Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Skipped Thanksgiving This Year - But Not On Purpose

Well, we just got back from Myrtle Beach, S.C. and it was quite a nice trip. The weather was beautiful on all but the last day. I must admit though, it did not feel like Thanksgiving to us. I guess that by going to where we normally vacation, we just couldn't get in the holiday mood. Well, that and we left half the family behind. Who, by the way, pulled off their own Thanksgiving Day and had a great time together.

We went to the Christmas Show at the Alabama Theatre on Wednesday night. It was a superb performance by a very multi-talented cast. Some of the numbers they did just wowed me, particularly an instrumental done in the dark with all these flashing lights that kept time with the music.

Some of the cast on stage together.

This very talented woman did alot of the lead singing for the women. She is probably the best singer I've ever heard live. I was going to have my pic taken with her and my camera died. :(

So we set out to do something different for Thanksgiving, and then it didn't feel like Thanksgiving at all. It's weird to go for years to the same spot during Spring or Summer, then show up there at Christmas time. It's like being in a time warp. All of a sudden instead of seeing this:

You see this....

Or instead of sitting on the beach reading while people around you boogie board in the ocean, walk, or play ball......

You are on that beach reading, all by yourself...literally...

I did not know that no one in Myrtle Beach cooks dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Every place we went was packed to the sidewalk with crowds of people waiting to be fed. We ended up eating here:

They did have turkey and stuffing, along with egg rolls, chow mein noodles, crab imperial, crab rangoon and prime rib. By the time we stumbled out of there into the dark, we didn't know what day, month, or holiday it was.

But nothing during the trip prepared me for what I would see on the way home. See, we now store our travel trailer in Myrtle Beach because our camper doesn't like to travel (I think it believes "Travel Trailer" is its' name). It just became too stressful trying to drag it, unwillingly, up and down Interstate 95. After every trip we had to take it to the RV Hospital for treatment, sometimes major surgery. Now we show up and it's already there waiting for us, and when we leave it behind, somehow the company that is storing it hitches it up and drags it back to their facility. When we left yesterday Bill glanced in his rearview mirror, and guess what was passing us in the left lane? Our Trailer!

The darn thing was rolling down the highway like a kid on roller skates.

When I looked over, I give you my word, the trailer was laughing at us.

It gave us a wink, and disappeared out of site. What a brat.....

So, it was good trip, albeit a quick one, but not a traditional Thanksgiving holiday. I'm glad we took the trip. However, I learned that I prefer a Thanksgiving with my family gathered around my own table. I just love the food and conversation, and the game of Taboo we always play. So.......

Until next Spring, this beautiful ocean view will have to wait. I'm home for the holidays!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Identity Crisis - Which Christmas Movie Mom Am I?

This is a repost from last year. I'm still shooting for Mrs. Krank.....

Over the years, as I watch my favorite Christmas movies, I've often wondered which Mom I most closely resemble in personality and actions. Is it Ralphies' mom from A Christmas Story? How about Mrs. Griswold from Christmas Vacation? Olivia Walton from A Homecoming? Sybil from The Family Stone? Or my personal favorite, Mrs. Krank from Christmas with the Kranks.

First, Ralphie's mom. She has a certain appeal to me. She's a full-time homemaker, wears an apron, and even cooks part of her dinner the night before. Her house is impeccably clean and she serves her family home-cooked meals. Definitely my idea of a good wife/mother. But we only have two things in common: Telling Randy he can put his arms down when he gets to school, and leaving the bully lying in a bloody heap after her son gave him a beatdown. Other than those two things, we are not really alike. Take the lamp incident: She just stood there while her husband put a leg lamp in their front parlor window. She didn't like it, in fact, she broke it one day, but not till then did she express her true feelings: "That is the ugliest lamp I've ever seen!" I would have expressed that when it came out of the crate, along with a "Heck no, it's not going in the living room." Besides my husband never throws a box away. All I would have to do is cart it downstairs next to his faulty furnance, and there it would stay forever. Okay, so I'm not Ralphie's mom.

Well, it's not red cabbage, but it is pumpkin soup, which is also really good, Ralphie.....

Mrs. Griswold. Now, I've never really cared for her. She has this NUT for a husband, and she never says a word. Prime example: There is a big, ugly christmas tree in the livingroom. It's huge and bent over about two feet on top, and all she says is "Do you think there's enough room for the angel on top?" Besides I can't be her if my husband isn't Clark, and he definitely isn't him. Clark plastered the entire house with lights and then spent 24 hours checking them, and never realized a switch needed to be flipped in the garage. I'm glad I'm married to a smart man. Plus, truthfully, I would have told him it was the switch in the garage and not let him think his little temper tantrum miraculously caused the house to light up. Plus, our Christmas would have been over the minute my husband came through the ceiling onto the bunkbed. So, I can't be Mrs. Griswold, because I'm not married to Clark.

Hmmm, is there room for the Angel on top or not?

Ahhh, Olivia Walton.....what a woman. Strong, independent, realistic. Raising seven children during the depression, lived with her in-laws, the mother whom, I don't think really liked her. She held down the home front all week while her husband worked 30 miles away to earn money because there were no jobs to be found in town. Christmas was going to be her applesauce cake, and mittens and scarves she knitted for each of them, it was all Santa Claus was going to be this year. No apologies. I would feel so guilty and would probably have taken the credit that Ike offered and bought everyone a toy. Not Olivia, she said "Do not put temptation before me. You know John and I never bought anything on credit." But as John Boy pointed out, she did accept charity and took that turkey from Charlie Sneed. But all women know it's not charity to take food to feed hungry kids. But I would have to part company with Olivia when John came home, paycheck just about spent, and announced he'd quit his job (In the middle of the depression!)and with love shining in her eyes, she said "But John, what are we gonna live on this coming week, and he said "Love Woman, love....."

Oh yeah, I'd definitely cook Charlie Sneed's turkey!

Sybil Stone. She's a more modern mom. Always has a cluttered house, big mug of coffee, and a huge streak of gray running through her hair. She has a gay son, and isn't intimidated by her kid's sex lives. She never made life easy for them, because she knew life was hard. But she fiercely loved them and knew them better than they knew themselves. Each one of her kids were different, and she mothered them differently. I admire that. She wasn't afraid to voice her opinion to her husband, but she did go to him with her fear. I liked how her family cared what she thought, and wanted her approval. Somewhere along the way, she had earned their respect. But, I thought the husband was weak, and I would have walked all over him. So, while I would like to be Sybil, I don't want to be married to Mr. Stone. Can't have it all, I guess.

Even Sybil would have trouble parenting these two.....

Mrs. ideal. Seriously, she gets on my nerves, but I loved her life. Empty nest, creative, volunteers all over town, friends, good marriage, strong husband who takes risks. Let's skip Christmas and take a cruise!!! Let's go tan!! I'll meet you at O'Leary's for lunch! He would always look out for her, but didn't coddle her. She was in control of her domain, he was in control of his. The thing with the daughter was a little weird, but everything else was perfect. Now I'm not going to fight someone for a Hickory Honey Ham, but she could get her husband to borrow his neighbor's Christmas tree, just so a tree would be there when she got home. I liked how when she had that "look" in her eye, he knew there was no fighting her. So, she's who I'd like to be, but I haven't achieved her yet.

But I do have something she doesn't have yet! A beautiful grandchild!

Let's face it, I haven't been portrayed in a Christmas movie yet. Ebeneezer Scrooge never took a wife

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - I'm Leaving, but Not on a Jet Plane...

I'm taking a break from the discouraging news of the world.....for just a month. Talk radio has been turned off in favor of 97.1 WASH FM. They are now playing 24/7 Christmas music until midnight December 25th. Until then, I don't care about the weak dollar, the high speculations of gold, commodities, inflation, deflation, or the fact that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve was a waiter at South of the Border. Until daybreak, December 26, 2010, I just want to focus on family, friends, gift-giving, gift-buying, good food, and hoping my jeans still fit when I make my New Year's Resolutions to lose some weight.

But first, it's Thanksgiving. The holiday that was created to remember the early settlers of our fine country, who lived long enough to make it to the first Thanksgiving. I'm very thankful that they survived and our country, because of them, was able to become one of the richest in the world before its' imminent societal collapse...whoops, I'm not suppose to bring that up.....

Instead I'd like to say that climbing the hill, then the mountain, gave me the idea to do something "different" for Thanksgiving. This year I'm not: cleaning, shopping, cooking, or playing hostess to my family. I love them dearly, but this Thanksgiving I'm running away.

Of course my darling Bill, and son Billy (under protest) are going with me. Bill and I have always stood behind the "No Minors Left Behind Law" we created years ago, so Billy must come with us. Someday he'll appreciate this view.

I will figure out how to survive in a post apocalypse world after the holidays. For now I'm going to sit on the beach and read a good book. I'm letting someone else prepare Thanksgiving dinner, and clean up after I'm done eating. My only worry will be how many chapters I can finish reading before the sun sets in the west.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Longer A Part Two.....

I was going to post a Part Two on the last post. My plan was to post a Part One on the significance of the House, and then Part Two, on the signifiance of The Home. But honestly, it was keeping me from writing on this blog.

Most everyone has a family and knows how important they are, or, if they don't know that, then they should. If someone doesn't have a family, then I would like them to know that there are other people out there who don't have one either, and families can come in all shapes and sizes. They don't have to be connected by blood.

It is possible to pick your family. There are so many people out there that God has adopted into His Family and you can be one too. Just trust Christ as your Savior, repent of your sins, and ask Christ to be Lord of your life.

Christ will meet all your needs. Whether you are lonely, depressed, grief-stricken, or angry, no need is too big for Him. The joy that can be found in Christ is beyond compare.

In Christ, we are all family, and home is waiting for us one day, for all of eternity. I can not wait for that day, and that reunion.

I guess I wrote Part Two anyway. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A House - A Shelter from the World - Part One

I was thinking the other day about my house. On December 3rd we will have lived here for 13 years. A long time for some people, a short time for others. Some families live in homes where several generations have grown up in them. They under go renovations and updating. Sometimes rooms are added on, sometimes whole wings are added as the house grows to suit their needs. We did none of those things. Except for the bushes and trees aging and maturing, my house looks much the same as it did when we moved here.

The house in the Spring of 1998.

Over the years as the house aged, just like anything else, the age began to show. It needed a new coat of paint, new shingles, repainted shutters, and other normal maintenance. Then like magic, the house once again stood proud, as if refreshed after a day at the spa.

The House in the Autumn of 2010.

Thirteen years is a long time for my family to live in one house. Even as a child, my family moved frequently, a year here, two years there, one time five years in the same place. I repeated the pattern with my own family, we never lived longer than 5 years in one house until we moved where we currently live.

What I began to think about recently is how well I know this house. Which stair risers creak, the sound of water rushing through the pipes, the little noises and groans the house makes as it settles down for the night. Even the appliances running make comforting and familiar sounds, like the running of the dishwasher in the evening, or the washer and dryer during the morning. These sounds mean life is going on as normal. When the winds of autumn blow around the eves, or the snow piles up outside in the winter, I've heard and seen those things before, and it's a blessing to be in the same place, and see those same familiar sites, season after season.

View of the house from the backyard.

This house has given shelter to the family who lives here. It has protected us from the hot sun, and cold snows. It has been a comfortable place to come to when the day is hard and long. It has been a safe place to sleep so we could face another day. Holidays are familiar with the house cheerfully decorated, as if attending a grand party. As the family gathers around the holiday table to share a meal, the house makes us feels warm, cozy, and safe.

One day, we most likely won't live in this house anymore. Our memories will be relived, both through stories and photographs of the time we spent here. Another family will someday buy this house. They will fill it up with their own memories and experiences and it will become their place of refuge from the world.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Fallen Hero

Today was the funeral for Lance Corporal Terry J. Honeycutt. He was a 19 year old Marine, and he died in service to his country on October 27, 2010. He left for the Marines as soon as he graduated high school in 2009, and spent only 3 short months in Afghanistan before an IED caused fatal injuries that ended his life.

I didn't know this young man, but I feel sadness everytime a life is ended in service to this country. Sadness because it is a young life cut short, but also greatfulness for the sacrifice that has been given, many times over, for centuries, to keep the United States of America free from enemies that want to cause us harm.

On this chilly, foggy, November morning, many people lined the side of Route 301 waving American flags, both to honor this fallen hero, and in protest to a group that calls themselves a church. The Westboro Baptist Church, a group out of Topeka, Kansas, travels across the country spewing forth hate in the name of God. They come as close as they are allowed to military funerals, and hold up signs thanking God for the dead soldiers.

I was proud today of the town where I live. For today, we banded together, two rows deep, and over a mile long, to let this cult know that they were not welcome here. Their message was not heard at Terry Honeycutt's funeral, and his family did not, on the hardest day of their lives, see this groups' message of hate.

What did happen was, as his family followed the hearse carrying his coffin passed by the people lining the highway, a solemn hush fell over the crowd. Noisy Route
301, with its 4 lanes of traffic and all those people, fell silent. Terry Honeycutt's mother, crying, waved out to the crowd and said thank you as she passed by. Then the crowd began to sing America the Beautiful, and our National Anthem. In difficult times, we are truly "One Nation, Under God."

Many of the people lining Route 301 had on these shirts.

People of all ages lined the highway, paying respect to a Fallen Hero.

So many people stopped their lives on this day to pay their respect to this young Marine, and to let a hate group know that their message will not be heard.

The emblem on his vest says it all "A Nation That Forgets Its Defenders, Will Itself, Be Forgotten."

Rest in Peace LCPL Terry J. Honeycutt. May God comfort your family and friends. May America never forget the sacrifice that you and so many others have given for our freedom and liberty.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Last Week I Climbed a Hill, This Week I Climbed a Mountain

The problem with climbing a big hill and being awfully proud of yourself, is eventually, you have to climb something bigger in order to keep up the challenge. , I wish my motives were that pure, but actually here's how the story went:

Bill, Susan and Billy were going to hike a bit on the Appalachian Trail last Saturday. I was dreaming of a day all to myself at home. Then I heard they were going to The Butcher Block Buffet for dinner. It's a really good buffet that serves awesome pulled pork. When I heard that, I suddenly decided a walk in the woods on a cool, autumn day sounded like a good idea. Yes, I can be persuaded by food, just like Pavlov's dog.

Dr. Dread is smirking as he drives up the mountain. I'm totally clueless at this point that we are actually going to climb a mountain. Last time I went up Skyline Drive I only got out of the car for photo opportunities.....

Here we are at the beginning of the trail. It almost brings tears to my eyes to remember how innocent I was as I sat on that rock. I honestly did not know what lay ahead of me that day. Stupid me, I thought we were going to walk in the woods....

Here is Billy at the beginning of the "Devil's Staircase" trail. I chose to think this was a random pick trail, rather than remember my previous post of Bill considering my expiring life insurance....

Can you see the will to live leaving my body? This trail was straight up for about a half an hour. I didn't realize how unprepared I was until I saw a group coming down and they were dressed in ski gear and had a trekking pole in each hand. While resting, a man with a pack mule loaded with gear passed before my eyes...along with my life.

An hour and a half later, we came back down the moutain. I assumed my now familiar "I did it!!" pose. I thought it was time to go to the buffet.

But no, they weren't done (torturing) hiking yet. After a quick break, we went on another trail. This one was straight downhill, which while being preferable to me, I'm also smart enough to know we have to go straight uphill to get back to the car.

We heard the sound of running water and noticed just over the hill a waterfall. We stopped to take a pic. It was actually pretty stupid, as just beyond the edge was a sheer drop off. Sort of like having your pic snapped with a tiger.

Here was the waterfall just beyond our's all downhill from there.

Like I said, the walk back was all uphill. Susan and Billy, being younger and more fit, were ahead of Bill and I. Well actually, Bill stayed behind with me just in case I needed CPR.

The only thing more beautiful than this picture was the pulled pork at The Butcher Block Buffet.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Your Kids Are Just Waiting to Correct YOU!

When your children are young, they are so sweet and innocent. Their every motive is pure. However, as they grow, they simply must be corrected from time to time. It might be their speech, their clothing, their hair, or their actions.

But just wait.....for every action there is a reaction...even if it takes 20 or 30 years. Your kids are just waiting for that moment you mispronounce a word so that they can correct you. They love it when you happen to wear a navy blue and a black shoe together and don't notice. They get to correct you, and get a good laugh. Take it in stride comrades....someday they will have children of their own.

It starts innocently enough, something along the lines of "Susan, button up your sweater, it's cold outside."

It may or may not progress to "Hmmm, so your bangs are blue?" It was not a correction, I was simply inquiring was that the look she was going for.

But she worked hard and graduated from college. I am very proud of her.

However, yesterday she told me my blog had a number of grammatical errors. Ahhh young they realize how long it takes for white-out to dry on a computer screen? I got tired and went to bed before all the corrections were dry.

It's all good. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Things that Happened in My Home This Past Week

Well, the most exciting thing to happen this week was Bill turning 50 years old. That might not be as exciting for Bill as it was for me, but I have my reasons. See, I turned 50 years old in August. That was 9 long weeks ago. For 9 weeks I've had to hear about how HE'S still in his 40's. He made sure I was a card carrying member of AARP before his birthday. Hope you had a great birthday sweetie! You deserved it!

This pic wasn't really taken on his birthday, but it's to demonstrate how his family tried to make him feel like King for a Day!

My son attended a potluck dinner with 5 scouts on Friday evening. I couldn't think of anything to make. My inclination was just to buy something, but I wanted to be a good steward of not only my money, but also the food I already had in the house. I made some Italian bread dough, rolled it out to a rectangle, and then layered pizza sauce, pepperoni and shredded cheddar/mozzarella cheeses in the middle to 3/4 inch from the edges. I then folded it in half, then in half again. After pinching the sides closed, I slashed the top, added an egg wash, and sprinkled oregano and parmesean cheese and baked it on a stone till golden. It was a big hit.

I felt sentimental and wanted to show a blue and white corning ware casserole dish I got as a wedding gift 31 years ago and still use. People collect this stuff now. We got alot of corning ware when we married (I have my theories on that). The casserole dishes were smaller in the 1970's than they are today, but now that most of my kids are gone from the home, I can use them again.

This doesn't look like much, but it is layered pizza sauce, onions, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni and mozzarella/cheddar cheeses. Bill doesn't eat many carbs, so this is his version of pizza night.

Here is mine and Billy's pizza. I made a homemade crust, then it's pepperoni for Billy, and pepperoni with lots of veggies for me. It's hard to believe that one time I had to make three of these for dinner. Oh how fast time night is also a whole lot easier!!

This week we had a new roof installed. While in Myrtle Beach this past May, it was our good fortune to have a hail storm of Biblical porportions and to be insured. We ended up needing a new roof, siding on one side of the house, downspouts and gutters. Increased home insurance rates to follow......

Here is a closer look at the old roof. It was a brown color that tied into the brown color of the stone front.

Here is a view of the back of the house. The mildew streaks developed on all the roofs in our area after the long, snowy winter, wet spring, and hot, humid summer.

Ripping off the old roof. What a tremendous racket that made inside the house!!

The finished roof. I chose a charcoal gray architectual tile to coordinate with not only the dark gray shutters and door, but there is also some gray in the stone front.

Here is a view from the back of the house.

Here is a close up of the roof tiles. They will lay down more as the sun heats them up, but you can see how the pattern is more textured than a flat style roof. (They are not blue at all, it's just the lighting when the pic was taken).

If Charlie Brown had a Bradford Pear Tree in his front yard, this is what it would look like in the Fall.

A flock of geese flying South for the Winter. Don't get technical with me. I just thought it was a good way to end this blog.......