Sunday, April 29, 2007

Another New Beginning.

So I guess the word on the street is... I'm going to be a Gramma! Ya know, I always thought I'd probably react with somewhat the same histrionics as Shirley MacLaine did in "Terms of Endearment." But not so. They say there is NOTHING like being a gramma! All of the fun but with only a mere millifraction of the work! Anyway, I am thrilled and excited!... and so happy right now to have already secured motel reservations right across the street from their apartment...

Anyway... Here is a picture of him/her.

Oh wait... wrong one.

There now... isn't he/she beautiful?

Friday, April 20, 2007

My Mom... Around The World In 80 Years...

And she HAS been. And I mean EVERYWHERE! Ok, so maybe not Detroit. But that's beside the point and not really what this blog is about anyway...

Mom was born on April 20th 1927. I never could remember the exact year… but now that we are celebrating her 80th birthday in 2007, I was easily able to do the math. And plus now, I’ve put 2 + 2 together in remembering that she was 27 when I was born… so now I’ll probably never forget again. Sometimes you have to just take a moment to commit things to memory and then somehow they manage to stay with you forever.

This is a picture of mom with all of us about a year or so ago...

*click to enlarge*

I'm the one with my arm around her. Cuz' I'm the one who loves her the most! *g* Or wait!... maybe that's Alison's hand... ok, well never mind then... but still.

My sister Carol asked me if I could write a little tribute to mom this year in lieu of my being able to be there in Utah for this celebration. Normally this would not have been an issue… except for the fact that mom is (as I type this) here in Michigan… and of course it’s very important to have three meals a day! Nuff said. But I’ve sent her up to her room for the time being… so let’s see if I can maybe come up with something here.

Anyway, it’s April 11th , almost a month into spring and mom’s birthday is only a little over a week away. It’s also snowing right now in Michigan. No, I mean really… SNOWING. And for any of you who feel that I sometimes exaggerate… just ask mom and she’ll tell you.

For any of you who feel that mom sometimes exaggerates… well, I can’t help you there…

It would seem a little suspicious right now if I just started pulling out genealogy charts and family memoirs in order to come up with any true facts and story lines… especially since I just told her just a few minutes ago that I REALLY wasn’t interested in reading any of that stuff just yet anyway.

So this little “piece” I’m gonna try to come up with will be solely based upon memory and will probably end up being more of a roast than a tribute… because how many times can you repeat the same old stories to remind your mother about how wonderful… and well, how wonderful, she is?... So I’m going to just shoot from the cuff here… because dinner needs to git started in pricisely 23 and one half minutes!…

::So I guess I'll just close my eyes and let the memories flow in as they may::

It’s funny, because I guess you figure your kids will always remember all the same things that you remember about their childhood, all those moments during those first few years, but obviously that’s not the case. Because try as I might… and even with squeezing my eyeballs shut and trying to allow the memories to come flooding in… I'm feeling so forgetful.

OK..just start!

  • … my very first cognizant memory is that of a very bright light. A hospital maybe? I’ve heard the story of how I once swallowed drapery cleaner and had to go and have my stomach pumped. So I think this may have been that memory. I also remember not being too terribly afraid, which means I’m sure mom was probably right there beside me. Or maybe this was the time when I split my finger wide open on the window screen (and still have the scar). Whichever. I’m glad that homes are more baby proofed nowadays and that “drapes” have become all but extinct.

  • A chenille bedspread… a bulletin board with chunks dug out of it and initials carved in … naptime expression, I suppose. Barbie furniture on the shelf above the sliding bookcase cabinets, a miniature, plastic turkey, a battery operated oven and, well, pretty much a whole world of Mattel goodness up there.

  • I remember yards of lilac colored netting laid out on the dining room table. I believe this memory must have come from one of the nights before a dance recital. And though I believe only one layer of the netting had been gathered and stitched in time for the dress rehearsal it all came together in the end. Of course, this was in the day when working moms had to actually make the tutu’s rather than just be able to go to and order them.

    Ok, I was wrong… I guess I remember a lot more than I originally led you to believe I did… haha

  • Handmade curtains on the “vanity.”

  • The pink “hamper.”

  • Twin dresses (or 3 or 4) lovingly made.

  • The day you permed my hair… or should I say “year.”

  • Spraypainted ice cream cones hanging from the ceiling at Christmastime…. And well, Christmas’s period.

  • Live “newts” in an aquarium on the washing machine…keeping their “wormfeed” in the fridge.
    :: Oh my gosh you were a Saint!::

  • The time you saved those little birds. They lived on our washing machine too.

  • Artichokes… greasebread… kitty pancakes.

  • The day they cemented the “teatherball hole.”

  • Haunted houses on Halloween…

  • Garage shows on your Saturdays…

  • ”Playing School” at your school… and going for lunch in the cafeteria.

  • Girl Scout campouts… Zzzzzzzzzz… hee.

  • Holding Primary classes on somebody’s lawn just so they’d be able to be there…

  • Our “special days”… like Knott’s Berry Farm.

  • Jumping off that jungle gym at Legg Lake. It only took my friends and I an hour to convince you to… but you finally did.

  • ”Sound of Music” rehearsals in our living room everyday after school… for what seemed like months.

  • Lot’s of vacations… and standing by the roadside in the desert while the engine cooled. But you always remembered to bring water for us.

  • That mink shawl you’d made that summer at BYU flying off the roof of the car.

  • Your letting me bring that stray cat on the church campout.

  • Our beautiful version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

  • Beach houses.

  • Pool parties.

  • Allowing the sides of your Ford Falcon to be painted with images of The Doors, The Beatles, Cream and either Ravi Shankar or Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh on the hood (geesh, my memory fails me...)

OK… so I’m only about 14 or so now and I have left SO much out… In fact, I haven’t even begun really… and I could go on and on. But I’ll probably save the next chapters for next years. And the best is yet to come. Thanks for letting me revel for a few moments in some of those memories that will be forever with me. It was really fun.

I remember you once saying that you wondered how much your kids actually remembered about their childhoods at all… as if it all those things would be reserved as cherished memories for you. But not to worry mom, because they are all IN there and intact… and so much better when shared. And they are all such good ones!… well, for the most part anyway.

It seems as though I’ve been alive for a really, really long time now. And once, when you were probably 40 or so, you told me that you still felt the same way you always had… and how you still had the same wishes and dreams and feelings that you’d had as a little girl. I think I remember “smirking.”

But you were right.

I think it’s only the mirror that reveals the secrets of age to us. Because most of the time I really still feel like I’m 14 too. Of course, sometimes when I try to do that back flip, which I use to do SO effortlessly, I’m reminded too. But other than that… I am STILL 14 or so! And so are you!..

Mom at 14... or 18... or somewhere in there...

Hope you have a wonderful Birthday Mom! And I hope I didn’t act too "14-ish” while you were here. Though I'm sure I probably did…

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy 24th Birthday Whitney!

Whit ~ You were born a whole 24 years ago today. How can that be? And how is it that time flies so fast?

We must be having fun!...

Sorry for all the bruising... but I can't apologize. It was a joint effort. And as it would seem, one of the two most successful joint efforts of my life, in fact.

And, anyway, you ended up being no worse for the wear...

Mind if I share just a couple more?

I just really love those pictures...

But anyway, I was thinking long and hard about what to give you for your birthday this year... because what could you possibly need after already having probably the most wonderful husband in the whole world?... but then it occurred to me, something else that might matter.

I think it's possible to do much better towards the $100 goal you set for your MS Walk on May 19th. In fact that goal was so sweet and humble of you that it almost made me cry. I think we need to see what else we can do about this...

I won't be able to be there of course, being that it's in Idaho and all, but I DO hope to be able to imagine you walking... knowing that you are making a difference... and that your efforts will allow you, and so many others, to be able to participate in events like these for years and years to come.

I am so very proud of you!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And as of today... April 18th, you've raised $870!!!

I think this is SO exciting!

There must really be a whole lot of people who love you!...whoever they are...

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's Just Not Easter Without A Sticky Kitchen Floor...

And it's funny, because when I think about it, it hasn't seemed quite like Easter for about 40 years now. And it probably HAS been that long since the last time I remember enjoying this tradition.

But it WAS a tradition of the best kind. Every year, sort of like the flu... And right now as I'm remembering it, it's almost as if I'm back THERE... sitting around that kitchen table once again... in that vinyl upholstered "booth" with the boomerang patterned formica... just waiting to get started. Now that I think about it, it was probably one of the sweetest memories of my childhood.

Looking at this somehow brings back a lot of other memories like fish sticks, spinach, artichokes, liver, homework... and oh yes, I almost forgot the chicken pot pies.

But it also makes me want to revert to things such as sucking on a bottle and picking fuzz off a blankie...

Anyway... making the sugar eggs involved mixing sugar and egg whites(?) together and then packing the mixture into one of those plastic easter egg molds. Then it would get thumped out onto a baking pan where it would bake for... a while. While that was going on the frosting, consisting of powdered sugar, water, corn starch and food coloring (I think) would be mixed and then wrapped into several different cake decorating packets with different colors of frosting and tool tips on each... probably about 12 to 14 of them.

There were always alot of packets full of white frosting with a regular little single holed tool which is what was used to make all the bunnies and swans... which then had to sit on the cookie sheet for quite a while in order to harden. I'm still not sure how mom made them. But probably with the same artistic flair and swing of the wrist that created all those bunny, swan and kitty pancakes all those years as well.

But anyway... after the sugar molds were cooled... the process of carving them out began. And I think that was probably about the time when all of that sugar would get all over the floor... which is probably why I have always related Easter to having sticky feet.

The rest of the process is fairly easy to figure out, because it basically just consists of decorating them... and my kids would have probably had the opportunity to enjoy this tradition many more times than the once or twice that Grandma was able to come out for an Easter visit... if only I could have figured out the first part... or had not had such a major phobia about having sugar all over my floor...

I think these are a couple of the ones my kids made.

And I try every year to put them out for Easter decorations and then, I just can't!... and they just end up going right back into their well protected wrapping until the next year. Because they are really as tacky as can be!

But as I was writing this I think I may have just had an epiphany. And that is... that even though they really ARE extremely tacky, and the process of making them can create a sticky mess on your kitchen floor to the extent that you don't even want to think about ... A finely crafted piece of artwork that to be displayed in a future curio cabinet... was probably never the point.