Filed under: Family
My niece, Madison is an athlete in the truest sense of the word. She has a God-given gift to excel in just about any physical task she undertakes. As I watched her play in the 5A junior girls’ district basketball championship game, I was filled with pride and awe. Literally amazed at her athletic prowess. Madison isn’t quite 5 feet tall yet she has a vertical jump that is higher than any other girl on the team. Time after time she was in the midst of a cluster of girls under the goal. Time after time she rose above them to rebound the ball.
Of course I love it when she shoots and scores, but what I enjoy watching the most is Madison stealing the ball. She is like a mosquito or an annoying little gnat that keeps on coming no matter how many times you swat it away. Girls on the opposing team would be dribbling and Madison would simply run up and steal the ball in mid-dribble. She is so small and so fast. One second the opposing girl would be in control. The next second Madison would have the ball without any obvious disruption in the bounce of the basketball. Girls would turn their backs to put their bodies between Madison and the ball and Madison would just run around them and still take it away. It is so cool to watch.
Madison just never stops. She isn’t a prima donna either. She leads her team in assists. For the second year in a row, the junior Lady Lions won the district championship. And for the second year in a row, I cried at a basketball game. Madison melts my heart. I admire her so much. And every time I watch her play, I learn from her. Lessons in perseverance, grace, humility and sacrifice for something greater than the individual.
Filed under: Family
My family celebrated Mom’s 70th birthday this weekend. Everyone got together on Friday (except me) to watch my oldest niece play in a basketball game. My high school choir sings the National Anthem at all our home games so I had to stay here for that. My nieces came back that night with Mom and my brother. I started food preparation around eight Saturday morning. My nieces came over a couple of hours later and helped with the cooking and housecleaning. We had so much fun!
Family members dropped in and out at my house throughout the day. My brother and brother-in-law were cutting wood for Mom at her house. We all managed to listen to the Razorback’s disappointing loss to Auburn. My oldest niece left to help haul the wood and Hannah, my youngest niece, and I kept on cooking.
We all got together at my house in the early evening for our feast of pork loin roast, stuffed baked potatoes, green beans, yeast rolls, coconut cream pie and strawberry shortcake. Delicious, if I say so myself! After Mom opened her gifts, we watched “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” And we missed Dad. He loved movies full of slapstick comedy. And he loved all of us.
My brother recorded the pre-inauguration concert and we watched that later in the evening. We finally stopped ‘partying’ around eleven. I was so tired, in a good way, that I left all the clean up until this afternoon after church. Mom loved her weekend-long birthday celebration!! May she have many more!
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!
This is one of the busiest weekends of the summer. The school I attended from first through twelfth grades (we didn’t have kindergarten or pre-school in the school district back then) holds its reunion every other year on the last weekend in June. At each reunion, two classes are ‘officially’ recognized as part of the celebration. My class, the Class of 1976, was honored along with the seniors of 1977 this year. The school auditorium is open all day on Saturday. The reunion committee has an archives room that people can explore and many folks bring memorabilia to share with those who attend. In the late afternoon, there is a program during which the former students, teachers and administrators who have passed away since the previous reunion are honored. The program is followed by a catered dinner. The reunion is a huge deal. Our school district was very small (my class was a large one with 21 graduates if that tells you anything). People of all ages come from all over the place to the reunion. We had around 300 people in attendance for the program and meal. The oldest graduate attending was a member of the Class of 1932 and the person who traveled the farthest to attend came from San Francisco.
Many people get together with just their classes Friday evening before the actual reunion. My brother and I grilled steaks for our parents’ classes Friday night. (We’ll do just about anything for a free meal.)
My family has a reunion on Sunday and I was drafted to supply all the desserts for that event. So, in between grilling steaks and spending most of today in the auditorium visiting with people, I’ve been baking cakes.
Finally, I have arrived at the Fun Monday part of my post. Lisa of Lisa’s Chaos wants us to talk about our quirks. I’ll be honest with you. I looked up obsessive-compulsive behavior before I began my post because I kept thinking my quirks sounded a little OCD. Regardless, here they are:
1. I simply have to wear earrings. I wear them when I’m mowing, gardening, hauling hay, or just sitting around doing nothing. On the very rare occasion that I forget to adorn my ears, I keep rubbing my ear lobes until they are red. I’ve actually begun keeping a pair of earrings in my purse because the last time I was running late for school and forgot to put earrings on, my students commented throughout the day about my red ears.
2. I love pillows. I have fifteen pillows on my bed. I sleep with six of the pillows and the other nine are decorative. I have a pillow ritual. One of the sleeping pillows is for Jasper who sleeps at my side. Then I have two stacks of two pillows each and I center the fifth pillow on those stacks for me. The nine decorative pillows are put on the bed and taken off the bed in a specific order. (This sounds so bizarre it makes me cringe, but it’s the truth!)
3. I cannot stand when someone erases everything off a blackboard or whiteboard except for one little spot. This was a real problem when I was in college. When a professor left a little swirl of a letter or part of a number on the board, I could not effectively concentrate on the lecture. I would obsess about that little doodle remaining on the board. Many times I got up and erased the offending mark myself. If I was in a large lecture hall with hundreds of other students, I was too embarrassed to erase the board so I squirmed and wiggled and usually ended up having to get the lecture notes from a fellow student. As an adult, the mark left on the board still irritates me, but my ability to focus on the subject matter is much better.
Ok, I’ve totally revealed myself as a complete weirdo which is really making me squirm in my desk chair, but I’m wearing earrings, my board is completely erased and all my pillows are in order so I guess I’ll survive. Check out more quirks at Lisa’s.
Another Fun Monday has arrived! The Hula Girl asked us to show and tell about articles of clothing. Stuff that we’ve hung on to for one reason or another over time.
These are my daddy’s boots. He was a cowboy through and through. He bought me my first horse when I was six and we rode a lot together over the years. When Daddy died in 2001, Mom asked if I wanted his boots. They normally sit on a little bench in my living room, but I put them on top of my entertainment center for a better picture.
When I was a little girl, Daddy’s family drew names for Christmas gift giving. One of my cousins got my name one year when she was just learning to sew. She made this apron for me. The trim is tiny black rickrack. It has three little pockets across the bottom. I wore this apron when I “cooked” and I also loved wearing it when I colored. For some reason, I liked taking all my crayons out of the box and putting them in the apron pockets.
Now, I apologize to The Hula Girl for straying away from clothes, but I really wanted to show everyone the other side of my porch. Last Monday I posted about the invisible walls of my screened porch. This Monday I want you to get the interior view.
The porch runs the entire length of my house and is approximately half the width of my house. As you can see, I have a lot of room on my porch! There are screen doors at each end. This shot is facing west to the front entrance to my house. The door into the house is on the left. And there is Jasper sitting behind the green chair at the table. You can see his doggie door on the bottom right side of the screen door.
I have two large cabinets on the porch. One is painted red and contains a collection of pottery and antique mixing bowls. This white cabinet originally had doors at the top. One door broke so I took them both off. I really like the open shelves much better.
This shot is taken from the front door of the porch toward the east end. You can’t really tell in the pictures, but there are small spaces between the boards of the floor so I can just bring my garden hose right up on the porch and spray the floor down for the ‘heavy’ cleaning I do two or three times a year. The rest of the time I use a broom. You can see some wet spots on the floor because I just finished major cleaning. And the white paint streaks on the floor are from when I painted the doors of my kitchen cabinets. I had newspapers laid down, but I still managed to get paint where it shouldn’t have been. Oh, well, it adds to the character. Hope you enjoyed my boots, apron and porch tour!
Filed under: Family
My nieces have been visiting this week and being the sly, slightly devious aunt that I am, I decided it was a perfect time to paint my hideous laundry room. My nieces are young; MCR is 14 and HMR is 12 and they don’t weigh very much. I’m not old, but I’m certainly a few years past 12 and 14. The clincher was the weight issue. I just wave at 100 pounds as it flies by on the scales and in order to paint the laundry room standing on the washer and dryer was required. That and being able to squeeze behind the washer and dryer because I can’t move the appliances by myself. So you see where I’m going with this….my nieces were perfect for the job.
MCR is petite and fast. A wonderful athlete who excels at any sport. She plays basketball, soccer and is the pitcher for her softball team. What she lacks in heighth, she makes up for in speed and the sheer determination to win. I’ve proudly watched her out run and out play boys (and girls ) twice her size on the soccer field. She never complains and she never gives up. MCR is quiet, shy and very confident in her abilities without a hint of arrogance. She amazes me.
HMR is tall and leggy. She is also an excellent athlete, but she is in the game for fun more than anything else. She plays basketball and soccer, but isn’t into softball that much. Too much idle time in the game. She is outspoken and rarely quiet. She loves music and can be quite the little performer when she puts her mind to it. HMR can be a bit of a know-it-all, but she is so funny and ditzy at the same time that it doesn’t really matter. She amazes me, too.
They really worked well together and did a very good job for their dear tubby aunt. And if appliances could sigh in relief, I’m sure my washer and dryer were doing just that.
After the girls did all the painting above and behind the appliances, I finished up on the sides. Then, of course, I had to decorate those glossy white walls.
Filed under: Family
Mom was 69-years old last Wednesday. We made plans to go out to dinner together. I would pick her up at 4:30 and we would eat at one of our favorite little restaurants about 20 miles from where we live.
Before I left school, I was paged to the office for a phone call. A local florist was on the line asking if I could stop by his shop to pick up a bouquet that my brother had called in for Mom’s birthday. The florist said he had been trying to reach Mom off and on all day. He wanted to make sure she was home before driving the ten miles or so to deliver the flowers. I knew Mom met with friends to quilt every Wednesday morning and I figured she was outside when the florist tried to call her in the afternoon so I didn’t think much about the florist not being able to reach her.
I left school a little before 4:00 PM. I ran a couple of errands, picked up the flowers, had oil put in my car and proceeded to Mom’s house. I got there around 4:20. No Mom. I took the bouquet in her house and checked the kitchen bar where she usually leaves me a note if she has decided to go somewhere on the spur of the moment. No note. I brought my gifts and card for Mom in the house and left her a note asking her to call me when she got home. Then I drove to my house.
The clock inched toward five o’clock and that sick feeling of panic started forming in my belly. Mom has this thing about driving across the local scenic mountain drive every year on her birthday. We’ve been having icy weather and I began to imagine her truck skidding out of control on a patch of ice and sliding down the side of the mountain where no one would find her because no one else drives across the mountains in icy weather. I began to imagine Mom standing alone at an isolated scenic view area gazing through her binoculars when some arctic-loving-pervert-serial murderer stopped and attacked her. She’d been gone all day. Where was she?
I called the feed store where she sometimes works. No Mom. I called my sister thnking that Mom forgot we were supposed to eat dinner together and , instead, went to watch one of the granddaughters play basketball. No Mom, but I did manage to get that panicky quaver in my sister’s voice as she made me promise to call her back when I found Mom. I decided to call one of Mom’s quilting circle friends to see if Mom had even shown up that morning to quilt. Surprise! Mom was at her friend’s house. She had been there with a couple more of her friends drinking coffee and talking for most of the afternoon. They had lost all track of time and didn’t even realize that it WAS AFTER FIVE O’CLOCK.
Mom’s response to all my worry and concern: “Payback is hell.” If she wasn’t 19-years older than me, I’d ground her.