Countdown to Christmas…I’m recycling just about everything…
December 22, 2009

I'm drowning in!

OK, seriously….if recycling doesn’t come tomorrow(and I know they will, but still), I will be in big trouble. Take a look at this pile of boxes and paper and flotsam and jetsam, lurking untidyly(not sure that’s a word) in the corner of the family room. It’s enough to strike terror into the heart of anyone riding the recycling truck. And it is without doubt, evidence that I did most of my shopping online this year. I love the idea of strolling around charming shops looking for gifts, but this year I just didn’t have the time, and my fingers did the shopping.

Recycled pine cones...

And speaking of recycling….recycled pine cone alert! Remember the huge pine cones from the party? The ones I ordered off of EBay…(yes, you can find anything on Ebay).  I had so many of them, I tied a dozen or so onto pine roping…can I tell you they looked so beautiful in the snow….very rustic, very Southern Living.  Oh, and some of them also did double duty,  showing up as Christmas tree ornaments.

The tree wasn’t bought until this past Saturday morning…in the snow…but it’s up and decorated…finally. All of the ornaments on our tree have a history of some sort, and while I love the idea of a “designer tree”…where all of the decorations have a theme or match in some way, I could never change our tree from what it is. Which is to say, a hodgepodge really, of lovingly collected snowmen, dolls, animals, angels and whatever that we have collected or been given over the years.

Wise elf watches all...

The ones in the pictures have memories for me….great memories….the little elf holding his knees, and the little china angel date back to my childhood….and Mom gave them to me. I love finding a place in the tree for the elf to sit…he just watches all the holiday fun from his piney perch…and the tiny basket by the angel, no bigger than your thumb..was  given to my daughter from a wonderful young woman who took care of her in preschool named Miss Daisy.

Little old angel...

She made sweet little ornaments for all the kids, and at least this one survives, almost 20 years later.

On Christmas day we will be home …home here, not home Alabama. My sweet daughter, my son and the lovely Jennifer will also be here…I feel so lucky to have them all at Christmas though I know that won’t always be true. One must learn to share, after all.

But all my shopping is finished..done. I think. I’m hoping I don’t get a last minute attack of the “I don’t have enough” whimwhams. One of my sisters has already come down with this much dreaded and potentially expensive malady, and I hope to avoid her fate….last minute shopping. The gifts are wrapped, for the most part, mostly with recycled boxes I got last year and the year before when I had gifts wrapped at the store before they were sent(thank you Neiman Marcus)….and get this.

Gift tags with a little history behind them...

I even recycled some really beautiful bird gift tags I bought last year! I mean, the presents are given to the same people year after year….why throw away something that is perfectly useful and still lovely? And my sister Audrey had a great idea which I haven’t tried…she makes tags from the fronts of Christmas cards she has received….pretty on the front, blank on the back…think about it.

Ok, for those of you not finished with your “rat-killing“, as my Mother would call it…get out there and get it done. And then lets all take a collective sigh of relief and just….relax. For a little while?

Back in town….
December 15, 2009

Can I just say one more thank you to all of the kind replies from many of you…and thanks for the good thoughts sent my way as well. Several of you said my blog made you cry…well, some of your words made me cry too.

It was a long week that flashed by last week….any of you who have dealt with the death of your last parent, knows all the stuff that has to be wrapped up. The final downsizing of someone’s life….and there was still soooo much stuff that had to be donated/given away/taken home/put in my baby sister’s attic(sorry Jan)…finalizing of the estate, closing accounts, etc…’s just a mountain of details. We found we had to keep making lists of what had to be done… right now and what could wait for later. It’s then you know the value of siblings. Really, I cannot imagine going through all that without my sisters. And my sweet daughter came down to help….she was so good, hauling stuff, cleaning, shopping, taking my (mental) temperature. She’ll never know how much I appreciate it.

And I’ve made a resolution to be better about sending cards to people who have lost someone….they really do mean a lot.

I want to share a story from my Mom’s earlier days…one I shared at her service, that spoke to 1. her stubbornness and 2. her standards. She and my Dad married january, 1942….she followed him to couple of cities until he was deployed overseas.  In Abilene, Texas, she needed a job desperately, to be able to afford to stay there with him…but the town was awash in army wives, looking for work. So she picked the largest office building in Abilene, and starting on the bottom floor, went door to door, asking if people needed secretarial help(she was very good). Finally on the 4th floor, a bookkeeper said yes indeed, they were between secretaries, and while the boss was not in town, he would hire her, to see if it worked out.

Later that week, Mom’s new boss(name was J.D. something-I hate myself that I can’t remember his last name),an oilman who had been out in the fields, came in, walked right by Mom into his office, put his dirty boots up on the desk and said loudly, “Girl, get in here and bring your book!”  For those of you too young get the reference…he meant her stenographer’s book.

He proceeded to dictate a letter…but what a letter! It was basically a string of disorganized thoughts, bad grammar, no punctuation or paragraphs, and full of curse words. When he finished, he said, “You type it up just like that.”

Mother took the letter back to her desk and pondered her situation….on one hand she really needed this job, and there was every indication he would fire her if she didn’t do as he said. On the other hand, a letter like that went against everything she had ever been taught, and everything she believed in. So, she turned his random thoughts into a proper business letter, with proper punctuation and grammar, and no curses….typed it up and quietly laid it on his desk.

A few minutes later, he cam storming out of his office, past Mom straight into the bookkeeper’s office(who must have been trembling in his boots)….and exclaimed, “Finally… hired a girl who can type the way I talk!!” They got along fine after that.

She was a strong bird, my Mom….and if she ever did something that went against her principles, I never knew about it. I had a moment this morning of missing her intensely….on my way to work, I would call her most every morning. And this morning, when I got in the car….I had no one to call. And thus it goes, life changing after someone leaves it. Sadder, but the better for having had known them. I know all of you know of what I speak. Again, thank you.

Creeping through the snow…
January 18, 2008

0117081434.jpgPretty isn’t it? But yesterday turned out to be a bigger snow event than I was expecting. I had no snow boots with me, was wearing high heels, and was generally unprepared. The only positive thing I did was fill up my car. The always kind Tom Tasselmayer asked me, “Why were you surprised? We did forecast possibly several inches of snow.”
Ummmmmmm….I know, but it’s surprising how little attention you can pay to forecasts when you hear then constantly all day. As my Mother might say…”Not the sense God gave a goat.” She is blunt that way.
Anyway, I lah-tee-dahed off to a hair appointment yesterday at 1:00…not really thinking anything about it and had no trouble getting there. A quick trim, finished at 2:00, OK now the snow has really been coming down. But I tiptoe through the slush…in heels…to my car, and begin the drive up Charles Street. Again, slow but not terrible. Passing the JFX, it looks suspiciously like a parking lot, so I continue up Charles….so clever…I’ll just cut over on University BLVD, and across the 41st St. bridge.
Sounded good anyway. Took me 45 minutes to get to the turn off University to 41st St., and now there is no action at all. AT ALL. Hello, all my fellow drivers in agony. What the heck is going on up there??
I had plenty of time to take pictures with my cell phone of people waiting, possibly a very long time for the bus. God bless you all. And a happier sight…a little boy strolling along eating the world’s biggest snowball. 0117081503.jpg
BUT THIS REALLY GOT TO ME….. After spending a half hour moving about an inch every 15 minutes or so….the lady in the red SUV pulls past us all in the left hand turn lane.0117081513.jpg I thought, “Lady you BETTER be turning left into the Rotunda, or there will be war!!” And just as I thought, she simply used the clear lane to get as far forward as she could, AND THEN PUT ON HER RIGHT BLINKER!! Oh please, by all that is holy, do not let her in…do not let her in…oh great, someone let her in. And bad behavior is rewarded once again. I know, I know, you’re thinking, just let them in, be a good sport, do your good deed for the day. blah, blah, blah. And on any other day, I’d probably agree with you. But not yesterday my friend, not yesterday.