Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Special Surprise

The title of this post pays homage to the third grade Dick and Jane readers of yesteryear and my beloved teacher, Lois Deloney.  You may remember that I wrote about her a couple of years ago:  I Love Lois Deloney.  Shortly after posting it, I received an email from her grandson telling me that Mrs. Deloney had passed away a few days before.  He asked me if he could share a bit of my post in his eulogy at her funeral.  I was more than honored.

Today the doorbell rang.  I looked up from my sink of dirty dishes just in time to see the UPS man run the 10 yard dash back to his truck.  I strolled to the front door to see what he had dropped on my doorstep.  When I saw the return address on the padded envelope, my jaw dropped.

I bolted to the kitchen and tore into the envelope.  In it was a little box.  Without looking, I knew what was in it.  I began to cry.  Then, I read the enclosed note.  I cried even harder.

Savoring the moment, I slowly opened the box with tears streaming down my cheeks.  And, there it was.  Straight from Room 15 at Libby Elementary.  Straight from the sweater hanging from her sweet shoulders.  One of Mrs. Deloney's Christmas tree pins.

A treasure of all treasures.  It will sit in a place of honor in the midst of my collection of Christmas tree pins.  Forever in it's special box.

Daryl Deloney, I can't imagine that any gift I receive this Christmas will be as special to me as this one.  Heartfelt thanks to you!

Now, I must go back to the dirty dishes.  Company's a-comin'! Jonathan and Bryce fly in from Chicago in an hour.  The tears of joy will continue to flow.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Christmas Eve 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hooray! It's Leopard Panties Day!

I may well be the world's most simple simpleton.  

First,  earlier this morning, I literally just heard myself inwardly cheering, "Hooray!  It's Leopard Panties Day!"

Second, before writing the above sentence, I had to google the correct spelling.  "Panty?"   "Pantie?"  "Panties?"  It's hard to find the correct term for referring to one "pair" of panties.  Think about it.  

Now, you're googling it, aren't you!?  Yes, you are.  
You can't figure it out either.  
This one thing we surely have in common.

When I tumbled out of the shower a bit ago, I spied with my little eye the pile of panties that Alan had tossed onto the counter on my side of the bathroom earlier this fine morning.  Why did Alan toss the panties?  Because, I don't dry them in the drier.  I lay them out on the side of the tub to dry.  This morning,  he needed access to the tub.  He had to tear down what he lovingly refers to as the "Wall of Panties."  Per usual, he scooped them up and tossed them.  

Now, you know why Alan tosses panties from time to time.
You're welcome.

Back to cheering for the leopard underpants.  I love, love, love my Soma Vanishing Edge pantaloons.  However, they are not all created equally.  Depending on the fabric and trim of the actual panty, they vary a bit in overall comfort.  The difference is minute compared to the difference in the comfort level of the several pairs of jeans I own.  Fat jeans.  Skinny jeans.  Those-don't-work-with-that-blouse jeans.  Lay-on-the-bed-to-zip jeans.

The leopard panties are comfort personified.  Make that "pantified."
The leopard panties are  "stylish."
The leopard panties are suitable for auto accidents involving the cutting off of clothing.

The last time I slipped into a Soma boutique - lured by the tantalizing SALE signs - I picked up a lovely leopard pair with lace insets.  This was so out of character for me.  I am traditionally a safe-playing-"light nude"-no-frills kind of panty girl.

"Well, hubba hubba," I thought, "Won't Mr. Alan be in for a big surprise!"  I actually felt a bit brazen when I piled the panties on the counter at the register.  I sheepishly tucked the bawdy leopard showgirl panties into the middle of the pile.

Home with my new panties, I dubbed the daring leopard panties "Save-These-For-Special."  It wasn't until I actually tried them on that the whole meaning of "special" changed dramatically.  Those leopard panties are (is?) quintessential in fit and comfort.  Love.  Love.  Love.  Heart.  Heart.  Heart.

Now, I save them for special days when I want to feel extravagantly comfortable as well as sassy.

It's Wednesday.  I may run a few errands.  I have no lunch plans (unless Alan figures out it's Leopard Panty Day.)  When I - fresh from the shower - spied those panties, I quickly reviewed my mental list of Leopard Panty Day requirements, and then light-heartedly threw caution to the wind.

Hence, the "Hooray!  It's Leopard Panties Day!"

Yes, I, Simple Simpleton, am greatly pleased by the tiniest of daily hidden treasures that normal people stroll past hurriedly unaware like the deep golden-amber color of a perfect tall glass of sweet tea with lemon, the way raindrops slide into themselves becoming tiny united rivulets on a windshield, and a perfectly sharpened #2 pencil.  Most days it's great fun to be me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard of Lumosity

I watch Lumosity commercials like men watch Viagra commercials.  If only I could be sure...it couldn't hurt...what have I got to lose...  Oh, heck!  Why not!  Nobody will know!

And so, I signed up for the free portion of Lumosity.  

Oh, Wonderful Wizard of Lumosity!    
Allow me to introduce myself!  
I. Am. Tin. Man.
E Pluribus Unum is I.

Free stuff = A little is better than nothing. 

Oh, Great Wizard!
I cast myself down before you!
Evaluate my brain!

And, so he did.  With a quick click-click-click evaluation, he prescribed games that are sure to fix my empty little tin head. 

After about 3 days of "gaming," I felt the need to pony up to the full-meal-deal 1-year membership which promised even further evaluation of my cognitive abilities AND the key to all of the locked games that tease the freebie members.  (Lumosity sent me an email offering me a "one-time-crazy-low rate."  It was cheaper than a good pair of shoes.  My brain is worth way more than a good pair of shoes.)

With the membership, you get added extras that give you TMI.

So, I thought, "Hmm.  I wonder..."

And then I thought, "But surely..."  

The Wizard's games are sure to help me for I have no ruby slippers.
I am counting on each and every "Benefit."

There.  I've bared my brain to the world.  I needs me a keeper.

Today's challenge:  Quit calling the site "Lumenosity."  I can't seem to drop that unnecessary  syllable.

I'll keep you posted on my brain's progress.  If and only if I can remember to do so.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Octoberfest with Bananas Foster

Me, Alan, Meems, and Meems Best Friend, Leonard

Meems invited Alan and me to attend Raider Ranch's anual Octoberfest this evening.  It was rather nippy outside, and I really just wanted to curl up in my favorite chair with a Lean Cuisine.  Alas, Meem's enthusiasm about the event prompted me to crank up the car and head over to the Ranch.  "They'll have German food, free beer [I hate beer], and Bananas Foster!"  I didn't really get the "Bananas Foster" connection, but she sounded darn sure that it was the German dessert du jour.  Who can resist a good German Bananas Foster anyway?

We arrived promptly at 5PM, and the line into the dining room was already really long.  The Ranch residents do not mess around when it comes to meal times.  A few at a time, they begin to line up at around 4:30 on any given evening.  Eyeing the line, I got that nervousy feeling like I was waiting in the cold for Toys-R-Us to open the day after Thanksgiving.  Would there be enough Red Power Rangers?  Beer?  Sausages?  Bananas Foster?

As seating began with people shuffling in pushing walkers or scooting on scooters, music began to lilt from a corner of the dining room.  A light polka danced in the air transforming the Mediterranean interior design to a festive beer hall with plastic tablecloths.  Thanks to this guy...

He was either wearing very short lederhosen (hot hosen?) or forgot his pants entirely.  
It was hard to tell what with the accordion and all.

Yup.  It looks like a German beer hall.  On Ladies' Night Out.  At the Elderhostel.

Our favorite Raider Ranch frau und mann.

I told Frau Kinzbach that this should be her Christmas card picture.
"Not a picture with a beer," she quickly replied in a most serious tone.
"But it's a really cute picture," I teased.
"Not a picture with a beer."
So, take a long look because you won't be seeing this picture on her Christmas card.

There.  Much better.

As for dessert...it wasn't Bananas Foster.  It was a scrumptious warm-from-the-oven apple strudel.  Not one banana in sight.  Pity.

A teaser for my next blog post: 
Our discussion over sausages, German potato salad and sauerkraut?  Meem's Halloween costume.  She cracks me up.  And, no.  I'm not going as her side kick.  Neither is Leonard.  Neither is Alan.  Sorry Meems.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Midnight Mourning of Milk

It was about midnight when my sweet husband got home last night after helping with a fundraiser in Odessa.  He had been standing over a smoky grill all day long doling out pulled pork tacos and New York strips.  He smelled delicious.

When he shuffled into our bedroom after banging around in the laundry room and kitchen, he bemoaned, "We need more milk.  The milk is out of date."

This morning, when I stumbled into the kitchen for my first glass of sweet tea I stopped short when I saw this sad tableau on my kitchen counter.  I made my little Poor BooBoo face envisioning the slight slump of Alan's shoulders when he read the date on the milk jug.  Sigh.  "Glug-Glug-Glug," taunted the milk as it circled the drain in the kitchen sink.  Too tired and disappointed to cope, he simply turned off the light and headed to bed.

What a week.  Government's shut down.  National Parks are closed.  Miley Cyrus is still running free.  A Georgia woman named Susan Bennett has "come out" as the voice of Siri.

Can't a hard-working man reasonably expect a jug full of cold, frothy, fresh milk - or sweet milk as my grandmother would say - after a slaving all day over hot coals and red meat?  

My heart went out to my man.  I, too, have had that late night disappointment.  Bowl.  Spoon.  Cereal.  Splenda.  No milk.

"Best by" date on the milk?  October 2nd.  Yesterday was the 3rd.

I would have totally had a big old bowl of cereal last night.  I ain't skeered.

Monday, September 16, 2013

stamps.com: A Cautionary Tale

I am about to relate to you the sad story of something I did.  A very stupid thing.  Then, I'm going to need for you to tell me your story.  Surely, you have one.  I imagine that everyone does.  I just need to know that I'm not alone out in the world of "I Signed Up for WHAT?"

First, I'll confess something that Alan and I did years ago.  We rented a phone from Southwestern Bell.  Remember going into those stores and looking at different models of phones?  There were princess phones, wall phones, rotary phones, new-fangled push button phones.  Oh, and the colors!  Blue, pink, deep green, red, yellow!  As newlyweds, we felt so mature as we marched into the phone store to pick out our first "married" phone for our new one bedroom apartment.  We had to be very careful about our choice because some phones cost more to RENT than others.  Key word:  RENT.

Yeeeeeeeears after we made our first phone purchase, it occurred to me that we still had that old rental phone.  One day it dawned on me that we should probably figure out where to return it because we hadn't really used it for a long time.  I felt guilty about giving the phone to Goodwill since we didn't technically own it.  Phone stores as we once knew them were no longer in existence.  Guess what?  We had been paying a little monthly fee for all those years for a phone we didn't use.  D.U.H.

Today, I got an email from stamps.com telling me that there was a problem with the payment for my monthly fee of $15.99.  At this point, I'd like to thank the person who used our credit card number to make purchases in a foreign country last June.  If it hadn't been for you, Pierre, the stamps.com fee would have been charged to us until the end of our natural born days.  My new charge card will forever remind me of your thoughtfulness.

I went to the stamps.com site and tried to log on.  Sure enough,  I had a username and password written down in my secret-log-of-passwords.  When I tried to log in, the site didn't know me.  AHA!  Someone has signed me up for stamps.com using my old credit card number!  So, I called the stamps.com customer service department.

WARNING:  What you are about to read may cause you discomfort.  The details of my complete and total stupidity may be too much for you witness.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

I explained to the lady that I must have been hacked by someone in a foreign country and that I needed to know what all had been purchased on my behalf.  My expectation was that the matter would be resolved within minutes, and I would come out the winner in the case of Carolyn Lackey VS Internet Thief.

Not so much.

Long story somewhat short.  In August 2010, I was on the usps (UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE) site probably printing a click and ship label.  I was bedazzled by a little picture of a small home-use postal scale for FREE.  So, I clicked.  Since September 2010, I have been paying stamps.com $15.99 per month for a service that I have never, ever used.  Even the customer service lady on the phone said, "Oh, I see!  Looks like there has never been any activity on this account."  Me:  "AHA!!  My point exactly!  I've never USED this account because I didn't know I'd signed up for it."  I assumed that her "Oh, I see!" was synonymous with "I'll refund your money!"  I assumed wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Yes...yes...yes...  Those are the answers to all of the questions that you're yelling at your monitor right now.  I know.  I know that, too.  I know.  I'm an idiot.  I will have to admit that I must have signed up for some trial offer.  Guess what?  Stamps.com doesn't notify you when your trial offer expires.  They just giddyup on charging those monthly fees. 

Phone lady was really nice and offered to refund me 2 of the 36 months of service.  "Is there anyone else I can talk to?" I whimpered.  "Why, yes!  Do you mind if I put you on hold while I contact a supervisor?"  There is only one answer to that question.  "I'll hold."

Supervisor Lady was equally as nice.  I will have to give stamps.com kudos for their customer service training.  Both ladies were able to convince me that they truly and sincerely "felt my pain."  Supervisor Lady said that she would give me the maximum refund ever offered in stamps.com history.  Six monthsOf the thirty six months.

Even as I was explaining to her that I would NEVER signed up for a membership to their club because I'm just a mom who occasionally mails packages to her college sons, and I can do that for FREE on usps.com.  The more I explained, the more stupid I felt.  I'm sure that Supervisor Lady put me on speaker phone at some point so that her co-workers could get their laugh-o'-the-day.  She's probably still retelling my story at the water cooler.  "And then she said,  'me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me.'" To which one of her comrades bellowed, "Boo-frickety-hoo, lady!  Boo-frickety-hoo!"

They had me over a barrel.  Judge Judy would make mincemeat out of my stupidity.  "See there in the size 2 font print?!  It's spelled out in plain English!  You shoulda read it!  You really, really shoulda read it!  Judgement for the Defendant!  You people need to read the fine print, for Pete's sake!"

Why didn't I notice the monthly charge on our Visa bill?  Good question.  I never look at it.  Alan pays the bills.  He told me that he remembers seeing it on the bill but assumed that it had to do with clicking and shipping which he knows I often do.  I must give him credit for never really questioning my purchases.  He's really sweet like that.  In this case, his sweetness coupled with my stupidity got expensive.

There you have it.   My cautionary confessional.  I'm sure that someday in the future I'll "Find the Funny" in this auto draft debacle.  Just as soon as I stop thinking of everything I could have bought with the $576 I paid for a service I never used.

I must commend ATT and brag on them.  They actually backtracked our account and refunded us about $200 for our obsolete rotary rental phone.

Go, my friend.  Search your Visa bill.  Turn your house over for lost overdue library books.  Did you remember to cancel your gas bill when you moved from the last house?  You, too, may be as blonde as me. 

Now.  Your turn!  Please confess. 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Barbie Beefsteaks

Every Spring, Alan puts on his diggin' clothes and heads out to the alley to "turn over the soil" in our little garden plot.  You know the story if you've ever planted a garden with visions of vine-ripened tomatoes dancing in your head.  Fertilizer...plants...tomato cages...ka-ching...ka-ching...ka-ching.  Plant...plant...plant...  Then, you wait.  And wait.

Thanks to a man who works with my husband, we'll just call him Kirk T, the best way to get those 'maters to pollinatin' is to "encourage" the blossoms with an electric toothbrush.  You guessed it.  One afternoon I found Alan on our Back 40 encouraging some pollination with one of our pricey little Sonicaire toothbrushes.  "It really works!!" exclaimed 'Mater Pollinator.  "That's really gross!  That had better not be my brush!" exclaimed Grimacing Wife.  "I'm gonna rinse it off," 'Mater Pollinator promised.                                            

Granted our suburban manor sits on less than a quarter acre of land, but still we take daily strolls we like to call Walking the Property.  "Come on, Mama!  Let's Walk the Property!"  "Wait a minute, Daddy!  Let me grab my sweet tea!"  We check the flower beds and the potted plants.  The grand finale is checking on our pricey tomato garden.

This year we planted 6 tomato plants of various kinds none of which can I recall the name of unless I trot my little body out the back door, through the gate and into the alley.  Suffice it to say, the majority of the tomatoes are cherries.  

Little bitty teeny tiny eensy weensy cherries.  

Over the past few weeks, we have harvested handfuls of these tiny little gems.  Alan likes to just eat 'em as he picks 'em.  I would like to leave them for the birds.  They are mostly thick skin with a little bitty teeny tiny eensy weensy bit of actual tomato.  Rather tart.

 Today we dubbed this hybrid specimen the Barbie Beefsteak Tomato.

There you have it.  The fruit of our labor and ka-chings.  A bumper crop of Barbie Beefsteak Tomatoes.  woo.  hoo.  I place all the blame on the Kirk T. Sonicare Pollination Method.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Sad Day in Lubbock

I woke up at 5:30 this morning with a song on my mind.

Welllllllll...Ya got trouble, my friend, right here
I say trouble right here in Lubbock, Texas!

This morning the good people of West Texas woke up to the grim reality that our prized local grocery store dynasty had sold to Albertsons.  An uproar began to gather in the back of our throats followed by a howling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" that rose from our lips.  If you're not from around these parts, you may think that this change is but a tempest in a West Texas teapot.
Let me explain.
When we moved to Lubbock 22 years ago, I was comforted by the sight of Albertsons.  I was an Albertsons shopper in Dallas.  It felt like home.  The aisles were arranged the same.  Everything was...well...the same.  I heard tales of higher prices at the local underdog, United Supermarkets.  "Ha!" said I, "Not only do I have familiarity under the Big A, but I also have cheaper hamburger meat and bananas!"
 It's not about the price of bananas.
Over the years, United began to blossom.  A new store opened up a few blocks from my house.  It was much closer than the Big A.  The prices were not exorbitantly higher.   And, low and behold, I began to notice that this new store didn't have the "old mop water smell" (my husband's words) as my familiar store.  This store was spotless and shiny.  The produce was fresh and plentiful.  The staff clean cut and cheerful.  If you asked an employee where to find a certain product, he would all but take you to the item in a horse-drawn carriage.  There was no complacent "Aisle 3 about the middle or maybe on an end cap."  Nope.  It's all "right this way, ma'am!"
Fresh.  Plentiful.  Spotless.  Shiny.  Clean cut.  Cheerful.
At first I couldn't figure out why there were no grocery cart corrals in the parking lot.  I soon discovered that they were not needed because once I pulled my cart up to the check out stand I wouldn't touch my groceries again until I unloaded them at home.  [Don't even get me started on stores that require the customer to unload the groceries onto a conveyor belt.]   Carry out service was a given.  The sackers are actually trained to make small talk as they escort you to your car.  If I've heard "How about this weather!?" once, I've heard it 1001 times. 
"So, how's your day going so far?!"
For my full rant about "carry out" service please refer to "Hey, Lazy, I mean "Lady"...Need a Carry Out?"
It's all about service.
To say that I'm a United Supermarket fan would be an understatement.  I am a United Aficionado.  When out-of-town guests come to visit, strolling through the 98th St. Market Street is part of the tour along with a drive through the Tech campus.  Just this past weekend, I took a dear friend there because she, too, is a Grocery Store Person.  She lives in a large metropolitan area in the northeast with lots of grocery store choices.  She was very complimentary of "my store."  "You won't get customer service like that in Maryland!"
It's the way we do it here.
We West Texans loves us some United.  We buy local.  We support the home team.  We trust United.  United supports our community.
We already ran off 3 Albertsons stores out of town.  They simply could not compete with our beloved United.  Now, they will own our beloved United.  This buyout is tantamount to Apple being sold to Gateway.  Seems like a step in the wrong direction.
Three Albertsons stores.  Gone.
We're told that "nothing will change."  That's what they said at First National Bank before the Wells Fargo Wagon was a-comin' down the street.  Subtle changes at first.  Logos.  Checking account policies.  Then, one day you turn around and all of the faces that were familiar to the customers have suddenly disappeared.
"Nothing will change."
For weeks, perhaps months, everything will be hunky-dory.  One day we'll find that the generic products on the shelves have changed from "Food Club" to "Essential Everyday."  Then, the sackers will say in perfect United-Albertson's trainee form, "Ma'am [politeness grandfathered in from United], do you need a carry out?  [The carry out issue will represent a cost effective/time wastage theory passed down from the Albertsons corporate office in IDAHO.]  Finally, grocery cart corrals will take up valuable parking spaces in front of the store.  Then will come the dreaded wobbly-wheeled baskets.  We United fans haven't had to deal with wobbly baskets.  There just aren't any.  
 Wobbly wheels.
I don't fault the owners of United for selling.  They earned every penny that they will make in the sale.  Out of their ingenuity, loyalty, and generosity, our beloved grocery stores were born.  We have great respect for the Snells and the Bumsteads.  I just wish that they could have traded up.  
We will miss you.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Christmas in July

Ring ring.  Tiny voice.  The Meems.
"I'm getting my hair cut next Tuesday.  When I get home from the beauty shop, can you come take my picture?"

"Are you getting a new style?  A mohawk?  Red streaks?  Are you feeling OK?"

At her age and stage, I generally throw in an "Are you feeling OK" when inquiring about "special requests."

The Meems.
"Hehehe.  Nooooooo.  I'm fine.  I just like the way my hair looks when the hair lady spikes it.  I'm going to put on something red so you can take my picture for my Christmas card."

"Christmas card?"

The Meems.
"Yes.  I want to send picture cards this year because I really like receiving them!"

"So, you want me to come to your apartment after your hair appointment, take your picture, then come home and order your Christmas cards online?"

I know my  mother.  The first question is always the tip of her "do me a favor" iceberg.  

The Meems.
"That would be nice."

"I guess it would be good to take care of that now before 'we' get busy during the holidays!"

"We" equals me.  I do all of Meems shopping and wrapping.

The Meems.
"That would be great."

I already knew the answer to the question about addressing the cards this summer.  That would be a big "no."  We need to wait until closer to Christmas to see which of her card recipients is still alive.

At the photo shoot.

"I thought you were going to wear something red."

The Meems.
"It's red enough.  Do I have lipstick on my teeth?"

I don't even have to look.  She always has lipstick on her teeth.

So, we had our little photo shoot.

In the shade.

In the sun.
Not so much.

On the porch.

Lips closed.

This is how her laugh sounded:  "Ha.  Ha.  Ha."  
Her facial expression belies her inflection.

Oh, how I love my little mother.  I had a blast taking her picture.  She was a great model.  If I had asked her to drape herself over the Raider Ranch sign at the entrance to the property she would have just said, "I'm going to need a ladder."  You know what?  I would have totally gone and fetched a ladder.

Merry Christmas.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hail to the Jeep

Right now, I'm driving a silver 2003 Suburban sans the front grill Chevrolet logo. We have a family tradition of driving our cars until the wheels fall off.  We just do.  This long term relationship with our automobiles is woven with road trips to Utah and Colorado on family vacations and ski trips.  No amount of detailing can erase the whispers of memories - baseball boys boasting about homers, rolls of laughter thanks to satellite radio and Laugh USA, and the occasional screech of tires followed by a quick, boisterous vomit.

This week we are bidding adieu to "The Jeep."  It came to us all shiny and fresh at the dawn of the new millenium.  The first week or so we jumped in for joy rides just to enjoy the heady aroma of "new car smell."  The Jeep was our first 4-wheel drive vehicle purchased with forethought in a part of Texas where heavy snows blow through from time to time.

It was Alan's Jeep.  Then, it became Bryce's jeep.  It went from driving back and forth  to Alan's office to ferrying Bryce to Baylor and back.  The iconic white jeep signaled "Bryce is home!  Bryce is home!" come holidays and 3 day weekends.  A friend down the block also sported a white Jeep.  Countless times during the middle of a ordinary week, I would see the Jeep sail by my kitchen window.  My Pavlovian response was to run to the door with arms spread wide to welcome my Baylor boy - a welcomed surprise.  Nope.  Just Dee Ann.  Then, just Leigh (her daughter).

Today is a sad day.  The Jeep is literally on the auction block.  Alan is awaiting the call announcing its worth to someone sitting casually while waving a bid number in a I-reckon-I'll-take-'er-off-yer-hands manner.  It's a few shades less gray of losing a pet.  I dreaded going with Alan to take the Jeep to the auction place.  Thank goodness for a prolonged birthday lunch with a friend (White Jeep Dee Ann) that came between me and the tearful farewell.

Alan and Bryce were both sad to see the Jeep go.  I guess we all felt like traitors.  The day Alan took the Jeep to it's new journey in life, he sent me this picture captioned "Fond Farewell."  I bit the inside of my cheek to resist calling him to "stay the execution."  Alas, we do not need 3 cars parked at a home with only 2 drivers.  Bryce doesn't need a car in Chicago, and the Jeep probably wouldn't have survived the long trip.

I leave you with the text messages exchanged by a boy and his dad who shared a love for a car.  Both are sentimental to the bone.  Can't help lovin' those men of mine.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turns Out I'm a Doodler

As a child, I had dreams of becoming an artist.  I'd look at those cheesy ads in my brother's Boys Life magazines that said "Are you an artist?!  Take this simple test! Draw this horse!  Send us your drawing!  We'll tell you how you can make MONEY drawing pictures!"  My mom majored in Art at SFA.  She always rolled her eyes when I ran to show her what a neato deal I'd found.  All of the oohs and ahhs she poured over my coloring book scribbles had led me astray in the "what can I reasonably expect in life" category.

The last time I drew anything on purpose was in junior high science classes when we had to draw an insect and label it's parts.  "Moooo-ooom!  Does this look like a grasshopper's thorax?!"  A well-traced thorax was my highest form of art.

Over the past few years, I've become a doodler.  It's really hard for me to just sit.  I really like for my hands to be busy.

I doodle when I'm on the phone.

I doodle during sermons and lectures.
Thank you, Linda Miller, for letting me "copy your answers" 
during our Beth Moore videos when I get a bit behind.

During a girls' weekend in April (see:  "Falling Down at the Gas Station"), I visited with a  sorority sister who teaches art.  When I told her about my mindless repetitive doodling she asked, "Do you Zendoodle?"  "Whut?!"  I had never heard of anything called Zendoodling.  I went online and checked it out.  Now, I'm hooked.  

I went from the lovely works of "art" above to this...
 and this
 and some of this
 and a little bit of this
i. can't. stop. doodling.

I can doodle in a house.  I can doodle with a mouse.  
I can doodle in a box.  I can doodle with a fox.

When I began reading about Zendoodling (AKA Zentangling), I was a bit, ummm...turned off by suggestions of getting my "zen on" by taking "deep cleansing breaths" and giving birth to my doodles "organically."  Uh...no.

You can learn how to do most anything online.  That's where all my "formal" doodling training happens.  Googling is essential to doodling.  There are about one million doodle patterns and each has its own name.  The creators of each doodle are more than happy to share the secret of their doodles step-by-step.  Youtube is full of videos of people doodling with new age music floating in the background.

Tangle purists are also pretty picky about the types of paper, pens and pencils with which they create their organic, cleansed-breath drawings.

I began on computer paper with pencil.  Then, I invested in a little sketchbook at Hobby Lobby and some Sharpies.  The rest is history.  My sketchbook is filling up.

Doodling is so, so, so deeply relaxing.  Some afternoon when you have nothing to do, call me up.  We can get together and polly wolly doodle all the day.  

Yes.  I did that.  I just said "polly wolly doodle all the day."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Panties

Alan and I trekked to Raider Ranch to join the Meems and Leonard for the Ranch's 4th of July lunch.  Mom greeted me at the door thrusting a pair of panties towards me saying "Are these your panties?  I found them mixed in with mine.  I only wore them once, and I washed them."  Yes, they were mine.  Meems must have picked them up by mistake when we shared a hotel room at Bryce's graduation.  I tucked them into my purse trying to decide if my favorite Soma panties that had been worn "only once" by my 87-year-old Mom were too weird to throw back into my lingerie drawer.

Raider Ranchers donned their 4th of July finest began lining up in the lobby at 10:30 for the 11:00 lunch.  Holiday meals are "free" (don't come off of their food allowance), so attendance was high.  There were USA t-shirts, vests that were striped on one side and starred on the other, red, white, and blue necklaces that lit up, and hats.  Oh, there were some hats.  My favorite had a sequined band made up of stars and stripes.  I really wish it had lit up.

We filled our plates at the long buffet loaded with potato salad, cold slaw, beans, cheesy bisquits, sausage and brisket.  Before settling down at the table, we made a trip by the dessert table to claim our pieces of pie - apple for Alan and me, cherry for Meems and Leonard.  Once seated, Leonard said a wonderfully patriotic blessing.  Amen!

As we settled down and began tucking into our loaded plates, Meems asked me in an "outside voice," 'SO, WERE THOSE YOUR PANTIES?"  "Yes, Mom."  "DID YOU PUT THEM IN  YOUR PURSE?"  "Uh huh. Did you try the watermelon?"

Too bad the panties weren't red, white and blue.  I'd have probably put them on.

Happy 4th of July friends!!

PS.  I'm totally putting those panties back in my lingerie drawer.

Meems told me on the phone that she was all dressed in red, white, and blue.
I was a bit worried about what she had come up with.
Love that her "blue"is her blue wool French beret.  Ooooo La La!

Yup.  Saw it on Pinterest.
Our little nieces, Millie and Allison, are coming tomorrow!!  Must have cupcakes! 
In memory of Loyce Deloney.
I love the American Flag and the Statue of Liberty.
And, young, clean cut Pat Boone.
You, go, Green Girl!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Henry Henrington, His Final Resting Place

The carpet cleaners are coming this afternoon.  I like to get my money's worth by moving every single piece of furniture I can lift from the carpeted areas to the uncarpeted areas of our home.  I cleared my closet floor so that I could stretch the value of my carpet cleaning dollar even farther.  Then, I moved to Alan's closet.  I was on my hands and knees clearing the floor of shoes that were scattered about.  Just as I was considering whether or not to move the ice cream freezer [it's a wooden real-deal freezer of which Alan is very proud and greatly protective], like Dorothy discovering the Tin Man's foot in the underbrush of the forest, I noticed a little black-socked foot.  Raising my chin, I saw my old friend, Henry Henrington.

Alan and I are sentimental old fools.  We each keep private caches of treasures that we can't quite relegate to the attic.  Memories kept at the fingertips.  Sweet snacks for moments when we hunger for days gone by.

I keep small mementos boxes labeled "treasures" in a cabinet in my bedroom.  Trinkets from the days of little superheros running through the house saving the day and pillow notes gathered from visiting Meems at her house on Rockview.

One day I stumbled upon this little jacket that Jonathan wore as a toddler.  It was hanging in the back of Alan's closet.  When I reached for it saying something about "time for Goodwill," Alan retrieved it.  "It reminds me..." Alan said softly.  He, too, misses those little boys.  This morning, I discovered that he had also tucked one little boy water shoe into a sleeve of the jacket and hung a RMNP trail map on the hanger.  Gazing at the ensemble, I could hear little Brycie's voice as he stood by the river that runs past Castle Mountain Lodge in Estes Park.  "Daddy, can we staya little longa?"

Henry Henrington is a relic from my mother's house.  Passed down to me.  Immediately passed down to Reed.  For the past 3 years, he has bunked with Reed at Baylor.  When Alan helped the boys move out of their shared apartment in June, he found Henry in the throw-away pile along with stinky socks and ripped up t-shirts.  He took little Henry by the hand and brought him to his final resting place - our home.

I wish that I could track down the person who made this apparently ambiguous doll so many years ago.  I would love to follow the loving hands that glued his little red felt lips  just above his double dot nose to the first child it terrified in the middle of the night to the garage sale table where it sat waiting for my little mother to grin with satisfaction and wag it home to the Rockview house.  

I have no idea what Meems saw in Henry Henrington.  I have no idea why Reed gazed down at the icy blue eyes surrounded by black lashes and bright red "kissy lips" and declared, "It's a boy!"  All I know is, because my mom loved Henry, I will love Henry.

I must run.  I need to find a place to hide Henry while the carpet cleaners are here.  Otherwise, I'll have to come up with some reasonable explanation for why my husband has this lovely doll in his closet.  Maybe I'll just leave him propped up on that chair in my office/guest room along with a placard reading "Don't ask."


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...