Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Same Family. More Members. Same pose.

Once more, I made them strike a pose with me.
*tee hee*

Stephen. Boy of Many Faces.

Amy and David, Chapman, and James

Andrew and Kayla

Aren't they cute?

Well, I think so.

Tallulah Finishes the Job: Except not

Since Tallulah helped take the ornaments from the tree, I guess she thought she should help put them away.
Total Ornaments Tallulah Took from the Tree: 22
Total Ornaments Tallulah Helped Pack: 0

When I stopped packing the ornaments, she stopped helping.

You humans. You need to keep moving.


This better not be going on the blog.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Five Cold 'Phews....

Supposedly, 1882 was the last year that it snowed on Christmas day in Atlanta.


Yes, really.

Even though the final total for all of us to gather is 21, we only had a partial gathering today... mostly 'phews.

So, after several games of Foose ball and a round or two of other board games, it began to snow ---so I took the 'phews and said, "outside, it's snowing! I want to take pictures!"

You know one difference between the old and the young?

Yep --- t-shirts in the cold.

I said, "act cold."

Me: Are you having fun?'

BTW: I did not tell them to put their hands in their pockets.
Just sayin'.

"Strike a pose"

"Come on vogue"

"Come on vogue"
"Let your body move to the music.."

"Come on vogue"

*tee hee*

Five Cold 'Phews
their favorite aunt.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

32 Years.....

One of the traditions of the Christmas holidays for me -- and it's not necessarily one I adore, but I don't hate it either -- is that I go to my sister's house and help her get ready to play host to twenty-one....

the family room before the arrival of guests

we clean [I won't talk about my nephews' bathroom which needed a Hazmat suit and a pressure washer], we wrap presents, we bake, we organize, and we go to Costco:

[which was a story in itself -- Costco is like crossing a small country to begin with -- and I ran into five people I knew --- as my girlfriend Laura said -- Christmas past and Christmas present -- I ran into a student I taught who graduated in 1989 --

*egads* --

I ran into a teacher I used to work with who spent twenty minutes complaining about the job -- and a couple from a church I used to go to who yelled across stacks of DVDs ... "hey, I know you" and a couple from the church I got to now who wanted to bend my ear about the current state of the church -- I was like -- "hello, I've got a buggy full of raw meat and cheese" -- what were they thinking? We're in the middle of the cracker aisle at Costco, blocking other shoppers' buggies full of water, wine, toilet paper, and pies the size of Detroit.]

I push the buggy -- my sister shops. We also went to Kroger and Publix to get all the deals. When we left Publix with two turkeys, four packets of rolls, bacon, vegetables, etc, the bag boy [actually a man] asked me, "Are ya'll having a party?"

I rather dryly answered, "No, it's just the two of us."


He looked at me and my sister and then sort of snickered. He hesitated since it ain't like either one of us looks like we ever miss a meal.


Any who...

21 -- that's how many join us for the holidays -- she plays host to ten under her roof -- and then the rest come in by car from around the corner and from Woodstock, Georgia ---

David would say that they come in on "circus wagons."

That's his way of saying, "there's a lot of us --- and we ain't small."


It's amazing to me -- how my three siblings and I have managed to turn into 21.

Fa la la la la la la .... lawd.

the first of many puzzles awaits forty-two hands

Woo hoo!

BTW: I'm tired already, and my brother-in-law is making the first of three trips we will make to the airport before the whole tribe is here.....

but --- I know how happy my parents would be to know that their four children and their families have continued to get together [now would be the 32nd year as my oldest brother got married in 1978] to celebrate the Christmas holidays.... a tradition that has blossomed, grown, expanded, and become a favorite time for all of us ---

in spite of my nephews' bathroom. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Well and the Mine

Late one night, imaginative Tess Moore watches a woman throw a baby into her family's well. As she rushes to report the incident to her family, no one believes her unto the corpse is found a few days later. The incident triggers others as Tess and her older sister Virgie set out to find out which of their neighbors was responsible for the deed.

Set in Carbon Hill, Alabama, in 1931, author Gin Phillips' first novel relays the narrative through the five points of view of the Moore family: nine-year old Tess, fourteen-year old Virgie, six-year old Jack, mother Leta, and father Albert.

Incorporated into the mystery is the economic and social reality of the time -- racism and poverty underlie the decisions made by many of the characters in the novel, including the Moore family who struggle at times to do what is right.

For the modern reader, the details of what it meant to live during the Great Depression come alive --- eating a half a potato for lunch, rarely having meat for a meal, using cardboard in the bottom of shoes, wearing flour sacks for clothing, or the reality of making eight dollars a week to support a family of five. Perhaps the best details come from the reality of mining -- the physical, emotional, and economical toil of working at a time when there was no such thing as health insurance, disability, or help for the dependent members of the families of miners who were killed or maimed.

In her fictional debut, Phillips acknowledges with respect the era that her grandparents worked, prayed, and pushed through in order to pave the way for a better life for the generations that would follow.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow in the mountains [photos from our house]

love the light in this photo

the blue of outside contrasted

with the soft yellow of indoors



from the screen porch to the deck --

the pattern of the screen gave the photo a grayish look

icicles under the deck -- we don't see them very often


{no pun intended}

nandina berries

we planted these bushes at the front of the mountain house

they remind me of where I grew up -- our house had two large, nandina bushes on either side of the front steps...

my mother cut the berries and used them in winter flower arrangements as well as decorated the tables with them for Christmas

*le sigh*

early next morning sun on the snow

barberry bush berries

[in the warmer months, I weed around these bushes -- see the thorns? I hate them, but I love the way they look.]

I've have intended to post these pictures all week, but I have been busy.

Doing what, you ask?

I've been busy with life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tallulah versus the Tree

For Christmas of 2009, the first year we had Tallulah, we put up our Christmas tree without ornaments. We knew with Tallulah only being six months old, she would be all over it --- thinking it was a giant toy for her.

So, without ornaments, Tallulah sniffed out the tree and then ignored it.

This year, we thought we were safe. Tallulah's older, not quite so wild -- a lot of the kitten gone. We bit the bullet -- put up the tree --- and Tallulah was everywhere -- in the box, pulling on the bottom limbs, and biting the branches when she could.

Me: Are you sure, David? You want me to put ornaments on the tree?
David: Yes, she's older. It will be good.
Me: Okay, but I dunno.

So, for two days, working at what I call "retirement pace," I carefully placed ornaments on the tree, breakable ones on the highest limbs -- soft stuffy, or unbreakable ones at the bottom.

Tallulah watched -- curious, but she didn't interfere. She sat under the tree and looked at me through the branches. She climbed on the chair next to it -- and cocked her head sideways, but she didn't seem to bother the tree.

Keats meanwhile ignored us all: Tallulah, David, me, and the tree.

Keats: You are all boring. Where's my food?

The first morning after the tree had been decorated, I found the first ornament on the floor.

Exhibit A

Me: Hmmm. This one must have fallen and then some how skidded to the middle of the floor.

Next morning, another one -- hits the floor, skids to a stop, and lays there like a felled steer.

Exhibit B

The next day, it's a shattered ball, one that makes me sad since it was given to me by my parents.

Me: Tallulah's taking the ornaments down one by one.
David: Too bad she couldn't help us after Christmas.
Me: Us? Hello? Argh. I put the ornaments on the tree; I don't want to take them down now. You insisted on the tree!

*stomps foot*


David: Just move the breakable ones to the top.
Me: I did that to begin with -- she's climbing it.
David: Nah.
Me: Uh, yeah.

So each night we sit in the living room and when Tallulah gets close to the tree, we either clap our hands or one of us gets up and chases her away.

Tallulah: Great game! Great game! I love this. I love it when humans move!!


This, however, as you can imagine is not fun for two old people like David and me.
It's like having a toddler.


Meanwhile, Keats sleeps heavenly on the afghan, and David and I take turns running Tallulah from the tree.

Each morning there is a new ornament on the floor -- placed just far enough from the tree so that we know who did it.

We know.

Tallulah: [purrs] I did it. I did it. [puts tail up in the air and circles it]

I've collected the ornaments she has removed and placed them in a bowl.

Tallulah: 12
Tree: ever how many are left...


I'll keep you posted....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"We Will Forever Sing"

Last night, David and went to dinner with two dear friends of ours, a couple whom we met about twenty years ago at First Methodist Church in Marietta.

Over the years, we have shared laughter, history, as well as our faith in God.

Last year, Penny and Robin went through a frightening time as Penny had a health scare -- a scare that put her friends and family on their knees in prayer. Her story is miraculous -- amazing --- enjoy celebrating what God has done. After all, this is the season of miracles.

Two weeks ago Robin sent out an email -- enjoy watching not only her story, but the two others on this web site.

This is Robin's email to his friends:

Penny continues to do very well and has returned to her normal life suffering NO effects from the aneurism she had in the summer of 2009. We are so thankful for God’s healing hand and, more than ever, see each day as a wonderful gift from Him.

A few weeks ago we were approached by our church about allowing them to tell Penny’s story as part of our Thanksgiving service and celebration. We jumped at that opportunity! Far be it from us to not tell the story of God’s faithfulness to us….. We will forever sing His praises and want the world to have the opportunity to hear this good news.

You were a part of the huge prayer effort on her behalf so we wanted you to have the opportunity to see the story, too. As you will see, the guys who did the filming did a great job telling the story.

In preparation for the filming, Penny and I went back to reread the emails I had sent to each of you. It was a wonderful experience to relive the events of those many weeks and again be reminded of His goodness….and your faithfulness to us. You will never know this side of heaven how much we have appreciated your love and support through that difficult time. You were a huge source of strength and encouragement that we will never forget.

We love you all and pray this will be a huge encouragement to each of you. What a mighty God we serve!!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Critters in the Attic

Two weeks ago, about the same time as all of the Thanksgiving hoopla, we noted that there were noises over head at our house-- noises, we thought, of the squirrel kind.

We had a squirrel in the attic several years ago. We got the trap from our friend the vet; we set it up with a little peanut butter and cracker, and WHAM! squirrel goes in the trap, door closes, and the squirrel's caught, shaking like the neurotic species that he belongs to.

Piece of cake or should I say, piece of cracker?


With the squirrel in the squirrel trap safely placed in the trunk of my car, David sends me to a neighborhood far far away to let the invading critter loose to roam in someone else's eaves.

I'm not sure now, as I think back retrospectively, why I was the one designated to do such an errand?

I remember telling a friend at work at the time about the great squirrel capture, as he was confessing about his own saga with a squirrel in his attic; I never confessed that I must have let it out in his yard.

*tee hee*

End of that squirrel in the attic...

Well, now we seem to have the problem again; this time, it sounds like squirrels, but it ain't -- these guys are runners, leapers, jumpers, and chewers.

We've heard them in the living room, both bed rooms, but their favorite place seems to be the master bath. In there, they flit about like ice skaters, leaping and jumping, and only stopping to chew on a box, wood, wires, or perhaps to crank up the volume on the rodent rap.

They seem to like hanging upside down by their little stupid feet in the wall between the shower and the tub. I don't know that they are upside down, but how are they running up and down an inside wall like that --- are their little feet suction like?

Don't answer that.

David investigated the scene in the attic with his handy-dandy flashlight, one that holds 20 size D batteries; he could bring a ship to shore in a fog with that thing.

He delivered the bad news -- these are not squirrels -- unless they are white, and there are, at least, two of them.

Egads. Rats?

David: Or albino opossums.
Me: More than one albino opossum in one attic at a time? I don't think so. If so, we need to call News of the Weird.

Guess what? The squirrel trapper ain't working on these guys.

Before he actually saw family Muridae, he placed the squirrel trap in the attic, again, and put out suet and crackers on four different occasions -- not only has the food been eaten, perhaps sneakily snatched from the sides with their little rat paws, but the trap door is shut and no varmit!

What gives?

Rats are smart and small? They are not stupid like the squirrel?

David went to Home Depot and got "rat traps."

Ick, ick, and double ick ---

He told me: "They will get stuck on the sticky bottom of the trap and can do some pretty repulsive things. When I find them, I will cover them up and take them to the dumpster."

Ugh. Ugh.

*covers ears*

Before we went to bed last night, David checked the traps.

No rats. No opossums. No varmits.

Last night between 12 and 3, those darn things threw another party in the master bath.

*chew, chew*

*scamper, scamper*

*scratch, scratch*

*leap, leap*

Party. Party.


BTW: Tallulah and Keats sit in the tub together and stare at the ceilings and walls wanting to get at those buggers.

Me: Let 'em at 'em.
David: Like that's a good idea.
Me: Rats.
David: Is that a pun?
Me: No.

Rats. Really?

Why does it have to be rats?