Monday, February 28, 2011

A Century Old Secret

Last week, the lady who taught the town English
 turned 100 years old...

Isn't she lovely?

The whole small town came out to celebrate its most beloved citizen. She was showered with cards and flowers from everyone from former students to the Governor of our state.

A resolution was read in her honor at the State House...
She was a bullet point in the pastor’s sermon on perseverance...
She even got a shout out from Willard Scott.

It was a week of festivities both large and small which ended with a DAR luncheon on Saturday and a church dinner on Sunday night. 

She must have been exhausted; I know I was. Ever the lady, though, she was far too gracious to show it. She just smiled and narrated her way through every last one.

Story after story.
Memory after memory.

She told how as a single young teacher, she was required to sing in the church choir. She couldn’t sing well at all, she said, so she chose to lip sinc and hide under a big floppy hat.

Which she then proceeded to model for us, cheeky grin included.

I don’t know what was more comical, the sight of her wearing the floppy hat or the fact that the Centenarian knew and used the term “lip sinc”.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, though. The woman is the poster child for the maxim, “You’re as young as you feel.” Naturally, when you reach that milestone one century mark with the vim and vigor of this lady, people ask one question.

What’s your secret?

It really wasn’t a secret, she said. She couldn’t take credit for the Providence of very good genes. After all, her own mother had lived to 105. What she did advise, though, was to make the most of any age by setting your heart on a positive attitude.

To both groups of people, she shared that treasured old verse from Philippians.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report. If there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, *dwell* on these things.

But to the DAR ladies alone, the lady who taught the town English added one more nugget of wisdom.

A little powder and a little paint
makes you look
like what you ain’t.

And she gave us the thumbs up.

Grand old ladies... Does anyone else think they ought to be considered a national treasure?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Locked Out

I locked myself out of my house this week.


It happened the same way that it always does. I head out the door for some shopping, shut the door behind me, and double check for the essentials.

Shiny red Kodak…


My blond key moments are so notorious that the husband specifically hid an extra key in the garage just to avoid the hysterical long distance phone calls. The system was working just fine until a rash of recent burglaries made me nervous that some intruder could find our key in his clever hiding place.

Which really isn’t so very clever, in my opinion…

So as I was leaving for school recently, I removed that secret key and took it along for the ride. Not to worry, though,  I knew exactly where it was currently hiding.

In the car.
Which was also locked.

I had three choices:
Call a locksmith, too expensive…
Call the Duchess to bring her key, too time consuming...
Or break in to my house.

I chose door number three.

Since I’m a confirmed scaredy-cat, I generally keep that house locked up as tight as a drum. I tried anyway, however, walking around Jericho and testing every conceivable entry.

Yup. Locked.

I considered marching around six more times and blowing a trumpet, but finally I tried the kitchen window. Eureka! It was unlocked. It’s a little higher and smaller than the rest, but still doable.

So I pushed it open.
And I pushed…
And. I.  pushed

Have you seen Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree?

Yeah, well so have I. Therefore, the kitchen window was not an option. (Boy, do I miss Miss Whimsy…)

Since I was as yet still unwilling to break a window, I had no choice but to MacGyver my way in through a locked door with a dead bolt. For obvious reasons, I have some experience with this. I chose the French doors since historically speaking, it’s easiest to invade through France.

All told, I worked on Project Break- In for over an hour, trying just about any tool I could pilfer from the garage. I would have gotten really testy had it not been for the blog post I was writing in my head and that outside refrigerator.

But finally, that magical combination of screwdriver, paint can opener, and prayer did the trick. I was in.
By that time, I had lost all interest in shopping.

And that’s why the husband's honey-do list this weekend includes putting silicone on that sticky kitchen window. And  why mine  includes creating a super dooper hidey hole for that spare key.

Oh please tell me that someone can relate...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Simply Plucking

There was no contest for this week's simple pleasure. It's one as faithful as those seasons that I yakked about yesterday and something that I look forward to every year.
You see,  it's jonquil season on the country commute.

I explained my affection for the quirky yellow flower last year at this time, but since very few friends were around here then, I thought I would copy the applicable portion of the explanation again.  To those who have already read it, my apologies.

We join this yakabout already in progress...

When I met the man of the house all those years ago, we were both in college and living on ramen noodle budgets.  Since I was child number 4 of 4, and he was number 4 of 5, neither one of us was enjoying the limousine lifestyle.

In fact, there wasn't a set of wheels between us. Our dates were limited to those places within walking distance and usually involved anything that we could do for free.

So every afternoon, weather permitting, we would take a walk.

And we ( that would be mostly I ) would talk. I would yakkity yak across the campus and through the Athens side roads. (The man should probably wear a button of full disclosure that he knew exactly what he was getting when he married me…)

One afternoon, in the spring of our relationship, I noticed a patch of jonquils bursting into bloom. I was delighted. He called them weeds and said he wasn't at all fond of a jonquil, but then he reached down and plucked up a yellow weed bouquet just for me. 

And that's how the whole thing started.

In the months that followed, he helped himself to a variety of plucked bouquets, most of which were pilfered from random gardens along our talking route. While I talked, he did flower surveillance and a commando raid on some unsuspecting blossom.

It was our first adventure.

Of course when the Duchess heard about the Great Plucking Adventure, she nearly fainted.

That is STEALING, Deb-rah!

It was? Seriously, we never considered that gardeners would mind a random pluck or two in the interest of true love. I had always thought of flower lovers as the ultimate romantics.

Well, either due to guilt... or fear that there was an APB out for the phantom Romeo of Milledge Avenue… or probably because the newness of the relationship wore off… he eventually stopped the serial petal plucking.

But to this day, when I see a patch of jonquils burst forth in the early spring, I remember those walks and the skinny boy who used to pluck me flowers when he couldn't afford to take me to dinner.

And I pluck myself a bouquet...

Or two...

and it makes me smile.

 Plucking up a memory is this week's simple pleasure.

Joining today with Dayle at
A Collection of This and That.
Come over to read more Simple Pleasures.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness

This post has been a year in the making. (Actually a little over a year since I tried to work on it last week, but those wonky computer gremlins played havoc with the pictures.)

On February 14th, 2010, we had a rare sticking snow for these parts.  Early in the morning, I stepped out in my pajamas and slippers to capture it.  I didn’t figure anyone else was awake.

I was wrong.

As I stood in my bedhead glory, the front door across the street opened, and out stepped my neighbor with his own shiny Kodak.  I briefly considered a getaway, but 48 year old women should not  run on the snow in slippers. It's a rule.  I held my ground and faced the music.

I'm glad I did.  He told me that his favorite part about living on our street was the way the Bradford pears lining it changed with the seasons. He had captured them in every season,  he said, and now would get to add a winter wonderland.  He was planning to group them together as a photo story.

I decided right then and there to be a copycat, and I’ve been capturing shots, standing in the same spot, all year. I do try to remember to be fully clothed when I do it, though.


Spring …



And back to winter
This is what it looked like on February 14th 
when I brought my photo project to a finish.

Had it not been for the computer chaos, I would have stopped right there with the barren season.

 But within just a week, look who showed up.     

Our old friend Hope.

And I just couldn't leave her out.

Summer and winter
And springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness…

I'm sharing this with A Southern Daydreamer

Monday, February 21, 2011

When God Gets Tickled Pink

So, how many adventurous folks out there took up the challenge from my previous post and celebrated Hoodie Hoo Day yesterday?  Anyone? Anyone?

As for me, I decided to join the Eastern Standard Time Hooters already in progress. As soon as church was over, I meandered against the crowd and headed toward the pulpit area...

and through the choir loft...
which leads to the back of the church.

There, we had parked the getaway car. 

Straightaway I went, making just one pitstop to hold a sweet smelling baby. I walked to the car, rested my load on the hood, raised my hands, and did the Hoodie Hoo before the choir could disrobe and catch me.

Quite pleased with myself, I headed to The Duchy for lunch. When I opened the door, I got The Look from the Duchess.

Where were you?

I explained that I had spirited myself out the back door to Hoodie in private. The sister just shook her  head and laughed.

Well, you missed it.

Indeed, I did. Apparently, the Duchess had read my challenge and shared it with her faithful sidekick Vern. So certain were they that I was oddball enough to Hoodie Hoo for a crowd that they had conspired to join me

They greeted the pastor as proper ladies do. Then, they walked down the steps, lifted those quilted Bible covers in the air and did the Church Lady Hoodie Hoo.

They turned to see my face.
Which wasn't there.
I was, as you recall, hidden on the Baptist backside hooting in secret.

All they saw were curious congregants wondering what spirit had invaded the First Baptist Church.  They explained themselves, however, and even convinced The Sister to join them for round two.

I'm pretty sure that her version was more like jazz hands and falsetto, though.  In her head, she probably sounded just like Snow White.

From all accounts, they created quite a giggle on the First Baptist lawn yesterday.  I'm pretty positve that  wholesome laughter is perfectly fine with God, too.  In fact, I think those two old church ladies made Him chuckle.

Do you know why I think so?

Because on my thirty mile country commute  home,
this is what I discovered. 


So if you're still looking at the dull gray of winter, don't blame me.

 Didn't I tell you to to Hoodie Hoo?

I'll be sharing this little beauty with
Beverly at How Sweet the Sound
for Pink Saturday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mint Chocolate Hoodie-Hoo

Tomorrow is
  National Chocolate Mint Day! 

Am I the only one who didn't know this little tidbit?  According to, February 19th is a day devoted completely to eating that yummy flavor combination.

So in celebration of National Chocolate Mint Day, I thought I would make a favorite cookie concoction and send them off to the college girls.  This recipe is called  My Favorite Cookies.  I've yakked other variations of it before.  It's really not so much a recipe as a cookie creating adventure.

Here's what went into these:

1 Box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil's Food
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Mix together
then stir in 1 cup of Andes candy chunks.

Yes, I know that you can buy these packaged in the baking aisle, but our store didn't have any. I just chopped up a box of the candies instead.  We like bigger chunks than what is in the bag anyway.

Drop by spoonfuls and bake at 350 degrees for exactly ten minutes.

And your family will rise up and call you blessed.

Now, the Hoodie- Hoo part is for Sunday.  It seems that February 20th is National Hoodie Hoo Day.  Apparently, this holiday is designed to chase away the winter blues.  On this day, we're all supposed to go outside at noon, wave our arms in the air, and shout out,

Hoodie-hoo!  Hoodie Hoo!

I can hardly wait.
Anyone want to join me? 

Of course since I’ll just be getting out of church at noon, I'll probably have to join the Hooters in a different time zone. My fellow Baptists are pretty tolerant of their resident Bobblehead, but I think they might draw the line at hoodie hooting down the church steps.

Just call it a hunch.

I'm taking this opportunity to share a favorite cookie. 

Happy Chocolate Mint Day,
Hoodie-Hoo to you, too!

Still having computer issues. If these pictures are wonky, I hope someone tells me. It doesn't show up wonky on mine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Color Purple... finally...

Hoping the fourth attempt at this is the charm
The inspiration for this week's table is
the newlywed niece.

It's a  special week for her, you see.
Not only did she have a birthday...

It's also marks the date that she
 convinced that husband of hers to marry her.

So as a surprise to one of my favorite people,
this table is inspired
by a few of her favorite things.
She'll probably be even more surprised that we didn't raid her home to do it.

We started with her favorite colors
purple and green

Then we added yellow because we wanted to.

That cloud of white is her bridal veil, of course.
Here's how it all stacked up.

We started with festive yellow chargers 
and added dinner plates 
which are actually decorative
plates from her room.

They match the bouquets of iris.
Of course, you can't see that 
because we added some more plates.

Both the salad plates and bowls 
came from our favorite local second hand shop.

The tablecloth is pale lavender. 
Her mom made the napkins from remnants of fabric
used to decorate her girlhood room.

We filled the rest with her favorite things

Fabric keepsake boxes from her room 
and a teapot from the Duchess. 

She has the distinction of being the only member of the family
who prefers a cup of tea over coffee.

 She started collecting glass paper weights
when she was a very young girl. 

That's her place. 
It's a  snail. 
'Nuff said.  

A gorham china doll from another collection

... sitting on top of some favorite old books...

...and sitting beside what I'm pretty sure is her  
favorite thing of all.


So there you go, birthday girl. 
A table scape of your very own. 
Just what you always wanted. 

Thanks for being such a great inspiration.

Sharing this for Tablescape Thursday @ BNOTP 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Magnificent Seven

The other day, I got one of those blog awards from my friend Amy at All Things Home. Apparently, the woman thinks I'm stylish or something.

Seriously, Amy?

But I accepted this award because it gave me a good reason to yak a little about me. (Oh stop it. You know you kind of like to do it too...) Apparently, all the stylish bloggers this season are giving up 7 completely random facts about themselves. That sounds kind of fun to me.

How else could I possibly tie these 7 mostly unrelated facts into one post?

1.  It is impossible for me to type the word verification on a comment without sounding aloud the pronunciation. Eeebibaguble....

2. And when I click that blue box that says Save Now?
     I always say, "Hosanna!"

3. If I enjoy a movie, I randomly interject lines from the script into my daily life.

The first movie that I ever saw with the husband was Coal Miners Daughter.  Since that time, I have seen it 4,728 times and speak fluent Loretty. My favorite line is when she says, "I done wrote myself a song Peggy Sue. Your mama's a dadgum song writer."  

I use it to crow about my own accomplishments.

I done cleaned myself a toilet, Laurie Lou. Your mama's a dadgum toilet cleaner.

4. I haven't waved like a normal person since The Princess Diaries came out in 2001. I just rotate my hand in the queen wave and say, "Thaaank you for being here today."

5. I like to annoy my husband by calling uniforms costumes when he's watching a football game.

6. I wave from the front porch every time my husband leaves to go out of town. Most of the time, though, it's in the wee hours of the morning. Since I don't want to give the neighbors a jammie shot, I just stick my  hand through a crack of the door and rotate.  The last thing the poor man sees as he's leaving town is Thing doing the queen wave.

7. I have zero hearing in my left ear. Therefore, I have complete conversations with quiet people without a clue as to what they have said. I just follow the facial expression. If they smile, I smile. If they look sad, I  purse my lips and nod. This makes it very difficult to carry on a conversation with the masked Vietnamese girl at the nail salon.

And yet, I try.

Now, I'm also supposed to pick 7 other bloggers and infect them as well. That part is not so easy. First, not everyone enjoys getting infected with a blog award. Plus, I can think of more than 7 who deserve to be. 

So I decided to stick to this style theme and choose 7  bloggers who are prone to the verbal meander just like me.

I want to say upfront that this is meant entirely as a compliment so please don't think you have to do a thing but get the big head. Or... you could just bank it to use as a blog prompt and share those 7 random facts without infecting another small blog village. 

But I like to imagine what this magnificent 7 would do with it:

Jennie would spin it into a Mom Thing. 
Sharon would somehow manage to turn it into a devotional.
Sonja would take it on a bumpy ride down Memory Lane.
Janette would turn it into 7 Mental Pausing Moments.
Tanya would tie it into an old family recipe... which she'll try to cook. Then, she'll get all wigged out because the picture doesn't do it justice.
Lynn would make a royal mess of it, the details of which will make me laugh until I cough...

...which isn't always such a good thing when you're pushing 50.

Leslie won't be able to do it at all since she's down with a thrifting injury. I just want to mess with her head and see if she attempts to peck it out in lower case letters with her right hand.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Traveling Yakabout

This week, 
I've taken to carrying around this  little red game piece. 

I'm using it as a reminder of something that God recently taught me. 

If you're interested in hearing the story, though,
you'll have to go with me on a Traveling Yakabout. 
 Today, I'm sharing this story
with the sisters At The Picket Fence.

(C'mon... click it...You know  you want to)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simply Sleeping

I’m late to the simple pleasures party today.
Care to guess the reason?

I wasn’t at my Thursday morning Bible Study; 
we’re on hiatus.
I wasn’t teaching in that unventilated bookroom.
I wasn’t lost at Wally World, thank goodness.
Or cleaning house...ok maybe a little

I didn’t tag along with the husband.
Or visit the Duchess.
I’m late because I was sleeping.

 OK, technically, I wasn't sleeping clear until noon, but I was sleeping much later than is my custom on a Thursday morning. 

I have been running around like a chicken with her head cut off for over a week now. If I had a day planner (and I don’t because I can’t keep up with one...), every day would look like an ink blot on a Rorschach test.   Every plan that I have made this week has been scratched over seventy times to accommodate the tyranny of the urgent.  And every day that I think I’ll stop and control my life for a pair of minutes?  I am Debbie Interrupted.

Can anyone relate?

And yet, no matter how busy I have made myself…
No matter how gainfully employed that brain of mine is at midnight…
I still feel the need to get up before the crack of dawn.

How silly is that? It’s not as if I have a family to get out the door.

I’m just a compulsive early riser. In my mind, if I just get started a little earlier, I can somehow get it all done. I set that alarm for 5:00 every morning, even Saturday. Technically, I set it for 4:33. That allows me to slap that snooze button three full times before dragging myself out of bed, holding my head over an enormous mug of coffee, and forcing myself awake. 

Some days, I decide to wake by 4:00, which starts the process even earlier.  You may have discovered wee hour comments from me out there in Blog Land because I often read blogs while I’m doing it.  Just consider yourselves an additional cup of morning coffee.

And then I wonder why I’m miserable by 8:00 PM.  

Goofy, isn’t it?

 So last night as I was getting ready for bed, I reached for the trusty alarm clock the way I habitually do. After all,  I had a day planner page all scribbled down in my head, and I wanted to jump to it at dawn, as as I habitually do.

But then, I stopped.  

I’m tired. When I’m tired, I’m cranky. When I'm cranky, I don't handle the changes well. I'm also less productive and enthusiastic about what I'm actually able to do. 

Something had to give.

So last night, I decided to do something really radical.  I would trust God to wake me up this morning when He determined that I had had enough sleep.
And this morning,
way after 5:00…
Way after the blue hour...
and way after the sunrise…
Without the assistance of any 
boooooop, booooooop, boooooping sound,

I opened my eyes.

And do you want to know what sound actually did the job?
Singing right outside my window.

And, friends, at that very minute,
sleeping in 
bumped all contenders for this week’s simple pleasure.  

Joining my friend Dayle
for the Simple Pleasures party.
I sure hope there's still some finger food left by the time I get there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Young at Heart

For months now, we had been planning to use these heart plates from Tiffany and Co. as the inspiration for our Valentine table.

Maybe next year...  

Because in the middle of our dish playing,
the Duchess brought out this whimsical heart fabric.
We decided to do an about face 
and go in a completely different direction.

A more childlike one.
Who says Valentines’ Day has to be pink and red?

We dubbed this table Young at Heart.  
Remember how exciting
the big day was when we were growing up?
We’d spread all our cards out on the table
and match them up...

classmate by classmate
checking our list so as not to forget someone…
picking out that special one for that special little boy...

But kind of hoping that he didn't notice...

Because we would be a little embarrassed if he did.

We'd say...

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you...

There are tulips in the garden
There are tulips in the park
But the tulips that he likes most of all
Are the two lips in the dark…
(That rhyme came courtesy of the Duchess)

The Practical Daughter got her very first special valentine in kindergarten when a cute little fellow named Tyler decided that he was twitterpated. He waited until the end of the day then ambled up to the car and thrust a little red heart through the window.

“Here,” he said.
And off he ran.

She was very offended by my giggle, and I’m almost positive that she would have rejected it completely had she not had a powerful fondness for chocolate. 

They became an item. 

I was volunteering at recess a few weeks later when Mr. and Mrs. Tattletale came running up to report a playground infraction.  Apparently, they had been accused of that most egregious kindercrime...

Sitting in a tree…

K- I- S- S- I- N- G
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes Mary with a baby carriage

Oh the shame of it all...
But wait!

The accusation grew much, much worse
Those teasers had added a second verse.

That ain’t all…
That ain’t all…
There goes Tyler drinkin' alky hol.

At that, the budding Romeo put down his foot.
He could bear the shame of being called a tree smoocher, but that son of a Baptist deacon was utterly unwilling to be accused of doing so while under the influence.

The romance didn’t survive the scandal.

Ah, youth…

So there you have it: Our childhood inspired Valentine table and a walk down Memory Lane.  By the time we gather on Susan’s Porch again, Valentine’s Day 2011 will be a memory.  Hope you all have a wonderfully romantic weekend of a more adult kind.

As for me?  I think I might just grab the man of the house
and climb the nearest tree.    
Sharing this with Laurie
And on the porch.


Related Posts with Thumbnails