Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday's Favorites: shelf over desk

I threw a dart at the My Pictures folder to pick a favorite for today. In the folder, I have a sort of inventory of my favorite things, and I closed my eyes and picked whatever my arrow landed on.

It's not the shelf itself that's my favorite, although I'm quite fond of it and it has served me well. It's the things on it and above it. You know, those things that you display for sentimental reasons, or because the color or texture is just right, or the item says something about who you are. You'll notice, also, that if you squished the items on the shelf together, you would have the muted colors of a row of old books on a shelf, which is pretty much my color scheme throughout the house.

Starting above the shelf, there are photos of Melody on the left and me on the right at about the same age. One of my favorite things to do when I had a child was to compare her photos with mine along the way, because at the time I had never had anyone to compare myself with. You do things like that when you're adopted! Whereas most people know they have Uncle Joe's ears or Aunt Sara's nose, Grandpa Martin's temper or Dad's artistic nature, we know nothing and are starting with a blank slate. So anytime I found a photo where my daughter and I looked similar, it was cause for celebration! (She has her dad's coloring and Aunt Alice's long fingers, but most people say they think she takes after me in her general appearance. We have no clue who she got her straight hair from.)

In between the photos is one of the wreaths I made to go around the candles on her wedding reception tables. We wanted them simple and inexpensive, and they really looked quite nice in the glow of candlelight.

On the shelf itself, beginning on the left:

There used to be six appertif glasses that belonged to my adoptive grandparents, and my cousins, who inherited their possessions, let me have these. One got broken accidentally by a friend of Melody's. I love the look and color of them, and they're so delicate, which is why they're up high where the boys can't get to them.

Next is a porcelain bell that belonged to my mother-in-law. I don't think it had any particular sentimental value to her, but I love it because it has two birds sitting on a branch, and butterflies, painted on it ... and, of course, the grandsons always make me ring it for them.

Third is a hummingbird globe that David bought me. It's rare enough that he actually buys me something (he's not a shopper, or at least that's his excuse), but that he bought something related to my love of hummingbirds was nice. It's plastic, made in china, and still has the $7 sticker on the bottom.

The photo of the three of us circa 1974 is the only professional family photo we have in her infancy or childhood, the next being when she was much older. I think it was a 5x7 in an 8x10 frame with a mat. It was on my buffet (see another post about it) until I had a temper tantrum during a fight with Melody and threw somthing (not at her) and knocked it over. Unnoticed by me was that somehow a liquid, probably from a plant cutting in a vase, got on it and seeped into the frame. Then that dried, the mat and photo stuck to the glass, and I had to peel it off and resize it. You might have to click to enlarge this to see poor baby Melody almost lost down there at the bottom. (If you've read my Demented Mawmaw post, you know that I have already documented my history of tantrums.)

The light blue candle lamp is just a dollar store find and I liked the color. But if you light a candle in it, you sure don't want to touch that glass!

Second from the right is a little Aynsley fine bone china bowl called Cottage Garden, with a beautiful rendering of some of my favorite things - flowers and butterflies. It was a gift from my cousin Nancy from a trip she took to England.

And, finally, on the far right, just another dollar store find of a mirror framed with roses and hydrangeas, two of my favorite flowers!

So, what have you learned about me from this small collection? (a) I like birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies; (b) I'm not above displaying dollar store finds with fine bone china and heirlooms; (c) I'm chronically obsessed with being adopted; and (d) I'm prone to temper tantrums when pushed too far by a child.

I don't know what you can or will do with all this information about me and my favorite things, but there you have it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wander to the Wayside: This and That

I wasn't really going to do anything for today's Wander to the Wayside, because I haven't been doing much wandering! I looked to see what I had on my camera that I thought had been important enough to warrant a point and shoot to remember it, and there's just not much there. But, since you were so nice to drop in, I'd hate for you to leave with nothing to show for your visit.

My husband, daughter, and I went to lunch today while out running errands, to a little place in Dalton, Georgia called The Filling Station. It's an all you can eat buffet where you pay a decent price for more than you can possibly eat, with the food being good and the atmosphere nice. It looked like it probably really had been a gas station at one time, but we didn't think to stop to read the newspaper clippings in the lobby. You'd think that by now I'd realize that I'm supposed to do that if I'm going to blog about something, wouldn't you? (I could go google them, but am busy watching an excellent documentary about Ted Kennedy. And if I want to get this on while it's still Wednesday, I need to just keep typing.)

The outside isn't much to look at, but it has a nice little court yard with a fountain, which of course I didn't take a picture of, and the inside brick walls are decorated with filling station memorabillia. We were there during the lunch rush, and I didn't think people would want me flashing photos all around them, though I did get a few.

That's a mirror above, right next to our table so that we had to watch ourselves stuffing our faces, and that's a before photo of David's banana pudding that he was too full to finish. I was too full of key lime pie to help him finish it, and Melody was too full to eat more than a bite or two her own strawberry cream pie. Just another case of the eyes being bigger than the stomach, and it's just incredible how much food ends up in the trash at these places.

This was a real gas light, and the pressed tin ceiling was beautiful.

Just a reminder, if you'll click on this photo to enlarge it, you'll be able to see the stuff on the wall better.


Conner, the almost four year old grandson, spent the night last week. During a torrential downpour, he announced to us that he was no longer afraid of thunder. Which came as a huge surprise to us, because he's been afraid of thunder for three years! He said he wanted to go outside to play, so to reward his delightful to behold pride in himself, I said of course he could go out, and helped him get into his swim trunks and found his Scooby Doo umbrella. I stayed at the door, where my camera and I could stay dry, holding a towel for him.
He joyfully frolicked in the rain and puddle at the end of the driveway, squealing with delight ...

... but in this last photo he's running to the house as fast as his little legs could carry him because of a huge clap of thunder followed by lightening on the horizon. After he was dry and wrapped in his ditty(blanket), he sat in my lap and said "mawmaw, I guess I am still a little afraid of thunder." I told him that that was ok, that I was proud of him for trying to not be afraid, and I was just sure that next time maybe he wouldn't be.

***************** ******************************************

You know how much I love clouds, so here's the last of what was on my camera.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to start doing a little more wandering outside my house ... I need an excuse to get away from reading all those blogs anyway!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Musical Monday: 'Don't Laugh At Me'

Here it is already, back to Musical Monday. Where does the time go? I'm not feeling real inspired this morning to find a song and do a personal journey with it, but as I looked at my Playlist I saw a song that I had put on for the grandsons. I think it's appropriate right now as so many kids are going back to school this month, so I've added 'Don't Laugh At Me' by Peter, Paul and Mary to my Jukebox. Give it a listen if you can while reading this post - actually, before or after would be better!

As I listened to the song, it didn't take much to go back to my own childhood and remember how hurtful it was to be laughed at and ostracized because my adoptive mother was a drunk. I've never forgotten, even these decades later, how the kids laughed when she drove the car thru the garage turned into my bedroom (yes, they all came by to have a look), or when she stumbled into the school with a totally inappropiate sun dress falling off her shoulders and wobbling on high heels, bleached blonde hair with three inches of black roots, and clownish makeup. I guess it would be funny to an outsider, especially to a kid, and yes I know now that they were laughing at her and not at me, but I've never forgotten the sting of that laughter directed at my life.

And then there was the laughter at me for being so pidgeon toed that I couldn't walk a straight line, so they probably thought I was drunk, too! And being picked last for - well, for anything - in gym because I was so uncoordinated. And having terrible acne.

Also, as I listened to the song, I heard a stanza I'd never noticed before. The song starts out singing about don't laugh at me for something that makes them a little different (glasses, braces, fat, handicap), and then all of a sudden it throws in a stanza about not laughing at a beggar on the corner. I thought at first that it ruined a perfectly nice children's song, but as I thought about it I realized that it was totally appropriate for today's circumstances, what with regular people like you and me losing their homes and resorting to all kinds of means to put food on the table, and we don't know the backstory of this person.

The other thing about this song that I probably shouldn't mention, for fear of offending some of you, is that the hyperbole of all of us having 'perfect wings in the end' just drives me nuts. That's all I'm gonna say about that, though I guess the image does make the song softer.

Did you have something that kids openly made fun of when you were younger, or do you have a kid that has something that he gets kidded about? I think everyone worries about it, but sometimes it's all in our head, because if it bothers us we're sure that everyone else notices. But truth be told, kids can be so cruel to each other, in small and large ways, can't they? Those of you who are teachers must see it more than most - have you seen anything that you thought was particularly cruel?

As a side note, I'd like to say, if I haven't mentioned it before, that my daughter was one of those kids in school who seemed to gravitate toward those kids who were made fun of (probably because she thought she was one of those being made fun of because of her acne and her glasses). So in her year book they would write things like "you're so nice", and she hated it! She wanted them to say "you are so cool" or "I wish I could be as popular as you!" (though I'm actually only imagining what she would want it to say). I always told her that that was a good thing, to be nice! I told her that someday she would probably end up in a career that would involve her helping people in some way. And sure enough, she went on to become an elementary school counselor!

Well, I guess I was able to go on a personal journey, wasn't I. And I hope you'll join me by sharing your own personal journey of ridicule and cruelty ... (that doesn't sound right, does it.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Favorite: Alice

As I was sitting here thinking what I could use for today's Friday's Favorite, my eyes fell on a photo that has been taped here to my computer desk for about ten years now. The beautiful lady above is my sister-in-law, Alice, and she is definitely one of my favorite people.

Alice and I met in 1972 when I was secretary of the Home Economics Dept. at the University of Greeley in Colorado, and she was a Home Ec student. Toward the end of 1972, or maybe shortly into 1973, I separated from my first husband and moved into a house in the country and was looking for a roommate to help share expenses. As luck would have it, Alice was looking to move either out of a dorm or out of her family home, I can't remember which, so she decided to move in with me.

The day came for Alice to move in, and her big brother helped. His name was David, and a year later he and I would not only be married, but expecting a baby.

So, Alice has been my friend for 36 years, and my sister-in-law for 35. During that time, we have gone from acquaintances to friends to close sisters-in-law, to not so close sisters-in-law, to long distance sisters-in-law. I can honestly say that she is one of my longest running friends, one of the people I most admire in this world, and someone I know I could turn to under any circumstances.

David and I left Colorado in 1988, and in the 21 years since I have only seen Alice maybe seven or eight times - in fact, I can probably remember them: (1) David's highschool reunion (2) sister Sandy's funeral (3) brother Corey's funeral (4) family reunion (5) our daughter's wedding, (6) their mother's funeral (7) she and I crossing paths in Texas (8) and her visit two years ago to us here in Georgia. The thing is - and I know you have friends like this - when we see each other, it is just like we were together last week. We pick up where we left off. And, when we part, I am inwardly distraught because I fear I will never see her again.

Alice and I are very much alike, and very different. Many of our characteristics - love of animals, joy of family, each having an only daughter child, books - are the same. But she's an incredibly spiritual person (and I don't mean in the religious way), very into how we work and what we can do to reach our full potential as individuals, and the path she has chosen for herself is basically that of life coach. Well, I don't even have the language to describe it, because I'm very much a heathen and a luck of the draw person who has no path.
We both have some wierd insecurities and self esteem issues, me because of my upbringing, she because of her relationship with her mother. She's almost always busy working on some project, studying, trying different things, and I'm a slug that is pretty much happy just vegetating in my house and garden. She never meets a person who she can't at least pretend to like and who she can't have a conversation with, and I'm a deaf mute who panics at meeting a new person and who hopes nobody takes note of my presense in any way.

Well, that's neither here nor there. The point is that she is one of my favorite people. As I think of her now, at this moment, for no reason other than that she is in my thoughts, I have tears on my cheeks and a lump in my throat. And she's coming to see us this Fall, and I can hardly wait.

She's probably reading this and wondering why I have this particular picture out of the dozens of better ones, or ones of us together, and why one that I so crudely cut into a circle and scanned! Because this is the one that I ran across those ten or so years ago that so perfectly showcased one of the things I love most about her. Her smile.
(I'll add a post script to that ... one of the things I love most about her is actually her heart, and since her smile almost always comes from her heart, it just warms a room by it's very presense.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My First Award!

I hopped over to see Julianne at yesterday for my daily visit, and was surprised to find that she was giving me an award! It took me a minute to realize that she was talking about me, but when I did I let out a huge 'woohoo'! Here's what the award is about :

The Super Comment Award/You Don't Say Award is given to bloggers who leave comments worth discussing on other blogger’s posts. It may also be because those comments are great in quantity, great in substance, or just great in general. An award that recognizes great commenters is a brilliant idea. And that's the idea behind this You Don't Say Award. Getting awards is always an honor but an award that recognizes those bloggers who consistently comment is a high honor indeed. The You Don't Say Award "... is for beautiful people who practice blogging etiquette by visiting or visiting back, and leaving comments. Their observations are apt and helpful and it's a pleasure to have them comment on your posts..."

I had never read a blog until six months ago, when I found out that my husband's niece, Wendy at, had one, and I started reading it. In the blink of an eye I had jumped in with both feet and started my own blog, not even bothering to read anything but the most basic instructions. (See my first blog ...)

Pretty soon I was reading blogs that had all these intriguing names over on the side, so I started visiting them, and then had to go thru their lists, and so on and so on. But you know how it all starts, don't you! Before I knew it, I was totally hooked on reading all those intriguing titles ... and also realizing that maybe I was in over my head, that maybe I shouldn't have jumped in with both feet without looking before I leapt! The talent, the ideas, the opinions, the examples of our commonalities and our differences -it's awesome and overwhelming at the same time, and I wasn't sure if I measured up against it all, if I had enough stories, knowledge, or writing skills to interest anyone but myself.

AsI plugged along with my own postings, I began to log in with that thrill of anticipation to see if someone had left a comment, and was hyper-excited if I found one! Niece Wendy was one of the first, and in addition to commenting on my post, she gave me hints and suggestions - like "leave a thoughtful comment". So that's what I always try to do - leave a comment as if I'm talking face to face with that person. And, in turn, I began to anticipate someone else's thoughtful comment, and a lovely cycle began.

I'd like to pass this Super Comment/You Don't Say award, to my niece, Wendy at Wisdom of the Moon, for giving me so many thoughtful comments. (And maybe she'll be soooo appreciative she will explain the link/backlink thingie in a less complicated way than the directions given on blogger.) I'd actually like to give it to everyone on my current blog list, so feel free to copy and paste it to your blog if you want to!

I don't have that many readers/commenters right now, but the ones I do have are so appreciated, and I'm looking forward to many years of meeting more and more of you, and you can be sure that I will return the favor.

And look how cute that panda is and how he brightens my space!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Musical Monday-Ten Years After

I haven't done a Musical Monday for a while, because - well, because I don't think most readers really listen to it. Which is fine! But in honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I'm adding Alvin Lee and Ten Years After to my jukebox. And, as an afterthought, I'm also putting on the youtube video.

With all the hoopla of the 40th anniversary, I've been thinking back to that period in my life, 1969. I was 21 years old and in the first year of my first marriage. I had just started smoking pot recreationally at this point, but we were most definitely not hippies! Not even hippy wannabes! He was in college and then the army, and I was an office worker. We were listening to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and ... hmmm. I really don't remember right off the top of my head. He was mostly into the Rolling Stones, and I was probably listening to John Denver type music.

I didn't go to Woodstock, and it wasn't really on my radar until I watched the 1970 documentary so many times that one could have had false memories of having been there. Actually, I don't think I even watched it until early into my second marriage in 1973. (I sometimes get things mixed up with the two husbands in that time period.)

Back in the day, when we were young and stupid, we did the occasional dabbling in drugs, mostly pot and very rarely acid or mushrooms. (I know, I know, I shouldn't really admit that, but it was what it was. And yes, I know that's probably why I get my husbands mixed up in that time period.) So most times when we watched the movie or listened to the album, we were high on something. The music and the viewing of the performances themselves was just riveting and exciting, and opened up a whole new musical world for me. (Remember, this was pre-MTV!)

Everyone has their Woodstock favorites, and mine (at the time) were Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Country Joe and The Fish, and Santana (with that drummer, hair flying and drumsticks moving so fast you couldn't keep track of them!).

If you've seen the movie (and I'm sure there are some, especially if you're younger, who haven't), you may remember that the Ten Years After's song, 'I'm Going Home', went on forever (9min25sec). Alvin Lee was hypnotic, and the beat ... the beat itself, high or not, if you close your eyes you will instantly be inside the beat, you'll be the beat. I have a particular memory of sitting in a room of one of my houses and being high, and all of a sudden I saw a ball of fire jumping from speaker to speaker to the beat. Seriously, people, it was the most awesome musical thing that I've ever experienced!

What's so funny about this story is that if you met me today, you'd see that I'm a white bread person. I'm a soft rock/country/oldies person. I don't do things out of the box, I don't do things to rock the boat, I don't do things illegal or things to damage my reputation, integrity, or health. But at that period of my life, like most that age, I was still looking for who I was, was experimenting with music/looks/ideas. And I was trying to 'fit in' and 'be cool'.

And to this day, 40 years later, we still talk about Woodstock and our own experiences surrounding it, even if it was only owning the movie and sound track album! We're still talking about how it was a defining period in our individual and collective lives. Even my second husband and I (David, the 35 years and counting husband) still talk about it as if we we're in our middle twenties and listening to it for the first time (well, actually, he still is listening to it in one form or another!). The only one I truly followed after the initial Woodstock period was Joe Cocker, and the father/daughter dance at Melody's wedding was his 'You Are So Beautiful to Me'.

Anyway, in a few weeks the remembrances of Woodstock will have died down, and we'll be back to the age of the aging baby boomers, the generation that brought about possibly the biggest change in musical history ever, reliving their youth every 20/30/40/50 years thru the resurrection of a movie and a time that won't fade until the last of us is gone.
If you're of the age that you remember Woodstock, did it influence you in any way, or was it just a blip on the news to you? Who or what was your favorite artist or music?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside: Chattanooga Nature Center

Last weekend, my daughter and her family and my husband and I had a daycation at the Chattanooga Nature Center. We only live thirty minutes away, so it was an enjoyable afternoon that didn't involve a lot of driving! It wasn't a big whoop like Yellowstone or Disneyland, but we enjoyed it, and the boys (three and six) had a great time as this was their first canoe trip. I won't bore you with a lot of narration, most of it is pretty self explanatory, and only the names have changed from anyone else's photos of their daycation. I will say this ... it was hotter than hell, but that's life in Georgia and Tennessee these days!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday's Favorites: A Tale of Two Clocks

Back in the 1970s, my husband's stepmother brought me a clock kit and asked if I had the time to embroider it for her. Being a stay at home mom, I gladly accepted the challenge and spent the next several months working on it. I hated passing it on to her after all that work, but was very proud of myself because (a) I had embroidered only a few things previous to this project and hadn't been at all sure that I was up to the task, and (b) I'm notorious for starting projects and never finishing them.

Also, back in the late 70's, I started a new job, the first since my daughter was born. It had been a while since I'd had my 'own' money, and made a vow to myself that I would buy a cuckoo clock out of one of my first paychecks. My grandparents had had one in their apartment when I was a young girl (that later was sold at a yard sale), and I had always wanted one. Serendipitously (seriously, I'm not kidding), a cuckoo clock salesman came by our office one day (what are the chances of that happening!), and I picked one out of a catalogue, ordered it, and waited excitedly for it's arrival. When I finally got it home and on the wall, I was like that little girl again, spinning the hands around and around until the little cuckoo came out on the hour and half hour.

The cuckoo clock adorned our wall for about a decade, until we had a litter of kittens that became fascinated with the weights ... and pulled the whole thing off the wall. It required a trip to the clock repair shop to get the weights untangled (do you know how hard it is to find a cuckoo clock repairman?), but it was just never the same again. On our next move, to a house with a shortage of display walls, the clock remained in the box. I was determined, though, to get it repaired and up after the grandkids were born, because I wanted it to be one of those things that they would remember from their childhood, and that I would pass on to one of them. Which would beg the question ... which kid?

As it turned out, it was a moot point ... the box with the cuckoo clock disappeared with our last move in 2005. Despite the fact that I had looked in every box and nook and cranny, the clock was nowhere to be found. I had all but given up, and figured it had gone the way of the box of purses that had also disappeared in the move - that mysterious black hole of all things lost.

Now comes the cool part of the tale of two clocks. This last January, my husband's stepmother gave me the embroidered clock! Finally, a clock to pass on to one of the grandkids, made all the more special because I had made it with my own two hands. Let's get it up on the wall before they're grown and could care less about mawmaw's clock!

A few weeks after I received the embroidered clock, I found the box of purses in my office closet ... it had been there all along (three years!), and I had somehow managed to miss it.

It was only a week or two later and ... you guessed it ... the box with the cuckoo clock appeared. Out of nowhere. In a spot where we had looked a million times before. In a spot where I had told my husband that it surely had to be, in that box, and he swore that he had looked there.

So now I have TWO HEIRLOOM CLOCKS, and TWO GRANDSONS! You tell me, is that serendipitous?

And now I have to find a cuckoo clock repairman, and figure out which clock to put on which wall.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday's Wander to the Wayside: Cottage Treasures

It's been several years since I had a "girlie" day, but was fortunate to have one recently with my daughter Melody and her sister-in-law Gail. We went to a tea room/gift shop called Cottage Treasures, and it was a delightful luncheon. It's a house that's been converted into four rooms - The Rose Room, The Teacup Room, The Hydrangea Room, and the Mother's Room - in addition to the display rooms, all of which were small and cozy. Lots of lace, linen and antiques, good smells and good food, and rooms full of treasures old and new. Melody and I are involved mostly with little boy interests these days, so getting to do such a girlie thing was a special treat.

This isn't much different than a lot of tea rooms, but had some really cute items and nicely displayed. If you'll enlarge some of the photos, you'll be able to read the signs, which I myself plan to duplicate for my own home or as gifts! Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking blog and didn't get a photo of the picket fence surrounded cottage outside, nor will you see a photo of me - I'm rarely in photos as I'm always the one taking the pictures.

As an after thought, I'd like to mention why this was such a treat for me (other than the obvious reason of having a girlie day with my daughter). I'm a stay-at-home wife/grandmother, rarely go out other than groceries, family events, etc., and as a result have not made a network of friends since we moved here three and a half years ago. Don't exactly know why my life has been this way, but it is what it is and pretty much always has been this way. I'm basically just not a social person!

We're not church-goers, and I don't work (except for the occasional babysitting or housecleaning job) because we originally moved here to be near our daughter and for me to sit the boys while she worked. Now she's a stay-at-home mom who helps out with the office part of the furniture repair business that my husband is involved in, and, though I sit the boys quite often during the week, for the most part I'm on my own.

There are very few people here who know me or who I know, certainly no one who I'd call to say "hey, how about we get dressed up and go check out that new coffee shop", or "hey, how's about we go grab some Mexican and a marguerita?" I used to be able to do that with my cousin, Nancy, but she's now three hours away.

So, when I do get invited to go out, it's both a "woohoo!" moment and a "crap, I have to socialize and make conversation and what the hell will I wear?" moment. I actually fit in better with younger women like my daughter and Gail, and rarely meet women my own age - even the women in our neighborhood are busy working mothers with young children. Where are the women in the 55 or older stage, anyway? According to the blogs I read, they're either still working and getting ready to retire, or have retired and are traveling with their mate (or by themselves - hi, Lila!), or are involved with their church, so I guess it's no wonder that I never meet them!

Well, I guess this last part is a blog for another day! I'm just rambling ... thanks for stopping by!