Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!


What a momentous occassion...Carey baked me a birthday cake! I didn't take a picture of the cake, until after we had tucked into it...but I did get photo proof of my cute husband deep in concentration at the mixer controls.

I had such a beauty-filled day! Thank you, Lord. And just now, as I was surfing blogland (that's the way I relax in the evenings these days), I came across a blog after my own heart called homespun living, and she had quoted the following:

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
"Symphony" by William Henry Channing

I think these are worthy goals to think on and strive for in the coming year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Virtual visit - nail holes


I'm very hesitant about hanging things on the walls. It seems like such a big commitment. I blame this on Carey, since he laid down the rules about wall decorations early in our housekeeping. The rules are as follows:

  1. No hanging of wall decoration shall be undertaken without the proper tools...a bubble level, a 25-foot tape measure, assorted sizes of nails (and/or screws for large or heavy items), appropriate-sized hammer (and/or screwdriver), a No. 2 pencil, scratch paper for mathematical calculations, and an electric drill held in reserve;

  2. No nail shall be located other than in a wall stud;

  3. No decorative endeavor shall be undertaken during a televised sporting event; and most importantly,

  4. Once there is a nail hole in the sheet rock, there shall be NO shifting of decorative objects.

I have absolutely no patience with rules number one through three, and I get around them by never hanging any object when Carey is within a one-hundred-mile radius.

I do try to honor the spirit of rule number 4, by reigning in my hammer high jinks. Hence my commitment issues.

Occasionally I push the envelope, as witnessed by the picture above. A collection of vintage Bakelite hand mirrors hangs opposite an arrangement of pink transfer-ware plates...you can see the reflection of one in the other. With all those nail holes in the sheet rock in such close proximity, undoubtedly the walls will be crumbling into my bathwater at any moment!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A charmed life indeed...

A couple of days ago my niece, Steph, wrote a lovely post on her blog about living a charmed life. I especially liked her last question, "what's charming your life today?"

By asking the question, she invites us to share the magic...because the secret to living a charmed life is recognizing and acknowledging the gifts that come your way.

My friend, the other Kathleen, and I share a Google calendar on which we enter events for which we are thankful each day. It keeps us in touch even when we're not in touch. It keeps us aware of the little things going on in each others lives. It keeps us grateful even for the small gifts...especially for the small gifts.

Sometimes it's too easy to get caught up in the stress of the day. Sometimes we need a friend to remind us to look for the bright spots.

You know those crazy quiz e-mails that get forwarded around where you are supposed to fill in the blank about what your middle name is or what your favorite food is or what color socks you wear? Well, I think I'll initiate an e-mail quiz to all my friends asking them to list 7 things that brought them a moment of joy in the past week, and then to pass it on. Yep! That's what I think I'll do.

So, thanks for asking the question, Steph. Oh, and here's my list!

Things that are charming me today...
...playing with a new recipe
...phone calls from the ones I love
...a quick hello and kiss from my youngest
...moments of inspiration
...planning a surprise
...hearing an airplane high overhead
...watching the dogs play together in the yard
...the sun poking through the clouds
...scratching chores off my to-do list
...compliments we know are sincere
... writing

So...what's charming YOUR life today?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Porches

The morning is gray, and I'm up early. The sounds of a circular saw and hammering assured that. The new porch is progressing fabulously. I can barely contain my happiness. I believe I will be able to have my birthday cake on my front porch!

We've never owned a house with a front porch...not one big enough for a chair or a swing anyway. And I have ached for one. Some of my strongest memories about the homes of loved ones are about their porches.

The house I grew up in had a great front porch. The floor and steps were concrete with a smooth red finish. It was perfect for playing jacks...when you got up to 'pigs in the pen' they slid straight in with no resistance. And I must have jumped rope for thousands of hours on it. There was a huge cactus at one end of the porch that was supposed to be thornless...but it had little hair-like thorns almost invisible to the naked eye. Inevitably the rope would pick up some of those, and they would end up in my hands.. They hurt like fire and were impossible to get out. I developed a life-long hatred of cactus...all succulents really.

My great Aunt Ruth had a tiny little house in Iowa, but it had a porch big enough for a swing. Each summer she taught me to embroider or crochet or tat, and I loved to sit out on the swing with whatever my project was. Heavenly.

My grandma's porch had wide steps with high side outcroppings that had wide concrete tops...perfect for pretending you were on stage or just sitting on Indian style with a doll on your lap. Aunt Tootse's house next door had a screened-in porch with cots. In the summer my boy cousins got to sleep out there.

I know the guys outside take great pride in their work and are building a sturdy and beautiful structure for us. I wonder if they think about the fact that they're also constructing future memories.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October 6th

When I was little, my dad was always the one to take care of things like splinters or stepped-on glass. We would go in his tiny bathroom where the light was bright, and he would get out the tweezers and set to work with me squirming and nervous. He would talk to me with his voice low, and before I knew it the surgery would be over.

Then he would reach up on the shelf for an antiseptic. But instead of alcohol or some other stinging thing, he would get down his bottle of Aqua Velva. It made everything better. It was mostly alcohol, but the scent seemed to take away the sting.

He wasn't always gentle and quiet. Some things that frightened me then make me smile today. Like how he hated for cupboard doors to be ajar. He would angrily slam an open door closed, but we didn't have latches on any of the doors, so the whoosh of air from the slam would push one of its neighbors open, which would frustrate him even more and he would slam that one, which would then force another one open. Sometimes this went on for some tense seconds, which seemed much longer to me at the time, as he moved down the line of doors that kept slamming and popping open. As a grown up, I have to admit, I do sometimes love the satisfaction of slamming a door. And I never slam one without thinking of him and those kitchen cupboards, and laughing at the memory and myself.

Finding a birthday card for him was always a challenge for me. I didn't want to get a sappy card, but I didn't want to get a generic card either. One year I found a card that listed some things that a father would do, then listed the more sentimental things that a daddy would do...A father signs your report card--a daddy helps you study your spelling list...that sort of thing. Well, at the bottom of the card, I wrote, "A father removes your splinters, a daddy puts after shave on it instead of alcohol." A few days later, the phone rang. I picked it up, and he said, "I got a card in the mail today." I wasn't sure what to say, his voice sounded a little strained. Then he went on, "Baby, you made me cry."

I think of that every year. And I'm so glad that I have that memory.

A father might call to say, 'Thanks for the card,'...a daddy said, 'Baby, you made me cry.'

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall means football...

I haven't posted any photos of the boys yet...they don't usually sit still for me and my camera. So now that I have a camera that can capture them in motion and not just a blur, here are some pictures of their football games last Saturday. They're all wearing blue and white. So in order of seniority, I present the ones who fill our hearts with joy...

#6 Chandler

#64 Bobby

and #7 Diego


And now if the cheering section would please strike a pose...

diva in training...Caitlyn
...
and Curious George...I mean Chloe.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

To quote Yogi Berra...

I work for a well-known (well-respected, well-advertised) investment firm. When I started with the company seven years ago, it was a very unsettling time in the stock market. These days I'm working part time instead of full time, and I'm at different branches on different days. I equate my position to a substitute teacher...I fill in as needed when somebody is out sick or on vacation.

Today I worked in the same office that I started in. I saw some of the same customers. We talked about some of the same things. I watched the Dow rise and fall. And when it finished down only a little, I was happy.

Deja vu all over again.
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