Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anniversary Celebrations

Wonder what there is in our human makeup that makes us want to recognize the date of some event each year?  Really what difference does it make in the scheme of things to remember that so and so was born on such and such date?  That all sounds good till you are the unfortunate person that forgets so and so's birthday or anniversary.  

The made up for card sales celebrations are a mine field for me and my husband.  Valentine, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day, Secretary Day, etc. etc. etc.....  Gene is much better at these than I am.  But he still loves and forgives my lack of consideration.  I have never sent nor given him a Secretary Day card though I should.

All this meandering is because Saturday, June 30 will mark 45 years of marriage for us.  That is one long time to remain in a relationship in this day and age.  Thank you, Gene, for your unending patience and love.  You are the best thing that ever happened to me.
  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

Bo's second birthday.
My husband has been a good dad for our one and only child.  That child is approaching Jack Benny's last birthday.  But I well remember that night in the delivery room in Presbyterian hospital.  No partners, spouses or husbands allowed in the delivery rooms in August of 1973.  No sonograms to determine the sex of the child prior to delivery.  Just a loud speaker over which I could announce to Gene that we had a son.

Gene was in an area I never saw somewhere outside the delivery room when he heard my announcement.  He turned to the friends, Joe & Mary, and my parents, Arleigh & Mary, who were all there waiting with him saying, "we have a boy"!  My mother later told me that Gene looked absolutely shocked at the news of a baby boy.  And a beautiful baby boy he was as he is a handsome man.

My Dad, Arleigh, with John Roger, 1975.
As soon as the baby was cleaned up and I was sewn up, ouch, I was wheeled into a recovery area with about 7 other mothers.  Our baby boy was in an isolated container next to my bed when Gene joined us to see the baby for the first time.  Bo, as we later nicknamed our son, was 3 weeks over due and his skin showed it.  He skin was red splotched with some blue areas on his face, maybe from forceps used in delivery.  Gene said he looked psychedelic but absolutely beautiful.  Instantly Gene became Dad.  He was and is deeply in love with this man child we produced.

Although yesterday was Father's Day, no plans were made to specifically celebrate yesterday for Gene.  We went to lunch after church, dropped in on an ailing friend and headed home for a little rest before heading to a baseball game.  We left for the game after I remembered to grab the tickets.  Whew, that was close almost forgot them.  I dumped the always present recycling items in our bins in the garage and off we went for the ballpark in the Jeep, sans windows and doors.  Pulled into the parking place, I reach for the tickets and panicked.  No envelope to be found.  Good grief, I put it in the recycling bin back at home.

For the record, it is 36 minutes round trip from the ball park to our home and back to the ball park parking garage.  That time does include digging through the box of recycling to find the elusive ticket envelope.  While all other recycling pieces lay parallel the bottom of the bin, that little envelope had slipped down the side of the bin.  Anyway, while we did miss out on a Freese bobble head, we did make it in time for free brats and all the fixing's.  And if you are ever in Springfield going to a game and lose your tickets, they will reprint them for you.  Oh, well, we really did not need the bobble head anyway.

Earlier in the day Gene received a text message from his son saying what a great dad he was and is.  Then two more texts came from our Bo's close friends.

2010 visit with John and friends with
Dad Gene in the background supervising.
Both were wishing Gene a good Father's Day.  Both noted what a great example of fatherhood he had been for their friend John, our Bo.  They see this example in the way John is such a good, caring father to his three sons.  That was probably one of the best gifts a dad could receive on Father's Day.

Grandpa/Dad Gene, John Roger & Grandsons, circa 2010

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pondering


Ten years ago this month I decided, unwisely maybe, to take a layoff from the company for which I worked. After over 20 years, I just left.  Twenty weeks severance pay made the decision to leave a little sweeter.  From June 29 of 2002 until I finally found a job three months later I spent my time digging and completing a garden pond.  There was a lot of negative feelings I had to work out for some reason.  And digging in the Missouri rocks proved to be an acceptable outlet for these feelings.



The deepest part of the pond is between 30 and 32 inches with shelf areas only about 8 inches.  Areas in between are mostly about 18 to 24 inches in depth.  I made a severe mistake of sloping part of the pond.  That is a recipe for falling into the pond when doing necessary maintenance in the pond.  And, yes, I have fallen many times or at least slipped onto my rear end rather quickly.

Early on Gene figured out the filter I had purchased for the pond was insufficient.  He purchased a small stock tank and fit it with a PVC baffle in the bottom.  Several bags of lava rock provided the filter media.  PVC connections for input and output finished the job.  Over the years lots of adjustments have been made to all parts of the pond liners, pond edges, rock arrangements and the filtration and pump system.

One important thing to do for our pond's health is in September to cover with bird netting until all leaves have fallen.  We did not do that last year.  Nor did we back wash the lava rock filter last fall.  The pond and the little stream from the filter to the pond run year round.  And we have lots of small gold fish of different colors.  Today was the day designated as pond filter, stream and pond bottom cleaning day.  And it was a huge mess.  After literally scooping about 3 inches of gunk from the top of the lava rock, it took 3 hours of washing to get the filter in good shape for the summer.

The sump pump was even used in addition to the gravity flow hole on the side of the tank to evacuate more of the gunk laden water.  Pretty sure the flower beds, young vegetable plants and the compost pile all enjoyed their dose of fish emulsion fertilizer!  I was not as excited as it repeatedly splashed all over my person.  But now the task is complete along with the stream bed being clean.  The pond itself needs a little more work but I need a new skimmer to accomplish that.  The one we had literally fell to pieces today.

Since I was already a mucky, wet mess I decided to wash the back side of our house's windows, soffits and gutters.  The brush that attached to the garden hose was just the ticket.   Once that "little" job was complete, the patio was next.  That task proved to be more than just the garden hose with city pressure could handle.  But a couple of more runs at it this summer will certainly improve that dirt build up, also.

So I was asking myself on and off all day why I had let things go so badly.  Oh, yes, that bad knee.  Well, that bad knee is not an issue any longer.  With the project of the new carpet that turned into the seven plagues nearing an end, I have begun looking forward.

First will be getting Gene a good knee like mine.  In early September covering the pond and stream with netting.  Then the fall apple pie fund raiser for missions.  I think we may just spend the winter months not doing much but pondering.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Feet

Just about anyone who knows me at all knows about my enjoyment of penguins.  Friends have given me a huge variety of the creatures in all forms from stuffed to ceramic.  I have probably 150 to 200 items of statues, figurines, pictures, Nativity complete with Baby Penguin on Mom Penguin's feet, music boxes, well just about anything penguin.  PJ's and house slippers can be traded for a variety of shirts and sweaters emblazoned with my favorite little birds.

Since I am, also, a movie buff, I even like movies about penguins.  "March of the Penguins", "Happy Feet"  and the cool dudes with attitudes in "Madagascar".  Yep, love them all.

While I have not lost my love of the creatures, I am running out of places to store them between winter display times.  The reason I am even thinking about these sweet creatures is the closet in the office room.  I have it cleared out for the carpet layers.  Once the new carpet is in, I do not want to crowd the closet with all the stuff I had in it before.  And there are lots of penguins in that closet.

While the closet is mostly penguin free, I painted the inside with the remaining ceiling paint.  The ceiling is as good as I am going to be able to get it.  Guess I will do the wall touch up of missed places in the morning.  One more thing that can come off the list.  And the chimney wall is even painted so that is another that can be crossed off the list.

One other thing crossed off the list today, getting me a pedicure!  Yep, these are two happy feet!




Thursday, June 14, 2012

Progress

When I looked up the meaning of today's title, I did not expect what Mr. Webster had as the first definition of the noun:
1(1) : a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant (2) : a state procession
b : a tour or circuit made by an official (as a judge)c : an expedition, journey, or march through a region
2
: a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance

England has definitely enjoying the pomp and pageantry of QE II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  Progress the noun fits that set of events.  There was very little royal or official about the repair work.  The #2 definition seems more appropriate to my mind set.  Though I will admit that it has been quite the journey through the world of  "what next?"

After several minor set backs, it appears the fireplace repair is moving in a positive direction ... today.  The source of the gushing torrent of Monday morning the stopped all work has been found.  Some bricklayer almost 20 years ago failed to put mortar between intersecting bricks at the soffit level.  Guess we know were the draft of air was entering, also.  This mortar opening along with a gutter that was overflowing into the aluminum soffit caused the gusher.

One delightful sidetrack this week has been kittens.  Our neighborhood momma cat has yet again blessed us with kittens.  Best we can count there are four:  one each of yellow, dark grey striped with white boots, black with white boots and grey/black striped.  It was a nice distraction to watch the kittens swatting the lavender flowers laying close to the ground in my knot garden.  Nothing like any baby animal to put a smile on this old, wrinkled face.  And do not tell me to catch them and get them fixed.  There is no catching these little, human weary creatures.  Momma cat is a good teacher of human weariness.

Yesterday the hole in our fireplace wall, which grew from the 2 ft. x 2 ft. opening to a 7 ft. x 7.5 ft opening, was finally enclosed.  And there is caulking in all visible holes in mortar.  There is still a firebox opening.  Add insulation where there was not insulation before, like between window sills, etc.  We shall see how this influences our utility bills over the next few months.

Donnie did the tape and bedding of the seams yesterday.  I came behind with the sanding and second coat along with the texture coat this morning.  I am watching seam mud dry.  That is almost as exciting as watching paint dry.  But after the unfolding repair circus of the last 6 weeks, both mud and paint drying is pretty exciting for me!

We are both so excited to see this much accomplished, we may have a parade or celebration of our own.  That would make it officially Progress.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jeep Trip

We spent Saturday taking a short Jeep ride into Ozark to visit a private hosta garden.  Gene & I have visited the area before with different visitors.  This was Phyllis' first trip.  And just to please her, a deer posed graciously while she took its picture.

This particular garden has been on the water garden tour in years past.  The natural setting is amazing and peaceful.  If you are ever planning to come visit us, just ask for the tour.  It is a short trip and we can even go to Lambert's afterward.  There you can pork out on all manners of fried foods and have rolls thrown at you.  The rolls are home made, yeasty and hot out of the oven.

We chose to take Phyllis to Andy's Custard for concretes and malts.  Pretty sure each small frozen custard mixture had almost as many calories as the fried foods at Lambert's.  Surely was tasty on a warm afternoon in an open Jeep to enjoy the delights of blackberry or stolen brownie concretes.  Gene sipped up his Butternut malt without much problem, too.

Today started entirely to early, 5 AM again.  By 6 I was crawling into a car and by 6:45 AM I was doing a Mission Walk at annual conference.  But with the new knee, it was a joy to be able to join in the 1.2 mile walk.  Not too long as there was a stop half way through with snacks.

Six months ago I could hardly walk across my house, nor climb stairs or get in and out of the Jeep easily.  But yesterday on the Jeep trip, I was successful in crawling in and out of the Jeep.  Bending my right knee as I lowered the left foot to the ground.  Thanks Dr. Seagrave, Medicare and God for my new knee.

Friday, June 8, 2012

VBS & Memories

This was the first vacation Bible school I have worked in about 27 years.  Several of the mothers of the children attending this year were not even born in 1985.  And many more of the mothers were not even in first grade.  That thought makes me stop in my tracks for a little while.  Then I wonder where have the years gone?  Lots of life lived, enjoyed and survived!

Cousins Ronnie, Marsha
 & Phil, mid 1940's.
It was fun working with the nursery babies this week at VBS.  It was even more fun just listening to the young mothers discussing their lives, challenges, children, perspective on life, hopes, dreams and all that other stuff mothers of small, medium and large children think about.  Listening and remembering when I was a young mother.

Just this week I came across a book given in 1974 to me by a dear friend in Texas.  Her family, a son and a daughter along with a spouse were the first "couple" friends Gene and I had as young marrieds.  Mary and I worked VBS together in Allen, TX, some 40 years ago.  We two had so many good times shopping, talking, visiting, hoping, dreaming, crying and just being friends.  That Texas sheath cake she would make was beyond good, it was close to heavenly.

Me, late 40's
So VBS is over for another year at our church.  The young mothers were discussing the various other churches in the area with upcoming VBS opportunities.  Some mothers planned to take their children and work, others were just taking the children.  Just as 62 years ago, my two sisters and I would visit our Aunt Sissy to attend VBS at her church in Collinsville, TX.  Of course her three children were attending, too.   Then Marsha, Phil and Ronnie would come to stay with us to attend VBS at Chambersville.

Suzie & Margaret, my
sisters mid 1940's.
The sound of the voice of those young mothers brought a joy to my soul.  And a knowledge that while some things have changed, summer, young children and their mothers still hold a common thread with children and mothers from the past.  For this week we remembered our childhood VBS memories and made new ones for yet another generation.  May there always be VBS and memories.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I've Lost My Mind

That must be it.  I have lost what little mind I had left.  This morning I awoke at 5:15 AM.  It was obvious that it was not a sort of drowsy, open eyes, roll over and go back to sleep for another hour.  Nope, it was a full blown, I need to get a list of things done, panic awakening.  So I crawled out of bed, donned paint clothing and began mixing paint.  I was able to cut in about half of the ceiling in the office.

Now that does not sound like much, I know.  But I was working with a small 1.5" x 2.0" pad.  Why, you would ask if you were here, are you using something like that?  Have you lost your mind?  Well, it is like this.  The popcorn ceiling is a pistol to paint.  While the pressure roller is great, I do not have enough paint for that method.  I am covering areas where the paint was too light during the roller work done last week as well as around the edge of the ceiling.

If you see a spare mind that looks like something I could use, pick it up and I pay you for it asap.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday, Hump Day

It is amazing how "back in the day" of working for pay Wednesday was a hall mark day.  Yes, the workweek was over the hill and sliding toward the weekend.  Retirement has left not much of a hall mark day for me to gauge progress toward some goal.  I have to purposely think which day of the week it is.  Need to keep dates on my phone with an alarm to remind me of appointments.  And usually ahead by several hours so there is time to "dress for the public".

As I was looking for pictures for this posting I came across pictures of time clocks.  For this non punctual person, those devices were like an enemy.  Three unexcused tardy clock ins equaled an absence.  Three unexcused absences equaled write ups.  And so on until one could be fired.  My mother was late only one time in 20+ years.  I made up for her many times over.  Not proud of it, just part of my makeup.  Started clocking in with punch cards in 1965, ended with using our badges to swipe in and out of work.  Now folks use their fingerprints or just work from home.

Beating the clock and making it through the week was a big deal for so much of this person's life.  Now I just kind of float from day to day.  No pressure, no procedures to write, no corrective actions to answer.  No data to download to China so they can start taking my job away.  Yes, I really do not want nor need that type of pressure again in my life.  I can just enjoy each day for what it presents.



The last few days have presented the fun of the babies at church, the fresh flowers in the yard, the taste of Gene's creations from the grill.  Friday will bring a much loved cousin to visit and possibly the beginning of the end of the most recent house repair.  Every day is hump day now as we slide to the next great, simple adventure of life.  Happy Hump Day all you working folks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Did It Get 2 B Tuesday!

For the second day this week, I was awake before 6:15 A M.  Yes, that is A. M.  Vacation Bible School at   Wesley this week.  I am having fun working in the baby nursery.  First of all the babies are so sweet.  Watching a young child smile and wrinkle that little nose is joyful.  And in the nursery there is no prep for a class other than being clean and calm.  Attire requirements are simple, do not wear dangling earrings or light colored anything.

It is a challenge to see if I can calm a crying child.  Birds flying outside are a great distraction.  The bird's flight sort of eases an 8 or 9 month old or older child.  Birds do zip, nada, zero for babies much younger than that.  I did notice one small baby being eased by wiggling one of my many double chins.
 
Another challenge for me is getting a baby that is fighting sleep to relax into sleep.  That is a huge challenge in a room with 8 babies on different schedules.  Even with several workers, the noise level is too much for some of the babes.  That problem was resolved yesterday by a stroller ride for some of the small ones.  They did not always go to sleep, but were calm and resting.  At least till well meaning people lifted the blanket "just to take a peep".  Today we tried an approach of taking the babes into a quite room with low lighting and no talking adults or babies.  No peepers, either.

Momma and Laney after Put Put Pooo!
My mom has a thing she does that puts babies & toddlers into slumber land quickly.  We call it "put put poo".  She blows air between her lips while humming a song.  Her lips vibrate, mesmerizing the child.  I used this technique on one child and she was asleep within 2 or 3 minutes.  The next child cried in fear.  I sang to that little boy.  God bless his heart and ears for having to hear me sing.  He went to sleep quickly, also.  He did it in self defense, for sure.

Mondays stroller rolling lasted for about 2 hours for me.  The other ladies would swap out the calmest child with an upset child and away we would roll.  Lots of good exercise for the "affected knee.  Today was the rocking chair for most of the day.  Not that I rocked the whole time.  The rocking in the main room with all the noise did work for about 20 minutes with one baby that was "walked" to sleep by another person.  Then to the quite room for two hard core sleep fighters.  The first child slept in my arms for 40 minutes.  The next one was in my arms sleeping for almost that long.

You see a family resemblance?
Between sleeping schedule changes for us old folks and the added activity with the babies, I have needed afternoon naps.  So I have rocked, rolled and napped my way through Monday & Tuesday.  And that is how it got to be Tuesday so quickly.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday, A Day of Rest

Today was an awesome worship service.  Lunch at a Chinese diner where I left my to go box (  Home where I planned on doing some touch up painting in the bedroom.  Body had other ideas apparently.  I made the mistake of sitting down in the recliner to drink a fresh cup of coffee.  The caffeine did not kick in soon enough.  I awoke about 6 pm.  It certainly was Sunday, a day of rest.

Date Night

This is Saturday night.  When we were much younger many of us thought of Saturday as Date Night.  I do not really remember when we quit having date nights.  Probably in the late 1990's.  But we had already changed to Friday nights after work.  We would go to the mall, have dinner at one of the restaurants and then walk around buying stuff we really did not need.

So today we had a date.  We cut the lower limbs off the evergreen tree so I could mow under it easier.  Then Gene gave me a gift of lowering the mower handles so that it fit me instead of him.  I made us two big mugs (both were hospital mugs we had received on some stay) of a chilled beverage, raspberry something.  We sat on the front porch and waved at folks driving by while drinking our cold drinks.

While I mowed the front yard, Gene and Delmar took the debris from all the trimming to the recycling center.  I had to stop after the front yard to cool down.  I rolled ice cubes in a wash cloth and put on top of my wet hair that I had just soaked with cool water.  Another 32 oz. of raspberry flavored water helped cool me down more.  I watched the end of a Lone Ranger movie and was ready to finish the mowing in the back of the house and outside the fence.


I spent about 15 minutes deadheading and thinning flowers.  I decided to gather a few in the process.  After about 19 years of digging, planting and transplanting this is what I gathered.  The vase is a new one from my mother's day bouquet.

Even after cooling showers, we were both too pooped to pop or do much cooking after the yard work.  The end of our date day was scrambled egg sandwiches, salad, fruit and a slice of chess pie.  A movie off Netflix was a good end to a perfect date day/night.