Sunday, June 24, 2012

Welcome to the Victorian Tea

...... or not!

Our local Business, Arts and Recreation Center (BARC) was having a Victorian Tea yesterday.  A friend of mine asked Jody and I to join her and convinced Jody to register us both for the tea.  As days passed, I was less and less enamored of the idea but decided not to say anything, as Jody seemed to want to go. This old-hermit-lady just does NOT want to dress up and go visit with many people who are practically strangers.

On Thursday, Jody called and asked me if I really wanted to go. I told her I’d rather spend time just visiting with her.  Thank goodness the Tea was a free-will offering, so we didn’t lose any money by not going!

Norm and I bundled up wood and extra jars and eggs and headed over to Jody’s after lunch.  So, while other women were dressed up and drinking tea and eating sweets, Jody and I were in comfortable clothes, helping Norm re-vamp the door into the puppy room in Jody’s basement. 

Jody has a new litter of puppies (she raises AKC German Shepherds, if you didn’t know) - there are ten healthy puppies and Skye is a beautiful momma.  Jody took one room and made it into the puppy room and had the delivery room under the stairs, with a heat lamp and a curtain to keep the heat in.  The door to that room was a regular door, but never fit right and wouldn’t close properly.  So Norm, with our help, took the door off, cut it down and fitted it properly.  So now someone can look into the puppy room and the momma (Skye, in this case) can look out and feel less abandoned with that locked-in-jail feeling.

This was MUCH better than spending time at a tea, don’t you think?  And I have puppy pictures for you ... get your drool towels ready and your “Ahhh” voices ready!

 One week old ... Skye and Berlin are checking him out.

 Nice warm room for them

 Flames around the air vent!

 Measuring the door.

 Overwhelmed by love

 Working on the last minute details
Jody and the "brother she never had" but has now .... Brother Norman with the new door.

It is a beautiful day today ... you have a beautiful day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, favorite granddaughter (with brown eyes)

I have two granddaughters, as most of you know.  They are the light of my eyes, the joy of my soul.  Being a grandma is as good as being a mother - with less physical stress, but all the emotional joy.

Sixteen years ago, my favorite oldest daughter gave birth to my favorite oldest granddaughter.  I was there!  I WAS there!  I saw her coming out and she “spoke” to me with love, and I have been a sucker for her and her love ever since.

Bitty was so nick-named by her daddy because of her little size.  But ever since she could talk, she would say “I’m little but I’m strong!”  And strong she has been.

Let me tell you a little about this sweet girl.  Always a smile (well, almost ... not everyone can smile all the time - sometimes are sad / mad / unhappy times, but she has more happy times than most girls I know).  Everyone is her “best friend;” she has no enemies, no strangers.  She is clever, cute, smart and wise. 

Joy has home-schooled Bitty and her sister, Bubba, from the time they started school.  This next year will be different.  She will still be in high school, as a Junior (shock!!) but will also be going to college (double shock).  Her grades are high enough for her to qualify for that Minnesota thingie that allows Juniors and Seniors to attend college at the same time as finishing their high school terms.  Therefore, when Bitty graduates from high school, she will also have two years of college under her belt.  Bitty registered for college in May and will start going in August.  Joy will drive her to the campus for several hours of classes every day.

This past weekend Norm and I went up to the cities to spend some time with the family, as we couldn’t be there for Bitty’s birthday today.  We spent time with Jill and Eric (and, again, forgot to take pictures - sigh) on Saturday, then spent Father’s Day with Joy and family and gave Bitty her present.

Here are some pictures of that day.  It was a beautiful day; it is a beautiful day, today, for Bitty’s special day; hope you have a beautiful day as well.

 Ken showing off his "muskles" on the new deck
 New stairs going to back yard

 Door isn't in yet, have to use the window from the dining room to get out

 A little hard for long legs

 Even though it was a beautiful day, we felt the need to put up the screen for bug protection

 Opening her present

 She knows what it is!

 And it is:

 Her very own Kindle!

Skies have been iffy and thundery for a long while but the clouds make for beautiful shots

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Candy and I have been going through old family pictures lately.  She showed me one of hers that I have never seen before .... This is of me, holding Candy and Cara beside us.  It looks, to me, like Cara is drilling a hole in the couch!  I don't remember seeing any pictures of Candy as a newborn and didn't realize that her hair was so dark.  It shouldn't surprise me .... daughters Joy and Jill, niece Cookie, granddaughters Bitty and Bubba and grand-niece Binni all had dark hair when they were born.

I remember this couch, though - we must have moved it with us where-ever we went for quite a while for me to remember it.

I don't know where Charles was ... probably outside playing.

Anyway, I like this picture of the three of us - we spent a lot of time together as youngsters!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What was I THINKING???

Okay, Sunday was the 10th of June ... I know that ... Sunday was my mother’s birthday .... I know that! Sunday I sent several e-cards to her, called her and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. So, why did I forget to write her blog? And forget I did! Sorry, Mom .... it took your reminder to help me realize what I had done. Was it thinking too much about a coming anniversary? Was it laziness? Don’t know, but it completely went out of my mind (what little I have left). I know I had the pictures chosen and the idea of the blog in my head ... it just went floating out with the breeze. Let’s just blame the heat, shall we? We had to have the air conditioning on that day because it was so hot; not having fresh air blow through my brain must have been the reason - my brain just froze. Right? Right! Of course Right! 

 Be-that-how-it-may, I am correcting that error today. Sunday, June 10th, was my mother’s 92nd birthday. Ninety-two years old! How remarkable is that? How many people are blessed to say that of their mothers? 

Mom was born on June 10, 1920 - during the “Roaring Twenties;” she spent her pre-teens and teen years in the “Dirty Thirties.”  Then married just at the beginning of World War Two.  She has seen quite a change in America in these 92 years.

McClusky, North Dakota was where she was born; she never left North Dakota until she traveled by train down to Georgia to meet and marry Dad.  After their wedding, Mom and Dad traveled throughout the United States and  the world, as Dad was a pilot in the new Air Force and became a career officer, where he stayed until his retirement.

Most of the time during their travels, Dad would be stationed somewhere, find a place for the growing family to live while Mom followed with the (again) growing family.  I have many stories told to me of driving across the nation with 2 / 3 / 4 children in the car with her.  Then the big trip where she traveled, again with 4 children in a transport ship from the west coast to Japan.  It takes a courageous woman to strike out with children in a car to go from one side of the nation to the other, not knowing if the car would make it (they weren’t all that dependable way back then), if there would be flat tires to change, if children would get sick, if there would be no-where to sleep at night except in the car.  And not really knowing what kind of place they were moving to.  Nowadays, most couples visit the new place, pick out a house / apartment to live in and agree on the town.  The Air Force took most of those choices away from their employees and dependents.  A man went where he was told and the wife made the best of it.

And Mom did make the best of it.  We had pleasant, beautiful places to live (at least inside, if the outside wasn’t the best); we all survived and grew up as reasonably normal adults (I am speaking of myself, here ...) and Mom and Dad have stayed together the entire time. Their anniversary is coming up, but that’s another story for another time.

Mom taught me the pleasures of reading, although I’m sure that many times she was sorry that she did - I was a total bookworm and had to be forced to turn out the light at night, come to meals, join in family activities.  If I didn’t have a book in my hand, I wasn’t truly happy.

She taught us how to be more adventurous in our food choices by lovingly saying “If you are served something you don’t THINK you will like, taste it, then leave it if you DON’T like it.”  This was especially the rule as we visited others.  We were never allowed to say “I don’t like it,” causing the hostess to worry about what to feed a finicky child.  If we didn’t like the food served, we went hungry until the next meal, unless we could fill up with something on the table.   Now the others became more adventurous in their foods; I just went hungry.  I didn’t inherit the “all food is good, no matter how different” genes!

Mom finished 2 years of college and taught in a one-room school house until she married Dad.  After we had settled (permanently) in Rapid City, SD, Mom started substitute teaching, then went to college to finish her degree.  With her 4-year degree, she continued to teach until she retired.  When I was at a lose as to what to chose for a career, she encouraged me to become a teacher.  Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit her teacher genes and taught for only 5 years until I was able to become an at-home mom and never went back into the school room as a teacher.  Mom taught in the same school as Joy and Jill attended, so was able to work with them in the school room and helped teach them the love of reading.

I have known Mom for (ahem) 68 years and am proud to call her my mother.  She has friends around the world that have remained friends for a very long time.  Some of them are from college years, which is saying quite a bit!

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I know it was a happy one; I am only sorry I didn’t get this written and posted on the proper day ... I promise not to forget next year!  I love you.

Mom in High School.  Note the cute buttons on her dress!

Mom, with Nana.  I think I'm there, too (although hidden very well).

And here I am, with Mom and Dad!  The first of the gang.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Baby Sister

As I'm sure most of you know, I only have one sibling left.  We are the bookends of the family.  There are the folks, who will be 92 this summer (Mom in less than a week!) and there are Candy and I.  I am the oldest, Candy is the youngest.  We have lost the two in the middle, which has left a gaping hole.  But this hole has strengthened our friendship, partially because we have no-one else to turn to when we talk about brothers and sisters or other family matters.

Candy was born this day many years ago (I dare not say how many - she might kill me and then she would only be one --- but what would SHE do, then?) ... and I remember that day well.

I am 7 years older (do the math, people) so I was THERE when Dad took us to the hospital.  Back in the "good old days," children were not allowed in the hospital to visit, no matter how desperate the situation.  Your father / mother / sibling / grandparent might be dying but YOU had to stay outside the hospital, or perhaps in the waiting room and not contaminate the sterile conditions in the patient's room.  So, since we couldn't visit Mom, Dad took us to the side of the hospital, pointed to the window where Mom waved at us and told us we had a baby sister.  I don't remember knowing a baby was coming - women didn't mention their "situations" to their children often, back then - and I probably never noticed that Mom was "getting fatter."

Be that as it may, Candy graced us with her presence that year and has been an important person to me ever since.  Being 7 years apart, we didn't do much together as youngsters.  Cara was the middle child and was closer in age to Candy, so they were together most of the time.  Charles was closer to my age so he and I did a lot of things together (partially because I wanted to be a boy, so I did "boy things" with him).

But now that she lives 6 miles (as the crow flies) / 9 miles (by road) from me, we do much more together.  We craft together and go to fiber events together.  We grumble about husbands together (even the most perfect ones cause grumbling, sometimes, and who can understand that more than a sister who has one almost exactly like hers?).  We visit the folks together (sometimes) or do chores at home for the one who is visiting.  We shop together - once a month we head to Sam's and Walmart for the BIG monthly shopping.

And 7 years don't seem to be such a separation (unless *I* get senior citizen discounts and she doesn't - yet) because of our similar interests and hobbies.

So, in honor of her birthday, I am going to share some pictures with you to show how she has grown.  

Happy Birthday, Candy.  I have always loved you and still do.

Grandpa Childs with us four - me on our left, Charles in the middle, Cara on our right and Candy in Grandpa's arms
Actually, this is mis-labeled; Candy was born in Moorehead, so this was taken before we moved to Bemidji

THIS was taken in the Bemidji area ... Grandpa Childs is in the background.
This is Itasca State Park, birthplace of the Mississippi River.  Grandpa is walking across the Mississippi!

Cara and Candy "studying" in Japan.

Even 7 years apart, some people thought we were twins.
This is in 1966, just before I got married - Dad got us matching outfits.
Our Siberian Husky, Seegoo, is in the background.

After she was married, sometime (no idea of the year)
Sisters, close in years, close in the heart

At daughter Brook's wedding

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Wistful Wednesday on a Tuesday

I will be gone to Sioux Falls tomorrow so thought I'd put my picture up today.

This is a picture of Candy (on the left, as we are looking at the picture), Cara and I.  It was taken in the summer of 1967.  I was teaching that past year, Cara was 19 and Candy was 16.  It was taken outside the family house with our backs to the street, so you can partially see the neighbors' houses.  I don't remember why the picture was taken but it's great to have this picture as a memory of what we looked like, once.  Those were the days .... 45 years ago!