Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thank You Thursday

Thank You Thursday salutes comedian Bill Engvall.  You may know him as the guy who declares that stupid people should get a sign.  Needless to say he’s been in business for years!  I remember hearing him do a bit about the instructions on a hair dryer, which included not using it while wet.  The tag line was, “Did some guy in the shower yell, ‘Honey I need to finish doing my hair…throw me the hair dryer’?”. 

So Thanks Bill for keeping me laughing.  But I might need to borrow a few signs. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I was going to throw in the towel but...

...after reading today's "news" of rude children, overzealous cops, politicians and folks suing the government because they don't want "male" or "female" listed on their passport, I decided I needed this corner of the world.

Where news can be good.  Uplifting.  Kind.  Encouraging.  With cute grandkid photos and glorious birthday cakes.

So, as frustrated as I am with the state of the world today, all that made me realize that I'm  not quite ready to give up you, my invisible friends, just yet.

As you were.
Wishing you a day....without stupid in it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thank You Thursday salutes....

Will Rogers 

No need to say more.
He pretty much summed it up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Memories a basket

I've often joked that my brain is like a giant warehouse filled with file cabinets.  The ones brimming over are filled with trivia and the one with the single file folder is reserved for Math.  You think I'm joking?  I've literally had conversations with family members that sound like this.

          (hope answers phone) "Hello."
         (caller)  "Hey do you remember the name of that actor who was in that cowboy thing when you were a kid but became some dirty, gun toting cop with an attitude until he decided he'd rather direct?"
          (hope)  "Um... Clint Eastwood." 
          (caller)  "That's him!  Wow, that was driving me nuts."  (caller hangs up).

No one in my family has ever called me to solve a math problem.  

Ask a man a question and you usually get a to the point answer.  But it's said a woman's mind doesn't always go from Point A to Point B.  That's because one word can send us ricocheting around that file cabinet room like we're on a scavenger hunt. A single word can evoke 12 different memories...because each new word leads to another memory.  Now if a scientist had to follow my thought pattern on one of those mental journeys, he'd need a map. Poor Hubby.  Sometimes I'll ask him a question which is, for him, out of the blue. For example we may be discussing Christmas. During a momentary lull in the conversation, my brain starts musing about what to get him this year, which leads to equating the holiday with the aroma of cinnamon, leading me to muse that people don't bake much any more for the holidays, thus reminding me  I need to buy fresh cranberries next month to make homemade cranberry jelly before Thanksgiving, which I'd rather spend at home this year but as long as we have leftover turkey for cold sandwiches, I'll be happy.  And the end of all that might be a question to Hubby of, "So,what do you want for dinner?"

But the truth is, memories are linked together.  How we access them probably tells a lot about our personalities.  Why just yesterday, Kim Ayres helped me solve the mystery of why I have such a deep and abiding love for handwoven baskets.  

His latest blog was on an artist who weaves beautiful baskets out of willow.  I use to collect baskets, until my love of them was larger than the space they took up.  Over the years I've had to part with a few, but I always refuse to let go of those which have a texture to them.  Oddly enough, seeing those willow baskets made me experience some warm, fuzzy feeling of contentment.....followed by an odd sadness.  And then the file cabinets began to open up, spewing out a memory I'd almost forgotten about.

I was raised a Baptist.  Every Sunday meant Sunday school for lessons in the Bible, followed by Church service.  And then, as soon as school was out for the summer, the church had a week of Vacation Bible School (VBS).  Every morning for a week we would go to church, separate by age groups, learn some biblical lessons, play games and have a snack.  To this day I can still see that plump grandmotherly woman and her spinster sister who handed us a buttery cookie  as big as a small dessert plate, along with a cup of juice.  (I hated the grape and always wished for the fruity one).  If I smell buttery cookies or fruit juice, I am transported back to being that little girl.

I started attending VBS when I was in first grade, at age 6.  Each year we'd go past the Fellowship Hall and watch as the "big kids", 6th graders all of 12 years old,  busily wove small reed baskets.  It took them all week and I was fascinated by it.  The baskets were part of the lesson on Moses.  How as a baby he was put in a reed basket and placed in the river so he could drift downstream to be discovered in the bull rushes and raised by the King's daughter. 

Every year I mentally counted down, waiting my turn to make a basket.  I wanted to reach into one of those white plastic buckets filled with water, which kept the reeds supple, to begin my own basket.  I thought about how I'd take my time to create a real basket and not the circular mess some of the boys made just to get out of making a basket.  I'd pause in the doorway and watch as childish fingers tried to get the hang of weaving...back and forth, over and under.  To me, it was mesmerizing and I couldn't wait.

When you're a kid, a year is F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  The fact I'd had to wait 6 years only made the reward seem sweeter.  Now that I was a "big kid" of 12 years old, I proudly marched toward that room where reed baskets had been made for years.  Anticipation built as I wondered how large a basket we'd be allowed to create.  I think my little heart probably sped up a little as we walked into that room and....

.....then my heart sank.  We were told, in a no-nonsense-ask-no-questions voice, that making baskets would no longer be offered.  Period.  And no, I have no idea what we did instead because I was so disappointed, my brain refused to finish the entry in that file.  I did find out, years later, that the church elders had decided they'd done the basket thing for too long and needed to shake things up a bit.

Yep, they shook things up all right.  Me.  For years afterward, when any story of Moses came up, inside I was sadly shaking my head.  Last weekend Hubby and I watched, "Exodus:Gods & Kings".  If you've seen it, you know it jumps right in, prior to Ramses II becoming Pharaoh, but including all the plaques as Moses heads out with the slaves across the desert.  There is a brief scene with Moses, his adopted Mother and her servant.  Hubby was raised Catholic, meaning he didn't hear those same stories over and over again like I had, so he questioned why anyone would want to kill the servant.  I reminded him that the servant is actually Moses' sister, who place him in the basket and floated him to freedom. I felt an odd twinge of sadness, but brushed it aside to finish watching the movie.

Seeing Kim's blog post on an artist who creates willow baskets brought that memory, for one brief moment, running to the front with childhood enthusiasm laced with disappointment.  A long forgotten file cabinet drawer slid open and a voice whispered, "That reminds me of Moses' basket.  Like that little reed basket you waited years to make.  Until the grown ups decided it was dumb. Sigh."

And then I smiled.  Because my little girl disappointment grew into a love of handcrafted items...a deep appreciation of items crafted with natural materials, talent and love.  Especially baskets.

I swear if I lived around the corner from Kim, I'd be signing up to take that gentleman's class.  For now, I'm just glad to know someone gets to have that much fun making art...and memories.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 THAT was a stomach turning typo

Note to self: NEVER try to eat lunch and type at the same time.  Ever.  Again.

You know how you take things for granted, then suddenly realize you're not completely sure you have the whole story?  That was me today, wondering about exactly what ingredients comprised the food Hummus.  So using one hand I typed the word into Search and this popped up. 

...dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays. When plants drop leaves, twigs, and other material to the ground, it piles up. This material is called leaf litter. 
When animals die, their remains add to the litter.

Um.  What?!  

Suddenly my chicken salad didn't taste so good.

So I looked again.  Yep, I'd typed in "Humus".... not "Hummus".  

So the lesson, boys and girls, is to pay attention, real attention, to what you're doing so you don't lose your appetite unexpectedly.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

For Savannah

Even after biblical rainfall, the old gal is still blooming.
This Gardenia is for you.
Y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

S.C. Flood waters close to home...real close

 I'll preface this with: all photos taken with Hubby's cell phone camera.

The water in our neighbor's pond went over the dam, around the dam and across the field...

Where it rushed across the road like a raging river...sounded like rapids!

Creating this mess.
This is the road behind our house which I normally take to work. 
(Fortunately we're on a hill and stayed high and dry...
as did Hubby's Archery Shop).

The next morning....

Yesterday afternoon not only was water still rushing across what was left of the road, it was churning through the woods in about 3 raging rivers.

Even washed these little guys right out of the pond.

So after about 10 days of grey skies and torrential rain of biblical proportions, today looks like this.  
Feeling thankful.

Don't remember the last time the grass was this green...
we've been in severe drought conditions all summer.

Currently our small county is, as our Sheriff noted, "Like an island.  We're cut off due to major roads washed out or bridges out.  We're not going anywhere fast."
So while we're okay, unfortunately rural country roads aren't high on the repair list.  Little by little they'll get to all of them...
and maybe I'll get back to work soon.
Weird vacation.
Hope your week is sunny.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thank You Thursday

Thank You Thursday salutes: Mrs. Elizabeth Kitchen, my 7th grade English teacher.  Granted, that was a while ago and Mrs. Kitchen has been gone for years.  But what she shared with me never left: the love of words.

Mrs. Kitchen looked like a Rockwell portrait of an all American grandmother: white haired and apple cheeked, with a twinkle in her eye, even when she was serious. Once a month Mrs. Kitchen handed out Reader's Digest.  Our assignment was to complete the "It Pays To Enrich Your Word Power".  She believed in learning by doing...that self motivation was better than a teacher droning on in a monotone at the front of a classroom.  The bonus, for a kid like me who loved to read, was that if we completed the task before the allotted time was up, we could read the rest of the magazine. 

Not only did I increase my vocabulary, I increased my reading/comprehension skills.  To this day, if I pick up a Reader's Digest, I go to that page first. Because of her belief that we could learn anything, I still get a high score...and probably learn a new word.

Mrs. Kitchen inspired with her can-do attitude.  She only had 2 rules: (1) that we always do our best and (2) we were forbidden to chew gum in class.  The gum thing was actually a school rule, but it was her pet peeve.  Offenders were made to memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class at the end of the week.  My friend Pete got caught.  But he possessed a wily sense of female sentimentality, even at the age of 13.  So when his recitation came, he turned, not to the class, but toward Mrs. Kitchen and began to recite...a love poem.  Her face remained stoic while every little girl in the class swooned. (Except me...I knew his sense of humor was at play).   She complimented his recitation, gently noting that she hoped he'd learned his lesson.

Funny, I don't remember the poem.  But I remember her reaction as Pete wandered back to his seat with a Cheshire cat grin. Mrs. Kitchen's cheeks grew rosy and she fanned herself once.  Yet another lesson in the power of words.  

Although this Thank You may seem to come way too long after the fact, I actually made it to her, in writing, years ago.  After I sold my first article, I wrote to her and my 8th grade English teacher, to thank them for encouraging my love of the English language.   They wrote back, pleasantly surprised, to know that a woman in her 20s still thought of them fondly.

But that's what good teachers do....they stay with you.  Forever.