Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Beautiful World

     The word for the week on "Our Beautiful World" blog is STRONG! There are many fabulous photographs out there on the sure to check them out!

     Strong can mean many is a word that can describe physical strength; it can describe mental strength; and strength in all things...moral, spiritual, and on and on.  My depiction of strength stems from my admiration and awe of those who are dealing with any kind of dread disease...and those who are their caretakers.

     We have become "frequent flyers" at one of the Texas Oncology facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and I am constantly impressed with those who come through to receive treatments.  We have seen all ages, all ethnicities, all sexes..(except children; they are treated elsewhere).  And the nurses who are the Oncology specialists are truly Saints!  Regardless of what is going on in their own lives, they are cheerful, totally into what they are doing, totally knowledgeable of each situation...and on their feet almost all day...running from one patient to the next.

      The TO is set up in four bays with six or seven recliners on each side of each bay for a total of 14 x 4 = 56 cancer patients..and almost all day, all recliners are full and occupied more than once through the day.  Some people are there for an hour or so, and others are there all just depends on their treatment needs. The facility itself was very white, very institutional in appearance, and is always very cold!  A year ago, when we came in for treatment, we saw that the walls of each bay and the end walls were being painted...the four seasons were being depicted on each bay...beautiful colors...soft, appealing,  just beautiful!  We were told that one of the patients decided that the place was just too clinical and unattractive for people who had to be enduring treatments to have to spend time she had hired an artist who came in evenings and transferred the physical body of the clinic to a surrounding work of art.  Later there was an article in local paper about the lady...I recognized her; had talked with her at times...she was pretty young; mother of three small children; a professional herself...and the strength she displayed is awesome!!! And her generosity in wanting to share with those who were there with her and those who are to come after she is through with her treatments is very moving.

     So my picture for "STRONG" is one of the walls at the end of the is a quote which so aptly depicts the overall sentiment of the place and also shows a good example of the art work which surrounds the patients...and the daily caretakers/nurses!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Memory Monday #34

    With all the kids and teachers heading back to school this week, I am reminded of my third grade year.  That year I was attending a new to me school.  My home town had elementary grades in two locations.  I have previously mentioned that my first and second grade classes were housed in the same building with the seventh through high school grades.  Then we all attended third through sixth grade in what was known as the East School.
The East School
     This building was the original school in my home town.  When it was built in 1861, it housed all ages..first grade through Senior in High School.  My mom told us of the third floor gymnasium that they used when she was a kid going there.  My classes, third and fourth were in the rooms on the first floor; our fifth and sixth grade classes were held on the second floor; then some how there was a third floor with the gym...I was never up there...really didn't even know it was there.
     The building is now listed with the Illinois Historical Building Society and houses the Pike County Historical Society.   Several years ago there was a local theater housed there too.  I don't know if it is still there or not...I hope so...I attended a few performances with my mom when visiting and they were really fun to see!!! And while looking for some history on the school for my blog, I discovered this UTube featuring a good friend I went to high school with talking about East School!  It is kind of long but I found it to be very interesting!  I found out so much of the history I had not known before!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Memory Monday #33 / Our Beautiful World

     I woke up this morning realizing  I had not posted my Monday Memory for today so here it is albeit a little late!!!  One reason that I am late is because of a busy weekend..birthdays!!  My husband's birthday was the 14th and my SNL's bday was the 18th, yesterday.  So we had celebrated both over the weekend....and my grandson's bday is September 3, not far off!  Then, coincidentally, today when I checked the "Our Beautiful World" website to see what the word for the week is...I discovered it is "BIRTHDAY"!  So I am going to do a whole lot of combining of ideas today!! memory!  I remember my  wonderful mom throwing me a birthday party when I must have been eight.  I don't remember the exact number, but I know there were several guests...boys and girls.  My mom didn't just serve cake and ice cream; we had a full on dinner of my then favorite foods!  We had hotdogs, baked beans, potato chips, etc...and the traditional cake/ice cream!  I was helping her prepare the meal...I was opening one of the cans of beans to make the baked beans when the can slipped from the can opener and sliced my thumb pretty deeply.  We had to rush to to emergency room for stitches; then back home to finish getting ready for the party....not going to miss having a party!!
     When all the guests arrived, mom and probably my one of my cousins (who were really like aunts to me as they were closer to my mom in age) served the meal...I was kind of a "clown" as a kid, always trying to get a laugh, so I was grossing everyone out with my tale of cutting myself and bleeding all over the beans!!  My mom had to convince everyone that we had pitched out that can, and these beans were unharmed!!  The other part of my memory is that when I opened my presents, one little girl had given me a set of UNDERPANTIES....the "Days of the Week" kind, which I did think were really cool....except...I had to unwrap them in front of BOYS!  Oh, the humiliation!  Isn't it funny how certain things stand out in your mind???

    Now, for my "Our Beautiful World" entry for "Birthday"...
And old picture of the birthday boys..about 13 years ago!
One of my oldest daughter's bday!
One of my youngest daughter's bday!
My granddaughter's #1 (She is now a Sophomore in college!)
     Birthdays are so special...I could post about a jillion pictures so have tried to give a sampling of my favorite people!  When my girls were little, I would make them "doll cakes" with their Barbie or Skipper dolls!  I would bake a cake in a large pyrex bowl, invert the cake and plunge a doll into the middle...then ice the cake in a "Southern Belle"   style gown!  It took tons of icing but that's the good part of any cake, right?
     Be sure to check out the "OBW" link to see how others celebrate "Birthday"!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Introducing a New Blog

     A few days ago, I clicked on a new..for site..Our Beautiful World. It is just that...a blog inviting others from all over the world to share beautiful photography!!  I discovered this site through my blogger friend Libby whose lovely blog I have followed for a long time!  The "Our Beautiful World" blog is pretty new...each week the moderators choose a word (this week... "Wonder"), then participants post a photograph with the chosen word in mind.
     Photography is one of my family can attest to the fact that I ALWAYS have a camera with me...and now that I have an iPhone!!! I am truly obnoxious with the click and shoot!!  I am going to enjoy this blog...not just for the wonderful pictures, but also for the stimulating discussions from the participants!
    So for my first entry...(this is week #seven so I am a little behind) I am depicting "Wonder" in the following photographs...

Enchanted Rock
     Enchanted Rock is a State Park in Texas. To quote the State Park's website:
"Enchanted Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground, 1,825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States."  For many years, we would visit the park and climb to the top....quite a view!!

     But my next couple of photos are really the "wonder" of the location to me!
Bluebonnets-growing right out of solid granite!
A solitary guardian of the sacred grounds!
Enchanted Rock is a very spiritual place that the Tonkawa Indians considered to be sacred many centuries ago.  It has a very fragile eco-system which the State Park system tries very hard to preserve.  Visitors to the area need to be very mindful of their surroundings.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Memory Monday #32

My daughter who also has a blog wrote about sculptors which she mentioned was Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum...which jogged another memory of my grandmother!
     The summer after her second husband, J. Guy, passed away, my sister and I went to spend a few days with her.  She was still living at that time in the house he had built for them in Missouri.  Wanting to show us a good time, ( television yet!)  Grandma took us to  a couple of entertainment she herself really never divulged in so she didn't really know too much about what was going on.  And the ratings and reviews of today didn't exist!
     The first one she took us to see was "A Place in the Sun" with Montgomery Cliff, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters....all big names, a very popular movie!! Premarital sex!  Murder! Wow!
"A Place in the Sun is a 1951 American drama film based on the 1925 novel An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser and the play, also titled An American Tragedy."
     Although we were quite taken with it, it was probably not a movie our mom would have approved of!!!!  I really can't remember how Grandma explained  it..we probably just didn't talk abut it!
     Then the other movie we went to see was "The House of Wax"...the original one with Vincent Price!!  It was one of the first 3-D movies and again, great cast, very popular!  And again...probably not a movie our mom would have approved of for us!!
A very scary Movie!!!
     When we got back to Grandma's after the movie, it was bedtime.  Back then no one had central air conditioning...some people had window units...but not Grandma..she just had fans and we slept with the windows open, hoping for a bit of a breeze!!! Judy and I were pretty scared by the movie, but we couldn't tell Grandma ... We didn't want her to think we weren't having a good time so off to bed we went.
     So there we were, lying in bed together; Grandma down the hall in her bed..and oh, the night sounds!  The crickets, the dogs barking, the cats meowing...but none sounded identifiable as such. Then down the hall, Grandma begins to moan, to talk in her sleep, to even shriek out!  You see, in the movie, the villain (Vincent Price) swings through open windows in the middle of the night, snatches up his victims, hauls them back to his wax museum, and uses them to make his really life-like wax statues!!!!  We just KNEW Grandma was a goner!!!  I don't think we slept much that night!  I just remember lying there hugging each other tight...sweating like crazy (it was hot!)...hoping for daylight to come!
     And it did!  And Grandma Vincent Price in her bedroom!!!  And, again, we didn't say a word to her!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Memory Monday #31

     For the past few weeks, my brother and I have been trying to compile information for a book of the History of Pike County, Illinois that the Historical Society is putting together.  We decided to focus on our father's family as they were the ones who lived for generations in the area.
     I never knew my grandfather; he died the year before I was born.  But I well remember my grandmother...she lived to be 98!
Jesse Carroll Venable (my grandfather), Fannie A. Edmonds Venable (my grandmother)
and John Edmonds Venable (my dad)
     This picture was taken when my dad was probably seven or eight years old...early 1920's.  He was an only child, so other than his half-aunts, there were no relatives around as I was growing up.
     My grandmother remarried when I was probably seven or eight to an older widower who was looking for a "proper" woman to take care of him, clean and cook, be a traveling companion in his old age.  He was very good to my grandmother, but because he had never had children nor been around children, he was somewhat scary to us!!!  My memories of him are pretty vague but I do remember the house he built for my grandmother in New London, Missouri. It was  a nice little brick two bedroom house with a great area for a garden.  My grandmother raised all her own vegetables, had chickens, and did a lot of canning and preserving.
J. Guy Biggs (my grandmother's second husband) and my grandmother
on a trip, Hot Springs, Arkansas (I think)

      We would go over for a visit on Sundays; my grandmother was a fabulous cook!! Her fried chicken was out of this world!  And she made a killer coconut favorite!   Remember... this was pre-television days and pre-ipads, kindles, etc.  And their generation truly believed in the maxim..."Children should be seen but not heard"!!! My grandmother's cooking was about the only thing we had to look forward to!!!  
     But being polite children, we would take our coloring books and sit quietly while the adults conversed about exciting topics like the weather, the crops, the price of livestock!!  My grandmother's husband was a pretty well to do farmer and, of course, these were subjects dear to my dad's heart too, through his auctioneering and farming businesses.  I am sure we were there no more than three or four hours....but in my seemed like YEARS!!!!