Filed under: Odds and Ends
I’ve been tagged by Tiggerlane to list Ten Simple Pleasures. My, oh, my it is difficult to narrow the list to ten!! I’ll do my best.
1. Digging in the dirt in order to plant the flowers, herbs, vegetables and shrubs that reside in my little patch of earth.
2. The faithful and loving companionship of my dogs and cat.
3. Spending time with my mom.
4. Hugging my nieces.
5. Putting on my headphones and losing myself in a piece of classical music.
6. The hushed purity of new fallen snow.
7. The smell of the woods after a rain.
9. Reading a real nail-biter of a book.
Filed under: Travel
One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season is to visit Old Washington, Arkansas for the Christmas and Candlelight celebration. Old Washington was established in 1824 on what was at that time a major thoroughfare through the land that would eventually become the state of Arkansas. On September 10, 1863, Little Rock was captured by General Frederick Steele and his Union Army and the Confederate Capitol of Arkansas was moved to Old Washington. It was at one time a bustling metropolis of political and geographical importance in the Old South.
Currently, Old Washington is a quiet village of private homes and 30 restored historical buildings maintained, in part, by the National Society of Historical Preservation. It is also an Arkansas state park. The village is full of Southern Greek Revival and Federalist architecture. Visitors walk along plank board sidewalks beside streets that have never been paved. There is an abundance of magnolia trees and in the spring daffodils bloom with abandon throughout the town.
On the first Saturday in December, Old Washington is adorned with 19th century decorations for the Christmas season. Live greenery swags and wreaths embellish every door, gate and fence. Fruit and herbs are also used in abundance. One of the most amazing sights is the 3,000 luminaries that line every street, driveway and path in Old Washington.
At dusk, area Boy Scout troops swarm through the village and light the luminaries. Minstrels in period dress sing carols as they walk along the streets. Candles twinkle in windows and choirs sing in the churches. A string quartet serenades from the courthouse while the Old Tavern fireplace burns warmly to welcome all who seek respite from the evening chill. Live Christmas trees strung with popcorn, cranberries and other period decorations, grace each building with the sight and scents of the season.
Old Washington is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year, but I love it most at Christmas. It is a living piece of history that I cherish.
Filed under: Odds and Ends
“We are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread.
Rebecca Harding Davis, 1831-1910 (American Author and Journalist)
Glen Phillips (American Singer and Songwriter)
From his song: ‘Don’t Need Anything’
Filed under: Odds and Ends
It occurred to me this morning as I was stuffing myself into a pair of control top pantyhose, that I no longer wear undergarments. I wear body armour. It seems all my undergarments are made of industrial strength elastic layers and reinforced with titanium. My underwear is designed to lift, shape, control, protect, reduce and otherwise disguise the truth about my body.
What happened to all the silky, satiny, lacey items I used to pull from my lingerie drawer? All of my beautiful, sexy undergarments have slowly disappeared over the last 10-12 years. I once owned a lavender camisole that tied up the front with 20 tiny satin ribbons. Now I am excited by extra padding on the shoulder straps and by how good my legs feel if I wear support hose when I know I am going to be on my feet all day.
And, yes, I know that I could have left off a few cheeseburgers, dishes of ice cream and second helpings of coconut cream pie, but, really I am thankful for every extra pound and every sign that my body is growing older. I am thankful at the same time that I am trying to lose those extra pounds and while I am working to look as young as I feel. I am thankful because those extra pounds mean that I have more than enough to eat. I am thankful because I have the opportunity as a woman to be financially independent and to make decisions for myself. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful that I do not have to live in fear.
So, while I may not be particularly happy with the contents of my lingerie drawer, I can still find many reasons to be thankful for those very contents. May you also find an abundance of reasons to be thankful during this holiday week.
Filed under: Travel
Just some pretty pictures taken on a drive in the mountains several weeks ago. The colors have dimmed and thanks to very blustery winds for the last couple of days, the leaves are just about all on the ground. Winter is definitely on its way to Arkansas.
Filed under: Family
Every October Mom pulls Hank out of her shed and fluffs him up with some new hay, a new bandana and maybe some new clothes if he needs them. Hank has had the same hat for years. Mom sits Hank on a bale of hay, surrounds him with pumpkins and leaves him to greet anyone who passes by.
Every morning my mom eats breakfast on her front porch. If it is cold, she adds more layers of clothing and wraps herself in a blanket. Sometimes she builds a fire in her outdoor fire pit. On this particular morning, she took pictures of the last hay cutting in her little hay meadow. The sun was just peeking out over the hills behind her house to spotlight the gold tree at the edge of the meadow.
The sun rose higher and graced the ridge in the distance with its rays. It was a brisk, cool morning. See the cloud of mist on the far right? It marks the location of the pond. Later this same day, the hay was baled. Mom only got 80 bales with her last cutting, but it was the third cutting of the year. She hauled all 80 bales by herself. I was out of town on a trip with my choir kids and she just couldn’t wait for me to get back and help her. Did I mention that my mom is sixty-seven?!!
Filed under: Family
I moved back to Arkansas in 1990 after having lived in several different states during the previous fourteen years. The little house I ended up buying had a wood stove. My parents had a wood stove in the house I grew up in so I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with wood heating. I also had a wood stove in a cute apartment that I rented when I lived in Boulder, Colorado. The stove in Boulder wasn’t my primary source of heat. It was mainly an ambiance-type thing that my landlady had added to the apartment so she could charge more rent.
See the wood stove behind the rocking chair? Ambiance. By the way, that cute kitten is Muffin, my Colorado kitty. She lived for 21 years, but I am digressing from my story…..
So I had a wood stove in my house in 1990 and I felt sufficiently experienced to handle wood heating. One day I came home from school, stoked up a fire in my stove, added some wood, closed the stove door and went outside to play with my dogs in the backyard. I don’t know how long I was outside, but eventually I became aware of a funny noise emanating from my house. It finally dawned on me that I was hearing the smoke alarm. (Sound familiar, Karmyn?!!) I rushed in the back door to find my house filled with smoke. My carpet behind the stove was smouldering and flames were licking up the outside of the stove pipe toward the ceiling. Aaaiiiieeeee!!! We didn’t have county-wide 911 service at the time so I had to call the county sheriff’s office. I was so freaked out that I forgot to tell them my address. I did remember to give my name to the dispatcher and, luckily, I live in a small town where everybody knows everybody so when the dispatcher contacted the rural fire department, the volunteer firemen knew exactly where to come. In the meantime, I had called my parents who live a little over two miles from me. It seemed I had just barely hung up the phone when my parents’ truck flew down my driveway and slammed to a halt outside. My dad leapt from the truck, fire extinguisher in hand, and hit my front door at a gallop. He had that fire extinguisher spraying the minute he entered my house. ( The wood stove was all the way across the room from my front door. ) The rural fire department arrived a few minutes later. Of course, Dad had totally put out the fire, but the firemen checked out my attic and the roof and made sure my house was secure.
The firemen left. Mom, Dad and I were left standing in my livingroom staring at the trail of fire extinguisher contents leading from my front door, across furniture and across the floor to my wood stove. We started laughing. We laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. It was the laughter of relief, but it was also laughter at my dad’s mad dash and heroic squirting of fire extinguisher goop all over my livingroom. To this day I remember the vision of Dad and his fire extinguisher. I hear the Indiana Jone’s theme in my mind as Dad, the hero, saved the day.
My mom, ever the pragmatist, said, “Why didn’t you just throw a bucket of water on that fire and put it out?” As those words echoed in my livingroom, I realized a wood stove was not for me. I never once thought of putting the fire out with water. Duh……
I sold my wood stove and started using gas for heat. A couple of months later I received a lovely red fire extinguisher as a Christmas gift. It was from Dad……just in case.