Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting Out of the Dog House

My camera was out of batteries this morning. I was going to take a picture of my husband painting on his hands and knees. Something about seeing that, is getting him out of the doghouse.He is working on the hall.

Somebody was really relaxed. I missed the shot where he was lying with all 4 paws just sprawled. When I moved to get the camera, he turned to look at me, and moved his front paws. Tucker is somehow related to Garfield. I am sure of it.

This is what I plan to do today. Copy the cat and lay around and eat.
I have a cold so Happy New Year! I won't be drinking much or celebrating much. I went out today and bought my stash of cold drugs and Puffs. It's amazing how fast a nose can get sore. Kayla brought this mess home. She has been sick as stink. My hope is for a smaller version of what I saw her get.

*Washes hands wildly*

This was my holiday baking in total.

One grande home made banana pudding.
One apple cider nut bread.

So how then did I gain 5 pounds?

  Was it one large bag of mint chocolate M&M's? And 2 bags of Hershey's Mint Truffles Kisses? How about the holiday creamer for coffee? Pumpkin Spice or Chocloate Mint Truffle? You think so? How much did you gain? Go ahead and tell. I double dog dare ya!

Which brings me to the subject of, New Year's resolutions.  Actually I make it a resolution not to make resolutions. BESIDES losing weight has anybody thought of anything really inspirational for a New Year's Resolution? If you have a great one maybe I'll sign up. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

OK I've Got A Proposition.

I have noticed that we are all having postSANTAdepressionitis. That is a new word. Everybody is blue, well it seems like it. Everywhere I have been reading people are bleak.

  Santa skipped me completely this year. It is the first time on Christmas morning that I had no gifts. I had some early ones and I bought myself some. I had told my husband he didn't have to get me anything because of our finances. Wow big mistake. He took me at my word. Go ahead and say it, "you asked for it." Well being smart has never been a total state of being for me. I alternate between smart and insanely stupid. You just can't predict your emotional reaction to something. ZAP SMACK KAPOW, it was a total bust. Combined with the fact that said husband would not get up out of bed. He moped around and acted withdrawn and sappy; and the kid would not open her gifts until said husband was present. By then I was mad, yelling,  and every other negative adjective. Go ahead and give it a whirl, yeah that too.

  As Kayla opened each gift (at 10:30 after said husband's shower!)  she looked sweetly at Pa and thanked him. Once when she held up a pair of earrings he did actually speak. He said, "Never seen them before." That should have given clueless a clue as to WHO was responsible for her awesome Christmas morning; but nope. Clueless undauntedly continued smiling at that MAN. Ever seen Bill Cosby's skit (Bill Cosby Himself) about teaching his son to play football? When the kid is a star and all the glam is on him you know, the spotlight and the microphone; the kid waves to the crowd and says, "Hi Mom." Yeah, something like that.

  Did you get the idea that Christmas morning was a total bust at our house? The next day I packed up all the decorations and put them away.  I know the meaning of Christmas, but it didn't help. I had some great experiences prior and after. I did have a couple of nice gifts before.  The actual morning was not pretty. I'm still a kid, I like the magic and the fun. I wanted my husband to think about me and at least get UP out of bed early, and smile, and be sweet. He could have tried to make pancakes. Or a card with a promise for a date or something. that is the point SOMETHING not NOTHING! He could have least tried to be somewhat festive instead of a big grump. I could've killed him!!

  Anyway, it's done. So if you want to air your disappointment go ahead. OR...

  On the other hand. I have an idea and this is the proposal. How about we just move on and have some fun.
Karen at gave her kids an awesome gift. She painted their rooms and fixed them up the way the KIDS wanted them to be. I was thinking about some times when my Mom re did my room as a surprise and it was not such a great surprise. Once it was really bad. So did you ever come home to a room that was redone for you and what was your reaction to that?

  Well what do you think? Does it sound like fun?

  If I was smart I would set up that Mr.Slinky so you can leave your story and all that. If you want to do this maybe I'll figure that out. If you really want to do this maybe I will pick my favorite best story and give a prize.
Maybe we better just have your story in the comment section or send it to me in an e-mail. I can post the best one.

Want to play? Want to win something?

Monday, December 28, 2009

We've Been Watching Movies

What do you do when your tired of everything else? I go to the movies or go rent a pile of them. Lately we have done both. So move over Grandma J, I am going to do some reviews!

AVATAR. We loved this movie. We saw it in 3D and it was just awesome. EXCEPT for the story line of the old evil exploiting empire= us Americans. It's Dances With Wolves in space.
The planet Pandora ( is this from the fable Pandora's Box?)  is a very beautiful place and all the creatures are very engaging to look at. Personally the riding of giant butterfly colored flying prehistoric birds is just way to cool, and very exciting. I really loved the movie, I'm just sick of this story line. I think it's terrible when a story makes us all hope that OUR marines get killed off so the other guy can win. You will feel that way because what is being done on this planet is soooooo wrong.

Now for a really big surprise. This movie is old news; it is a new release at Blockbuster. When is the last time you read a blah book and the movie is better? Has Holly wood ever taken a book and made it better before?
Isn't it ALWAYS, "they ruined this book"?  If you remember I wrote a pretty tough review of the book "Julie/Julia the project. I really loved the idea but the book was just trashy. There was so much in it that a really good editor would have cut out. Guess what? That is exactly what they did in the movie. I rented it and LOVED it! The movie develops the story of Julia Child in more depth. The movie cuts out all the profanity, the weird sex ideas, curiosities, and other thoughts that are not related to the overall theme of this story. The movie also cleaned up the Julie character giving her a more compassionate heart. In the book she is very cold and detached. In the book she is not just a bad housekeeper but a disgusting one. The movie cleans up the apartment, makes it inviting, including making you feel like you could go over and eat there. I loved the movie.
I hated the book, and that ladies and gents is a first for Hollywood.

What else have we been watching? Thought you'd never ask. Every Hallmark movie on TV, and all the Christmas specials. Are you wondering if something is different? Do you remember we turned off our TV months ago?

I have some splainin to do.

We got a notice that our DSL bill would increase by $15 a month, our new subscriber special was completed. They also offered us basic limited cable for $5. a month and that would keep our current rate for the DSL at it's current price. So the question was to pay $5 more for more services or $15 for the same. They got me. I turned it back on. I have been like a junkie on a binge ever since. Me the person who said they didn't miss TV has been stinkin glued to the dang thing. I watched Holiday On Ice twice because I loved the music mixed with the skating and the alternative was to clean house or some other notion that I could easily talk myself out of. It seems that everything these days is distracting me from my blog. Today I got up and declared that I would post! So here it is! I know you are greatly relieved that I have not slipped into non blogger oblivion. I do however think it would benefit me greatly to go back to work and get a life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to You!

We've been celebrating with our friends and getting ready for the big day. Now it's almost here.
I just wanted to take a few minutes to say to my blogging friends; I wish you the merriest Christmas and may your hearts be full of joy and hope.

These little children are the grandchildren of our good friends. I asked permission from their mother to share this with you. These children are 4 year old twins. Maybe I am stating the obvious (which I am very good at) but it sure seems to me that kids are much smarter these days, much younger. Spoken like a real old lady.

The photos of the different nativity scenes were taken at a friends house she has over 75 of them. I shared a couple of favorites. I especially love the gourd, it is from Colombia.

We enjoyed the Carols by Candlelight show with our friends. All that beautiful music gets my heart singing and in the right mood; it never fails.

And believe it or not I have managed pretty well with the spending this year. I went a bit over board on the girls but you know how it is. Kayla doesn't have a single gift under the tree. (yet) Maybe she will believe in Santa Claus again!

Have a wonderful spirit filled Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It Makes ME Think

 What do you do with your "junk" mail? It seems like in December I get at least a half dozen requests per day for different charities and social causes. I usually toss them out, at least most of them. Not being a total Scrooge, there are a couple that I will open up and mail a check too.

I almost tossed this one. But then I looked at it.  A little child in the snow in a shirt. Children that are freezing cold. No-- after what just happened to me; I cannot toss it.

Do you love a good deal? Do you love to make your money stretch? Well how about this? Brand new beautiful warm clothes to freezing kids. Sounds like a way to say Merry Christmas to me. Even $15 will send $210 of warm clothes and shoes to someone who is COLD.

I think near freezing to death may have thawed my apathetic heart. It's easy to ignore in the warm comfort of my own home. I am still a bit traumatized. It is weird that if I feel the cold; I also feel a bit of panic. I have to talk myself down and remind myself that I AM ALRIGHT.

World Vision isn't asking me to do this. I'm not getting anything for it. I am just asking you, to take even a small amount or a nice big fat amount;  and send it to this very reputable organization so they can deliver all these nice new warm things to freezing kids.

Jesus said, "I was naked and you clothed me," when you did it to the least of these you did it for me.

Spread some Christmas love! ...and warm coats.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Verra Near A Catastrophe

Friday night we were invited to a wedding. I had really been looking forward to it. The wedding was in the evening and a year of preparation went into it. The mother of the bride is a friend of mine and she has a black standard poodle. We always talk poodles and of course the wedding. She had asked me if I would mind helping out, by coming by her home before the wedding to let her dogs out to have some "potty time." I said sure. I love dogs and it would be no trouble at all. She had a little fiest she is dog sitting, a new puppy of one of her relatives (a Chi-poo) and Jag the big pooda. She asked me to let them out one at a time.
The baby puppy would be in the bath tub because he is 2 pounds and too tiny to be around the other dogs. He had his pee pads and food and water in there.

It sounded like too much fun too me. I love dogs and a baby one too. Puppy breath. I was feelin the love!

When I got there and opened the back door, both the dogs scooted out before I could bat an eye. Oh well, they would just romp. I was going to look for the puppy as I was unsure of the location of this bath tub; when I heard the little fiest yelp. I thought I had better check them because Jag is a big dog now at least 50 to 55 pounds. I stepped out to look at them and-- the door closed by itself-- behind me.

I tried to open the door and it was locked. The windows were locked. The place was locked up like Fort Knox.

I was locked out, in the back yard. In the dark with basically nothing but the porch light on. The yard was fenced with standard tall fences all the way around. I could not see any gates. There was no way out. It was 6:30 pm and very cold. VERRA VERRA COLD! I bet the windchill was 10 degrees. The temp was bout 30 and I was dressed up for a wedding.

I will not belabor my misery. I did not cry at first. I used a plastic barbecue tarp to make a wrap and hunker down in. I tried to break the glass on the back door when I thought I might die out there of cold. Did you know that it is very hard to break a door? I think only the crooks know how, because I could not do it. Do you also know that a good boy scout always carries matches? There was a barbecue and a chiminea and a fire would have made the whole experience much better.  Then the dogs and I could have comfortably waited for a rescue. I knew eventually some one would come back home. They expected to return after midnight and I really hoped it would NOT be that long.

I didn't have a cell phone. My husband didn't have their address or the code to the gate. He wasn't sure of how to find me,  and he freaked out when I didn't show up at the wedding.

There was one shorter iron fence I looked at, trying to figure out how to get over it. It had spikes on top. I imagined the spikes sinking into my fat flesh if I couldn't haul over them. Not a good plan.Then I would be cold and hurt too. They had some heavy iron patio furniture. I thought of taking two chairs down there and picking one up and setting it over the fence, and then climb on the chairs. It was dark over there and hard to see. The chairs were heavy. VERRA heavy! I thought I might shorten my time of being trapped and freezing only to suffer for weeks with a new back injury. I have a verra bad back. So I huddled by the door and shivered. I vetoed the heavy lifting escape plan.

A lot of things go through your mind in an unexpected problem like this. Periodically I yelled for help. Then I realized that the neighbors were most likely at the wedding! I didn't know how long it had been because I didn't have on a watch. Some lights went on next door. I began hollering LOUD for help. I yelled and yelled and then sat down again about to despair into tears. My shivers had gone from little to big. Have you ever seen movies where cold people are convulsing with cold? I was having the big huge shakes. It was traumatic.

I had returned to the chair, my tarp, and the little fiest who had decided to get into my lap when he got cold. Sweet little rescue boy we cuddled each other and it helped. I was beginning to despair, tears threatened.
Was I going to die out there?

I heard a man's voice ask, "Is there someone there?"

Instant freak! YES HELP ME PLEASE!!!! I began talking one-hundred miles an hour. "I'm here to take out the dogs and I got locked out hours ago- and I'm FREEZING TO DEATH!!!!!" PUHLEEEZE HELP ME!
I was crying hysterically. All efforts to keep it together went right out the window. He said they had a key and would come right over. I asked him to call my husband and gave him the phone number. They didn't have a key it was the one I had used; and it was in the house. The door was open but nobody tried it.

So he got a flash light and figured out how to take that iron fence apart. We walked through it and he put it back together. He took me to his house where they had a fire going. I told them what happened, it was 10:30pm. I had been out there for 4 hours. He said," No good deed goes unpunished." I looked at him and asked, " Are you medical?" Yep a retired doctor. He was cool and calm that night and later told my friend he was worried about how cold I had gotten.He also told me that what took him awhile from my calling to answer me was he was looking for his pistol. Oh my God that would have done me totally in. I told him thank you for not pointing a gun at me in my dire straights. We did laugh. It felt so good to laugh. It wasn't long before my own knight in shining armor arrived to help me home. That man has never looked so good.

I did take my temp when I finally got home, after a shower and under a mountain of blankets, with the electric on high; and I was OK. It took a long time to quit shivering. The next day all my muscles hurt and I was deeply fatigued. Very grateful not to be injured.

My brush with disaster. And do I have a flashlight and a book of matches in my purse today? No, but they are coming believe me. I do have an answer to this question. Which is worse to be too hot or too cold? Too cold. Burning up in a dessert would be pretty bad, but freezing is just horrid. I do realize it wasn't even that cold, this is after all the south, but it was cold enough to be really painful and scary.

My New Years resolution will involve some kind of survival kit and the boy scouts. Do they have scouts for Grandmothers? I want a basic survival back pack. I am serious. After the 1989 earthquake in California I kept a huge sterilite bin with emergency supplies in my car and took it everywhere. I still have 2 transistor battery operated radios and more flashlights than a person needs. One small purse light coming right up.

It is Christmas but if you want to share your disaster stories I am all ears.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let It Snow

These pictures were taken at 11:00 at night. They are not black and white. Isn't this pretty? The snow was a nice soft dry powder and we went outside to play in it and play with snowballs.I know that if  you have lot's of snow all the time it's no big deal. We have heat. It was still 94 degrees in early November here. In the last ten years I have lived here we have never had enough snow to make a snow ball, so of course we had to go out and play in it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Always a LOT of Work.

I have been working on these. I have been painting and sanding and climbing on stepladders. I haven't been blogging much, because my body is working against my will. It just keeps going. I think I have those pink batteries in my innards. What would be nice is to sit down and have coffee. I would like to go blog visiting and reading, maybe even write a little.

Instead the work list is growing because now it is December again. What happened to this year? Didn't I just harvest my garden last week? How did this happen? I feel like Rumpelstiltskin.  Every year we haul out all this stuff.

It's a chore that I dread doing, alternating schizophrenically between bah- humbug and ooh goody it's Christmas! Is anyone else that weird? My back may go out while wrestling the tree into one piece, or hauling those storage boxes out from under the stairs. One never knows what perils lie waiting to plague one while getting into the festivities. Then you may happen upon a loan dead cockroach ( it's the South)or a spider lurking in the tissue paper.

But when it's done....and the music is playing.

I shout halleluiah I am finished let's celebrate!
Bring on those libations!
Yeah libations--spiked eggnog--hot toddies--Ben &Jerry's
OK--a glass of wine will suffice.
It's ready for Santa if he should happen to be in the neighborhood.
He is here.
That's good news. He'd smile but his feet are temporarily resting on my present. It's flooring! It may be next Christmas before we finish putting it in but it's going to get done eventually. Do you know what the perk is for him? Can you guess why a man would volunteer for a job like this? He doesn't have to do any shopping, other than trips to Lowe's! That place has become our second home.The man is comfortable at Lowe's.  He has been working very hard in the utility room. It is almost finished, when you see that you will be impressed.

The other little project I did yesterday was put these "valances" up. It's actually just fabric kinda wrapped around the rods and pinned with straight pins, a real Joe Maggee job. Joe is proud!  I have learned from the master.If you sew and are wonderful please don't say anything. This is it around here; me and Joe.

Joe rhymes with Moe which explains this picture.

Just when you think your family is complete someone else wants to move in. Meet Moe. He got left when the next door neighbor moved away. Moe eats here daily but never wanted to come in until the weather cooled off. Now, he is coming in the house. Santa is not so keen on another indoor/outdoor critter. I am perplexed. I am a dog lover! What is the deal with all these cats? A big cosmic joke. Moe is a nice cat, he is shy, but he's OK for a cat. He is neutered which is great. Tucker is at the vet today having that rude operation.That is his Christmas present, getting his cat nads snipped. I wonder if the Marlboro man snips their pets? The calf nut posts are really something aren't they? Pruning sheers and a hot fire....sounds like a song--"calfnuts  roasting on an open fire". I'm really getting into the holiday spirit don't you think?

As you can see all of this work and not enough sleep last night has provided you with a lot of free flight of ideas! Yeah it's rambling. But if I don't post it you may not hear from me until New Year's. Well at least that is my excuse.

Merry Christmas to us and God bless us every one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crayola Crayons

  When I was young I loved the box of 64 Crayola crayons. At the beginning of the school year I would get a new box. It was yet another thing that I loved to smell. Opening that box and inhaling deeply of the new fresh crayon fragrance I always chose my favorite colors first. My favorite colors were Burnt Sienna, Magenta, Midnight Blue, and Forest Green. Then there were the second place colors, and third place colors. The metals were fun too and mix it all up with black. I loved to make a squiggly scribble  all over a piece of paper with black and then color it in; a junior Picasso.

  So now that I am an "adult" (ah-hem) I find that I am navigating back to that color crayon box. I really like color. I like color on my walls! Not scribbling on the walls, color on the walls. I also like warm colors and rich tones- forget the pastel stuff.

So here it is.

  This hallway is ready for painting. It is not a small job. It requires scaffolding. Not a place to chose a color and then change your mind. I am so sick of this sage green I could rename it puke green. I had thought about painting it the same color as the living room which I do like. There is a big BUT here though; the hall has poor lighting. I have thought of a solar light but the roof is too steep for the honey to navigate, the pitch would pitch him to his untimely demise.   Having a two story hallway limits options for adding electrical lighting. The color choice is moo-ie importanto! I'm thinking about the honey butter color because it is lighter than the front room but in the same color family, but I am not crazy in love with the color. The dilemma is--I hang pictures in this hall, a lot of them, a virtual gallery of them. Pictures look better against a strong color, it makes them just pop. So what do I do? Ignore the bad lighting and paint with a strong color? Midnight blue? (just teasin)  The same as the living room? And to make it all worse my camera did not reproduce the color swatches accurately.

What do you do when you are making big decisons? Eat pie? Drink more coffee? Sleep on it again? The time has come the walrus said," to paint it!"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

  My garden is having a second spring. Fall is the best time of year here in Mississippi. The weather is incredibly gorgeous. This little fellow is enjoying himself.

  Today we pause in all of the busy activities we are doing, to think. I have been taught to be thankful, and for that I am thankful. Thankfulness does not come naturally to us, like selfishness does. At least that is true at my house. If we are honest about it, each of us is a master at looking out for our own interests, but we work at being kind and loving to each other.

  This man is always thinking of others, he is the real deal; a good man. I am crazy about him but you know that. Today I am thinking about being thankful for him, and for 22 years of marriage. How does that happen? One day you are young and saying "I do," and 22 years later you are much older and still together and more in love than when you started; it is a mystery and a gift.

  Not to get too sentimental- today is also about FOOD!

  One of my favorite style dressing. I love this stuff so it must be fattening. Wait, it is fattening!

  I start with a whole cube of butter and an onion finely chopped.

  Then add a LOT of chopped celery, I go ahead and chop up the leaves why throw those out? Then saute this until it is cooked and salt and pepper it.

  I had planned to show you the whole process, but a friend came by, and I kept cooking and forgot to take pictures. I had made stock from the gizzards and neck that I use to moisten this. This time I added up chopped turkey because this isn't going into the bird. I already cooked the turkey for Kayla to have more meat for her diet.  In fact I have already boiled down the carcass and turned it into soup stock. Busy little thing wouldn't you say? But the secret to good stuffing is to taste it and season it just right, before you cook it.
Um, and the eggs, I added 6 whipped up into a fluff of yellow, and they give that "souffle" texture to the dressing. You really can't mess this up unless it's dry so pour on the soup!  I have in the past added different ingredients for something special; dried cranberries, apples, nuts, pineapple, etc. This year it's just plain. Just plain delicious!

  These have been around since October and they have kept quite well sitting on the porch. It's time for them to be part of the feasting so they will be cut, cleaned and roasted. The big pumpkin will be soup. Pumpkin ginger coconut soup and yes it is fabulous. The small sweeter one will be pie. I am also baking sweet potatoes for pie and some to eat with roasted marshmallows on top. I love it. It might be junk food but I don't care, it's the way my Mama did it, and once a year won't hurt anybody.

 I am also thankful in a very real way for my two feet. Jojo I am praying for yours! I am grateful that both my feet are walking today, free of any orthopedic devices. I am grateful to be healthy. I have eyes that see and hands that work. I can talk. I can hear, (sort of) I can sing, ( well that is debatable too), and I am alive in this good green earth that the Lord has made. Today is a day to rejoice and praise Him the one who has given us all these good things. The one who loves us all.
"Oh give thanks unto the lord for He is good! For his mercy endures forever!" Psalm 118:1

Monday, November 23, 2009

Odds and Ends.

These stairs are going to keep us busy. The plan is to refinish the step and paint part white like the side trim. The carpet is fixing to go to where ever it is that dead carpet goes--the dump.

Saturday the down town library had a book sale. My little heart was pitter patting in excited expectation. Memories of the Santa Cruz Civic Center with it's piles of maybe a million books, in  organized sections filled my mind. What I found was one full row of books. Mostly what they are pulling from their shelves to withdraw from circulation. For $1.00 each hardback and 25 cents for paperback I managed to spend 20 bucks and took all I could carry.

It is cold enough for a fire. The perfect day to begin reading my plunder. I love book sales.

I also recovered the cornice that is above the couch and switched the couches around. I've been re organizing with the thoughts of moving everything out to put the flooring in. BIG job!!

I took the big round coffee table out and made this little one. It's two baskets and a piece of glass. I thought the big table took up too much room and competed with the circle design of the carpet.

The closets and drawers have been purged. It's a nice feeling not having too much stuff in here and now i am ready for the flooring to begin.

We are going to go to Stewpot and serve folks for Thanksgiving. Kayla is really working at losing weight. I didn't have anyone to invite over and just don't feel like cooking. We thought it would be good this year to just go pitch in and help out with the hungry. I'll make a sweet potato pie to have when we come home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just Cute.

What's different in this picture?

Do you see the real "toy"?
Maybe he was feeling lonely and decided to snuggle with some buddies.
I thought it was too cute not to share.

I'm still cleaning and going to the Goodwill. Just about done. The house is looking GREAT. Drawers are getting emptied out, closets debulked, it's liberating! It's so easy to get dressed when the only things in my closet are items that I can actually wear. No more shopping for the current size either. We (Kayla and I) are trying to lose weight so we aren't cooking. No pies. No cookies no nada. Not eating much. Meat and vegetables how interesting is that? No photo ops.
But you know what? It's time for all that celebratory food and I never lost what I gained last year! I refuse to get bigger, no no NO! I mean for Pete's sake; my feet are breaking under the load now. To me that is a big hint, the body would prefer to lighten the load. DUH...

Books? Well, yes I am reading but if I keep talking about it, I might get labeled and that will never do. Just a nice heart warming story you say?

"Heart In the Right Place," by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a true story about a woman who has it all, money, high powered job, a Mercedes...and her mother has a heart attack. Her father is a country doctor in a rural area of Tennessee and her mother helps run his very old fashioned practice. She goes home to help out and from there her whole life gets turned upside down. Its sweet, hilarious, and's true. What can be better than that?

Currently I am tessering through "A Wrinkle In Time," series and am reading the last book. I have a different perspective after reading the Crosswick Journals and can see that some of the settings are from her farm. It's been a very enjoyable rerun. Children's books can be for everyone, especially these. These would be good read aloud books for family time.

How are you? Do you have big plans for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Lover of Books

Ever since I was very young, I have loved books. There is something about a new copy, not yet read that is magical for me. I love to smell the paper and gingerly run my hands over the front cover and feel of the pages, savoring the text before reading it. It's a memory that goes back as far as I can remember.

Smell is connected to memory isn't it? Did you ever deeply inhale of your new shoes? When I was young we received shoes twice a year and had two pair, one for church and one for school. When Keds came out we were crazy with joy to have play shoes! I quickly worked on my mom to let me wear the tennis shoes everywhere. I hated saddle shoes and loafers. They may have been stylish but it felt like walking in cement, and the heat so much hotter in those clodhoppers.

I am digressing a little but not really. It was as a school girl that our parochial school often held book sales for fund raisers. We were allowed to go into the main auditorium where piles of books were laid out on long tables. They were placed by grade level but that never mattered to me. What I was after was the front and back flaps of any book that caught my eye. Often my parents would buy me everything that I selected, it was so much better than any holiday. I saved most of these lovely books and left them with my daughter when I moved here. They may be gone.

There is nothing to this day that I like more, than to read curled up in a cozy spot and get completely lost in the world between those two covers. Adversity can be a blessing. I learned to love books when I was young because of profound, undiagnosed near sightedness. My grades did not suffer from my myopic vision because often during the recess I would go up to the black board and look at what was written. It trained my hearing very well to remember what was said.
When discovered by a routine school screening I could not see the big E on the chart. I had to walk nearly up to the chart to read anything. Mother was naturally horrified and also confused why none of the usual signs had presented. She asked me how I managed in school and I told her about staying in at recess; it was perfectly logical to me. I hated recess balls and other objects that would periodically come hurtling threw the air and hit me. It was always to late to react by the time I saw them coming. The world of imagination was much safer and also much more exciting. When driving home with my first pair of glasses on I was amazed that leaves actually grew on trees! Mother wept, and I couldn't understand why.

I already knew how to read when I started school. The primary grades were sheer torture. Each time I received a new "reader" I would go home and read it, then try the next day to return it. Those exasperated teachers would try to explain to me that it was a "reader" and I was to use it at school. The exasperated child would try to explain the book had been read completely and wasn't to good at that. Fun With Dick and Jane were pretty elementary reading.

I was reading chapter books and had a Junior Classics set. My mother also gave me books of nursery rhymes most of them completely memorized before kindergarten. In spite of being constantly in trouble for talking out of turn, correcting the other children's reading out loud, or getting up from my seat; I didn't lose my love of learning or of reading.

When a new copy comes in the mail and I open it, I still feel that bit of flutter and anticipation to see and smell my new book. Is the anticipation because of my enjoying opening the book or enjoying having the book open me? These authors that we don't actually know but do have a reciprocal relationship with. They present something to us and our minds open to receive or we reject. It is incredible the power of written words.

Madeline L'Engle is at the very top of my list right now. I am in love with her writing. I love the way she thinks, talks, and holds discussions as if we are present in her class, or living room. She imparts such a sense of prescence that it is to imagine you are walking at her side viewing each scene that she takes you to; her world revealed. A rekindled appreciation for thinking is stirring between the gray matter in my head, and the soul in my being.

In the "Summer of the Great Grandmother," she is dealing with the severe decline of her mother. Her family spends each year at their country house in New England. Her mother has suffered from dementia for some time, but in this particular summer, just the trip itself sends her off the deep end profoundly. They realize she will never be able to return to her home.
The episodes of fear and outlandish behavior spur Madeline to remember her childhood, her relationships with her parents, and their parents to review her family history back to the civil war. It is an incredible journey, a fantastic marvelous read.

Something happened in my own response to her story. I saw great parallels between her people and mine, between her childhood experiences and mine. My grandparents rode on camels in Egypt and so did hers. Her family was well read and knew several foreign languages as did mine. These people who did not consider themselves to be highly educated because they had no degrees; lived very full and interesting lives!

Which made me think of the strong contrast between their lives and those portrayed in,"Brave New World", by Aldous Huxley and "1984", by George Orwell. The totalitarian government in BNW kept the masses happy with soma and diversions. Games and physical fitness were the chief modes of entertainment and all things "new" celebrated, old things and old people abhorred. I wonder if we have 'soma' now? Would we recognize it if it was in our lives already? What things do we routinely use to "check out" from the world we live in and distress? Zone out, tune out, take a vacation, "a gramme is better than a damn". The government had discovered that keeping people in an infantile state and away from strong feelings enabled them to be easily controlled.

In "1984", we have "Big Brother:, the benevolent government that will rewrite history and current events to subdue the masses, and again medicate and condition the people so they do not even recognize the servitude that is upon them. The interesting thing is that in both stories, books are forbidden. Learning is forbidden, it has been replaced by conditioning. Political correctness is of supreme importance, any infractions reported for the greater good of the society as a whole. Would we even see it? Isn't it already here? Would we realize if we are conditioned? "I love new clothes", "better to spend than to mend", sounds ominously like a TV commercial to me, but in Brave New World, it was part of the multitude of whispers in the night that the government raised children, were subjected too.

How did I get from grandparents that could speak foreign languages and ride camels to that? I hope you made that jump on your own. In that time there was no TV, no media, no Internet. People were very busy with living independent lives. independent of government, independent of the mainstream pressure to conform to the status quo. When you don't have "soma" you live life. People those few generations ago were very much free Americans and celebrated their freedom by working very hard to better themselves. My grandparents( legal immigrants by the way) saw the industrial revolution, the invention of the radio, the electric light bulb, indoor plumbing, the motor car, airplanes, and a man that walked on the moon. To name just a few of the milestones in their generation. It was an amazing time to be alive.

How about us? Where do we fit in? Where do you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Fest Foto Day in the Country!

Pretty much as soon as these were turned loose;I hit the ground running.
So to speak, actually I began standing in front of the stove.
Where I usually spend a lot of time. This home made chicken soup is pretty tasty.
If I don't say so myself.
It had been awhile since we had any of this too...

The hunny is always up for some of these...

or his very favorite.
After getting full of home cooking we decided to take a ride to the country to visit some friends.
Boys and vines that hang from trees are a match made in heaven.
We had a special occasion to make the trip. This little princess is a couple of days old, she is the 6th child in this family but there is plenty of room for her.

They have horses on their farm, Kayla wanted to brush them so they had a nice relaxing grooming.
The Dad and one of the other daughters were busy doing something here.
Which involved this kind lady named I-Lean, she has a bum foot but it doesn't slow her down much. A jersey cow, the best milk on the planet comes from such as these.
The oldest has the knack she knows just how to fill up the pails. We were given 2 gallons of milk and about that much in pure cream. I am blessed to overflowing! Just think real butter, sour cream, and ooooohhh that milk!!! My bones are getting stronger just thinking about it.

A family shot of all the children they are a joy to be around they are so well behaved, and they are very happy children.
We drove all through the country to visit them. It's not far from where we live just 20 mins from me you can be in places that look like this.
We stopped by the side of the road to take these.

Tried to get this driving and it's blurry but it's my dream place, I think it's for sale. Won't be mine it's more moolah than I have. It is a perfect farm house on picturesque acreage.
On the way home...
I love it in the town of Flora...or more correctly the countryside of Flora...

the photographer at work...
Somebody has to drive, notice my window? You guessed it perfect weather!!
This time of year we have the best weather in the country!
More beauty isn't this just a feast for the eyes?

All to soon we turned the corner back to our place. The trees declare the beauty of fall.

With a little help from my resident teen.

We are home and the day was perfect.