Monday, November 30, 2009

Farewell to Autumn 2009

I am always sad to see autumn go. It always seem so short a season! I love the colors and the smells and the sights of fall. I love the events.
Today is the last day of this, my favorite season. Tomorrow it is December and the Christmas season begins officially at our house. I love Christmas, too. Yet I really hate to say goodbye to fall.
And before I do, I will relive the highlights of autumn 2009, one more time.
Here is my top 10 list:

1. The Arts Festival in Chickasha the first weekend of October was fabulous. The weather was perfect. The company fantastic. The USAO campus is especially beautiful in the fall. We enjoyed the weekend with Katie and Kris, Amy and Emma.

2. My second annual shopping trip with my friend Shelly is always a great way to kick off the season. We crossed off the stuff on our lists pretty quickly and then started making new discoveries. Our break for lunch at a favorite restaurant accompanied by the handsome and witty Greg Pettigrew was an added bonus.

3. Sorghum Day is one of the days Amy Arnold says is “the best of the year!” It’s right up there with Christmas and her birthday, so you know it is something special. The Sorghum Day festival has to be one of the most unique events anywhere. Harry Gray’s commentary from the band stand made this years’ parade especially memorable. There was also a poll conducted along main street regarding which McKenzie sister is the meanest. I am not sure how I could have been declared the winner when even our Mother said it was Johnna.
This year, there was no train ride to the barking waters or sorghum coated popcorn to munch on the way and there were no grab bags at Gille’s, but all the other familiar people and things were there – Sooner fans were gathered at Butner & Butner to watch the game, the mules were grinding cane on the grounds of the museum, craft and food booths, Juanita and her famous Indian Tacos…

4. Cookout at Pettigrew Farm. Right after the Sorghum festival we went to a in Calvin. You gotta love a weiner roast on a crisp October evening. There were guided tours of the acreage, amazing decorations and a black cat piƱata that appeared to have more than 9 lives

5. Fall Family Festival at First Baptist Church. Johnna (the mean sister) and I painted faces again at the Fall Family Festival at church. It is always a delight to see the pleasure the kiddos express with whatever we paint. My attempts are pretty bad in some cases, yet the children don’t seem to mind. Maybe that’s because of all that all that candy they give away at the various booths! Excerpt for the one year I was the keeper of the baby goat at the petting zoo, the face painting task is my favorite assignment.
The student ministers and their wives had to have taken the costume prizes/awards. One couple came as Shrek and Fiona and the other as Mario and the princess. Maybe next year I will sport a costume!

6. Football games. We attended at least on football game played in by my Oklahoma nephews. Trey Ervin is turning out to be quite an athlete. His name sounded over the intercom so often my hands got tired from clapping. I admit to taking pictures of interesting shoes at Trey’s ballgame, but only during breaks in the play on the field.
Kassidy Cook did his family proud, too, this season. We attended his last game as a high school player. Tommy and I made our version of Natchitoches meat pies for the game. I didn’t get home in time to make dessert apples so we took red flame grapes and some gingerbread men from the museum bazaar for dessert. Our great nephew Reid did his wolf howl for us several times during the game. I expect his Uncle Kassidy taught him that.

7. Seminole Nation Museum Annual Bazaar. One of the best days of the year in my book is the aforementioned museum auction. Richard Ellwanger, the director and his devoted volunteers do an amazing job. Penny Claborn, the secretary/bailiff for Wewoka Division of the District Court went with me this year. I think she was a bit taken aback at the rush for cheese apples (cheese balls shaped into the form of apples and garnished with holly leaves) and other signature goodies. The checkout line snaked around to the entrance by the time we got there at 8:40 a.m. Since I have not gotten a call, I can guess I did not win the quilt I bought several chances on. I am told I won yet another set of children’s books this year. I need to remember to pick them up tomorrow…

8. Trips to watch the progress on Cook Chalet, Lake Wewoka.
My sister and brother-in-law are building a lake house on what nephew Grayson calls, Aunt Karen's lake. It can't really be called a cabin, so I have dubbed it a chalet. You can see from the photos that it really does look like one. Its location is close enough that I was able to go out on my lunch hour and watch the progress when my schedule has permitted. The shape and plans have been ever changing, often expanding. The creativity of the builder and Kelbo, my brother-in-law who we also call "McGuiver" is pretty amazing to behold.

9. Time in the yard with our grandbaby Emma. Planting daffodils and chrysanthemums, pansies, cabbage and kale. Picking late fall tomatoes. Watching the leaves fall, the geese fly over and Ellie chasing squirrels. Hearing that laughter as she played chase with the maltipoos or ran in circles. Her collection of gathered acorns…

10. Thanksgiving Day. This is the third year in a row we've had a student from another country share our Thansgiving celebration. It is always fun to explain the traditions involved with this very American holiday or to look them up when we really are not sure why we do what we do each November. This year, Katie beau Kris Andrews, a native of jolly old England who is here attending college on a soccer scholarship celebrated with us the many reasons we have to be thankful.
We watched the Macy's Parade and had brunch including our favorite pumpkin bread and sparkling apple cider. Then we watched the National Dog show. We took turns in the kitchen, each making our favorite recipe to take to the mean sister's house, where we gathered this year.
We did not squeeze a nap in, which is unfortunate as poor Amy was so tired by evenings' end and looked so in the photos we took. We made turkey cookies after dinner and lots of memories throughout the day. We made lots of memories throughout the months of autumn.

There are a few I would just as soon forget. The days I was sick with swine flu, among them. Ditto for some of the heartbreaking things that have happened in our community, in our family and within our circle of friends and acquaintances. The good news is there were way more happy times than sad ones.
Here’s to fall 2009.
I’m gonna miss you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

our college cheerleader!

We attended Katie’s first collegeiate cheerleading event -- a
basketball game between USAO Drovers and OSU-OKC last week.
We sat behind the cheer coach and watched, as we have so many
games before, our baby do what she loves so much – cheer and tumble.
It was our second trip to Chickasha recently. On the Thursday before, we attended
The basketball kickoff event, called Drover Madness. Katie’s Granny Carol and Pop Buzz, Aunt Karen and Aunt Johnna, cousin Grayson and longtime friend and fellow high school cheerleader Rachel Cleere also drove out to watch the event.
Katie has taught us never to believe we are all through with things – there may be another chance waiting around the corner. In her case, the other chances are fabulous. And fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

postscript on the try-outs

There is good news in the Arnold family-- Amy and Katie were both successful! Amy will be singing a solo part in her choir's fall musical. Katie is now officially a cheerleader at USAO. We celebrated with a visit to Chickasha to visit Katie. On Friday night we had dinner at a steak house in Amber, Oklahoma and then did some shopping at Cato, where Katie works.
On Saturday we went to the Arts Festival, where we had a sketch done of Emma, looked at some fantastic art, and had fun looking at antiques downtown. We ate Mexican food and had lots of time to talk about upcoming fall events-- including games where Katie will cheer and that concert-- for which we just may have to hire a bus! The jury is still out on their brother.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog-ability: My Grandmother's Journal

My paternal grandmother was a remarkable woman. She was a woman of profound faith and keen observation. That this is true has rung especially true to me since I began reading her journal for 1960, the year I was born.
My sister found the journal among some of Grandma’s things and brought it to me. She called it a treasure. And so it is.
The entries begin, of course, on New Year’s Day, which was her wedding anniversary. How she and Grandpa celebrated their day is described, along with the weather, the news of the day, and a host of other things.
It continues, not daily, but frequent entries about things that even these years later are interesting. In her flowing script she records her thoughts on things ordinary and remarkable, things mundane and things spiritual.
There is such depth and such detail.
Among the entries: the weather the day I was born. What flowers bloomed longest that spring. She records my baby milestones - what I did and when I did it but more than that, she records her particular observations about those things.
It really is amazing to read. Reading it has motivated me to do this blog. Maybe a computerized version of her journal will meet the need I feel to record, as she did, the goings on in my life.
I am not tempted to do this recording of things the old fashioned way. My penmanship is not so handsome as hers nor do I have her patience. The occasional few paragraphs about life’s events, though, I think I can handle.
My observations will hardly be so keen as hers, but this will allow me to record certain thoughts and ideas for my own granddaughter, who is now two, and those grandchildren, who, I hope, are to come.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Family Day

Saturday was family day. I love those days. Katie and I brought along a friend. Friends make family days even better, we think.
There was some part of the day devoted to every member of our family and certain of our friends.
Though before days’ end, we had gotten some framing done – a watercolor/characterture I’d had done of our grandbaby for Tommy’s office and two art prints of the Florabama Coast where we went on vacation and of the Vieux Carre in New Orleans for Katie’s bff) We also picked up some scrapbook items for my bff.
We started the day, though, at a shoe sale, where I took pictures of every kind of wild shoe I could find to forward to a friend for her amusement. That friend did not get to come along on the trip, but I wanted to include her somehow. She and I had just discussed a blog where the writer stated what she needed most after a long, hard summer was to be amused. We agreed, so I started the day amusing the both of us with pictures of my feet in shoes I (for the most part) would never buy. I did purchase a pair that are rather out of character for me, mostly because the friend who DID come along has some like them and influenced me.
She and I both bought mostly shoes for persons other than ourselves. It was family day, after all. There was also a perfect pair of jeans search that took up part of the day. Lunch was fabulous, except for the guacamole made tableside, which the experts deemed to be too “limey.” The conversation, in particular, was fantastic. Katie discussed her decision to try out for cheerleader. Amy announced that she is auditioning for a solo part in her choir’s next concert. Their brother is auditioning for life. Sadly he ventured near death again recently.
The good news is that he decided, given his devotion to a certain female in his life and at the urging of certain strong willed family members/friends, to bring said venture to a close. He continues to struggle with a narcotic addiction that began when, as a young teenager, he suffered the horrific loss of a close friend. He has struggled since then, and struggles still. Recently, he remarked that he realizes he always will.
My response sums up something I have learned working with many people with substance abuse and mental health issues. How those came to be is not so much the issue as how they are handled. “Someone with diabetes will likely struggle forever. They have diabetes on Christmas, Thanksgiving, on their birthday and on summer vacation. They will adjust their conduct, their choices from now to the grave, or else they will become sicker and sicker and ultimately, they will die an early death as a result. One has to take responsibility for one’s issues, one’s problems, one’s addictions and diseases. If we do not, they will consume us.”
I told him this, quite frankly, as I have many times, I will do all I can to help him be well and healthy, but I cannot; I will not, participate in his destruction.
He called as we were leaving to spend the day with his sisters to report he is able to eat again. He believes himself to be making progress. We took change by to him on our way out of the city on Saturday, so he could get vending machine snacks if he wanted them. It was a small gesture, but one intended to encourage him to try out for a life without chemicals.
We hope he gets there, or at least decides to commit to the long journey ahead in earnest.
As for my darling daughters: I can hardly wait to see Katie tumble across some field or gymnasium floor again. And if Amy gets a solo part, I will be there on the front row to hear her. And I will invite as many of my family and friends as I think would want to go with me.
We will make it a family day.

A blog-worthy day!

My baby started her junior year of college last week. I am still trying to figure out how this happened. It seems like a half hour ago she was starting her first day of kindergarten. I once rolled my eyes when people made statements like that. "Seems just like yesterday..." seemed to be the beginning of many conversations of my grandparents and those of their generation.Maybe it's a rite of passage, repeating phrases like that. I'm not certain.What I am certain of is, the older my Katie gets, the more our time honored traditions mean to me. I know I am showing my age. It was bound to happen. ANd I have been doing a lot of it lately.Case in point: Katie and I have been taking a mother/daughter shopping trip to pick out her first day of school outfit for a long time. It started of necessity, really. Taking three children at once to get things for back for school proved too much for me. I started taking them one at a time, leaving the other two for a day with their Dad. We’d make a day of it. I let them pick their favorite spot for lunch. It was all about them and only them that day.

For Katie, this all came after I stopped smocking for her. In the early days, I would let her pick the smocking plate she wanted and I would spend a good part of the summer making her first day of school frock.

That ended the year we went from dresses to a top that she says resulted in the longest school day of her life. It was made of chambray, done in her school colors and featured the school mascot, Stars. I thought it was darling, but apparently I was the only one. I recall her telling the sad tale to a friend one night at church. She can comment further on that if she chooses. Suffice to say, after the smocked star shirt, we started getting her first day of school like her sister and brother did, at the all-about-you back to school shopping trip.
Now fast forward to 2009. She is about enter her junior year of college. She has attended Summer school (yes, she did get a first day of summer school dress) and we plan our day together. She goes by a professor’s office to check on a grade and mentions she is leaving to meet her mom to get pick out a back to school outfit.

“Ya’ll still do that?!” was the professor’s response. “Of course” said my Katie.

We spent most of the day in darkened shops featuring loud music and clerks with astonishing hair color (at least to me!) She picked the lunch spot, just like old times. Then we went on a hunt for just the right supplies – each year has a theme, you know. And while we are way past Disney characters and Barbie, a certain shade of pink (we call it Katie pink) we have not outgrown.
My sister wished us a “blog-worthy” day, knowing that I just started this blog thing (since her own daughter taught me how.) And it was a fabulous day. Me and my baby. Just like old times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My First Blog

I've wanted for us to have a blog for a long time. As demanding as Tommy's job is and as much computer work as he has to do, I wasn't about to ask him to make one for me. Fortunately, my beautiful and talented neice, Kelli Ann, offered to get me set up to do one myself. Perhaps she was feeling generous after eating her Granny Carol's home cooked meal or perhaps she is just a sweetie. (By the way, she is also the youngest nurse practitioner in the state of Oklahoma and the mother of a brilliant and handsome one-year-old -- and I would report those things even if she were not sitting right here helping me post this!)
I am taking notes and trying to pay good attention so I can do this all on my own from here on out. Kelli Ann's blog, by the way, is rockin'. (You can see it at: My law school classmate, Linda Bailey, also has a blog I have admired for some time. Now I have one, too, though it will take some practice to approach Linda and Kelli Ann's level!

Kelli Ann and Reid Jackson Rollins