Tuesday, December 15

Merry, Merry

I started the tree Saturday morning. It's been six years so, I had forgotten the time and effort involved. When the city-girl got home from work, she helped with the lights. By midnight we were looking good!

But the decorating had taken its toll on us all.

Saturday, November 21

Sharing The Girly Traditions

When the girls were young and still trying to figure themselves out--and we know they are all finished with that now at 23 and 25--I made every effort to offer them ample opportunities with varied efforts to make that task all the more easier.

Anything they wanted explore, I supported them. Of source the one stipulation was, anything they started they had to finish through--just to give themselves the full benefit of having explored it.

We--as a family--had so many creative outlets! Now, in hindsight, I have to say we are the more richer as a result (even though the "original" family is scattered!).

Part of that enrichment took the form of Philharmonic Orchestra and the once-a-year Nutcracker Ballet.

We were privileged to visit the Philharmonic Orchestra performances on a variety of occasions. I was tutoring the conductor's wife on computer and she was kind enough to provide me and my young girls with exceptionally good seats. So befitting the occasion, we dressed to the nines and attended with quiet respect. The girls ages were still in the singles digits. They were quiet and sat in awe of the precision in which the musicians played. And after each performance, they were privileged enough to go backstage and see all those shiny instruments up close and personal. I still think these visits had something to do with my eldest being first chair cello and my youngest being first chair flutist in their high school years. The seed was planted...

The ballet was a different matter altogether.

It was always such a special occasion. The girls would don their Christmas dresses. The good perfume would be brought out and used with wild abandon, Hair would be upswept and the "fancy" earrings would be pulled out of safe-keeping. This was a grand occasion.

In spite of their early years, I remember how the girls would sit mesmerized throughout the entire performance. During intermission, we'd venture into the lobby for bathroom breaks and keepsake Christmas ornaments were purchased.

At the end of the performance, we'd gather up our treasures and spend the ride each discussing out favorite parts of the evening.
This was a "girls only" outing-- not that Dad every felt slighted or showed any interest at all.

This was a girl thing.

This year--after a 10 year break from this holiday tradition--the city-girl and I will be introducing Momo to the Nutcracker Ballet. I'm really terribly excited.

I'm sure the city-girl will be happy to know that tickets have been purchased and the date has been marked on our calendars. Three generations will be seeing the Nutcracker this year.

The only upsetting part is that the youngest member pf our female entourage--Miss Jeni--will be unable to join us. But she will be there in spirit...

Sunday, October 25

Potholes In The Road

The first time you travel through a pothole, it may startle you because you never saw it coming. This is your chosen path-- over all others -- and you have learned to lean with the curves in the road. There's a certain comfort found in familiarity.

Second time around, you might get angry at yourself--because you knew it was there, right? What were you thinking? When the jolt rattles your teeth and upsets everything, you may blame yourself for not fixing the broken part of the road, even though you know you are ill-equipped to do such things.

So you continue traveling the same way, thinking you will see the pothole in time to drive around it. Such confidence! Inevitably, the scenery proves to be distracting and you hit the damn hole again.

No blood, no foul. So you just keep going.

At some point, it may dawn on you that the pothole is not getting fixed. Others may not find it as unpleasant as you do. There must be some who may actually like potholes and accept them as part of the ride. In fact, they may drive right through the potholes at high speed just for the thrill of the jolt. So what if it takes a day or so to get everything adjusted and back in line?

But soon you notice, those who seek the jolt don't get everything adjusted and back in line. The papers that are scattered by the bump stay scattered. What has fell off the dash and rolls under the seat, stays under the seat. Yet they continue to plow right through the pothole as things scatter and roll.

You may find yourself wondering what is wrong with me that I can't see the thrill in the jolt? Jolt seekers may suggest you are too rigid and controlling because you choose the comfort of knowing where items are, over speculating where they may have shifted.

You may listen, but ultimately you decide you won't be spending time retrieving anything from under the seat. It may take a bit more effort while traveling to look for the pothole and drive around it, but you realize this plan nets the greatest benefit.

But as you swerve to miss the pothole, you may realize this old path just isn't as scenic as you once thought. This particular path has lost a bit of its charm. You may even begin to believe the journey doesn't justify the swerve in the road.

Saturday, October 17

He's The Love Of My Life

I have better pictures of Elijah Blue--I just can't put my hands on them right now.

This is how he looked before our move to Virginia in 2001.

He made the trip and has since, lost his sight. He moves around as if he hasn't, though. I admire his dignity.

What I love most about him is how he is always glad to see me, always forgiving and puts no other before me. He is my ever faithful companion, through thick and thin.

Makes me think of the saying "If you want undying love and affection, get a dog."

Happy Tenth Birthday, Elijah Blue.

Wednesday, October 14

Earning My Ride Out Of Town

I got flowers yesterday. One dozen yellow yellow roses, to be exact.

From my youngest, they were. She had sent flowers for my birthday last week. But when the florist delivered them, I walked inside, vase in hand--and became outraged. At this point and time I hadn't even pulled the card to see WHO had been kind enough to send the flowers. I was too intent on the brown withering edges of the white petals to notice.

I promptly turned around and went out the front door, appalled. I chased the delivery driver. I pecked upon his window as he was driving off in an attempt to get him to stop. He seemed shocked and more than a little put out when I stopped him.

After he had stopped his vehicle, I asked him how he could possible equate what I held in my hand with the term "fresh flowers." He pulled one brown-edged stem from the vase and scrutinized it more closely. Then he snorted "Give 'em back to me."
No apology. Nothing. Might I add this was an elderly gentleman which I understand at one point was actively involved with young men's civic activities (but it was later revealed, not in the best possible light).

He was gone by the time I had realized I hadn't even read the card. Who had sent these flowers with the best possible intent and had been inadvertently screwed?

So, I spoke to Miss Jeni and explained (after I got a voicemail saying she hoped I enjoyed her birthday gift). She phoned and demanded a refund and the went online to order direct from the best florist in town.

This is what I received yesterday.

The funny thing is, from what I understand in speaking with Miss Jeni today, the dozen yellow roses were actually was less expensive than the shitty arrangement that was delivered first go round.

It's so nice to get what you pay for.

Monday, October 12

Play Bingo and Win A Condom

I received this notice in my campus mailbox last week.

A Condom Carnival! What an intriguing idea!
Safe should be a given, but fun intercourse got my attention.

I read further and had questions. Since I am over 50, who else would I go to except the 25-year-old city-girl?

What, I asked, is a dental dam? She threw her head back in laughter and said she could not believe I was asking her. Well, of course I was asking, because I didn't know and had decided that she may.

From the information I gathered, it is an apparatus used during oral sex to prevent the spread of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Due to the level of discomfort for the city-girl daughter and for myself, I let it go at that.

While I am thrilled that such things exist, I'm still curious... How does it work? Is it intended for the male or female? What does it look like?

Needless to say, I was not curious enough to attend the Condom Carnival, play a round of bingo and pick one out, should I win.

Momo and I discussed this very thing during a recent telephone conversation. She asked me if it was something new. I told her I had never heard of such a thing, so perhaps it was new. Without a moment's hesitation, she told me she sure hoped it had been around for some time.

Although I am not completely playing by the rules as outlined, I'm counting this post as "one more" for the wrap up for the Honest Scrap Award.
If I were to play by the rules and reveal my innermost thoughts, you would hear from me no more, as I would be run out of town on a rail!

Saturday, October 10

Honestly, Though...

I'm going to lay it all out there and give you more. It wasn't really my idea, though. Well over a week or so, I got tagged for the Honest Scrap Award by my pal across the way.

Here's the rules:
I now have to say 10 honest things about myself... I'm going to bend the rules and break it up and do 5 and 5.

1. I really enjoy the outdoors-- landscaping and gardening, that is. It's an escape.
I'm a bit weary today as I moved the immediate yard yesterday. I quit when I couldn't see anymore--at just about dusk. My feet were tired. JB usually mows but his mower broke a belt about a week ago and he's just a bit too caught up with other things to replace it.

I don't mow the big stuff! I just mow around the house so the knot-heads don't beat me around the ankles when I go from the driveway to the house. I use the mower I finagled from my ex-husband during our divorce. It's self-propelled, so after about 2 or 3 hours, it's pulling me around the house.

And the house isn't really that big. There's a studio on the left that JB uses for woodworking. It's not attached, but does look like it from the road.

2.I have been forced into learning patience.
I love the back yard. When I first moved back to Virgina, I begin planning a walking garden. Now I am afraid I have created much more than I can keep up with.
And I have great plans for that little guest house. One day...

3. I'm a closet hairdresser.
I cut JB's hair probably twice a year, although he needs it done more often. I usually badger him until he submits! He really needs a professional to do it for him, although I must admit I am getting better (and faster) at getting it done.

4. I'm a bit obsessive.
Generally, when I start a project, I go full steam. Unfortunately, I begin to wear out before I'm quite through. I always finish what I start, but end up dead tired. Let's just say I sleep well.
Today for example, I cleaned the basement. The weather has turned cooler so I had to make room for all my plants. It's done, But I am ready to get horizontal!

5. Sometimes I feel like I'm running out of time.
I can't believe that more than 50 years of my life has passed! It makes me feel like I have to hurry to do everything that I'd like to get done.

6. I wish we could all be honest.
Why is honesty so hard? Really, it's the simpler way... and there'd be an end to assuming.

Okay, so I did 6. That just means I'm ahead for tomorrow...

Sunday, October 4

I Had My Cake And Ate It Too

Today I am 51.

What a day, indeed. But don't they all end up ultimately that way?

The city-girl daughter worked a lunch shift then waited patiently while I took my birthday cake out of the oven before taking me to dinner. That was quite a treat! I am so happy she is living close to me--living with me--so I am a part of her life (as she is mine) every day. That is a wonderful blessing. And yes, I tell her that at every opportunity.

But, this morning I went to visit Pop because he has a suspicious bruise on his side that is totally unwarranted. Looks like more of a large (12X14) blood blister...

He and I and Momo went to the ER to have it investigated. He is scheduled for a follow up with his personal physician tomorrow. The city-girl daughter is going to hoard in with the premise of birthday cake and then phone me to see if I need to cut my afternoon classes.

I'm sure Pop will be fine--he is a tough old buzzard. Sitting with him in the ER reminded me of visits with my children. You spend the bulk of your time finding conversations that are completely distracting in an effort to get them to forget where they are and what why they are there...

I feel so bad for not posting. There is so much going on and often I just have a difficult time putting everything into words. I will try to do better, because I know inquiring minds want to know, and the practice will do me great good as I have a ginormous number of papers to write this semester. Be patient with me as I am still learning so much...

I'll leave you with these shots of the city-girl daughter playing tennis last Thursday...

If nothing else, this is an example as to how very important is is to remain focused on our goals.

Sunday, September 27

My Immortal Grandmother

When I let Blue out early this morning, this is what I saw on the east stoop:

It's a succulent that came from a plant that was once Granny's (Pop's mother).
She passed away one year before the city-girl daughter was born.

My oldest sister had given me a piece of the plant a couple of years ago. While her plant has bloomed, mine had never produced anything other that twists and turns of thick rubbery leaves. Imagine my delight!

In fact, I'm so silly that I was thrilled when I got this rather odd tubular extension on the plant on the kitchen porch.

What a wonderful surprise to realize there is more to come.

Thursday, September 24

I Was, Therefore, I Am

I played hookey today.

My afternoon class was canceled and I had a one-day job opportunity utilizing my IT skills that payed quite handsomely so I jumped on it. What the hell...

But this evening was truly delightful. I stopped by Momo and Pop's to check on their shared bronchitis--and met up with my Uncle Danny (Momo's youngest brother!). He's quite eccentric and always a treat.

He followed me home and we all dined on a dinner of Shrimp Scampi--then I pulled out slides (yes! slides!) of my youth. He and I and the city-girl daughter watched them--complete with the groanings from a 30-year-old projector.

After turning our heads left, then right to view the ones that were placed inappropriately--the city-girl daughter is convinced that I was, in fact, young at some point.

Judging from this pic of JB and I back in the day, it looks like not much has changed besides our hairstyles...

She got such a kick out of seeing her grandparents in their thirties and forties, too.

She thought the furniture of the seventies was pretty "pimp." The cars back then were "crazy" and built like tanks. (Yes, they were. What happened to those good solid cars?)

This photograph was taken in 1977--could that really have been 32 years ago???

Wednesday, September 23

A Little Scientific Research

I took a guest with me to school last week.

I thought the students in my gender studies classes might like to visit with him a bit.

The FEMALE class noticed how large his feet are--right away.

The MALE class was more interested in hearing what Mr. Wonderful had to say and how I happened to own a Mr. Wonderful doll.
One fellow noted his smile was not unlike those guys in the commercials for the male enhancement products.

Part of Mr. Wonderful's charm is he "always says the right things."

No wonder he's smiling...

Update on Pop:I was right--he is a tough old buzzard. The x-rays were clean. All's in good order. The doctor suspects his recent bout with bronchitis created the bruise.

Monday, September 21

A Room With A View

I'm still putting my bedroom back together. I haven't hung pictures or the blinds. The main things are taken care of--the bed and the computer are fully functional. (Really, I'm just so damn tickled that the walls have no cracks for wind to whistle through this year!)

JB put up the new bedroom door (more than 2 weeks ago), but the doorknob hasn't made it to the door yet. It's still in the package on the kitchen counter.

A minor detail to him, I'm sure.

But the door opens and closes and if I want it to remain closed, I put a doorstop in front of it.

Peering through the opening where the doorknob should be, I can see my chubby little dog (Blue) napping in the living room.

Saturday, September 19

The Sound Of Silence

I feel so bad.

I have blogging buddies that have just dropped out of sight. I wonder what might have happened that they no longer have time for me. I'm curious. I hope they are doing well--but still I want to know what is going on. I won't mention names--you know who you are (cce, where are you??).

With that thought in mind, I'm bringing you all up to speed with my life.

I've just finished three weeks now at my new university. I'm absolutely loving it. I think it is a match made in heaven. I'm in love.

This school is the absolute most wonderful thing in the world. Never mind that I am just one of 30 non-tradtional students there. Oh, but we're not called non-tradtional, we're prime timers. Every time I hear primer timers, my mind thinks not ready for primer time players.

The great news is that I love my classes. I'm a sociology major with a minor in gender studies, so what's not to like? The class discussions are awesome! (Although I think I may be scaring some of the young folks in my Men 1945-present class...)

The campus is old, very old. All the sidewalks are brick and the majority of the buildings do not have elevators, but rather many flights of stairs.

I have lost weight! My clothes are buttoning quite easily these days.

My commute is 50 minutes every day in my poor ole clunker of a car--that I purchased NEW in 1999. The Saturn is hanging tough, though--and for that I am ever grateful.

Life is truly very good. And if I feel that way, then I am either insane or really happy--you be the judge.

Sunday, September 6


"Many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its fragrance on the desert air."
Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."

Tuesday, September 1

Critical Thinking

I saw this bumper sticker while visiting this place:

I was taken with the charm of the more than century-old buildings. I couldn't help but wonder whose footsteps preceded my own as I stepped along the brick walkways.

A lover of all things historic, I was hooked after all of about two visits.

And so I find myself in school again--a week into it. This time, it's different though.
My classes are literature and gender studies. There are no labs to complete, but rather pages to read in preparation for class discussions.

And what discussions! My faith is renewed in this new generation--by those twenty-somethings--who express themselves far better that I could ever hope! They're objective and clearly well-prepared to embrace this changing world.

I shall hope I can continue, but have my fears now. My home life has been rocky for years now and I feel the shifting becoming more intense.

Saturday, August 22

Zero Minus Ten And Counting

So JB has been gone for what--five days now--and can you guess how I decided to spend my time?

I had great plans. I had decided to "chill -lax" (the city girl's words for chill and relax)--but do you think I really had it in me? Wouldn't it have been grand, if it had happened?

But no, it didn't.

I decided this was the opportune time to get the bedroom done. And remembering that I had traded a car (two years ago) for a little cash and enough labor to get the bedroom all sealed before winter, I jumped at the chance.

JB left at 7:45 am on Wednesday and by 8:00 I started moving furniture like a woman possessed. By 2 pm when the materials were delivered, I was ready.

I did have a bit of help. Pop came over, two days running-- to make sure everything was wired correctly.

So here it is Saturday night and I'm looking at at a a lot of drywall yet to sanded and painted, but I feel good about what has been accomplished. I would have liked for it all to have been done, but this is what happens. You do what you can, right?

Saturday, August 15

You Never Know Until You Try

"Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results.
I know several thousand things that won't work."

-- Thomas A. Edison

It would seem that Mr Edison and I have a great deal in common. After all the planning, my upside down tomato plant yielded but ONE tomato.

Friday, August 7

Your Cliche is Calling

If you expect a rainbow...

then you have to learn to put up with a little rain.

I've had a bit of trouble expressing myself lately, so I have resorted to cliches.

Sunday, August 2

It's Best To Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Most mornings when I walk through the kitchen I can see a basket-full of dog on the deck.

He looks quite comfy, doesn't he? And things are so quiet and peaceful until he wakes up!

Sometimes I can get through a glass of juice before he wakes. I try to be quiet, but he's usually awakened when I dump the carafe of water in the coffemaker.

He's not a slow riser. If I were to open the patio doors just a crack, he'd leap up out of the basket and be ready...

And once Lina appears in the kitchen, we start yet another day of a battle between the sexes, so to speak. He snarls, growls, paces and body slams the door in an attempt to rattle her.

But Lina is always in fine form. Like a true lady, she does her very best to just ignore him.

Friday, July 31

I'm Twice Her Age

Since we last visited, the city-girl daughter turned 25.

I sewed those flashy silver sequins on a red shirt at her subtle request.

She told me since she had never gotten a "4" dress like her sister, I should do it.
What was I thinking? I never realized the flash was something she wanted.

She had a lovely day with lots of flowers.

A single rose from her male acquaintance before their lunch in the next city
(not her significant other, mind you)

And a lovely bouquet of varied pink flowers from Miss Jeni.
Once I saw the lilies, I knew it had to be from Jen.

The birthday girl retired early--
as a responsible young lady should--
ever mindful of her obligations the next day.

Tuesday, July 14

And She Doesn't Cook?

The city-girl gets caught up in the moment sometimes. We talk about all sorts of things. We discuss current events, human behavior or the latest celebrity gossip.

And sometimes in the the midst of all this, I'm cooking.

While I'm busy doing chopping, I'll cleverly ask her to stir what's on the stove. My hands are wet or messy, so I'll ask her to check what's in the oven or fetch me something out of the cabinet.

She's been "helping" in the kitchen since she was a small child so she does it without hesitation. But I really pushed the envelope when I asked her to turn the eggrolls while I prepared more...

But I know how she likes eggrolls.

Monday, July 13

Puberty In Reverse

This is on loan from Momo.

If I remember correctly,
she came across this little gem just about the time
Pop was in his mid-fifties.

After doing some research I have learned that the grouchiness
can be attributed to andropause. It is very common
and is basically male menopause.

With all the remedies for female menopause, why haven't we allowed the same acceptance to the male equivalent? It's a shame that andropause doesn't get the attention and those suffering with it don't get treatment.

Saturday, July 11

When Life Gives You Lemons

Here's a photo of my latest project.

Blue, Lina and Haji were kind enough to demonstrate
the practicality of a wine cork rug.

I've been saving wine corks since JB and I married,
about eight years ago. I never had any steadfast plans for
the corks, although I once had thought they would make an
interesting floor covering for the basement bathroom.

I'm now working on rug number two.

The cork contribution has dwindled considerably as these days I may add
two corks a week at best and JB has become strictly a canned beer man...

Any novel ideas for beer cans??

Monday, June 29

The Best Laid Plans

Try as I may, I still can't grasp the idea that lists, goals and plans don't guarantee success.

I'm in denial, the city-girl daughter tells me matter-of-factly. She not cynical, shes says. She's a realist.

Okay. Okay. I'm listening, but I'm not really hearing any of it. Learning to ride the waves, rather than resist the pulls and tugs of daily living, I've decided is the key.

Just last week, I photographed this delighted traveler as she was setting off for a short visit with a childhood friend.
After finishing another semester of school, and working too many shifts waiting tables, she was obviously embracing a few days off to relax and catch-up

So off we go--in plenty of time--to the airport west of our little kingdom. With more than an hour to spare, we were feeling good. That is until the city-girl daughter's ticket number could not be found in the system. It was only after she and I had both tried several times, did I notice her flight was booked at the airport to the east of our little kingdom.

Back in the car we went, knowing are chances of catching the flight (more than 50 miles to the east) were slim to none.

No harm, no foul is what my old friend the nurse always said.

During the drive, arrangements were made to catch the next flight via phone. It really worked out better because we had time for lunch and a proper send-off.

She doesn't look near as excited the second airport, does she?

Upon seeing this sign, she reminds me I have always told her she was special.

This face is in response to the TSA asking if there were any sharp objects in her bag.
She replied, "Tweezers?"

Having completed all the necessary check-in procedures, she explains the events of the day to the anxious folks who have a limo waiting for her in Atlanta.