Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Resolutions, Just Back-eyed Peas

I won't be making any resolutions on New Year's Day but I will be making black-eyed peas. I grew up in a family that was not in general superstitious, but which held firmly to the belief that it was necessary to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's day to assure luck and prosperity throughout the coming year. Sometimes they were part of a bigger meal and sometimes it was just black-eyed peas and corn bread, but there were alway black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. The only part of the black-eyed peas I liked was the foil wrapped coins that were thrown into the pot to assure prosperity. I became an expert at getting my serving from the bottom of the pot where there were the most coins to be found.

Having been forced to suffer through eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day every new year of my childhood, I felt it was only right to force my children to do the same. I did, and we still do, forgo the coins in the pot.....taking a child who has swallowed a quarter to the hospital doesn't seem like a very lucky way to start the year. My kids never much liked them, but have tolerated the custom so we will be having our final celebration of this holiday season on Saturday when we all get together to choke down some black-eyed peas. Lots of corn bread and maybe a ham and some macaroni and cheese will make it all good.

I figure with all the luck and prosperity I will get from eating the black-eyed peas, I don't really need to make any resolutions.

Does your family have any New Year's traditions?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Whew! That Was Fun

Image from Google Images

From all dressed up on Christmas Eve,

to Santa hats and pajamas on Christmas morning,
it was a very fun Christmas.

Most of my pictures are a jumble of kids and wrapping paper like this one of everyone opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Even Dodger is exhausted from all the excitement.

Now it is time to eat leftovers and take down the Christmas tree.

I hope everyone is getting rested after enjoying a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Greeting

Christmas comes
But once a year
And when it comes
It brings good cheer

The reason that
It brings good cheer
Is that it comes
But once a year.

Suppose it happened
once a week.
I'd be too tired
to write or speak.

But struggling with it
One time yearly
I've still got strength
to say sincerely

Merry Christmas

I received this Christmas greeting from a friend who gave me permission to share it. 
I love a nice honest sentiment. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freewheeling Friday

Woo hoo, it's Friday, and I'm once again full of little thoughts to empty out of my head into a multi-tasking Freewheeling Friday.


Image from Google Images

I usually try to do my best to ignore the whole getting older thing, but this week it kind of slapped me up the side of the head, or to be more exact, right in the mouth. I had to have a tooth pulled. I tried to avoid it, but after 2 root canals, root surgery and lots of money, they said it had to come out. It is (or was) a back tooth and will soon have a shiny new implant in it's place so I'm not quite as tooth-impaired as the picture above, but I sure felt like it for a day or so this week.


In a departure from showing imperfect pictures of my grandkids and my dog, I want to show a picture of my imperfect angel. She has been on top of every Christmas tree of my life and on top of my parent's trees before I was born. She got a new dress sometime in the '80s, but her wings are the same one's she got when someone rang a bell. Her face is a little cracked, but whose isn't when they have been around as long as she has?  (As far as I know, she still has all of her own teeth).



We have usually shoveled (okay, Doc has usually shoveled) about two feet of snow by this time in December, but this year there has been no shoveling because we have had no snow. Right here in the middle of snow, so it was fun to wake up this morning to at least a little dusting. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which reminds me......................

My 8 year old grandaughter, Hope, is playing the little girl who doesn't believe in Santa in It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas, an updated musical version of Miracle on 34th Street at a local theater. She has had several performances with two more to go this weekend. She loves the singing and dancing and knows all of her lines and everyone else's. It is a great story of faith and believing and has left me with no doubt that Santa is real.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Speed Decorating

You can't beat a team of six kids for getting a Christmas tree decorated in record time. Even with one of them on crutches with a broken foot, my grandkids did a spectacular and speedy job of getting my tree decorated.

Even the little ones were sure to select just the right ornament to hang.

The tree decorating went very fast, but getting everyone in place for a picture in front of the tree took a little longer.

It's never "perfect" but to me it is a favorite picture of my grandkids each year in all their wild and crazy normalness.

A fun one from last year,

and the year before.

Beck didn't do much decorating but he enjoyed watching all the activity.

My tree won't win any awards for design. It is a little bottom heavy in the front as a result of two very enthusiastic 2 year old decorators. I feel so fortunate to be able to share this activity with my family every year I think I will (mostly) leave it that way.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sundays In My City

To participate in Sundays In My City visit Unknown Mami here

My small town (about 20,000) doesn't have a lot of excitement to share, but recently on a trip to the library I saw some things that brought back to me the special pleasures of living in my small town.

Free carriage rides around the downtown area which had just been fully decorated for the holiday season.

Our small town's "Winter Skate", a skating rink filled with families on a beautiful Saturday afternoon enjoying skating, music and hot chocolate.

A statue erected in honor of a town "character" who rode his bike around town picking up trash and bringing small gifts and good cheer to people, all day everyday. He died about 2 years ago when he was hit by a car when he was picking up trash on the side of the road. The statue was created with funds collected in jars in all the stores around town.

I got an especially warm feeling of neighbors helping neighbors seeing people carrying boxes and boxes of food that they had collected for the food bank run by a small local church.

No, it is not big city excitement, but sometimes the little pleasures of a small town can be fun too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If This Doesn't Give You Some Christmas Spirit..........

Does everyone have one of these......a really awful picture with Santa? At 3 or 4 I was apparently not too thrilled with the idea of sitting on the jolly ol' guy's lap., or maybe the strap on that hat was just a little too tight.

I hope you are laughing with me, not at me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Will Be Just Fine

Image from Google Images

From what I have been seeing on many blogs lately it seems that we are full on into the holiday season. Some people have had their house fully and beautifully decorated since the day after Thanksgiving. Others are suffering some angst about not feeling enough of the spirit of Christmas or feeling stressed about the decorating, shopping, baking or Christmas card sending that they need to do.

I think I have plenty of Christmas spirit, I just haven't done much with it yet. I have done a little shopping, I have bought some Christmas cards but none are mailed. I have carried boxes of Christmas decorations up from the basement, but they are still sitting in boxes in the living room. Doc just informed me that he is going to wait a few days before he puts up the outside decorations. That's okay with me. It seems that age and time have given me something of a lassiez-faire attitude about all the "must do" things that come with the season.

I will have the house decorated by the time my grandkids come to decorate my tree next week-end. I will have plenty of food and drink for the 20 or 30 people who will be here on Christmas Eve. I will have gifts for everyone on my list. Whatever I don't get done, we will do without. It won't all be perfect, but it will be fun and it will be filled with the spirit of the season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Addison Update

It has been a tough year for Addison, the 6 year old son of my daughter's friend, Sarah. Last April Addison was diagnosed with Leukemia. Since the diagnosis he has gone through 6 months of very intense and difficult treatment. He has endured chemotherapy, numerous spinal taps, steroids with all the side effects, seven transfusions and many, many blood tests. During this treatment he has been mostly confined to home and the hospital due to a very low immune system caused by his treatment.

Addison has completed the most difficult part of his treatment, but will continue on chemotherapy until July, 2013. The phase of treatment he is in now is far from easy, but the doctors are allowing him to return briefly to his first love, acting. Last year Addison played the role of Tiny Tim in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's presentation of  A Christmas Carol. Addison will be back this year playing Tiny Tim in 5 of the play's 25 performances.

This is a step back toward normal life for Addison, and according to his mother, Sarah, being able to attend rehearsals has really lifted his spirits. He has Tiny Tim's limping walk mastered and says the "God bless us, every one" line with a perfect English accent.

It's the perfect role at the perfect time for a little boy who, in spite of a really, really tough year, is still full of courage and spirit.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Freewheeling Friday

I know it is late in the day, but it is still Friday so I am giving myself another Freewheeling Friday for what I like to think of as a multi-tasking post.


I got a wonderful surprise in the mail from my friend Betty at A glimpse into midlife. Betty lives in Paraguay and she sent me a very special gift made in her country, a beautiful handmade wooden nativity scene.

The picture really doesn't show how beautiful this nativity scene is. It was such a surprise and such a thoughtful gift. It is something I will cherish and enjoy year after year. Even though we live over 5000 miles apart, Betty is a very special friend to me.  A glimpse into midlife is always the first place I go if I see a new post. Betty writes such interesting things about the customs of her country and her Mennonite religion and heritage.  When she writes about her two beautiful daughters, her husband, her dog, Nico, and her thoughts as a "midlifer" we learn that no matter where we live we all have many things in common. Many thanks to Betty for this special gift and her even more special friendship.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. I guess I was busy being busy because I didn't take very many pictures. I did manage to get one picture each of my two 2 year old granddaughters.


I have finally unloaded the last load of dishes from the dishwasher so I can put domesticity aside for a while and just enjoy eating leftovers.


I am not a shopper in the best of circumstances so I declined my daughters' invitation to join them on their 6:30 a.m. trip to the mall this morning. I like a bargain as much as anyone, but 6:30 a.m. combined with an 11 degree temperature just doesn't sound fun to me. They had fun and got some very good deals to boot.


Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
Erma Bombeck

Monday, November 22, 2010

Being Domestic is Dangerous

Since I have a crowd coming for Thanksgiving I foolishly stuck my toes back into the dangerous waters of domesticity over the weekend, a pool I most often avoid these days. I did crazy things like ironing napkins and table cloths, polishing silver and washing wine glasses by hand.

When will I ever learn? My weekend activities left me with a burn on my arm from the iron, chapped hands and sore fingers (silver polishing is a lot of work). Not to mention some complaints from muscles I haven't used for a while from carrying boxes of dishes, tables and chairs up from the basement. Oh, and my brain hurts a little because being domestic involves some decision making when you aren't used to it.

In my own defense, I can be domestic and in fact have spent many years of my life being domestic. I don't like to think of myself as a slacker, just as someone who is lucky to have choices at this point in my life. The above mentioned dangers make it seem like a good choice for me. 

Now that I am on a roll with this domestic stuff I think Thanksgiving will be fine with the help of the people that came and cleaned my house today and all the food that my gracious guests will be bringing on Thursday. 

Someday the flame of domesticity might be reignited within me, but for now since I have been reminded of the dangers of being domestic, I think I will go back to practicing avoidance.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Freewheeling Friday

I admire bloggers who are creative and clever enough to post everyday or those who are disciplined enough to post on a schedule. I am neither creative, clever nor disciplined, so my posts are very random. There are weeks, like this one has been, when I think of something I want to write about, but I just don't get it done.
Today I'm giving myself a Freewheeling Friday to empty my head of a few random thoughts.


It was hard to ignore all the controversy about TSA searches at airports this week. I'm all for keeping the flying public safe and I see merit on both sides of the argument. Right or wrong, pictures like this and the  many others that have been in the papers this week make me think that it can't be much fun for anyone.


It was also hard to ignore all the news reports about this man, Steven Cowan, who shot his TV because he was so angry about Bristol Palin advancing on Dancing With The Stars. My first thought is that someone who is not smart enough to find the off button on his remote should never be allowed to have a gun.


This is the last picture I have of my father, taken on a Thanksgiving just a few years before he died on the night before Thanksgiving in 1965. I didn't grow up in a very child-oriented home but holidays were celebrated big with lots of extended family, so this picture holds good memories for me.


This will be the first Thanksgiving for my newest grandson, Beck, who is now 2 months old. He is a very happy, smiley little guy and he is making his mom happy by sleeping through the night most of the time.


Today I am waiting to hear the results of X-rays of my oldest grandson's foot. He was just messing around with his brother last night and and came up lame. He hasn't been able to put any weight on it since.

I'm also trying to figure out how to pull together enough chairs, plates, forks and food for the twenty-something people who will be here for Thanksgiving.  Wish me luck, because I am feeling a little short on skill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm Glad This Isn't A Better Story

My granddaughter, E.J. looks like a very sweet 2 year old and she usually is.

But she can also have a bit of a mischievous side.

Yesterday when I was staying with her at her house I had to run into the backyard to get their dog, Thunder, who was going crazy barking at some people who were walking by with their dog. Thunder is less than a foot tall, but he can jump their 4 foot fence when he gets excited.

E.J. was watching me from the back door and as I headed toward the door with Thunder in my arms I could tell what she was going to do by the look on her face. Before I could get to the door she closed it and locked it with a big grin on her face. Fortunately instead of panic I resorted to threat. I told her we couldn't go to the mall if she didn't let me in. (That was a pretty big threat because Jared and Justin were meeting us at the mall) . I came close to panic as she stood there and thought about it for a while before finally unlocking the door.

I'm really glad this isn't a much better story ending with me breaking a window or calling 911.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Am Surprised I Still Have My Feet

Do you remember these things? When I was growing up almost all shoe stores had one. It had some fancy names but it was basically an x-ray shoe fitting machine. The person trying on shoes would stand on the little shelf and put their feet wearing the shoes they were trying on in the little slot at the bottom. You and your mom (dads never took kids to buy shoes in those days) and the shoe salesperson could look through the slots in the top and see how the shoes fit your feet.

I don't know how effective they were for shoe fitting but they sure were fun. I not only stuck my feet in one of those things everytime I got a new pair of shoes at our local Buster Brown shoe store, but my friends and I would stop in just to have a look at our feet within our shoes, probably telling the clerk our mom's wanted us to see if our shoes still fit.

Do you remember Buster Brown and his dog Tige?
Tige looks like he may have been exposed to a few too many x-rays.

As fun as the foot within the shoe image was, it was also dangerous. The radiation hazards of the shoe-fitting x-ray machine were known for a long time before the machines were finally banned most everywhere in the U.S. by the early 70s.  What started out as a modern and scientific invention was later found to be a danger to skin and bone marrow and to have the potential to cause growth problems.

I couldn't find anything about proven damages from the machine (though my research wasn't too extensive) but there were a few shoe store clerks who claimed they were injured by too much exposure to these machines. I guess I am lucky that I still have my feet.

Photos from Google Images

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I found this new meme on my friend Betty's blog A Glimpse Into Midlife. It is from her friend Joyce at her blog From This Side of The Pond who you can meet here. Joyce asks seven question and number 8 is for us to add our own random thought. I hope I can come up with a random thought.....I am doing this meme since work has drained all thoughts from my head this week.

1. Do you think you're more like your mom or your dad?

I think I am probably more like my mom, at least I hope I have some of her kindness and generosity. My dad was sort of distant and hard to know. I may be like him in ways that I am not even aware of.

2. Do you like roller coasters?

There was a time in my life when I did like roller coasters, but  not so much these days. I especially do not like the kind where your feet just hang down with nothing under them. Yikes!

3. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you'd thought about it maybe another five minutes before you hit publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? (French makes everything sound a little nicer doesn't it?)

 When I started my blog which is titled Living Consciously, that was a concept I had been thinking about for a while. I hoped that my blog would help me pay more attention to the events and the everyday of my life. I think blogging has helped me do that, so I am happy with the name.  

4. What is the best wedding gift you received? Not married? Didn't get any gifts? Then what is the best wedding gift you've given?

You are asking me to go back a lot of years with this question. If I can stretch the meaning a little, I will say that the best "gift" from my wedding is my three children.

5. What is the one bill you most hate to pay?

Since I recently got a new smart phone, I'm afraid it is going to be my cell phone bill.

6. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Pretty much half full most of the time, if not all the way to the top.

7. What is your favorite word? Okay okay. Calm down. How about one of your favorite words?

"Grandmom" is my favorite word because that is what my grandkids call me.

8. This is not exactly a random thought because it occurs to me often, but I want to say how much I appreciate the friends I have made through blogging. I appreciate all you have shared with me and what you have allowed me to share with you....the good, the bad and the meme.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Still In Love With This Wonderful Little Guy

I wrote the following post a year ago today after I got home from the animal shelter where I met and adopted our dog, Dodger. We have all gone through a lot of learning and adjustments (and money) in the last year and  Doc and I have happily become those crazy dog people. Dodger has become Doc's dog and his constant companion, but they are nice enough to let me play too.


Yes, it's true, I'm in love, and he is truly a wonderful guy. Though a bit of a mutt, he is a very handsome, friendly and full of life one year old. He told the people at the shelter that his name is Dodger, so I guess, we'll stick with that. He has had a pretty sketchy life for his first year, but seems to have retained a positive spirit through it all and is ready to share all he has to offer in a forever home.
As I was driving home from the shelter after meeting and falling in love with Dodger, the old song from South Pacific, "I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy", came on the radio.

I'm as corny as Kansas in August

High as a flag on the 4th of July

If you'll excuse the expression I use

I'm in love with a wonderful guy

I am in a conventional dither

with a conventional star in my eye

And you will note there's a lump in my throat

When I speak of that wonderful guy

Corny, I know, but it was exactly how I felt after meeting Dodger.

Dodger has to spend one more night at the shelter so he can have his little boy parts tampered with first thing tomorrow. Doc will pick him up before I come home from work. Needless to say, I can't wait. I'm sure there will be surprises, both good and bad, as with any new member of a family, especially a canine member. But for now, I'm in love with a wonderful guy, and I can't wait to get him home.


It's still corny, but it's still true a year later....I'm in love with this wonderful little guy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Music To My Ears

I have no musical talent. I can't play an instrument, carry a tune or read music. I regret that I don't have musical talent, but I am grateful for the talent of others that have created the songs that accompany so many memories from my life.

I love that hearing a song can bring back the memory of a special time, a lost love, a forgotten feeling or a long gone loved one.

There are the old, I mean really old, songs that take me back to nights at home with my parents, when I was really small, before television became their nightly entertainment. Whenever I hear Tennnessee Waltz by Patti Page or Come On-a My House by Rosemary Clooney I'm back in the living room of my childhood home hearing the scratchy 78 rpm records played.

There are the songs that were my early introduction to the pop music of the 50s played by my brother who was 5 years older. Shake Rattle and Roll or Rock Around The Clock  by Bill Haley and the Comets never fail to bring to mind what a good dancer my brother was (and still is).

My own teen years were serenaded by Elvis, and, of course, The Beatles. Love Me Tender and I Want To Hold Your Hand, along with many others were my introduction to what we, as teens, thought love was. When I wasn't dreaming of love I was hiding in my room dancing and singing to songs from the musicals that I loved. Let Me Entertain You from Gypsy or Hello Dolly from the musical by that name can still get my feet moving and my out of tune voice singing.

College years full of football games,  sorority houses and fraternity parties are brought back when I hear Wild Thing by The Troggs, or Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary.

I could go on and on into my early 20s when I first had children and much of the music was lullabies and Sesame Street, into my 30s and my country music years, into my 40s with Jimmy Buffett and the songs that my teenaged children loved.

There are hundreds, or maybe more, songs that I can hear and enjoy thinking back to a special time, a special person, a special place. Even though I don't have the talent to make music, I love that the music others have made has accompanied my life.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Little Catching Up and Happy Halloween

Doc and I had a great couple of days away. We didn't do much to take pictures of, so I'll spare us all by not posting any pictures of our trip. We saw some snow, but not near as much as the weather reports had led us to believe there would be.

I came home to Halloween parties, soccer games, a birthday party and some babysitting. Blog reading has taken a back seat for a few days and I will try to catch up next week, or if not catch up, start from scratch.

My Halloween party pics won't win any prizes either, but these are the best I got.

Ellis, as a very cute Dora, mostly just wanted to show me her backpack.

Jared was a very elusive Whoopee Cushion.

Hope, as a Hippie, is always ready to pose for a picture.
She wasn't quite sure whether to believe me or not when I
told her I remember when people really dressed that way.

Beck wasn't quite sure what to make of all the festivities.

  Dodger had a little Halloween fun of his
own at the place he stayed while we were gone.
He seems to be asking where the treats are.

Tonight some of my grandkids will be here for Jack-o-lantern pizza and some trick or treating here before they go home for more trick or treating in their own neighborhoods.

Happy Halloween to everyone