Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday's Favorites-Buffet

Here's another new reoccuring category - Friday's Favorite Things. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love my "things" passionately, obsessively, and compulsively!

When I left for college in June 1966, I only took what a young college person needs - very little other than what was needed to set up a dorm room. When my adoptive dad came up to see me that next May to tell me he was divorcing my step-mother, anything that was left at our house, all my youth and teenage memorabilia (including high school year books and a charm bracelet that covered almost every important event of my life) was gone. I went to the house to get my things, but my step-mother and her mother kept me from entering, and apparently either before or after that day threw everything away - because they were angry at my dad. (We won't go into the emotional impact of being blocked from going into my home, even if I did hate the woman.)

Hence my obsession with my things. I hoard them, display them, love them. Friday's Favorite Things will include things collected or given to me from that day on, as well as favorite photos, books, quotes, people, colors, etc.

Today's favorite thing is this beautiful buffet. When David and I were setting up a home together in 1973, we found this buffet at a salvation army type store. It was a shocking pink with gold antiquing that was popular at one time. We stripped it, stained it, and loved it. Who'd have thought that there was such a beautiful walnut underneath all that paint - look at the grain on the top drawer! And those legs!

From that day forward, this has been the center of our home. Anytime we move (and we've moved nine times since 1973), this is the absolute first thing I set up, and it has almost always, in the 36 years since, looked the way it does now. (Except with more clutter and things on it. And not quite so clean.)

The first thing to go on it are the photos of my favorite people, with a few favorite objects, some old books, and a favorite lamp (which was purchased from a neighbor in about 1986, and they'd had it since WWII).

I think that favorite things make a house a home, that they add texture to our lives and our psyche, and keep many of our memories alive. (Of course, the clutter control people will counter that with "just take a picture and toss the object".) (And yes, I realize that I've showed four shots of the same buffet...I just couldn't decide which to use, and I love the way the morning sun spotlights it in the first one.)

What is the first thing you put out when you move into a home (besides toilet paper and sheets), that thing that says now it's gone from a house to my home? Is it a family heirloom, or a gift, or something you purchased yourself?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside

Every other Thursday I babysit in the infants room for a church Mom's group fifteen minutes from my home. These photos are taken on one stretch of road between here and there.

I'm taking these photos out the car window, as opposed to stopping and getting out of the car. This can get dangerous, because most of these roads have ditches instead of shoulders! In most cases, I stop in the middle of the road, watch my rear view mirror closely, and try to quickly take the shot. Although this isn't a major thoroughfare, it is quite heavily traveled during the day, so I don't recommend this technique!

I'll try not to do all barns, fences, cows and horses on these wanderings, but there are a lot of them around here, and they're among my favorite things! They have so much character, and are such a nice change from the cookie cutter neighborhoods.

I was especially excited that the photo of the horse revealed the laundry in the background, which I then shot by itself. And I had stopped to take a photo of a barn when I noticed the old house or shed next door-with the coca cola cooler on the porch! I thought the tractor in the barn looked like a giant bug.

Thanks for joining me on this drive today. We'll have to do it again sometime ... how about next Wednesday?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bluebirds 2 : It's an egg! "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"

Today's Musical Monday selection is Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, in honor of our first bluebird egg! (You know, "Mr. Bluebird's on my shoulder..."). Mama has probably laid another egg or two by now, as I checked it early Sunday a.m., and she's looked busy since then. This egg is about the size of the end of my thumb, and oh so delicate.

I had worried as I hadn't seen either of them for a day or two, thinking perhaps that a fierce wind we had on Friday had swung the bird house so violently that it had sent them packing. So when she showed up late Saturday afternoon, I sighed deeply and ... well, don't laugh or roll your eyes, but I actually got a lump in my throat and tear in my eye and said "oh, thank you for coming back, Mrs. Bluebird!". (Ok, so I'm getting a little too emotionally involved with this bird thing.) Also saw Mr. Bluebird swoop from some vantage point above and dive bomb a dove that was feeding beneath the bird house. I'm so proud of them both for hanging in there!

I love that I sang this song to Melody when she was little, our "isn't this a beautiful day" song, and now I sing it to and with the grandsons.

Hope you have a zip-a-dee-do-dah day! (Am I the only one who thought it was "zippity doo dah"?)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Flowers

These are just a few of my Spring flowers. The clematis - pink, purple, and white - were absolutely gorgeous this year. I planted them two years ago, and it's taken a while for them to finally take off.

The bottom photo with the snail is a hellebores from an antique garden in Madison, Ga. The man my husband worked for bought a house in the historical district with the most incredible garden you could ever imagine. And they were going to tear out ALL the flowers, bushes, bulbs and trees - turn them under, actually - to put in the usual neat row of landscaper bushes. So we ran over with shovels and plastic bags, in the rain, and dug up as many as we could of everything. A man next door had come over earlier when he heard/saw what was happening and had tears in his eyes at the atrosity being committed! When we moved here three years ago, we brought this and one other with us, and they get bigger and more beautiful every year. We had to leave many other varieties because it was winter and we couldn't find them!

Hope your Spring gardens are up and running. Is there a more wondrous and anticipated time of year? Especially if you're lucky enough to have your own garden! If not, come on by and I'll be glad to share mine with you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside

Welcome to my first "Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside"!

I have always noticed how many awesome things I see on my way from the house to the store, and how lucky I am that it's such an enjoyable and scenic fifteen minute drive. So, I thought to myself, why not take advantage of my blog title, and the letter W in Wednesday, and turn it into a re-occurring theme! It'll be like we're out for a drive together, wandering around the wayside!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


In my post titled "Mockingbird-Part 2", I told the story about a pair of bluebirds who were attempting to nest in a decorator bird house out our front window. They had to do battle with a mockingbird and several sparrows, but emerged triumphant! I had to run to the store to purchase a regulation size bluebird house as the other was too small, plus move it back several feet away from the sidewalk traffic, but, luckily for us, they accepted the house and began the long and laborious task of building their nest.

Their battle is far from over. After laying their eggs, there will be approximately five weeks of fighting off the sparrows and dealing with the fluctuating weather patterns and parasites such as ants and blowfly larvae. But their greatest challenge will surely be accepting the squeals and activity of small children!

I hope you will come back to share this journey of bird watching with us, and cross your fingers that it has a happy ending.
(p.s. It's very rare for bluebirds to include feathers in their nest - it's usually just grasses. But if you look closely at the last photo of the nest, you can just barely make out the presence of three feathers- a quill at 12:00 just under the white dot, a feather at :45 sticking up above the grass, and a white quill about an inch below that. Perhaps symbolically, perhaps the rewards of battle, the feathers belong to ... a mockingbird.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Venus" - First Feel

The summer of 1962, between eighth grade and ninth, my family was getting ready to move from Ft. Worth to Dallas. I was home alone during the day, and against all the rules I had a boy over. Stephen - red hair, freckles, and cute as the dickens. Back then we remained relatively innocent until a much later age than today's teens, so this was a very risky and scarey thing for me.

I don't remember a lot about that day or how long he was there, but I do remember one five minute period of time, as it is etched in my memory with a spotlight on it. We were in the living room, he was sitting in a chair, I was sitting crossways in his lap, we kissed ... and he gently and timidly touched the side of my breast. On the radio playing in the background was Frankie Avalon singing "Venus". And - how romantic is this - he said that I would always be his gift from Venus, and every time he heard this song in the future he would think of me.

Does it get any better than that for a young girl in the first flush of young womanhood? My first feel up, first base, and it went no further than that because we were both still innocent to the ways of sex. Back in the day, most girls waited until at least 10th grade to go all the way!

So, for today's Musical Monday, I have chosen the song that I ran across accidentally when searching other playlists... "Venus" by Frankie Avalon.

Do you remember the first ROMANTIC encounter that you had? And is there any particular song that takes you back to that moment or that time period?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mockingbird, part 2

In a March 4th posting, I told the story about a male mockingbird that had taken over my front yard, chasing away all other birds and attacking any that dared try to return to the feeder. I was in despair, at a loss as to how to get rid of him without the use of a bb gun. This is a continuation of that story.

Shortly thereafter, as quickly as my yard had been taken hostage, it was released. Mr. Mockingbird disappeared, and one by one the other birds reappeared. Oh, the joy of seeing my bright yellow goldfinches again! Then the hummingbirds appeared, and all was right with my garden world. I kept an eye out for the invader, and soon spotted him sitting atop a basketball hoop across the street, allowing him a better vantage point for doing whatever it is that mockingbird's do. Good riddance, I said to myself!

Yesterday morning, as I was walking thru my living room, I glanced out the window and saw a flash of blue. The bluebirds had come out of their winter hideouts! Later that day, the male and female appeared, entering and exiting a decorator bird house hanging from a shepherd's hook a mere six or eight feet from the window. I was talking excitedly to my daughter about it on the phone, when out of nowhere appeared ... you guessed it ... the mockingbird! And attacked the bluebirds and chased them off. I cussed and screamed, watching in horror as I gave Melody a blow by blow of the attack, and then watched in disapointment as the mockingbird struck a pose on top of the shepherd's hook, his chest puffed out and head held high with pride at his conquest. To add insult to injury, from off to the side appeared ... Mrs. Mockingbird! Oh no! Surely they didn't intend to take my yard captive again and take up residence for the summer?

Much to my surprise, the bluebirds actually reappeared a short while later, and once again began testing the bird house. This was really a total surprise, because bluebirds (1) don't like to be that close to a house, (2) don't like hanging bird houses, and (3) need a bigger house than this relatively small one. But here they were, defying the odds. I ran to the store to get a regulation bluebird house, replaced the decorator one, and stood back to watch to see if they'd accept the replacement. Lo and behold, here they came again! After testing it, and deciding that it would do, they began gathering grass to make their nest.

Yes, the mockingbirds showed themselves again throughout today, but the bluebirds stood their ground and fought back, so for the moment all is well. But they will have their hands full the next few weeks, not only defending their nest from Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird, but from the many sparrows who are notorious for aggressively taking over the nests and killing the occupants, nestlings and adults alike (and building their nest on top of the remains!). I will be watching closely, lending a hand when I can, and if all goes well we will see eggs in a week or so, and celebrate nestlings two weeks after that.

Hopefully, by the time that happens, and the fledglings three weeks after that, I will not only have figured out the finer features of my first digital camera for the photos, but also know how to get those photos to the computer so I can share them with you!

I hope you are enjoying the awakening of your yard in this early stage of Spring. Is there something about this time of year that is especially exciting for you?

Monday, April 13, 2009


My choice of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley for today's Musical Monday has no particular reason behind it . I just really like the beat of the song - it gets me tapping my toes even if I'm sitting here at the computer, and sometimes I even get up and shake my booty and it lifts my mood or energizes me.

Also, and maybe this is a subconsious reason why I chose this song, I'm feeling a little crazy today. The barometric pressure has been crazy, which makes my mood a little crazy and gives me a headache. I drank a whole 20 fl. oz. of classic coke and ate some Easter chocolate to fight the headache, and that has made me a little more crazy. And today is April 13, which means that Tax Day is two days away, and I haven't done my taxes yet! Crazy, huh?

(Are you seeing the theme, here?)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over the Rainbow

My mind seems to be scattered into so many areas today that a theme for Musical Monday just didn't readily come to mind. But having read the news online this morning, and watching Good Morning America, I think my favorite version of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World should fit the bill to erase all the depressing news from my mind, and hopefully yours!

Of course, no one can beat the original Judy Garland version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, or Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World, but from the first time I heard Kamakawiwo's version I knew this would forever be my favorite. If you close your eyes and really listen to the words, you can almost transport yourself, at least for a moment, to that idealized world that these songs describe.

Do you have a favorite song for when the world news or things going on in your life seem to be getting you down?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Great Depression Cooking with Clara

For anyone who hasn't seen this, you have to check it out. Clara is a 91 year old woman who has a seven part cooking segment on youtube, a different recipe each time, and with tips and stories about life in the kitchen during the depression. This is both useful and a hoot! I can only hope that I'm this active and alert when I'm her age! Enjoy ...