Thursday, June 30, 2011

Visiting...


Even though it was a quick trip, we managed to squeeze in a visit to my cousin
(if you could bottle my cousin and uncle's genes and sell them (cousin 60 and uncle 90) the fountain of youth would be discovered! My mother standing beside them with little to no make up at age 76 is looking like a spring chicken too....maybe I am just getting older. Hmmmmmmmm


 my ninety year old uncle who can still drive a car and...


A four wheeler ~ always a man with an amazing amount of "get up an go", he  can even mow his own lawn!  This man was in the air-force in World War 2 and flew many missions back and forth to Japan.  We have an actual Japanese hibachi that he brought my mother  that was the prototype for the popular "Great Green Egg".  My mother uses it all the time and it cooks meat to perfection.


My mother and I ~ enjoying her back yard...it is beautiful


Always fretting over her roses ~ and her mother always fretted over her roses.  My grandmother had no less than a hundred rosebushes in her yard.   I never think of her without the scent of roses drifting through my mind.   Her roses were everywhere - they were beautiful and unlike most roses of today...they had fragrance.....oh my, did they have fragrance.



My highschool friends - I rarely get to go home and it is a treat to catch up with them.  


They introduced us to a new hobby ~ Geocaching!  We have heard about it but never tried it.  Now that I have a new IPhone, we downloaded the app and headed off for our first geocache search!  For those of you that are novices, you need to join in the fun...my friend Delaine, is the expert.  (She is the one with the brown shirt and black pants on)  Her father is 101 years old...thats right...over 100 years old and her mother is around 80? They recently had health issues that landed them in a rehab facililty and Delaine just didn't have too much she could actually do with them besides go out and eat.  There is just so much going to eat and then you need another activity!  So, she hit upon geocaching.  She loads her parents in the car, turns her IPhone on and starts driving.  It gives a 101 year old man some kind of an adventure to "hunt for treasure" and a sense of reward when he finds it.  Not to mention something he can do that is outside, with his daughter, but doesn't require a lot of activity.  As she says...just what do you do with a a 101 year old man???? As far as I am concerned, my friend is a bona fide saint. We had a ball and have been finding treasures ever since....if you have an IPhone, just download the app, and away you go...they are everywhere ~ right under your nose!


Here  we are closing in on one at the park near my Mother's house


 Just punch in your address and they are all around you!!!!


You will find all types of geocaches - most are small, well hidden and tucked away.  All are signed and dated by the treasure hunters who have previously discovered  them.  The ones we found were several years old and had been found many times....modern day treasure hunting!





And after a long, hot day of geocaching, there was a delightful sound that wafted through the house...one that we don't hear in Louisiana....one of an ice cream truck!  You can see by the picture above that the girls wasted no time in running in the direction from which it came ~ back to the park!


The Pay Off was big! Don't know why we don't have these where we live but it is a nice
 treat when we visit!


Ellen went for frozen lemonade. 


The girls needed cooling off because our next project was to tackle this attic....my Sara has been dying to check out Gram's attic and see what treasure (not geocache treasures) that it holds.  It did not disappoint!


 They found the doll and doll clothes my Aunt Martha made for me when I was very young - clothes fit for a queen...but for a doll.  For girls that know how to sew ~ it was quite impressive!


What doll has a fur lined wool coat?????




Every trashbag held a treasure


Ellen is wearing a Flamenco costume that my parents bought me in Spain and Sara is wearing a 
TRUE SEVENTIES OUTFIT!

This is one of my grandmother's suits ~ which dates it back to the beginning of the 1900s...the clothes were so elegant.  My mother saved just a few things of my grandmothers and some unbelievable dresses that my Aunt Martha made (same women who made the doll dresses above).  They are long dresses  that are made of handmade lace!  I didn't get a pic as I wasn't really thinking about blogging 
 but they were impressive! 



One of my Formals ~ So Eighties!!!!!  It looks so good on Sara!


Sara's big score.. a bona fide Mexican dress that I bought in Mexico when I was 13.  My father had just died of cancer and that scrappy lady you see there hugging my daughter decided that instead of spending a summer pining away for my Dad in a small Southern town, we were going to have an adventure.  And have an adventure we did!  We got in our brown and white striped van (remember those), and drove - yes drove ~ to Guanajuato, Mexico and spent the entire summer there -  that dress does have some memories!


When the Moon hits the sky


Like a big "Pizza"


 pie 


Thats AMORE!!!!
Not sure how that goes with the Mexican Dress, but hey, the pizza was amazing!

And now I must say Good Night ~ there is one more interesting day left but I just don't have the energy to include it in this post....it will have to come later.  Stay tuned for one more exciting day in TN.....I discovered something there that I did not know existed after 47 years and 
I am going to share it with you tomorrow!

Tune In Tomorrow...same bat time....same bat channel!



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Train they call "The City of New Orleans"




Summer is well on the way, and so much has been happening ~ our days are packed and I thought my blog would be reflective of our busy life.  However, the busy days have prevented me from documenting all the fun....I never neglect to photograph ~ much to the chagrin of my daughters...they good naturedly grin and bear it when I whip out the camera at all moments of their lives - day and night/ 24-7! Most of the time they ignore it but occasionally, they greet me with raised eyebrows and a look of "Really, Mom?" But, to their credit, they always co-operate.  The "six pack" (our ever present, alternating groups of girlfriends) also never fail to let me "creep" into their private moments and snap away.  For this, I am really grateful....how many Mamas of teen girls are made to feel welcome and comfortable enough to snap a photo any time they see a good opportunity? My girls and her friends just take it in stride and make good natured jokes about how they may be appearing on the "Blog" when an unexpected flash goes off in their face.  So - the catch up begins!  Anyone that knows us, knows that we pack a lot of fun into every day....and since Ellen and Sara are going to camp all of July, we are packing a lot of family fun into June.  We last left the blog with the sweet celebration of my birthday......I got the idea to jump on the Amtrak train and visit my family and friends in Tennessee ~ and the next day, Sara, Ellen and myself were on the train headed north.  Elizabeth had already committed to going to North Carolina with a group of friends so she was unable to make this trip.


I LOVE riding in a train ~ the gentle rocking and swaying back and forth as you glide down the tracks



Nine hours of time to your self - to read, to blog, to listen to music, to enjoy being with each other, relaxing with no where to go, no directions to follow, no gas tanks to fill, no 18 wheelers to run you off the road....you get the picture!


The ability to get up an walk around to the dining car or observation deck.


The clickety-clackety sounds of the wheels on the train tracks,


Every time you look up there is a new and beautiful sight - it is hard to take your eyes off the windows....


Watching rural America go by while you do absolutely nothing and don't feel the least bit guilty for it!


Here we are in the dining car.....one of the times that I crossed my photographic boundry.....and got this "if looks could kill" face from Sara!  The dining car was fabulous  - Food is amazing ~ were it not for embarrassing my poor girls, you would have some beautiful photos but instead, words will have to do.  I ordered steak and it was served to perfection.  Sara simply ordered chicken tenders and they came freshly prepared, crispy and served with a side order of home made mashed potatoes.  The service was equally impressive.  (No, I am getting no kick backs or freebies from Amtrak)


I quickly snapped this photo ~ Sara ~ being the blog loving, good sport that she is, even pasted somewhat of a very embarrassed smile on her face so you could see that the waiters still dress up in three piece suits, down to white shirts, ties and vests ~ so nostalgic.  Thank you Sara!


After dinner - more reading - just love our Kindles (no freebies from Kindle either!)


Watched a beautiful sunset over the horizon


A late night trip to the concession stand!!!!! And at midnight we arrived at our final destination - Newbern, Tennessee - not my hometown; but, it is where my mother grew up and her whole side of the family still resides.  Whenever I get to go home and visit, it always calms my soul.



The only down side to riding the train to Tennessee is that it comes in at midnight; in a small town 15 minutes away from Dyersburg where my mother lives and I grew up.  Thankfully, my cousin Amy Jane, joined my mother in picking us up and decided to come home and spend the night with us. My mother has had a long time love affair with making pottery and has recently delved whole heartedly back into this hobby.  I couldn't be happier as we are the recipients of what she thinks are not-so-perfect pieces, which I think are quite lovely! She is presently working on conquering making a coffee cups, and once she achieves that goal, she is moving on to plates.  This explains the welcome gifts you see in the pictures above for the girls - their own box of clay to create masterpieces!


So where did that lead us next - you guessed it...to my mother's new pottery studio (aka basement, storm celler) She has fixed it up quite nicely to accommodate her new hobby and she has been churning our coffee cups like there is no tomorrow!


Now Amy Jane, she is a master ~ literally, she has a masters in fine arts and can whip out beautiful pottery...plates, bowls, cups...pure awesomeness. I have commissioned her to make me a set of plates ~ 24 of them ~ enough (almost) for the whole family to use during our annual Thanksgiving celebration.  Here is the master at work and how within minutes she brings a blob of clay to life.




jj




This literally took less than five minutes to create - however four years have gone into
learning how to make this bowl in five minutes! 


Now the spotlight is on my mother - Her Prototype - measured and remeasured!







I captured this look when she realized it was not "centered"; potter's language for "feeling" that it
just isn't right, not balanced, won't work....that is the best that I can explain it being a non potter. 


She labored on with it and did finish it even though it was not up to her standards.  We all signed it and she will still use it and always have good memories while drinking her lopsided coffee in the morning!
Sara finished her coil mug.  There are many times on this blog that I have commented on my mother's complexion, but this picture commands one more comment......amazing!


 Grams gave tips and helped Ellen complete a pinch pot!


Believe it or not, it is hard to roll out coils in "real" clay!  We all tried and it took about an hour for us to
learn the proper technique to make the right size coils to make coil pots. This ain't no grammer school play dough stuff!




Pinch Pots Perfected!


Despite the intense heat outside - 95 plus ~ it was quite cold in the pottery studio (boy, that sounds so much more impressive than basement)!  I looked over and Ellen was all tucked into her shirt to stay warm but had her little snack of nuts and was happy as a bug in a rug just watching all the creativity going on around us.  


So much more happened on our trip, but I am going to have to sign off and leave you sitting on the edge of your chair wondering; biting your nails, gnashing your teeth,  and wondering......your mind not being able to concentrate on anything else until tomorrow, to hear the exciting details of all the fantastical things to come.  I promise to be back tomorrow ~ no more long weeks of waiting between posts.  Going to be more timely here.  Oh - before I go.....the little tea pot of flowers welcomed us as well...at first glance, it looks just like some flowers in a vase, right? Upon closer inspection you will find that it is composed of various flowering herbs that could be used to make herbal tea ~ lavender, rosemary, etc., and the 
vase is an adorable clay tea pot.  Isn't that special?