Sunday, December 28, 2008

writers must write

You'd think with the excitement of Christmas, kids home and all, I'd be bubbling with writing ideas. Not.

All writers face this. I read somewhere that writers shouldn't give in to "writers block." We don't write only when we feel like writing, we write no matter what. Even when there's nothing to say, we write something. And hopefully the ideas start flowing again.

So. My son David, who's home for the week, mentioned, "no blogging lately, mom." So here you go, reading the nothing that I have to say.

Christmas was nice. (I try not to use that word, thanks to my 8th grade English teacher Mr. Stanko.) But Bill's mom was under the weather and didn't join us. Dan and Jenny weren't here. So it seemed low-key.

We watched Mamma Mia, the DVD Katie gave us. Fun all over again. The boys weren't too excited.

We've brewed a lot of coffee and eaten too many peanut blossom cookies.

My friend Beth called for my cornbread dressing recipe. On Christmas morning!? I love her!

We've played a few games. I cannot beat David in speed Scrabble. Darn.

In a salute to the new year, I'm cleaning up my study. This exercise seems to need repeating about every 3 months, so I get pretty discouraged.

We've shopped a little and today saw the movie, Slumdog Millionaire. I don't know how my son talked me into an R-rated movie, and it was scary for this old bird. It was his early treat for all our January/February birthdays. I liked it but hope I don't have nightmares.

To top off the evening, David kindly pointed out that in one year I'll get the senior rate at the movies. whoopee!

Writers block is a bummer. But I press on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the sacrifice of a son

What does Christmas mean to you? About the time my sons were born, its meaning radically changed for me.

Sons seem to come roaring into the world. They're loud. They tease. They burp. They play mean tricks on their sisters. They attract dirt and hate baths. Before I had kids, I was really a little scared about having even one little boy. I wasn't sure about raising one. God laughed and gave me three boys, one right after the other. I nicknamed them Curly, Larry and Moe. You figure it out.

Our boys won my heart in short order. Bringing me fresh-picked dandelions. Asking me to play trucks or color with them. Writing me little love-notes. "Fixing" things around the house. Holding my face and declaring their love for me. Snuggling on my lap for a story at bedtime. And when they did bathe, they were just so handsome with their wet hair neatly combed.

In contrast to girls, boys put it all out there with no pretending. They tell it like it is. Or they slug their brothers and then everything's good. Like the men they're destined to be, boys get to the task at hand and it's done. They love a challenge and chores can be accomplished by making them into a race. Although they sometimes tried to hide the fact, my boys had tender and compassionate hearts.

Would I ever sacrifice my sons? I mean give them up in a life or death situation? I don't know of a mother who would. Not for a good person and certainly not for an evil one. There's not anything or anyone in this world that could convince me to give up one of my sons.

But God took no convincing. He saw the mess we'd made in this world and devised a plan to save us. Unbelievably, God became man in the form of a tiny baby and was entrusted to a young Jewish couple 2,000 years ago. Unlike the nativity sitting on our piano, God knew his son wouldn't stay in the manger. He'd grow up and in obedience to his father, die a horrible death on a cross for the sins of everyone, for all time.

So the baby in the manger was the beginning, not the end. Christ was a lot of things. But his central purpose was to be the bridge to heaven, to show without a doubt that He's the way to eternal life. (Acts 4:12) As a mother, I can't imagine putting the weight of the world on my sons. But then, I'm not God.

That's what Christmas means to me. And I hope the same for you. I could never sacrifice my Curly, Larry or Moe. That's what makes God so unfathomable and amazing.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My father was born 84 years ago today in Luxora, Arkansas. He also graduated from the University of Arkansas, making him a "razorback." It's a type of pig and on Saturday afternoons when Arkansas football was on TV, I'd hear dad bellow, "oooooo, PIG, soooooowweeeee!" from the family room. It was his Arkansas cheer and very uncharacteristic of my staid father.

A son of the Depression, my dad's childhood taught him the value of hard work and contentment. These days, those seem to be fading character qualities.

10 adjectives come to mind when I think of my dad:

1. Wise
2. Witty
3. Intelligent (his dad said he'd send him to an Ivy League college, but dad decided against it.)
4. Skilled (he produced some amazing furniture over the years.)
5. Well-read
6. Sensible
7. Faithful
8. Devoted
9. Pensive
10. Hard-working

I wish I could spend the day with dad. I know as a boy, his birthday was overshadowed by Christmas. So officially, all the Christmas trappings aside, I wish him a very special and happy day!

(Dad shares his birthday with a long-time family friend, John Power, another wise and witty guy. Happy birthday, John!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There's no pee in pecan

As my dear hubby read the last post, he commented on "Poppy's PEE-cans." The pronunciation of this sweet little nut has been a source of disagreement in our marriage from the beginning.

The source of pecans is the south. And people in the south say pi-CAHNS. Not PIE or PEE, but a soft PI, almost a PUH. Got it?

Unbelievably, years ago I heard yet another pronunciation. Some Spanish-speaking natives pronounce pecan to rhyme with rican, as in Puerto Rican. I can almost accept that.

If I need official back-up on this (which I do not), Webster's gives the pronunciation of pecan as pi-CÄN ... not PEE-can. And defines it as "a large tree of the central and southern United States with an edible oval, thin-shelled nut." How can this be more obvious? If pecans grow in the south, then southerners should dictate how to pronounce their nut.

And to my ear, there should be no pee in pecan. Please. Nice and gentle, now: pi-CAHN. There. Isn't that better?

(While we're at it, be sure you say Appa-LATCH-ian, not the way I am sure you pronounce it if you're from around here.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poppy's pecans

In the year I was born, 1955, my mother's parents bought a 2-bedroom house on an averaged-sized lot in Memphis, Tennessee. It was their pride and joy, but when I study photos taken during that time, I am startled by the sparse, scrubby lot that later became their lush yard.

"Poppy and Dorothy" produced all sorts of home-raised goodies: apples and applesauce, grape preserves, tomatoes, legendarily-hot peppers, and pecans. This wouldn't be so remarkable except for the fact that they lived in the city. You'd think they had acres of land.

During the years we lived in New England, my mother squealed when the box arrived in December from her father in Memphis. She knew that it held the perfect pecans from his own trees in the backyard. Not only did he harvest them, he must have spent hours shelling them because we only received the nut meats. They were plump and sweet and divine.

I miss Poppy. And I miss his pecans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a short hiatus

Our annual Christmas letter is now in production. It's always a time-intensive labor of love. I dive in every December and by this point, always wonder why I didn't start back in August. sigh.

It's going slowly, but with fingers to the keyboard and brain in gear, the letter will happen. Meanwhile, this blog will take a rest.


Monday, December 8, 2008

it's all in the cornbread

Listen up, Yankees. Yesterday I made a favorite childhood holiday food, CORNBREAD DRESSING. It was always called dressing and never stuffed into a turkey. In fact, I probably never saw a stuffed turkey until I grew up. And the gummy globby stuff that comes out of turkeys just doesn't please my palate.

I realize there are countless versions of dressings and stuffings and my daughter-in-love Jenny made a very tasty one over Thanksgiving.

But this Tennessee gal is transported to my grandmother's kitchen at the slightest whiff of cornbread baking in an iron skillet. (the first, most important step in cornbread dressing.)

Not the cake-like fascimile from a Jiffy box, noooooo! Southern cornbread is best made with stone-ground cornmeal, a very little flour, egg, salt, baking soda & powder and buttermilk. Note: No sugar! After a good mixing, the batter is turned into a piping hot iron skillet laced with a little bacon grease. It SIZZLES as it's poured into the skillet and popped into a hot oven.

The dressing is then made with the crumbled cornbread, some dried white bread, a beaten egg, boiled onions & celery and so much chicken broth that the dressing resembles a floating peat bog. (My staid grandfather insisted that an egg would ruin the family dressing, however my independent-minded grandmother always put one in. I thought that was very funny.) Bake and serve.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Silent Night

Last night we witnessed a peculiar thing called Silent Night. It's an annual basketball game held the first Friday of December at Taylor University. The enormous crowd remains silent for the first nine points scored. At the tenth point, the crowd erupts into a wild frenzy.

The students wore pajamas, Santa hats and elf slippers. Even the university's president strolled through in a bathrobe, greeting students and visitors. Rival residence halls chanted out to each other and my sons' former dorm, Sammy Morris, serenaded us with Christmas carols from the end zone.

Following the game, the crowd of students met up at the dining commons for "Habecker's Holipalooza" - a festive Christmas celebration of cookie-decorating, hearing the Christmas story from President Habecker and other fun events.

Of course, we had a bit of our own fun at Ivanhoe's, the famous local restaurant. Several parents who'd gone to Ireland enjoyed Ivanhoe's burgers and sundaes.

Special thanks to the RODMAN FAMILY who live in Upland. We spent some time together and had good laughs over Kelsie's pizza dough, which was mysteriously missing the yeast. The warm fellowship with them made it all ok. Thanks, Kelsie & Rob, Ellie, Jessi and David!

Katie and her good friend, Christy, enjoying Silent Night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

dreaming of the White House

The White House Christmas tree arrived from North Carolina over the weekend. The towering Fraser fir now stands in the blue room, fabulously adorned in this year's red, white and blue theme.

This week, First Lady Laura Bush gave the media a tour of the White House all decorated for Christmas. sigh. Do you know how much I've wanted to visit the White House for most of my life? Oh, I've seen the outside a few times. But I may as well be looking at a photograph. I really, really want to get inside and wander those amazing bedrooms, ballrooms, offices and halls...where Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan walked.

I don't know what it is. Maybe a psychologist could explain, but - I'm not making this up - I've dreamed about being in the White House and talking with the President. While in college, I dreamed that Jimmy Carter and I chatted over coffee in the White House kitchen. I certainly have no political or presidential aspirations, but I sure would like to spend a few hours in the "people's house."


Tuesday, December 2, 2008


You might find this trivial and ridiculous. But it’s on my mind today and silly memories have a way being forgotten. A writer can't afford that. My kids reading this will be, I'm pretty sure, mildly horrified. Or revolted. Is that a word? Not that I would DO this thing, but that I'd share it publicly.

One of the pluses of an empty nest is the freedom to run around in my underwear. Inside the house. I promise, I have never run outside for the newspaper in my underwear. I wouldn't do that to my neighbors.

The laundry “room” (it’s really a closet) is in the upstairs hallway, just steps from our bedroom door. Before showering, I sometimes need an item from the dryer or perhaps have to turn on the dryer. (I sometimes wonder if I was an undiagnosed attention-deficit child.)

It’s a liberating dash, performing these tasks in such a state, or simply leaving the bedroom door open with no worry of a nearly-grown son lumbering through. My daughter's home now, but even she admonishes, "gosh, mom!" if we meet unexpectedly in the hall.

No photos today. You understand.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Carolina on my mind

Conquering Kings Mountain, N.C. l to r: David, Dan, Jenny, Katie and Mark.

It was a landmark Thanksgiving for us. We all gathered at son Dan and his wife Jenny's home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Four of us drove south and oldest son, David, drove north from Tampa for three fun days together.

Except for a few Thanksgivings with extended family, we have spent most holidays at home. I've roasted a barnyard worth of turkeys, green bean and sweet potato casseroles. While I can't say I've minded the assignment, I welcome this new season of being the hosted rather than the hostess.

Jenny's passion is healthy cooking and she planned and prepared an impressive array of breads, steamed carrots, salad, 2 kinds of potatoes, a completely new kind of cranberry stuffing and a layered ice cream-brownie-peppermint trifle to die for. And did I mention 2 dinners preceding the Thanksgiving spread? Pretty outstanding for a 24-year-old!

My assignment was the turkey, gravy and 2 pies. Easy. Besides washing a few dishes, I got to knit and read. Kind of like being a grandma without the grandkids.

My two gorgeous girls create a beautiful dessert!

Jenny cooks while I watch.

Dan on the hunt for more to eat...

My oldest, David, and youngest, Katie. Yes - he's holding a knife near his sister's throat.

We were blessed that my brother Mark, his wife Kathy and son Robby joined us!

Mark hits the books...

OK, lest you think all we did was eat, we also had some physical activities: boys chopping wood out in the woods, spirited games of Risk and Cranium, a round of putt-putt where half the holes were underground, and a hike to the top of Kings Mountain west of Charlotte, where my kids - I'm not making this up - had to push and pull me onto a rock ledge for a photo. Wow, I felt old and out of shape and my calves still ache. After all, I live in the FLAT midwest. This was a steep and rocky 3-mile hike lasting 3 hours.

Our four watching dad take a shot ...

Hole in one!

A favorite pic of mine. The game of RISK was a strictly male, late-night pursuit for the 3 days!

Suffice it to say, this was a Thanksgiving packed with blessings. Thank you, Dan and Jenny!

Friday, November 28, 2008


It's been a very busy week ... and wonderful! Here are some photos to hint at what I've been up to. You'll have to guess until the next post, which might not be for a couple of days.

Hope you and yours are enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2008

big day at Goggin and beyond

Yesterday was spent on the campus of Miami University: Bill, Katie and I joined Mark and and his wonderful fiancee, Jill. A fun time was had by all!

1. Met Mark and Jill at Oxford Bible Fellowship for the 9 a.m. worship. Great worship and a solid message.

2. Brunch at Bob Evans. I highly recommend their eggs benedict-type dish featuring bacon and spinach. Delicioso!

3. Checked out Jill's room, which we've nicknamed the "bowling alley." Long and narrow, but she's decorated it adorably. Darn, forgot to take a photo.

4. Walked to the nearby Goggin ice arena for the sporting event of the day: INTRAMURAL BROOMBALL! Since the opposing team didn't show up, Mark's team played another team that had just finished their game. This sport is hockey-like, played on ice, but without ice skates. If that sounds wimpy, well, go try it. It looked like the ice was a hindrance to the guys moving their feet, whereas skates help you move. BTW, Mark's team won this un-game and the duration of the game was especially appealing this busy day: 20 minutes.

Broomball action

Here are the fans cheering on their broomball team!

Our favorite broomballer!

This is a relaxed sport. Here's the timekeeper, eating some lunch out of a McDonald's bag.

5. Checked out Mark's room in Symmes Hall. Neat and spartan. He's an R.A. and a few of his residents seemed terribly bored...

6. Engagement photo shoot! I wasn't too closely involved in this, but I think the engaged couple had a fun afternoon with photographer Katie!

7. At the end of the shoot, we were at "Western" on the Miami campus. This area is rich in history. Beginning in the 1800's, it was a women's college in itself. And in 1964, 800 young volunteers gathered here during "Freedom Summer." The college students headed south to register African Americans to vote. Take a look at the plaque commemorating this historic event. In light of our recent Presidential election, I reflected awhile on how far we have come. (click on this pic so you can read the wording...)

8. After much posing, moving from place to place and shooting, it was time to eat again. Uptown Oxford for Mexican food. Charro something. A perfect ending to a full day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Concrete-sitting in the 'shoe

It's THE GAME in these parts: the annual match-up between Ohio State and the U. of Michigan. For over 100 years, they've knocked heads the Saturday before Thanksgiving every single year. I'd say the hype is second only to the Presidential election. For real.

I'd get excited if, and only if, one of my sons were to put on an Ohio State football uniform today. It's really the only time I get excited about a sport: if someone I know and love is somehow involved. (note: stay tuned for my next post.)

Have I ever personally BEEN to an Ohio State-Michigan game, you ask? As a matter of fact, yes, I have. The year was 1976, I believe. My older brother Pat was living in Columbus and somehow snagged tickets for "the game." Bill and I were dating and he was absolutely thrilled at our good fortune.

Entering "the 'shoe" (short for OSU's stadium, the Horseshoe) was impressive. Who isn't wowed by the crowds, the band, the scarlet and gray everything? But somehow I ended up sitting on a concrete step for the entire game. Whether it was a crowded student section or some rude person just took my seat, I don't know. But there I sat, on a cold, hard step. This is not my idea of a fun time, and I don't wish to ever repeat it. I guess I was an old lady even then!

Therefore, I'll be at home today. To seem interested, I'll ask my hubby the score. And wonder silently how an inedible nut ever came to be OSU's mascot. And imagine some poor soul perched on concrete for the afternoon.

And for all my loved ones who love Ohio State, GO BUCKS!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Just arrived! Katie's good friend Val went to the airport, too.

Our daughter Katie is HOME from three months in Ireland! Here's what's happened so far:

1. Flight from Chicago arrived on time Tuesday, 9 p.m.
2. Luggage deposited in living room.
3. Laptop brought out to see some photos ... until 1 a.m. Wednesday.
4. Katie went to bed approximately 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
5. Slept
6. and slept
7. and slept.
8. Got out of bed at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.
9. Ate waffles, followed by pizza and salad 3 hours later.
10. Fell asleep on the couch, 9:20 p.m. Wednesday.
11. Went to bed at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
12. Still sleeping, 8:25 a.m. Thursday.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Last night I was privileged. My neighbor, Annie, asked me to be her sponsor as she was inducted into the National Honor Society. While the induction ceremony was a formality, the sponsors, I believe, represent the many people who invest in the lives of these young people.

Some of them sail through their academics and others have to work very hard to earn the grades and meet the criteria to be admitted to the N.H.S.

In Annie's case, she is an excellent student. She also faced some major challenges in the past year, so this was a special celebration of Annie's hard work and for her friends and family who've supported her.

As I gazed up into the lights of the auditorium, I reflected. Impacting kids isn't a microwave proposition. It's more like crock pot cooking.

Whether you're a parent, scout leader, neighbor or youth pastor, you'll not usually see the fruit of your efforts until many years later, if at all. Think of it this way. You put the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and won't see the finished product until much later in the day. The day is long and the cooking is slow.

Though good grades are honorable and should be encouraged, I believe children also need to be taught to honor themselves, their family and especially their God. It requires a huge measure of time, patience, prayer, love, energy, wit and winsomeness. Kind of like making sure all the right ingredients are in the crock pot. Then keeping an eye on it til dinnertime.

Congratulations, Annie. May your life speak honor. Always.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ever study a cocoon? It hangs, dead-like, from a twig. Like a 3-D leaf, a cocoon reveals none of what lies inside. It might sway in a puff of wind and appear about to fall. But it clings miraculously until finally, at the right time and so slowly, life happens. A butterfuly emerges: sleepy at first; moving, stretching its way into the world. Trying and trusting her wings to carry her. It's a miracle only God could orchestrate.

Our daughter Katie has been experiencing college for three months now. No cell phone calls or weekends home: she's been across the ocean in Ireland. In two days, she'll fly home and once again occupy her room, her bed, and our lives.

For many years, Katie reminded me of a cocoon. Quiet and unassuming. Unmoving and clinging to the familiar. Often alone in the wind, but persevering. And waiting, waiting for precisely her time to emerge with beauty and grace.

While overseas, Katie explored and traveled, shot 7,000 photographs, broke her nose and spent a night in a hospital, got to know Irish culture and people, pulled all-nighters to finish assignments, stretched her intellect and built amazing friendships. She's had to lean on new friends and on God.

Tuesday night, our butterfly comes home. We can't wait to see her!

Friday, November 14, 2008

a quiet little corner

A couple of weeks ago we drove in a northeasterly direction and landed in the heart of an Amish community.

Before our evening appointment, we stopped outside the town of Berlin, Ohio at a store called The Ashery. Simple, small and family-run, the Ashery sells bulk foods like grains, soup mixes, honey, cheeses and many wonderful, pungent spices. My neighbor Lynn visits the Ashery about once a year, so I was anxious to check it out.

Along the last few miles, I spotted several schools. Since children walk to school, they are spaced not more than a mile or two apart. The schoolyards could have fit the landscape of 100 years ago.

I didn't ask the employees to pose for photos, but just observing them was fascinating. Skirt-clad teenaged girls were working at the back of the store as well as dusting and restocking shelves. Seemingly to dispel the myth of a quiet and reserved people, the girls joked and laughed loudly as they went about their tasks.

And I went about mine, picking up rolled oats, a jug of honey, rice mixes and other good stuff.

As we left, I sensed a foreign but wonderful hush falling over the surrounding hills. A customer left the Ashery and headed home on her bike. A horse-drawn buggy rounded the corner and continued down the road. No traffic jams, stressed people or buzzing cell phones. I enjoyed a few moments of just the rhythmic clatter of horse hooves.

While the Amish surely face challenges in raising children and supporting themselves, the quietness masks it. I imagine an acceptance of doing life with faith and hard work, and I felt a little envious at the simple and quiet life that is this little corner of Ohio.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bad dog!

When it comes to dogs, different strokes for different dogs. The dogs I've seen at the mall must like shopping. But ours is into baseball cards.

Our dog Ellie exhibits some strange behaviors. She has a history of chewing on photographs, used tissues (ick) and sandpaper.

This morning I went to the basement and discovered a box of BASEBALL TRIVIA CARDS scattered on the floor, the box torn apart. It looked like the work of a toddler. No, not possible.

I can only guess that Ellie was bored in the middle of the night and went looking for something to do.

She must really like looking at the cards, because only the box was damaged.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I do not come from a military family. No one in my immediate family is in the armed forces. I look at my three young adult sons and humbly realize that had they been born in a different time, they could be serving or dying in a foreign land.

Today, instead of formally observing the day, Bill and I went hiking with our friends Fred and Lisa, who were off work for Veterans Day. We took our dogs to a park for a short hike on this chilly day. And I got to thinking. We enjoy the freedoms of worship, work, where to live and even hiking with our dogs in this great country. A country that countless thousands have and continue to defend. And died for. Some didn't have the choice to serve, but many do. And still, they leave the comfort and security of home and family to risk their lives. For me. And you.

Freedom. It isn't free, and I'm thankful to veterans for the price paid for it. God bless them. And God bless America.

a Veterans Day hike

Monday, November 10, 2008

say it isn't snow!

Getting into my pj's last night, I heard a steady, soft, rushing sound outside my window. Too steady to be the wind. Oh, no....could it be? It's only November 9 and I was wearing flip-flops on November 6. A timid peek out the back door...yes, it was.

This morning, wow, it was frigid. And looking out the window of my study...well, I won't be wearing flip-flops today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

an obsolete question

Today I phoned Kristen, our youth pastor's wife, to coordinate a food drop-off for youth group tonight. When she answered, I asked, "are you home?"

Thirty years ago, when I was Kristen's age, that question would have been ludicrous. If I called someone, of COURSE they were home ... otherwise they couldn't have answered their phone. And they'd have to be IN the house, not out in the yard.

I am trying to remember when I first got a cell phone. Mid-90's, maybe? It seemed a crazy notion, to carry a phone around with you. For decades, phones were attached to a base in your home or office.

All my phone conversations as a teenager were on our kitchen phone, hanging on the wall between the oven and the dishwasher. I'd lean on the counter, gabbing, with dishwasher steam rising around me. Not exactly private, either, since someone else was usually in the kitchen.

It goes without saying that these days, we make and receive calls in all places, at any time of the day or night. It just about drives me crazy because I don't particularly like talking on the phone and, well, I'm just not going to give people access to me 24/7.

As E.T. said, "phone home." Sometimes I long for those days.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween revisited

Since I'm good at avoiding what I should REALLY be doing (remember Aunt Betty? See Sept. 1) ... here's another Halloween photo, circa 1993.

It illustrates how we allowed the children to express their individuality. Or was it that my brain really struggled with coordinating anything?

Hey - I actually SEWED that Daniel Boone costume ... the first and only costume I actually made ...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

for real ... November 6?!

It has been unseasonably, gloriously warm here in central Ohio.

Other folks can pull out the sweaters and jackets ... I'm hanging on to summer gear as long as possible. To prove this, here's a photo I took today. This plant on my porch keeps surprising me with a new bloom every couple of weeks. Flowers in bloom and flip-flops: life is exceptionally great for November!

p.s. The weekend forecast calls for highs in the 40's and some sort of precipitation...uh-oh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm voting for ...


After picking up our van from being serviced, I stopped at Wal-mart. My list:
1. fertilizer - to use before it snows.
2. mints
3. a small leaf rake...maybe on sale?

But whoa, as I grabbed a cart, what did I hear? "Silver's Christmastime in the city?"

Just beyond the carts was a fake Christmas tree with creepy, over-sized satin balls on it. Just sitting there randomly. In the garden department: Christmas lights. Near the dog food: tinsel and stockings. There was even - no joke - an electric, inflatable see-saw with (I think) Santas on both seats. I couldn't bear to really look at it.

There's more than one reason to feel sick this election day...

Monday, November 3, 2008

living in the present

It's come to my attention that there are a lot of OLD photos around our house. On my dresser, the family room wall, the piano and in my study.

And I ask myself: am I living in the past? I remember my dear grandmother Dorothy, who I loved fiercely, kept "aged" photos around the house. My mother and aunt were displayed as young single women. My siblings, cousins and I appeared as babies, toddlers or gap-toothed second graders, even though we were in college.

So while I'll keep some favorites, it is time to update. My four were adorable as babies and toddlers and also terribly dependent. Now they're wonderfully independent: three young men and a young woman in college and adult life: living, working, studying, traveling, loving, and honoring their family and most importantly, their God.

Current photographs won't make me long for the past, but rejoice in the present and for what's to come.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

parting thoughts of Tampa/St. Pete

As my mind usually goes, I got off track of my World Series adventure in Tampa/St. Petersburg. Here are a few more thoughts and photos...

Beth's daughter KC, David and Beth before game one.

Wow - game one.

Beth and I had loads of fun, however we were a little disorganized. Ex: Once parked, it took us a half hour to get ready to walk into the ballpark. Here's Beth, looking for something: hairbrush, jacket, a snack, or bottle of water? We were really messed up. I mean our things were messed up...

David in his office at the Trop...ready to leave at the end of a very long day.

I call this the "Elvis Diner," since they claim Elvis ate here in the 50's. It was fun to eat here Friday morning.

My good friend Patti joined us on Thursday/Friday and we checked out Fort DeSoto...a beautiful park at the southern end of St. Petersburg. Here we are -- Patti's hiding!

Campaign signs were plentiful, and this was my favorite...a candidate with ALMOST the same name as my hubby.

Now guess where this is .. go ahead, guess. THE TAMPA AIRPORT! Bless the young woman at the Delta desk who said: "If you go upstairs to the Marriott, there's a pool right off their lobby. They don't mind if airline passengers use it." Since I had EIGHT HOURS to kill before my flight, this worked out just dandy. I bothered a gentleman across the pool to take my photo. It was odd to see people sunbathing alongside their luggage.