Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The year that was

Our road on an early December morn
Are you ready for the whirlwind recap of 2011, the year that (just about) was?

As I write this, it is 7 p.m. and the Indiana Hoosiers are on t.v. playing Ohio State (ranked #2 in the country).  I'm sitting at the kitchen table in the kitchen and Doug is in the living room in front of the t.v.

Here we go:
We rang in 2011 at a party at our friend's, Craig (Doug's boss) & Iliana's.  I wasn't feeling too well.
From the 14th to the 17th, I was out in MD with my girls.  I went out for a baby shower  on the 15th.  On  the 19the I had a little bit of out-patient surgery, and after about six weeks I was good to go.  (This was a procedure I had put off for almost thirty years.)  Take it from me, if you need to get something taken care of, do it!  
February is an icy, snowy, cold, quiet, month .  I always attend the local Theta Antique Show.  I enjoy walking about by myself.  I go every year.  All by  myself.  I enjoy it greatly. 
My first grand child, the little Bee was born in March.  She was due to arrive on the 17th, but as mommy was getting into trouble, the doctor called her and said "hey, how do you feel about having a baby today?  O.k., yeah.  Come in today and we are going to do this."  So she was born on March 8.  On the way to work that morning I bought a dozen pink roses and then printed out a little sign to display at my desk telling everyone that I was a Grandma on that day and all of the important information about our new arrival.  Then that night, to celebrate, I took myself out to eat.  (I can't remember what Doug was doing that night, but I wanted to celebrate and savor the feeling  of happiness and joy, so I did.) I already had my ticket to fly out to MD at the end of the month, so it was a long month.  I flew out on March 31.
I was in MD until April 3.  It was heaven on earth to finally hold her in my arms, to breath in her sweet new baby fragrance and just to watch her face as she slept.
On the 16th we met a friend of mine, Christine, and her family at a local winery.  They were down from Chicago to visit friends in Indiana.  I worked with Christine at a newspaper in Muncie, IN years ago and we've kept in touch.  It was wonderful to see her and her family.
On the very next day, the 17th, I drove south to Louisville to rendezvous with a dear friend from North Carolina, Laura and her daughter.  They were visiting from North Carolina. 
On April 23, I wrote "chick day" on my calendar.  Doug and I went to our local farm supply store and came home with a dozen chicks.  We were going to get five and then Doug said "oh, we'll lose some, get ten" and I went a little crazy saying "give me one of those, and one of those," and we came home with twelve.  To date we have butchered one (excessively mean) rooster and have lost one hen.  We have one rooster and nine hens remaining.  The next few weeks were spent checking chicken's butts for pasty butt, waking in the middle of the night to go make sure they were still alive, constantly adjusting the heat lamp and general restlessness as I was a nervous new chicken mom. 
The 24th was Easter and we found some wonderful morel mushrooms in the yard.
On the 28th, we left our home, animals and new chicks in the care of the very competent Alissa.  She is friend and pet sitter/house sitter whenever Doug and I happen to travel at the same time.  We appreciate her so.
Doug and I drove from Indiana to Maryland.  We were heading east to attend Doug's nephew's wedding and when we were that close to MD, I had to go see my girls.  On the 29th, the world tuned in to watch the wedding of Wills and Kate.  My daughter in law came home with heart shaped donuts in honor or the wedding and baby Bee and I spent the day in front of the television watching the wedding over and over on every channel that I could find it on.  (And it just so happens the wedding was on every channel.)  I'm certain it is a day she will remember.
The next day we left to drive on to PA to attend Doug's nephew's wedding. 
On May 2nd, I started a new job on campus, moving to the law school.  I was excited to be at my new location in the heart of campus and to work for my new boss, a highly respected man.
Doug and I attended chicken class and learned of every malady and terrible awful thing that might happen to a chicken.  I think if we didn't already have chickens, we might not have taken the plunge, but we already had twelve of them so what could we do?  To date, other than one of our hens dropping dead for no apparent reason, none of the terrible, awful, bad things have happened. 
On the 3rd of June I flew to MD until the 9th.  I enjoyed taking baby Bee for daily walks in her stroller, giving baths, rocking and reading and generally enjoying being in Grandma Heaven.
On the 18th, my little sister came down to Bloomington to attend the Taste of Bloomington
The next weekend brought us a visitor from far northern IN, my dear friend, LizBeth.  Liz has a wonderful mother and I have a wonderful daughter, but LizBeth and I have always had a relationship that is something akin to mother/daughter.  I met her at Ball State where she became one of my kids and has remained so. 
The next weekend brought us weekend visitors from my home town, John and Kathy, to help us celebrate the fourth of July.  Kathy and I have been friends for over thirty years and a few years before I met Doug I went out to Colorado with John and Kathy.  Shortly after I met Doug we returned to Colorado and John and Kathy invited Doug along.  It didn't seem to matter how I felt about it, he was going.  Kathy and I have had many travel, hiking, camping, caving and mountain climbing adventures through the years. 
On the weekend of the 23rd, Doug's youngest son got married.  The entire family came to Bloomington and it was one of the hottest weekends of the summer.  We sat in the sun as they stood beneath a gazebo, saying their vows.  We were drenched but quickly headed inside for a meal and dancing.  After all of the formal activities were over we all headed across the street to a hotel where some of the family was staying and we spent the rest of the day in the pool. 
On Monday the 26th, my professor turned mentor turned friend, Dr. Amy from Ball State was visiting a local state park and spent the evening with Doug and I at our local county fair.  We had a lot of fun looking at chickens (and ran into our chicken teacher, there), cows, horses and goats.  It was a spontaneous visit and oh so fun.
On the 28th, I headed back to MD.  We headed to Deep Creek Lake for the weekend with my daughter in law's family.  Baby Bee got to attend her first campfire and watched as we all enjoyed s'mores.  I am blessed because my daughter in law has a kind and loving family and they include me with everyone else. 
I stayed in MD until the 6th to help out my daughter and daughter in law as the regular sitter was on vacation.  It was my joy to be there for so many days and to help with baby Bee. We had daily walks with the stroller and lots of time to sit on the deck and look at the trees.  Just like her Grandma, baby Bee loves nature. 
September began with Doug taking me to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.  Oh my.  I have loved Gillian Welch for, oh, forever, but had no idea what a talent David Rawlings is.
Doug and I attend Lotus Music Festival here in Bloomington every year.  You can buy a weekend pass or an evening pass.  It is costly, but very worth it.  This year we decided to volunteer the first evening of the festival and then was able to attend the second night of the festival for free.  We have decided this is the way to go.  We are involved in a community event, get to see the groups the first night as we work and then attend for free on the second night.  Because we had not put out a lot of cash, there was no frenzy to fly around and try to see each group in attendance.
I started to write for her magazine in September.  (My second piece is about to be published- on this very subject, how I use my calendar as a journal of sorts.)
WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE INDIANA HOOSIERS JUST BEAT #2 RANKED OHIO STATE! Doug called me into the living room to watch the final three minutes of the game with him.  I had to tell him that in sports, three minutes to a woman is like thirty minutes.  There is a reason I cannot watch basketball when the team I want to win is winning.  Very quickly, I am sick at my stomach from screaming and jumping like a lunatic.  I can't help it. I am a Hoosier, born and raised.
The second weekend in October I met a life-long friend at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  Becky and I have been friends since age five.  She lives in TN and I live in IN so we met in the middle at one of my favorite places on earth.  We camped, cooked out, laughed, hiked, got in the cave and had a grand old time. 
The last weekend of the month the girls came to IN so that my parents and sister might meet little Bee for the first time.  I met them in my home town and we visited with my family then had lunch with my friend Kathy and then headed to Indianapolis where the four of us spent the evening.  While my girls attended a wedding, the Bee and I hung out and did downtown with her in the stroller.
On the 10th I headed to MD.  My friend Laura from North Carolina and her daughter drove to MD to spend the weekend with us.  We all went to the National Aquarium together.  My friend's daughter is eight and she and the Bee had a wonderful time together.  The Bee had not been with a little person of that age before and she was crazy for my friend's daughter.
At the end of November, my son and his girlfriend came to IN for Thanksgiving.  This was her first visit to IN.  She arrived a day before my son, so it was nice that she and I got to have a day to visit before he arrived.  On the Sunday after Thanksgiving I got on the scales and had my ohmigosh moment and decided to battle the bulge during the holidays.
The first weekend in December we headed north to Goshen, IN to celebrate Doug's mother's 80th.  Family gathered from all over the U.S. for the weekend. 
On the 15th I went to MD to have Christmas with my girls.  They gave me a fabulous gift.  This gift is so fabulous that it deserves a post in and of itself, so I am still holding out on my big news and will share with you in 2012.
I got on the scales this morning and was four down from the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I have been up and down and all around but am happy to report that I didn't gain from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  How did you do?  And don't worry, there is more dieting to come with the new year.
We are ready to head out to our friends John and Jeanna's house to ring in the new year. 
This year long report of mine serves as history of my life, but is testimony to more.  I am blessed.  I am blessed beyond measure, beyond the trips and visits with friends and family that I have mentioned here, there are lunches with gal friends and after work get-togethers and driving to Greenwood to meet friends for dinner half-way and seeing friends for dinner when I drive to Muncie to get my hair done.  I am blessed.  Pressed down, shaken together and  running over blessed.  Truly.
Here I am.  Moi. Me.  Doug took this photo of me on Christmas day because I wanted a picture of me in the necklace that he bought for me.  (I picked it out.)
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the friendships I've made here, through my blog.  Your patience with me, your support and kindness and love is overwhelming.  Over and over I think thank you is such an insufficient expression of gratitude, but thank you. 
Oh, and Happy New Year! xo, Cheryl

Friday, December 30, 2011


Don't you just love Calvin & Hobbes?  I do.
My resolutions aren't too different than those of last year.  I think this is an indication that it is a continual process.  For me, at least. 
This year I will:
try to let go of the little stuff
I'm getting better at this one.  Considering that I didn't get most of my Christmas cards mailed out, I would say I'm very good at this one.  Stuff doesn't bother me like it used to.
Sigh.  Huge sigh.
I do love to exercise.  For me it is getting out the door.  Hitting the pavement.  Lacing up the laces and going!  I have a DOG for pity sake.  I have no excuse.  It always makes me feel better mentally.
Save money.
I'm doing better with this one, too.  Pay yourself, first!  Put it away and don't touch it!  I am working to get out of debt and save, save, save!
No charging.
Charge cards are of the devil.  Outrageous interest rates.  I hate them.  I do not like to use them at all!  You shouldn't, either!
Buy used.
I love buying used.  We have a Goodwill here in Bloomington that is called Vintage Vogue.  It rocks.  I recently found a brand new pair of Mizuno tennis shoes for around $13.00.  And everyone knows I love My Sister's Closet.  Buying used is sustainable.  The days of my paying a lot of money for my clothing are over. 
Be positive. 
Being positive is something else that I'm pretty good at.  I can be wadded up and thrown into the trash can and I am going to climb out every time.  I've been through a lot in this old life time of mine and I am pretty good at bouncing back.  I'm not saying that I don't ever struggle or get down.  I do.  But overall, I try to be positive.  Try it.  Smile and the world smiles with you. 
Cook more.
If I can get Doug to keep his paws off of me and whatever it is that I am cooking, I enjoy cooking.  Basically, I would prefer he wouldn't even be in the kitchen with me.  There is something peaceful and comforting about cooking.  I was buying some Calphalon pans for Doug for Christmas (self gift?) and I started telling the sales gal at Bed, Bath and Beyond how much I love them and how I could do a commercial for them.  She smiled and said "I don't cook too much."  She was way young, a wee bit of a sprig of a girl.  I smiled at her and said "Oh, you will some day."
Don't worry, we don't starve or eat out a lot.  Doug cooks, too.
Blog more.
Oh, I try, I try, I try. And you don't know the amount of posts I've written in my head, posts I even have photographs for, that don't get written.  There are only so many hours in the day.  I work full time.  I have a man and a dog and two cats and ten chickens and two children and a daughter in law and a granddaughter and oh, you get the idea.  I don't ever apologize for not blogging because I do my best.
I love to read.  Again, only so many hours in the day.  When I have a good book, I am one of those people that you see reading in line at the bank or when I'm stuck in traffic.  No electronic readers for me.  I like to feel and smell the pages and lick my finger and leave my bookmark in the book.  There is nothing like the escape that a good book provides.
Eat healthy.
Just like exercising, I truly love to eat healthy.  I also have a sweet tooth and love, love, love pizza.  And margaritas and wine and beer.  Insert another huge sigh here.
Well, there you have it.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  What do you resolve to do in the upcoming new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hugo - two thumbs up!

On Christmas day we went to see the movie Hugo.  We have a long-standing custom of seeing a movie on Christmas day.  On Christmas day, I want to see something magical and miraculous and happy and up lifting.  This year we saw the perfect movie.
The movie Hugo is based upon the children's novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This is a very uncharacteristic Martin Scorsese movie which explores my favorite genre of writing which is creative non-fiction.  The story is fictional except for the fact that it tells some sort of historic truth.  The factual portion of this story is about Georges Melies. 
The story begins with Hugo's father bringing an automaton home from the museum where he works.  The quest to bring the automaton to life becomes the father son project of Hugo and his father, played (briefly) by Jude Law.  (An automaton is a non-electric self-operating machine- often, a robot resemmbling a human or an animal.)

Hugo with father and automaton
Much of the story takes place in a Paris train station where Hugo employs himself as the keeper of the clocks.  He peers at the world from the clock above.  Hugo Cabret is played by Asa Butterfield, (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.)
Hugo watches from above
The evil villain, the Inspector, is played by Sacha Baron Cohen who is best remembered for his role as Borat Sagdiyev, in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America fro Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.  (Which I saw under absolute and complete protest.)
evil villain
Georges Melies is played by a similar looking Ben Kingsley.  Oh what beautiful brown eyes.  Kingsley is strict, cruel, kind, caring and vulnerable.
Georges Melies played by Ben Kingsley
The female counter-part to Hugo, Isabelle, is played by Chloe Grace Moretz.  Does this girl have a future or what?  What gorgeous lips! Her eyes dance.  My favorite line in the movie is when Hugo leads her on an adventure in which they might get into trouble.  Her response:  "that's how you know it is an adventure!"

discovery of the key
You have to have a chase scene.  I was holding my breath.
The factual part of the story line as I have mentioned is the real life of Georges Melies

the real life Georges Melies
 The recreated film scenes are lavish and artfully colored with a soft pastel color scheme. 
Without giving away the story, I hope that I might compel you to go see this movie.  You won't be sorry.  And let me know if you recognize a certain street musician playing at the train station.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas day hike

It was sunny and uncharacteristically warm (for Indiana) on Christmas day. 
 Forty-five degrees.  We took Chelsea and headed to the bluffs.
I found this tree, encircled in thorns.

Look how clear the water was. 
 And beautiful reflection.

 We spooked an owl or a turkey buzzard.  Something big that was roosting and took off in flight as we approached.  Doug thought it was a turkey buzzard.  I thought it was an owl, by the way that it flapped its wings.  We encountered another couple with their dog and another man with his dog.  After the hike we took Chelsea out to a nearby field and let her run.  That girl loves to run.
my beautiful girl, Chelsea
Getting out and hiking cleared my head.  We went home and baked a ham and cooked up a skillet of fried sweet potatoes.  Then we went to a movie last night.  (More on that with a later post.)  It was just us- a quiet day.  It was a great day for a Christmas day hike.  Now they are calling for snow and rain for tonight and tomorrow.  Typically, they are calling for snow for New Year's eve weekend.  The weather usually pretty nasty on New Year's eve.  I'm back to the office tomorrow through Friday.  It will be exceptionally quiet.  A good opportunity to tie up a big project that I've been working on for months.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The best gift

The best gift
That I ever got
Didn't really weigh a lot
It didn't have a ribbon 'round
And it sometimes made the terrible sound
The best of all it seems to me
It wasn't neath the Christmas tree
And yet, I guess I'd have to say
That it made all the other presents twice as gay
The best gift that I've ever known
I'd always wanted most to own
Yet in my dreams of sugar and spice
I never thought it could be so nice
The best gift that I ever get
Was sometimes dry and sometimes wet
Was usually pink but oftentimes red
As it lay so innocently in its bed
The best gift of the year to me
The one I hold most dear to me
A gift that simply drove me wild
Was a tiny new born child...
I have always loved this Barbra Streisand song- from the first time I ever  heard it.  And although my granddaughter was born in March and is now nine months old and toddling about and getting into things, I think out of all of the gifts I've recieved, she is the best. 
I'm thankful for each of you.  Your words of encouragement, the friendship you so freely offer.  You have no idea how your comments brighten my world.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve eve

For those of you who have been long-time readers, you've seen this room before.  This is our fireplace room.  When I took this photo, our fire wasn't roaring, but it is roaring, now.  We bought this little pre-lit tree a few years ago when we had the Christmas that wasn't.  Doug's dad had just passed away and I was sick.  I asked Doug if he wanted to get a tree and he said no.  So I went to Kmart and found this little four foot tree, pulled out my favorite ornaments and it has been our tree ever since.  We are having a quiet Christmas this year.  We had Bradley & Dino here for Thanksgiving and I was just out to Maryland to see my girls last weekend.  Two of Doug's sons are local (the third is in AZ) so we will see them, but not until next week.  (Everyone has so many people to see and it was fine with us to wait.) 
With helping out at the shop in the fall and travel and guests, I haven't had a free weekend in a very long time.  This is the most laid-back I've been about Christmas in quite some time.  I have always sent cards and as my talent has grown, my cards have become more intricate and I just didn't get them all finished this year.  Last night and tonight I've spent the evening in front of the fire.  I'm tired.  I want to tell you all about my trip with my girls, but I have some news that I'm sharing in person with friends and therefore waiting to post on my blog. 
I will head out tomorrow to finish my shopping- just a few more items to purchase.  We will go to the movies on Christmas day, it is kind of our own little tradition.  Ever since the year Doug took me to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street I have gotten to pick. (It was disgusting, not festive and I had to come home and watch Little Women staring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon to purge the thoughts of plunking heads and (people) meat pies from my brain.)   Not yet certain what we'll see this year. 
Hoping you are feeling restful and at peace.  I'm certain I should be stressing about something but for now I'm lounging by the fire.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Going Postal

Have you had the pleasure of going to the post office to mail a package?
I had to get my package into the mail to my son in North Carolina. 
The parking lot was full. 
The line was to the back of the post office.
The line went past the exit so that you had to step out of the way in order to allow people to exit.

Two people took a box up and sat it down in front of the mail man.
The mail man says "you need to tape this up.  It needs an address and a return address."
The lady says "you don't put a sticker on it for us?"  I think these people don't know how to write.
The mailman says "I've got priority mail and first class stickers.  Which one do you want?"
Then the lady says "how much?"
The mail man says "do you have a zip code for me?" 
She fumbles in her purse, finds a piece of paper and tells him the zip code.
Then they quibble over first class or priority.
Then he gives them a roll of tape and tells them to step out of line.

After a couple more customers, a red headed man in a suit steps to the same mail man's window. 
His box isn't taped, either.
It is in a USPS priority mailing box.
The mail man gets another roll of tape and says "get out of line and tape this up."
The red head rips off a piece of tape and sticks it on the top of the box.
"There, he says, it is ready."
The mail man shakes his head and says "o.k."
An African-American man in line a few back behind me chuckles and says "no moh line for him, he be done wid the line!"
Others chuckle.
The mailman says "do you want priority?  You have this in a priority box." 
The red head says "whatever. Tell me what I owe you."

After a couple more people, it is my turn.
I step up, put my box on the counter and say "look at that, all taped  up, return address, mailing address.  I'm ready."
The mail man never breaks character.  At 7:30 a.m. he is pissed. 
He starts rattling off his spiel "anything breakable, perishable, blah, blah, blah."
Then he told me if I wanted it guaranteed by the next day it would be fifty dollars.
I shook my head no.
Then he told me two to three days would be thirteen dollars.
Then he asked me if I wanted to pay so they would sign for it.
I said "they will let me know when it gets there."
Then he told me that my hand-made Christmas cards are too fat and they will be twenty cents extra. 
I say "I make my own and get carried away."  I think I may have seen a faint smile at that point.  Grouchy, grouchy, grouchy.  I stood there and thought do you have any idea how many people would love to have your job?
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands...
C'mon, people, it is Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How ya doin?

This was the scene at our house last weekend.  Doug had just given the chickens a pan of "sop."  I thought this was some home-grown farm word that Doug made up, but I looked it up and it is a for-real term.  Sop:  a piece of food soaked or dipped in a liquid.  He gives them bread with milk and they go crazy for it.  We started letting our flock free-range when we are home.  Sometimes they take off into the woods.  I am afraid some critter will get them.  I try to tell myself the same thing as I tell myself about Milo (orange cat, pictured above)- he was always an indoor cat when we lived in the city on a very busy street.  When I first moved to the country with Doug I had signs at every door stating "orange cat does not go out!"  Everyone made fun of me.  But Milo saw Doug's cat going in and out and Chelsea (our Welsh Pembroke Corgi) going in and out and soon enough Milo wanted to go in and out, too.  I just tell myself that if something happens, they were happy running about in the yard and woods. 
For the record, neither of our two cats or the dog has every bothered any of the flock.  One of the roosters (R.I.P.) jumped on Chelsea's back!  Oh my.  It is getting harder and harder to get the flock to come back in.  Our chickens don't seem to be very smart, but they do seem to have a mind of their own.
How are you doing this week?  I feel like I'm getting there.  I've got some shopping done.  I have a few Christmas cards made.  In no way shape or form am I bragging, but I have grown as an artist to the point that my cards are not as simple as they were in the past.  This is my third (fourth?) year of making my own cards.  I am working on a couple of different designs and they are complex.  Complex means that each one takes a long time to make.  But I love it.  I'll post at some point. 
Doug and I walked through Sam's Club, Walmart and Big Lots the other night just to see if we needed anything.  Nope.  We discussed that some might think we are big ol'scrooges.  We don't have many Christmas decorations out.  We have a little four foot artificial tree in the fireplace room that we enjoy.  Other than that, the decorations are sparse. His two sons and girlfriend/wife that live in town will join us at some point, but other than that, we don't expect to entertain.  My son and girlfriend were here for Thanksgiving and I am off to visit my daughter and family.  If we were having a big dinner or party we might go to more of an effort. 
My heart is especially tender this time of year.  Tender for the needs of others.  Sensitive to the point that I am easily moved to tears.  I have so much and yet it seems there is never enough money.  Then I think about those who truly have nothing.  Sometimes I think God, why did you give me this heart?
I love this image.  If I were a tattoo girl I might do something like this.  This is what I imagine my heart to look like.  My heart has wings.  Of course my heart has wings.  I have a "my heart has wings" wooden stamp that is just about worn out, I've used it so much.  And of course my heart has a crown.  And a flame.  My heart burns with flames.  If that flame ever goes out, I'm in big-time trouble. 
I love where I am in life.  In the past I was more emotional.  Now that I'm older and don't have the hormonal fluctuations, I am more logical and reasonable.  Plus, I am more educated.  That never hurts as far as logic and reason goes.  I don't let the opinion of others define who I am.  I know myself and I am happy with who I am.  When Doug and I met on my statement was "Can you handle a smart girl?"  Doug says it should have said "Can you handle a smart ass girl."  When my ex and I split he said I was too challenging and that he was going out to get a ditz- "the total opposite of me."  Well, he did that (and it was quite the compliment to me) for a while but he must have tired of that because he finally settled for a lovely, intelligent woman.  But not all men can handle a smart girl.  Some think it is too challenging.  I always think of that scene in "Harry Met Sally" when Meg Ryan says "I'm difficult!"  And Billy Crystal says "But in a good way." 
Finally, I would like to encourage me if you are joining me in the battle of the bulge this holiday season.  I am trying!  I am two pounds down from the Sunday after Thanksgiving when I got on the scales and said "OHMIGOSH."  Try to eat a little less, drink a little less.  Go for a walk.  Just try.  You'll be happy you did come January 1 when the big diet season is upon us.  Less gained means less to lose. 
I'm off to Babyland, Maryland tomorrow.  The baby Bee met Santa last weekend and let's just say she was a little less than delighted to meet him.  She screamed and cried.  Baby Bee (screaming) and Santa are my profile photo on facebook right now.  It makes me smile.  I know, mean Grandma.  I'm off to rock and love and cuddle and hug.  Just wanted to check in on you and say How ya doin?  Spread the love, it's Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


IU won HUGE last night.  Funny how one point can be a HUGE game.  (I love the look on Coach Crean's face right after the game- looks like he is about to barf!)  I was down in Nashville at Papertrix yesterday, helping Cindy with inventory.  (Will be there again today if you care to come by and say hi.)  The game was just ending as I got in my car to drive from Nashville to Bloomington.  The game was so exciting I could barely keep from speeding.  (What you hear on this video is what I was hearing on the radio.)  Bloomington was crazy.  It was like New Year's Eve, horns honking, people screaming and yelling.  I called my daughter after the game and held my phone into the air and she could hear the mayhem.  As you can see by the video, the fans took the floor after the game and then they poured on to Kirkwood.  Have you ever heard of the term Hoosier Hysteria?  Oh yeah.  It was goin' on.   I met Doug at Yogi's and it was just crazy. 
I grew up on basketball.  That is what Indiana is all about.  Have you ever seen the movie Hoosiers?  I grew up in New Castle which is home to the world's largest and finest field house.  I graduated in that field house.  I can remember crying after a loss in high school.  Might seem dumb to some to cry after a game, but it was that big.  It was the end of the world. 
My son, Thanksgiving weekend at New Castle field house.
(photo courtesy of Dino's facebook account)
We initially heard that tickets for the IU/Kentucky game were going for $500.00 each.  Then Doug heard about four guys who bought tickets and paid $750.00 each.  That is just dumb if you ask me, but  I tell you this to illustrate how big of a game this was!  It would have been sweet to have been at the game in person.  And after this win, fans will be clamoring for tickets.  This is what Indiana basketball is all about.  Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star says it best.  This article is pure poetry- "they rushed like a bunch of kids being let out for recess?"  Be still my heart. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Grandma's Christmas tablecloth

Because my parents were very young when I was born, I was blessed to grow up with a great-grandma.  Her name was Minnie Eudora Bottoms King.  Isn't that some name?  She told me a story of meeting a man whose last name was Butz and she said "I know how you feel."  Said she was teased in school by other students for having the last name Bottoms.  I called her Grandma Minnie.  My mother's mother was Rosie the Riveter , working in a factory in downtown Indianapolis while her dad served in the navy.  Her Grandma raised her part-time.  My mother called her "Granny."  My Grandma Minnie was known for her home-made chicken and noodles.  Wherever she went, people asked her to make them.  I'm proud to say that this is true of me as well.  I've made chicken and noodles in Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. 
Grandma was known as a great story teller.  Again, I follow in her footsteps with this trait.  I love a good story.  Not all agree with me.  Just as Grandma did, I already repeat myself and tell the same story over and over.  Some tire of my stories.  Oh well. 
After a meal, Grandma Minnie would push her plate forward and bring her hands together, clasping them together before her.  I grew to call this "assuming the position."  This is when, through out my lifetime, I would sit up a little straighter and pay rapt attention.  I knew Grandma was about to tell a story.  Oh, the stories she told!  Of setting up house-keeping in Illinois with a team of horses.  She and Grandpa never drove- always took the bus.  I said "you never had a car?" in an incredulous voice.  She said "well, no child, first of all, what good is a car?  What could it do for us?  A team of horses could help us farm!"  Years later, I would be the one to drive to Terre Haute to fetch Grandma back for Christmas.  She lived at 1923 First Avenue.  The house is still there.  It looks very small to me, now.  She told of being a cosmopolitan working woman and working at Sears Department Store in lingerie in downtown Indianapolis.  She always had a twinkle in her eye and bragged that she had heard it all and nothing we could tell her would shock her.  I don't think I ever saw her wear slacks.  Maybe at the very end of her life when she became painfully thin.  She always wore a dress and stockings and shoes with a little heel,  beads and earrings.  She had this crazy cackle (which I am guilty of as well).  She always smiled and never complained.  She was a strong influence on my mother and myself- who we both are today. 
One day mother asked me if I would like to have her Granny's Christmas tablecloth.  Without hesitation I accepted.  A story found here tells some of the history behind such tablecloths.  This particular cloth is seamed together.  When I asked my mother about the seam, she said "it must have just came at the end of the material and they pieced it together- that is how it was done back then, nothing was wasted. 

ceramic snowman I made years ago in ceramics class

I like using old things.  Especially in the kitchen.  I've used this tablecloth every year since my mother gave it to me.  I like to run my hand over the material and think about Grandma's hands.  Think about the stories that were told.  The conversations that my family had sitting at a table dressed with this cloth.  I think about the Christmas dinners when Grandpa would have a box of corsages for every woman in attendance from babies to old ladies- everyone got a corsage.  This tablecloth is Christmas to me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Christmas donation

Every year I choose an organization to give a Christmas donation to.  Sometimes I do it in honor of someone in my life.  It is a great gift.  They are always tickled when I tell them what I've done.  This year I think I'm going to give my donation in honor of my boss.  He is a kind person.  Whenever I meet with him, I walk away with a smile.  Isn't it wonderful to have a boss that leaves you with a big old smile on your face?  I think so. 

This year my donation is going to raise money to build a well.  Do you read Flower Patch Farmgirl?  If you don't you should.  You will be blessed beyond belief.  Shannan is a beautiful woman who just lays her soul wide open and invites us all in.  She is a wife and a mama to a passel of beautiful children.  (Sorry, Shannan, I only had two so more than two is a passel to me.)  She writes of real life adventures like little boys that rearrange their bedroom when they are supposed to be taking a nap.  She shares delicious salad recipes.  Which I make and even take photos of and then fail to blog about.  She tells us when she cries.  (Yes, Shannan,  I cry  too.)  She shares her faith.  She is a teacher.  She wrote 31 days of letting go and if you weren't along for the ride you should go back and read it all.  I learned so much.  Shannan makes me miss my faith sometimes.  And then I think to myself  oh hello, you were there all the while.
My faith is very personal and it is deep inside of me just like a tree planted by the water.
So hop on over to Shannan's wonderful blog, visit with her and make a Christmas donation.  You'll be glad you did.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bowl of jelly

Do you think Santa wonders how did this happen? 
You know, your waist band gets tight, your bra gets tight, whatever it is doesn't want to button?  And I don't know about you, but I think how did this happen?  I am getting ready to be interviewed by another blogger which has caused me to take a long hard look at my blog.  I've sat looking through old posts and photos.  Posts a little more than a year ago that talk about being a gym-rat.   I was doing boot camp.  I was filled with determination.  It was a "biggest loser" type of situation and I won!  I did.  I was the top overall female.  But, my weight has crept back on.  Bite by bite, nibble by nibble, little by little.
Santa and his bowl full of jelly
We spent Thanksgiving day waiting to go pick up my son and his girlfriend.  We baked a ham and had a couple of ham sandwiches.  We congratulated ourselves and joked about how we were probably the only people that were not stuffed.  And despite the lovely salad that my son's girlfriend made and her healthful influence, once they arrived, we ate and ate.  On Sunday morning after they left I stepped on the scales and was horrified to see that the scales were as high as they had been since boot camp, a year ago.  I went to the Y that afternoon.  And I went back on Tuesday after work and last night after work.  I said to Doug "can we try through the holidays?"  I want to not only maintain and not gain any more weight, but lose!
Are you with me ladies?
I'm talking to myself, here, but if this applies to you, then heed my advice:  ignore that little voice in your head!  I need to ignore that voice that says "sit down in front of that nice hot fire and take a load off- have a glass of wine- have some cheese- have some crackers- have a beer!"  (Then whatever you do, don't move the rest of the evening!)    Shut up little voice!
And this is where I might add that I don't want a bowl full of jelly belly, but I already have one.  And I'm tired of this:
As much as I love muffins, I do not love the muffin top!  (Or, for that matter "mom jeans.") (And as I am not entirely certain just what "mom jeans" are, I may be guilty of wearing them already- despite how cool I think I look in my mind...)

And remember, every pound counts.  Every pound UP and every pound DOWN.  (Gross, huh?)

Here is one way to look at it:

just say no!
And remember:
I battle SAD during the fall and winter.  I've been off and on anti-depression meds.  IF you need them, take them, by all means!  People have suggested that I've never been on the correct meds, but they make me feel lethargic and numb.  I feel like I gain weight when I'm on them.  When I asked my doctor if there was an anti-depressant that has an appetite suppressant in it, she replied "wouldn't that be handy?"  I was able to avoid taking anti-depressants last fall and winter and hope to avoid them this fall and winter.  I talked to my son's girlfriend when she was here and said "it is hard to get out the door, but I always feel better afterward!"  (If nothing else, I'm glad when it is over!)  My doctor advises averaging 35 minutes a day.  What is that?  Four hours of exercise a week?  I think I can do this!  My goal is to get my heart rate up and to sweat.  In turn, that causes me to consider what I am and am not putting into my mouth.  Nibble when it comes to sweets and fats and carbs.  I'm not saying cut them out entirely because if you are like me, it makes me crazy with cravings, but just a little.

My friend Jayme over at Tales from the Coop Keeper has done an amazing job this past year.  She has taken off around one hundred pounds!  For more inspiration (and a lot of giggles) go over and give her a visit! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

the Color Stylist

What says "Christmas" to you?  This is one of those posts that is going to make me seem like a total material girl, and I really am not, but I do loves me some Estee.  About this time every year they have this giant collection, which I refer to as "the Christmas box."  I don't buy this every year, but I do love to get it.  This year a year that I bought it for myself.  You have to purchase a fragrance and I bought White Linen to get it.  They had gift sets which had both fragrance and lotion in them and it was like getting one of them for free.  This is the first time that I've bought White Linen.  A friend of mine wears it and I love the crisp, clean fragrance.  There is something about taking this big ol' box of make-up home and taking everything out that is such a treat. The lady behind the counter asked if I would like it gift boxed and I said "oh, no, darlin'. This is for me."  
While I love Estee Lauder, I don't always buy it or wear it.  But I love it to the extent that my friends tease me about it.  I am an outdoors girl but have been known to carry a lipstick in my pocket.  My philosophy is we don't have to be ugly in the woods.  Doug and I went on a back packing trip in Colorado once and he told everyone that all I had in my backpack was make-up.  I am here to tell you that is not the truth, but I did take clean underwear for every day and baby wipes and some lotion and Burt's bees for my lips.  I do think make-up helps my appearance and if I don't have anything else on, I like to wear lipstick and under eye cover (to hide those dark circles).  
There is something about Christmas shopping, too.  I am supposed to be shopping for others, and somehow I end up buying for myself.  One year (prior to the aforementioned backpacking trip) I went to the mall up north in Indianapolis and the first place I visited was Galyen's.  Oh, how I miss Galyen's.  It was heaven to me.  Pure heaven.  My children used to literally bodily pull me from that store.  So I go to the mall to shop for others and start to look at backpacks.  I had looked and looked and could not get the right one to fit my frame.  I found an excellent salesman and he found a Gregory that fit me just perfect.  What could I do?  I HAD to buy it.  So, afterward, I'm carrying this $250.00 backpack to the car and think (gulp), now I need to start shopping for others. 
I have a friend that enables me in my selfish problem.  She and I buy "one for me and one for you" gifts.  We've been friends for years- since we were seventeen and we have so many things that are alike- tops, earrings, bags.  Her daughter recently said to me "my Mama has a shirt like that."  Well, her Mama bought the one I was wearing.  I said "Honey, your Mama and I have a lot of things that are alike."  It is a lot of fun. 
Do you suffer from the same malady?  Do you buy for yourself when you are supposed to be buying for others?  If not, bless your heart.  As for me, I can't help myself!

Holiday Market

On Saturday we went to Holiday Market.  Holiday Market is the reason that I hate to travel over Thanksgiving.  For some reason I just love to attend this event.  It is in conjunction with our regular Farmer's Market, which is stellar.  With Holiday Market, there are singers and performers and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  I usually get a little Christmas shopping done at Holiday Market.  Don't tell the grandbaby, but I bought her first bracelet.  I will give it to her for Christmas.  It is mult-colored so she can wear it with anything.  When I called my daughter to tell her, she said "just what she needs!"  Part of me thinks she may have been being a bit sarcastic.  I love jewelry and my hope is that grandbaby will love jewelry, too!

Every time I attend the market, I have to get some kettle corn from the kettle corn lady!
Santa's reindeer were there!
Tuba Santas!
Although my son wasn't thrilled with the Holiday Market, I think Dino enjoyed it.
Dino, me, Bradley at Holiday Market
That wraps up our Holiday visit with Dino and Bradley.  We got up at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning to take them back to Indianapolis to the airport.  (For those of you who are keeping count- that was the fourth time in six days that I drove to Indy and back.  But I would do it all over again! The things we do for love!)  We didn't drink any coffee or anything and jumped back into bed when we got back home.  I slept until 9:30.  It seemed like we were off work forever and it was a great break.  There is nothing I would rather do than spend time with my children!

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