Celebrating 100 Years of Service

This past week we had a mural unveiling. The wild child works for the American Red Cross. They are celebrating 100 years of serving our community. Part of the celebration has been the painting of a mural on the side of the building. This gave me a very good excuse to get a new wide-angle lens, LOL.

They wanted a photograph of the mural and part of the building in order to associate it with their chapter. Don’t you love it when you can come up with a perfectly good excuse to get yourself a new toy 😀

The Real Work Begins

Before Hubby’s dad gets home, Hubby is busy taking stock of the condition of the 1939 Ford pick-up that now resides in our garage. He is checking out the engine, ordering necessary parts, and finding some in the bed of the truck.

I, on the other hand, get to be a bit artistic in the photographs I take.

Having this truck in our life right now is really fueling my nostalgic side. I went to an Antique Mall the other day and just wandered around. I started to feel a bit sad; all the discarded things. Things, that at one time someone treasured. I did find a neat gift for Hubby for Father’s Day, but not an antique. I don’t know if I will go back to that Antique Mall. I must admit I was so much more impressed with the store the wild child and I discovered a couple of weekends ago. Maybe it was the company; she does tend to make everything we do more fun <3

Trip to Arizona in January 2017

1939 Ford Pick-up Truck

Yesterday was a fun day for Hubby and two of his friends. The day had finally arrived when he could move his dad’s old 1939 Ford truck to our garage. He has been working for weeks to clean out the garage in order to make room for it. His goal is to get it running for his Dad to drive when they get home from Florida.

This is a beautiful old truck; built the year of his father’s birth. It has been well preserved, and will be a wonderful restoration back to its original look.

Dad will be home in a few weeks, and then the real work will be done. By the two of them. They will build memories that they will both cherish for the rest of their lives. A pretty wonderful thing.

It All Ties Together

I had a wonderful day yesterday. To be honest it actually began the day before. My daughters and I usually have tea on Friday afternoons, and we love it when others join us. But on this particular Friday everyone was busy except the oldest and myself. The two of us have spent quite a bit of time together of late helping my mother get through her recovery from surgery. My mother, at 91 years old, can often have her own ideas of how things should be.

On this particular Friday I thought it would be nice if I took the oldest to a tea shop where someone else would make it all, and serve us. On the way home we passed an antique store that we have passed many times over the years. The few times we have thought to stop, they were closed. But there was a big sign out front that said “OPEN”, so this time we did.

Both the oldest and I are very sensitive to the energy of a person, place, or thing. We love to go to antique stores because we find ourselves drawn to some beautiful things that have such wonderful energy. But on the flip-side of that, there are also things that are not so nice. It is hard to imagine what the life of the owner was like. This particular store had a very strange energy. It reminded me of the old story of the toys that nobody wanted. There were so many things that looked like they had been there for so very long, unwanted, unloved. It was a very sad place.

I found myself drawn to a display cabinet, and in it I saw some sugar tongs, quite tarnished. The tongs I currently use for tea are stainless steel ones we got for the oldest wedding. They are nice, but don’t really fit. I walked around the store a bit more, but found myself drawn back to the tongs. I read the tag, “Chinese silver sugar tongs $8.” The owner was sitting playing with her phone, so I went over to speak with her. She never took her eyes off her phone while answering my questions. She then begrudgingly got up and unlocked the cabinet. I almost didn’t take the tongs just because of her attitude, and the energy of the place. But after seeing how she was, I decided to give them a new home.

The oldest was drawn to some glass icicles. But as soon as she touched them, she turned away. I remembered I had some that my mother had given me years ago. They used to hang on our Christmas tree when I was a child. I told the oldest about them, and that I would look for them when I got home. Now we move on to the next day.

It was Saturday, and Hubby was getting ready to take a load of yard waste to the dump. The wild child stopped by, and mentioned she needed to go to the garden center. I told her about another antique store that had recently opened across the street, so we went together to check it out. We loved it, and purchased some lovely things. But the story continues when we got home.

Apostle Teaspoon set –

I went to dig out the icicles as I thought there were three and I wanted to give one to the wild child as well. As I did I discovered a small box that I had forgotten about. A set of teaspoons my Aunt and Uncle had given my mother the Christmas I was born. Oddly enough, they seemed to have the same design as the sugar tongs. I cleaned the tongs with some silver polish to discover they were not Chinese, but made in Sheffield England with the apostle design. They were actually called apostle sugar nips, as the ends are spoon shape.

They aren’t necessarily worth a lot of money, and that wasn’t the point. The connection, the history, that is what brings it all together. Because then we have the story of the teaspoons I so lovingly brought back from my trip to England, it all ties together so beautifully.

While the youngest and I were in England one of the things I wanted to do was bring back some teaspoons. I had a few odd ones, but when I had people over for tea, I just didn’t have enough. We never really found what I wanted over the month we were there. But our last stop was to visit my cousins; the son and family of the Aunt and Uncle who gave the teaspoons to my mother. I was telling his wife of my hunt when their son arrived. After a few minutes he realized he had a whole box of teaspoons that his Gran (my Aunt) had from when she ran a pub. He ran home and brought back the box with dozens of teaspoons. So you see, eventually it does all tie together – with love.

One Step at a Time

The other night we watched the last performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. May 21, 2017 marked the last time in 146 years of performing in front of thousands of people. It was an emotional time, a sad time, the end of an era. My understanding is that there are some people out there who are thrilled they are gone. They say that the animals were treated cruelly. Watching the lion and tiger act made me question this. Honestly, would a lion or tiger really be affectionate towards a person who was cruel to them? I think they would be more inclined to eat them. But that is just my personal opinion.

I went to the circus in Madison Square Garden in 1985. I was visiting my father and step-mom in New York with the oldest, when she was a wee one. Daddy wanted to take her to the circus, and we had the most wonderful time. She was too young to remember it, but not too young to remember the feelings of the experience. She does have those memories.

I started to write about my feelings towards people who join big protests against something. That so many don’t research honestly, or think through the consequences of their actions. As I reread what I wrote I knew I was opening myself up for conflict. It is a time when there is always someone who will disagree about what you say, and have no qualms about letting everyone know. I deleted what I wrote, and changed my delivery.

I am not someone who will jump on a bandwagon and join a protest. If there is a cause I feel needs help I will not waste time or money trying to convince others I am right. I will invest my time and money in trying to make a change; make a difference. I am a firm believer in “actions speak louder than words.” When I see a protest turn violent it degrades anything they had to say. I have enough to worry about in my own life, why would I want to invite that sort of thing in. I do my part in positive actions. I volunteer, support, talk about and share with others. You will have seen me do this a number of times in the past, right here on my blog. You will never see me throw a brick through a store window. What you will see me do is participate. It may be in a small way, but many small ways will make a change. One positive step at a time . . .

Watching Things Grow

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and we hosted a Mother’s Day Brunch. It was a bit off for Hubby and me as neither of our Moms could be there. His is in Florida, and mine is still at the rehab. But, as always, it turned out to be a wonderful time. We had 7 Moms to celebrate with. Hubby’s brother’s family came, so his wife, and she brought her mom. My good friend (who I go on the photo trips with) came with her mother-in-law. The youngest’s best friend since 1st grade brought his mother, then my daughter-in-law, and me! We had great food, the best of company (all my kids were here), and we even had Facetime calls with their Grandma’s in Arizona, and Florida. After everyone left we headed down to the rehab and took my Mom a care package of yummy food. All-in-all a wonderful day.

I had my first real grandmother experience recently. Yes, this was my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother, but that wasn’t it. My grandson has been having ear infection trouble. After two rounds of antibiotics, the doctor decided to try shots this time. He had the first shot at the appointment, and then I took him the next two days for the rest. The last time was the roughest for him. He is such a happy boy; always smiling and giggling. But three days in a row, and this nurse wasn’t as good as the previous ones, so it took a little cuddling to get him past it. As we waited the obligatory 20 minutes (to make sure he has no reactions), we sat in the room just rocking. I looked down at this sweet little boy’s head, and it took me back to the many times I would sit and cuddle his father. Yes, a real grandmother moment. You know how you will often have these moments, and wish you had a camera? Well, I did!

What a treasure. The photo, the moment, the connection, the memories. Those simple moments in life, the littlest thing, that glimpse of something so very special.

His Daddy stopped by today. He was early for a meeting nearby, so just popped in. The oldest was here to plant their Mother’s Day gifts for me; a tomato plant, some cilantro, and basil. I am really going to enjoy watching everything grow <3

What We Are Made Of

There have been some thoughts rolling around in my head for quite some time now. I wrote my cousin the other day observing how people reflect the experiences in their lives. My cousin’s older sister, and my mother, were both in England during WWII. Now my mother was born in 1926. She was 13 when the war broke out, but 19 when it ended. My cousin was 10 years younger, but she was still there. The memories of our childhood may fade as the years go by. But the feelings and emotions around us are often never forgotten.

Lately I have found myself drawn to watching shows set in England during the time period just after the war, the 1950’s and 60’s. It started simply enough with Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple” series. It made me start thinking about how life was for my parents at that time. I have some wonderful photographs of them taken in the 1950’s; when they were first dating, got engaged, and then married. This was in the post-war era, when life was supposed to be getting back to normal.

My father served in the war, just a young man, sent to Egypt. He was lucky as his sister worked for the government nearby where he was stationed, so he had a familiar loving face to set his eyes on. My mother was at school. She tells a story of crossing a bridge with her satchel over her head to protect her from the shrapnel flying from the machine guns above. To us these are stories, plots of movies, they don’t fit into our reality. But to them it was their life, and many of the memories were not happy ones.

In college, I was taught that the experiences people have in their lifetime mold who they become. In my sociology class I even did a paper on my mother’s lifetime. I think about how it was during the wars in England. I think about families trying to live with ration books, making do with what they had. That constant fear as they blackout their lives as curfew approaches. That the sirens will start to blare, waiting for the sound of airplanes, and then the bombs falling. Day after day, week after week, for years. They were in their homes, a place where we are supposed to feel safe. But it was far from that. We don’t really understand, we can’t. Now I look at my 91-year-old mother, and try to be patient, try to understand. She is stubborn, she is determined, she has lived a life full of change, and is still here.

We are English, we will persevere. Have a cup of tea and all is well with the world. A good ‘cuppa’ will fix just about anything. I understand why that became such a thing. Everyone has to have something to hang onto. Something as simple as a cup of tea can be so symbolic. It can mean so much more. We are not the only ones; not by a long shot. So many cultures have similar things, similar histories, similar crosses to bear.

Now I fast forward to today, 2017.

Getting through my mother’s latest health challenges has not been easy. We have been fighting protocols, and the system, which tends to forget that there are people involved. The human condition, the struggle to survive, what makes us who we are. People making decisions that affect so many other people in ways they just don’t conceive of.

Wars are still being fought in the world. There are still families in fear of those bombs. They are trying to survive. Even here in the USA there are wars being fought. On the streets, in the government, in the homes . . . This has been going on for too long. There is too much anger. Always having to be right, in charge, in control.

The next time you find yourself judging someone’s behavior, keep this in the back of your mind. A little girl, 13-years-old should only be worrying about getting her assignments done for school, her chores done around the house, and a simple scraped knee from falling on her roller-skates. She shouldn’t have to carry the memories of the fear, the loss, and death for her whole life. Whether she is English, African-American, or Syrian it shouldn’t matter. It just shouldn’t be . . .

Having None of It!

Last night I found myself sitting on the couch in the living room surveying the room. Next to me was the wild child, cuddling with the dog Molly. Hubby was sitting at the head of the dinner table, to the left the oldest, next her husband, then our son, the youngest, and next to her an old high school friend of the oldest. Our son stopped by on his way home from work as he too had been friends. Unfortunately, our grandson had a cold, so he and his mom were not with us.

I sat watching all these people who I love. Part of me wanted to get up and find the camera. But I knew if I did all would change. There are moments that you just cannot capture. Moving from face to face, the memories of these people that are so important to me. Watching them interact with each other. Looking at her old friend, and thinking back to the oldest in high school. Going back 15+ years, and then realizing it has been 15+ years. My kids are not kids anymore. The youngest turns 21 this summer. They all have lives, goals, dreams, and I am proud of them all.

My mother has had some health challenges over the last month. She is recovering well. But at 91 years old I am finding this time the recovery is very different than the times before. So many medical staff assume that because of her age she is in Dementia or mindless. They couldn’t be more wrong. She is sharp, and totally in control of her own life. But there is always one, and in this case the head of PT. It is interesting to me how one negative person can cause such a ripple effect. You try to keep things positive, and have so many people supporting you, but this one person is that proverbial bad apple. She is that black cloud; that constant reminder. They don’t have a clue how the negatively impact people, and will affect the speed of their recovery.

So today I had to have a conversation with my mother. The wife of a minister, a minister herself, “let go and let God. Do not allow this person to dictate your recovery. Leave it in the Father’s hands to deal with her. Focus on being the person you want to be, and going back to your home.” She will, she is too stubborn not to. But even the most spiritual person will slip at times. My job is to be there and get her back on track. Not to tell her what to do. Even at 91 years old, she will have none of that!

Best Laid Plans

Yesterday was a very mixed up day. The plans for the day kept changing as it progressed. But in the end I ran some errands, spent some time with my son and grandson, and drove down to Cincinnati with my good friend and fellow photographer.

Taken during the day in February

Taken at night in late April

We had dinner and roamed around downtown with our cameras. We were there a couple of months ago during the day to photograph the Contemporary Arts Center. This time she wanted to get some shots of the building at sunset and after dark. We wandered around looking for a way to get higher so we could shoot down, but there was just too much in the way, or buildings were closed. The sunset turned out to be a bust too; no real colors. But we did have a yummy dinner, we were able to get a couple of fun shots, and enjoyed each others company.

This first one I took on our last visit. Then took another one at night. I didn’t have a tripod with me, so the nighttime ones aren’t the sharpest, but we had fun, and learned some new things.

Lately I have been spending time printing up some of my work, and learning how to display it. I usually go all out and do a complete mat and frame. But that can get expensive with every print. So I am learning the best ways to mount on matboard and foamcore. It is a whole new set of skills to learn. Once I get this mastered hopefully I will be able to start selling prints. I want to buy new toys, and have to fund them somehow 😊

Happy Easter

Easter 2001

It is Easter Sunday and all is quiet in the house. Very quiet. I remember Easter mornings from the past. Up to six baskets set up around the kitchen table where each child usually sat. Now we are down to one child left at home, and a college student to boot.
Having ministers as parents you would think Easter Sunday would be all about church. As a child that was true, but as I got older, and both my parents moved to independent ministries, I became less and less of an every Sunday churchgoer. In fact, my father would preach that you don’t need a building or a certain day of the week to learn and pray to God. He started as a Unity minister, then Religious Science, then independent. He got tired of the politics and dealing with the church boards. He wanted to teach, to share, to entertain, to make people happy. So our way of doing it was to learn in the home. Praising God is a 24/7 thing, not just one morning of the week in a certain place. As the years go by, more and more people seem to be gravitating towards this way of thinking. I think a big factor is simply that families are so very busy all week long. When Sunday morning comes all they want is a quiet time together at home. Sunday is the day of family, being together, and a day of resting.

I saw a video on Facebook this morning that really resonated with me. Two present day Moms talking about how the moms of the 90’s had it made. It was very on point! I would take it back to the 80’s too, as that was the time to be a Mom; especially a stay-at-home Mom. By the time the 90’s came along women were more expected to be working moms. The economy was becoming tougher, and more woman entering the work force, and wanting careers. I went back to school, but to be honest I really liked being at home with my kids. I was actually a mom in the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. I was home with my kids, worked part-time, and then really entered the workforce. I know it from all angles.

In the 80’s I was fortunate to be a military wife in a small town. The cost of living was low, we lived on base, and very few wives I knew worked. We were all at home, raising our children ourselves, and most of the time loved it. I do miss the simplicity of those days, and I am very grateful for them.