Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving wrap-up

Well we had a swell Thanksgiving.
Katie's friend Rachelle joined us
and she helped make a sweet little apple pie

with me!

Though we posed a moment too long
and lost a bit of the juice!

Then, our chief surpriser David flew to
Columbus Thursday morning and surprised Katie,

Mark and Jill. It was wild fun when David jumped
out of the back of the van!

While the girls got busy in the kitchen,

the boys took a spin in Mark's "new" Chevy truck.

Yeah, the guys know their way around
the kitchen, too!

Sibs cleaning the kitchen!

Jill and Katie at the keyboard.

Adorable printed menu by Jill.
Wonderful hostess, my daughter-in-love!

Ah, exuberance of college girls - fun having them around!

Sigh. Summer's officially over.
The porch is put to bed for winter.

I hope you were blessed with
family, good food, and a surprise or two
over Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

a peaceful chaos

"Mom, have you been reading my new blog?" asked my daughter Katie.

Oh yes, a peaceful chaos. I remember the name, but not having it as a favorite, I wasn't following.

A Peaceful Chaos is Katie's art/photography blog where she shares her artistic things and a bit about her college life. I tell Katie she's an artist at heart. She sees and approaches life in creatively wonderful ways. It's fun living with an artist. Most of the time.

So now I will follow. I promise, Katie. And now that I've advertised it on my blog, how about more frequent posts? I'd like that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We're headed to son Mark and  daughter-in-love Jill's tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving. It's fun to see the next generation create their holiday traditions and wrangle the turkey!

Daughter Katie and California friend Rachelle are home from college and soon we'll be making pie and cornbread and green beans for tomorrow. Dontcha just love those aromas?

I thank God for my family, my gorgeously healthy granddaughter whose birth we awaited this time last year, and the incredible blessings of home, friends and country.

May you be thankful this week as well.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving ...
Psalm 95:2

Saturday, November 20, 2010

goodbye blue ... and Uncle Hugh

So I told myself, "That blue won't do." My lovely and skilled daughter Katie painted the breakfast room over a year ago. My thinking was, blue would look cool and cheery with our green kitchen. But it never set right with me. I like to think I inherited my dad's great eye for color. Trouble is, I know what I like once it's done, but I lack in choosing the right color at the start.

Blue's a hard color to get right if you ask me. I once painted the living room a light blue and son Mark, at the gloomy age of 14, commented, "what, are we having another baby?"

I first chose "Heavy Cream." Don't you just love paint color names? Heavy cream was too yellow. Back to the paint store for "Wheat Sheaf." Maybe a smidge light, but Wheat Sheaf it is and shall be.

Veterans Day inspired me to pull out the fantastic photo of my great-uncle Hugh Lanier in his WW I uniform. He stood straight and handsome, hat tucked under his arm. Pasted inside a cardboard cover embellished with stars and stripes, this photo may have been the only copy in existence.

On one of my trips to the paint store, dog Ellie got bored. Or she might be annoyed that I put her favorite couch in the basement. I thought she'd grown out of her appetite for photographs, but apparently not. I found the cardboard torn into many small pieces on the floor of my study. Oddly, I saw no pieces of Uncle Hugh anywhere. Nor upon examination of "piles" in the yard. So perhaps Uncle Hugh will reappear, but my hope is slim.

Those are the highlights of my week. How about you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I know her!

The oddest sensation came over me when I first saw this photo of my granddaughter Ari this week. You might think I'm crazy, but ...

I know her. No, I know her. Oh, not like her parents do. They know which cry means what, when it's time for bed, her favorite foods and toy, how to cuddle her and place her in her crib, and how long she can last on errands. I need a crash course in those things on my short visits.

But as I study Ari's deep, dark eyes, delicate hands and flawless complexion I have a sense that I know her completely, as I did my own children. Though I don't, and she isn't. But still. A connection exists that I cannot explain.

I guess it's called grandmotherhood.

And I'm liking it.

Being a grandmother is the best.
I believe it is the only thing in life that is not overrated. 
- Marty Norman

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving assignment!

It's a glorious day to be assigned only a green bean casserole for Thanksgiving dinner! (Don't laugh; we're Ohioans and I think it's our state casserole.)

I remember marveling at other women my age who went to their mother's or mother-in-law's house for holiday meals year after year. Not sure how - or if - they ever learn to cook a turkey or sweet potato casserole. And no leftovers? How terribly sad because turkey and dressing leftovers are my favorite. I haven't minded cooking solo for these big events most of my married life. After a few years it's just no big deal.

The big, fun deal to me is passing the baton to a daughter or daughter-in-love.
Thanks to two resourceful daughters-in-love, I'm increasingly off the hook. Jill, practically a newlywed, is excitedly planning Thanksgiving for us next week and I am saying hallelujah! Two years ago, newlywed Jenny did the same. It's fabulous to taste their dishes and see them create their own holiday traditions.

Though I might miss the turkey and dressing leftovers, just a little.

Thanksgiving 2009 at our house: Jill, Katie and Rachelle.
(Katie's college friend who lives in California!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

the man at the gas station

Already rattled from a one-hour detour on I-77 in Virginia, I pulled into a station to fill up. Behind me, an older man eyed me as he filled his van. Maybe he thought I'd backed up too close. My son Dan, who had given me detour directions by phone, called to check on me.

I continued to talk and pump gas. Then. The man roared up to me, spewing expletives. "Can you get off that *%#@ cell phone while I pull away, before you blow us both up? There's a BIG SIGN right there warning you not to talk on a phone while pumping gas! Thirty-two women have been blown up doing that!"

Stunned, I'm not one to just to take it. I walked to his van, and looked right at him.

"Sir, I appreciate your concern, but you could be alot more polite. There's no need to yell."

#$%&* he fumed as he pulled away.

A minute too late, I wish I'd walked over to the building and awaited his wife, exiting the restroom. I would have said, "is he your husband? Well I sure hope he speaks more respectfully to you than he did to me. Have a good day."

Instead I stood, dazed and furious.

I was really, really peeved. The BIG SIGN was small and hidden. I vaguely remember hearing warnings about cell phones at gas pumps. But really. A kinder, gentler approach would have sufficed.

I was furious, in fact, the rest of the drive to Charlotte. Then, before eating lunch with Dan and Jenny, she simply prayed: "Lord, soften the heart of the man at the gas station."

Had I thought to pray? No, my bruised ego got in the way of a prayerful attitude. My job isn't to set things right nor even to be right. It's to be Jesus to those who desperately need him. And that man must be filled with hurt for it to spill out so easily onto a complete stranger.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Matthew 5:44

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

an iPod for grandma?

To iPod or not. That's the question. I embrace new technology much the same way that I learned to swim. Failing beginning swimming three times shook my confidence in the water. Then in college I took lifesaving and there was no looking back. I loved swimming!

Maybe it's time to jump on the iPod bandwagon. CD's clutter my life: the desk, car, kitchen counter, drawers and shelves. And they're so ... 90's!

And allow me digress, but my favorite CD story happened when son Dan came home from preschool one day in 1990. Wide-eyed, he spread his hands a foot apart and exclaimed, "Mommy, they have CD's THIS BIG at preschool!"

So why not, I should get with the program. According to those in the know (my friends) an iPod is a must-have. Maybe a must-want. But like my fear of the pool, I start listing the negatives.

1. How do I load the thing? Dan says it will "take him 5 months" to teach me. Your point, son?
2. Earphones. I absolutely detest things in my ears. So I figure I'll buy a "dock" - yeah I'm getting the lingo - a clock radio that charges and plays your iPod. And, I can play it in the car as long as there's a pluggy hole for it.
3. Which model? Shuffle. Nano. Classic. 250, 500 or 2,000 songs? Oh, dear.
4. What if I get tired of songs, can I take them off and replace with new ones?

My kids are laughing, I am certain. IPod technology is as complicated to them as brushing their teeth. Which, had I not been teaching them to do all those years, I might be better versed in iPods!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jerry Jenkins and college student for a day

Made a little road trip to Indiana yesterday. Destination: Taylor University to hear Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind series speak on writing. By the way, he's written around 175 books. That's what I call a prolific writer.

First stop: grabbing my sweet daughter Katie and heading to the "D.C." (dining commons) for lunch, since one o'clock was fast-approaching: her class time and my time with Jerry. I mean Mr. Jenkins.

It's a funny paradox whenever I visit the college eating venue. On one hand, I feel very comfortable navigating about, thinking back to my own college days. Hot food line, salad bar, desserts, beverages. I also want to tell the kids: enjoy this, dear: soon enough you'll be doing the cooking!

But then, the crowds and fast-moving young adults cause me some disorientation until I feel a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, Katie saves me. I hear, "Mom, over here." And I follow her voice to get my tea. "Mom, this way." And we find a table. I feel a little like her little girl, following mommy's voice. She smiles, reading my mind. 

Jerry Jenkins was marvelous. Witty, engaging, humble. And author of books that have sold 70 million copies. 70 million! He critiqued samples of students' work and shared his writing life. All so fascinating for a writer.

At 3 o'clock I scooted to the art building for Katie's "Experimental Photography" class. The project of the day was making prints from old slides. Katie had asked me to bring some from my college days, so that was pretty cool. Katie printed one of the main street of my college town, 70's cars and all. She liked that. The kids welcomed me, but  I was humbled to realize they were printing slides I had shot and developed in college 35 years ago. My life is passing so very quickly.

We shared dinner at Paynes, a local eclectic cafe. Katie ordered a monstrous veggie burger! The best part was our time together. I love my daughter and love to see the ways she is maturing into womanhood.

After dinner we caught another hour with Jerry Mr. Jenkins, including a book signing. I didn't know whether to address him as Jerry or Mr. Jenkins and frankly, I forgot his name when I stepped to the table. So I just thanked him for his afternoon seminar. How profound.

I love going to college for a day, but it's good to come home to my own bed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I remember my parents hosting a coffee in our home as they campaigned for Barry Goldwater back in the 60's. It made a big impression on young me. We Americans are privileged and duty-bound to vote.

Please get out and vote today!