Monday, April 30, 2007

WHAT A DAY!!! Traveling from 2007 back to the early 1800's in one room!!

OMG.......I could certainly tell that my mother had lived through the Great Depression!!!! I do not believe she ever threw ANYTHING away..........I have found cancelled checks, paid bills, insurance statements, etc., etc., etc. in Wally World plastic bags under her bed, in the closet, in boxes, etc in this spare bedroom and these go way back for years and years!!!!! sister and I opened the cedar chest which we were not allowed to open over the years......and there was my mother's wedding dress, my sister's wedding dress, my first blanket that my grandmother had hand stitched for me, a cap that my great, great, great grandmother had worn during her adult life, my parent's wedding cake plastic people for the top layer.....and the list inside that chest goes on and on. In other boxes and bags we found programs that we had sang, played, performed in through our high school careers. We found OLD dating back to the middle 1800's that was the paper in STL......BEFORE the St Louis Globe-Democrat and the St Louis Post-Dispatch!! Newpapers from WWII detailing how Hitler was about to be captured and eliminated....etc., etc. There were OLD records with only one side having grooves in them.......very old sheet music. OLD wooden spools of thread, materials that were never sewn, scraps from those that were made into clothing........AND the lists go on and on and on and on and on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a Spare Bedroom Museum!

She never threw anything away! This little room described above is soooooo small that only a chest and a single bed will fit in there........AND all of the above, plus many, many items not mentioned above. REMEMBER......this is only ONE room of the house......THANK GOD, it is a small two bedroom house!!!!!

Sooooo, I am exhausted from this exercise today. The living room is full of LARGE leaf bags full of STUFF......things that we do not have room for, nor do we have any need for these items. Will we keep some of these physical memories???? Oh yes........but not many......after all, we never knew they existed, we didn't need them throughout our lives, and so why would we need them now???? (Refer back to my posts last fall on "STUFF"!!!!!)

And tomorrow???? Well, I have an appt in Jefferson City in the morning....and then back we go into the "museum" to finish that tiny room and begin on the rest of the house. All of this "time traveling" is tiring....believe me!! Everything must be looked at, discussed, and enjoyed....for the moment!

Are you ready to have your Life looked at.....after you are gone???? Have you saved all of these same types of items for .....who??? Yourself??? Your family??? Will they enjoy them and keep them....under their beds or elsewhere.......or will they find themselves doing as we have done today? Enjoying the moments that she left us in these chests and bags and boxes....and then moving on as we clean the house.....keeping these memories inside us to refer to and to remember our mother as someone who had such warm values that these items of the many decades and generations of her family needed to be preserved....for her memories.

Have I mentioned the thousands of pictures that she has in other places in the house?? Those have to be sorted through......and decisions made about their future, also. I also have found today all of the letters and cards I sent to my parents when I was in SE Asia for 13 months during 1969-70. And HEY.....guess what!!!!

My writing and punctuation marks and extended spellings of adjectives and adverbs were just the same then as they are now in these blog posts!!!! I had NO idea that I wrote like 30-40 years ago!!! WOW!!! (yep...the same many exclamations marks were used then when I got excited about saying something). Guess I haven't changed.......HAHA!! What a statement!

Today.......a trip back through the Life and keepsakes of my mother.....seeing the materialistic things that meant sooooo much to her and her Life......the memories that she cherished throughout her Life. What a Lady!!!! What a wonderful, warm, caring, and loving Mother who dedicated her long Life to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren! How very lucky we were, and will continue to be, thanks to her!

Life is Great!!!!.....and I hope it is for all of you, also

They are ALL yours!

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I LOVE my birthdays!

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Soooo many gifts....WOW!!

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Ava....and family!!

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An Elmo birthday party

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Blow them out....

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Great!!! Finger eating good!

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LOVE that icing!!

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

An "Elmo" birthday celebration!

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Another day of Birthday Celebrations!!!

Sunday…….another day of the weekend and another day of birthday celebrations!!!!! This time we were celebrating Ava’s 2nd birthday today. Spending the night at Dr. Jeni’s, we were up not tooooo early and soon I was having a cup of hot coffee on the deck overlooking the sloping lawn……which ends in a small stream with the woods on both sides of it. A cloudless blue sky……very warm temps….and many birds flitting around…….all made for a very enjoyable morning on the main deck.

For lunch we went into Washington, MO and ate at the Washington Smokehouse. Not tooo bad of a place……..the aroma from the smoking of the meats was much better than the actual flavor of the meats……..they were rather smokeless tasting…..sooo the many sauces they provided of various spices and combinations assisted in making the beef brisket chunks a bit more flavorful!! The baked beans were really good…..lots of flavor and just the right amount of spices and small bits of meat added to the overall taste….and they were neither mushy nor undercooked……they were just right! A major complaint in that the iced tea was not served with lemon…….and it was pretty weak for iced tea.

After that we went to the new Wally World there…..and picked up a few things for the BD Party to be held after Ava finishes her nap. Of course…..a major purchase was her new Little Tikes playset for the yard……and some sand for the sandbox we bought for her.

Returning to their Estate……Ava went to bed for awhile…..and as I was sitting on the deck, I fell asleep for….hmmmmm, not right sure how long it was, but close to an hour. GREAT place for coffee…..great place to nap!!! HAHA!

The BD Party was fun… just watching Ava open ALL of her gifts and enjoy it soooo much. She is such a cautious little girl……..not daring at all….just very, very careful with everything she does or attempts to do.

After the party, we watched The Amazing Race….and then I left and drove the 100 miles to Eldon. I will be here for a few days….not certain how long….as there is much to do here at the house…….as well as I must attend a meeting at the Capitol in Jefferson City….a meeting that I initiated to attempt to get some things done with some issues I would like to see changed.

I am using my cell phone for online access… doubt I am able to post any pics from today’s party…..will try, but it takes sooooo damn long to get them up and out into cyberspace!!! More tomorrow…….

Life is Great…..and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A BIG breath to blow out nine candles!!!

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Gifts and cards from everyone!!

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A visit from the internet demon!

No post last night or this morning: I had no internet connection at the stick/brick!!!!! Arriving back home last night close to midnight, I attempted to get online and write a few words.....and NO WAY!!! I had no internet service. Sooooo, after fooling around with things for awhile, I finally called Charter Communications support and they worked with me until 1:30am this morning(another LATE night). Well......they finally got the modem online, but no wireless router!! By that time......I was not communicating very well with anyone, so I poured myself.....into bed and forgot about it.

We had left yesterday around noon to go visit Mike and as we were get ready to leave, Jeremy called and said that he was driving through STL from Indiana, on his way down to Memphis for the weekend. And.....why didn't we meet him in Cape G. for a late dinner???? We said....SURE!!

After our visit with Mike......we returned to Cape Girardeau and as we arrived, I called Jeremy. He was a hour north and said he would meet us at OutBack when he arrived in town. Soooooo, the 1st Lady and I went to Target for awhile.....and then we went on over to Outback and got a table.

It wasn't long before Jeremy arrived and so we ordered drinks....and then dinner. We sat and talked as we ate for almost two hours.....and then we each had to go our own ways. The 1st Lady and I arrived stated almost midnight........and the rest of the story is above.

This morning......I was up and on the phone to D-Link Routers early. Another hour of consultation and support and I was FINALLY online again. As the morning progressed.....I was busy, busy, busy.....just getting things done around the house as both the 1st Lady and I were leaving for STL for the weekend....and then I had made plans to go on to Eldon to take care of some things there: house, insurance, yard, death certificates, bank, realtor, etc., etc., etc.....not to mention going through the house and starting to get it cleaned and organized.

Sooooo, as I was still getting things ready, the 1st Lady left for Rachel's birthday party and I told her I would soon be on the road myself. Taking both vehicles......since I was going on to Eldon....and the 1st Lady had a dentist appt in STL on Monday......we traveled at different times to STL.

When I arrived at Rachel's grandparent's home, everyone was already there......OF COURSE!! I was LATE!!!! THAT doesn't happen very well I remember chewing out some students of mine for being late to early morning band rehearsals......and other band events!!! HAHA.....well, there was no one to chew on me this afternoon.

After her party, we headed out to Dr. Jeni's Estate as tomorrow will be Ava's birthday party. There are three birthdays this weekend.......had been four until the passing of my mother three weeks ago. And so.....we are now out in the beautiful countryside at their lovely and large home.......a wonderful spring evening!!! Dr. Jeni and Darrel have gone to the races in Montgomery is his hobby.....perhaps his second vocation??? And so.....the 1st Lady and I are "sitting"(THAT's a joke) with Meghan and Ava.

Today has been a beautiful day.....and one that has been enjoyable even though I am really, really tired......three LATE nights in a row is not something I am used to doing....hahaha. MY, times change as one moves on in age.......hahaha. And even though I am "
moving on in age.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Conductor Andrew Gipson

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After the Concert: Andrew(on left), Laura, and the HS Band Director: Marvin

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Another morning post......becoming a habit????

WOW......another night without a post by this aging hulk!!! Well......this time, there was a valid reason...........

The day yesterday was not the best weather wise.....but between the small drizzles that occurred during the late moring and early afternoon, I managed to do some of the yard mowing! I didn't get as much done as I had hoped I would.......but managed to get about half of it done.

Then by late afternoon yesterday I left for Edwardsville, IL to attend a band concert of the Edwardsville High School Concert and Symphonic Bands. Andrew Gipson, a 1999 grad of F'town H.S. and one of my outstanding band students, is now the Asst Band Director at Edwardsville and therefore, he was conducting last night.

We met at one of coffee hangouts in downtown Edwardsville.........a downtown that caters to the large amount of college students that are there......and the coffee shop is usually full of chatter, laptops, guitars, and coffee drinking college students.........just my kind of place. So, Andrew met me there for a quick cup.....before he had to go the HS to get his students ready and warmed up.

The concert.....both the Concert Band and Symphonic Band.......was very good. Soooo enjoyable to just sit back and enjoy and to not have to worry about being a part of the concert. HOWEVER............

At the end of the Concert Band segment, Andrew came to the mic and began thanking the parents for their support....and then he got a bit carried away and started talking about one person in the audience and the affect that this person had on his life, etc., etc, etc. and he did get a bit choked up during this. Well.......that person was me....which then he had me stand when the audience applauded enthusiastically. Hmmmmmm.......that is not what I went to the concert for, is very much appreciated. THAT is what teaching is all about.........helping young people get a start in Life!!!! And.......uniquely in this profession........many of those students that you have in Band.....well, they DO become best friends with you....and Andrew certainly is in that "best friend" category with me!!!!!!!!!! He is a student any teacher would be very proud to claim as a "student of mine"......and I AM!!!!!

Afterwards, Andrew and his wife Laura, and the head band director Marvin Battle and I all went out for a drink and some late night food. We had a great time but the evening was late and it just got later.....and they all had to teach this morning!!! Laura is also a band director in a neighboring school..........UGH....two directors in one marriage........what a hell of a schedule their home must have!!!!!

I left about 11:30pm to return to F'town....and arrived home about 1:15AM.......NOT the hour that I normally experience on the highway!!! HAHA......but it was ALL worth it. A great evening it was........!!!! And......with an evening like this where you "bust your buttons" with pride for a former else can it be anything but......

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Writing in the mornings??? Not my choice......

Another morning with no post the night before!!! Not sure I like this method.......but, then is just happening........

Last night we had the Hanner's over for dinner.....and following the meal, we spent several hours....until almost midnight...playing the "Mexican Train Game". And then.....well, I HAD to see what had happened on "American Idol" as to the person with the least votes. Sooooo, after Tivo'ing through most of the first two hours.....I watched the part where they announced that no one was being removed!!!! Then to bed I went....!

The day yesterday was spent in trying to get a few items prepared for dinner last night. Not a day-long task.....but just now and then the 1st Lady and I would work on the menu items. And sooooo, taking that statement into consideration.......there really wasn't tooo much else happening in our stick/brick, or with us.

The 1st Lady continued to work on some signs for her sorority banquet entertainment for tonight......and I enjoyed the patio from time to time as the weather would look bleak and rainy...and then very typically for April, the sun would peak through the heavy clouds and I would enjoy sitting outside with another cup of Fr. Roast coffee.

The Hanner's brought a great bottle of Cabernet dark red medicine....over last night. It was from Crown Valley Winery about 35 miles from here.......and it was just great!!!! The best medicine I have had in some time!!!!!! Sure made me feel better....

And so....with the good dark red medicine from last seems to look good. I am going to Edwardsville, IL this afternoon to attend the band concert directed by a former student of mine, Andrew Gipson. He has been the Asst. Band Director there for .....hmmmmm, is this the third year??......and has met with much success. I'm looking forward to hearing his band and observing his conducting techniques!!! I may find myself overnighting at his home......if his cute little wife will allow that....... Just depends if we remain "out" after the concert tooooo long......

And soooooo, being with good friends......enjoying a good wine......and having a fun evening last night........helped to make sure that....

Life is Great!!!....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Last of the Easter pictures

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The Potted Steer: Jeremy and a former student of mine....and his wife!

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Yep.....still going.....

Ahhhhh.......the emails have begun to arrive in my email box......."are you ok?"........"is there something wrong?".....etc, etc. I didn't write/post last night and already this morning many, many of you are at my door inquiring as to my welfare......THANK YOU FOR YOU CONCERNS!!!!! When I began writing this blog two years ago, never in my wildest imagination did I have any idea there would be soooooo many readers who would become my cyberspace family! WOW!

Yesterday, Tuesday, I kept busy....after my morning Fr. Roast on the patio......around the INSIDE of the stick and brick. There are always "chores" to complete......and there is always....ALWAYS....a stick and brick that needs to have some detailing!!! So I did a bit of that in the various rooms that needed my personal attention.

Later in the afternoon, I gave two instrumental/piano lessons to two students. As I have said before, it is always a pleasant break in the day to do this and to enjoy seeing them perform their assigned music. Not certain just how much longer I will do this as Dr. Jeni is wanting my baby grand....which I promised I would give her......for her own daughter's lessons. Hmmmm......

The 1st Lady was in Farmington for several hours doing some birthday shopping. Two granddaughters, along with our son, will have birthdays this weekend!!! They are turning 2, 9, and horrors upon horrors.......Jeremy will turn 30 years old tomorrow!!!! THAT MAKE ME FEEL REALLY, REALLY OLD!!!!!!!!

Watched American Idol......of course......last night. The outcome of this year's "Idol" competition will be really interesting.........with sooooo many people voting it is next to impossible to predict a winner. Melinda....Lakisha(sp?)....Jordan....Blake......who knows, who knows????


Life IS Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A day to just relax....think....and read 8am this morning I was on the phone trying to get a "dr.'s appt." for the Park Avenue as it was having some strange internal sounds such as a "hummmin.....whirring" when the wheels were turning. Not from the motor.....I could determine that. Soooooo, we called the Park's Avenue's local doctor and I was able to secure a 9AM time for the diagnosis.

After a couple of cups of Fr. Roast out on the patio......I drove down the hill and to the Heartland Auto Repair shop. I walked back to the stick/brick.....about a mile....and it was a great morning for a walk. I hadn't been home long when the phone rang and I was told that it was a wheel bearing "assembly".....the entire "package" had to be placed. Sooooo, I authorized the surgery and transplant.....and about an hour and half later, I was walking back to the shop to pick up the healed P.Avenue.......and then the Dr.'s bill came to $379.00!!! UGH!!!!!!!

After the 1st Lady and I had lunch on the has been a beautiful day, a bit cloudy but very warm and very breezes........she had a meeting with a couple of her sorority friends to prepare for the annual Founder's Day Banquet this week. I found my book that I was reading and so I found myself a comfortable chair on the patio.....and enjoyed reading for a couple of hours.

The rest of the afternoon was spent either reading, doing some weed pulling, and/or just general maintenance throughout the yard. By 4pm I KNEW it was 5 o'clock somewhere and so I decided to take a dose of my dark red medicine......ummmmm.

Dinner was prepared by both the 1st Lady and myself: steamed broccoli, cauliflower,and carrots served on a bed of rice simmered in chicken broth, topped with filets of Tilapia and covered with diced Roma tomatoes which had been salted with sea salt about three hours prior to serving. Soooooo good.......

For a late evening dessert, we had fresh strawberries and Breyers French Vanilla ice cream served over a fresh sponge cake.........soooooooooo good!!!!!

And soooooo, after a very relaxing day.... a really delicious dinner....and a wonderful dessert....

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

OHHHH SOOO PROUD she is......and so am I !!!!!

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Glazed ceramic leaf by Rachel...

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A long day.........

It seems like this day was longer than most..........suppose I just didn't sleep...again....last night. I had set the alarm for 6am this morning....and my internal clock knowing that fact, just wouldn't let me sleep through the night for fear the alarm clock wouldn't sound. Why does that happen?? This is not the first time this has occurred and certainly will not be the last, I'm sure.

Anyway, when 6am arrived I was up and going fairly quickly.......the 1st Lady, myself, and Rachel(who had spent the night with us) were going to Charleston to visit Mike. We were right on time and leaving there at 11:30, we had to take Rachel to Wildwood, west of St Louis, where the Rockwood School District was having their annual Art Fair/Exhibit. It was a 2.5 hour drive, plus picking up lunch along the way.........and we arrived by 2pm at the Rockwood Middle School.

WOW.......the parking lot(S) were completely full and a shuttle bus was in use to transport the parents and their children from other district lots to the school.......and inside the halls, there were sooo many parents and children that it was difficult to view the exhibits. Paintings, glazed ceramics, masks, paper mache figures, paintings using various paints and other mediums, pencil drawings,.........any and every kind of art medium was on exhibit by these student artists.

And, OMG....but such talent that was displayed in the school. Thousands of pieces of artwork were this is a HUGE school district, one of the largest in the state of Missouri. I was sooooo impressed with the quality and professionalism of the works by all of these students.....elementary through high school. What a tremendous Art Department the Rockwood School District has!!!

We dropped Rachel off in Fenton at her mom and grandparent's home and then returned to the highway and 1.5 hours later we were back in F'town.......just in time to watch The Amazing Race.......AND an excellent Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation!!!! A long and exhausting day........but with a granddaughter who had one of her wonderful art projects selected for the exhibit.......

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

GREAT weather to play "catch-up"!!!

Ahhhhh....another gorgeous morning in April........a morning that is just right for my Fr. Roast coffee to be enjoyed on the patio. No flowers, no flowering the hard freeze(s) last week took all of the flowers, the buds, and all color from the various foliages that I have around the yard.....but the coffee was WONDERFUL in the bright blue morning.

I am about finished in the yard as far as "catch-up" goes. Of course......if you own any property at all, you know soooo well that you are NEVER finished with the work that must be done just to keep the property "up"......never mind as you attempt to make improvements! This makes me think more and more and more about going full time in TheHowserHouse!!!! Hmmmmm.........and now I am thinking about it again...........

At noon, our oldest granddaughter arrived for the afternoon and overnight. It always such a joy to have her........she is such a mature little girl who will be nine next weekend........she never needs to be "watched" as she can take care of herself quite nicely!!!! Soooo sweet....soooo good-natured......and a very deep thinker.

This afternoon, while Rachel played or watched TV or enjoyed one of our lappies, the 1st Lady and I began the next project: attaching three square blocks that will be contemporary shelves above our bed for an individual candle on each block. HAHAHA.....what a task this turned out to be!!!!!! Almost three hours it took........getting them aligned correctly above the headboard of our bed......spaced exactly even.....getting them completely level as individual block shelves and level across the horizontal line of all three of them......getting the "sleeves" for the drywall screwed/inserted in the drywall at just the correct location so they would be level.....etc...etc..etc..etc!!!!!!! It was pure HELL!!!!!!!! Never, never again!!!! that they are up and finished, the entire look is really nice!! The blocks are chocolate brown and the small round candle bowls are the same aqua color that we are using as accents in the bedroom..........a great look.

This evening we were guests for drinks and dinner at the Hanner House. was soooo great to see them, to spend several hours eating and talking and playing "catch-up" with each other's lives. Rachel had two of their grandchildren to enjoy as the Hanner's were "sitting" for their son and his I was glad Rachel was with us!!!

And soooo.....a beautiful day is now history, but the evening is just as wonderful. It is warm, the sky is bright with thousands of stars, and the humidity is low!! And sooooo.......

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!