Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bridal Shower

(This post was first published August 30, 2006.)

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present."

Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birthday Fun Times

Well, it's my BIRTHDAY! I'm as old as there are cards in a (complete) deck of cards. Does this mean I'm now playing with a full deck?

Lily and her children came over this morning to sing to Grandma. How blessed I am to have them live so close!

Then, this afternoon, Forget-me-not brought Blueberry over! I got lots of love from him. Forget-me-not related the happy news that morning sickness is all but over for this time around. Oh, I remember those days well--do we ever forget them?

Since I had So Much Company, I decided to treat myself to lunch by myself at Cracker Barrel (with three hundred other people; yeah, I know...) I was not aware that I got a free dessert on my birthday--peach cobbler with ice cream. Oh, it's all good.

Since it is Wednesday (kids going to church) and Charming working today, we will have Dinner and Cake another night next week. Charming is due home soon, and we will have a couple of hours Alone. Together. Treat supreme!

I Finally took a picture of the quilt Blackeyed Susan and I made for her friend's high school graduation. It is very simple, pretty prints in a five-patch pattern. With the alternating plain squares, it almost looks like an Irish Chain:
The back is a butterfly/frog/dragonfly themed "cheater quilt":
We tied it with purple crochet thread, and I bound it in a purple tonal fabric.
The other thing I've been doing recently is knitting dishcloths. *JUST* as I snapped the picture, our cat sprang across my view:
Blackeyed Susan had to hold him so I could take the photo:
I still have four or five balls of cotton yarn, so I'll keep on going, and have a few quickie gifts ready in my gift box. These are quick and fun!
Don Quixote made me a custom card with the sentiment, "52 is the new 42--the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything"--a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, and to something I heard recently, about 60 being the New 40. Yeah, I am so into that....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why, yes, my family IS weird...

Heard around the homeschool this week:

--the difference between a troubadour and a minstrel (thank you, World Book!)

--the founding of Rome: 753 B.C., the fall of Rome 476 A.D., the fall of Constantinople, formerly Byzantium, futurely Istanbul, 1453 A.D.

--trying to remember the lyrics to They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul not Constantinople"

--chuckling over Don Quixote's using the Fall of Constantinople (1453) as his default setting on his wristwatch alarm

--Kingdom Monera (including bacteria), listening to restaurant managers Daddy and Joe Hardy regaling us with food-borne illness stories they learned at Serv-Safe classes. Eeuuww.

--Learning that a "mild" case of botulism can cause high fever, vomiting, and severe diarrhea, and laughing at anyone who would inject such a poison in their body (i.e., Botox)

--Laughing at women in the 1890's who took little bits of arsenic to make themselves "pale."

--Dividing expressions with "x" variables, such as 3x - 6 over 3, divided by, 4 over 6x - 12. Blackeyed Susan asking, "when would I ever use this in real life?" Me answering, well, unless you work in Math, I guess NEVER. But, you still have to learn it, so you can do Higher Math that you will never use again, either.

--Okay, kids, time to read. "Can't we clean the bathrooms instead?" Alien children. I have Alien children...

edited to add: By the way, I took Latin class beginning in 1969, and *I* remembered the dates of the founding and fall of Rome. (preening my feathers, here). Maybe that doesn't say so much, because I also remember David Cassidy's birthday is April 12, and Donny Osmond's is December 9, from the Tiger Beat magazines my friend and I read. Maybe all information remembered is not all that useful...but if you ever need to know the dates of the founding and fall of Rome, let me know...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Of Games and Books, and Family Rivalry

I was reading this post over at the Common Room and thought about a memory of my own, playing the game CatchPhrase.

It was our custom for many years to buy a new game at Christmas-- like Guesstures, Crack the Case, Tri-bond, Apples to Apples--you get the picture. My children are SO competitive at games, that they have banned several from ever being played again, at least by the group. Others they give a forty-five minute time limit to, before two or three (unnamed) persons Ruin It For Everybody, and they have to put the game away and huff around for awhile until they Get Over It.

Somehow, CatchPhrase has never caused any arguments, and is a game that my younger two were able to join in with. So, even if we get a new game at Christmas, after the Big Blowup, we will pull out CatchPhrase once again.

A couple of years ago, my brother hosted an informal Game night sometime Christmas week. Four or five of my children came along, both kids-in-law, and my other brother with his kids. We decided to play CatchPhrase, and counted off one-two-one-two around the circle, to determine teams. No one noticed at that time that both my brothers and I ended up on team Two. We began to play, and it was soon evident that Three Of Us had grown up in the same environment. bam. Bam. BAM! One game after another we won, won, won. It was really fun to see what clues each would come up with.

Now, I am really proud of my own Family Culture--my daughter- and son-in-law are always proud to learn another Piece of it for their Arsenal. But even though there are more of *them,* my two brothers and I Smashed 'em to pieces!

Actually, the point of this post was going to be something about how you need to celebrate your family culture, and how it likes to come out and play with you at get-together time. But somehow, I got really Violently Excited about beating my children. Like the old joke:

Do you beat your children?
Yes, all the time.
Well, how else will they learn to play checkers?

In other news, my sister (who lives across the country) and I have decided to Read A Book together. She said she missed many of the *classics* the first time around, but wasn't interested in swashbuckling stories or Two Years Before the Mast or anything like that. We decided to think about a book or two and talk later.

She called back and suggested Lost Horizon by James Hilton (one of my fave books) and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because she knew many people who had read it. I looked it up on the library website--1075 pages. That is One Thousand, Seventy-Five. Pages.

So, I guess we will start with Lost Horizon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Small Treasures from a Summer Day

God is the coolest! This morning we found, resting on the porch wall, what appeared to be an old brown leaf, but in reality was some kind of moth:
Another opportunity to discuss the creativity of God, putting natural camouflage in place for species that are "prey ."

Here is booty from a small thrifting adventure. I thought I was getting a great bargain, at nineteen cents apiece. Until you look closer at the original seventeen cent price marks!
I am so excited to get those Veil Pins--all of my veils were so messy before! :) They were stuck into the crochet yarn, for 59 cents.
I also got Alvin Fernald a pair of brown leather Skechers for $3.00. He says he will only be able to wear them a little while, as his toes are "right at the end." Sigh. Here I thought he'd have to wait awhile until his feet Grew Into Them. What are you going to do with a 12-year old? Love 'em and feed 'em, I guess...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Word Play

For my pregnant Daughter Forget-me-not and Daughter-in-law Lily:

In the throes of morning sickness
She throws up thrice a day.
It threw her for a loop
Well before it was through.
It's influence was thorough.

Friday, August 10, 2007

About Violet (far from the "shrinking" kind)

Today is Violet's birthday!

Because of her job as rector of a women's dorm, she is in the throes of Training New R.A.'s. Then comes Move-In Weekend, Freshman activities (she calls them "the babies," as in, "Mom, the babies are coming next week!") followed by Opening Football Weekend ("wake up the echoes, cheering her name" will give you a clue as to Which university we are talking about). Since she is in the midst of the four Most Stressful weeks of her year, I don't know how she is celebrating. I'd be glad to make her a cake, if I could find her...

Right out of the box (if you will) she was feisty--a drama queen to the max. The best big-sister ever, inventing fun things to do. A daughter of which to be ultra-proud. She loves the Lord, and loves her family. Just an all-around Quality Girl.

So, kiddo, wherever you are, running around campus, have a wonderful day. And would you please send those game tickets our way?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Conversation in the Dugout

Alvin Fernald (aged twelve) talking with his thirteen-year-old baseball buddy last week:

Buddy: Dude, how old is your Mom?

Alvin: She's fifty-one.

Buddy: Dude!

Alvin: She had me when she was thirty-nine.

Buddy: Dude! My Mom's not thirty-nine yet!!

Sigh. Some days I feel older than others.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Piece of History Washes Ashore

"On a [late fall] day when the sea was rippled
By a soft and gentle breeze
A ship set sail for a harbor laden
To a port beyond the seas.
There were fond farewells and loving signals
While her form was yet discerned,
But they knew not 'twas a solemn parting,
For the ship has never returned.

--"The Ship that Never Returned"--Henry Clay Work

Although Barry Bonds is All Over the News with his home-run record, (and all of the controversy surrounding....) I found this article much more interesting. Maybe you are too young to remember this (it happened in 1975), but I remember my horror that this kind of thing still happened. I understand why sailors have a great respect for the sea:

Gordon Lightfoot memorialized this event in song:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitchee Gumee
Superior, it's said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty.
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
In the Maritime Sailors Cathedral.
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

--"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"--Gordon Lightfoot