A Day In The Life

It’s My Party I Can Cry If I Want To
July 30, 2008, 9:06 pm
Filed under: My Life

Well, the day finally arrived. Songbird is officially fifty! Mom organized a ‘family only’ party to celebrate the big event.

My nieces love to make my birthdays extra special. H., in the front, is twelve and her sister, M., in the back, is fourteen. H. told Grandma that she would make my birthday cake. H. wanted to make the cake in the shape of Jasper, but after much thought, she decided her mom didn’t have a pan or platter large enough for a Dachshund-shaped cake. So she thumbed through magazines and cook books for ideas and found a three-tiered wedding cake that she just knew would be special enough for her aunt.

H. cooked and created this cake all by herself! The bottom tier is frosted with chocolate icing because that is H.’s favorite. The middle tier is iced with vanilla frosting because that is my favorite and the top is left plain because M. prefers no icing at all. H. just had to include a tribute to Jasper!

It took several hours only a few moments to light all the candles.

Voila! The fabulous blazing birthday cake!

And here I am. The over the hill birthday girl!


If I Ruled the World
July 27, 2008, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Fun Monday

I’d like to build the world a home and furnish it with love.
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves.

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company.

I’d like to see the world for once all standing hand in hand

And hear them echo through the hills for peace throughout the land.

That’s the song I hear. Let the world sing today.

A song of peace that echoes on and never goes away.

Put your hand in my hand. Let’s begin today.
Put your hand in my hand. Help me find the way.

And hear them echo through the hills for peace throughout the land.

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The F-word
July 22, 2008, 10:29 pm
Filed under: My Life

Yeah, the Songbird has been hearing the F-word quite a bit lately.  Really kind of sad.  My friends, Mom, brother, sister, even my nieces have been using the F-word.  What?!!!  Oh, get your minds out of the gutter….I’m not talking about that F-word.  FIFTY.  Yep, that’s the F-word in my life and it’s there…..just waiting around the corner.  Hard to believe in just a few days the Songbird will be FIFTY. 

I didn’t have problems with either thirty or forty, but fifty just seems….well, like mature.  I keep thinking about my decision in 1990 to move back to Arkansas.  One of the main reasons for the move was that my parents were getting older and I didn’t want to live 1200 miles away from them anymore.  My parents were getting older.  Yeah, right.  My mom was 51 and my dad was 53.  My perspective has changed a lot in the 18 years I’ve been back home.  Amazing how aged 50 seemed from the viewpoint of thirty-two as compared to how it’s looking from forty-nine. 

I’ve also had the thought that probably half my life is over.  Heck, more than half my life could be over.  I mean, who really knows?  Thank goodness my positive Pollyanna nature is way stronger than my darker side.  I still see my cup as half full rather than half empty most of the time.  It helps that I have some pretty good celebrity companions that are also hearing the F-word this year.  Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jamie Lee Curtis are all the same age as me.  But, honestly, some of my friends aren’t helping one little bit as evidenced by this email I received.  

Uh, thanks…..I really needed this. F-word.

When I Grow Up……
July 21, 2008, 12:07 am
Filed under: Fun Monday, My Life

Careers and dreams… Irish Coffee House wants us to write about our childhood dreams and how they did or didn’t evolve into adult careers. What a great Fun Monday topic! Let’s get started.

The first thing I wanted to be was a witch. Aren’t I the cutest little thing?!! I was barely two years old, but I already had career plans. A witch has a broom, a black cat, grows herbs, cooks potions, casts spells, has a wicked cackling laugh and stars in The Wizard of Oz.  I’ve definitely met a few of those criteria. 

My next career goal was to become a pirate. Arrrrrr! This one’s easy…..I was in administrative management for a major corporation for six years. Can’t get much closer to becoming a pirate without sailing the high seas.

At the ripe old age of four, I decided to become a cowgirl. Another easy one. I’ve owned and ridden horses off and on throughout my life. And for the last 18 years as a teacher, I’ve herded children from this location to that location. I’ve cut out the onery cusses and lassoed the wild broncs. Get along little doggies!

Next, I entered my gypsy phase. Let’s see…..while I was working for that major corporation, I moved four times in six years so I guess I could easily say I wandered like a gypsy. Not to mention, I love large, jingling, tingling jewelry.

And, of course, I’ve always dreamed of being a musician. And I am!

Honestly, being a music teacher combines all of my various childhood dreams and career goals. The most important thing is knowing music makes a difference in young people’s lives. I touch the future because I teach. Wow! I love it!

No matter what the job, I’ve always taken time to stop and smell the roses!

The Most Terrific Holiday
July 13, 2008, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Family, Fun Monday, My Life

Penny asked us to write about our favorite birthday celebration for this Fun Monday assignment.  I really couldn’t think of a favorite party for myself or for anyone else.  I love all birthdays!  They are the most terrific holiday of all holidays because they honor our very existence.  Oh, I know, as I’ve gotten older I’ve moaned and groaned about the years, but deep down inside I love celebrating my birthday.  It is my own personal holiday that celebrates and honors the unique person that is me. And what better way to celebrate one’s family and friends! Everyone has his or her special personal holiday and life is a cause for celebration and joy!

As I searched for pictures to scan and post, I came across my third birthday celebration.  There are so many dear memories in this picture that it literally takes my breath away.  My Granny W. who celebrated her 90th and final birthday in 1987, is in the background outside hanging clothes on the line.  Her gardening hat is on top of her wringer washing machine.  I have my first piano and sheet music.  Granny’s wooden recipe box is sitting on a table.  And Mom made my dress from ‘eyelash’ gingham so called for the red, whispy threads that decorate the black and white checks of the material.  I don’t remember all these details from my actual third birthday.  Way too long ago!  But Mom still has Granny’s recipe box and I kept my piano until it fell apart thirty years or so after I received it. 

My dad who died two days before his 64th birthday in 2001, worked for Shipley Baking Company for thirty years. Mom usually made my birthday cakes, but I celebrated my twelfth birthday with a cake from Shipley’s. Bakery cakes were a rare treat. I remember feeling quite special sharing this huge, pink rose bedecked cake with my birthday party guests.  I always loved having a summer birth date.  We almost always celebrated outdoors with swimming parties, watermelon, cake, homemade ice cream, cookouts and other summer time activities.  And I could have my parties on my actual birthday whereas some of my friends whose birthdays fell during the school year had to wait for the nearest weekend to have parties. 

My nieces are special every day of the year.  I don’t get to spend their birthdays with them as much as I used to, but they still love making my birthday a big event.  H. likes chocolate frosting and M. likes vanilla, so my grown up birthday cakes are often quite interesting in appearance.  They just stick a random number of candles on the cake since accuracy isn’t important to their aunt at this point in her life!  M. is now 14 and H. is 12, but they still make sure I have a birthday cake and plenty of candles every year. 

We may not appreciate the celebration of passing years as much as we did when we were younger, but it is my sincere hope that you all honor yourselves on your very own personal holiday.  Life, after all, is such a precious gift and should be celebrated with joy!

A Fishing Tale
July 6, 2008, 12:54 am
Filed under: Fun Monday, Life in the South, My Life, Nature, Travel

This is my kind of Fun Monday. Olive wants us to share fishing tales. She doesn’t care if they are total fabrications or true stories. We just have to write about fish.  My story happens to be true.

I very rarely eat fish.  I just don’t like the taste.  Give me shrimp, lobster, scallops, crab, oysters… I’ll eat them all, but fish I don’t like.  However, I love to go fishing.  I grew up fishing in Grandpa’s pond and fishing in the creek behind my parents’ house.  In my twenties, I lived on the coast of Virginia and Maryland and never once went fishing in the ocean even though it was something I’d always wanted to do. 

In June of 2000, I had the pleasure of vacationing in the lovely southern city of Charleston, South Carolina.  I traveled to Charleston with a male friend that I’ll call Jerk because that is what the man turned out to be. 

Charleston is a beautiful city full of southern charm and friendly people. I highly recommend it as a vacation destination. There are a multitude of plantations and gardens to tour and many historical sights to visit. Jerk and I planned the bulk of our vacation via the Net. We went armed with a list of restaurants to try and I must say the food was superb everywhere we ate. We also booked an entire day of fishing in the coastal waters with a guide service. While sitting at my computer in Arkansas, we made our fishing plans. I tried so hard to persuade Jerk to request a private fishing excursion, but he felt we should save the little bit of extra money it would cost to have the boat to ourselves. Big mistake.

The fishing trip was booked for the fourth day of the seven we spent in Charleston. It was the first cloudy day of the vacation.  We arrived at the dock nice and early, met our guide and sat on the boat waiting for the other people who would be fishing with us to show up. Our guide hustled around organizing the fishing gear. The minutes ticked by. Finally, the guide told us if the other folks didn’t show up in the next five minutes we would leave without them. Alas, the Whiners arrived and we set off almost 15 minutes late. But, hey, why should a schedule matter when you’re going fishing, right?

Now, I honestly don’t remember the name of the family who joined us on the boat.  It was a husband, wife and two kids.  I call them the Whiners because that is about all the wife and kids did all day.  I think the husband was the only one who really wanted to fish, but he couldn’t leave his family behind so we all had to put up with the whining.  The poles were too heavy, there wasn’t a bathroom on the boat, it was too hot, the bait was too icky and when it began to rain, it was too wet.  Thank goodness, Jerk and I knew what we were doing because our poor guide had no time for us.  The Whiners couldn’t bait their own hooks, cast their lines, reel in their lines or do much of anything EXCEPT WHINE.  The husband tried to help out for awhile then he just gave up and tended to his own fishing.  Luckily, I was having the time of my life because I was the only person who was catching any fish. 

I caught ten baby sharks and one fish that our guide said was a white fish. (It looked like a pale bass to me.) I was THE ONLY PERSON who caught fish the entire day. It was awesome!

A couple of notes before I conclude my fishing tale:  1. My relationship with the Jerk ended so  badly (two years later) that I destroyed all my Charleston vacation pictures.  It was a childish thing to do, but it felt right at the time.  The baby sharks I caught looked exactly like the one the man is holding in the picture above.  Some were bigger and some were smaller.  2. I released all the fish that I caught.  3. It rained off and on until the early afternoon.  At one point it rained so hard the guide took us to a public dock on an island where we sat under a large gazebo for 30-45 minutes. 

We made it back to our original starting point around 5:30 P.M.  As soon as we got in our vehicle, Jerk and I began laughing about the Whiners.  I’m telling you.  We heard some of the goofiest complaints ever!  Both of us had been thinking about the Whiner’s skits on Saturday Night Live all day.  We returned to our hotel to clean up and rest an hour or so before eating a scrumptious meal and embarking on a night tour of The Battery .  It was a perfect day.  Neither the rain nor the Whiners managed to dampen my spirit or ruin my first time to fish in the ocean!