Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Ready to Go on Vacation

Do you have a routine for getting ready to go on vacation?

As I leave this Friday to celebrate with my husband's large family on the shores of Lake Michigan, I have already begun my preparations.

 I have washed and packed all of our clothes including  new underwear and socks. It never fails that one of my many sister-in-laws will have kindly done our laundry while we are out for the day. I don't want to be embarrassed. We will wear our old socks and underwear and whatever clothes are left in our drawers until Friday.

Today I made a trip to Khols to buy a fashionable accessory in the anticipation of giving hope to the fashionistas who are my loved ones. I wore Capi pants to a standing ovation last year. I did, however, make a side trip "Thank you Dear Lord" to  purchase a shiny white pair of the Ked like sneakers I am known for.

 I have also been on a mission to empty my fridge. This serves two purposes. By Friday I should have lost enough weight to fit more comfortably into my new Khols outfit. We are down to eating chicken leftovers and lettuce. Secondly my husband will be taking me out to dinner giving our near to exhausted dishwasher a well needed rest. She will be ordering chicken and lettuce.

I have readied enough car snacks for a trip across country,  packed decks of cards and games, emptied the grocery store shelves of all summer pot boilers, and have recharged my camera one last time.

All of the beds have been stripped and remade. I love coming home to my house after vacation and feeling as though I am entering a Model Home.

As I dust my way out my garage entrance door, I will leave with the security of knowing any fingerprints found on my return will belong to a house robber, and he won't get away!

 So do please enjoy your own 4th of July celebrations. I can't wait to get back and share my family adventures as well as visit to read about your own.

"Why Santas?", you ask. Christmas in July, of course! I do hope you enjoy these very easy to make vintage inspired cuties. I plan to surround my Santas with white buttons for snow. Ah snow! You do know I love snow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time Slipping By Days

Yesterday was Joe and Kellye's sixth anniversary. Joe suggested they celebrate this milestone by preparing a Hawaiian meal for their dinner. He drove Kellye to the store to purchase ingredients needed to make Macadamia Encrusted Chicken and Fruit Pilaf, recipes chosen from her favorite cookbook from the Hali'imaili restaurant on the island of Maui. After numerous ingredients were chopped to perfection, dinner was served at 10pm. Kellye called me at 11pm to tell me Joe loved the meal and that her wedding dress had arrived, would I meet her to choose her shoes the next day.

Arriving at DSW first, I was so surprised to see my daughter struggling to carry in a large, flat shipping box. "Mom, I have to match the dress to the shoes!" I was not surprised at all to see her remove from the box a simple cotton strapless short dress with underskirt. Perfectly perfect for a young girl getting married on a beach.

When she stepped into her dress right there in the store, pulling off her first layer of clothes and slipping her gold lacquered toes into her strapy sandals, I wasn't surprised at all to see her give a twirl in front of the full length mirror. Of course my Twirly Swirly Girl had found a twirly swirly dress!

As she fell into my arms to thank me for her dress and shoes, I was awash with the knowing that these are our Time Slipping By Days. The very days at the end of one chapter of a life just before the beginning of a new one. You can already see the moments as they will be recalled in the future. They are swift and fleeting, and oh so tenderly sweet. You are not able to hold on to them to make them last because everyone knows the next chapter will be even better than what came before.

Please do not pin pattern to Pinterest

Monday, June 20, 2011

There are those times.....

How do you know there truly are angels? They keep you from dropping your little children off at the New Mommy Store when you are sure you can't survive one more day of motherhood.

Having just sold my childhood home in the Neighborhood with Hills, while awaiting an available unit on the military base, my small family with our nearly two-year-old son moved into the basement of my mother's home at the top of the neighborhood. Still in a crib, Christopher slept in a little alcove hiding his parents from view.

Having made the mistake the first night of laying him down with lots of kisses and the endearment, "Nite nite, Buster Brown." he spent the remaining night time hours calling out to us in the darkened room, "Ni Ni Bum Brown." giggling with each repetition. Night after night, hour after hour this little routine would occur no matter what we did. Exhausted beyond belief, I would have given him away to the first mother available. Is it any wonder we are now both Night Owls!

 Sailor hat is size of cardboard round with "leg" width and length enough to encircle.
Please do not Pin patterns to Pinterest

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Don't Let the Parade Pass You By!"

It seems for so many mothers and daughters, there comes a first day of estrangement that at the time seems to just be another squabble that will end in days. Weeks and then months and even years can pass by with the emotions of anger hiding the forever bonds of Mother Love.

This was the way it was when my father passed away. My mother seemed to become another person, and I was so angry with her for this. Our home at the top of the Neighborhood with Hills filled with Room Renters, my mother became a 9 to 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 pm employee who was never available to me.

Having returned with my husband to live in my childhood home at the bottom of the hilly neighborhood, I would drive by her home each day to see if her car was there becoming disappointed and angrier still with each pass by.

Then one day expecting to pass by yet again, I found her car was home. Entering through the front door, I could see my mother on the living room couch watching television. She called out to me, "Sweetheart, come and watch "Funny Girl" with me." (Pooch Tutorial found here)

This was my mother's favorite movie, and she knew I loved it as well. We sat in companionable silence, the beautiful score washing away all of the tension that had been between us. It was at this moment my mother talked to me about being a widow. She spoke of long time couple friends who felt awkward with one lone guest to worry about. She spoke of the hollowness of a home without my father's visits. She spoke of the worry of having to support herself having been away from the work force for so many years. She spoke about the efforts to get through even one day taking all of the energy she had within herself. She asked me to understand.

I would remember this time during the years my daughter's illness drove a wedge between us I thought would never go away. If only for a brief time, I could get her to watch a favorite movie with me, relaxing into memorized words and loved characters. These comfortable moments would sustain us until we could find our way back to each other. I have always loved movies, and I have always loved parades.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The third time I would see fireworks would be as a mother having moved to this place I now call home. Away from the familiar streets of my childhood, away from the familiar patterns of my every day.

I didn't know that this special place would become a most welcome gift to my life and that of my children. A small town atmosphere where forgotten milestones were all there for my children to find.

Tree forts to build in surrounding woods, ponds for summer swimming, sidewalks for roller skates and bicycle rides to the candy store downtown. This place would be our greatest gift to the development of our children into the adults they have become.

Folding chairs filling every available space of college lawn, the strands of Sousa filling the air with patriotic pride. The "Best Fireworks Ever" promised from lip to ear. The town of Delaware had hired the company that had just completed the downtown display in Columbus instead of using the local small company.

Not one hundred yards away, the display began in what can only be described as heart stopping wonderment. The bursts were so large, their falling sparkles nearly touched the ground! You had to turn your head from side to take in the entire display.

Hands over ears our children declared Delaware was the best town ever. The firework display sealed the deal. In the paper the next day we read the company was fined $200,000 for using their spare BIG BANG fireworks over our small town.

My family has now gathered for 17 years on the college lawn my son now calls his Alma Mata. Friends can be spotted to the left and right, and we are filled with the sense this place has always been our home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baby You're a Firework!

The second time I would see fireworks in my life would be as a young bride returned home after her first two years of marriage. My husband having left the Air Force to marry me decided to give it a go once again. High interest rates during the Carter administration proved much more difficult in civilian life than had been expected. A new career field needing to be learned, my husband would travel to Biloxi, Mississippi, for three months. A summer to reconnect with my childhood Bobwhites was a dream come true.

Side by side poolside towels, our portable radio heard under the giggling of shared stories of romance, the Bobwhites each were falling in love. Imagined weddings and future lives filled our slow hours under the sun.

We would share a sky filled with fireworks, arms entwined knowing these would be our last days together. Our futures would separate us by miles, careers and families fulfilling each of our summer wishes for a life filled with happiness. How achingly sweet it is for me to picture the five of us on our towels knowing now we had each chosen the right men to love.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Bang Theory

Fireworks on the 4th of July were an unknown thing to me until the summer of my twelfth birthday. My family loaded into our great white Behemoth and headed to Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, to spend the holiday with my mother's brother, my Uncle Joe.

Uncle Joe loved picnics more than anything. Long hours spent as a telephone linemen during the week placed a longing in him to spend his weekends firmly rooted to the ground. My Aunt Betty would pack cold fried chicken and deviled eggs, potato salad and canned bread and butter pickles into a large wooden hamper. A blanket to spread under the shadiest tree found, a plaid thermos of hot black coffee for endless cups, two teaspoons of sugar each.

My little brother and I exhausted the daylight hours on nearby swings, our father our begged for pusher to get us started. Khaki pants and squared off madras, moments treasured by children used to suits and ties. We couldn't imagine a promised ending of our day even better than these moments.

A nearby hill cresting a bowl shaped valley below, Uncle Joe instructed us to lie on our backs on the dampening grass and keep our eyes on the darkening sky above us.

I can remember to this day the electricity of anticipation and the satisfying fulfillment of all that had been promised. Disappointment was not possible on this special day.

I would hold close the memories of this happy day with my loved ones longing for the next opportunity to witness the celebration of the 4th of July. It would not come for many years in the future; but when it came, it was added alongside my most precious memory of this very first one.

SPECIAL THANK YOU: To Laurie of Magpie-Ethel for the inspiration her vintage sparklers provided in making my own felt ones. It's not to late to purchase one for yourself in her most wonderful Etsy shop!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

For the Love of Shirley!

I like to think everyone has the same experience of wonderful discovery upon their first introduction to Shirley Temple. It's as though you alone have stumbled across the very embodiment of happiness in the form of a little girl with curls. The experience stays with you always as a most magical moment.

For me it was Sunday's after church. I would hang over the front seat of our white Behemoth willing my father's foot to stay pressed down on the accelerator instead of his usual up and down movement that caused the car to lurch along the road. "Dad pleeeeaaassseee get me home by noon. I can't miss the Shirley Temple matinee on television!

It didn't matter that I was years older than the golden curled moppet, or live in a penthouse, or be expected to unite waring factions by the end of a second reel; it was that no matter the situation, this kid had moxie.

A "Can Do" attitude in the face of any hardship. This became a personality trait I wanted for myself, one I also saw everyday in my own mother who was a child of the Great Depression. "Don't Have/ Make Do", "Ask Not/ Want Not", "I'll Show'em, you bet I will!"

By chance a book sticking farther out from other nearby spines in my local library happened to be this most wonderful book I just had to share in the hopes others have just as strong memories of this same discovery. (Shirley Temple, A Pictorial History of the World's Greatest Film Star)

Imagine the lucky little girl who owned her own Shirley Temple doll with a trunk filled with clothes matching the ones seen in her movies.

I love that the Ideal Toy Company produced the Shirley doll in sizes for different budgets. She always came with an official Shirley Temple button that could be worn by the little girl herself.

Little girls begged their mother's to sew dresses for them just like their film idol. The Cinderella Dress Company began producing a line of Ready to Wear to meet every little girl's dream to be just like Shirley.

Moxie! That's what this little girl had to embody to maintain her composure under such attention and expectation. It seems Shirley had the grounding love of adoring parents and two much older brothers. She was not allowed to be a "Star" at home!

She would leave the film industry to raise her own family becoming Mrs. Shirley Temple Black, receding from the spotlight until her children were grown. She would re-enter national awareness as the first public person to share with others her winning battle with breast cancer. From the cover of Life magazine her moxie showed through, "If I can speak the C word out loud, so can you!"

I suppose Shirley Temple was a childhood hero for me. I know that I am a better person for having been influenced by her truly good heart. My husband would have the honor on several occasions to meet her in her role as Ambassador to Ghana during the Regan administration. He described his time with her just as I imagined it would be, "Her smile made you feel as though you had always known her."