Wednesday, December 29, 2010

yuletide's ending

i am listening to my favorite Christmas cd's one last time as i pack away the decorations. the turn around time to have the house ready for yet another big event is short. much like the holiday. the season is too short for me. always. it comes too quickly and leaves as fast! i am putting away the ornaments and Christmas china grudgingly. it will be almost a whole year before i see the nutcrackers and santas again. our beoved nativity. the paper mache angels. i love having them on display. i have sat, more than one evening in december, in the quiet of the house at bedtime, just drinking in the beauty of the lights reflecting off crystal icicles and snowflakes.
an amaryllis and two gorgeous poinsettias and some paper whites we planted in november will be the only holiday decor remaining by bedtime tonight. soon the wreaths and swags will be taken down and their hangers gathered to be stored once again. i keep the Christmas cards and letters in a wire basket until new years with the birthday and anniversary cards and graduation and birth announcements that tell the story of the year 2010 in our household. they will be tied with a wide ribbon and stored with those from previous year's, too, soon.
i have savored the season. enjoyed it in full, so i should not be so sad to see it ending...yet somehow i am

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

o what a beautiful morning!

This was the scene as I walked outside this morning. A pleasant breeze was blowing leaves of all colors in a swirl around late blooming roses. Bells from a nearby church rang in the distance. The temperature was perfect. Bright sun. Puffy clouds. It was blissful. So much so that I stopped in my tracks and drank it in for several long minutes.
Days like this are too rare not to appreciate.

Evening breeze, full moon, pleasant moments...
Just a while ago, Tommy called me to the window to see an amazingly full moon, shining over our church across the street. He walked outside to take some photos and I followed, standing for a moment, once again, to feel a soft wind on my face, to listen to dogs barking somewhere nearby. This gentle fall evening needed recording here, along with a beautiful fall morning...

Friday, October 1, 2010

fall, ya'll!

This is how I know autumn has truly arrived:
As I write this, the husband is in the front yard planting red mums. The sedum is blooming. I have just planted yellow and purple ones in the back. There is a fat pumpkin waiting to be carved and a flat of pansies waiting to be planted. I am waiting on caramel to melt for the honeycrisp apples that will serve as dessert tonight at the football game. Meatpies, the ballgame entree, are about to go into the oven. My baby, who cheered for four years at the stadium we will be sitting in is now a senior in college. She is on her way home to watch her cousin Trey play for the Chieftains, as his brother Jon, did before him.
Soon the band will be warming up and the announcer will be doing his "testing 1,2,3.."
Much is as it has been for many autumns.
Other things are different. Some of the faces change, some are perennial.
Some of the colors, at least at our house, are different this year.
The grandbaby insisted upon yellow mums. I tried to talk her into purple. I have always favored purple. "I thought purple was your new favorite color," I said to her.
"I weely, weely , want yewwow," said she, hence the yellow pansies, along with yellow mums for the back yard this year. She also picked out a purple mum. The rabid LSU fans in our family would approve. The Boomer Sooners will be fine about it, since the front is sporting crimson.

Monday, September 6, 2010

so long to summer 2010

according to my calendar (the one i've carried in my head since childhood) tomorrow marks the first day of fall. the tuesday after labor day is the day i have long recognized as the official end to summer.
though i am putting away my white shoes and my white slacks, it will be a while, if the current temperatures are any indication, before we exchange sandals for boots. back to school and/or the start of the football season, mark the change of the seasons from summer to fall for a lot of people, but not me. when the clock strikes midnight, in just a few minutes, i will declare it to be autumn, 2010, though only the two maltipoos here on the couch with me will hear. (and yes, i think i know how little they care!)
with only 10 minutes remaining of summer 2010, i am going to list the top 10 most remarkable things (at least from my point of view) of this summer. in no particular order:
1. the trip by train i took with four friends/colleagues to a conference in boston.
2. the whale watching excusion we took while in boston.
3. my grandbaby's wild third birthday party.
4. a fantastic visit with relatives from louisiana.
5. having 7 dogs at one time to care for.
6. having my baby home between semesters.
7. all of the projects we completed while school was out and i was between jury terms.
8. Movies: both watching stacks of home movies for the first time in a very long time and going to see a chick flick with my aforementioned baby daughter and my mama.
9. how utterly sad my little kitchen garden has been given numbers 5 and 10.
10. the incredible heat. this was, for sure, one of the hottest summers i can recall.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hello, I'm Bentley...

Bentley Carlos Arnold.
I am two months old.
I was born May 2, 2010 under the potting table in my mom’s back yard.
Mom is a blonde lab.
They say I look just like my Dad.
I have two brothers and a sister.
We were supposed to be born on May 5, 2010 which is Cinco de Mayo.
My pet, G.G. Arnold and her friends, had Mexican names picked out for us.
One chose Jorge. One wanted Jose. And one said Jesus. I like that name. but they named me for a car and someone in a movie. That’s okay. I like the way my little friend Emma says it.
My sister lives at Emma’s house, with Emma and her sister and their mama. She is called Evangeline Pink. Her first name is for someone in a movie, too. Her second name is for Emma’s favorite color.
One of my brothers is a town dog. He is the color of caramel. He lives in a town where my pet, Katie goes to college. He has the most toys, I think.
My other brother is a country dog. He is blonde like our sister and mom. He lives in Bowlegs, Oklahoma.
I knew when the big man pet bathed me he was going to keep me. He said he was not playing favorites but that he was worn out after he got me bathed. Some visitors to the house said they knew playing favorites when they saw it.
For my one month birthday I got a chew bone. It is a color of blue that some of the people are calling “Bentley Blue.” I also have a collar that is the same color.
I am going to be living with Mom in the yard of a cottage house where I was born. that is nostalgic.
There are two house dogs at the Nostalgic Cottage. They don’t like me much. I chase them and try to play when they come outside but they nip and yip at me.
When I am not chasing the little house dogs, I spend a lot of these dog days of summer under the big magnolia tree, near the potting shed where we were born.
It is too hot in Mama's dog house and also in the shed, where the kiddie pool we all once slept in when we were new.
When the Big Man Pet waters plants in the evening, I cool off in the water of the garden hose. Maybe he will read this and know I want him to take that garden hose and fill up the nursery pool...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Silver for brides

We went to a garden party on Saturday night in the lovely home of a lovely couple a lovely neighborhood.
It was, well, lovely.
I found myself there, chatting with the honoree, a lovely young attorney, her new husband and the hosts, who recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary, discussing wedding gifts.
Our gift to the couple was an antique silver tray, bought for them at auction.
I was explaining to her that I almost always give silver trays to brides. Though I knew couples just starting out needed linens and appliances that I wanted to give them something they would remember 30 years from now.
I spoke this words to her as preface to this story:
When I was newly married, almost 34 years ago, a friend of my mother-in-law said to me "where I come from, you just give brides siver!"
She said this to me at a bridal tea in which she was the hostess and I was the honoree.
As we were the opening gifts to be set out on tables for display, this lovely southern lady added, "I know you need towels and sheets and pots and pans, but 30 years from now you won't remember who gave you those."
As she handed me a package she announced prophetically," Honey, you're gonna remember me."
Of course, she was right. I do remember her. Everytime I take that tray out to serve cookies at some family event or some event for friends or when my girls have tea cakes or petit fours from that tray, as they have so many times at their tea parties, I think of her.
I am not sure whether my young friend will remember me or not. But I do hope she will have a lovely time using the tray.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

what makes life "grand"

A package went in the mail this week to Florida. It’s contents are for my second grand-niece, who is due in a few months, and for her brother, my eldest grand-nephew. I was in the hall waiting when these children’s dad was born, March 16, 1979. I was 19 and just beside myself as I looked upon the face of Master Lee Thomas Baker.
I am 50 now, though I find I am every bit as thrilled regarding the birth of these children as I was the birth of their daddy. I am planning on seeing their little faces in person and soon!


My first great-niece was born this month.
To borrow a phrase from an old birth announcement I saw recently
“Mother and baby are doing fine.”
The mother is my eldest niece. She is one of only a two niece set. I was standing in the Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston, Louisiana on October 10, 1983, when they brought her out of the delivery room. She had a head full of black hair and was setting up such a howl the nurse could hardly contain her. It was a glorious moment in my life, becoming the aunt of a little girl. I was 23 when I first looked upon the face of Little Miss Kelli Ann Cook (now Rollins.)

My niece’s baby girl, her second child, arrived early, quickly, hale and hearty. She is a darling thing.
Things are a lot different now than they were in 1983. This time, as with this baby’s brother, we were all allowed access to mother and child almost immediately.
Some of the faces surrounding the new baby were the same as when her mother was born, if a bit more weathered, those including my own. It was a sweet gathering of folk. There was laughter and tears. My mother believes she is somehow obligated to cry whenever a baby was born.
The baby was so bright eyed as I leaned over and talked to her that I almost wanted to think she understood what I was saying to her.
My immediate thought was of how much she looks like her brother. I was glad, as he is a handsome gent. More recently, though, I am thinking she looks like her Nana, my beautiful little sister.
She is named for our paternal Grandmother.
The best explanation of the naming comes from a post on Facebook my sister sent to a friend who inquired regarding her name, as well as a nickname attached to her before she was born.

It reads:
"I'm calling her Buttons because when Kelli Ann was debating on whether
to name her LilliAnn McKenzie (our adored grandmother's name) she was feeling
around for something on top of a shelf in the nursery closet, and an old box of
Grandma McKenzie's antique keepsake buttons fell and showered down on her head.
After that 'sign' the decision was sealed! "

new.spring. green.

It catches me off guard every year. It steals my breath. That glorious first green of Spring. Vivid. Vibrant. I am not sure how to describe it. I am not sure there is a color even in the large box of crayons, the one with a sharpener on the back, that can compare.

Only God, the Perfect Painter, could produce a color like that.
Juxtaposed against the blue sky and the redbud trees blooming, I never cease to be amazed when first I notice it, especially with new calves and foals, budding trees and flowers in the background, I continue to be amazed until the vibrance moves into summer green. While it lasts, I savor the color, the new Spring green, knowing by now how fleeting it can be.

Winter did not finally take her final bow until well into March here.
She was a tough old girl. She came early and stayed way late. Parts of her stay were nice:
Sledding was fun. Building snow people, too.The board games and suppers by the fire were nice. Having snow on Christmas was nice, even if it did seriously interrupt everyone’s holiday plans. The landscape she painted were extraordinary but she exacted a deep price.
Huge chunks are gone from the trunks of the trees in my yard and elsewhere around these parts. The resilience of the trees as they have bloomed, since winter’s departure amazes and inspires. The tulip tree in the front yard and fruit trees all budded out as if they were not maimed by the harshness of her icy touch. Even the daffodils, stricken by her final blast rallied again once the harsh winds settled down and the ice and snow melted.
Our blonde lab, whose domain is usually outdoors in the back yard, spent much of the winter inside.
The memory of winter has faded, now that we can picnic and fly kites. Our little kitchen garden is ready to plant with tomatoes and herbs and strawberries.
Winter seems more remote as Spring takes a firm grasp.


when i started this blog i hoped to post once a week or so. what was i thinking?! surely i was not considering my schedule with a fair amount of objectivity. monthly posts seemed way more reasonable. yet i find i cannot even get them done that often. it all feels akin to new year's resolutions. and since i do not want to carry around more self-induced pressure i am giving myself a break. i am going for seasonally. if i can blog about the highlights of the seasons as they pass i will be well satisfied. we'll see how that goes...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I am still waiting for my children to make contributions re: their favorite memories of the Christmas just past...

while I am waiting, I am going to post a few photos that may stir their memories

Monday, February 1, 2010


It's February (as of today) and I have only one of the top 10 to post (but at least I do have one!)
That is thanks to my husband, also known as prince charming in these parts. It is sweet and will have to do until we get the ravages of the last winter storm cleared away and can add more. Who knows, maybe the children will even make contributions.

Favorite Memory #1 by Tommy/Dad/Grandaddy/G'Daddy/Tomkat/Prince Charming

One of the most memorable things of the Christmas season was teaching Emma to sing "Jingle Bells". Each morning I pick her up and take her to the nursery. On the journey from her house to "Mrs. Mary's", we would practice. We could sing throught the song about fives times on our daily trip. Emma got progressively better each week and now enjoys singing the song (even though Christmas has long passed).

In January, I began teaching her to sing "Jesus Loves Me". One day she climbed up on the piano bench and said, "G-Daddy, play Jesus Loves Me". You guessed it. I got on the Internet and downloaded the piano music. It has been a long time since I tried to play anything on the piano but we have both practiced. Now Emma can sing Jesus loves me while I play it on the piano. I am wandering, do Emma and I have a future in this business?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

post Christmas post

Tomorrow is the last day of January and I still don't have a Christmas blog post ready. It has been a busy month, but that is not really the reason. The reason is that I am having trouble reducing the fabulous memories we made to a post.
This afternoon, as I was contemplating, once again, what to blog, it occurred to me to ask for help. After all, this is supposed to be a family blog. And we are rather housebound (except for a few minutes out in the snow periodically!)
So, that's the plan. To elicit contributions from the fam. We'll see how it goes...