Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Cat My Conscious

She is lying on my desk ready to convey words of wisdom through her eyes.  When I walk in the room after grueling hours of school work with the kiddos she stands to greet me.

She has kept my laptop warm and managed to knock every pencil and my camera cord onto the floor.

She decides that sharing my work space is not an option and she jumps onto the bed and stares at the side of my face.  I hear her thoughts...

"Are you really going to play on that thing, rather than fold these clothes?  If it will help you to change your mind, I'll rub on them and toss them to the ground, too.  Then the dogs can run back and forth across them."

"Reading this book about the history of cotton would be a much better use of your time."

"Are you listening to me?  Or shall I push your ice tea off the desk?"

"I give up...you are impossible and I need a cat nap.  I hope you don't mind if I knead the pages of this book until I drift off."

Now that she has quit staring at me I'll get busy posting my new Chocolate Gingerbread Waffle Recipe.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Nostalgia

My grandmother had the patience of Job.  In addition to making porcelain dolls, all of their clothes and accessories, and ceramic figurines, she also created Christmas ornaments.  This was a year round activity and her attention to detail was incredible.  When I married I received a box of these beauties in the mail.

 This hobby gave her an unnatural attraction to bead stores.  My sister recalls indulging her with a trip to one, and it was quite painful to wait while Grandma spent hours (no joke) choosing the best beads to purchase that day.

Although, they are fraying and showing a bit of tarnish they are still beautiful to me.  And when we finished decorating the house this year I was feeling nostalgic and missing my Grandma.  After a long day of unpacking Christmas boxes, rearranging furniture, fighting cheap strings of lights, and vacuuming the floor free of all needle debris, I settled down on the couch with a cup of coffee to enjoy the Christmas scene. 

My first thought was, "Wow!  With the fire blazing this looks like a Norman Rockwell image, or one of these houses in the village I set up under the tree."

When I glanced at the children sitting in the room with me I knew that we'd never make the Rockwell-image cut.

My oldest daughter had her face buried in her laptop and my son was nodding his head to the beat of the music streaming from his ipod.  This got me to wondering.

A few days later on a trip to Savannah, I decided that the older image of the holidays, free of advanced technology, wasn't lost completely.

Wouldn't this scene fit in nicely under the tree with the rest of my Christmas village?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Ginger Turns 18

Today is the birthday of my oldest daughter.  She has decided that she wants to be a pilot and as a birthday present she got to take a flight with a friend of a friend.  Here she is with her father moments before loading the plane.  Yep...they both look 18 years older than they did on December 8, 1993.

She learned how to get into the plane.

And then she grinned as though she was four years old again.

They were not quite as big as the jet behind them.

Ah...the smile (well enhanced by braces a few years ago) returns.  The orthodontist called her his greatest achievement.  I'd say it was well worth it.

And they were off...

Time sure does fly.  Could it be that my vampire baby (she never woke before midnight and was back asleep before the sun rose) is now an adult?

Much love to my sweet Ginger.  We are so proud of you.  Now I just need to figure out how many Hail Mary's I'll need to say, and how many cats I'll need to sacrifice in order to keep you safe as you pilot yourself through the air.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trip to Savannah

So, I am in Savannah with Bloodhound.  The oldest girl is taking care of our wee kids so that we can get away for the day.

It is a beautiful day and Christmas is everywhere.  Ahh....a much needed break.  I am drinking a hot tea and sitting in a square, for which the city is famous.

And then I get a picture of the kids from the babysitter/sibling.

Followed by realizing that this is her Facebook status:

I told the kids to go outside and play while I did algebra, and things were very quiet... Too quite. Then I heard, "Put your helmet back on!" Curious, I looked outside to see my brother about to push his little sister (who was wearing a life jacket and a barbie helmet) over a home made ramp in a wagon. I yelled, "CHILD HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?! She could break her neck!" To which I get, "but I didn't break my neck when I tried it!" .... Maybe this is natural selection, but not on my watch. Remind me not to have kids.

Do you think I should go home?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Long Until Christmas Break?

We are reading the 2nd book in the Chronicles of Narnia, "Prince Caspian" as a family.  There are many aspects of this series, which begins with "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe," that I have enjoyed since reading all seven books in the 8th grade.  Reading C.S. Lewis' description of the magical talking trees has really intrigued me and I asked my oldest daughter to choose a tree from our woods and give it a human personality as a writing assignment.

She chose this tree.

Meet Norm:

Norm is old, hunched, and unattractive with no trace of youth.
He spends most of his time in the yard working with pinecones
and other yard debris and constantly reminding the youngsters
who drive by to slow down. He doesn't like kids very much, his
patience for them has come and gone--they stress him out too
much now.

His friends know better, by now, than to ask him if he'd like
assistance decorating for the holidays, and four legged
creatures feel more fondly towards him than he'll ever
feel back.

For the most part, Norm just wants to live the rest of his
oaky life watching the rest of the world go by, at 15mph...
With no dust.

If you look at Norm from this direction you can see that he is nearly dead, as the bulk of his trunk is hollow.  One small branch that extends out toward the marsh is all that is living.

I laughed about her anthropomorphic story and we stopped school work in order to eat lunch.  As I scrubbed the potatoes my mind wondered and suddenly this spud started to take on manatee like characteristics.  With the addition of a few well placed cloves and a little whisker carving, this oddly shaped potato now looks like Spudly the Manatee.

The kids' reaction, although they thought this was funny, indicated that I had fallen off the cliff to insanity.  The good news?  Only ten more days of school until the Christmas break.

If you enjoyed this story please help my website grow by clicking on one of the social media buttons below.  I appreciate it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Men Return and A Christmas Tree Ornament

There are many aspects of hunting that I am still very unfamiliar with and Bloodhound has recognized that I am at my limit, and he has not bothered to offer more information.  When he sees the glazed look in my eyes, or I begin to wipe crumbs off the kitchen table, he knows that I have heard all of the wild hunter dialogue that I can take for one day.  However, there is one element of hunting that I do enjoy - the early morning rise.  I adore the way the day feels and sounds when the sun has not risen, and yet the animals are stirring.  So sometimes I will take my camera and go to meet them as they climb out of the woods.

On this day my wee girl made the trip with me.  She helped me find some wild flowers to photograph and then she rested on the tailgate.  

She got chilled and added clothing...gotta love the flip-flops in November.

As she threaded her arms through the sleeves she was singing about something, but since I have to pretend I am not hearing her, as this kind of intrusion is not appreciated, I am not quite sure what the tune was.

And finally she was finished with this project, three minutes had been consumed, and it was now time to find another way to pass the time.

I did hear this next song...It had to do with swabbing the deck.

Who knew a deck swabber smiled and sang while they worked?

Then she began searching Bloodhound's truck for entertainment.  A rope...

Within a few minutes the rope had ceased to be entertaining and just when I thought I was going to have to go home without seeing the men, I heard them trekking out of the woods.  As if to tease them this duck flew by their path out of the woods, right before they came into sight.

And then out they popped...one at a time.

It was a good day for them and you can see the pictures of their trip here.

We were just glad they were ready to come home.  Oh and two more things...

If you were a fairy wouldn't these dried flowers make the best hot cocoa mugs?

I have a fascination with ornaments that is beyond normal.  We have way too many and I like that quite a few of them commemorate events or hobbies that we enjoy.  This one is in honor of the duck hunters.

So, any ducks on your Christmas tree?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Adventures of a Boy and His Mind

The following story was written by my oldest child after a duck hunting trip last fall.  I wanted to share it last year, but somehow it never happened.  So here it is now, with pictures from a recent expedition that included both of my sons, a neighbor and the now healed and hunting Dad.  aka Bloodhound

It’s the time of the year when the Sweetgum leaves are falling, the wind in the evening has a bit of a cool nip to it and it seems you can almost smell the scent of winter in the air. For years my father had entertained me down at my childhood vacation home, located deep in the woods, with stories of duck hunts he had been on in years past. Naturally as a boy my mind raced with glorious ideas of what it would be like. Everything from the preparation, setting up the decoys, anticipation of the ducks flying in, and leaving the outdoors with a bag and great memories. 

My father, after a bad fall from a deer stand in the early fall, was not able to accompany me into the duck pond but he had recovered enough to sit on the road with a walkie talkie and talk to me. It was such a blessing to have my father with me after such a close call. It was extremely important to me to have him there since this would be my first duck hunting expedition on my own. I was very nervous and full of questions. At times I could sense my father’s patience was wearing thin with my constant nagging of questions, but not once was he ever short with me. In fact he took all the time needed to explain all that I needed to do. That night I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. There was no chance of sleep because I had worked myself up so much with anticipation and hopes and desires. 

Finally the morning arrived and at a horribly early time my alarm clock went off and like a spring that had been compressed and was suddenly release the sheets were flung from the bed and up I rose as if the bed itself had propelled me from its warm comfort. Quickly I threw on my cold clothes that I had so neatly set out the night before. Eagerly I made my way to my father’s room to wake him. After cooking a warm meal for the two of us and brewing coffee we set out on a cold overcast night. For anyone else the sight of the towering grove of gum trees, barren and lifeless, this would have been a horrid sight. For me though it was my last check point. To say that I was not afraid that morning would be silly. I am a victim of my mind and I was scared, but not of the trees or of snakes, it was a fear of a gator.  After much reassurance from my father I began to make the trek. 

I will never forget the smell of that morning. The sulfur water pouring from the well that kept the pond wet, the smell of the leaves and sticks decaying in the water, I was sincerely aware of everything around me. As I made my way, ever so often I would talk to my father on the road over the radio. His voice was such a comfort to such a scared young man in the woods. That morning was beautiful but it was not near as cold as predicted and after a short time of horsing myself through the water and avoiding stumps I was quickly overheating, but just as this happened I realized that I was very quickly approaching my hunting spot. Almost instantly my awareness of my temperature was erased from mind. Just as I got to my location legal shooting light reached me and within moments you could hear the sounds of wings overhead. Soon it was like the sky above me was flooded with birds coming in to land. Now you must remember I was still under the influence of the adrenaline rush from the fear of gators in the water, further add more adrenaline to my bloodstream as I realize that there are birds overhead nearly in shooting range. Shaking from cold and anticipation, I waited there as they circled overhead. Finally some flew in on an arcing pattern in front of me dipping just into range, I let off the trigger and fired and not so much as a feather dropped. I shook off the disappointment of missing my first ducks and got ready once more. Again the ducks swooped in and again I shot this time twice and nothing happened. If you have ever hunted wood ducks you know that they fly early and the time span you can shoot them is very limited. With this is mind I began to feel ill. I knew I was rapidly running out of chances. It was about this time that the ducks caught me off guard and flew in super low and out of reflex and not concentration I threw the gun to my shoulder and as I passed the bird with the bead of the gun I pulled the trigger and down came a bird. 

Almost as if I didn’t believe what had happened I stood there in shock but this was brief. I very quickly forgot about all the other birds flying around and made my way to my bird. It was a beautiful sized drake Wood Duck. Never before had I harvested a duck but now I held my first in my hand. Its green head and crown that no other duck holds so well, its neck with purple feathers that merge into a blue green shade on its wings. Even though most men would count one duck as a failed trip I felt like a seasoned duck hunter, and in my mind I felt like I had accomplished all I could have. 

I looked around me and the sun had risen just high enough to color the sky orange and pink, the birds were singing around me and squirrels were chattering in the trees. As I made my way back to the truck I realized how special and lucky I was to not only have my father there but to have a father that would provide me with a place, experience, materials, and moral support on my first duck hunt. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Even After Nine Years

Even though I've lived in the woods and away from civilization for nine years, there are still a few things that I am not used to experiencing.

1.  Waking to gun shots on Saturday morning.  Now, if they are deer hunting that is not a big deal.  They fire once, maybe twice and then it is over.  But, this weekend the men went duck hunting and that is much more intense.  When a flock of ducks flies over the water and all three hunters simultaneously fire, it sounds like war has broken out on the marsh.  Not exactly my favorite way to start the weekend.

2.  Towing Services - If someone gets their truck stuck in the mud, they do not call Acme Towing Co., or any other tow service.  They call a friend, who uses their vehicle or a tractor to drag you free.  No matter, I still carry a business card with a tow truck number on it.  

3.  Dust - When you drive on dry dirt roads you must travel less than 5mph in order to keep your car dust free.  If you aren't concerned about dust on your truck, because Bubba damaged it while helping you with issue #2, then do not exceed 10mph, or your neighbors will hate you for creating dust on their porch and in their house, if the windows are open.  I've seen some veins swell out on the face of a few retired gentlemen, when a driver ignored this speed limit.  Since I tend to have a lead foot and am very anxious to get home, this has been a very difficult lesson for me to remember.  

4.  Pizza Delivery - There isn't any.  My kids are convinced that this is child neglect.  And when I am exhausted and frazzled from a long day of herding cats kids I think it is mother abuse.

5.  Ice Cream - Eat it at the store or drink it when you get home.

6.  Wild Animals - We see them, and my suburbia brain still hasn't come to expect it.  I get as excited when I stumble upon an osprey perched in a tree, as if it were the first time.

A few years ago, pine beetles infested these trees and after burning the woods, in an effort to control the spread of disease, they started to rot and fall into the marsh.  From this vantage point hawks and ospreys watch the tidal river below for fish, their primary prey.  The beetles were a pest and I hated to see the pines die, but they made room for this magnificent bird.

And we have watched him sit here off and on, for two days.

Ah...this makes up for the dust, bubba's towing, no fast food deliver, and waking to World War III on Saturday morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hickory Nuts at the End of the Day

After a long day of school the kiddos need to go out and play.  They need it because their brains are spent but their energy is still strong.  I require it because my brains are spent...as are my patience.  Just being honest...I love teaching my children and I am thankful that I am given the opportunity.  But, when the end of the day arrives I am exhausted and hearing them play outside is a lovely thing.  So a few days ago, on a beautiful fall day, I sent them out.  I gave them a job to do knowing full well that it would only slightly get done, and that they would play and enjoy this late autumn afternoon.  Their chore?  Collect hickory nuts off the river bank.  Many years the crop is skimpy, but this year we have a bumper crop and the squirrels are dancing in delight.

And then suddenly I wanted to enjoy watching them from a distance.  This required my camera because I was free to enjoy my hobby and my favorite subjects, my children and the landscape, as they combined to create unique photos.  

This is a hickory that planted itself in our side yard.  Bloodhound thought its shape was beautiful and that the end of the house could use the shade, so he let it grow up.  I am glad that was his decision as I can only imagine how beautiful it will be, in the fall, in  about twenty years.

Now this wee girl, in her flashy purple headband, obviously misunderstood my instructions. I didn't ask her to pick up fall leaves or pluck flowers from my new fall decorations.  

Side Note: Will she ever have hips?

Here is one child that is doing what he is told...even if he is sitting on the job.  Maybe he wanted to enjoy watching the sun set?  I am not sure I can blame him.  I only wonder if he realizes how lucky he is to live here and soak this up...without a real care in the world.   He doesn't even have the normal stresses of elementary school.  Bully?  What's that?

The bounty...

They say that the eyes are the window to our soul.  

I find there is a lot of depth to a person's hands, too.

I am not sure if she ever used her hands to pick up a hickory nut!  She must have been a good cheerleader, though, because he is smiling.  If she were just running around not contributing in some capacity he would have been whining, not grinning.  

Side Note: Who knew it was necessary to have a sling shot around your neck while picking up nuts?

Ah...the truth comes out...she was the bucket hauler!

She's in her flip flops and Daisy Duke blouse...you gotta love autumn in the Deep South!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Has Anyone Seen Thanksgiving...It's Missing

What has happened to Thanksgiving?

Are we all going to sit back and watch it become a day of shopping?

We can all post cute little numbered things we are thankful for on Facebook, but can we back those feelings up by refusing to shop on Thanksgiving?

I am all for saving money, and in years past I've done that on Black Friday.  But, it has gone too far.  Opening at midnight on Friday?  When will the people who work in these stores celebrate Thanksgiving?  They will need to spend most of Turkey Day sleeping.  They will be tired after stocking all of the store on Wednesday and then they will need to turn around and stay up all night so we can shop like crazed fools.  All in the name of Christmas....

Have we lost our minds?

This year I will not buy a single Christmas gift or item from a store that was open for shoppers on Thanksgiving or right after the clock strikes midnight.

I have a choice and I will sleep happily knowing that I may have spent 20% more for my Christmas purchases, but I won't support companies that refuse to allow their employees to enjoy Thanksgiving.

Alternatives to spending our money at the chain stores that promote this crazy spending:

1.  Zoo - Buy your family a pass and you will enjoy it all year.
2.  Hair and nail salon gift certificates.  Who can't appreciate a pedicure?
3.  Online shopping - check out a few Etsy shops while you are at it.  Plus you can stay in pjs and do that.
4.  Arts and Crafts Christmas Bazaars - Many times you can support a charity in the process.

And then we can always decide to just spend less on our families, altogether.  I know it is a novel idea.  It may even be radical.  But since many of us are celebrating the season in the name of Jesus, maybe we should find a need and let our finances meet it.  And in doing so we'll pare back the amount spent on ourselves.

Am I alone?  If you are with me, link up your rant below or leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here's The Plan

Welcome ladies to the Black Friday strategy meeting.  I hope you enjoy the tea and cakes that I made up for you, and we'll get right down to business.  

Remember when we hit the first store it is important that one person runs through and grabs the items on our list.  The other person will get a cart and wait toward the front of the store.

This placement is important because the aisles will be very full and if you wait to get your bulky cart through, the door busters will be gone.  So work in pairs!  That is so important.  I cannot stress that enough.

Now when your arms are over flowing with goodies you need to find a safe corner of the store, I recommend the underwear or automotive section, and put your belongings down so that you can call your cart contact.  Find out where they are located and head that way with your goods.

If you are new to this Black Hell Friday shopping experience keep in mind that you must guard your cart.  Do not take your eyes off of it.  Treat these door busters like they are your infant or purse.  If you don't, I promise stuff will be stolen right out from under you...all in the name of Christmas..fa la la la la.

When everyone is grouped back in the front of the store we can check out.  And since we will have parked 2 miles from the entrance of the store, when it was dark, and we were sleep deprived, you will want to stay together.  In this way we can use our combined memories to locate the get away vehicle, as everything will look different in the daylight.

And lastly...be careful driving home.  It is so easy to fall asleep at the wheel after a huge turkey day meal, rising up out of bed at 3am, and after an aggressive Marine-like descent on the sales floor.  Turn up that Christmas music and remember the reason for the season.

P.S. Don't forget to bring the face paint so we can make a sneak attack on those holiday pjs in the children's department!  You may want to pack it in your purse the night before.  Some have taken to carrying pepper spray, but that is just taking this holiday tradition a bit to seriously, if you ask me.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...