need to cut corners a little.

I wonder what inspirations will 'hit' me... or if any will at all!  Sometimes, all it takes is for me to sit down and begin. I guess I'd better start there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Weekend Ahead....

This weekend will be a more special one than usual. My daughter will be here. It's always fun for me when guests arrive, but even more so when it's one of the family.  Usually when she makes the two hour trip, she comes with her daughters and sometimes her husband comes too,sometimes not. Sinc he works out of the home, he can always use the  quiet time to catch up. This time, she'll come alone and my son-in-law will be 'on guard duty' over the girls.

My daughter has always been artistic, and her latest pursuit is to seriously create photographs worthy of professional endeavor. She's been a 'good' photographer for years, because she has that 'eye' for composition and detail, but these days she looks at her images with a more critical eye. She has done some free photo shoots for high school seniors, for a few weddings and some parties, in exchange for their permission to use the best of the photos for a portfolio to show her abilities to potential paying customers.  So, this weekend, we will be shot by lens and shutter as her models. She's instructed us as to what 'props' she'd like to use, what outfits to gather, and she's given us an idea of schedules in order to catch the best light. My job in the whole thing was to scout out locations to fit her ideas, and to be available at the appointed times. 

It shouldn't be a problem for me to be up and ready before sun up, because I'm naturally a morning person. However, we may have to take pictures of a snoozing Mike, since he's all about sleeping in 'til mid-morning! I am having some trouble with which outfits I want to be photographed in, that will fit the look E. is going for.  I'll do my best.

We hope, after all this, to have good weather and great images. We'd been hoping for brilliant tree colors, but I think we're not quite there yet. The wild flowers are drying and beginning to fade in color, but the leaves are still quite green. Well, even green makes a lovely backdrop, so we'll see what we end up with.  I'll share a few,once I get them from her. I can't wait!  A whole bunch of new images will be in our scrapbook...and we'll have a fun time with my daughter!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Going Backwards

Some of us are going backwards....and we like that way.  We're of the age where looking back is pleasant for us, reminiscing about the way things 'used to be', concluding that the old ways were far better than where we're heading, sharing our sweet memories.

I'm sure that there are many who would say that that 'reverse thinking' is a sign of our aging, Maybe so, but knowing where we've been, and unsure of what's to come, it's a security for some of us. Knowing that we've been through rough times, and that we've made it this far in life, we know that we're 'tough old birds', and we'll make it come-what-may.

I'm so glad to have other friends of my age group who remember things and places that I hold dear. It's difficult to realize that your kids and grandkids can't relate at all to the way things were when you were their ages. That's called 'progress'.  Some day these same kids and grandkids will speak of their youth, and the younger generation won't 'get it' either.  Well, truthfully, there are an awful lot of stories my grandfather  tried to share, that fell upon my deaf ears too.  What I wouldn't  give now to hear those tales of his young life!

 As many complaints we have of how technology has taken over our every day lives, I must say that I'm grateful for knowing how to use a computer. I fought so hard NOT to be a part of the technical world, but I'm glad,now, that I can at  least wade a bit into that area. It keeps me in touch with family, old friends and new ones too, via Facebook and email.  No matter where we are in the world today, we can communicate in seconds,with no long distance phone bills. We can even talk and see each other via Skype. What a world.

Few people who  are my age want to lose the old ways,though. Books, film cameras, photos that can be held in the hand, that crack with age, dragging up old memories to think of, to miss, and to  share with others who understand. Slapping the mind in reverse now and then isn't such a bad thing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's That Time Again...

What happened to Summer? Two or three days ago,it was nearly 80 degrees. Today it won't get above 62 degrees...and started out at 48!  Yikes!  I like the changing seasons....but a gentle change, one that sneaks in slowly, is far more welcome to me than a blast of cold air when you climb out of bed. Our temperatures are below normal at the moment,for this time of year.

Oh, Hallelujah! I've had half an ear on the TV, waiting for the weather forecast for the next few days. We'll be climbing back up to  the mid-high 70's before the weekend! Now those are the kind of numbers I like to spend my days with!  It's cool enough to be comfortable, and yet warm enough,too, so that we can still wear short sleeves. Yesterday I found myself piling on the layers of long-sleeved shirt,sweatshirt,sweatpants, and warm socks. Then I wrapped myself in the small quilt that graces the back of the couch.

We can take some of the chill off the air inside the house by doing more 'oven-cooking',  At this time of year it's natural to want heavier foods....meatloaf, winter squashes, casseroles and stews.  I think it's Mother Nature's way of helping our bodies stay warmer. Well, it works for me!  I'm not ready for turning on the heat.  I'll wait until 'the last horn toots'. When I can't get out of the shower without icicles hanging from my nose, then I'll cave in and crank up the thermostat.'Til then, I'll dress in those bulky clothes, and move less gracefully than the Michelin man does.

Ready or not, Kids. We're heading into the cold weather.  While I look forward to heartier food, lower temperatures, colorful trees, I'm really not ready for it yet. I think the week of Thanksgiving would be a good time to start feeling a 'nip' in the air....working up to a gentle,light snowfall for Christmas, followed by the New Year and a slow warm up through 'til next Thanksgiving.

Well, since I don't run the zoo, I guess I'll just have to go with the flow.




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thoughts on a Small Business

Once, years ago,  I started a small business. Because it was something I was doing from home, all I needed to do to get started,if I remember correctly,was to register a name with the county, and begin to advertise. I had some business cards made and set to work.  Since it was a sewing,crafts and quilt repair operation, I called my endeavor "In Stitches".

I did ok, brought in enough money to add to our income and have some 'no guilt' spending cash.  I did a few jobs for antique shops, repairing quilts that had lost some stitching or come apart in places. There was one job I enjoyed...the putting together of many handmade squares made by friends of someone who was going to be honored by a certain organization.   I made and sold some cloth soft-sculpture baby dolls,some rag dolls, and some other items.  I have to admit that boredom got the best of me, and I didn't many years at it. It's one thing to do your crafts for fun and quite another to 'have to' make them.

The opening of a business requires that you choose something specific to the need in the community. I recently passed a vacant building with a sign that indicated that it had been a tanning salon.  I suspect that this business didn't do much action...or not enough,anyway, to keep it going. My thoughts, as I passed this empty storefront were:

1) WHY would anyone open a tanning salon in a rural farm community, away from any other types of businesses?

2)  WHY would anyone even think that a tanning salon would do well in a predominantly African American community?!

3) WHAT would possess anyone to open a tanning salon,anyway, in sunny SC?  If you want a sun tan in these parts, wouldn't it be available by going outside for fifteen minutes a day?

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head with wonder...and giggle at the sensibility of things...or the lack thereof.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Charleston Photos

The area from Charleston and south is known as the Low Country in SC. It is at, or below, level, and is dotted with much vacant and marshy land. There are homes built high on stilts or piers in order to prevent flooding, but there are also homes that lay directly on slabs on the ground. In light of the high water table, I can't imagine building so close to the earth. On the other hand, I'm not sure how secure any home would be,  constructed on sand and water!
 
There are many plantations sprinkled throughout the Low Country, most are private...not open to the public, and they're located in remote areas, down long dirt roads, and are not visible from the main roads.  However, there are public ones, some of which,like Drayton Hall, are preserved to show their architecture, their history and their long endurance. Drayton, Middleton, and Magnolia Plantations are located on the same road,and can all be seen,for a price.  They were owned by families who were related. Drayton Hall  is the only one of the three that was left exactly as it looked at the time of the Civil War.  
We arrived at the plantations too late in the day to warrant the price of the admission, and the historian at the gate house advised us to wait and come earlier on another day. So,we drove through the entry area at Magnolia Plantation instead, without having to pay to see the interior areas of the property.  On that drive,  we were able to see the group of slave cabins (I believe there where 9 of them). The slaves who worked in the house lived in these tiny cabins. They had it better than the field hands and animal keeper lived in 'other buildings' on the properties.
This is the main house at Magnolia Plantation. It is house #3 since it was built, not the one there during the Civil War.
 
This house is at Grove Plantation. Can you imagine sittingon the upper porch, fanning yourself and drinking a cold beverage,while you look out over your rice crops and the Ashley River? It is now being used as offices for an environmental group. Sadly,it is not open for viewing,except for the downstairs area (information rooms for environment) 

These are the hands of a skilled basket weaver. The Gullah people are descendants of the slaves, and have kept some of the language and arts of their 'people'. This woman allowed me only to photograph her busy and talented hands. but not her face.
 
This is Lily, a Gullah woman,originally from Mt. Pleasant (N.Charleston) She lives now, and has her roadside booth, on Edisto Island. She was very nice and answered my hundreds of questions regarding her craft, the language, the food of the Gullahs, etc. I could have stayed all day! She has taught her grandchildren the art of weaving these lovely sea grass and pine needle baskets, and she tries,too, to preserve the language,by speaking to them in the words used by people who came before her. However, she fears that the young people will lose this part of their heritage, as they consider it to be 'low class' to speak in such a way. It saddens her...and me....to think that old traditions and languages are fading away.

My happy husband at the ocean...Edisto Island. It's been two years since we saw the sea that we used to view EVERY  day when we lived on NY's Long Island. The smell of salt air, the sound of the waves, the fine, white sand, and the sight of the same sea we knew 900 miles north, brought both of us a peace in our hearts.

No...this is not Jaws! Not a shark at all...it is a camera shy dolphin. It was the best I could do to capture any of them in the playful pod. Everytime I'd take aim with the lens, they'd pop up outside of the range of lens! My arms got so tired of holding the camera at the ready,waiting for them to resurface!
 
Watch for a few more photos tomorrow. I hope you aren't bored!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Images of Charleston 2

These photos show some of the unique and beautiful  architecture in the city of Charleston. These buildings are historic ones, some inns and homes which bear million dollar price tags. 
 
I love this window trim on this hotel which goes back before the  Civil War, which much of the city does.

This trimwork is on a historic home where a sly woman invited the military leaders of troops on both the Union and the Confederate sides to dinner, at the same time on the same night! They all got along 'fine', as the story goes, but of course, after they left, war continued among them.  By the way, this woman had four daughters,which were hidden in the attic (3rd floor) while all the soldiers were present... 
This fencing fronts the home pictured above....and  if that doesn't keep someone out, nothing would!

I am particularly partial to this building. It has beautiful woodwork, turrets, details, a Tiffany stained glass window and a replica of the Arc d'Triumph made of stone (granite,I think) on the roof! This is now an Inn...but was originally built before the Civil War by a jeweller for his daughter as a wedding gift...$75,000 in that day,without windows. Today it would cost well over  a million to build the same thing.  This Inn overlooks a park, and the Charleston Harbor, sitting on a corner lot in the ritzy area of the city,called 'The High Battery.'

This building is owned by the Hiberians,and shows some of the Greek architecture in the city.

Many of the homes in Charleston  are graced with these double or triple porches or  'piazzas'. Look at the ceiling fans on each porch ceiling, and the wood plank ceilings and turned railings and dental mouldings!  Some of these  porches are 'privatized' by hedges or walls to the street, with a 'privacy door' that would be locked in order that no one could enter the porch or see what was happening on the porch!

More photos tomorrow!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Images of Charleston Trip

Visiting the only place in the USA where tea is grown.

The Angel Oak on John's Island-300-400 yrs old, limbs are supported by poles and posts cables. This species is a Live Oak,common in the southern part of the country.

The back porch of the cottage where we stayed. Set on two acres of  quiet and peaceful land.

A Morning Mist dancing over the pond.

Spanish Moss hanging from a tree in the yard. We saw a lot of this. Having seen pictures only in the past, and thinking it was soft, I was surprised that it is dry and grass-like to the touch.

More pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Cottage Near the Pond II

A few weeks back, I spoke of the hope that we'd go on our long-awaited trip to Charleston, and where we'd stay if/when we finally made that four-hour drive.  I also promised that I'd let you know what decided on for accommodations. Here I am to fulfill a promise!

After locating a place on-line, and corresponding via email with the owner, we decided to take the risk and book the place on the pond. I say 'risk' because you never know exactly what anything will be like when you see only photos and talk on the phone or emails.  I'll tell you what, in this case, we were not disappointed!

We arrived at the Cottage on a Saturday afternoon after a drive on a 4-lane highway through endless miles of nothing but trees and cars. (One dufus driver was texting as he was towing a jet ski, heading for the beach I imagine. I hope he made it)  We got only a bit detoured, following directions and a map, we found ourselves on 17A instead of Rt 17. Ending up in Summerville, and we easily found our way from there, through more miles of trees on rural roads, to our destination.  Pulling into the driveway, we noticed how neat the little brick cottage and front porch were.  Discovering the key in its hidden spot, we opended the door to a lovely, spacious and open room which ran front to back of the building, housing the full kitchen on one end and the living room and fireplace on the other end.

We were impressed immediately on the cleanliness of the place. The wide pine floors gleamed, the glass and appliances shone! On the desk was a delicious, homemade cake and fresh cut bouquet of flowers. Also, there was a welcome note and a couple of manilla folders marked 'Maps', 'Charleston', 'North Charleston' etc. Within each was stacks of information on sites to see and places to eat in each area, and so forth. Those, as well as the owner's handwritten comments on the brochures and menus, directions, and the like proved to be invaluable on our first trip to the 'Low Country.'

We wandered through the house and found the two bedrooms and two full baths. We examined the book case and found that much of the reading material was pertaining to the area in some way. On the tv was a VHS tape of Charleston..perhaps a documentary, maybe a movie. We didn't get around to watching it, so I'm not sure.  We chose to go out the back door and look at the yard and the pond before we unloaded the van.

We sat in the colorful rocking chairs on the large back porch where we could watch the local birds come to snack on their seeds. Over the coarse of the week there, we spent many hours in those chairs...watching the mist dance over the pond in the mornings as we drank our coffee, and watching the Canadian geese as they fought and swam,took flight and landed every day.  It was a lovely spot and so relaxing!  I can't count the number of times that one or the other of us remarked about how much better it was to be there than in a stuff motel surrounded by city noises.

Granted, we had to drive 20-30 minutes to get to Charleston city, and more to other places, but it was worth the drives! The serene surroundings, the cleanliness, the comfort, the friendly hostess/owner who went out of her way to daily provide new info (which she placed outside the door under a rock so as not to disturb us)  all worked together to provide us with an unforgettable vacation stay.   We look forward to another time or two there in years to come!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back Again With A Word..Maybe Two

When I signed on a moment ago,  I was surprised to see how long it's been since I've written on this blog. I must endeavor to be more faithful to writing.

Writing is actually the subject today. No, not creative writing, but the actual, physical action of writing with a pen or pencil.  One day someone is going to read this and  remark, "Boy...that was an old essay! Noone has sold pens and pencils in decades!"  Unfortunately, I think that really will happen.

'Why?', you ask. (probably you don't because you already know.)  It's because electronic devices are taking over, and you don't have to do much writing with such utensils as ink pens or lead pencils. There will come a day in the near future when anyone...not just the handicapped...but anyone who can afford it, will be able to have a device into which they will speak, and the words will be printed onto something that can be read or printed out. I hate to think of what this means.

It's bad enough now, I think, that so many have given up hand-writing tools in exchange for keyboards.  I'm one of them who uses email and keyboards for transposing ideas to print. I will never give up my pens and pencils, though, as long as I have breath in my body.  I've got such a collection of them, I shan't run out of them, though the ink may dry up in the pens before I use it up! 

I like to write, doodle, scribble, draw, compose, practice calligraphy and place words on paper.  It's unfortunate, in my opinion, that many schools have given up teaching cursive penmanship...and worse yet, that many are not grading children on their handwriting. That is a travesty!  If a person can't print so that someone can read it any more than they can a doctor's hen scratch, what will become of them?

Sadly, so many schools have opted to allow, even force, students to bring electronic devices to the classroom. No longer are they required to have multiple, hands-on, text books...or a long list of specific school supplies which will break a young back. Now they are asked, while still in elementary school, to bring in their own 'internet access' electronic devices. Great. Now kids can not only take photos in school, text each other and play games when they are supposed to be learning, they can squint all day long at little screens while the teacher feeds them web pages to learn from. 

Not only is that a potential problem from a parent's economic stand point, but it could be a problem for teachers. How many educators does it take to say to a class, 'search for www.blahblah.com'.  One teacher could get a microphone and speak it before a school gymnasium full of children who would be taking that class. There are many teachers now, due to the numbers in classrooms, but how many teachers does it take to bark a website address?

These are just some of my thoughts on these subjects. What are yours?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today I'm Thankful....

Though I spent sleepless hours last night due to back pain, and I am tired, I am grateful for this day. I'm blessed to see another rising sun in pretty  good health, all things considered.

I'm grateful for Ben Gay, that wonderful, warm ointment that penetrates pain and gives some relief to the areas that get so achey sometimes. When that isn't enough, there is Tylenol or Aleve....which I try not to take often. Also a blessing is the creation of those throw-away heat belts and patches that have no odor, so I can go to places where I couldn't if I was chained to a chair with an electric heating pad.
This may sound silly, but I'm thankful for our straight-backed wooden counter stools and my kitchen island. When things are too painful to be able to stand longer than a few minutes at a time, I can sit and chop and mix whatever creation I've a mind to.  Today it was using up the last of our Italian tomatoes and some of the peppers and eggplant from our now-dead garden.  As we speak, the fresh sauce is simmering on a low heat, and the smell is permeating the house, making me hungry!

I'm glad for our church which records our morning and evening worship services on cds, which are available just for the asking. On days like this, when I feel that I am too uncomfortable to join the congregation, I know I won't miss the service,the music and the sermons.  I do, however, feel the desire for the fellowship of my friends there.

There are so many things that we could complain about in this life, but I choose, today, to count my blessings instead.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oddities

Because things I've seen are not always what we'd call 'normal', I entitle them 'oddities'.  I will share a few here today, things I've seen recently that have caught my attention.

Yesterday we went over to the church to drop off some things for today's BBQ fundraiser. On the return trip, we stopped at a gas station that we frequent from time to time.  I noticed a man who was pumping gas two pumps to my right. I paid him no attention until he was pulling out of  the service station lot. He was driving a fairly new pick-up truck, with a double cab and a good sized bed on it. He was towing an old, rusty,small utility trailer.  Nothing unusual about that in these parts. But, as he pulled out unto the road,I noticed that the right rear wheel had an shredded tire that was flopping around as he drove. Cartoon-like.  He stopped at the traffic light, and when he started on his route again, he turned left on the same road we take to our house.  As he turned, there was a good deal of clunking going on, and I noticed that the wheel wasn't turning at all! The rim was dragging along the blacktop...leaving a trail. We could have followed the guy home by what he left behind him.  I have no idea where he was headed...hopefully to a junk yard!

At the same gas stop some months ago, we were parked in front of the convenience store. I was in the van,waiting for  Mike to pay for gas, when a Jeep pulled in next to me. It was one of the big,square, SUV types, not an open military-type of vehicle.  The driver got out of the car and went inside. When he came outside, my window was open. He spoke to me, as is quite common in  this area.  He joked, "Watch your arm, I'm going to get into the car."   I say,'joked' because there was absolutely NO door on the driver's area!  I asked him if that was legal. He told me that the police had stopped him and let him off without a ticket, but said it wasn't illegal,although it wasn't very safe.   I'm still scratching my  head about that one.  When the young man left I offered him a farewell and added, 'be safe!'

On another note,the other day we visited our grocery store.  While walking to the door, a gentleman stepped out, from between two parked cars, into our path. I immediately gave him a big smile, which he returned. Mike and I exchanged short conversation with him on our way into the store, and once inside, we watched people's reactions as he passed them. Some smiled. Some looked confused. Some totally ignored him. Children flocked to look at him or to speak to him.  We were amused at the reactions.  What's more fun than people-watching, especially when one of them is a nice, older gentleman who stopped on his way home from a birthday party to buy his dinner?  By the way, the man's name tag read 'Buttons' and he was dressed in the full regalia of  a circus clown...huge, funny shoes, white face paint and all!

It is the 'oddities' of life that make it all so interesting!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Cottage Near the Pond

We've been hoping to get to see Charleston for five years now. Somehow, it hasn't come to fruition. But, be that as it may, this is the year!  We've been, correction....I've been ....searching out places to see and where to stay.

In the past, our vacation accommodations involved tents and sleeping bags. As age has crept up on us, waking from a lumpy, hard ground and attempting to work out the body's kinks and aches in the morning has lost it's glamor. So...we 'graduated' to KOA cabins. While they are comfortable enough for sleeping, there aren't 'facilities' in the smaller ones, which means waking and marching along a dark route to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Between the two of us, that might mean multiple trips. (yes, I'm being brutally honest....aging has it's advantages...and disadvantages. Frequent potty breaks is one of them!)

So...we're in the market for a different sort of option for accommodation for this trip.  We both abhor motels....so I began to seek out rental homes for our one week stay.  I have found what I believe to be the perfect spot.  It is a two bedroom cottage, set on seven acres, with a nice porch that overlooks a huge pond. It is a short drive to Charleston and surrounded by many attractions and  beaches.  The best part is, it is affordable!

I spoke on the phone to the owner, and though she said she's 'very picky' about the tenants she accepts, she sounds as if she's a friendly and sweet woman. I've read all of the former tenants comments about their stays, and they are all complimentary and positive.  Today is the day when I will call and firm up our  reservations! In a few weeks or so, I'll let you know what we thought of our trip and our "home away from home!"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Closed for the Season

On Friday, our granddaughter left for her aunt and uncle's house to spend a few days before she's driven home to her Mom and sister in NY. Just after waving our goodbyes, we closed the door to Camp Waygood and closed down for the season.

Having Rebecca here for a month was good for so many reasons. She celebrated her twelfth birthday earlier in the year, and because she was a little older, things were a little easier for us. She was a big help to us when our backs were in pain during the last two weeks, and willingly did some of the things that we were having trouble with like getting to the phone before the machine picked up. Becca is a good girl and a good worker if she's doing things  she enjoys.  She arrived too late to plant the garden,but she enjoyed checking the plants for things to pick. She was careful not step on the vines of the squashes, and gentle about lifting leaves and picking tomatoes. She was excited about the cucumbers, as she loves to eat those, and when our corn was ripe, she was thrilled to shuck it for supper. She was faithful to put water in the birdbath, and to give the plants a drink when they looked thirsty.

Becca likes to work in the kitchen...not so fond of the cleaning up (who is?) but she  certainly enjoys creating things to eat.  She was attentive when we made pickles together, and enjoyed eating them. She loves to bake,and we were treated to her offerings of Supreme Bars,which she made twice, all on her own.  She also made white bread, three loaves of braided yeast bread, which was delicious! I think she will meet her hoped-for occupation as an adult baker!

My granddaughter has a bit of my DNA, the artistic bit. She wanted to spend much time in the sunroom, where we crafted for hours. If she wasn't painting canvases or watercolor paper, she was snipping,cropping, taping,framing and begging for more photos to put in her scrapbook. She's learning to exercise her freedoms of  page 'decor' and placing photos in unusual positions on the papers,rather than equally spaced in rows. We shared laughter and stories and special time together.
We took her to a nearby orchard where there are goats to  feed and gems to mine. It was a favorite spot when she and her sister visited a few years ago, and she requested a return visit there.

Though the old people in this house were slowed down during her last days with us, and we were unable to take her camping for the weekend or fishing at the catfish pond, she understood, and had no complaint.We'll save that for another time, which I hope will come for us in the future. I fear those visits will be fewer as she grows older. She will probably want to get a summer job in a year or so, as her fifteen year old sister did this year. I hate knowing this might have been our last summer visit from Becca, but I hope that whatever memories  we made will stay with  each of us for the rest of our lives.

There are two younger grandchildren who may end up being future campers at Camp Waygood. If not, there may come a time when I'll open that long-awaited 'sleep-away camp for Moms"!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mysterious Ways III

Yesterday I shared with you about our meeting Aine and Bruce.  Today I will share her recent news of another of God's mysterious ways of working to surprise us!

Recently I received a series of emails from Aine, documenting the events as they unfolded for them. Bruce's workplace had made changes and he began seeking a new place to work. Given his credentials, it shouldn't be difficult to find one. In short time, he was employed at his new position, and they were house-hunting. Then the news that they'd found one,an old house on a good number of acres, and thus began the dismantling of one home and the establishment of another one in a different state.

The most  recent chapter in this story reported that Aine had begun digging through old records to find out the history of  their old house. She discovered that the man who had built it was the earliest settler of their new location....a man by the name of Topping.  This gentleman had been born in Southampton,NY and in later years had traveled on foot, with his family and an ox-cart full of possessions, from Connecticut to upstate New York. They first built a lean-to, then a cabin, and later the larger,more comfortable house.  Knowing that her ancestral lines included the name of Topping, she began digging a little deeper. Imagine her surprise when she discovered that this Mr. Topping was an uncle to her own 3GreatGrandmother!

What are the chances that Aine would purchase a home with no prior knowledge of it or the area in which it is located,only to discover that the place was built by someone whose DNA is shared with her?! What some would call coincidence, others would credit God for. Aine and I are among those of the latter group. We are thrilled when God sends these wonderful, unexpected surprises!

 


p

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mysterious Ways II

A few  years ago,while exploring Ancestry.com for more genealogy information on our family lines, I came across a woman who had listed my maternal grandfather in her data. I left her a message and asked her to contact me regarding him. Aine got back to me fairly soon, and we began an email correspondence, comparing notes and learning much from each other.  When she told me she was planning to take a trip to East Hampton to discover more on her 'people', I offered suggestions as to historical societies, libraries, Suffolk County records, cemetaries, etc.

It was an easy early friendship. As time went on, we shared about our personal lives, and our husbands. As 'fate' would have it, both our men have similar interests as well as Scots bloodlines.  We continued to write, until it got closer  to the time of their trip to my hometown. At that time we felt comfortable enough for a face to face meeting, so with the approval of our husbands, we planned to share a rental place in East Hampton,if we could find one. Having a good childhood and Facebook friend who owned a cottage that haden't rented that summer, we were in luck!  It was a huge risk, but we took it, and haven't been sorry.

Aine and I hunted for our families' hidden treasures among the records available from Riverhead to the grave yards of Amagansett. We were non-stop chatter boxes! We are very different in looks and stature, but bound by bloodlines that joined 7 generations earlier! We are family! As for our men, they hit it off from the first handshake, comparing books they'd both read, enjoying quiet conversation about the weather, the boats that sailed past the cottage, and anything else that appeals to men to talk about. 

During the days, we did a bit of sight-seeing while we wandered around the east end of Long Island. We enjoyed our evenings cooking suppers and sharing them and learning more about each others' lives. We wiled away the hours of the week together, finding that taking the 'risk' was well worth it.

These days, Aine and I are still corresponding. The men are still wishing for each other's company and conversation. In due time,we hope to arrange another visit, in a 'half-way between' spot. Meanwhile, we will just wait and remember the 'chance' finding of each other.
*watch for another post about Aine & Bruce, and their Mysterious Ways occurance... to come soon in this blog.*

Monday, July 23, 2012

Friends

For nearly six years,we've lived in a subdivision of newly-built homes. We've met all those who bought their houses at about the same time. Some have been quieter folks who stay to themselves, some are in everyone's business, some are neighborly, and some have become our best friends.

We've seen babies born to some families. We've watched young ones become teenagers, and a few who've left for college.  We've seen the angel of death visit one or two homes. We've seen jobs found among some,and some who have lost their jobs. There have been some familes who have moved out of our neighborhood to other new residences, and we've seen a few who have lost homes to foreclosure in the failing economy. As in all neighborhoods, many changes come and go.

The latest change is one I never wanted to see. Our best friends who live next door have sold their home and are moving back to 'cold country'. Our lives have been woven together since before we met, when my brother told me that they had bought their place, and we were still living in NY,while waiting to move. I wrote them a letter and mailed it to my brother to deliver for me. Netty answered it and mailed a response. Letters went across the miles until we met face to face in October of that year.
We  knew,on the spot, that the Lord had brought us all together. There also were so many similarities in our lives... we both have daughters named Amy. Netty and I both are partial to cobalt blue, with red being a close second. We even have  the same pattern of Pfalzgraf ironstone...and to beat that, we both have the same pattern of  china!

While those things are incidental and perhaps coincidental, our friendship has been forged by other things. Each of us feels that we would be 'there' should the other need us.  It's been proven over the last few  years.We've shared it all...tears,laughter,family things, life, in much the same way that a family is 'there' when needed. Even our kids...at least some of them, have formed friendships where they visit from eastern Long Island to New York city....and when their son is here to visit his parents,he has gone to Georgia to visit my daughter and her family there.

On Wednesday, our times together...dinners at each other's tables, or at a restaurant, impromptu day trips or porch visits...will end. No,the comradary will not stop...our love and caring will not cease. But things will change. We'll stay in touch through letters, through emails, on the phone and on Facebook.....and we'll visit. They will still have their Amy here in the area, and we both have kids in NY.  We'll visit Iowa when it's not the dead of winter...their visits here will probably be at that time, in order to escape the snow and the cold.

I wish they could stay close by forever,as they thought they would when we first met. But life has brought a different turn, and they must follow. We will stay here, reporting to them on the neighborhood goings-on, and on the young couple who have bought their house and will make it their home.  We will attempt to be good friends to the new neighbors, but they will never fill the empty places we'll feel with the leaving of Dan and Netty.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vanity Plates

Down south they call license plates "Ve-Hicle Tags".  We have all sorts of options in SC as how the 'tag' looks....we chose the simple one...white,blue letters/numbers, and our country's flag in the center. I could have gotten one with a palm tree on it, but I kind of hate palm trees.(sorry if any of our Palmetto State folks see that bit of truth.) I do,however, love our flag and all that it stands for.

If we want to choose our own special vanity plate,we have that option too. I have thought about it, but haven't come up with something yet that will be catchy, cute, or give a message that I'd like to present in 8 characters! I've given it lots of thought, and after reading my friend Barbara's blog, I'll be putting more thinking into it.

Should it be a Bible reference because that's a message I'd love to see spread, and try to live by? Should I be tagged "PunnyOne" because I'm well known for coming out with puns often? Probably not, because someone might read it as PUNY...and there's not a cell in my rotund,short body that is puny!  What about some form of our old hometown nickname, Bonacker? I could kill two birds with that one, given my aging self and my aches and pains. I could put "BonAcher" on the tag.

Maybe it'll be "N-corager", (ecourager) or 'Trnsplnt'. (Did you get Transplant out of that?) I won't do anything that would offend anyone, which I've seen from time to time when trying to decipher coded tags on the highways.  Of course, it's entirely possible that I've decoded something incorrectly, and that the car owner didn't mean that at all. But I want it all to be perfectly clear, and with no chance of misinterpretation. So...I can see that I'll need to continue to put thought into this. I'm open to suggestions, if you care to  offer any.  Stay tuned...and after I update you on the name I chose, be watching for the van my kids call 'the Wonder Bread mobile' (because looks like a loaf of white bread) .

The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways-1

It's been said that the Lord works in mysterious ways. I've had confirmation of that a few times in the last few days. This blog entry will  let you know of one instance.

We've had our 12 year old granddaughter with us since the beginning of July, and she's kept us quite busy. We've not minded that one bit, but suffice it to say that the normal routines have been cast to the winds. After all, why would one give up  a crafting partner for a dumb old computer keyboard?
That said, you will now understand why I hadn't checked one of my email accounts since sometime in mid-June.

That particular email address is almost exclusively used for my genealogy pursuits.  I went there to see what junk mail needed to be cleaned out of the 'box' and to see if there was anything worth reading. Imagine my surprise when I saw a mail waiting (from an unknown woman)  dated June 23, with a subject title of "Waygood Family Album."  I opened it to read it,with some doubt as to whether it was legit.
Reading through it, I learned that this woman who lives in Idaho had been on vacation in Oregon, had visited  an antique shop there, and in her attempt to add to her collection of  old photos, she'd purchased an album of family photos. 

After scanning the pages into her computer so that she could keep them, and without removing them from the album, she began a search for a family member who might want the album. She attempted to contact two or three other folks with our family name, with no response. She also checked the genealogy boards where she found an inquiry I'd left there in 2000 about a family name. Since my inquiry named someone she'd found obits for in the scrapbook, she took a chance that my email on the message board would still be good. It was. (That is precisely why I NEVER change my email names or addresses.)

So began an email and telephone communication from coast to coast. Carol is a lovely woman, about my age, and so thoughtful as to gift with this family scrapbook. She won't let us reimburse her for the money she's spent to purchase the book or to ship it to us. What a random act of kindness on her part!
She will be gifted with  many antique photos as I find them in my haunting of junk, thrift and antique stores!

The album should arrive here on Thursday. We are delighted and excited as the photos she scanned and emailed to us  are definitely my husband's family. There are some of his Dad when he married for the fourth time. (!!!) and some of  his great-grandfather, etc. There are others who we can't identify, but with the help of  a 78 yr old cousin in the southwest, we may get to that. We are also faced with other mysteries concerning this book of pictures. How did it end up in Oregon when the majority of the family lived in Wyoming? Who put the album together in the first place? What made Carol start to leave the antique store without the album, and suddenly retrace her steps and change her mind,going back to buy it?  Why did she feel compelled to track us down and get the album to the family? What are the chances that she'd find us...the only ones in the family who really care about genealogy?  We might never know. What I do know is this....we are most grateful!

The Lord does, indeed, work in mysterious ways!



Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Told You So...

Didn't I tell you that those sun glasses would show up when they got ready?  Uh-huh, I did.  After writing the blog entry yesterday, I did one more sweep of the first floor, knowing I hadn't been upstairs in days.  I looked briefly into each area of each room without success.

I sat down, thinking about what I'd done when I got home on Friday. It was a mental retracing of steps, even though I wasn't sure at that point exactly what I'd done other than change my clothes.  So, back to the bedroom I went. I checked the floor around and under the bed. No, not there.  I looked on the ironing board, which stands ready, near the door of the walk-in closet..... not there.  I checked once more on the bathroom counter, and scanned the basket between the sinks where I keep my make-up and little gadgets every woman must have. No luck.

Aha.... I'd put a load of laundry into the machine before we'd left the house to pick up our new prescriptions from the pharmacy. I wonder....  Yes, there they were, patiently waiting for retrieval, on the top of the washer.  I think I heard a soft giggle coming from the glasses when I picked them up!

Oh well, all is not lost....or at least, the sunglasses aren't any longer.  I'm sure I'll be repeating this searching again sometime in the near future for some other  'lost' item. It seems to be becoming my 'modus operendi'.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Where Did I Put My....

SUNGLASSES?!

I had them yesterday...just yesterday, for goodness sake! I know I did, because after being at the eye doctor and having drops that dilated my pupils to full Iris size, I was painfully aware of the sun's glare. In fact, I was so aware that I put my second pair of shades over the first pair, which by the way, worked wonders for shielding my eyes from the brilliant light of day.

 Where might they have gone?  I always keep one pair in the house so that I can put them on to sit outside on the porch. Another pair is always in the car.  Of course it is my newest and best and most favorite pair that has disappeared! I'm sure they will turn up ...eventually...and probably in some obscure, non-rational area, like the back of the toilet in the guest bathroom or something.  I just wish I knew where to find them.

When things like this happen, when I put something down and immediately forget where, I get fearful that I'm getting old too fast.  Otherwise, I rarely think about aging.  Oh yes, I speak the number of years that I've lived... quite often, in fact, and it never upsets me to say those numbers. But when I do something dumb, or can't find an object, or lose a word mid-sentence, THEN I begin to fret.

Well, I'm not going to wander around this house for one more minute today, wondering what I've done with those sunglasses. I'm not going to give myself any reason to fret and stew about my years. I'm going to put on the other pair of eye protectors and I'm going to go outside and rock in the chair on the porch.  How's that for 'old', huh? 

Those doggone shades will make their appearance when they're ready, and I'll either kick myself because they've been in plain sight all along.... or I'll giggle with the stupidity of where they've been found.  Maybe I'd better check the shelf in the fridge.... it might be the only place left that I haven't looked yet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cupcakes

No one seems to know why, but cupcakes have made their way on to the current list of best-loved foods.  They're everywhere....even put together on cake stands to be used as wedding cakes!
(That seems to me to be 'sacreligious'. Wedding cakes should be tall, multi-layered, mountainous things with beautiful decorations,icing pearls and sugar flowers! I don't think that a hand-held cake, no matter how pretty, is fit...or formal...enough for a fancy wedding. )

I have no problem with cupcakes in a brown bag lunch, or a picnic, or a church supper. They travel very well, and are fairly easy to eat without creating a mess, unless they're chocolate or a preschool child!
Old-fashioned cupcakes are really quite convenient for birthday parties. They're about the right size for most people, not too big, not too small. Now-a-days, with the current rage over these treats, they seem to come in all sizes.  I've seen pans for making them, and some of them are huge!  Others are about the size of a half-dollar.  I prefer the routine cupcake size, thank you.

These cakes are causing a good deal of competition among bakers.  Let's see who can, not only make the tastiest of all, but the most uniquely decorated as well.  During the week prior to Superbowl Sunday, someone in (I believe it was) New York came up with the idea of a cornmeal cupcake, with a spicy sauce in the icing and a chicken wing on top!  That, in my opinion, is a bit obsessive..... but, that bakery made a lot of money on those things for Superbown, so obviously I'm dancing to a different band.  

All that being said, my daughter is hosting a birthday party today for her friend's one year old. She was present at his birth, and he's special to her. She created these cakes for the guests.... and I think THOSE are pretty cute!  I guess everything has it's place, and since the house of the hostess this afternoon will sound much like a zoon, these will be perfect!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Bosses

Bosses... some of them are happy, some are grumpy
Some are very  fashionable, some are a bit too frumpy.
Some are very fair and some certainly are not so
Some are always in the workplace, some are always on the go.

Bosses come in a variety of shapes and  sizes
Some are quite thin..from all their exercises.
Some are quite heavy from eating out a lot
Some are quite healthy, some are surely not!

Some bosses see the value in their employees
Others think you should wipe their noses if they sneeze,
Some bosses give bonuses if they have a prosperous year
Some hardly want to pay you wages, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Some bosses are demanding, as if to them you owe
Some are quite appreciative, a few of them I know.
But from what I've known of bosses over many years,
I can say for the most part, I'm glad Retirement is here!

Kathleen B. Waygood
May 28, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Beach

Today I find myself longing for the beach (again!)   It might be due to my daughter's posting photos of the ocean on Facebook every morning for a  few days. Whatever it is, the longing is here.

I'm don't care where the beach is...I just want to walk the smooth sands and put my feet into the water. I want to hear the crash of the waves and smell the salt air and watch the ebb and flow of the sea.  We keep making plans to drive over to the coast, a four or five hour trip. Of course, it'll be more than a one day trip, we'll stay a few days and really enjoy the area around it. After all, who knows how long it will be before we get there again 

All that plays through my mind...but for the moment, I have to shut down this computer!  There's a large thunder storm coming toward us and will be here in 15 min. according to our weather warnings. I hear the rumble of some serious thunder, so I'm going to sign off, and  will see you when things calm down around here!

Happy afternoon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A New Start...

Happily, Sunday has arrived. It's a new beginning of a new week.  This past week was a blast of mixed emotions...from heartbreak to birthday joy, from tears to pride.  It was a week of an emotional roller coaster. I'm glad it's over.

Mother's Day was a good one, spent with my husband, Mom, my brother,  one daughter and two grandkids. But the van decided to make some weird noise that we felt needed to be looked into.

Monday passed without any thing to speak of except puffy eyes...the beginning of a horrendous bout of allergy-fighting.

Tuesday began with an early phone call with a daughter sobbing so badly I couldn't understand her.  Her story caused my soul to ache, my heart to feel as if it was shattered, and the day to be filled with my own tears and sobs.  When your child or your grandchild hurts, it's unbearable.  Prayers and more prayers were groaned, and cds of hymns were played. Comfort came on and off as I 'sang' the words in my head to the instrumentals. I was too upset to sing with my voice. It was a bleak day, for sure.

Wednesday morning was a bit better, but still not a care-free day.  The van went to our mechanic for a quick look, and a promise that he'd get the parts and fit us into the schedule so that we could, hopefully, get to our granddaughter's high school graduation in another state this coming week. So far, we've heard nothing, but our mechanic had some unknown medical procedures done on Friday, so perhaps he isn't well. If we can get to the ceremonies, we will. If not, it can't be helped.  A bright spot in the day was seeing how beautifully our vegetable garden is doing.  The zucchini has big blossoms, and we look forward to the offerings it will yield!

By Thursday, my eyes were glued together upon waking. The whites were raging red and the lids were pink and puffy.  I know from experience that this too shall pass, when the breezes stop blowing the offending pollen through the air. I stayed inside most of the day, placing warm compresses on my eyes and putting the drops into them. I took a Claritin, and made it through the day. I know that this is an uncomfortable waiting game.  Our grandson in Illinois graduated from high school on Thursday, and though we were not in attendance, there was a sense of pride in his accomplishments.

Friday was my youngest granddaughter's birthday. She is such a joy to our family....a real little comedienne with a spectacular vocabulary. Her current words are, among others, 'death defying', 'awkward' and 'perish'.  Though we couldn't be with her for her day, we will celebrate on our next visit.... soon after the van is fixed.

On Saturday we visited our neighbor who shares our backyard border. He is in the process of cleaning out his home, so he can sell it (or walk away from it). He plans to take off in a small motor home and see some of the country until he can no longer do so. His leukemia is moving the time line up rapidly, and he's anxious to live as much as he can, while he can.  It saddens us to know this...we like him, and don't want to lose him, or him as our neighbor.  He saw to it that an antique wooden ironing board and an old scale became my possessions.  Those will always remind me of him... and will be treasured. 

I'm naturally one who attempts to find something good in every minute. It's not always easy, but I know that everything is always 'fun and games' in life. I'm realistic enough to know that life brings both sad and happy moments....and flexible enough to roll with the punches. This week reminded me, again, that all things come and go in due time. Now...I hope these allergies will!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Special Day

Today is the birthday of our youngest grandchild. This little girl is just  a passle of giggles and a giggle maker.  Little did we know when we heard she would be born, what  a lot of fun she would be. Oh, babies are always fun...but this one is the true definition of 'FUN'.

She was born three days early...I think she was trying to play a trick on her Grammie.  But the joke was on her, as I'd previously arranged for a flight a few days early, in order to refamiliarize her big sister (all of 21 months old) with me. We hadn't had any time together for about a year, they'd been transfered to Georgia for her Daddy's job. 

So....there I was, at the baggage area in Atlanta's airport, waiting to  retrieve my  luggage, when I saw my son in law.  He had the cell phone to his ear, and he handed me the phone. It was my daughter, letting me know that her neighbor/friend was driving her to the hospital as we spoke, and that my son in law would take me directly to the hospital, rather than home.  Oh boy....!  When we arrived, we had a good wait for the baby to make her appearance. When she did, we all got to know her during her first hours while Deb snapped photos and hospital staff and midwife left us alone as much as possible.

Baby Abigail joined the family with little interruption. She was a good baby, a cuddly one and grew to be a real smiler.  She hasn't changed much. She still smiles most of the time, with her eyes, even if
tries hard to prevent her mouth from her big grin.  She is able to make us laugh with her ability to speak in various dialects, her best being what she calls her 'restaurant voice'...a pretty good British accent.  She has a tendency to hear things, store them away somewhere on a shelf in her little head, and draw them off at an opportune moment. 

Abigail has been bringing us joy for seven years, but I strongly suspect there will be many more laughs with her in the years to come. I HOPE so!  I hope she never loses her sense of humor and always has that impishness about her.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY GIRL...Keep smiling!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

At A Loss For Words

Rarely am I at a loss for words.  I always have something to say. Just ask anyone who knows me. They'll tell you that I talk a lot, or that I'm quite opinionated about things. Those things sound rather negative, don't they? Well...whatever. I still have much to say about what I think.  However, lately I've been rather 'dry' of anything to write about.

I like to keep my blog 'positive'.  I've been called a "Polly-Anna", "Sunshine" and a number of other things that reflect on my 'UP attitude'.  My thinking is that there's enough stuff in this life that we're living that can be disheartening. I don't need to add to it.  But, that being said, just because I don't have anything to write about doesn't mean I'm in a 'down' frame of mind.  I'm not, at all. I'm just at a loss for words!

I guess I could tell you that our garden seems to be flourishing.  The zucchini plants are getting large. The corn is up enough that you can tell what it is. The peppers are looking good, and the tomatoes have blossoms.

I've already told you that the birds have vacated the nest on the porch light. Now I'd like to see that muddy little cradle removed from the light shade.  I could let you know the exciting fact that Mike has sprayed weed killer on the patio, where all those dreaded, hardy green weeds have come up between the bricks.  I could tell you that I'm still planning the flower garden around the patio, and how it's still in the planning because I have to wait for the old iron fence to be cleaned up, painted, and constructed.  That will take some time. But it is on my honey-do list.

There are lots of things I could   tell you.  But somehow, I feel at a loss for anything to say about much of anything these days.  Hopefully I'll find something to write about soon, or the few who follow my blog will be far fewer!   Does anyone out there want to throw a subject or two at me? Make it a challenge....I'll see what I can do with it!  I always was pretty good about meeting a writing assignment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preppers

Here comes another 'label' to attach to a group of people. This time it's "Prepper", and you are labeled with that name if you are one of those who is preparing for an eventual catastrophic event.  You are quietly, and mostly secretly, purchasing and storing away huge jugs of water, cans of food that will not expire for 25 years, and other 'needful' items in the event that something dreadful occurs so that you cannot purchase 'safe' items to eat. 

You are learning 'green living' and finding books and information to teach you how to live more self-sufficiently.  This part of it, I can agree with under any circumstance. But going to the extreme of building 18 wheeler trailer-sized underground shelters (to protect from nuclear fallout) is a little paranoid, not to mention expensive. 

Consider this, you've built this gigantic monster, filled it with all the necessary products, and saved all the seeds from plants so that you can replant all the dead and contaminated greenery. Unless you are inside this cave when the devastation happens, you are likely to be contaminated as well, before you manage to get to the shelter. And, I wonder where the seeds will be planted that will replenish the earth when the air is raining toxic things down upon an already damaged earth. There will only be so much food and supply of all things within that protected box. What happens if it runs out before the outside is 'fit' to re-enter?

I'm reminded of the 'scare' during my grade school years when some people were worried about the 'bomb' that you could be safe from, if you had a bomb shelter with some supplies in it for survival until the world was deemed to be safe for human habitation again. No doubt "something" catastrophic will happen 'someday'. No one can predict today what that will be or when.

I've never been one to willingly join much of anything. I've never cared much for labels either, so I'm going to take my chances, and I won't lose any sleep over it either. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Empty Nesters...

For real...we are 'empty nesters'.  It happened very quickly.

It was only ...what? Two weeks ago or so that I spotted the tiny bird heads peeking out of the nest over the back light.  Now the fuzzy little fellows have full feathers and are nearly the size of the parents. I saw them out there yesterday morning...well, three of the five were still there then. The other two had departed a few days before.

 I hope they are as safe as they were in their nest, but in a much larger home. They certainly were crowded in there! I had the fear that one would tumble out and land on the hard board floor below, but there's no sign that that occured.  

Now they've all flown off to who-knows-where. Like our own children, they're off to make their own way. I'm glad that human children stay longer than baby birds do! But, I am reminded, as I think these thoughts, that nature has a way of doing things just as it should.  The birds instinctively know when to go, so all is well.

And we are empty nesters....again.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Coupons

Ok...I get it. Food is expensive. Prices are high. Everyone wants to save money. But all this coupon clipping has gone wild.  I can't get into that stuff.  Oh yeah, I want to save a few dollars. I want to get a deal, but I think it's all a scam.  If there's an item that has a coupon, the price has probably been elevated before the coupon will go into effect.  Call me cynical, call me skeptical. Yes, I am.  I don't believe anyone is saving much, compared to the time and effort these people put into finding, clipping, organizing, comparing prices, investigating sales and driving from store to store to use all of these bits of 'money saving' coupons.

That being said, I have been known to use a coupon or two in my day.  Usually it's a 40% off discount on a craft item.  I'll wait for Michael's or Hobby Lobby to put an expensive tool on sale, and then, making sure that it is the one largest priced product in my cart at the check out, I'll turn in the coupon to be used against that tool.  The problem is, I'm not extremely disciplined when it comes to craft stores. I've got a penchant for all sorts of  arts and crafts activities, so if I go to Michael's or Hobby Lobby or the like,  I usually buy more than I'd planned to, coupon or not. 

These stores know that if they can reel you into the store with the idea of saving money with that clipped bargain bit, that you will find something else that wasn't on your list.  In the end, you'll spend more. I save money by NOT going to the place at all.  Of course, if I NEED something, I might decide to purchase that item with a coupon, but I won't be drawn to the store because of it. That's my take on the whole business of couponing!

Are you an extreme couponer?  Do you clip and use them at all?  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Smiles

Springtime makes me smile. I love the warmer weather and the changing skies. The flowers are bright and the air is fragrant. The birds are chirping and twittering and chasing each other on the breezes.

Yesterday we sat in the near 90 deg. heat in the shade of our front porch, and we rocked in our chairs. (Yeah, so? We're old people!)  We chatted about the clouds, watching formations and seeing pictures in them. We watched the vapors of jets that seemed to race across the sky from south to north.  And...we were entertained by the birds. There's a lovely double bird bath in our front yard. Mike gave it to me for one of our anniversaries.  It looks like two basins cut from large, set upon a twisted tree trunk that has an embossed vine of leaves climbing it. From a hole in the trunk peeks a bird.  I love the structure of it and the artwork too.  But more than that, I love that the birds love it!

We were watching the incoming and take off of the winged creatures yesterday. Sometimes they are so funny.  A fat Robin took a long, leisurely bath when a female Carolina Bluebird flew in. Before she could land, the Robin gave her a mouthful of bird speak, and she took off. She came back time and again, finally landing on the lower basin to wait her turn in the upper one.  Another Robin came along, and in a moment the two Robins headed off into the air.  The little Bluebird jumped up into the bath and splashed and romped until she was satisfied that she was cool and clean.  Soon after a pair of little Wild Canaries landed on the edge of the upper basin.
(The lower one has a slight crack in it and won't hold water.)  Those two  yellow creatures bobbed up and down into the water below, drinking, I guess. Down went their heads, up went their tails, and vice versa. 

 Pretty soon a Mocking Bird swooped in, and the tiny birds jumped, but held their ground. Had the mocker had a mind to, though, he'd have swept in to scare the little ones off. They tend to be somewhat bullyish.   Meanwhile, soaring far above and expanding their circles, the Hawks floated on unseen breaths of air, as they searched for prey below.  I assume that they came too close to the nest of a starling, because before too long the smaller black bird was 'hot on the tail' of the larger one.  We see that quite often, and are amazed that the Hawks will be driven off so easily without turning on their persuers.

These creatures, and others like a squirrel that gambles across the road, into our yard, and then across our neighbor's grass as if he has springs in his legs, bring smiles as we wile away a Spring day in the record heat.   What brings you enjoyment at this time of year?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

For The Birds

Since Mrs. Wren Bird built her nest on the overhead light in our back door entry porch, we've been watching with curiosity. We are careful to stay a good distance away from the back door glass, while peering to see what's happening. Mrs. Bird gets spooked and flies off when she sees us in the sunroom, though she's in no danger from us.  


We've been concerned that she wasn't on the nest enough, but perhaps there were no eggs in there at that time. When the grandgirls were here for Easter, Abigail, age 6, expressed her concern this way: " If the Mama bird doesn't take good care of her eggs, the baby birds will perish."  Yes, that was a real concern for us.


But, last week we noticed two little fuzzy heads peeking out of top of the nest!  Obviously Mama had cared enough for those eggs, as the babies hadn't 'perished.'  I was able, during a feeding, to catch a quick photo of the babies and Mama.  I didn't use a flash, and I did use the zoom lens, in order to get a fairly decent photo without trying too hard or upsetting the little family.


A few days later, we noticed that there were FIVE baby birds.  I believe that's all there are in that little nest, and at that, they must be awfully crowded. I've watched them tumbling over each other in their little cradle, probably trying to find a spot to call their own.  


Meanwhile, we continue to use the front door, walking around the house from front yard to back yard to do anything in our veggie garden.  We don't want to upset Mama or to have her abandon them before they are grown. We want those babies to be fed and take off on the wing when they are grown enough to do that.  All that we do in the area these days is ....for the birds.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Who's the Boss?

While I'd like to tell you that my husband wears the pants in this family, I'm sure he'd give you a story to prove the complete opposite.  The truth actually falls somewhere in the middle, I think. If not, then I hold a weightier side, but that's because he's quicker at giving in  than I am.  He's wiser too!


I always try to discuss things with Mike before any decision is made, unless it has to be a snap decision, which is very rare. We often discuss things to death before we make a decision, not arguing about things, but each considering the other's opinions and concerns.  Eventually we do come to some agreement to do it, to not do it, or to modify it and then do it.  


Before we were married we decided to see a counselor. We got along so well, but we'd both been married before, and once in awhile some issue would rise up that was born of old baggage. So, we wanted to get that all out of the way before we committed our remaining lives to each other.  We met with Andrew a number of times, and each time, he'd shake his head and tell us that he'd never seen a couple who considered one another the way the two of us did. When he presented us with a  scenerio, we'd look at each other and we'd ask the other, "What do you want to do."  and answer, "Well, what do YOU want to do?"


After we were married, things continue to go that way. It might be what to have for dinner, what to do for that day or where to go on a road trip. Usually the dinner thing is the easiest decision, because very often we are thinking of the same meal!  


I think we're a pretty good team...a couple who takes turns making the final decision. But, if you come to my house, and look at my refrigerator door, you may feel differently, because there hangs a headline, in large font, which reads "Queen Kathleen".  It won't take you long to figure out which of us PUT it there.... but I decided I'd leave it there, just to remind a certain someone who's the boss!

Sea Chest

My mother has a large wooden box called a  'sea chest'.  It originally belonged to my great grandfather.  She also has a framed copy of his 'Pilots License' which gave him permission to run boats in the waters of the East Coast.

Sometimes I look at that chest, which sits in front of Mom's couch in the living room, used as a coffee table, and I wonder where it has been in its lifetime. These boxes were made to hold the belongings of a seaman when he was aboard a ship.  Since GrGrandfather was the captain of a number of boats, I can only imagine how much time that box rocking on the waves.

How I wish that I could ask the questions that plague me at times. There is history in that piece of furniture, and all I know for sure is who it belonged to.  Who built it? When and where?  What boats did it travel inside of, and what ports were visited. How many years did it travel? What items did GrGrandfather fill it with? Did he keep books inside of it, or records of any sort?  What stories could this wooden box share if it was given a voice?

As I said to another researcher,  genealogy presents us with all manner of mysteries. We, as the investigaors, want to be able to solve every mystery, but often we can't. As frustrating as it is to give up the investigation of a certain vein, it sometimes has to be done. Sometimes the answer will be found later, in some unique way. We might stumble over it in a writing while looking for something else. Someone who has an old tale to tell might shed some light on it. But, unfortunately, there are times when the answers are hidden for all time and eternity.  I think that's the case with this sea chest.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

.Recipe


A friend of mine was creating her own cookbook to give to her family members. With the recipes, she placed pictures of family gatherings, the dish, the ingredients,  or individual family members. She described one picture to me of her husband sleeping in a chair. I decided to send her this, and I believe it was included in her book!


Recipe
Take one charming host
Add two glasses of wine..
Drink while mingling well with guests....
Pour third glass of wine
Combine with choice of appetizers...
After completely demolishing those,
Fill large plate with hefty portions of entree
Devour and refill, while ingesting another glass of wine, or two, if desired.
Clear table
While digesting inhaled food,
 Serve filling, fattening, dessert
Be social for as long as it takes
Kiss guests goodnight
Retire to favorite chair
Take antacid..
And find sleep while wife cleans up after party.
~Kathleen Beebe Waygood
July 23, 2010

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughts of Grandparents...

Old wooden screen doors that slam when you've gone through
And chipped green paint that falls from the door
When the hollow sound breaks the air
Take me back....way back...to a time when I was young
When you were still there.


Creaky wide board floors that squeak when you cross the room
And have gaps between the planks to steal coins and trap small jewelry
That has been dropped by clumsy fingers
Take me back...way back...to childhood years
When you were still there.


Lilacs dark and tall that smell so fragrant on the drowsy evening
And pale ones that play on the breeze beside the others
Outside the dining room window
Take me back...far back....to lazy, carefree days
When you were still there.


Rowboats floating freely, yet tethered to posts in the breakwater
And rocking softly like cradles for sailors
While gulls soar above screeching lullabies
Take me back....to long ago...when days were endless
When you were still there.


Kathleen Beebe Waygood
April 19, 2012