Saturday, December 29, 2007

And Then There Were Three

A little over thirty-two years ago on a warm spring day I had a conversation with the school nurse that went something like this.

Me: What would cause a person to nearly pass out just standing out at recess? I can't believe I feel so light headed.

Nurse: You must be pregnant!

Me: You've got to be kidding -- Carrie is only 4 months old and anyway Garry had that taken care of. We aren't having any more children.

But she was right; I was pregnant. At first I was very upset to be *with child* again so soon, but after some tears and prayers I accepted the fact that my family was going to grow by one and began to prepare for the third daughter. I never thought for a minute that the child I carried this time was a boy.

Garry and discussed names and decided that we wanted to name her after a very good friend that had a name we both liked and his mother --- Amy Marie born December 29, 1975 became our third daughter.

She didn't follow the rules being born. No, she had to do it her way. Dr. Wright came in to examine me and said it would be *a good while* before she came. But Amy didn't seem to think he knew what he was talking about. I had one hard contraction and knew that this baby was ready to be born. I told her dad that he had better get someone because the baby was coming. He just smiled and said, "But Dr. Wright just said it would be a while."

I was not happy about his dismissing me and what I knew was happening. I think I cursed at him and said to get someone now! The nurse came in with the same remark that Garry had made and very reluctantly began to check me --- she got in a hurry as soon as the covers were pulled back. I don't think I have ever seen nurses move quite so quickly as they did then. I do remember them saying over and over, "Don't push! Don't push!" Like I really had much control over anything at this stage of the game. Dr. Wright was still in the hospital and made it back to delivery in time to *catch* the baby and in doing so delivered my third daughter.

Amy -- we called her "Chunky Chicken Soup" a lot when she was a toddler -- she was chunky, the sweetest round cheeks, big blue eyes, dimples and blond hair that stood up like a halo. She also had a very sweet, laid back disposition that made you just want to squeeze her. Grandmother Bowen thought I had finally done something right because I finally had a round baby --- the kind she loved!

There are lots of Amy stories too and many of them include Carrie in some way. Like Carrie giving her a haircut, ending her having baby curls on the back of her head. (Okay, so I wasn't a very good mother to leave scissors where a nearly 3 year old could cut a nearly 2 year old's hair, but no one was hurt.) Another time on a Scouting trip Amy told Carrie to order for her at Taco Villa as she went to the restroom. She wanted a Guadalajara but to have them hold the guacamole. Hard to do since it is just a corn tortilla with guacamole, lettuce and tomato. And then there was the time when they were in Lubbock attending Tech living together in an apartment that I get the phone call that said, "Momma, tell Amy she has to clean the bathroom!"

Of course, there are stories about Amy by herself. When she got an F on a paper in Kindergarten because she wanted to use black and orange (Demon colors) instead of blue and red like the teacher said to use. Or how we could have her all ready for Sunday school sit her on the couch and in the fifteen minutes it would take to get everyone else into the living room and her up she would look like she had been in a wrestling match with a pig and have never left the couch. We could never figure out how it happened.

She has filled us with pride several times also. She went to Washington D.C. for the Hobey Leadership
Conference her senior year and managed to take care of herself (for the most part) during one of the worst blizzards experienced on the east coast at the time. She graduated from Texas Tech in three years with a BS degree. And she has given us two very special grandchildren, Abigail and Benjamin.

She is a Bowen -- stubborn, proud, witty, laid back, and very much her own person. I'm glad the nurse was right that day. What would life have been like without Amy?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Just Saw Santa

The scene -- Friday the last day of the semester, first period of the morning, school Christmas parties to be held after lunch, computer lab, 5 third grade students.

Jacob: Mrs. Bain I just saw Santa! (eyes twinkling, a grin the size of Texas and dimples to die for)

Mrs. Bain: (smiling because I knew Santa was in the building) Really, Jacob, where.

Jacob: In the hall. I really saw him. He just walked by the door. Santa's here.
Now all the student look around and beginning to grin.

Mrs. Bain: Eros did you see him?

Erose: Nope, I didn't see nobody.

Mrs. Bain: Gee, Jacob, you must be working to hard and seeing things.

Jacob: (eyes still twinkling and the grin even bigger) I really saw him -- He's here. How did he get here? He's really here.

I teased him a little more, but he knew that Santa was there and nothing I said was going to dampen his enthusiasm. He was going to get to see Santa in his class. I don't think Jacob got much more done in my class, but that is okay. I don't think I've seen a child that excited by Santa. I received the best Christmas present ever --- the look on Jacob's sweet face and all the hopes, dreams and possibilities there --- all because he had seen Santa.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Was Right Nan-Ah-Nan-Ah-Boo-Boo

Last night after church, the gang went to Victoria's Mexican Restaurant -- our hang out. Of course the lady from the scrabble game, was there. Everyone was chatting away about the Christmas program, plans for Christmas, what we were getting each other for Christmas etc. Everyone volunteered to let me come use my Christmas gift at their house --- just to be sure it worked right --- Then at one point this lady, I'll call her Mary because that is her name --- told me that she had gone online when she got home and the word quizzes had come up in an email she had gotten. Since it had two Zs in it the way it was spelled she looked it up and sure enough it was supposed to have two Zs. To this I had just replied I know. Then she said, "Who knew?" Well, I could pass it up I replied, "I knew (and gave the complete rule about doubling the consonant when there is a single vowel followed by a single consonant in an accented syllable before adding a suffix beginning in a vowel) and I challenged you, but you were so adamant and I didn't feel that a scene was necessary."
Mary said, "Well, I got the 76 points. You should have made a scene." You can bet next time I will --- tell me I should make a scene. I had to swollow my tongue to keep from making a scene then. But I just smiled and said again, "I knew ."
Not sure she gave me an apology and not sure I accepted it, but I'm glad she knows how to spell quizzes now. :)

Ben at two months watching football with Grandpa November 2005.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not a Bad Sport Just a Poor Loser

I had to stop this post and work on my computer --- it had been acting funny ever since I updated the Yahoo stuff. I don't know how I managed but I changed my homepage, no longer have my Google toolbar -- which wiped out all my bookmarks -- have a new way to get to everything. I spent most of Thursday evening on this debacle. I think I have now gotten the computer running smoothly. At least I can type and the computer keep up. I'm not sure I like the new format, but don't know how to get back to the old one. I'm sure that in a day or two this will feel right to me and I'll wonder why I ever thought the old was better.

Last night (Friday) I went to a Christmas Scrabble party the home of a friend. There was a small group there so we only had two tables. Now for me just to be at a scrabble party is ironic in itself because I am not known as a word person and my spelling is not, shall we say, the best. I felt I did a decent job or at least an adequate job though. My best word was worldly for a triple score and my poorest word was for only 3 points. I did challenge when one lady after me when she spelled quizzed with only one z, but no one else would agree to the challenge so she got the word. Because of where she put it she got 72 points for a misspelled word! It was hard to be *nice* after that because I am not a really great loser. Later I looked quiz up to to be sure I knew what I was thinking was right. Mary came in second overall for the evening so I felt better that she didn't win --- my booby prize was nice to get as long as she didn't win ---- I told you I was a bad sport -- I didn't however say anything to Mary but I couldn't resist showing the word to my fellow table mates.

This morning Robert and I are off to the Christmas brunch. My cookies should be a mild hit -- they are cute so life looks good. The weather here just isn't very Christmasy --- the temperature is 71 degrees and it is raining --- go figure. Two of my favorite people. Abby and Robert on her first birthday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not a Creature Was Stirring -- Except the Mice

This evening I made 3 1/2 dozen Peanut butter Mice cookies (the recipe said it would make 5 dozen, mine must be a little large). They really turned out cute, but were more work than I thought they would be. I followed the recipe that came with them. Next time I plan to use my own quick and simple peanut butter recipe --- One egg, One cup sugar, One cup peanut butter --- mix well, bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. I figure if I chill the dough it will be the same. Of course I'll probably have to double the recipe in order to get the 3 dozen, but that will be simple enough.


Now why did I make these cookie you ask -- they are for a Christmas brunch that Robert and I are attending on Saturday morning and I was looking for something a little different. These should fill that bill nicely. Now if one of you creative types who are good with poetry in the form of a paradox would drop we stanza or two for "'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, Not a creature was stirring except these little mice" ------- that is as far as I could get. :) I'll put it on a card next to the cookies just for the entertainment value. I always say presentation is nine-tenths of the review so I need some help presenting them.
Doesn't she look like she would enjoy making cookies? This was taken in Mexico while on a Caribbean cruise in the fall of 2005. We had a great time driving the ATV's on the beach. It was my first time to drive one and it took me a little bit to get it down --- I couldn't remember how to shift gears and was just putting along until Robert could get beside me to tell me how. Loved our WWII surplus helmets --- they reminded me of the one in Hogan's Heroes for some reason --- maybe we should have been on a motorcycle with a side car. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Favorite Christmas - Family, Presents and Love

I heard someone the other day talking about their favorite Christmas, and I've been trying to come up with my favorite Christmas ever since. I really can't remember any one Christmas that stands out as my favorite -- they all just blend together.

As a child I remember always being excited about going in early Christmas morning to see what Santa had left for me in my little pile of presents. (Our Santa didn't put things in stocking as I remember it, my sisters might have a different memory -- that happens and it's okay). There was always a holiday meal and family.

As a newlywed Christmas became a time to "go home." Usually to both our families. The gifts we gave each other were never anything big -- they always ran more to the practical side. We had two holiday meals now and more presents and more laughing and fun.

As each child was born we began to establish traditions of our own blending together his ideas of Santa Claus and mine, but those were easy things to do and happy times. It seems the traditions we had each grown up with were similar. We continued to travel to be with our parents and now there were cousins to see and aunts and uncles and more people to laugh with and enjoy.

The only two Christmases that really stand out for me where I remember lots of emotions are the Christmas of 1976 and the Christmas of 1977.

The Christmas of 1976 because it was the only Christmas Garry, all three girls and I were together. We were living in Wellington, Garry had finished radiation treatments for the cancer and things weren't looking great, but they were good. We went out on a patch of land owned by some friends and he climbed and topped a long needled pine tree for our Christmas tree. It really was a pretty tree. We bought presents for the girls and enjoyed our little family being together. On Christmas Eve after putting the girls to bed, we did what millions of other parents did; we played Santa Claus. Garry wrote a note "from Santa" and ate cookies. I wish I still had that note, but alas I didn't realize how important that scrap of paper would be. The next day both his parents and my parents came over for Christmas dinner. There was lots of food, presents and love.

Christmas of 1977 was the Christmas I had alone with the girls. We had moved to Dumas after Garry passed away in April and I was teaching at the elementary school across the street form the little house I bought. I bought and put up the the first artificial tree I was to own. We had a great time decorating it and there was a festive air as my little family waited for the arrival of Santa. That Christmas eve I cried as I wrote the note "from Santa" to the girls. But the next morning the excitement that filled the living room as each one found her stash was special to me and then the rush of family began with cousins, aunts, uncles gathering at Gran and Granddaddy's for food and more presents.

Two very different, but very similar Christmases. They too blend in with all the wonderful Christmases I've had. Each year brings something new to the sameness they all have of food, presents, and family. With that family came much more than food and presents with family came love. And for me that is "a good thing." That is Christmas.

Christmas 2002 at Amy & David's

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tomorrow We Party

Tomorrow evening a group of eight or so women are gathering at my house for a Christmas party. I'm not really hosting the party, just providing a place to have the party. Does that make me the host??? I didn't send out the invites, or receive the rsvp's and I'm not making any of the food. Although I toyed with the idea of making a brownie tort. I have though cleaned the house and with the help of Donna before she left at Thanksgiving, put out the Christmas decorations.
I'm very nervous about this. I don't know what anyone is expecting and although my house is new and really pretty well arranged for having company I don't really have anything special --- just my stuff. Hopefully that is enough.

Does this all sound very insecure and childish? I think of Carrie and her saying it was like being asked to sit at the popular kids table at school --- do we ever get over that? When Carolyn asked me if we could have the party here I was wowed -- I couldn't believe she wanted it to be at my house -- I've tried to stay low key about it, but now at 12:00 am I'm wondering if I put out enough stuff -- I know I need a better table cloth Walmart is open 24/7, we'll probably be sitting at the dining table -- but then again, maybe not. See I'm just all a tither and ---

When Carolyn told me there would be only 8 attending (including me) I was very excited --- we can use my Christmas dishes --- much better in my world of fantasy than paper --- Ice, I have ice and I'll make tea (this is a church group, so no alcohol will be served) just before they arrive. I think it is all done for the moment. Good night!

Christmas morning 2004 30 miles north of the Gulf Coast. We had about a foot of snow that morning. It was the first measureable snow on the coast in about 25 years. A very special time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What Was That???

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Robert just as I was getting ready to leave the house to go buy groceries, and he was leaving the office to come home. He wanted to know if I was still at the store --- it was at this point in our conversation that I heard a really strange sound. It was a scratching, static sound that didn't make sense. I asked, "What was that," but got no reply.

The next thing I heard was moaning mixed with pain, "Ohhh, ohhh, ohhh." My heart sank because I knew what I had just heard.

I began to ask over and over, "Robert can you hear me? Are you alright." I also remember saying several times, "I'm coming, I'll be right there."

Then I heard him say, "I've just been run over by a truck." Now my heart really was racing and I tried to calm myself as I grabbed my purse and headed out the door.

"Robert is talking, Praise God, he's not dead," was my thought, but my mouth was saying, "Where are you?" As he told me the garage door was going up and I couldn't hear him.

I asked again, but he hurriedly replied, "I've got to go," and the line went dead. I began driving the route I knew he would be taking coming home. I called Donna because I needed to talk to help keep my mind focused on driving sanely and I knew if I talked to her I would be okay. Just before getting to his office and not having seen anything that looked like an accident I called Robert's cell phone again. I was surprised when he answered and in a very calm clear voice told me he was at the Exxon station across from his office. I repeated that I'd be right there and hung up. When I turned the corner onto Avenue C, I saw the Walmart truck with it's hood open blocking the intersection, the ambulance with lights flashing in the drive of the service station, people standing around, a city policeman directing traffic and finally Robert's pick-up sitting at the curb about 10 feet from the intersection facing the Walmart truck . It didn't look too bad because I was looking at the driver's side --- the side not hit by that truck. But I didn't see Robert --- I went then to the ambulance and timidly opened the door where he was on a stretcher hooked up to a heart monitor. The EMT told me he was doing fine and everything was looking good. I could tell Robert was doing good because he began to call himself a dumb-ass and had that sheepish grin he gets when he knows he has done something really stupid and embarrassing.

The ambulance took Robert off to the hospital and I stayed around at the scene of the accident until the wrecker came for his pick-up. While waiting for the wrecker, I had to give the police his driver's license, the company insurance card and personal information. I also looked for his glasses. They had come off his face and he couldn't find them and neither could I. I got the information from the wrecker driver about were the truck would be and left for the hospital. About 30 minutes has elapsed since I first heard "that sound." I had a general idea where the Matagorda General Hospital is, but had never actually been to it. Thank goodness for those blue H's that point the way to hospitals, otherwise I would have driven right past were I needed to go. :)

At the hospital I found Robert sitting up on a exam table, waiting to go to x-ray. Fortunately the x-ray didn't show any damage. The doctor found some sore spots from the seat belt doing its job but said he seemed to be in good shape. She did suggest he get a tetanus shot though because he had an abrasion on his left elbow and for him to take ibuprofen for pain and soreness. We left the hospital together some 45 minutes after I arrived to go get some supper and then to go get stuff out of the pick-up. The wrecker driver had found Robert's glasses; they were under the pick-up if I understood correctly. We figure that when he stepped out they fell and were kicked under --- but who know. We were home between 7:00 and 7:30.

I finally made it to the store and home with the goodies we needed and watched the end of the football game as if nothing unusual had happened in our life.

Robert went to work today, insisting that he didn't hurt and was fine. Still embarrassed, but fine. I am fine too. Mostly I am glad that my husband is still with me. I know that we are very blessed people and I thank God for being with us.

This picture isn't really so random, but I hope to have many more random moments like this with Robert. We were at the Myan ruins in Progresso, Mexico.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Meme

I got the following meme from Carrie. She said we are tagged so I'm tagging anyone who reads me who doesn't read her (which I don't think is anyone). This is one of the better and longer memes I've done.

What kind of soap is in your bathtub? No soap at the bathtub -- never use it, but we have liquid soap in the shower. I think it is coco shay --- It's what Robert likes.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? No, wrong season for watermelon. And after I got an overripe one during the summer and Robert accused me of trying to poison him with it, I probably won't have another one for sometime.

What would you change about your living room? Even with the new house I would change a couple of things, first I wouldn't have the fireplace --- get real, we live on the Gulf coast and second I would paint the walls a darker color of khaki.
Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? Dirty -- it seems they are always dirty, but I know I run it at least once a week, so they must be clean that often.

What is in your refrigerator? The usual -- milk, eggs, cheese, bacon, some deli meat, hamburger, lettuce, tomatoes, assortment of salad dressings, sodas, condiments --- I even think there is a Corona rattling around on the back somewhere.
White or wheat bread? Wheat (Sara Lee Delightful because it is lower in carbs)
What is on top of your refrigerator? The gingerbread house Abby, Benjamin and I made at Thanksgiving.

What color or design is on your shower curtain? Palm trees. Hey, we live in Palm Village so it just seemed appropriate -- That and the fact that I had a couple of great palm tree prints that went in there really well so I did the guest bathroom with palm trees. My shower has a glass door.

How many plants are in your home? Several silk, only one real. It is an ivy I got Robert when he first went to work for First Ag Credit 12 almost 13 years ago.
Is your bed made right now? Well it was until Robert went to bed just a few minutes ago. We try very hard to make it up each morning since the bedroom is very visible from the living room.
Comet or Soft Scrub? I prefer to use soft scrub.

Is your closet organized? Define organized! I have things hanging together and all the shirts have to hang buttoned the same way, but beyond that not so much.
Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? At home glass --- not a big fan of plastic glasses.

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? No, and seldom do.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered? No, we pretty well got everything put away. But our neat is probably others cluttered.

Curtains or blinds? Both. The windows in the front have blinds with curtains hung in front of them. The windows on the back of the house have just curtains.

How many pillows do you sleep with? I have two, but when it is time to sleep I use only one; it is a flat one too because I'm a stomach sleeper.

Do you sleep with any lights on at night? The darker the better.

How often do you vacuum? Not often enough. I promised myself I would vacuum at least once a week when we moved into the new house, but that hasn't happened.

Standard toothbrush or electric? Sonicare -- what the dentist ordered for Robert because of his periodontal disease.

What color is your toothbrush? I use the one with the pink band.

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? Yes

What is in your oven right now? The oven racks. I don't store things in the oven ---

Is there anything under your bed? All the beds have stuff stored under them. This house has one less room than the old house did and I had a hard time finding places to put stuff --- and I even got rid of a lot before we moved and since we moved --- still have too much.

Chore you hate doing the most? All of them. I'm not a domestic person. I will do it, but not because I like to.

What retro items are in your home? Retro -- I always think of things from the late '40s and '50s as being retro and I don't have any of those. Now I think the '70s and '80s are considered retro, but I don't have anything from those time periods either. Lived through those lime green and gold things and really don't want to do them again. :)

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? No

How many mirrors are in your home? There are about 20. I use a collection of mirrors on the wall behind one bed as wall art.

What color are your walls? All the house except my bedroom and bathroom are a light cream. But my bedroom is a great gold. The actual color is call Bee (Sherman Williams) and the master bathroom is yellow. I love those two rooms.

Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Just a sign on the back door saying that there is not cash, hand guns, or jewelry in the house. Not really, but Robert wanted to put one up stating that after there were a couple of smash and grab break-ins in the neighborhood just after we moved in.

What does your home smell like right now? Nothing -- I really don't like to smell a certain scent.

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Some homemade bread and butter pickles given to me by some friends, and a some dill relish.

What color is your favorite Bible? Navy Blue

Ever been on your roof? Not of this house. Don't plan too either.

Do you have a stereo? No

How many TVs do you have? Two

How many house phones? One plugged in, 2 in the nightstand drawer.

Do you have a housekeeper? No, and I've missed her the past 15 years.

What style do you decorate in? I think it is pretty much traditional.

Do you like solid color in furniture or prints? I tend to lean toward solid, but a side chair in a print is nice.

Is there a smoke detector in your house? Yes, smoke detectors and heat detectors.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you'd grab if you could make only one trip? I always tell Robert we need the two big
drawers out of the desk. I would also try to grab a couple of boxes of pictures that I know the girls don't have copies of.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Shopping

I went Christmas shopping by myself today. It was nice to be able to spend as much time as I wanted wandering in the stores -- picking out things, putting them back, changing my mind and getting the first thing again just to leave without buying anything and not having to explain to anyone why. Robert usually goes with me to Christmas shop, but this year we just seem to wandering in different directions all the time.

Everyone in the stores still seem to be in a good mood. I did notice that there were more check out lines open in all the stores I was in except for Hobby Lobby. I've about decided not to go in there any more --- at least not in Lake Jackson. There are never enough check out people and the ones they do have are slower than well, slower than Christmas :)

I enjoyed listening to a jazz station on the radio, too without having to explain why I was listening to jazz. They were playing Christmas music --- Christmas Jazz is really pretty sweet music. Fun to drive to with the top down on the 'tang. I really need to get a new driving hat though. The funky summer bonnet just doesn't do much now that it is winter (like 73 degrees is winter)

I'm thinking Carrie's idea of a random picture each post is a good idea. This was taken the fourth of July weekend in 2004 at Matagorda Beach. From left to right are me, Carrie, Amy with Abby, and Donna. We had such fun that weekend even if the air conditioner did go out downstairs.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 30 Let There Be Smiles All Through the Day

Here is a list of 10 things that made me smile today.

1. Backing out of the garage this foggy morning to see a line of birds sitting on the highline wire this morning.

2. The pure glee in the voice of a listener on the radio when the DJ told her she had just won $10,000.

3. Finding a penny in the parking lot as I walked into school. (I always think of pennies as blessings from heaven.)

4. A hug from second grader Anticia and the question, "When you going to come be my teacher again?" (I haven't been in to work with her since before Thanksgiving because of a crazy schedule.)

5. The oohs and ahhs from the first graders as they passed the Christmas tree in the hall just as I plugged in the multicolored lights.

6. Children singing their Christmas program in the gym. I'm not sure if it was children's voices singing or the fact that I don't have to rehearse them for the program that made me smile.

7. Having lunch with good friends. Some one always has something to say that just makes me glad to be a part of *the group*.

8. My husband calling and ordering a pizza for supper.

9. Feeling needed when Amy called to ask, "Mom, what do you take for an auction at church?" The real question was "Mom, it this a good idea?" and it was. :)

10. Knowing that tomorrow is December 1 and I don't have to blog unless I just want to. And that this blogging everyday thing hasn't been all that bad.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 29 In Perfect Harmony

Tonight Robert and I attended a dinner/concert given by the Coastalairs, a thirty voice men's barbershop quartet. What fun! They sang old fashioned barbershop, Christmas melodies, and a couple of more modern tunes; acted as the waiters bringing out bowls of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken fried steaks, green beans, corn and dinner rolls followed by peach cobbler; and performed skits. Some serenaded in small groups while we ate. We ate then they sang then we ate some more. It was a wonderful night. I wish I had a picture of them --- I think the youngest man was at least 60 and the oldest closer to 90 than anything else, but boy could they sing. The dinner/concert is the way they raise money to travel to different competition throughout the year. And they had more costume changes than Cher. :) Of course all they were changing were their coats, but everyone managed to have the same outfit on each time at the right time.
Tonight I sleep with the melodies of Sweet Adeline and When Johnny Comes Marching Home drifting through my dreams.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 28 Long Day Just Waiting

When I got to school a group of teachers were gathered in the hall talking, I cheerfully greeted them with a quip about them having an unofficial teacher's meeting. But I could instantly tell something was wrong. The school secretary's son had been in an car vs. train accident the afternoon before and was in critical condition with a 1% chance of making it. We heard rumors off and on all day about his condition, but nothing official came until about 4:00. Chris did not survive. The young man with him had died at the scene. Many I work with had taught both Chris and Robert. My heart is heavy for both of these families as they deal with their losses. I ask that you keep them all in your prayers.

Also my brother -in-law, Lydell, was scheduled to have open heart surgery this morning, but just prior to being taken to the OR he suffered some sort of episode. The doctors cancelled the surgery off saying they wanted to do some further test so they would know what had caused the episode. (Episode is the word my dad left on phone message. I'm not sure what exactly it was.) Anyway a second message from Daddy said that Lydell's heart wasn't the cause and surgery would be tomorrow at 11:00am. At about 5 I got a email from L's oldest daughter who said Lydell had had a fainting spell with the nurses right there and he is now in ICU. I don't know if he will have surgery or not. Please keep this family in your prayers also. They are all pretty scared at this point.

Now on a lighter side -- Robert and I went shopping for Christmas lights for the outside of the house this afternoon. We didn't buy any. We just couldn't decide if we want to put up colored lights, white lights, icicle lights, colored icicle lights or what. Maybe instead of lights we'll just get a giant inflatable something and put in the front yard. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 27 Ramblings on My Day

Three things about today.

1. I had an email from a friend who was telling about her fiancee needing shots for the next 5 days and the doctor thinking she would be a fine candidate to give the shots since she has given shots to cattle before --- she isn't as confident as the doctor --- she didn't mention the fiancee's position on it. All that said to tell about the one and only time I've ever given a shot. Donna had to have allergy shots for a while. The doctor said there would be no problem with me giving the shot and so I thought, "Heck I can do that." I discovered that human skin is tougher than I thought and I used the wrong technique to get the needle to pass into the skin. I thought I should just push and the needle would slide in --- so push it did, but when the needle did finally penetrate I was so startled I yanked the needle out ---- that's right without dispensing the medicine. I was fired from shot giving. (YEAH) I think we paid to have the shots given after that.

2. Today I went and endured the yearly physical all women should have. I believe in getting it all over with in one visit so I had the mammo. and the pap exam. If you have not had your yearly exam please go have one. These test, though a nuisance, are life savers and I encourage each of you to take care of yourselves this way. And I love my doctor. He didn't even mention that I have gained 5 pounds since he saw me last year and 10 since I've started seeing him. I wonder how much I can gain before I get a lecture. Should I risk another 5 pounds????

3. That was my couple, but I have one more. The TAKS test was different to give this time. I was put with two students that require the test to be read to them. This was the math test. I could read the test question only without any inflection on any of the words then I had to sit and watch them agonise over what to do. This was better than just sitting and not getting to talk, but it was hard not to do a little teaching and prodding. I know they have had instruction on some of the stuff they couldn't/didn't answer correctly, and to watch them work and then come to the wrong conclusion was just painful for me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 26 Tomorrow's Forcast --- Boring

Tomorrow at school we being three days of giving a pre-TAKS benchmark test in math, reading and writing for fourth grade/science for fifth grade. This should tell us where are kids are and what we need to do to get some of them over the hump for the real TAKS in March and April.. Next to the actual TAKS test it is the most boring three days in existence. I will have a group of 4 or 5 students and all I am allowed to do is walk around -- supervise breaks, to keep them from discussing the test (like these kids are going to discuss the test -- get real -- I have the lower students, the ones who don't discuss test and since they are with other students they know are low too, they don't even try to cheat) and in general be bored.
I have been giving the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills since its conception back in the 1980s. I have seen its name change from TABS to TEAMS to TAAS to TAKS. Each name change brought minor changes in the test.
I used to fuss about giving the test and hated to feeling like I had to teach to a test. I didn't really teach to a test. I felt that if I just did good teaching then prepared the students for taking a standardized test they would do well and for the most part that was true. I was luck enough to teach in school that didn't put extra pressure on teacher to over prepare students. I know that it has changed --- it is that change that has a job for me now. I tutor at risk students.
I don't lobby (quietly in teacher lounge) anymore for the test to be dropped. It is because of that test that I get a pay check. :) So now when teachers are fussing and letting off steam, I just sit quietly and smile to myself glad that my name isn't on a bottom line anywhere.
Funny how circumstances change your perspective.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day 25 Let the Christmas Season Begin



I love my Christmas tree! Donna and I put it up this morning before she had to go. You can tell that it is all Santa Clauses or balls with Santa on them.

I am hosting a party on Friday the seventh and I wasn't sure when I was going to get the tree up and the house decorated, but with Donna's help I got the tree up and most of the other items placed around. I don't really go all out, but I like a happy Christmas feeling with the Nativity on the mantle, a Christmas candle centerpiece on the dining room table, that kind of thing.

Robert said he would get the outside done on Tuesday or Wednesday --- the weather is supposed to be warmer. So soon wreaths will grace the outside and maybe lights.

May I be one of the first to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Enjoy this wonderful season and be blessed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 24 Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

This has been another full day. Two grandchildren, three daughters, two son-in-laws and a husband who was feeling less than great proved to be a stressful mix of people at times since the weather didn't cooperate and everyone had to be in the house all the time. But now the house is quiet. Two children, two daughters and two son-in-laws have left for their homes leaving a void not only in my house but in my heart. I enjoyed every moment of the noise, the cooking, the dishes, the noise, the conversations, the games, the TV, the noise, the laughter, even the noise. I always feel sad when people leave --- (sigh)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day 23 Grandchildren's Day

Today was the day to entertain the grandchildren. It started about 7:30 when I heard a little voice say, "Mammar, Mammar beckfast." It was Benjamin and Abby was close behind him. Of course I could fix them breakfast --- frozen blueberry waffles are easy. After that nutritious breakfast they were set for play. We played fairy, and cars, read books and played on the Internet at www.pbskids.org where we found a great game to print and play all before lunch. After lunch and naps we made a gingerbread house, cooked supper (chicken spaghetti), played more cars and finally took a bubble bath. Just before going to bed they got more books read to them. Hopefully the weather will be nicer tomorrow. The weather man doesn't think so.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 22 We Give Thanks

All is quiet --- the TV is playing in the background --- and Robert is snoring softly on the couch in front of it. The two year old who absolutely didn't want to take a nap and protested loudly and his four year old sister who just quietly didn't want to take a nap are now napping with their parents. The leftovers are stored in the 'fridge and the dishes put in the dishwasher or washed and put away.
Right now I am most thankful for times like this. My family all here and a quiet moment to reflect on how much the each mean to me. I am thankful for quiet. :) God has richly blessed my life. To Him I give thanks and praise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 21 Thanksgiving Eve

I cooked, and I cooked, and I cooked today. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it felt that way to me. I started the morning making the cornbread and biscuits for the stuffing which I will make tomorrow. Then I made Granny's Cranberry Relish. Next was the Pumpkin Spice Cake and then Carrie's Make-a-head Mashed Potatoes. Once the cake was cooled I made the frosting and assembled the cake. (Three layers---looks pretty good.) I had to make the dressing for Aunt Allie's Fruit Salad, and finally I dumped the strawberries, peach pie filling, and pineapple tidbits together for the Strawberry Trifle.
In the morning I cook the turkey, make the stuffing, warm up the beans, potatoes and make the bread. I'm thinking that it isn't going to be as easy as I thought it would be to get everything on the table by say 2:00 or maybe a little
earlier. Hopefully everyone will be patient with me. I don't cook often and I sure don't prepare this much food very often so timing is a little hard to get down. This is when it would be good to have two ovens, but alas I only have the one and I know I'm not the only cook to have made Thanksgiving dinner for a family with only one oven. If the women of the '50s could do it I CAN TOO!
It is now 11:45 and I think I'll check a couple more cooking things then head to bed. I have a feeling tomorrow will be a long day.
I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. God Bless.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 20 Walk the Walk

Today was Fall Festival day at the school I work at. The teachers with the help of parents put on a carnival for the students in the gym. There was no charge for them to play the simple games and since we can't give out candy anymore we loaded them down with junky toys from Oriental Trader. Everyone had a great time.
I got to help with the game we called Walk the Walk. Basically it was a cake walk without the cakes. :) Stop on a color and if the spinner lands on that color you are the winner. We gave out Blessing Bucks --- play money they will be able to use at the Blessing Blow-Out in late January. We had lots of walkers.
I worked with the school nurse. She seems to think I was a carnival barker in a previous life. But if you can't have fun in the gym on a day of play, then when can you have fun. We were busy all the time because I made it fun. We didn't just walk; we danced, we skipped, we walked backwards, we had fun.
All this happened in two 1 hour sessions. The pre-k through second grade came in the morning and the third through fifth came in the afternoon. That doesn't sound like much until you actually have to be entertaining the whole time. I'm tired.
Tomorrow I cook.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 19 Yikes

I just realized, thanks to a couple of email links, that Christmas is just 35 days away. There are no Christmas cards addressed, no Christmas gift list made, nothing bought (well that isn't entirely true -- I have gotten one gift) not even a plan to do all of that. I also remember telling a friend back in October that Robert and I would host an between Thanksgiving and Christmas party. Now when will that be done? What should I prepare and who do I invite??????? Guess instead of typing a blog I'd better get on to making list of things to do so I can check them off :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 18 Cremation or Burial? That Was the Question

The line from Disco Inferno's "Burn, Baby, Burn" has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Last Sunday our pastor preached a sermon on cremation. It seems to have been a topic he had been asked about several times. The gist of the sermon was that there is no direct mention in the Bible about cremation but that tradition leans toward burial with references to various prophets and others who were buried. He ended by saying how you are to be disposed of after death isn't as important as your salvation before death.
Following church a group of us, including the preacher and his wife, went over to Victoria's for Mexican food and conversation. The conversation was more about cremation. Most were discussing who wanted to be cremated, who thought it was just icky and who really had given it no thought. During this Bro. Mike mentioned that in California cremation out numbers burials now. He further expounded that many are taking the remains of their loved ones and having them turned into diamonds. Upon hearing this I turned to Robert and quipped, "You are so going to burn!" This brought the house down and we became a bunch of giggling junior high students each wondering how big a diamond we could get from our husbands. We all agreed that having a diamond to sit on a finger or wear around our neck would be better than just having an urn full of ashes sitting in a corner.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 17 All the Cars I've Loved Before

Continuing with the thought of loving to drive --- I mentioned that the car I drove in Driver's Ed was a late 40s or early 50s model; I found out from Billie today that it was a '49 something or another. You can tell from that statement that I'm not a big car person. Just so it has a motor that will run and the tires are in good shape, I'll drive it. Which brings me to tonight's list -- the vehicles that have taken me the places I've wanted to go.

1. 1954 Dodge --- I don't know the model and couldn't find a picture. I had been Daddy's work car but he let us girls have it to take to school and drive around some. I loved that big old car.
2. 1960 (not sure about the year on this one) Hillman Husky I drove that little car all over Sunray. It was little and fun. No one else had one like it.
3. 1960 Ford Galaxy This was the car Garry owned when we got married. It was a standard shift car and although he was very particular about it, I did get to drive it. Pale green and he called her "Lizzy".
4. 1965 (again not sure of the year) Buick LeSabre The car I drove 140 miles three time a week to and from college for 3 years. It was great car that would run a hole in the wind --- problem was the speed limit was changed to 55 mph about the time I started to drive it. That was a bummer.
5. Red Volkswagen Beetle --- I have no clue as to the year. I know I drove that little red bug while Donna was little and until I was expecting our third child. We knew then that we would have to have a larger car so the fun bug was traded in for a
6. Dodge Ambassador --- I think that is what it was. I really just remember that this car was an ugly green, very practical for a family of 5 and not anything special. I drove it just because I had to drive something.
7. 1977 Pontiac Sunbird --- The first car I bought all on my own. A great car for a single mom and 3 little girls. We had fun running around in it.
8. 1978 Chevy Van -- Now we were a part time family of 8 and needed lots of seating. I drove that van for the next 5 years. When it was worn nearly out we traded it for a second van This time a
9. 1983 GMC van with a tailgater package. It also had 4 captain seats and a bench seat that folded down to make a bed. We made lots of skiing trips in that one.
10. 1980 or 81 Dodge Charger --- This was my school car while working on my master's degree. A little 4 speed. Again a fun car to drive that got good gas mileage for the 120 mile round trip to Canyon from Dumas.
11. 1989 Oldsmobile Eighty-eight --- This car had all the bells and whistles and would run like the wind.
12. 1994 Oldsmobile Eighty-eight --- Another great car. I drove it for 125,000 miles, gave it to a youngest son and he drove it for another 175,000 miles.
13. 1998 Chevy Lumina Car --- Seems Chevy had a Lumina Van also which made it a little confusing, but the Lumina had over 150,000 miles on it when I traded it off this past February.
14. 2007 Mustang Convertible --- Red, need I say more?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 16 I Left My Heart in San Fransico

My older sister, Billie, and I weren't taught to drive by our parents. We had been allowed to back the car out of the driveway so we could play basketball, but not to drive around town like many of the teens in our small town. I got really good at shooting freeshots and a little short jump shot the summer before taking driver's ed. because I backed that '59 Ford out of the driveway every day and put in a good hour or two practicing so I could drive the car back onto the drive. I had an itch to drive and thought the time would never come when I would feel the wind in my hair as I raced down the highway. (I had a very romanic idea about driving.)
The summer of 1963 was the summer to learn highway driving and we took diver's education. Billie was fifteen and I was fourteen. She hadn't wanted to take the class the year before (why I'll never understand). I couldn't believe I was actually going to be a licensed driver and could hardly wait each morning for Coach, with his blue eyes and easy smile, to pick me, Billie, and another young lady up to drive around the country side.
The first morning Coach pulled up to get us I nearly died. We weren't going to be driving around in some nice new car from a local dealership with the cool *student driver* sign on the back. No we were going to be driving around in a very old car owned by the school system -- something from the late '40s or early 50 that was a standard shift (three on the column) . This was the first time I had ever even been in a standard shift car and I had not clue as to how to make the car go forward or in reverse. It wasn't long, thankfully, before I had it down pretty well and could actually drive that old battleship down the country roads of Lamb county. We did have to drive in the big city of Littlefield to prove we could stop at red lights and park between cars on the street.
There was only one scary time for even me while I was driving. Coach was singing his theme song, I Left My Heart in San Fransico, Billie and co driver were talking in the backseat and I, instead of focasing on driving, began to drift in and out of the song and conversation and the car began to drift across the center line toward an oncoming vehicle. Fortunately Coach was paying attention, hit his break and took the steering wheel from me guiding the car back to the right side and safety. I went on to successfully complete the course, pass the driving test given by the state and have been driving ever since.
To this day I love to drive. The lure of the open road is still strong and if someone says, "Let's go," I'm always quick to say, "I'll drive." In my fantasy Coach is still riding beside me, eyes still blue, smile still easy, tan still dark and "I Left My Heart in San Fransico" on his lips.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 15 Bless This Day

Today was Turkey and Dressing Day in schools all across the country (well in two states that I know of anyway). At the school I work at a big deal is made over this meal. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles and all the preschool siblings and cousins are encouraged to come eat a feast with their school age family members. Each person must send a form back to the school with money and names of those who will be attending so the cafeteria ladies can prepare plenty. On a normal day our cafeteria feeds 243 children and about 25 adults. Today they fed about 200 extra people.
Tables and chairs were set up in the gym by the fifth grade classes, who also served as helpers with trays for parents with small children. Other duties included busing tables, emptying trash cans, and learning that there is a lot of work involved in feeding a crowd. But it got them out of math, reading, science and language arts. I'm sure they thought it was a good trade off.
"What did you do during all this madness?" you ask. I worked the cash register at the book fair. Seems with some ingenious scheduling the Book Fair coincided with this Thanksgiving Feast. So from 10:30 to 1:00 I sat at the cash register. Sounds easy enough, but I found out that to actually have to punch the price in wasn't as easy as it might sound. I'm used to running the old fashioned calculator that requires that a decimal be put in -- not so with this cash register and where was that scanner that all retailers now use?? You can imagine the problem. I finally was able to find the rhythm and took in over $1,000. It could have been more than that I wasn't in charge of counting (and here I add, "Thank you Lord.")
But what about the turkey lunch -- Did you get any? Not to worry. I ate my lunch at 10:15. I had not taken time to eat breakfast and my tummy was growling just as the cafeteria sent boxed lunches for the teachers to the workroom. I thought, "Why not?" Picked up my box, a hot roll, cranberry sauce (the good kind -sliced from a can) and small square of pumpkin pie and ate while visiting with a fellow teacher. OK food plus good visit with a good friend equals a good day not matter what else happens.
I had a good day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 14 Tart and Sweet

I just visited with my mother-in-law to get her Cranberry Relish recipe to make for Thanksgiving. Her directions were basically just a list of ingredients.

Granny's Cranberry Relish

1 package fresh cranberries

1 apple

1 orange

1 small can crushed pineapple

2 cups pecans

2 cups sugar

She did say to put everything through a meat grinder then add the sugar. That wasn't quite enough direction for me so I went online and found this recipe which was similar and more detailed about how to exactly put the ingredients together. I'll use Granny's ingredients adding the chopped nuts and crushed pineapple with the sugar.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 13 What's For Supper?

Thanksgiving Dinner

Main Course:
Oven Roasted Turkey
Gran's Dressing and Gravy
Granny Bain's Cranberry Relish
Paul's Green Beans
Carrie's Mashed Potatoes
Green salad
Aunt Allie's Fruit Salad
Brenda's Bread

For dessert:
David's Spicy Pumpkin Cake
Strawberry Trifle
(maybe) Coconut Cream Pie

This is the basic menu. It can be altered by anyone at anytime by letting me know what you would like to have added (but no deletions, please). I'm looking forward to a glorious time cooking on Wednesday and Thrusday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 12 Project Success


I love it when a plan comes together. This is the hearth candelabra that Robert and I made. (See Saturday's Post) I did have to modify it a little because I couldn't find exactly what the directions called for, but I think my modifications actually enhanced the project. We haven't lit the candles yet, but I know they will add a special warmth to our Thanksgiving gathering. Who would guess that this is made from wooden dowels and plastic plant saucers?
Yesterday I got everything measured and Robert cut the dowel rods to correct lengths and then the project stalled. He didn't have the right size drill bit to make the hole for the rods. Today since he didn't have to go to work, he bought a drill bit and finished the project except for the painting. I put two coats of flat black on it when I got home from work --- voila' --- a wrought iron fireplace candelabra. Stunning

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 11 Swing, Slide, Glide

Abigail and Ben are coming for Thanksgiving. This is what Grandpa and I got for them to have at our house. I emailed the picture to Amy and Dave (the BOBs). Amy related that when she showed Ben and Abby they were very excited. They both were ready to come right then. When told not tomorrow Abby explained it with and Ok, tomorrow next week. Close enough for me.
Oh, I'm excited that the rest of you are coming too.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 10 Excuse me, do you have any unfinished shelves?

Wild goose chases can be fun and, more often than not, very frustrating. Today I went on a wild goose chase for a unfinished shelf top 23" x 71/2". The direction for the Hearth Candelabra I want to make clearly states,"All building materials can be purchased at your local arts and craft store." Since Bay City doesn't have a local arts and craft store, I headed out for Lake Jackson with my 20 something neighbor. She happened to be over at the house when I mentioned I might be running to LJ, the way her eyes lit up how could I not invite her to go along. (Besides a road trip in the convertible is more fun with someone.) We hit the Hobby Lobby store and made a bee line to the crafts department by meandering through all the candle, Christmas decorations, and several other decorating items that she wanted to look at; which was about everything in the store. This wouldn't have been a problem normally, but I was on a mission. I once started to walk off only to have her call me back to get my opinion about some item. I think we had been in the store for about 45 minutes before we made it to the craft department where the wood is. Only problem is this HL didn't have a top shelf. We then went to Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart and a small hardware/lumber yard none of which had the board I need. The sales people were all very helpful and even suggested other stores that might have them. Yep, I had been to them all. In most of these stores we had to stop and look at other items also. I don't mind this type of shopping, but I just wanted to find my board, and the 3" diameter disks also needed. I must give Walmart a little credit though because they came closest to what I needed. It was an unfinished, cute shelf 24"x 71/2"on two wooden brackets that had a board connecting them. I briefly thought about buying that and just taking it apart. It was only a brief thought. I arrived home with two 48" dowels 7/16"in diameter. If I can't find the rest of what I need here in town Robert and I will probably just go to plan B which means we will adapt the project to fit what we can find. I'm sure we can make it work, we always do. :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 9 Ode to Friday

I'm not a poet by nature and I seldom if ever attempt to write poetry; however, today seems to be an exception to that statement. I had a few minutes between groups of students today and thought I'd take advantage of the lull to get a head start on my blog. My thought at the time being to just jot some ideas down on paper so those wonderful thoughts I have while driving could actually become blog entries. When I began to write a poem started to take form. Well, a rough poem, that some might not even consider a poem.


Ode to Friday
Today is Friday, a day of work, a day of pay,
But does anyone really get anything done?
I ponder this and look around
Everyone here has theeir head down.
Reports are due on Monday morn'
I should be grinding them out,
But, alas, it's Friday afternoon
And my heart just isn't in it.
In just another hour or so I could have all them done.
Wait, what do I see? John getting up, jacket on his arm?
Can he be finished? Reports all done? I don't see how!
Now I know, a ticket from his pocket hangs.
If he can leave this place of work before departure time
To start his week-end revelry I ponder why then I must
Sit and wait 'til quitting time before I make my break?
Now Mary, Tom, and Sue all make their move
I've pondered long enough
Computer off, I'm out the doo.
I'll see you Monday morn'.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 8 Happy Birthday Carrie

On this exact day several years ago I gave birth to my second red haired daughter. She came into the world easily enough but during one of my favorite tv shows at that time, Rockford Files. I've forgiven her for that, but like to reminder her each time I get the chance.

We also have a running joke in our family about the date of her birth. Seems I was filling out a form for something which required her birth date and put the wrong date --- for some reason I had gotten it in my head that her birthday is the ninth instead of the eighth. I was quite embarrassed when she corrected me, but it didn't stick! For a while if someone asked about her date of birth I really had to stop and think, and then I went through a period of time when I couldn't remember which was correct. *Did I say it was the eighth and she corrected me to the ninth or the other way round*, was a real dilemma for me. We have had some good times over it at my expense. I now keep it straight because I finally realized all of the girls were due on the twelfth but none were born on the twelfth. Donna was four days late (her birthday I always get right) and Carrie was four days early. Amy was much earlier --- actually came in December instead of January, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Carrie was a very precocious child. She was bright, witty, and full of information. Somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3 she summed up her ability to talk. We were at a family gathering involving extended family. When my uncle made comment that Carrie didn't say much, he opened a flood gate. She looked up from the puzzle she was playing with and stated very clearly and matter-of-factly, "I can say everything." I think she been trying to prove it ever since. I don't know of many 3 year olds that are taken on a trip just to be company for the driver, at the drivers request.

One of my favorite coined words is one that Carrie came up with when she was between 3 and 4. She and Donna were playing out in the front yard of our house on Crump Street when she burst in the house hollering, "Mommy, mommy, there's been a crash-a-dent." I couldn't imagine what had happened and went outside with her to see. There had been a slight accident at the corner between two cars. Crash-a-dent has been one of my favorite terms to describe slight accidents.

Carrie was also quite famous in our family for a special look. The adults in my family would delight in saying things that would invoke just so we could see it. It was a special way she had of rolling her eyes up and making her eyelashes flutter at the same time. I could never copy it --- well I've never seen anyone else that can do it. I fluctuated between anger and total amazement whenever I received *the look*. I'm not sure she can still give *the look*; I haven't seen it in years.

Carrie is still bright, witty, and full of information. We all tend to call her when we want to know some bit of trivia. I know my life would never have been as complete if I hadn't let her father talk me into having a second child. I'm glad he did.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 7 Anticipation

Little things can actually excite me. Every day I come home with a feeling of anticipation about what has taken place in my absence. We live in a neighborhood that is seeing four new houses being built and three of them are right by me. Two are directly across the street and the third is is just to the east of me -- 30 feet from the edge of my house to the edge of the new house and the fourth is just down the street. It is fun watching them being built. I come home every afternoon and wonder as I turn onto my street what will have been done on them today.

The house down the street now has windows, sheet rock, and is nearly bricked. They should be starting the cabinet work before long. I hope to be able to get a couple of boards from the scrap pile when they do. There is a lot of waste in house building and I might as well collect some of it. I plan to go down tomorrow and take a walk through this house to see what has developed inside. The last time I was actually in it was about a month ago.

Across the street, one house is now sided in and before long they will be roofing it. I know the floor plan for that house is the same as mine, but the builder changed up the roofline and the way the garage is so from the outside you would never know that mine and it are twin houses. The other two are just starting. The workmen were here yesterday and laid the boards for the foundations and when I got home this afternoon those frames were full of sand. It is hard to tell from what has been done so far what the floor plan is. Robert and I think though that they are the same as the other two new homes on this block. That seems to be what is happening --- change the outside, keep the inside. I'm sure that the foundations will be poured soon and we will be able to tell more ---- well after the plumbers come and lay in all the pipes ---- and the workmen get all the rebar laid. I'm beginning to understand the process of what has to be done when.

None of these houses will be mine, but I still get excited watching them being built. And I figure if I'm snooping around everyday the laborer will, maybe, do a better job --- if not of working maybe of keeping the work site a little cleaner. But that is a whole different blog for a whole different time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 6 I Thought I Wanted a Boy

My first pregnancy came long before there were EPTs so I didn't know I was pregnant for sure until that magic three missed periods and a visit to see the doctor to confirm it. I count myself among the lucky women who are meant to get pregnant because I didn't get sick or have any of the other problems that so many women suffer with during this time of *glowing*. As far as cravings went I only had one and that was peanut butter. I once sat and ate a whole jar of peanut butter --- I still love peanut butter :)

I had no idea if I was having a boy or a girl. (No sonograms either unless you were a high risk pregnancy.) I really wanted a boy because boys are so scarce in my family. I already had two nieces and to have the first male grandson for my daddy would have been quite the coup. Not to happen. Doctor Wright supposedly told my mother that it wouldn't be long before I was back trying for a boy again. I guess I said something in the delivery room when he told me I had given birth to a 7 pound 1 ounce daughter. I have no idea what I might have said, I just remember being glad it was all over and that the baby was crying and in good hands. When they finally brought her over to me she was bundled up and beautiful. Even though she only weighed 7 lbs she was round and pudgy because she was only 19 inches long. I was thrilled to have her.

I have lots of stories about Donna, but my favorite happened when she was about 7. We were visiting the zoo in Fort Worth and had just stopped to look at the polar bears. Donna asked very seriously, "Mom, do they keep the bears iceolated?" Thinking she was saying isolated I answered that the polar bears were kept away from the other bears. This answer did not satisfy her and she asked again, "Do they keep the bear iceolated -- you know cold?" That is when it dawned on me that she was asking if the bears were refrigerated. Guess we called the refrigerator the ice box too much.

Another cute Donna stories is when she told me at about age 4 that I needed to haw my glasses when I was fussing around one day trying to clean them. I had no idea what she meant until she demonstrated. She took the glasses and breathed over the lens making a hawing sound as she did. Then she took her fingers and smeared the haw around. Seems that is how Granny Cartwright always cleaned hers.

Such was Donna as a child. Curious, observant and intelligent. She was a handful at times but always a joy. I'm glad I had a girl and not a boy that March day way back in 1971.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 5 But It's Mine

The first lesson I remember learning about people outside the family dynamics came in first grade. Now, Mrs. Lybran was exalted as the best first grade teacher in town (there were only two and she had been there the longest). I don't know if she was or not. I did learn to read and I can do basic math so I'm going to say she did her job at least in those areas. What I do remember about Mrs. Lybran though is that she had class pets and I wasn't one of them. Or at least that is my take on it now. I also learned that some people can lie and get by with it and don't seem to mind hurting others. It all happened in art class. We got to go into this closet type room where and easel was set up and we could paint. It was a wonderful magical place and everyone eagerly awaited their turn. I'm a little shaky about all the details, but I remember after several us had taken our turn it was discovered that two of the painting didn't have names on them. Mrs. Lybran held them both up and said to everyone,"This one must be Jan's because it is so neat. Just look at how good those trees are and what great apples she has painted." I tentatively said it was mine, but Jan who was beaming said yes it was hers. Mrs. Lybran put Jan's name on my painting and my name on Jan's. I was crushed. I wanted to cry, to scream, to rip the painting with my name on it to shreds; I don't think I did anything. Looking back I know that is when a long time of feeling inferior and inadequate began. All through school I would only go so far then back down before I could be put down. It was after I met the man who became my husband and father of my children that I began to realize that I am a very worthwhile person with talents equal to others. He put back in me what Mrs. Lybran had destroy so many years before.

Because I went on to become a teacher, I wonder how many students I have been a Mrs. Lybran to? Have I crushed some one with an innocent remark. I'm sure I have, and to you I offer a heartfelt apology.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 4 Favorites

I have thousands of pictures and many of them are favorites. Some are of Robert and me, some are just pictures I took of scenery or an object (I have a picture of the Texas flag that I just love), but most are of my girls and the grandchildren. Of the thousands I decided on only two that I want to publish today. They are both recent pictures and each one makes me emotional in a happy, prideful way. If I say more I'll begin to sound like that person I don't like to sound like. So just enjoy the pictures.

This is the picture of the girls taken last March when we had our *Girls Only* weekend in Fort Worth. What could be better than my girls in a bed of blue bonnets? It is hard to believe that I was grown --- say close to 50 on one side or the other before I saw my first field of blue bonnets up close and personal. Now I make it a point to go somewhere and see them every year. Growing wild in a field they are really breath taking.
This picture was taken in August this year. This is one of the best things a grandmother can experience. I love to play with A and B this way. It looks like I was getting great hugs, but in reality they were trying to knock me backwards. We had been playing --- I knew Amy had the camera (and I think Ben did too) so we posed ever so quickly for the photo.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day 3 Nothing Special Today

Here it is 9:45 pm and I'm just now getting to the computer. I have started several times to write, but each time I've hit a block. Ideas that have run through my head for today's topic have been several but I can't seem to get past the first sentence with any of them.
First I was going to write more about my life --- The early years, but I realize I really don't remember much and wasn't in the mood to write about the "life lesson" I learned in first grade. Maybe before the month is over.
Then I was going to write about this being Saturday and the "get'er done" day. That wasn't going anywhere --- although Robert and I did get quite a bit done.
About 6:30 a neighbor came over --- I saw her outside as I was driving up with supper in sacks from Sonic and since I wanted to ask her if she wants the computer desk we are getting rid of I invited her in. She stayed for the evening since her husband in working the evening shift and won't be home until 11:00. I could write more about the long visit with her, but it was just talk --- getting to know some one.
So tonight I'll just say it was a great day in south Texas. Plenty of sunshine, pleasant temperature and no wind. Life is good.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 2 There Is Proof

I was born. It was that simple. The date was May 22, 1949. My birth was not heralded by angels nor was there a star in the East to guide Wise Men. I was simply born to two loving parents who were going to spend the rest of their lives guiding me, teaching me and nurturing me. I have five documents that prove my birth, one official and four that are sentimental in nature. The official document, of course, is a birth certificate issued by the State of Texas. It states that I was born at 11:10 pm and not much else about me.
The sentimental documents seem to give more information. The first is the hospital certificate with a gold seal and pink ribbon in the corner making it look very official. Along with the official seal there is also the picture of the old hospital which is no longer in existence and the flowing handwriting of the clerk that filled in the information. Each of these have endeared the document to me. On the back side are my tiny footprints, slightly smeared, and showing 4 toes on one foot and 6 toes on the other. I have examined my toes several time since discovering those footprints and I have very normal feet, 5 toes on each foot. This document is framed and hangs below my husband's, who is six months older to the day, and was born in the same hospital.
The next proof that I was born is a 3 x 1/2 inch announcement that was cut from the Amarillo Globe News. Each week the newspaper listed all the births for the previous week. I only have the tiny section that says a baby daughter was born to my parents and she weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz. and was 21 inches long. More information, more proof that I exist. That piece of paper is in a box somewhere getting more yellowed each year.
The final two proofs that I was born are the birth announcement that was sent out by Mom to family and friends (I have the one that Grandma had saved and was given to me shortly after her death) and a letter written to Grandma by Daddy. Remember that this was long before email, cell phones or even very many people with land line phones; snail mail was nearly the only way to communicate. So the fact that time was taken to let others know I had arrived was something special. Each birth announcement was filled out in Mother's handwriting that seems to be full of pride as she wrote Mr. and Mrs. I love the letter because it sounds so much like Daddy even today. The letter doesn't give any particulars about me except my name, Patsy, and the fact that I have an older sister who was really missing her mother.
Yes, I was born. The proof is definate.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 1 A Place to Start

I am not really a well read person. Oh, I enjoy reading, but most of the things I read are considered fluff reading. Even a good suspense thriller that can hold my interest for a couple of weeks (I'm not necessarily a fast reader) will soon be forgotten --- And don't ask me about authors! I can barely remember my own name so why should I even try to remember the name of some guy whose book I'm reading? However there are exceptions, although there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why somethings have stayed with me. But at the time I was reading I was moved and because I was moved I remember. It might be just one line, or a scene I think the author has done a good job describing, and I do have a couple of whole books that I can give you a synopsis of. But for the most part I read purely for the enjoyment at the moment.
Now all of that was said to talk about one line that from a book that I remember reading when I was in 5th grade (or it might have been 6th -- not really important). I remember this line because I thought it a strange way to start a book and it was the first time I had ever had an author catch my attention like that. Later as a English/writing teacher in grades 4, 5, and 6 I used this line to try to instill in my students the importance of a good beginning sentence. I'm not sure I ever got my point across, but I did get the line back whenever it was time for them to write an autobiography. Of course, the line is from David Copperfield and is the opening sentence of the book. Simply, "I was born." To me that sentence just seemed magical and still does. I remember thinking at age 10 or 11, "Wow, what is this book going to tell me --- what will transpire, what mysteries will be revealed?" (Athough I probably didn't think those words, I had that sense of wonder.) I read the book, did the book report (kept it for years, but somewhere between then and all my life that has passed the report is gone) and kept that one line of literature that still stirs in me when I read an autobiography. So tomorrow I will start my autobiography. And yes it will begin, "I was born."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Would You Trick or Treat??



Here are pictures of Robert and me ready for the Halloween party. It was fun dressing up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whirl Wind Days

It always strikes me as funny, strange, frustrating, and any other adjective you might want to insert that in life everything happens at once. The month of October has been a whirlwind of activity. The calendar looked something like this.
October 1-11 Visit from Mother and Daddy. I flew to Amarillo and drove them down here. That was so much fun. We really didn't do much, but just to having them here was awesome. I guess I had lived for a year with a little bit of fear in my heart that they wouldn't ever get to travel here again. But I think getting to come down here proved to them that they are still well enough to travel. Mother helped me pick out the material for the dining room chair seats. Not what I bought what she and I had picked, but something that was a compromise with Robert, and my second choice. We also played a lot of games. A new card/board game that I love to play call Sequence and of course Yatzee. Then I drove them home and flew back --- Thank goodness for good friends. Robert found out that he had to be in Austin the day I was supposed to come home. Minor problem.
October 13 Start to work. I worked on getting my schedule set and visited with the teachers about goals and students.
October 13-14 Women's Retreat at Matagorda Beach on Friday and Saturday. Sunday School Department annual fish fry Saturday night. There were both fun activities but each required me making a dish or two to take.
October 15-22 Jury Duty Jury duty was interesting. It was a case where Ford was being sued for wrongful death (or something like that) because a woman's husband had died in a roll over accident when she was driving. Her case was that Ford knew that the Ford Explorer was an unsafe vehicle and would roll over easily in an evasive manuver. The jury was never picked after having to go back to the courthouse 4 times. The judge declared it a mistrial, so 72 people were incovenienced for a week.
October 18-21 Rice Festival I was the typical RF widow that whole week, but Robert was having a great time while I got to watch the shows I wanted to watch and make the bed skirt and window scarves for our bedroom. Robert chaired a great parade. I ended up helping him a little, but mostly I was just hanging out and trying not to get in his way. Saturday night he celebrated the parade being over a little heavy and even though we attended the Bull Blast and dance together he wasn't in a very, shall we say, attentive mood. I was glad I was there to drive him home and that home was only a few blocks away.
October 23 Fire Safety Dinner We attended a free dinner about how a regular smoke dector will fail 55.8% of the time, and the importance of having regulare fire drills in the home. (Remember those girls?)
October 27 Costume Parties Yes, that is right. Robert and I were invited to two Halloween costume parties. They were very different, but both fun. The first was across the street and a young couple's home that moved in to their new home just before we moved into ours. They invited every one up and down the street and people from their place of business (HEB). There was lots of food, kids and neighbors. The other was an all adult party with many of the people we had been on a cruise with. Food, booze, music and conversation were the main attractions. Both were fun! Robert was a pirate and I was his wench.
October 28 Home and Garden Party On Saturday Robert helped me get the house shining to show off. And the party was a success. Not as many people came as I would have liked, but I learned how the seating in the house works and what needs to be moved etc. to make it work better. Everyone likes my bedroom and the boldness of the colors. That makes me feel good.
October 31 Fall Festival at the Church FBC host a city wide carnival that will have approximately 2,000 people in attendance. There will be 36 different games and activities for people to particapate in and of course lots of food. Robert and I are helping in the Coke stand from 6:00 to 9:00. The whole thing last from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm with clean up from 9 to 10. Wednesday will be a long day, but one that is fun too.
That is a brief look at October. So far November isn't nearly that full. As a matter of fact the only thing on the November calendar is Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to having the girls here. Doesn't look like any of the boys will be coming. Sunray is doing very well in football this year and with Preston playing we understand that coming here would be nearly impossible. Matt begged off because he and Myrna are still recovering from the expense of getting married in Jamacia and John and Melissa are busy with her family. And Christmas is in just 55 days.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back to Work

Work as started well. Everyone has been very receptive of the schedule I worked out and I haven't heard any grumbling. Of course, I wouldn't. I know how teachers are; we all smile at each other and say pleasant things then talk about the offender in the workroom/lounge. Hummm that makes me sound a little paranoid doesn't it. Probably I am, because I do like to please others. I do have some really low kiddos this year. I think I say that every year though. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not working with the general population, but the students that are low and even sometimes low-low. I have no idea anymore what a true 3, 4, or 5 grader can do.
It is nice to be back in the grind so to speak. I have about figured out when I have to leave the house to get to work on time. That is a little bit of a trick from Bay City to Blessing. I have to go through 3 school zones before I get on the open road, but once I'm past the high school it is a straight shot with no slowing down. That is better than the drive from the farm house was even if it is a little further.
I just noticed something about my writing -- this sounds like I'm writing a letter to someone. Some imaginary person out there that is very interested in my life and ramblings. It that how it is supposed to feel??? New thoughts and ideas to me. Writing here is different than writing in a journal because you become aware that someone else might read it. With a journal I knew that I was the only one who would ever see it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Busy Day --- And Not Nearly Over

Some days just start earlier than others and end later. This will be one of them. As chairman of the Rice Festival Parade 2007 Robert had to be at the Service Center at 6:30 to start getting ready for a 10:00 parade. (Makes me wonder what time the people have to start their morning for the really big parades like the New Year's Day Parade, Thanksgiving Parade, etc. UGGGG) Anyway back to my story, I got up with him and since I didn't have to be anywhere until a little before 10:00 I worked on the bed skirt. I know most people would have it finished by now, but not me-- I left the house with ample time to wonder around the court house because today is Market Day on the Square --- Here in Bay City we like to bunch things together. Now as I got out of my snazzy red Mustang, I decided I might ought to throw my purse and a few other things into the trunk since the top was down. So I gather the keys, my cell phone and camera when I saw a friend. As I spoke with her, I dropped the car keys into my purse tossed the purse into the trunk, you got it, and slammed the trunk shut. (Should my children wonder why they stink at being responsible grown-ups? I think they have learned from the best.) Saving grace is that my cell phone and camera were was still in my hand. After the parade I called Robert to let him know my predicament. When he finished laughing, he said he'd pick me up, but the same friend with whom I was visiting when this predicament started came by and offered a ride home and back which I took her up on. It is nice to have friends. Robert got home about 30 minutes after I did --- he was still laughing. He if off again to do whatever he has to do at the carnival --- he promises that tonight during the Bull Blast and dance he'll be all mine --- we'll see. He loves this mad week-end and because of that so do I.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where to Start

Where to start? Well, this whole thing has started because two of my daughters have blogs and after reading theirs for some time now, I decided it was time I joined. I have several journals laying around with two or three pages written on in each --- a diet journal that tracks the lack of success of weight loss, one book that is a collection of a few stories about the girls and the cute things they said or did as children (anyone remember the *crash-a-dent* story or HAAAing the glasses), and another journal, that doesn't have much in it, is a group of devotionals that I wrote just for me. The real reason I began this adventure today though is that I didn't want to work on a project I really need to be working on and this seemed like a good way to get out of it for a few minutes, which now has turned into a couple of hours. I'm very slow at setting things up. Even had to call daughter #1 and ask a couple of questions about what things mean. But now that things are up and running and I've actually typed a bit, I feel I must go on to other things. The bed skirt and curtain swags won't make themselves and I really do want them to be done --- oh, by Thanksgiving. And I imagine most of my post will end this way ---- gotta run.