Wednesday, February 23, 2011

way back in december . ..

I was looking through my pictures and trying to think of something interesting to write about and I came across this folder of pictures. I looked back through previous posts and don't believe I ever wrote about this day. In the United Methodist Church, we have United Methodist Women (UMW) and these women meet in monthly circles (that is the way it is done at Trinity and I do remember that my Granny Walls was in a circle at Rock United Methodist Church and I remember that she would go to circle meetings). I was in a circle for many years when I was a stay at home mom but dropped out when I went back to work. There are circles that meet at night, but to be honest, I just can't drag myself back over to the church after working there all day (even though I love it!!). For the last several years, one of the older circles has asked me to join them for their Christmas luncheon (as their speaker). The first few years that I attended, the luncheon was at The Club. For at least the last three years, the luncheon has been at the Rotunda Club at Samford University.

This year I had my trusty camera with me on that day in December and I snapped this picture when I was walking up to the building. This is not a good picture - poor lighting, etc. but you can still tell that it is a beautiful building. When you walk through those double doors, this is what you see. Isn't it beautiful? The Rotunda Club is downstairs.
The ladies are all so sweet. My mother-in-law is on the left. Aunt Mary (Mark's aunt . . . she was married to my mother-in-law's brother) is in the middle and Martha Davies is on the right. I have to be careful when speaking about things like the tacky sweater Christmas party that we hosted for the young adults. I sometimes forget that I'm sort of in the middle between the young adults (who think Christmas sweaters are the tackiest thing EVER) and the senior adults . . . who think Christmas sweaters are a required item of clothing (please tell me that I'm not in the senior category yet . . .if you think I am, please don't tell me!! Just lie to me).

They are all so cute as everyone is arriving. They are truly glad to see each other and spend this time together each month. Usually their programs consist of mission type information but for Christmas, they always want a Christmas program. I've talked about the history of favorite Christmas hymns and I've talked about Joseph and I've talked about Mary . . .I can't even remember all the different programs that I've done for them.

This is Olivia and "Miss" Pauline. It is funny to me that I can call some of these ladies by their first names . . .some are Mrs. So and So and some are "Miss" So and So. Olivia is such a neat person. She just helped put out a wonderful publication at our church. She is very talented. "Miss" Pauline is also a sweet lady. She was friends with an older friend of mine (long before I came to Trinity) and I loved it when she told me that many years ago. Since Mark's family has been in this church for his whole life, he has lots of "connections." I love it when a person knew someone in either my family or they knew a long-time friend of mine. "Miss" Pauline was best friends with Agnes. (I'll make this short - Agnes was my next door neighbor after my first marriage ended in divorce. I was 20 years old and divorced and poor and not eating (and actually thin!!) . . .Agnes would cook breakfast and call me on the phone and say, "Lisa, come over here before you leave for work. I have prepared breakfast for us." I was so distressed and so sad about the divorce that I couldn't eat . . . but she would somehow get me to eat a piece of dry toast and she would make me laugh and she would love on me just a little before I left for work in the morning. I don't know how old she was at the time but she seemed really old!! )

I really enjoy spending this time with these ladies every year. The group changes slightly every year but many of the women have rotated through and back again. I sometimes wonder if I enjoy the time with them so much because they are about the age that my momma would be. I wonder what it would have been like to have a momma . . . .as a 17 year old . . .as a 27 year old . . .as a 37 year old . . .and now as a 52 year old. Once again . . .musings of a middle-aged mom :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the man who hates cats . ..hahaha!

I've been married to this man for almost 27 years. He has always hated cats. He really really detested cats. I'm allergic to them so it has never been an issue for us. We just didn't have pets. But you know the story, old Snugs (who is actually an old man cat) adopted us a little over a year ago . . . and Snugs and Mark are best buddies. Mark was enjoying the sunshine last Sunday afternoon and looked who hopped into his lap to enjoy it with him.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

cowboy day . . .horses . . .and sunshine!

Mark and Laura are both out of town . . .and I had the day to myself . . .so I decided to do something new and different. I had seen an ad in the paper for Cowboy day in Columbiana, a town about 40 minutes or so from my house. Now remember . ..I'm a city girl through and through so the thought of seeing cowboys and horses up close sounded like a great idea. As soon as I parked, two horses "greeted" me. So of course, I took their picture. The problem is that when I have my camera, I tend to look up and around all those horses I had to remember to look down. Luckily, I have a keen sense of smell so I usually "smelled" and knew to look down.

This was my first stop and I had to laugh out loud. Back in the "day" (back when I was a young single woman!) there was a bar in downtown Birmingham and I cannot remember the name of that bar . . .but the bar had a mechanical bull. I believe that I tried to ride it once. So imagine my surprise when I walked up to the mechanical bull and it was located in an inflatable pool sort of thing and there were little boys lined up to ride the bull! Actually, smart idea to have all that padding around in case someone took a tumble from the bull. Needless to say, I didn't ride the bull today.

oh my goodness, I have always loved these Indians. Doesn't he look distinguished against that gorgeous blue sky?
They even had a replica of a stage coach. I always thought it would be so cool to ride in one of those. I wonder if I would get "car sick" in a stage coach???

This was something new for me to see. This man (farrier?) was making a horseshoe. He heated it and then beat it into shape and then he would dip it into a water bucket and it would hiss and steam. Pretty interesting process.

Lots of horseshoes. . . .for horses . . ..not for playing a game. Remember . . . city girl . . .

This demonstration was also new to me. I think this lady is a cowgirl (???) . . .she was making rope from scratch. I love her face. It has such character, don't you think? I'll bet that she has lived an interesting life on a farm.

here she is with the finished product. It looked very strong!!

I thought that the next two exhibits were interesting - all different kinds of barbed wire and

all sorts of tools . . .do I know what they are? Are you kidding? I've never seen most of these before.

Of course, there couldn't be a cowboy day without a Hillbilly Cafe . . .I didn't eat any food but
look what they were serving - huge funnel cakes and fried catfish and fried chicken fingers and fried shrimp and homemade potato chips. I'm glad that I don't know the lady . . .she would kill me for this picture - I think that I caught her saying something to a customer.

This was one of the most interesting food items . . .roasted corn served with the "greenery" (I know that they are husks). Ronnie looked at me like I was crazy when I asked him to stop eating so that I could take a picture of his corn!!

It was great seeing a couple of friends today. Emily is in the middle and she is a cancer survivor and we are so glad!!!! Shawn is on the right and we are standing in her trailer. She was one of the vendors at Cowboy Day.

Shawn is the proprietor of Barn Brat - she sells all kinds of stuff (tack!) - like saddles and pants and she even sells cute jewelry!!

This is Shawn's little girl and her two friends and they are all wearing some of the Barn Brat merchandise. They would make a cute "commercial"!!

Look at this cowboy. He was a roping machine! It was amazing to watch him. He could twirl that rope all around him. Look at his boots.

Look at that blue sky. I was amazed that my camera caught the rope in the air in the middle of a loop!

There were animals other than horses.

I saw all sorts of carts pulled by horses and ponies. This cowboy even waved! (he then said, "did you get it?" and grinned! I guess I looked like a city slicker holding my camera standing there on the side of the road!

Look at this cute little green cart pulled by a pony.

There were whole families including little babies on horseback.

As I was pulling out of the parking lot, this little pony drawn cart came flying through the parking lot - it was going unbelievably fast!! The only thing I didn't see today was a surrey with the fringe on the top!!

As you can see from the pictures, it was a gorgeous day outside. I just happened to glance at the dashboard on the way home and saw that the temp was already 72 degrees - I think it was at least five degrees hotter later in the day. We've had snow four times or so since Christmas and today it was in the high 70's. Mark always says that is the good thing about living in Alabama. If you don't like the weather one day . . .just wait, it will change. And yes, I now have over 100,000 miles on my trusty explorer. I told Mark that it has now become a challenge - I want to see how long trusty Sylvia the silver explorer will last!

What a wonderful day . . .I ended it with a trip to 2nd and Charles, which is an amazing used bookstore. Wow! I also made a trip to Joann's Fabrics/Craft store. Now I'm ending my day alone by watching chick flicks and enjoying every minute of them!!

I forgot one thing . . .this picture doesn't really show how large he was . . .but there was a giant hawk sitting on this wire and I was on my way home and just grabbed the camera off the front seat and snapped. He was watching and waiting!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Novel idea

Becky - this post is mainly for you! Our youth choir is exceptional . . .and our choir director is wonderful . . .and he plans these great youth choir tours for every summer. Our church has done every kind of fund raiser imaginable. We've hosted pancake breakfasts, we've sold umbrellas (I never did buy an umbrella - I just realized that - oops - sorry!), we've hosted Meal and a Deal, we've made sub sandwiches and sold them on super bowl Sunday (that may have been before Scott's time), we've sold turkeys and hams (I liked that one!). It seems like we've done it all. This year they (I can say "they" because our kids are too old now . . .and one of our "kids" is a married man now . . .I don't think there have ever been any married folks in our youth choir) tried a new approach. They had two tables set up - one in each narthex and they had envelopes with numbers on them. You picked whichever envelope you wanted . . . and then you put at least that much money in the envelope. Mark chose his age - pretty good idea actually. We are in a large Sunday School class and we have had (and many of the families still have) kids in the youth choir, so our class took two large envelopes totally $250.00.
Novel idea - hope it brings in lots of money!! They are going to New York this year . . .wish I could go - I've never been to New York!! (I have been to Colorado and Boston and Texas and Tennessee with the youth choir - some of my favorite memories!!)

Celebrate Magazine

For my birthday last summer, Mary (one of my friends at work) gave me a subscription to a wonderful magazine by Hoffman media. The name of the magazine is Celebrate and it is perfect for me because I love to entertain and the whole issue is about invitations and decorations and food for parties!! My newest edition came on Saturday and I flipped through it as I was sorting the mail (trash or not trash). I was so excited to see Easter decorations and decorations for a really cute ladybug party along with ideas for one of my favorites . . .cinco de mayo. Imagine my surprise when I flipped to this page . . .Look - there is my girl!! Our Laura . . .third bridesmaid from the left (right next to the beautiful bride!!). Lauren Wright's wedding was the featured wedding and Laura's picture is in the magazine not just once, but twice (there is a picture of the girls as the bouquet is being tossed and she has the cutest expression on her face!) Needless to say, I am one proud middle-aged momma! Oh . . .and by the way, isn't she beautiful? (sorry about that - couldn't resist!!) All of the girls are beautiful!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

something profound . . .

I wish I had something really profound to type . . .isn't that weird? Sometimes I read other people's blogs and think, "Wow - what a life" . . . or "Wow, their lives sound so much more interesting than mine" . . .the list of thoughts goes on and on. I guess in reality, I live a pretty simple life - very blessed - but simple. I get up in the morning and have a diet pepsi and some prayer and devotion time. When I'm in my "good" stage, I ride the recumbent bike. Everyone else (that would be Mark and Laura!) gets up and we all get ready to go to work. Before work, I do things like empty the dishwasher and put a load of laundry in the washing machine. I drive to work (with a stop along the way for another diet pepsi or two).

I am so lucky because I love my job and the folks with whom I work. (really - I do!!!! - I cannot believe that I GET to come to work each day) I teach Sunday School every Sunday and I facilitate a young adult study on Tuesday nights (and cook dinner for them). We are in a supper club with five of the most wonderful couples you could imagine and enjoy spending time with them at least once a month. We have other church friends with whom we adore spending time. We attend church and Sunday School every Sunday (house rule - the only excuse for missing church is because you are throwing up or have a fever :-) and we eat lunch with Mark's family at my mother-in-law's house every Sunday after church.

On a larger scale, Mark and I are both involved in the Emmaus community and we usually work one walk (or so) a year and so we usually have meetings for several Saturdays and a long weekend away at Camp Sumatanga.

I love to scrapbook and sew but have done neither in several months!!! My claim to fame is that I was living with twins when I met Mark who is an identical twin and then we had twins (and I had twin aunts) - so I'm a twin magnet!!

Actually, I do have another claim to fame - I was the first runner up in a beauty pageant . . .way back in the day. The pageant was sponsored by the Birmingham Civitans (or maybe the Kiwanas) and it was called, "Ironman Ski Queen." Are you laughing yet? The civic group hosted a ski jump competition each summer at East Lake Park (which is unbelievable to me now - but it worked back then). I was young and cute and working at South Central Bell and my boss told me about the pageant. There was an interview portion and a sportswear portion and a bathing suit portion to the competition. I'll never forgot the question they asked me in the interview portion, "What part does God play in any male/female relationship you have?" To be honest, those were my wilder days but I still knew the right answer to that one!! The "Ski Queen" and I were showcased at the event. We rode in the speed boat and did the little fancy wave that only beauty queens can do!!

I just re-read this post and it is truly the musings of a middle-aged mom . . .or maybe a crazy woman!! Maybe some day I'll write about the rest of my crazy life! (I guess I should be very thankful for a simple life . . .some parts of my life have been anything but!!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

turkey calls

I know this picture looks like I'm "spying" and I guess I am "sneaking" more than "spying." Who knew that as a middle-aged wife and mom I would be sneaking around with a camera?? Anway, it is a gorgeous day here today - high of 65 (remember we just had snow!) and the skies are blue and the sun is shining. I'm inside baking cupcakes and making brocoli casserole for Tuesday night's study . . .Laura is sunbathing (yes, in February!) on the deck . . .and Mark? Well, Mark went out on the deck with Laura and it is turkey season (I think it has already started). Mark wants to go turkey hunting in two weeks so he was practicing his turkey call. (If you've never heard a turkey call . . .it is sort of a piece of steel wool scratching across a surface - sounds a little like fingernails on a chalkboard to me!!) Lo and behold, "something answered." Which is really funny because yesterday I told Mark, "it sure would be funny if you called up a turkey in our backyard. If you do, yell at me because I want to take a picture!!) Sorry to disappoint you . . .it wasn't a turkey . . . it was our new neighbor!! A young couple moved next door to us in the last year and I met them when they first moved in because I took dinner over one night. I don't think that Mark has ever really met them before today. I looked through the kitchen window and saw this . . .so I grabbed the camera and sneaked back over and snapped through the window. Then I walked outside and asked Laura, "Is daddy making new friends in the neighborhood??" I think that Mark has found a new friend!! (he has no idea that I took this picture or posted this so don't ask him about it! haha!) I love it. Both Mark and I have never met a stranger so this is pretty cool that they have connected over turkey calls!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snow one day . . .and sunny today

It snowed again this week . . .unbelievable. I honestly don't remember ever having a winter where we have had this much snow. It was lovely and I really enjoyed watching it through the big windows in our kitchen. It started on Wednesday night and snowed for several hours. We turned the outside flood lights on and could watch it fall. We knew that the roads would probably be ok because the temps had been fairly warm during the day . . .but when they plummeted . . .they plummeted.We awakened to this on Thursday morning. I took my time getting dressed and even wore jeans to work (which is actually a no-no but I decided . . .stay home . . .or wear jeans . . .so I wore jeans). I was a little worried because I'm not much of a rule breaker these days (I've broken a few over the years . . .just in my old age :-). I was worried about it but when I got to the office, at least three other folks had on jeans also!! Why is there safety in numbers?

Anyway, back to the snow. We had at least two inches as you can see by my scientific measuring device above. That picture was taken on Thursday morning. This morning when we got up, there was still a little snow in the shady places . . .but now I'm sitting outside on the deck - the sky is blue, the birds are chirping and I don't have on a coat. It is about 55 degrees. Amazing how fast it is changing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

cupcakes and more!

My friend, Lori, made these yummy red velvet cupcakes . . and those are red lips all over the top (you know - like "kisses") . . .she made them for the young adult study last week. I found this wonderful twisty wire cupcake holder at Walmart for $5 - great deal!

Will you be my valentine?

What a nice day today - nothing fancy - no big gifts - just lots of love. I bought a card for Mark (funny, not mushy) and two boxes of fancy schmancy (sp?) granola. He bought (with Laura's help - it is so good to have a grown daughter) three new movies for me to watch - yippee! We gave Laura a card with a little cash in it (since she isn't working this semester because of student teaching). Tonight, we went to the Bright Star for dinner. This is Alabama's oldest restaurant - opened in 1907!! Our wonderful young adults from Tuesday night gave us a gift card to the Bright Star for Christmas and we saved it until tonight. We invited Laura and Mark's momma to go with us and we had a very nice evening. Not exactly a romantic evening . . .but a nice evening. Good food, some laughs, some conversation. The place was packed. We had a reservation for 6:30 so we didn't have to wait for a table but the service was fairly slow. I'm not kidding when I say that the place was packed. I imagine it was as full as fire code will allow.

I made old fashioned valentines (not store bought!!) for the folks at work. Well, of course, I did buy the suckers but I hand printed each one -doesn't that count?
I bought some cute sock monkeys for some special kids in our life, and I made sock monkey valentines using my silhouette SD cutter. I thought they turned out really cute!! (yes, they are propped on a bottle of wine . . what can I say? I wasn't drinking while crafting!!)

Today was a good day - not too fancy - just right. I am so blessed to love much and to be loved much. (let me ask a question . . .this post is showing friday's date . . .because I uploaded the picture of our dining room table then. . .can you change the date on a post???)

rotten kitty cat

oh my goodness . . .this kitty cat is spoiled rotten. This old man kitty cat adopted us over a year ago now and I guess he is feeling his age because he LOVES to lay (or would that be lie - we were just talking about that at work!!) on the heating vent. He usually is stretched out with the heat hitting his underbelly but last Friday I walked into the room and this is what I found. I guess his underside was too hot so he had rolled over . . . look at those feet "crossed" and propped up on the baseboard. He is one funny cat.

Friday, February 4, 2011

ice . . .ice . . .and more ice!!

ok - we live in the deep south . . .and we like it. One reason that I like it is because I detest - actually I D - E - T - E - S - T winter clothes. I will be in a room of 100 people and I will have on short sleeves and everyone else will have on wool sweaters or at least a shirt and a cotton sweater or a sweatshirt. I don't like long sleeves. I do own a few . . .but I'm not really a happy camper when I have to wear them. We will go years without any snowfall and I must say that we "miss"it when we never see it . . .but goodness gracious, we have had our share this year. I was looking through my pictures on the computer and was amazed. We had snow on Christmas day (which was cool because we have never had a white Christmas before!!). We had snow and ice the week before the wedding (I guess that was maybe January 10?). We had snow and ice on Thursday afternoon of this week. This morning, I looked out the kitchen window and lo and behold . . .ta dah . . .. snow again. I just looked again . . .the snow has stopped for now. I need to look at and see what the rest of the day will bring. We had a HUGE snowstorm back when Glenn and Laura were young - maybe 19 or 20 years ago. After that snowstorm, we bought a really cool sled which is hanging in the basement. I think the next time it snows big enough, I might have to get the sled out. The thing is . . .I'm a little bit chicken . . .but Mark and Laura could have lots of fun and I could take pictures, right?
Here are just some random pics from the different snow/ice occasions . . .during the storm that was mostly ice, the birds would come and land on top of the bird feeder to wait their turn and they would slide off. It was pretty funny. They would start sliding and they would start flapping their wings really fast. When the weather is really cold, the birds come in flocks and they are so interesting to watch. During one of the winter weather events, our deck stayed frozen for about a week - remember I live in the deep south!!!

I grabbed the camera to record this event. Our front porch steps were so frozen and Mark was trying to get the ice off because our Bible study group was coming to our house that night. As I snapped this photo, I heard him say, "I NEVER thought I would be doing this." You see, we don't have to shovel snow EVER here. By the way, he worked for an hour on these steps and we finally had to tie a rope across the bottom with a note that said, "Please come through the basement." As fast as he would remove a giant sheet of ice, the moisture underneath would re-freeze.

This was a piece of ice from the top of the garbage can. It was amazingly thick. BRRRR. Almost makes me want to wear long sleeves!!

I just stopped and looked at the weather for today. The sun is supposed to come out and the temps are supposed to go up to 41 - yippee!! BUT there is a chance of snow for next week.
The worst weather event was on Thursday of this week. The front (or whatever the weather men call it - event!) arrived earlier than they suspected so all the schools shut down early and businesses closed (because this is the deep south and we don't know what to do!!!). It took me 40 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic to go about 2 miles on the interstate. It normally takes me 20 or 25 minutes in rush hour traffic to drive home. It took me over an hour. I actually felt a little panicky! . . .which is probably what caused all the problems - everyone else evidently felt a little panicky also!!
Ok - I have procrastinated as long as possible . . .I am going to work on the Sunday School lesson for the John Wesley class now!! Stay warm!!