Friday, July 31, 2015

Reading a Good Book

When I was a child one of my most favorite books to read was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.  While going through my Facebook feed yesterday morning I saw a report by PBS about the 90th year of the swim of the ponies of Chincoteague.  Then I saw a report from NBC about a sweet boy in Salt Lake City, Utah asking his mailperson for junk mail for him to read because he no way to get to a library or money to buy books.  His book shelves are now very full of books after the mailperson put out the plea.

These two stories reminded me of where my love of reading came from.  Reading was something my mother always insisted on.  She read to us and we read, read, read, all three of us.  The Misty book I still have and recently found again in a box from storage.  Granny and I read the book together and it made a huge impression on me.  I remember that book so very well even as a 59 year old woman it is a memory I cherish.  There are certain books I read as a child that are still a strong memory.  We used to go to the library a lot when we were young.  The shelves and shelves of books were intoxicating to me and I still love to own books and look at then.  Going to a book store is a dangerous place for me, and my credit card.  Books like The Boxcar Children, Little House on the Prairie, Helen Keller's biography, That Quail Robert, and many more.  I can NOT wait to share with Rio my love of reading.  She already goes to the library and we read books all the time.  Reading a good book is a wonderful pathway to the whole world.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Perfect Picture of Summer

As a painter this should be an easy task challenge given by Mama Kat at Mama's Losin' It!  Her writing prompt this week is "What five images paint a perfect picture of summer to you?  I could probably paint that better than I can write it so let's see where I go.  Images, what do I think of when I see summer in my mind.

My first thought of summer is bright light, crisp clean shining light that sprinkles down through the rich green leaves of the trees.  You can feel the light on your skin.  After a dreary winter of gray-blue cold I look forward to the warmth of the sun in summer.  Yellow, I see yellow.  Warm yellow glow all around as summer is upon us again.  You will never, EVER hear me complain about summer, I LOVE it!  I especially love when spring comes and the green just starts appearing everywhere.  It rejuvenates me every season and I soak up the feel, sound and smells of summer.  The colors are so vibrant around you; lemon yellow sunlight, green trees and grass, cerulean blue skies with the whitest and puffiest clouds.  How can you not love this season.  I have hope and promise in the summertime.  Life just gets better.

I'm also transported to the gardens.  I refer to "the gardens" because that is what we called it when I was a young one.  The summer meant a ride to Boggs Farms in Bixby, Oklahoma.  We would pile in the car very early and head off before the white heat of the day to either pick our own vegetables or purchase already picked.  You used to be able to walk down the rows of green beans, black eye peas, squash, cantalopes, etc., and pick a bushel all on your own.  We kids would follow along the dusty rows and help snap off the peas or find the perfect watermelon with Momma and Granny.  It was hot and dusty and the smell of fresh produce permeated the air.  I can't remember if we picked tomatoes but we would definitely buy bushels of them to can and the smell of bushels and bushels of vine ripe tomatoes was intoxicating.  What a fantastic treat.  Later in the season, late June or early July would be Silver Queen corn that we would be there early for.  You would try to get there early, get a number and be one of the first to get a bushel or two of the fresh picked corn.  Corn you have to work up quickly to keep the sweet which turns to starch the longer it is out of the field.  The drive home with a carload of fresh vegetables was exciting.  Of course back then we didn't have air conditioning in the car either so the smell was intensified by the building heat of the day.

Quickly home the kitchen or backyard would be set up as a corn shucker station or pea shelling group.  I can remember when Mother used to make pepper relish.  We would bring home bushels of white onions and large green peppers.  Mother got the idea that chopping was just way too slow so she would break out the hand grinder and that would be my brother's job to turn the crank.  Can you imagine the smell of a bushel of onions being hand ground for that pepper relish.  Even the dogs and cats were crying.  You would almost dehydrate yourself from shedding tears but in the end we knew that the product was well worth it with the fall brown beans and cornbread.  

Now we have farmers markets around town to get our vegetables, not like the old days (yes I said it, OLD DAYS) when you would actually go where the vegetables were grown by the acres and actually see the rows and rows of yellow squash, gigantic watermelons, peas, corn as far as the eye could see.  What an experience for a child. This was summer for me!  

Not only did we go to the gardens for vegetables but we also go peaches, lots and lots of peaches and mother would make homemade peach ice cream.  Hand cranked in the backyard as we added ice and rock salt the the sweating churn.  Oh my goodness that was the best thing in the world.  I think fresh, fragrant peach smell is the ultimate in the summer heat after a long day shucking, shelling and canning.  

The only thing topping off that kind of day would be if we were at my Greatgranny's in Jay, Oklahoma at Rattlesnake Holler' and load up in back of Greatgrandaddy's old 1940's black pickup and head to the creek.  Oh my goodness, it could be 110 degrees outside and that spring fed creek was like ice, but it was so refreshing.  The water so clear you saw ever rock and crawdad underneath the swirling water.  What a fantastic summer it would be when you took you bath in the creek (no inside bathroom) and cool off then back to the house for fresh homemade ice cream with strawberries or peaches.  

Life was the best in my childhood that is for sure.  It could not have been better.  I miss those summers of lounging around, helping with the canning, reading Trixie Beldon books.  The days of my youth.  I love these memories and images.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pooped!

I just have to slow down today!  I have been in hyper-drive for the past few months, even after surgery and all and I'm flat tired.  Now that the healing is done I'm ready to heal my mind and rest a bit.  It would help if I could PLEASE sleep past 4:30 but that just doesn't seem to be happening lately.  So up I am yet again.  

The Hubby has told me since Monday that he may be bringing a customer to our house to look at the lighting so the minute I get up every morning I make the bed, pick up the house, do the dishes, etc.  Let me tell you I am NOT a bed maker, never have been so that alone is out of my comfort zone.  Monday, after a week of art workshops, living in our house and have Rio around a bunch my house was a disaster.  I was up at 4:30 and cleaning, then I had to go to the office.  Work, work, work then watch Rio.  Run to the bank, the post office with Rio in tow and then the grocery store where I had to awaken the little princess after a 10 minute nap.  Back home to cook dinner, clean up and see the kiddo off in their BRAND NEW CAR!  Pooped, yes I was POOPED!  And to top off all of this the client DID NOT come to the house.  So Tuesday morning up again, clean, straighten, make the bed and out of the house to work before 8 just in case they were to come Tuesday.  I know, I know this is probably usual for most of the women but I don't do it often.  Well, Tuesday they still did not come.  

I told The Hubby that today I'm STAYING put, at home, to paint and recoup.  I still had to pick up, make sure the sink was cleaned out and maybe make the bed.  I would have to roust Clayton out of said bed though as he is happy for me to be around today.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Workshop

Sunday when we got back from the cabin I hit the ground running.  I was hosting an art workshop at my house for eight ladies and an instructor, Kelli Folsom.  She was in town to give a demo at my art group that night and thought she would do a one day workshop but there was not a place to do it so I offered up our house.  I also told her I would feed everyone which I was very excited to do.  It's actually a mini-bucket list thing for me to have a kind of luncheon for ladies and this kind of fit the bill.  I roasted chicken breast on Sunday afternoon and made a delicious chicken salad.  It was served with croissants, fruit salad, and chips.

The workshop was to start at 10 am and the ladies started arriving at 9:30 ready to drag all their paint supplies in.  I also was watching Rio and she was actually awesome and a little bit of help.  My house quickly filled up with art supplies and people.  It was thrilling.  Everyone brought easels, still life set ups, lights, art supplies, it was full.
Finally after the dust settled it was time to watch Kelli do a quick demo and then we would be off for food.  I got Rio settled in her room with Curious George and a snack and we got to watch and listen to Kelli.

After the demo, Rio's mom picking her up it was time to set up our still life's and then lunch.  
This was one of my fav's Marlene did...

Once everyone was settled and painting I realized I didn't have my still life set up nor did I have an easel.  I let one of the ladies use my french easel because she didn't realize she was to bring one.  So, I opted to just go into my studio and paint their.  When Kelli made her rounds it was easy to come to my room and help me too.  It was a bit quieter too. 
This is what I am painting.  Tuesday morning since I didn't have to be at the office till after one I finished it.   
I will share once it is complete.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Green Bean-polooza

This past weekend I was charged with fresh green beans for our dinner of smoked chicken at S&J's cabin.  Little did I know snapping green beans would be a nostalgic part of my day.  As I snapped the beans I was transported to times with momma, going to the gardens, getting a bushel of beans, back home to snap them all and then can them.  It was an all day, sometimes all weekend process but what a grand time we had.  I don't can anymore because I won't use a pressure cooker but I may occasionally will blanch and freeze.  I was definitely a wonderful memory as I sat on my screened porch in the heat and snapped those beans, and they were delicious that night.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dam Painting

 For a few weeks in art class I've been painting the view from our dam at the lake retreat.  I finally finished it Thursday.  I took the photo this spring, before the rains flooded everything.  It was lovely and I knew it would be a great painting.

"Serene"
16 x 20 
oil on canvas 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday Catch-Up Day

What a strange week it has been.  Of course work on Monday but I had already been in the office on Sunday so my desk was pretty clear.  I watched Rio most of the day and then home.  Tuesday I had planned on going to art class but with my favorite person/friend not being there it just wasn't going to be as fun so I opted to stay home and get some crap done.  I don't know if I have shared but I'm in the middle planning The Hubby's 60th birthday bash.  Every time we go to a social function he always asks if there will be dancing.  He is just eat up with dancing so, I am throwing him a Surprise Dance Party!  It's next month and I have the venue, food, guests and now music and slide show all ready.  He even delivered a handful of invites (in a brown paper wrapper) to a friend in his dance class to be handed out to the other dance geeks.  He had no idea.  Again I score.  Back to Tuesday.  In his computer he has the BEST dance playlists and I needed them for the party.  I ended up having to make discs, a lot of discs of his music to put in my laptop.  Well, when added to my ITunes it added as "Track 1, Track 2, Track 3...etc." I had to add all the info and make sure I didn't already have the songs which I had a lot.  So Tuesday I completed the task and now I have 9 hours of dance music and a slide show of that guy.  DONE.  

Another task taken care of was another clean out of unworn clothes from my closet.  New clothes in old clothes out and then a trip to Goodwill.  

Last but not least was a box that had been storage when we moved our offices.  The Hubby was getting ready to chunk this box until I opened it.  I found childhood books, a brick from the church I grew up in and has since burned down, sheet music, and this AWESOME T-shirt.  Absolutely thread bare this T-shirt was worn by Bro, Sis and myself at different times.  I am going to have it framed I think.  The books I found were cleaned and put on the shelf for Rio when she starts reading:  Huckleberry Finn, National Velvet, Encyclopedia Brown, Ramona (my girls)...




Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's WAY TOO Early!

I'm awake.  Yes, at 3:39 a.m. Clayton woke up shaking his head which in turn jingled his collar, then my bladder started insisting and then the brain woke up.  I'm awake this Saturday morning and I want to be asleep.  Good grief why can't I sleep in just once.  Maybe tomorrow.  My body is so used to getting up that it has a hard time staying in bed.  It's really kind of frustrating and an endless cycle starts where I'm up early and of course I'm heading towards the bedroom by 7:30 or 8 every evening.  EGAD!

UPDATE on my niece.  Sis sent me a text asking if I had firmed up the plans on our father's 80th birthday celebration and I told her yes.  I also asked about The Niece, wanting to know how the jail thing was going.  She said she was still in jail.  That was the middle of the week and finally, seven days later I see on Facebook, she's out.  She posted:   

"And.... Seven days later and I'm finally free again. **pd don't play around for nothing. They just be bored as hell. I sat for seven days over a failure to appear! That's all. But its okay, as much as it sucked n would never wish it on anyone ever, it definitely gave me plenty of time to think about the areas I need to refocus and work on the areas in life I'm slacking in. I'm learning even in the shittiest of situations. God knows what he is doing and I trust in Him always. Greatful to be"

So she may have gotten it now.  I certainly hope so. 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Summer Vacation

I don't know about you but when I was a young whipper-snapper summer vacation to me was simple.  By simple I mean we finally would get to sleep in and I don't think that task has changed much over the past few generations.  Sleep, that glorious sleep.  It's funny that as you get older you seem to require less and now I love to get up before the chickens.  It's hard for me to sleep in now, but when I was a young'n, I could sleep well till past noon.  

Summer meant swimming, lots and lots of swimming.  Swimming lessons, swimming pools, friends, lake swimming.  We camped a lot when I was young too.  In fact our summer vacations were camping for an entire week.  We really couldn't afford much more than that and we loved it.  Cooking on a campfire (mother hated it because of cooking and cleaning up), swimming, fishing, swimming, sleeping, swimming.  Yes we swam a lot and were in the sun constantly which will probably come back in my old age to bite me in the butt with my dermatologist.  From sunburn to tan to crispy we lived outdoors.  Today we slather our kids with so much sunscreen that they have vitamin D deficiencies.  My hair would sometimes turn green we were in so much chlorine from swimming pools.  

 There was also the annual trip to the zoo with Granny that started our summer off.
We so looked forward to seeing the lions, tigers and bears, OH MY.  Granny would either pack a lunch or we would take Harden's Country Fried Chicken with us to eat when we got there.  The one and only time we had an actual picnic.  It was a very long drive to the zoo, because Granny ALWAYS drove and she drove at least 15 miles under the speed limit, but we loved it.  It was tradition.  

Sometime during the summer we would go to Jay (Oklahoma) to our great-grandparents for a week.  Momma would stay because she loved to being there too.  It was hot, hot, hot.  They lived in Rattlesnake Hollow and the house was not air-conditioned but we survived with daily trips to the cold, COLD creek to cool off.  That meant a ride in the back of the pick-up which was a highlight.
(See the patch on my swimsuit...it was for Junior Lifesaving) 

There was homemade ice cream, cookouts on the creek bank and loads of time wondering around the yard and house.  We iced cookies and graham crackers and when those ran out, saltine crackers.  Greatgranny was awesome showing us flowers and bugs and how to milk a cow.  Great-granddaddy let us help pick vegetables from his huge garden and trips to pick up eggs, which was harrowing in his old pickup truck.  He was a speed demon!  

Summers were just too short.  We hardly spent time inside at all.  We rode our bicycles around and around and around the block.  We probably put at least 20 miles on those bikes just in our neighborhood alone.  We were lucky to have lots of neighborhood kids living close and our backyard was large for playing softball.  There were three trees that served as our 1st, 2nd and 3rd base and the outfield was the neighbors yard, that was huge.  We could hit the ball clear over that yard and to the side street if we were lucky enough.  Our children now are never ever left unsupervised for years.  Gosh, we would go out in the morning and come back in to grab a bite of lunch and then out again.  We were on the go constantly and if we complained about being bored, well, mother would find something for us to do, CHORES!

Summer was laughter with friends, exercise, play time, sunshine and carefree.  We weren't constantly put into summer camps, like I did for my girls.  We were honestly kind of free to enjoy time off from the halls of school.  I think we spend too much time trying to occupy our children's time so they don't get bored.  The only thing we were scheduled for in the summer were the mandatory (Mom's) swimming lessons.  

I miss MY childhood summers.  I miss those innocent and free times in my life.  

Thanks Kat from Mama's Losin' It for the suggestion of blog prompts.  Took me down memory lane.