I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beautiful Dew of Youth

My love affair with perfume began waaay back. My Grandmother A wore Chanel No. 5 exclusively and my Grandmother B wore Emeraude...from the moment I realized that the stuff in the bottle smelled good, I couldn't get enough. Grandmother A even amassed the most beautiful antique perfume bottle collection I have ever seen.

In my hometown, it wasn't easy to get the "big city" scents, so we settled for Windsong, Shalimar, Rive Guache, Fabrege's Woodhue, Tabu and Charlie. As soon as I left for college I made it my mission to move up the list...White Shoulders, Joy by Jean Paton and Youth Dew by Estee Lauder. Once I smelled Youth Dew, I was hooked for the next three decades.

As I aged, I exchanged Youth Dew for Estee Lauder's Beautiful and stayed with it for years. As a matter of fact, once someone came up to me and said, "Were you at the church this morning?" As a matter of fact I was. "Yes, why?" I inquired. "I went in the kitchen," she continued, " and it smelled like you." Now I'm not sure if she was referring to my Beautiful or the bacon that the deacons cooked for the men's Saturday breakfast, but I knew I had OD'd on the scent that particular morning.

Payday was Friday and I always buy myself a little treat on payday. Maybe a Snappy Turtle at Bop's or a new magazine at WM, but this time, I went all out. Estee Lauder has reintroduced the 1950's blue bottled spray Youth Dew and guess what I have on right now? (Beside the ratty housecoat, I mean....) Yes! Youth Dew from my college days! It's wonderful and I am so happy I went a little over the top and purchased it. What great memories it brings back. What scents do you like and do you wear? I'd like to hear! Anyone remember Ambush (for girls) & Canoe (for the guys)?!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy October 30-31st!

I know, I know, I am an old fuddy duddy. My whole family thinks so, but I just have never liked Halloween. It's now a hugely popular holiday, but I am still sticking to my guns.

I do, however, remember fun Halloween nights growing up in Grenada, Mississippi. We'd all dress up (I was a gypsy every year) and go up and down Line Street knocking on doors. There were just innocent homemade costumes. We'd be invited in for punch and the ladies of the street would always make popcorn balls and candy for us. Can you imagine that nowadays? We'd go home, look at our loot and go to bed. End of story, end of holiday. Not really a big deal.

Now I know there are many of you who will disagree, but I think Halloween was a day that started out not so good and has deteriorated into something really not so good. Of course, it's a BIG money maker for merchants. People in Wal Mart at 5:30 P.M. were buying like there was going to be a candy famine beginning very shortly.

While in WM, we purchased some mini Butterfingers but they are really for us...nobody knocks on our door out here. So as soon as we are sure nobody will come, we will eat them ourselves. I feel sort of "Scroogish" about this and hope you don't hold it against me. We can disagree and still be friends, I hope! Anyway, I enjoy seeing your little people dressed up as ladybugs and little bears and dinosaurs...so I hope you post those pictures on FB tonight. Happy Oct. 30-31st!

(Oh, yes, if you haven't read my August post "Petey the Parakeet vs. the Little Gypsy"...it's about Halloween and may be the reason I am not such a fan.) It's archived on the right of the blog.

Friday, October 29, 2010

* Cat Woman Unleashed On An Unsuspecting World

For years my family has tried to keep this picture "under wraps." It surfaced last evening as I was searching for a new Facebook profile picture. I passed by it once and as I flipped back through, it came up like a family skeleton rattling her bones in the closet. Yes, there I was...double bubble hair style with angel bangs, black cat-eyed glasses with rhinestones. I looked like a young version of Miss Jane on the Beverly Hillbillies. I was quite a dish.

Ah, the "awkward" stages of life. The sad part of this one is that I probably pretended that I thought I looked pretty hip. What else could I do? My vision wasn't worth a flip and since contacts were out of the question at this stage in history, I thought I was doomed to look like Cat Woman forever. My father thought he'd prove how really lovely I was, hence the "portrait" setting for the picture. When I saw this for the first time, I was devastated.

My granddaughter is still in shock over the picture. "Who is that person?" she asked. "Well, dear, that's me when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. I was in an awkward time of life," I responded. "How awkward?" she persisted. "Very."
Isn't it nice what a few years will do? It softens the blow of growing pains. It's funny how we stagger between awkward "times" and nice plateaus. I'm in one of the staggering times right now. Not really the oldest stage, but certainly no spring chicken anymore...maybe sort of "oldish". But there is something I can tell you about being "oldish", it's not nearly as bad as I make it out to be. There are some great parts of being old. Now let me think. What are some of those great things? Well, nevermind, you get my drift.
It is ironic though that we make a complete circle from birth until death. Awkwardness begins with the birth process...things rock along and then comes sitting up and standing and trying to walk...speaking of awkward! Walking in big ole diapers is tough. Then we are ok until around the age of 12. Now I don't know about you, but from 7-9th grade was just torture for me. (As witnessed by the above picture.) Thank goodness we weather that storm and stay the course for the next couple of decades. The 40's aren't bad, but the wind begins to rock the boat a little by the late forties. The fifties are a prelude to what's coming....storm clouds gather and then there we are...back to trying to keep our balance and stay away from Depends if possible. There you have it....the complete circle..almost.
My point here is that awkwardness is just one of those hurdles in life that we all have to jump. So no matter where you are in the "circle" we are all in it together. We need to be mindful of each others' positions along the way. That way we can help each other along from one stage to another. So wherever you are, my friends, know that somebody has either been there or will be there soon. Be kind.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

* The Fairy Godmother & Hot Chili

Holy cow! Ask for a little help from your friends and MINE respond pronto. I have so many chili recipes in my email and on the blog, that I'll be testing all week getting ready for the big day next Friday! Thank you one and all! I can't wait to try all the advice on for size...speaking of which, if we eat all this, those polyester pants from Bon Worth will get a real workout.

I am hesitant to repeat this, but now that it's been a few hours since it was said, I can smile. Teacher sends student to the library to give me something...student asks which librarian I am...the one with the bun that looks like a fairy godmother? Oh, heaven help me....first it was Aunt Bea now the Fairy Godmother...I think it was the cartoon one that is popular now...hope not Cinderella's ...dumpy little thing...should I laugh or cry?

Going to read more recipes... will post later this weekend. Thank goodness it's almost Friday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chili Season Anyone?

As some of you may know, I taught Foods and Nutrition classes at our local high school for a number of years before I became a librarian. Now, just because my major was Home Economics does NOT mean that I am a great cook. (Similar to the adage "because you are standing in the garage does not mean you are a car".) When I was in high school, I had a wonderful Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Davis. I LOVED her classes and took all three years of Home Ec.

I liked everything she taught, even sewing. (I was a pretty bad seamstress...bad as in bad, not bad as in good like they say today.) Once I had a school annual deadline to meet and a sewing project to complete on the same night. I had to turn in the sports section of the annual and make a lined vest in Home Ec. My father (who being a professional photographer would have been the logical one to take on the annual task) decided he'd help me out and complete the vest. He did and it was the best grade I ever made in a sewing class...

I only had to teach high school sewing class one year and they all made boxer shorts. Even the girls loved wearing them at that time, so you'd think we could have done a pretty fair job at it. Wrong! One of my former students (who now teaches with me) was in that class and to this day, her father laughs at the memory of those horrible shorts...one leg much shorter than the other. I probably discouraged the entire female population of the Ross Barnett Reservoir area from ever tackling such a project again.

Back to subject at hand. One of the great things about my teacher, Mrs. Davis is how she taught us to really take care of our homes and our families. (She always wore the June Cleaver shirtwaist dresses with an apron.) I loved how much she loved her family. She genuinely enjoyed making her home a haven. That made a tremendous impression on my young mind. She was one of the main reasons I majored in Home Economics.

All that being said, today I signed up to enter a crock pot full of chili for our school's Chili Cook Off. (Why do I volunteer to do things like this?) If all goes as planned, 12-15 people will cook and be judged by the Administrators. Faculty will eat what isn't consumed by the judges.

If you'd be so kind, would you comment and let me know any little tips that may help my dish? The last time I tried a new chili recipe, I didn't wear my glasses and added 20 chipolte chilies instead of 2 and permanently scarred my esophagus. I am slightly frantic and need the help by next Friday. Thank you for any tips you might have that might at least help me not come in 15th.

Monday, October 25, 2010

* To Dye or Not To Dye: That Is the ?

I am in quite a quandary....a conundrum of sorts. Many, many MANY women I know dye their hair. I've been watching and evaluating through the years and most women just routinely do the "dye" thing without giving it a second thought. If not dye, then highlight, frost or some such thing. I've always had, as you may have noticed, the most unruly head of hair created. (I just hope that when I get to heaven, my hair looks better than it does on earth.) So it is with much thought that I ask, "Should I or should I not dye?" That is the question.

My hair is now getting to the skunk phase...you know, a stripe of white here and there, especially in the front. With my reading glasses on, I sort of resemble Cruella Deville. The ladies I know that dye, look much younger than their husbands...so that's a plus...it looks like you snagged an older gentleman. People probably think you are loaded...ha. That is another problem, "You Know Who" has snow white hair, so all the students think he's much older than his "child" bride...that would be me.

My question is do I dive in and just try it? Or do I wait until the summer and get used to it myself before I go back to school? Next, what color? No crow black for me....there are at least 5 billion colors...how do you know what it will look like? I don't want to look like Dolly Parton or Wynonna Judd. (I have no idea how to spell Wynonna or Cruella, but you get the gist, don't you?)

Do I go lighter or just cover the gray? How on earth do you choose from such an array? Will the dye make your hair fall out? Oh, mercy, now that WOULD be a horror. Mine is bad enough as it is. I haven't been able to change hair styles in years...I just do the best with what little I have. So now you see my problem. Maybe I will just age "naturally" and look every day of my 60+ years...or maybe I'll take the plunge (figuratively speaking) and come in one day and wow everyone. There's one thing for sure, I must not have many problems if this one is the worst I can think of today!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blogs I Love

I would like to encourage you to check out the blogs I love and follow. The list is to the right of my posts and includes both old and new friends' musings. Some of them use a much cuter format than mine and I love, love, love reading all their stuff. Each is different in its own way and boy, are they talented! Check them out when you have a few extra minutes.
Hope you have a restful Sunday. Remember those who are experiencing heartache and trouble in your prayers.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tip of the Week: Sunshine and Shadows

Today was one of those absolutely beautiful fall days that you can store for future "not so great" days. I like to do that...really drink in all the beauty and when things get tough, pull out the memory from my memory bank and sit and dwell.

We've all had those days when we just need something to distract our minds from the situations at hand. I took pleasure in walking to the mail box this afternoon, riding down the highway and pulling over to snap a picture of hay bales in a pasture. When I saw the beautiful way the sun played through the trees late this afternoon I knew I had to snap that scene, too. My tip for the week is this: Make memories for yourself (as well as for others.) I am a big proponent of making memories for children and grandchildren, but in the last few years I've started saving in MY memory bank, too. I rethink the good times several times during the hours they are actually taking place. I express my gratefulness to God and then carefully file them away. (I probably need to ask Him to help me remember where I filed them when I really need them.)

Make a concerted effort this week to seek good memories and if they are hard to find, then make them yourself...you will be able to use them when the shadows inevitably follow the sunshine.

P.S. Love the Sunshine and Shadows Quilt book and the trees are in my side yard.

The Winner Is......

First, I'd like to say thank you for following my blog. I would love to be able to make a pumpkin to give to every single one of you who "follow"! Your encouragement inspires me and your comments make me laugh out loud. My art is something I take much joy in and hope that you like it, too. So without further ado, the first Mixed Media art giveaway goes to...(drum roll please) Scott Dennis!!! (Please, Email me your address, Scott, so I can mail you your art.)

I will do this the end of November for a Christmas piece of art. You are all back in the running!

Friday, October 22, 2010

* A Most Shocking Tale (Or Tail)

Ah, yes the season of....static electricity approacheth. For some unexplainable reason, I have always attracted static electricity like a magnet. I can't remember all the technical nuances of the phenomenon but I DO know that ever since I was a little girl, during the Fall and Winter I sparkled every time I touched almost anything.

My poor fine hair would to this day stand straight on end if not for the gallons of hairspray used during my life. (I should have bought stock in Pantene years ago.) As a child, my mother would perm the ever loving fire out of my hair to make it behave. (Note my blog picture.)

If a boy that I really liked asked me out for a date the evening would go something like this. I really really wanted to go, but I knew that dating during the winter for a sparkler like me, was a dangerous proposition at best. If he were to hold my hand, sparks (electrical NOT romantic) would fly. If I touched something in the car, it looked like I had a magic fairy wand at the tips of my fingers. So I was perplexed as to whether to say yes or no to the invitation. Well, of course, I said "Yes." And the long evening began. I tried my best not to get too close to anything...especially Romeo. I wore a coat with front pockets and kept my hands hidden all night. (That was sure encouraging to him.) My clothing clung to me, my hands were weapons and if I moved across the seat to exit the car, oh, my! Can you even begin to imagine what would happen if a good night kiss was in order? "Oh, sorry, but I can't kiss in the winter."

Well, to the point of this latest chapter of insanity in my life. Last weekend I was very well organized. I accomplished a great deal Saturday and the one thing I was most proud of was doing all the grocery shopping alone so that my poor tired husband could watch every single ballgame on every single channel on Dish network from dawn to dusk. I noticed that "the season" had begun because the second I entered Wal Mart and the automatic doors opened when I reached for the buggy, it shocked the begebbers out of me. Uh, oh. Mental note...watch all metal...and since there is so little metal in Wal Mart that would only mean I had to be on constant guard every second for the next hour. Try reaching back into the METAL shelf to get the last large can of Bush's Baked Beans located in the outer reaches of space and then drawing your arm back over the metal and touching your buggy. A little child squealed, "Oh, look Mommy! That funny old lady just jumped real high and lightening came out of her hands!"

Anyhoo, I was trying something new while shopping...I wasn't wearing my reading glasses. (I had actually left them in the car and I didn't have the stamina to walk back out to get them.) So I was pretty well flying by the seat of my pants...sparks and all. I needed detergent and Tide cost too much so I noticed on one of the endcaps there was a display of Gain. Better price, new packaging...I went for the Gain. To get this story to The End, all week long we washed clothes, enjoyed the greatest softness ever and had absolutely NO static cling or electricity. The clothes did, however, have a certain limp look to them that I didn't recognize. But boy, Gain was absolutely the BOMB as far as softness and anti cling!

Wednesday evening, Chicken Daddy, came out of the laundry room with his glasses down on his nose. He peered at me and said,"Wanna know why our clothes have been so soft this week?" He didn't have to tell me, I knew I had made a fantastic choice of detergent. "Why?" "Because you bought Gain Fabric Softener NOT detergent! I wondered why my practice socks looked like they hadn't been washed! " We had washed at least 8 loads of laundry without ANY soap only capsful of fabric softener. No wonder everyone asked me what that odd smell was every time they came into my office this week. Polyester + Gain Fabric Softener - Detergent = Ewwwww!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

* The Musical Career Goes Up In Flames

Do you remember just "having" to have something and then as soon as you acquired it, you decided it wasn't so great after all? Whether it was a boyfriend, a new pair of shoes or some other "gotta have it now" item, the lesson is a hard one to forget. Well, that's what happened to me in the seventh grade when I decided that I MUST be in the Junior High Band.

Now, anyone who knew me could have told you this was an idea waiting to fail. My parents, first and foremost, tried to change my mind. They put me off as long as possible, but I was relentless in my pursuit of making music my lifelong career. So after several weeks, they said "Ok."

Both of my father's parents were musicians and very good ones at that. I guess my father was hoping that maybe I had inherited that musical gene. I was hoping that I would be the most accomplished musician in the US, heck, maybe the world. In my mind's eye, I saw it all...the fame, the fortune, the ability to bring down the house. So nothing would deter me from signing up and being the greatest flautist in the county. Ah, yes, the beautiful gleaming silver flute. The perfect instrument for the pre-teen girl with all the great dreams!

My father arrived home from work and in he walked with a strangely shaped large leather case. We all gathered in anticipation of what he had in that case. His presentation went something like this..."Now you all know that your sister, Angela will be in the beginner's band. We want to support her and make sure that she practices and does her very best to realize this dream. So tonight I'd like to present her with her first musical instrument!" "Hmmmm, mighty big case for such a small instrument like a flute," I thought. When he opened that case I nearly dropped dead...not from excitement, I must add. Lying there, in all its satin-lined case glory was a curvy old instrument that looked like a pipe. "What in the world is that thing?" I inquired. "Why, it's my first alto saxophone! I thought you'd be a perfect match for it! I'm handing it down to you."

You know, I don't like to sound ungrateful, but a saxophone roughly the same height as me was not exactly what I had in mind. I smiled weakly. "Try it out! Try it out!" my brother and sister shouted. "Certainly," my father said," here let me help you." He brought the thing out and then reached in and pulled out a mouthpiece, a reed and a neckstrap. "You have to put it together?" I questioned. He snapped everything together, put the strap around my neck and for the next 30 minutes I almost blew my brains out trying to make a sound emit from the curvy beast.

I dutifully lugged that case to band every day..."Oh, I spoke to Mr. Mitchell today. He said you had real promise," said my proud father. (Promise? promise of what?) That sax squawked like a goose having his last honk before being plucked every time I tried to play it. I sat in band and glared at the flute and clarinet players..(Greer played the clarinet but I got the 500 pound old saxophone!) I didn't like biting down on the mouthpiece so I'd put my lip between the mouthpiece and my teeth. After an hour or so my lip was permanently indented and I looked like an adolescent who had upper lip implants.

To make a long story bearable, our big day arrived. We got to march in the Greenwood Christmas parade. Mr. and Mrs. B took Greer and me to Greenwood and rented a hotel room for the day. We were decked out in 100% wool uniforms and those hats with the plumes....Oh, my gosh. We were to play Jingle Bells and did we ever....for about 20 miles it seemed. By the time we rounded the corner to the main street area, I was sweating, panting (from lack of oxygen) and barely able to walk, much less toot that darn horn. My musical career came to a screeching halt that day in the delta sun.

To this day, I have trouble holding my head up straight (and of course, that's due to the stress that was put on my neck.) A small (but sturdy) young woman has NO business being forced to strap on a forty pound weight on her small neck. Gone were the dreams of playing lovely songs onstage with the Philharmonic...a gauzy musical nymph leaping about with the gleaming silver flute. But I did learn something very valuable through that experience, sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. However, when you get to the other side, you will find that they just used more fertilizer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

* Up We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

If you read this blog regularly, you have already figured out that anything athletic (except my husband) isn't my thing. An incident came to mind this morning that I found rather comical now that there is 50 years distance from the day of the happening. The "incident" occurred the day I learned to ride a bicycle.

I don't ever remember having a small bike with training wheels...maybe a tricycle, but not a training bike. Among other things (lizards, off color lipstick, and bad fitting shoes) I am very afraid of heights. So the fact that this took place on an extremely elevated plain leaves me breathless to this day. Everyone I knew rode a bike, with the exception of me. Greer, my ever the dare devil friend, had a brand spanking new one. I think it had little streamers that came out of the handgrips. When she rode, the streamers whipped in the wind. Oh, how I longed to zoom by a group of friends, hair blowing in the wind (well, maybe not) but at least my streamers tossing about.

Every time I got on a bike to "practice", I'd wobble and eventually (after several seconds) would crash. It must have been my balance problem. I still have to watch that to this day. I wobble to and fro most of the work day. It's quite exhausting working plus staying upright for 8 hours.
So on this day, I figure that Mr. B (Greer's dad) took pity on her little bobbling friend (me) and decided this was it! He got me out in her yard and I practiced until even he, the ever present hand on the back of the bike, was worn out. After what seemed like hours, he made a decision that probably changed my life forever.

Greer lived on the tippy tippy top of a hill on Line Street. When going up into her driveway, it felt a lot like going up to the top of a roller coaster. I would clutch the car seat and hold my breath until we made it safely to the flat area of her drive. Anyway, Mr. B rolled the bike and me to the top of the driveway and said, "Ok, little Missy, this is it." What??? What was It??? What on earth was he thinking? I know what I was thinking....my short life flashed before my bugged out eyes. "I think," he continued," you are ready for the big time." (Could he be referring to my ascent to heaven?) I balked.

Patiently he persisted. "You can do this." He righted me on the seat (which, btw, was too tall for my short legs). With that he gave me a push and it was do or die! I put my feet on those pedals and pedaled for dear life. Down the hill I went, streamers flying and hair flat back against my head. When I hit the flat surface of the street, I kept going. I did it! I kept my balance and conquered the beastly hill. What a day! I can still see Mr. B standing at the top of the hill, grinning and clapping. You would have thought he had just launched Sputnik...and in a way he did! I owe him much, but most of all I owe him for teaching me to conquer a fear and soar into the unknown, knees knocking, but soaring none the less. Thanks, Mr. B. (This would have been Mr. B's 99th birthday today!!) Such a good friend!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Name for Laziness: Voluntary Inertia

Finally, my computer is back in working order! I didn't realize how "attached" I was to it until it was gone for a whole week. (Just like missing your child when they are gone to camp.) I missed several days worth of posts for the blog so I will try to make up for it this week.

Today I was reading the Woman's Day magazine dated November 1 and realized how close the holidays really are."Holidays Made Easy" features a 10 week plan to make your holidays go more smoothly. Each week is broken down into about 4 or 5 major tasks to accomplish, but the first week is the most important and the one I felt was the most useful. The old saying, "Prepare & Prevent instead of Repair & Repent" came to mind while I was thinking about the upcoming mayhem that we like to call the "holidays."

The four accomplishments for this first week were: 1. Evaluate 2. Make a calendar 3. Budget
4. Map a workout plan. #4 is so you won't have extra weight to go along with your light weight wallet after the holidays pass. (It's bad enough to be broke, but to be fatter and broke is THE worst!)

My Master Plan is to follow their Master Plan. First I will evaluate what is really most important during the holidays...is it worship, food, decorating, gifts? What are my goals and priorities? Write down the priorities. Then get out the calendar and plan a strategy. (Here is where the book The Art of War comes in handy.) Divide (the tasks) and conquer...pace yourself...don't get overloaded. And then comes the BUDGET....ahhhh, the budget. You know the sticky wicket that us poor folks have to deal with everyday of our lives. Set a budget and stick to it...my problem is that if I shop too early, I can't seem to quit when I am finished. I keep finding other things that people would like...so this year I am sticking to the budgeted amount...that's my story and I'm sticking to it, too.

Lastly, the age old problem of gaining weight over the holidays. I believe if I "diet" now, I could afford a little splurge now and then during the holidays. So back on the wagon I go.

Wow, all that was week 1! Get a copy of the magazine. I think you'd enjoy seeing some of the weekly plans (even though I must admit, some plans are rather lame.) BTW: check out the cute portion control plates pictured above right. Some lucky reader of Woman's Day magazine will win a set! Pretty and practical.

Remember the four steps to accomplishment:
1. Plan purposefully. 2. Prepare prayerfully. 3. Proceed positively. 4. Pursue persistently.

Now, quit procrastinating and get busy. "The only thing lazy people do fast is get tired!"

PS: Don't forget to sign up as a follower. I will draw for the pumpkin art this weekend!! You must be a follower to be eligible.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some Color From My House to Yours

My beautifully colored oaks and Bradford Pears.

One pear is red and one is turning gold. Gold one
gets lots more water. Is that the reason?

When I drove in the drive this afternoon, the sun was shining through just perfectly! The leaves are finally beginning to turn in south Mississippi.

You Just Gotta Go!! Canton Flea Market

If you've never been to the Canton, Mississippi Flea Market, you MUST attend before your demise. My sister and I used to exhibit in the 1970's (oh, my), but it's much more fun to attend. It's probably the largest crafts fair in the southeast...if not, then it's close. The entire little town of Canton opens its doors (and pocketbooks) to thousands of eager shoppers beginning as early as you want (just bring a good flashlight) twice a year in the fall and spring.

My friend and her sweet mom invited me and we had the most fun day! Her mom had knee replacement surgery several months before and if you want an example of a REAL trooper, then she is the one to see! For five hours we walked and shopped and she never once even thought about complaining! We'd walk single file, with Friend in front relaying "danger alerts" backward. "Manhole ahead, don't trip!" she'd holler. I heard her mom respond once, "If it's not open, we're ok!" Then, "There's a dip in this grass, don't twist an ankle." To which I replied, "As long as she means a hole and not snuff from somebody's mouth, I'm ok."

My friend bought something that I've wanted to buy forever. She bought a Bottle Tree. Seeing all those colored bottles shining in the sunlight is a delight to me! We also took the time to stop, listen and BUY CD's of the guy who plays those reed flutes. I've wanted to do that every time I've attended and never have. It's fun to own two, and one is a Christmas CD.

We took a little break to have a funnel cake and coffee and were seated on the funnel cake makers picnic table. We three were all on one side and a cute high school couple was on the other side. When the "boy" half of the couple got up we barely noticed, but when his 100 pound (maybe 100) girlfriend got up, the weight of our side almost tipped the table over! I immediately went to the other side to anchor it. Lovely. Ten years ago, I'd never have admitted to that.

At lunch we sat in a lady's backyard under large shade trees and ate our Penn's chicken on a stick and fish and drank sweet tea. We had to pay $15 to park "close" but with shade trees and restroom facilities, I'd say it was money well spent. (Thanks, Miss June!)

I have noticed something recently. I've begun to like "tacky" things. Twenty years ago, I'd never have given a second look to a pink metal flamingo. But they keep calling my name, and I've resisted. I am still torn between perceived good taste and tacky fun. But you know, if I happen to run into another metal flamingo or a flying pig, I might just bend. I know, I know, there's a very thin line between tacky and wacky, but you only go around once...why not cross that line every once in a while....it might be fun!

It's so great to be able to spend the day, laughing and looking with good friends. Thanks, you two for inviting me. I love you both! I propose that ALL of you come join us sometime...wouldn't that be fun? We'd take the town by storm!! They'd never know what hit 'em.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Progress Is In the Eye of the Beholder:Laptops

Ok, what's with the laptop obsession? I find them quite awkward and I can't locate half of the buttons... First I can't figure out the rubbing your fingers over that square thing to move the mouse...I move to the left when I meant to go to the right. And the red button in the middle? What in the world is that for? I nearly beat the square to death until I figured out that a gentle touch will do the trick.

Anyway, I was setting up the laptop on my desk in FRONT of my old monitor. (My computer hard drive is in the shop.) I have a drawer in my desk that slides out to reveal the keyboard. So I pull out the drawer and begin typing....nothing appears....type again...still nothing. I check all the cords. Everything looks fine. Begin typing on my OLD keyboard again...I am so frustrated! Why in the world won't the thing type?! Mutter a few choice words. Wiggle wires again and ooops! Big Discovery: you can't use your old keyboard to type on the laptop. It has its own keyboard.

Even worse, I have repeated this process ( pulling out the drawer and typing a few short seconds) about 40 times this week before I realize my mistake. To remedy the situation, I have pushed the old keyboard to the back of the drawer and put the laptop on the sliding drawer. The only problem is that the drawer now sticks out so far that I am about 20 inches from the front of the desk. This is progress? (Don't even get me started about the IPad.)

I Love & Appreciate My Mother More Every Day

I was blessed for 58 years with a wonderful mother. I truly believe she loved me with all her heart. She and I had our "moments" as all mothers and daughters do, but I can honestly say that I never doubted her love and devotion for a minute.

On October 13, she will have been gone for three years and there isn't a day that passes that I don't think about her and wish that she were here with us.

Once she said to me that she missed her own Mother more than she ever realized that she would, and that many times she actually went to the phone to call her to tell something and then the reality of her absence would sink ever deeper into her heart. From the minute Mother passed from this life to Heaven, I understood that feeling. Just as her presence changed me and helped mold me, her absence changed something inside me forever.

The flowers on the left were in her memory at my church Sunday. They were so beautiful and I think she would have liked the arrangement very much. I'd like to thank my friend and florist, Mary for arranging them exactly as I requested.

The picture on the right is one some of you have seen before. It was taken in 1956. I was the flower girl in the wedding of my mother's best friend, Peggy. It was a beautiful Christmas wedding, everyone was in white with sparkly silver baskets of poinsettias. I can still visualize the scene. Peggy's daughter, Patti, was my Jr. Bridesmaid when I married. When Mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, Peggy drove to see her and spend the night to give us a little break away from the hospital. Those visits meant so much to my mother. They laughed and talked and Mother said she felt better just having Peggy near. Friends are such a balm to the soul at a time of dire distress. Mother lived 2 1/2 months after her diagnosis and Peggy had a long scheduled hospital procedure the day of Mother's funeral...but when we got to the cemetery after a long ride from Jackson, Ms. there she was. Peggy literally got up off that hospital table and came to honor my mother! What a lady! My mother always did have good taste in friends.

I would like to publicly thank all the women in my life...mothers of my childhood friends, church "mamas", circle friends, student friends who have become young women friends, co-worker friends and just plain everyday friends...both young and old. I love you all and I hope you have been blessed with a mother like mine... but if you weren't, then be a mama to somebody else just like mine. Blessed be the tie that binds.... Thank you, Lord, for giving me those precious years with my mother.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog "Give Away" Canvas : The "Thanks" Pumpkin

Well, here it is! A 7"x7" canvas for the lucky winner of my first blog "Give Away." All you have to do is register as a "Follower."
I enjoyed making this and I must admit the colors are much more vivid than the picture is showing. I am using a borrowed computer and don't have Photoshop to make the image show as it really does, but you get the idea, I hope.
I used a combination of papers, acrylics and ink to craft this "Thanks" pumpkin. It's burnished with gold and the green leaves are torn handmade paper. The "curly ques" were cut with the Cricut. The backing paper is some beautiful scrapbook paper I ran across a while back. This will look pretty in somebody's den or kitchen for the autumn season. I hope you like it. I plan to draw the winner in the next week or so. Just my way of saying "Thanks" for reading my nonsense!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tip of the Week: Boo! Pumpkin Pillows for the Porch

You know I am on this "saving $" kick, but I really wanted to have a cute orange and white polka dot pillow in my porch rocker. I just couldn't justify the expenditure. (This "trying to be conservative" thing is a very new experience for me, please, bear with me.)
As I was browsing in Big Lots for something to monogram with the new Cricut, I stumbled upon these clear orange pumpkin trick or treat bags...hmmmm...what if I took this home and stuffed my black and white ticking pillow inside?

When I drove in the driveway I charged right to the front porch and unceremoniously stuffed that sucker right into the bag and tied the top shut with the black cloth handles! Eureka! A funny pillow for $1.50 (plus tax, of course.) Not as cute as orange polka dots, but lots cheaper and it saved some time. I love a good deal.

Also pictured above is my first attempt at using the Cricut. I layered the colors for the owl. Hope you will share something fun you've done for the season...
Reminder: Registered "Followers" of this blog are in the running for a small mixed media canvas drawing later this month. If you read it, you might as well register. You don't have to use your real name...we'll understand your need for anonymity.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

*Boring Sister, State Fairs & MSCW Germs

I always was an old woman in a little girl's body. The oldest of three and the most unadventurous...while "golden girl middle child Sister", was perfecting her flips off the diving board, I was under a pool umbrella, trying to make sure the potholders I was looming were straight and color coordinated. While personable youngest child Brother was falling through the neighbor's ceiling into their downstairs den (he was walking on the attic rafters), I was making sure that my closet was neat and tidy. Adventure was NOT my middle name. The A stood for Anne.

When the girls my age "sneaked" out at night and ran amok in the neighborhood, I sat at my window and pleaded with them to go home before they were kidnapped. (Never "the life of the party" was I!) Once I must confess I made a prank phone call to Mrs. Brister (the mother of the boy that all the mothers wanted their daughter to marry) and asked her if her refrigerator was running and when she replied, "Why, yes it is." I giggled and told her that she better go catch it. There you have it, probably the most outlandish thing in my young life....boooo ring! I carried around guilt from that call for years.

So now we come to the time of the year that I dreaded the most growing up and still do...State Fair time. In the olden days, we Grenadians didn't come to Jackson very often. The interstate wasn't completed southward only north to Memphis, so the State Fair was only a distant thing to us. But each year we did have a county fair and small fairs with rides and such. This was the height of my adventuresome nature.

Once my friend Martha Ray went with our family to the fair and while we were riding the "Spider" she became so nauseated she threw up all over me and everyone else that was downwind of us. That pretty much did it for me but what happened next put the nail in the coffin for the fair forever.

After the "throwing up" incident, we were walking behind some men who were chewing tobacco. They'd walk and spit and walk and spit. (It just makes me queasy thinking about it even after all these years.) I began following that trail and was doing my best to avoid stepping in it. I became obsessed with NOT stepping where ANYTHING like that spit might be.. and that narrowed my path considerably. I became internally hysterical with the thought of having all those germs on my shoes. When I got home, I refused to come into the house with those shoes on...and to this day...I do NOT patronize the State Fair or any other kind of such event because I can't afford new shoes every time I attend.

I know, I know...you are labeling me obsessive compulsive....but if you ever took Microbiology at MSCW (now MUW) like I did, then you'd know what we as humans are up against in the battle against germs. I think that course did more to make young women into obsessive house cleaners than any single course in the curriculum. So until this "Fair Mania" runs its course, I'll just be content to watch the proceedings on TV and try to spread the message about why I don't attend the festivities. Ya'll have a good weekend....ewwwww.

Don't forget to sign up as a "Follower" of this blog to become eligible for the Mixed Media canvas I am giving away at the end of the month!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Followers' Drawing for Mixed Media Canvas!

I have been so busy these past two days that I haven't even had time to blog! When I miss a day, I feel like I've missed talking to friends. I know that seems strange, but I've become very attached to my friends on this site. Whether you "comment" publicly or to me in person, I love hearing your thoughts and ideas.

I'd like to thank you for reading my foolishness and to do so, I will be drawing (at the end of October) for one of my small mixed media canvases. I will draw from my "followers list" and if you'd like to be a part of this, then simply sign up as a follower. Signing up is easy and if you already have a google account, then it's really easy. If you don't have an account, it takes just a minute to sign up...no strings attached. You do not have to post a picture and you can post under a screen name, if you prefer. Just make sure I have your email address.

I will post a picture of the canvas in the next week and you may be the "winner." It's just my way of saying "Thank you for all the encouraging words!"

I would like to tell you that I have had a lengthy prayer list this week and God has been faithful to just outright answer several requests. It shouldn't surprise me when He is so timely, but it's always a wonderful thrill when He chooses to say "YES" to something quickly. I must also tell you that there have been many requests that He doesn't answer as quickly or with a YES, but I have found that He knows best and I must be patient. Patience is a virtue in which I am sorely lacking...I feel like that old quote, "Lord, please give me patience and give it to me NOW!" So even as I get older, I still have to learn to wait on Him and His perfect timing.

I love this blog and I appreciate your taking time to read it. Have a great weekend. I'll post Tips sometime this weekend!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkins, Apples, Cinnamon & Scarecrows

It might just be me, but I love the smell and the taste of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon all year long. So why do places like Bath and Body Works clear the shelves of the good smelling stuff after the holidays? (Then they put out the poor substitutes like "I Love You" and "Down the Moonlit Path" and wonder why sales fall off!) Does anyone know where to get a good pumpkin spice latte anytime of the year except fall?

There is something so comforting about coming home to a crackling fire in the fireplace and the smell of cinnamon wafting through the house. If hubby gets home first and starts the fire I am just in bliss. Last weekend, I bought a funny little pumpkin for my antique child's wheelbarrow. I surrounded it with straw and put up a perky scarecrow behind it on my white picket fence. With the mums just blooming and the chill in the air, it makes me so happy to drive in my driveway in the afternoon.

This year, $ is tight. I would love to have more than one pumpkin, but I am, like everyone else, "tightening the belt." I only bought 5 mums, but they are full and pretty and are just loaded with buds. A young friend and his wife are about to head to N. Carolina to spend some time in a cabin and see the leaves change into their glorious colors. What a beautiful season Autumn is! What a wonderful, gracious God we serve...He knew our fickleness...our restless desire for change....and even though He NEVER changes...He presents us with four distinct seasons for our pleasure and delight. My very favorite is Autumn. Thank You, Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

* Diet & Little Debbie Update

Thought I'd give a quick update on the "diet." You know the one that my insurance company subtly suggested that I adopt...the 750 calories a day one. Dieting in earnest lasted 8 days...I fell off the wagon when I was celebrating the 5 pound loss. It took several days to get back in the saddle...I never regroup quickly. Once, my friend Greer and I were riding a horse in her backyard. Don't ask why, it's a long story. I was in back and she was in front commandeering the wild steed. I saw her duck, but I was very nearsighted and didn't see why until the clothesline caught me around the neck and flipped me backwards off the back end of the horse. Took me weeks to get over the cracked ribs. I had the same feeling with the diet once I strayed.

I am now in the stage of questioning the wisdom of a diet at my age. Is it really necessary? Will it really be worth it? What about Jim Fixx, the world class runner? All those miles, all that lean body mass and he dropped dead of a heart attack. Hummmm? Besides, I like to keep a few extra pounds around to help "plump" out those wrinkles (on my face). Also, I understand that a plumper person can float better in water than a skinny one. So if I am ever stranded in the ocean, I have a better chance of survival.

I have cut my Little Debbie consumption down to one per day. (And I have just discovered she makes delightful Petite Strawberry Cakes that are delicious and not very high in calories.) I am taking vitamins and I really have cut out some of the more troublesome junk foods...blocks of cream cheese, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Snickers and mayonnaise. So I actually am doing pretty well. I have still lost the 5 pounds and I've decided not to hurry the process. Just let it fall off slowly...besides the holidays are approaching and you know what that means...."I'll start the diet right after the first of the year" syndrome hits. I AM going to try to watch what foods I eat during the holidays and maybe I'll have some good news on Jan. 1st!

Monday, October 4, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Do you remember a time in your life when you actually didn't know what that old saying meant? No good deed goes unpunished should be embedded deeply in my poor brain, but alas, I continue to try and prove it wrong.

Do you recall telling your best high school friend that her boyfriend was a no good cheating bum and then watched her walk away and run directly into his arms? She never spoke to you again. Man, speaking of "killing the messenger."

Remember the casserole you took to the bereaved neighbor and she happened to get sick and told everyone in the community that it was YOUR food that did it? Or the time a friend asked for your "HONEST" opinion about something, you drew a breath, told the truth and she never trusted you again?

Well, my life has been littered with good intentions that went awry. Last week was no exception. I had a wreck. I had a completely unexplainable encounter with a NO PARKING sign that got the best of me, my passenger side mirror and my right front tire. There, I've said it.

Now, how did this happen? I was leaving my daddy's apartment. I had just returned his freshly washed and folded laundry to him. (The Good Deed). I was trying to avoid something in the road and the next thing I know I was mowing down the sign. Was the sign too close to the street? Yes, it most certainly was. Was the sign injured? No, it was not. Was "hubby" happy with me? No, he was not. Did I enjoy the week in the rental car? No. I couldn't see over the steering wheel...problematic for me.

Now, the BIG question: Will I quit doing good deeds? Answer: NO, I will NOT. I will keep on keeping on. Am I nuts? Maybe.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tip of The Week: Easy Autumn Apple Spice Cake & Mums

This is my ABSOLUTE favorite time of the year!! There is nothing like a day like today! Breezy, cool and sunny. Hubby and I rode to Monroe, Louisiana to Paul Michael's. For those of you who don't know, Paul Michael's is a decorator's delight! They have so much stuff stuffed in that store that it is just bursting at the seams with everything wonderful for your home. And then there is the back part of the store called "Alley Cats"....marked down things that make your heart flutter. There is also a Paul Michael's in Lake Village, Arkansas.

After shopping and enjoying my partner's company, we came home to football on the TV and I sneaked off to buy some mums and cake mix! Strange combination, you say? Not at all. After planting the mums and tidying up the flower beds, I came in and got right to the job of making a wonderful spice cake. It was so easy that I wanted to share it with you. I just made it up as I went along.

Autumn Apple Spice Cake

1 box of spice cake mix ( 3 eggs, 1/3 c. oil and 1 1/3 c. water was called for by the mix)

1 Granny Smith apple (washed,chopped, but not peeled)

small bag of walnut pieces

2 small snack boxes raisins

can of cream cheese frosting


Mix cake according to directions on box. Add most of walnuts, all raisins and chopped apple.

Pour into an oiled, floured oblong pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 32 minutes. Remove and let cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting. I added some cinnamon to the frosting and sprinkled the top with walnuts. I think carrots instead of apples would be good, too. Yummy with morning coffee...

Also found an inexpensive cake carrier and added polka dots and initials. Fall's the bomb!!