Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

     This is our first Christmas in our new digs.  We moved in about three weeks ago..or at least I did.  My buddy, best friend, husband was in the hospital, then a rehab facility receiving physical therapy to regain the strength he had lost through bouts of chemotherapy. As we had scheduled to move, to begin renovations, etc. we had to go ahead with our plans even though he could not be a part of it all.
      We have "downsized" from about 3000 square on two acres to a condo in the city...although we loved our "country" home, it is time to move into another phase in our lives.  We feel very lucky to have found this it a perfect size...has two rooms for bedrooms of which will become my studio; the other our bedroom which has a large closet and a medium size master bath. There is also a half bath off the hall near what will be my studio....and a nice sized living room/dining area/ and kitchen which we have totally renovated with new flooring, new cabinets, countertops and appliances.
     I am still in the process of unpacking so haven't found all my Christmas stuff for this year..and really didn't have the energy to decorate all out even if I could have found it! But decorations do not make the season...the people do and we are fortunate to have both of our

Monday, December 9, 2013

Memory Monday #47

      Another high school memory...Freshman year. A tradition which still goes on today is prom.  Prom has taken a bit of a different meaning now, but when I was a kid, prom was a "going away" party/dance, hosted by the Junior Class in honor of the graduating Seniors. It was in the spring...underclassmen could come by invitation of a Junior or Senior.  The Junior class would choose the theme, decorate accordingly, etc. Even the Prom Queen was a Junior...(Homecoming Queen was always a Senior).
(Not my prom, but certainly could have been...we all looked just like that!)
      Prom took place in the town's largest building...the American Legion Hall.  After the hall was decorated by the Juniors, tables set up, the Queen's throne/dais decorated, snack table set up..(the moms would usually make all the snacks)..the prom attendees would arrive.  Juniors would have spent days decorating..and some nights! Then the day of prom, everyone was a tither with one but the Juniors would know what the dance looked like...and that evening as the attendees came in, many of the townspeople would line up to see everyone in their formal attire!  Then..another tradition, after the crowning of the queen, the band would strike up a song to which all the dance participants would line up in a promenade led by the queen and her court and their dates. After the promenade, the townspeople would leave and the dance would proceed.
     The year I was a Freshman, my sister was a her class was hosting the prom.  One of the nights the Juniors were supposed to be decorating, my gang was having a birthday party at one of our houses.  Several of my friends were dating Junior boys who were also at the party...sometime in the evening, the Junior girls all showed up to drag all the boys away to help decorate!
    One of my friends' boyfriends drove a Jeep...and he had left it there while going to friend and two others who dates had also gone to help decorate, decided to take a little joy ride in the Jeep! (Of course none of us were old enough to drive..legally!) So the three of them crammed into the front....I decided at the last minute to go along and jumped in the back!
Again..not the actual Jeep, but very similar!
     She gunned hanging on for dear life bouncing around in the back!  We roared out to the edge of town...turned around then came roaring back...I doubt if the vehicle could go over 40 miles an hour...but at the time it seemed pretty wild!  The house where the party was sat on a large lot with a long gravel driveway.  The driveway ended in a circle around a group of trees.  As we came down the drive, we "zoomed" around the circle..once...twice..then on the third time...going a little faster each time, my friend lost control..we went crashing through the wall of a garage/barn next door!
     By then the guys were back from helping decorate...and our CRASH! certainly brought out the entire neighborhood!  The guy who owned the house next door was not very happy with us wild teenagers!  I guess by today's standards, we would have been considered real juvenile delinquents, but again, small town...everyone knew everyone...we were just lucky none of us were really hurt!  We really learned our lesson!  Sometimes innocent fun which turns into disaster can be a real life experience...none of us were ever involved in anything so stupid again!
    I think if I remember right...none of us went to the prom that year!!!  The Junior girls won that event over the Freshmen girls!!!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Our Beautiful World-December

     Again... November was a bit of a "month to forget"...and I didn't get the last couple of posts for the "Our Beautiful World" blog.  This week (which is about over!) the word is December...what is December like in my part of the world!

December 6, 2013-outside our new condo in Ft. Worth

Icy Holly branches

Winter visitors at our previous country home-2012
    December in North Texas can be very unpredictable...on Wednesday of this week, the high temperature was around 75 degrees...yesterday (Thursday) a front came in and by afternoon the temperature was in the 30' (Friday) the high was 25 degrees!
     My first picture was taken this morning outside our new digs!  I don't remember when the second picture of the holly was taken, but is typical of the kind of weather we get in winter...rather fierce but also next week, the weather will be in the 50s again!
     And the last picture is our little deer friends who would visit us frequently all year 'round...although I love watching them..I am looking forward to being able to grow flowers in pots outside!  The little rascals would eat every tender green plant we would try to grow!!!1

Monday, December 2, 2013

Memory Monday # 46

    After having a pretty hectic month of November...I missed a couple of weeks of memories, but I am a little more settled now and am ready to continue the saga!!! My last memory was about Junior High..seventh grade specifically.  The eighth grade wasn't much different..but then came HIGH SCHOOL!!
     Freshman Year:  I was still somewhat socially immature..not really into boys yet, but did join in on the "fun" of dating somewhat.  My best friend, Barbee, (we met in fourth grade and the friendship continued on) was much more socially mature than I...she started dating earlier and would often drag me into double dating, etc.
     There was a dance in the winter where the girls invited the boys...the guy Barbee was dating didn't have access to a car always so she coerced me into asking a friend of his, so we could double date.  He was nearly as shy as I was so it was a pretty quiet date as I remember.
     I ran around with eight to ten girls...we would take turns having slumber parties...usually around our own birthdays..although one of my friends developed the "half-birthday"...six months after one's legal birthday...thus squeezing another party in!!
A slumber party...we really weren't stoned..just goofy from lack of sleep!
In the above picture, I am lower left...I have no idea what was going on with the log..but I am sure it was hilarious!!  We would all bring bedrolls with pillows and blankets...the hostess would supply all kinds of snacks...if one had a date, she would come at the appointed curfew of the hostess's parents..and oh, the giggling and fun we had!  And of course, there were always a few who were going steady...and those who were breaking up!  Oh, the heart ache and angst of being teenagers!!
     Music was always a big part of slumber parties...and we played it at top volume..until a parent...usually a dad would tell us to quiet down!!  And yes, we were Elvis fans...this WAS the fifties!
A favorite!
...then Elvis had to make movies and ruined his image to me...he really should have stuck to just singing!
      We had so much fun...and alcohol and drugs were never part of our occasional sneaked cigarette perhaps....all of our parents were big one thought anything of it back then.  Just look at old movies and tv shows of that era..everyone smoked!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Memory Monday #45


      Now I am in the seventh longer in the East School Building but back where I started in the first grade!  A new elementary school in the South part of town has been built and the Junior High...seventh and eighth grades...are now in the same building as the High School.  The Junior High has taken over one whole floor...the first floor of the building and there are eight classrooms....four per for English; one for Math; one for History and one for Science.
     It seemed so strange to be having seventh grade English in the same class room where I had attended first grade...just with larger desks! And if I hadn't is the same building where my mom and dad attended high school!  Seventh grade was a whole new world...many of my friends were becoming interested in BOYS.  I was not..I was pretty immature socially and physically.  But it was the beginning of "growing up".  Basketball games, hayrides, an occasional school dance..our moms had started a "dance class" for all of us...boys and girls.  I remember we learned all the latest dance fads!!  How awkward!  Standing in two lines facing each other and pairing off!  Our moms thought they were helping us through the Puberty years with these little plans...but for me it was sheer misery.  I had not developed any social skills and having to participate in these ordeals did not really help ME!  Fortunately as I have previously mentioned, I had a pretty terrific mom and she realized my discomfort so she wasn't as insistent as some of the moms about my always having to be a part of these "wonderful" occasions!
     As my life turned out, I became a Junior High/Middle School teacher...and from my own experiences, I had great sympathy for my students!!  I really believe there does not exist a more difficult age for boys or girls than the preteen many differences physically, socially, even mentally..and yet the sensitivity that one feels they are "the only one to feel" this way!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our Beautiful World

     This week the blog, Our Beautiful World, has selected the word "November" to inspire pictures.  November is a very bittersweet month for me...
      November is the traditional month for Thanksgiving in the United States.  Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of the month...
My first turkey...50 years ago!!
     The first year we were married, we were stationed in Anchorage, we had to make our own Thanksgiving celebration with friends.     

     My grandmother always had Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid growing up and Mom always did Christmas....these traditions continued even into our early married years, getting together at Grandma's.  She was a terrific cook which we all loved...but her home was a real museum full of beautiful antiques, so when our kids were little, it wasn't as relaxing until one of the dads took them all outside to play!!
     I have taken up the tradition of Thanksgiving for my family here in Texas. And my brother in Illinois does the same for the family up there.  This is my son-in-law's favorite meal...a big meal...then an afternoon of football!  So my daughter has been taking notes and is doing Thanksgiving for the first time this year!  Everyone has their assigned parts of the meal to bring, but she will be doing the turkey...the star of the show!!

     November is bittersweet because, much as we love getting together with family, this is the month when I lost my sister...
Judy- 1938-1987
....and my mother a few years later...
    ...then another happy occasion during the month of November..happy for me anyway... is that my birthday is this month!!!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Memory Monday # 44

      Even though it is November, I forgot to share childhood Halloween memories while still in October.  On another blog I where I write and post pictures, Our Beautiful World, I told of the Halloween contests and parades in my hometown, but didn't talk much about the tradition of trick or treating!
The town Halloween Costume Contest and Parade!
     In my youth, as now, Halloween was the time to dress up and see how many treats you can get!!  Back in the forties and the fifties, we didn't have the concerns of sicko's doctoring the treats with dangerous things, and, being from a small town, we knew everyone anyway.  So we would often get homemade treats...popcorn, homemade fudge, etc.  We would travel the town in groups of five or six..when we were old enough to go alone...from about with eight or nine through age twelve.  As younger kids, four-seven, our parents would walk us around to a few houses...but no one dressed up babies or toddlers and dragged them around!  Whoops...that sounded kinda' crabby old, didn't it!! Oh, well!!

We were big into homemade costumes!
     It was also customary to go several nights, three or four at least...we could cover all the town that way!  And we could share the best places with other kids that had been the night before!  Everyone seemed to understand this practice and go along with it.  Everyone would try to guess who was who dressed up, and all made quite a town party out of the holiday...probably most people really had no idea of the origin of the "Hallows Eve" and its real purpose. I've given you a link to look up some interesting facts if you wish. I know I didn't really know until I was much is really a fascinating subject!
     Anyway, there was one memory I have that relates to our town's tradition of multiple-night trick or treating....When I was in Junior High we visited the home of a rather new comer to town, and not aware of all our local "traditions".   We were visiting her a couple nights before the 31st and she rather rudely let us know that she had no treats, that it was NOT Halloween yet, and if we didn't get off her porch, she would call the police!  Well...little did she know that some of my friends would take the "TRICK or treat" part very seriously...I was not a party to the "trick", but knew what this group of boys had planned!  I am almost embarrassed to relate what they did...but I have started so will continue..they collected all the old dog poop they could find and scattered all over her porch!  Now, this sounds very vandalistic, but back in the Fifties, this was not considered extremely terrible!  There were a lot of innocent tricks done in those days...never any real harm to private property...just nuisance, more along the t-p-ing of houses today.
      I guess I am getting preachy now, but I do think some relatively innocent tricks are sometimes taken too seriously!  Believe me, I am not for bullying or destruction of property...there way too much of that, but I do think that there are some very righteous people out there who need to lighten up!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our Beautiful World

     This week on Our Beautiful World the word to picture is "Halloween" and as today is Halloween, I am posting a couple pictures depicting the holiday!  A couple of weeks ago the word was October and I posted several pictures of Halloween because in my mind the word October is synonymous with Halloween!
      But I did not post every picture I had!  Halloween through the years to me has been a time to dress up; to be another person or character; and, of course, to trick or treat!  In my home town, we always had a big costume contest on Halloween...and a parade!  Living in Illinois, the weather could be very unpredictable on October 31st.  So often it would be pretty chilly and we would either have to layer up under our costumes or wear a coat over them.  I usually chose the layering up which worked well except after the parade we would meet in the Legion Hall and it would be HOT!  But, by golly, even though I was hot...I looked good!!! (in my eyes!)
     I have another Halloween story, but I am going to save it for my Memory Monday blog next my picture is another brief tradition that my grandkids and I established...decorating our front porch!

The grands and me...with our friend, Jack
The windows behind us are in my studio and for the time "Jack" was visiting, I would be in there working and invariably would be startled by his presence when the wind would cause the rocker to move!
Happy Halloween!

Both my grands and I made quilts together; this one was created and pieced by my grandson when he was about nine or ten. We entered it in my guild's quilt show that year and he won second prize for small quilts!!  Quite a surprise for both of us!!!  They now display it every year at his house as part of their Halloween decorations.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Memory Monday # 43

     I do have one memory of the sixth grade year...I don't know what the occasion was but my dad and a bunch of his friends who were also fathers of many of my friends participated in a fund raiser by taking part in a amateur variety show.  The show took place at the East School Building; the  rooms were quite large and a couple of the upstairs rooms had a wall between that could be rolled away creating a very large area.
     The front of the room became the stage by pushing the teacher's desk out of the way and lining up the student desks in rows for the audience.  My dad and his buddies were dressed to represent Hula Girls from Hawaii or some such tropical island!  They are all pretty hefty guys and some pretty darn hairy too!!  My dad was quite the cut up...I have entertained my friends with "Dad" tales for many years!

My dad is the guy on the far right!!  What a sight!!
     It was sometimes kind of hard to look at my classroom in the same  light after this outstanding performance!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Memory Monday #42

    I am now "cured" of rheumatic fever! And I am entering the 6th grade.  I have no really strong memories of the sixth grade except by all notions, I should be repeating the fifth grade.  At the end of the year...fifth grade...I had to take the tests that all took to move on to the next year.  The school principal at the time told my mom that "yes, I could take the test, but because I had missed about 80% of the school year, I would probably not do too well."  My mom had been "home schooling" me and the education I on one...was most certainly the best I had in 12 years!  I not only passed, I had one of the highest scores of the class!  That was the last time that ever happened!!!  I was not a very good student most of the time...usually really excelled at what I liked, but bombed on anything that did not interest me!!
     And another clear memory is that cute little baby time went on,  our relationship came even closer. I still wasn't able to exert myself overly much so I spent quite a bit of time with him.  We have some great pictures of us the socks on me!!!
Jay and Jacky-1950ish

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Beautiful World-Chill

      This week, the given word from Our Beautiful World is "Chill"!  Now that is an interesting could down, calm down, or a feeling of being cool...a look, a temperature.

     My "chill" pictures depict more the temperature/weather related definition!
Observatory tour on Hawaii..yes, it was very chilly on that mountain top..32degrees!!
Holly berries in the snow.
Snow sliding off the roof of our shed!
Our live oak tree in our back yard...yes, we get snow in Texas!

Ice sculpture at Gaylord Inn

Monday, October 14, 2013

Memory Monday # 41

    Another memory I have during my fifth grade year is:
      Because I was bed-ridden with the Rheumatic Fever diagnosis, I would have frequent company...friends come to play quiet games, neighbors...and one guest I clearly remember was our pastor, Father Scanlan.  He was quite a character!  Actually, I had been kind of scared of him before he came to visit. In church he could be a bit intimidating....he was very tall (at least to me), had pure white hair, and became very red faced when he was upset about anything.
       I remember on one occasion he got really mad at everyone...many people had a habit of leaving mass early, right after receiving communion.  Back in the forties', the altar was set so that the priest had his back to the congregation during much of the service.  This one Sunday, as the door to the church was quietly but obviously closing before the end of mass, Father Scanlan turned around...very red faced...and yelled that if "another person leaves before the end of Mass, the door would be locked at the beginning of the next mass and not unlocked until the end!!!" And to be sure to spread the word to those who had already  left early!! (I don't think a priest or any other figure head could get away with saying that today, but back then, he was the authority whom we all admired and looked up to!)
     But when he came to visit me, he brought with him his two Irish Setters!!  And that was the only time that I remember animals being allowed inside my mom's house....(for all her wonderful motherly ways, she was very adamant about animals belonging outdoors!) I don't know if it was Father Scanlan's presence or my love of dogs that made her allow them in,  but it sure made me a happy little girl each time he came to visit! And created a relationship between us that lasted until he retired and moved away a few years later.
An Irish Setter (not Father Scanlan's but looks just like one of them!)
And another one...aren't they just magnificent!?!?!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Beautiful World-October

     The pictorial blog, "Our Beautiful World", has chosen the word "October" for the theme this week.  Although Fall/Autumn is the season, and a beautiful season....  October is also the month for one of my favorite holidays when I was a kid....Halloween!! I doubt if there is a soul out there that is not familiar with the history and traditions of Halloween, but for those who need a little briefing, especially how Halloween is celebrated in the USA, I have linked to a site that will tell you all you ever wanted to know!!

     Dressing up was a blast and still I am showing pictures of my kids, grandkids,  and me in various costumes!
My Mimes! probably 2007 
My girls and I...Raggedy Ann and Andy...I am a cowboy!  1974
My girls...1968
I am a a skit for teachers when I taught in a high school in Mississippi-1975

Monday, October 7, 2013

Memory Monday # 40

      For this week, my memory is about the next year of school.. the fifth grade...a very interesting year.  For a couple of years, I had been victim of many bouts of strep throat. Back in the 50's the usual solution to any childhood ills was to yank out ones' tonsils.  But the doctor never seemed to feel I was in good enough health to do the surgery.  Then as I entered the fifth grade, I was suspected of more than lethargy...I was running a persistent low fever and lacking in energy. So our local doctor sent me to a specialist in a nearby city to get checked out.
      It turned out that I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever.  Now, again,  this is not a disease you ever hear about now, but then it was considered to be a real scary thing to have.  Without proper care, it could lead to a heart murmur, a defect in the chambers of the heart which could lead to even more complications!  Needless to say, my parents did everything they could to make sure I was well taken care of.  The prescribed treatment was total bed rest!  So I attended the first six weeks, then was withdrawn and put to bed. My parents set up room #4 on my floor bed was placed in the upper right corner, right by the bathroom door.  When I say bed rest, that is what I mean!!  My mom would not let me move an unnecessary muscle!  The only time I was allowed out of bed was to use the bathroom!  She brought all my meals to me; she bathed me; she was totally dedicated to making sure I got well!!!
The downstairs floor plan to my childhood home from age seven through high school.
      If you recall in my last memory, my baby brother was born just the previous while my mom was nursing me back to health, home schooling me, and seeing to all the other household management, she was mothering a one year old baby!  What a gal!!  I remember her sitting up his playpen in the area where the open double doorway is.  He and I became very close because of spending all this time together.
      Keeping a 10 year old child occupied had to have been quite a challenge!  This was also before we had DVD's; Game Boys; etc. So the entertainment came in the form of reading, drawing (fortunately I loved to draw), listening to the radio, and a whole lot of game playing...quiet games!

My little corner of the world...for six months of my life!!
      I remember even having a new pet!  I had a goldfish!  And I was very taken with the Wizard of Oz Series...I read them ALL!!!  And I created a whole portfolio of fashion.  I loved drawing models and wardrobes for them.  I also liked to write...I fantasized a whole world of characters..illustrated yet!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our Beautiful World

    And the word for the week from the Our Beautiful World blog is "Together"!  What a great word!  One cannot help but conjure up all kinds of visions of "togetherness"..., friends, community, etc.  A few pictures that I just love depicting together are as follows:

All my Most Favorite People...together!
I could have posted a couple hundred pictures get the idea...hop over to the blog that I have linked for you to see what others around the world have posted for "together"!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Two Challenges Completed

     First, yesterday, my studioQ (or as I lovingly call us...the Creative Crones) met and had our reveal for our first new challenge.  The challenge is to find a picture you like in a magazine or one you have taken; then pick out 5-7 colors you like; take the picture with you to the paint shop and find paint chips that are as close as you can find to your chosen colors.  We have ten members now and so whoever is coming up with the challenge must get enough paint chips for each member; place them in baggies and hand out at the meeting.
     After one has shared the picture (just to see where the colors come from), everyone takes a bag with all the chosen colors.  Each is to find fabric that depicts the chosen colors and create a work of art with the colors.  We decided this will be a two month challenge and we started our first one two months ago.  The art work can be any size, any shape, the only stipulation is you must use all the colors plus black and white; you can use as much or as little of each color as you wish.
My journal for our Color Chip Challenge
I decided I want to keep track of our challenge by creating a journal with each challenge.  The column on the far left is my color chips, the right column is the fabric I chose to use.  The picture I got the colors from was of a school of yellowfin surgeonfish.  The picture was too large to download here, so I cut out a couple of the little guys and glued them into my journal.
My Color Chip Challenge: "Yellowfins"
     Seven of our ten members were present yesterday...and we have six completed examples of our first challenge which I had introduced to the group!
Group Picture of CC Challenge-Picture used is in the upper right corner

One of our group doesn't use fabric; she went to the paint store and got more of the same chips I had given her and created a journal page for the CC Challenge.
An absent member emailed hers to me so I could show it to the group!

     And my second completed challenge was for the "Art Quilters Around the World" blog. We also do challenges every two months with the topic coming from one of the members at a time!  This challenge was to use the phrase "The Road Less Traveled"..please go to the link to see all the gorgeous interpretation of this theme!  I am always amazed how each artist can get such different take on the same theme!
My Challenge for "The Road Less Traveled"
By going to the link, you can also read about how each came to their particular finished project.  By unanimous decision, the quilts are always 11.5 x 16.5 in size...but that is about the only restriction in making them.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Memory Monday #39

     Last memory, I mentioned our Storybook Doll collection...I looked on line and found this website which tells ALL about them! Apparently there is a resurgence of interest in them!
      I think our collection probably began with my grandmother...she was the one who really loved to pick them out...and she did pick out some really beautiful ones.  But somehow getting dolls that just sat on a shelf and looked pretty was not my idea of a really fun thing!
This is not my doll...but it a picture just like one of my favorite ones!
     I did love the dolls once I grew to understand they were not to be played with...not to change the clothes on....not to create dialogs for, etc..  I had other toys do "play" with, so I began to look forward to what doll Grandma had for me this birthday, this Christmas.

      I kept my half of the collection and have taken it with me where ever I have lived. Several  years ago, I had stored my dolls in a shoe box and had put them in the attic....well, wouldn't you know...mice got into them and really messed them up!!  The wigs/hair were put on with what must have been very tasty glue; the beautiful little dresses must have made great fiber for mice nests; and part of the little bodies must have been a papier mache material as some of the torsos were pretty gnawed up!!   

     Although they were pretty messed up, I still have kept moving them with me where ever I live.  Now, after 50 years of marriage, and about seven larger houses each time, we find ourselves now ready to downsize and to move to a smaller location.  So I think I am finally ready to see if there is anything to salvage about my doll collection and find a buyer for them.  If possible there may be a collector out there who would like my dolls for parts!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our Beautiful World-"Fall"

    This week, the bloggers from "Our Beautiful World" are posting pictures for the word "FALL"!  And to celebrate one of my favorite seasons, I have a few to post too.  It has been so awfully hot here...then a great rain and cooler weather set in over the weekend!!  We have had such a drought that fall colors have not set in yet...but in past years, we have had a glorious show of color in the oak and pistasch trees.
Oaks in our front yard
...and our back yard! 
The  yaupon hollies filling branches with berries!
     And where I grew up in Illinois, the Maple trees are just breathtaking in the Fall! And in my husband's home state, Missouri.

    And a few years ago, our first trip after retirement was to the Northeast during Fall season and the colors at that time were unbelievable!!

New Hamshire
     So, yes, I would say, we have a "Beautiful World"!!!!