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Sunday, February 28, 2010

....And Then Night Fell with Ollie


Here is the continuation of the Ollie saga. He did pretty well in the evening between the times of 6pm when he arrived and 10:30pm when Mike got home. Miss Indy hissed and growled every time he moved but he knew not to get in her way. Mike knew something was up my sleeve when I greeted him at the door. Then he looked down. There was Ollie. He looked at me and said, "Kim, What did you do?" I told him. He said "Well, (sigh) Indy and I will have to stay in the Ultra Media Lounge (that's what we call our library/computer room) and Ollie will have to stay with you in the bedroom. I don't want Miss Indy getting all upset and keeling over after all she is 126 yrs old"...(funny he said that, because I had gone down to the laundry area in the basement to retrieve some clothes and when I came back up Miss Indy was lying on her side with eyes kind of glazed..sort of like we found Kitton) and I thought "Oh my Gosh! the excitement killed her!" She was alright and Ollie was also lying on his side.) So I took the little pan into the bedroom along with food and water and put him in the bedroom with me. He cried and cried and tried to get out the door and jumped from bed to dresser to the tall dresser, laid in the clean cat litter again and finally napped for a little while on the long dresser. Then he was up again and jumping and I was also jumping up out of the bed throwing the covers back coarsely whispering "Get down!!" I didn't get any sleep and then I had to go to the bathroom and out he popped with me and pushed the Ultra Lounge door open! Next came Indy's low growl and Mike's voice "Kiiimmmm"! I grabbed him up and back to the bedroom we went. He kept crying and turning somersaults trying to get the door open and finally laid down beside me and slept for 15 minutes. The whole shabang started back over again and by then it was 4:30am..Ugh..he then decides he has to use the cat pan for something other than napping and playing..how pleasant was that ~you can imagine. I told him what a good boy he was and then I looked and he had scratched all the litter onto the floor in a pile. Auuggghhh. It was light by then. That's it!! I said to myself and I cleared it up and went to take the bag out to the trash and Ollie went with it~ No, I didn't throw him out, he ran out and disappeared. I am exhausted and have decided that I'm not cut out for this as much as I thought I might be. I am spoiled by little ole ancient Miss Indy and my beloved Au'Kitton! I'll just enjoy the squirrels outside in the back yard! I still have to go to the grocery but then I'm taking a biggg nap!

Ollie's Secret










Saturday, February 27, 2010

Genealogy


Snowy cold weekends.....bake a cake and study your family genealogy...the old time pictures and family wills and documents are amazingly plentiful on the internet now. In pursuit of tracing my maternal grandfather's family and not thinking anyone was still alive, I found my grandfather's uncle's granddaughter, Polly. She and I together have pursued and linked with other relatives that we didn't know existed and have identified many, but not all, photos I inherited. We did receive photos of chairs that, before now, an unknown cousin possesses that our great great great grandpa made way back when. We've discovered that we have all heard the same stories through the years and also discovered that we all know the same story...without further elaboration...much to our dismay. Who was the grandma who was a Native American who smoked a corn cob pipe? We've all heard about her but she is yet unidentified. What we did find out was a history written by one of us "cousins" back in the 1960's. Elaborately written as to help us picture what life was like for our great great great grandparents as if she was actually there in the same time and place. We found wills from the 1700s and read about Indian raids and scalping of a female relative. I found that same true story in a book called Follow the River by James Alexander Thom. Fascinated me so much I wrote the author who lives about an hour away from me...we correspond regularly.
Every one has a history, just like Mr. Rogers used to say...and it is on line and is the best reading and research you will have the pleasure doing while you eat cake and coze in for the remaining throes of winter weather.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kitty...do you need a home?



Today is so cold and snowy....we didn't even realize it was going to snow today~guess we quit watching the weather channel. Since it is so cold it produces a problem for me and my niece. A cute grey and white cat has come around the house and is so cold and hungry, but he looks well fed and healthy. I gave him food in a cute cat bowl and he ate it all up, but the water froze almost immediately. He is under the sunroom right now since there is protection from precipitation but it is not too warm there. We have already named him...we call him Ollie and we are waiting for Michael to return home from work to see what we should do to keep him warm. You'll remember I lost my Miss Kitton of 12 years at the end of October and maybe this is a sign to save a life. We still have Miss Indy and I'm not sure how she will take to another cat, although she has always been very adaptable. I don't know how he behaves in the house either although by the looks of him, he is a house cat. We have a basement, but it is full and I mean full of stuff! What to do, what to do....I said 2 days ago that I don't want any more animals!...(for a while anyway)
Ok, he's home...and we're going out in the dark and snow now to find the kitty. Oh, of course, he's nowhere to be seen. And we had Michael talked into keeping him over night...maybe he'll appear tomorrow. Michael looked at me and asked...Didn't you just say we weren't going to get any more animals? I said, "yes, but, uh, I probably changed my mind". He said "we're going to have to build a shelter in the back yard..if we had cows you'd have them in the house!" Good thing we can't have cows in town...what about chickens...?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A MOTHER'S VOICE





It's amazing what you find out about people that you have known only for a short while. I met Phyllis Adair-Ward through the dental office where I work. I always admired her style and calm way of speaking. She always has the most fashionable clothes and we talk about clothes and she brings me bags of jewelry that she no longer wears because she knows I love jewelry especially jewelry that has been worn by my friends~means something special~a little piece of themselves. How lucky am I?!
I discovered not only her fashion sense but that she is a published author. When I found this out, I immediately ordered her book Wind Chimes and Promises. I read away...couldn't put it down curled up in my sun room till late at night imagining what it must have felt like to move north from Georgia to an urban Midwestern city. What a delightful book, so easy to read because the words and images flow on the pages just like Phyllis speaks. Phyllis wrote this book for her mother as a promise and it is a story that is worth repeating and continuing. This book is a unique true testament of love written in her mother's rich voice restitching the rich, colorful family quilt of memories.

"There are few sounds sweeter than the sound of promises kept. The sound is like wind chimes. If you listen closely, you can hear it."~ Phyllis J. Adair
I highly recommend this book...you will be moved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rereading an Old Friend



Love, love biographies of poets, authors and artists~in particular Picasso and Van Gogh. The bio written by Francoise Gilot called Life With Picasso is one that I reread every year~it's like a familiar smell that takes you to that pleasant place in your mind..an old friend that you long to spend unlimited, uninterrupted time with. Francoise has total recall of her life with him. It's amazing that she can remember all the things he said, she said and the dialog of people around him. How does one do that? Here is the link of an interview with Francoise Gilot with Charlie Rose~
http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/5090
Francoise Gilot is a French painter and the mother of Paloma Picasso, the French/Spanish fashion designer. She is so incredibly talented and sure minded that I'm not sure if Picasso's life was so rapturous to me or her delivery of the recollection of their life together that made it appear so. Granted, he was a very profound and prolific artist and many bios have been written about him. For sure, he had a very strong and especially charismatic aura. But it is Francoise Gilot who is such a fascinating powerful woman and artist that has had a very compelling life. She had not only been with Picasso for 10 years from the time she was 21, but she was married to another outstanding man of the 20th century for 25 years, the research scientist Jonas Salk, the inventor of the Polio vaccine.
Please enjoy this interview..it is 1 hour long but well worth the time spent listening to this gifted woman of intellect and talent.
If you can pick up this book Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, you will thoroughly enjoy it. There was a movie also made called Surviving Picasso starring Anthony Hopkins based on the unflattering book Picasso Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Huffington. It is on DVD. It was enjoyable to me but not authorized by Francoise Gilot or her children.
.....I'm off to reread again......
-

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Suzanne!







I am dedicating this post to my best friend of 31 years! Suzanne is from England and I met her in 1979. We became best friends immediately when we met~it's as if we were always together~maybe in another realm. She's blonde and I am brunette. Our colors are on the opposite of the color wheel. She is an artist, a decorator,a teacher,a gardener, a wonderful cook and can cook up a gourmet meal with nothing in the house but flour, butter and sugar and she can do it in record time and it will be artistically presented! I've known her as we've made block prints and printed walls 'cause I couldn't afford wallpaper and we've painted my fireplace when I could afford it. We've decorated, used our ingenuity on how to make a delicious meal for four with 1/4 pound of ground beef, suntanned, sketched and painted, raised children, complained, fussed, shopped, seen ghosts together and talked till dawn whether she is at her home in Florida, my home or in England. We've been married and unmarried and back to married again. We've shared secrets..all those things best girl friends do. She and her husband would put 2 life jackets on me and we would row on their lake in the late summer evenings (I am afraid of water). We had our palms read in New Orleans and pretty much had the same readings! Whenever I don't feel right, I call her and she tells me what holistic remedies and vitamins to take...I'm always cured.

Our happiest times in our lives, we mutually and tearily recall, were when we did not have very much money way back in 1980. One particular time, we dressed up (we always dress up though)and slipped on our stilleto heels (she can STILL wear them~I can't-boo hoo) and lunched and shopped with $2 a piece in each of our pocketbooks. We looked smashing and turned heads and ate the best lunch~ salad, soup and dry vermouth with a twist of lime (English martini) graciously offered by our wonderful mutual babysitter's dad sitting at the next table, and shopped in wonderful shops with that $4.00 in quaint Nashville, Indiana. We were offered tea and cookies in a delightful little "up a small winding staircase" plant shop and were able to each purchase a potted fragrant herb. We had many repeat happy times like that. We felt rich.

Our outfits and jewelry are still admired and we still have lunches like that, now we are able to add a delicious slice of quiche with our salad and dry vermouth martini and we feel rich. We are very, very rich in friendship.
Happy Birthday, Suzanne, Love ya!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Come on Over...You Won't Be Bored




















My nephew in Prague asked me to post more pictures of my house. Those who know me, know I decorate with the the creative, the unexpected and visually interesting. Here you go David and Allie. Come on over and travel to "Any Where In The World". We have fun don't we? Let's take a trip~I'll get the tea and cake ready.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Wanted to Look Japanese



When I was younger, I wanted to look Japanese. I tried to slant my eyes with my fingers so they maybe would stay in that almond shape. I wanted to wear kimonos and I wrapped old drapes from grandma's attic around me and used my daddy's ties to make a sash.
Sometimes I would want to look very Lebanese~half my heritage~the other half is Scot Irish. My hair had turned dark by the second grade so I felt I was part way there and I tanned well so that, I felt, was the ethnic appearance. I spent the summer between 7th and 8th grade in Maine with my Lebanese relatives and bought big round black glasses that were the "hit" on the East Coast...I'm from the Midwest. I thought they looked smashing especially with my braces on my teeth. Kids on the bus teased about them but when they broke they said they really liked the glasses and missed them! Who knew?
When I began high school I wanted to look Swedish and with the help of my dad and the drugstore we colored my hair with Nestle's Henna. I thought my hair would instantly turn blonde. Daddy helped me wash it in and comb it through~he always encouraged the girlie girl in us 3 girls~Mother was a tomboy, haha. My hair came out with reddish highlights~I didn't realize you had to strip your hair with peroxide first to remove the natural color! I was disappointed but I didn't tell daddy..he told me it looked beautiful and blonde...what a sweetie!
It appears that at some point or points in our lives we all long to look differently than we do. We want more character, less character, long straight hair~remember ironing our hair on the ironing board with the clothes iron? Those with the straight hair wanted curl or body. We didn't wash our hair every day..heaven's no...we washed it once a week and put Dippity Doo on it and taped our bangs flat and rolled our hair with juice cans and then we sat under the portable hair dryer (a real modern convenience) with the bonnet attached to a tube and the bonnet made crimpy marks on your forehead and cheeks! If your boyfriend called you actually couldn't go on a date because you had just washed your hair and it took hours to dry. On the days you didn't wash your hair we carried baby powder in our purses and dusted our hair in the bathrooms at school and brushed the oil and the white talc out of our freshly bouffanted and ironed coiffures. We didn't have panty hose back in the day either. We wore panty girdles or garter belts under our mini skirts. How did we do that?? If the clasps on the garter belts or girdles broke, we used a penny to secure the hose top to the garter. Actually the boys said they enjoyed those days~sometimes the girls would forget to sit ladylike. This I heard at our 4oth high school reunion. The things those guys remembered.....they had trouble remembering their old friends' faces now.
So now that I am much older, do I long to look like something else...well, I would like to be the same weight I was 16 years ago, of course, I would like my hair to be all the rich brown it used to be without these "highlights" and sometimes, yes, it's true, I do wish my eyes were that beautiful slanted almond shape. I still don't have a real kimono either.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wiling Away the Winter Hours





This will be the 3rd winter that I have done what I put my mind to do and I am so proud. This winter I bought a stack of books, diaries actually, of the women who ventured west in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was precipitated by my daughter's gift of Undaunted Courage: Lewis and Clark and the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose. It fascinated me so that I had to search out more and I found several womens' diaries of the family journeys that many strong and courageous women made in covered wagons, faithfully recording their daily experiences of cooking, walking beside wagons in knee deep mud, childbirth, sickness, starvation and death. Those stories are the real stories that you won't get in a high school history class. Most of these books have been compiled from letters and journals and published with respect of the original misspellings and grammar. These are better than any reality show on television~this was reality of the American dream.
Our winter has been unusually snowy, but can you imagine having to hunt for game when the cold has driven them all out, being on the barren prairie with nothing to eat, no food for your family or oxen and the oxen dropping dead and you have to help pull the wagon? Being lost on a trail that someone posted on a tree that turned out to be very treacherous and a wild goose chase? Leaving your husband or child in a makeshift grave in the middle of nowhere~a place that you will never be able to visit again? It really makes me wonder if I could have survived physically or maybe more importantly emotionally? I stay up late at night, sometimes too late, and read and wonder and try to put myself in their shoes. I write the authors of these compilations and thank them for the research that they have done and the incredible mental pictures they have given me and all the other people who have read these marvelous works gleaning out a little bit of imagined experience.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Choose a Life






Would you like to step back in time and experience a "past" life~in your mind? Would you live in a big old mansion or a covered wagon? Would you have a good parlor that was used only on Christmas and Easter, or a pan to cook in and to wash up in? Would you live on a sailing ship? Would you sift for gold? Would you be a Civil War doctor or a Scarlet O'Hara? Would you be a sulky racer or a newspaper printer? Would you be a suffragette or a President's wife? Would you wear dresses every day? Would there be no use for cars because every shop, school and office would be within walking distance? Would you be one of the workers who helped open King Tut's tomb? Would you be one of the Mayans who developed the Mayan calendar? Would you be a flapper or a fortune teller? The ideas are endless. Choose a Life and let your imagination run wild! Let me know what your "past" life would be.