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


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.