Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And Exactly Where Has Living Tastefully Gotten Us?

When the family gathers for funerals or holidays what are the moments they remember? Is it the elegantly turned out dinner or is it the time Aunt Lois wore her dress turned inside out? In our family it is the later.

So make a memory for this year’s Trick or Treat. Make this and know you have placed yourself in the annals of family history.

The Queen of "Yes"!

A few weeks ago Annie called to check in and she mentioned that the most precious children in the northern hemisphere were behaving less than precious-ly.
I was trying to get a picture in my mind of what could be behind this acting out but must admit I was clueless.
"But, Annie when they are with me there is no fighting, hitting, attitude copping, or general grouchiness. I just don't understand?"
At that point Annie, with a little terseness in her voice, clued me in; "That is because you always say 'yes."
Ohhhhhhhhhhh come to think of it I do!
For twenty years I raised two boys to the best of my ability and believe me it involved more than a little negative feedback.

(say yes mame and no mame please and thank you every time we went out or they would protest "you didn't tell us!")
Punishments (if your toys are not picked up they will be put out for the garbage man -- and they were) Oprah -- it that you calling for a special expose?
Boundaries (you will go to school unless you are running a temperature -- and 108 does not count the toaster was still hot, I see blood, or you vomit (and I have to see the vomit -- no flushing the toilet and reporting)

Don't get me wrong we had a ball but I was definitely the fun police. I was on such a mother-roll that I considered any child in my peripheral vision in my jurisdiction. I remember waiting in line at a move theater when an approximately 16 year old boy (and a football player if looks count) threw his candy wrapper down on the lobby floor.
"Excuse me? Who do you think is going to pick that up?"
"Uhhhhhhhhh me?" he replied.
There was a look in my eye during those years that if I could have maintained it I'm sure I'd be on Airforce One right now winging my way to Iran.
But it's gone. Something shifted when I picked up our first grandchild baby Jacob thirteen years ago. A mantle fell on my shoulders and I felt a strange sensation on my scalp. Was it a crown descending? It was. I became "The Queen of Yes."
You may kiss my ring.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Head Lights and Tail Lights

I've heard that the happiest sight is the headlights of the car bringing your family for a visit and the saddest is the taillights of the car taking them back home.
At the end of a very fun week yesterday the kids headed back to Kentucky.
What sweet memories!
There are many good reasons to postpone a family get away but none of them are good enough. We will have these happy times tucked into our hearts for the rest of
our lives.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Avery demonstrates how to eat corn on the cob with five (count 'em five) teeth missing.

Of course our day ended with another birthday cake. It's not getting old.

These fellows greeted us on our Eco-Tour. What do you think they were saying?

Fort Matanzes from the bay. It is made of dredged up shells and when it got shot with canon balls they just got stuck in the walls.

This is a beach tradition.....Mickey Mouse waffles and sausage. What a way to greet the day! It's pretty much all about sugar -- at the beach.

We should have known this morning when we saw this sun rise -- it was going to be a pretty spectacular day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beach Birthday Bonanza -- Day 3

Another night -- another cake!
We all wear our crowns and the cake is a new version.
How many wishes can one little girl make?

Dinner on the Intracoastal and a sun set for the sweetest dreams.

When we walk the beach we gather sea shells and just can't get over they are free!
"The world belongs to everyone -- the best things in life are free."

Shrimp caught the night before goes down pretty well. Ummmmmmmm.

My little boy.

This is what guys do on vacation. We must be very "Connected."

Maggie and Milly and Molly and May by E.E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles and....

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and...

may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves we find at the sea.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Million Dollar Memories for $1.00

It was a cool day today so we skipped the beach and headed to Saint Augustine. First stop the carousel. The girls love picking out their favorite horse and taking him or her out for a spin.
How many thrills can you purchase for a dollar any more?

Then we discovered that Walmart has #100 toys for the price of $10.00 each.

We took the jar of pocket change from Papa Joe's drawer and cashed it out for enough to buy each girl two presents. As good as Christmas.
Lunch was at a downtown cafe with picnic tables under the palms.

Next I took them to a historic Greek Orthodox church in the old section of town. The girls were mesmerized by the icons and beautiful reliefs on the walls. Both girls lighted a candle and prayed for someone they love who needs prayers. All of this while ancient hymns were playing in the background.
Oh, the mixture of memories, smells, tastes and sights.
Dinner was chicken on the grill and another version of a birthday cake (rice crispy squares). We all wear our tieras and tonight we answered questions out of one of our favorite vacation books.

I wonder what they will remember when they are grown up? Probably the bathroom at Walmart.

Waking Up At The Beach

Sure it was chilly (56 degrees) but look at the view outside our windows this morning. Woke up surrounded by all of my favorites. Kids, grandchildren and daughter in law.
As the sun rose the house filled up with the smells of bacon (hey, it's vacation) and eggs.

It's going to be a special day.

Avery's Florida friend Clio came out and they giggled and played.

Corrie turns 4 on Saturday so all week we are celebrating. She thinks it is a good idea for all of us to wear tierras at meal times sooooooooo

Saturday, October 17, 2009

They're coming -- They're Coming!

At 4:30 this afternoon our grandchildren, sons, and daughter in law will land here and we're taking off for a week at the beach!
I have spent the week in preparation (thus few posts on this blog) and can barely contain myself.
Some of our traditions include taking a bath and putting on jammies before bed --then riding to St. Augustine (6 miles away) to ride the carousel , a dinner of fresh caught off our shore shrimp, swimming at the pool we belong to about a mile from the house, and looking for sharks teeth.
A couple of years ago when Cole was less suspicious -- we bought big beautiful shells at the shell shop and had Jacob (who is the only one in the fam who can keep a secret) place them on our beach before Cole's early morning walk. What a thrill.
Maybe this year we'll make some new memories? A report will be forth coming..........................

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Been a Long Time....

(Fourth of July to be exact) since we've had a holiday that allowed us to flail decorations around the house.
Today was Ode to Autumn Day. The weather got down to a sane 70 something and it is feeling mighty cozy around here.
Some girlfriends came over and we baked bread and solved world problems.
Each Halloween I take photos of the children in the neighborhood as they Trick or Treat. Then the following year we have the pictures ready for them to pick up.

There will be a costume parade on our block the night before Halloween with snacks and a bouncy house. If you live in town you are welcome to come go with us.

(Got these white pumpkin ideas from Parent's Magazine. How cool!)

Before and After

So there we stand in our Sunday best singing hymns. I heard an old pastor say one time "We sing more lies than we tell."
Ohhhhhhhhhhh those lofty words and sentiments. But I can testify that God's 'rag tag army' is willing to be made willing to be all that He intended us to be.
Yesterday we sang a hymn in church that was so clear about God's intentions for me after I let go and let Him -- run my life. It focused me on the goal. It made me stand up a little straighter and encouraged me to be the change He wants in this world.

The words were from the Iona Community and the music was a traditional Scottish tune.
Will you come and follow Me?
Will you come and follow me if I call your name? Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you leave yourself behind -- Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare
And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
Will you love the 'you' you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go where your love and footprints show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just Ducky

Here is the article from todays paper about our ducks. I hear they are looking for an agent and wearing sun glasses. How we gonna keep them down on the pond?

"Ducks Lucky, Loved" by Mark Woods

The official name is Colonial Manor Lake Park. But I've never heard anyone call it that. It's always simply "the Duck Pond."
The man-made lake off San Jose Boulevard, dedicated to public use in the 1930s, has evolved into a popular spot to feed the ducks. We pass it every day on the way to Mia's school. And every so often, some of the birds will be crossing the street, creating a scene that always reminds me of the classic children's book, "Make Way for the Ducklings."
Now the Duck Pond has its own story.
It doesn't involve Mrs. Mallard, Jack, Kack or Lack. In this story, the ducks are named Nelson Mandela, Harriett Nelson, Lucky and September.
But it all starts with a mother goose which now is known as - what else? - Mother Goose.
She laid 13 eggs last spring. That's when Father Goose started acting differently. Suzanne Honeycutt, who lives in the first house south of the Duck Pond, recalls that he got more hyper, more aggressive. And for some reason, he kept leading Mother Goose across the street.
Suzanne's husband, Joe, was out walking their dog one morning when a car driven by a teenager came zipping past the Duck Pond, hit the two geese and kept going.
Father Goose died instantly. Mother Goose was badly injured, one of her legs mangled.
Suzanne remembers seeing their door open and Joe walking into the house, cradling the bloody bird in his arms.
They called several vets, before finally finding someone who would look at Mother Goose, Steve Hart of Hidden Hills Animal Hospital.
The eggs were bundled up, taken to Orange Park and put in an incubator. None hatched. But Mother Goose lived. She underwent several surgeries and spent about three months in the animal hospital. Then Hart, who it turns out lives just around the corner from the Duck Pond, called to tell them they could come get her.
At the same time, two ducks which had been mauled by dogs also were ready to leave the hospital.
The Honeycutts offered to take them to Duck Pond, too.
They named the black-and-white one, free after spending months in a cage, Nelson Mandela. And they dubbed the other one Harriet Nelson, as in the 1950s "Ozzie and Harriet" sitcom star.
The birds splashed into the pond and lived happily ever after, right?
Not exactly.
"The first few days it was like 'Lord of the Flies,' " Suzanne said.
The other birds in the pond attacked the weak and hobbled newcomers.
That's when Joe got a children's wading pool and put it in the front yard, creating a mini Duck Pond. He also did some research, found out what kind of food they needed, started feeding them twice a day and bonding with them. Especially Nelson Mandela.
"Nelson thinks he's a dog," Suzanne said as the duck wagged its tailed and greeted me. "He's the most social of all them."
Yes, all of them. The gang has continued to grow.
One night the Honeycutts heard voices outside the house. They looked out and there was a mother, her two children and a duck. They explained that something had happened to the duck. They had rescued her, nursed her back to health, named her Lucky - as in Lucky Duck - and now they were releasing her.
Lucky soon made herself at home, laying eggs under bushes in the Honeycutts' front yard. One hatched last month, which is why one neighborhood kid named the duckling "September." If you've seen Lucky, you've seen September. They're inseparable.
So Mother Goose does have a family, although not an "Ozzie and Harriet"-era one. It includes a dog, a cat and an odd assortment of ducks.
"I think there's a lot of loving going on in that pond," Suzanne said with a laugh. "We have some interesting ducks."
The wading pool no longer is necessary. The injured birds got stronger and safely returned to Duck Pond, although whenever Harriet gets into it she can't get out. Joe built her a ramp, but she can't seem to figure out how to use it.
"Harriet is pretty," Suzanne says, "but she isn't very smart."
So Joe fishes her out with a swimming pool leaf net.
It isn't exactly "Make Way for the Ducklings," with a traditional bird family living a traditional bird life in Boston Public Garden. But it's a sweet story about a pond and a neighborhood in Jacksonville, one which has led some to suggest that speed bumps should be built near it.
That hasn't happened yet. But there is an addition to the sign next to the Duck Pond. In the middle of the information about Great Blue Herons, Anhingas and ducks that can be found in the pond, it says: "Mother Goose has returned home!"
(904) 359-4212

Wednesday, October 7, 2009