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 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."