Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

The end of a year is a time to look back at the accomplishments and memories of the past year. This year has flown by for me, faster than usual, or is this just an admission that I am getting older?
 
January days are short, but seem endless. It is always a delight to see the promise of spring and know that winter will not last forever.
 
Read about the Promise of Spring here.
 
 
My little bottle fed orphan, Emmett moved to his new home in February. He became the stud there! I still miss that stinker, pun intended!
 
Read about Emmett's New Address here.
 
 
I made soap for the first time in March! The results were pleasing and this is addictive, there are so many possibilities and combinations that could be achieved.
 
Read about Making Soap here.
 
 
A popular post in April, was this one about Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream Icing.

Read about it and get the recipe here.
 
 
This old chimney cabinet was found in an antique mall and redone in May. My grandparents had one in their kitchen and it brought back happy memories. When I saw it, I knew that it had to come home with me, it didn't matter to me that it was not the one they had. It now lives in my kitchen and is used daily.

Read more about it here.
 
This sink base was made by my Daddy. He used cotton picker bars to make the base. The bars hold spindles that pick the cotton. I love the rustic look of this piece.

Read more about it here.
 
 
Jackie made a friend in Jack. He was temporarily blind after an attack by another rooster. Animals can show an amazing amount of compassion for each other!

Read about it here.
 
 
The front porch was given a fresh coat of paint this past summer. The ceiling was painted Haint Blue. I gave the furniture a face lift and offered an invitation to visitors to rock and relax.

Read about it here.
 
 
We gained a son-in-law in September.

Read about that here.
 
 
October brought the completion of the back porch, finally!
 
Read about it here and here. You can read about the lighting fixture we used here.
 
 
We found out that Gray C. Mae was actually a boy.

Read about the Bad Baby here.
 
 
December was a time to look back at the first Christmas my husband and I shared after we married.
 
Read about it here.
 
 
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2013 brought many changes, some were welcome changes and some not so welcome changes. A new year is exciting to me, there are so many good things that could happen and there are new things to learn and do.

Wishing you each a fabulous and exciting 2014 and hope that you will join me as I find out what the new year has in store for us here!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Musing - Untold Stories

 
Today's musing is a blast from the past. This story ran in my weekly column in November of 2011.
 
 
My mama reads this column every week. Mama is the one who calls me to say that she liked what I wrote, and she does all of the stuff that a Mama should do to encourage a child, but she has said something that makes me wonder about writing this column every week.  Something happened at their house, and I can’t tell you what it was because Mama told me that she didn’t want to read about it in the newspaper. Is this a sign that I may be a writer? I am not sure, because it could just be a sign that my family does not want to read about themselves in the paper.
It is just not fair, they do some really funny stuff, and I am forced to keep all of this to myself, never sharing with you the reader, their funny stories. This forces me to wonder what to do next. Should I write all of these stories and store them somewhere, leaving directions to my daughter to publish them only upon my death, or do I just hold onto the stories waiting until the guilty parties have all left this earth? If I go first, then will my family be ransacking my house looking for the stories they do not want told? Leading me to more questions, what if they get rich off of the stories that I wrote, and I am not here to be rich with them? That’s not fair either, or worse what if they take their names out and put my name in their place instead. That’s just plain wrong. There are complications with either scenario.
The only conclusion that I can come to, is to keep the stories a secret, carry them with me to my grave, never sharing them, keeping my family’s dignity intact. It would not be fair to force any of those scenarios on them. That is what I will do. So to you the reader, I will tell you that when I am old and in a nursing home, if you see me sitting there laughing to myself, it is because I have remembered a story. Please understand that I still can’t tell you about it, I promised Mama that I wouldn’t, and I have to keep that promise. I will however offer this tidbit; there was a female that broke down a door in a gas station rest room, in another city, over 30 years ago. That’s it. That is all that can be said. This story, like the others that I have been told not to share will have to be kept a secret.  However, Honey Girl, have I got some stories for you! Bring a few notebooks and several pencils, we might be here for a little while.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Looks Like She's Staying - Random 5

 
This is the Bad Baby's sister. The truth is that this little booger is amazingly sweet and affectionate, and I can't bring myself to give her away. I kind of tried, but not very hard. She is about 14 weeks old, so that is too old to give away right? Who would want to try and bond with her now that she is that old? Since she has bonded with me, then she should stay here. That is what I choose to think anyway, besides it would not be fair to another person to have let her bond with me like she has and then expect someone else to have a great relationship with her. I am trying to be fair to other people, or I will tell myself whatever sounds good, as an excuse to keep her. Looks like she is staying here with me!
 
 
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Random 5 Friday

1.  She has a name, it is Minnie Mae, but seems to get shortened to Mae most of the time.

2.  There are no ornaments on the bottom third of the tree. There were shatterproof ornaments on the tree. Bad Baby and Minnie Mae had fun and enjoyed the Christmas tree however.

3.  I swore that I was finished raising kittens, that there would be no more kittens, and then these 2 appeared.

4.  Atticus loves both of them, they are his "pets". He cares for them and scolds them if he feels the need, unless he is involved in the mischief.

5.  Minnie Mae has had a cold. The vet gave her 2 shots yesterday. She is napping peacefully with Bad Baby for a few minutes. They will wake up unexpectedly and begin running, a short nap will provide the needed energy for their next adventure!

Joining

A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Musing - Tea Cakes



There was a time that tea cakes were considered a treat. They remain a special treat for those of us that remember them. Mama Greer, Gran and Granny made these special cookies. Each cook gave a special taste to their cookies, just as their biscuits and are accompanied by treasured memories.

My Gran made tea cakes, but she felt that they were not just right. We never complained, enjoyed each attempt, and found no fault with these treats. Gran felt differently. I wonder now if she was trying to capture a taste of her early years to share with us. When you are raised in a family of excellent cooks, you attempt to follow in their steps and feel as if you always fall short. I have learned that particular view is only yours, as family appreciates the attempt and enjoys reliving the happy memories.

My Mama makes sugar cookies rather than tea cakes. I gave up trying to imitate these amazing and incredibly delicious treats years ago. My sugar cookies are fair at best, so I went on to attempt tea cakes instead.  The results were pleasing. I was attempting to capture the taste of the cookies that my great-grandmother, Mama Greer made. I will never dare to say that they are as good as hers, because they aren’t. My family says that my tea cakes remind them of hers. My mama claims that it is “in the hands”. This makes me wonder whose hands my mother’s cookies imitate. Which grandmother or aunt made cookies that had a similar taste?

It does remind me of something that Gran told me about cooking. She said “put your love in it”. That is what she did. She also told me that when she was cooking, she thought and prayed about the people for whom she was cooking. The results were proof that those words were true. I now understand that the most important thing we pass down is not the recipes, but the love.

We cook for those we love not to simply nourish the body, but to provide happy memories that will one day nourish the soul. No matter who you are, your grandmothers and mothers’ cookies will never have the same taste as any other cookie. That is an impossible feat. Their love can never be duplicated, but remembered and shared with generations to come.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Looking Back - Our First Christmas

We were married in 2003. I rode past the house we lived in the other day and thought about the happy times in that house. Our first home was a rented home, a wonderful old house in town. We both loved the house and lived there until I went back into property management.The experience prompted me to look for the pictures from that Christmas.
 
This was the tree in the den. It was a live tree and we went to the Christmas tree farm and cut it ourselves. The curtains were made using a sewing machine I purchased at an estate sale, and the material was found on sale. There were about 40 windows in that house!
 
 
There was a lovely sun room in the home and the floors were hardwood. The sun room was one of my favorite things about that house. This was the first year that I put up the fire fighter tree for my fire fighter husband. The ornament collection has grown over the past 10 years!
 
 
Looking back, I wish that I had taken more pictures. The picture below is the bath. The shower curtain and curtains were also made by me. It was a challenge because the windows are in the shower area, so I had to figure out how to cover the windows, keep the middle and right hand side windows dry and make it somewhat pretty.
 
 
This was also the year that I was given one of the most precious gifts ever by a friend. My friend could not keep her and asked me if I would take her. There was not a moment's hesitation in my answer! Her name was Gigi, she was a Yorkie and Tea Cup Poodle mix. She weighed just under 4 pounds! She was as sweet as her picture!
 
 
Those pictures remind me that our first year as a married couple may have held so many difficulties and unexpected challenges, but there were also so many sweet memories. We are grateful for the sweet memories.
 
Fast forward to last week, that is when the picture below was taken. I found Maizie and Lucy in this position and couldn't resist snapping a picture. Maizie has always thought that she needed to care for Lucy. Lucy was a sick kitten and still has problems from time to time. Guess that since Miazie has been fixed and can't have kittens, she thinks that Lucy is the only "baby" that she will have. She is obviously trying to take care of her and loves her 'baby".
 
 
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Christmas decorations are few this year at our house. The work seemed daunting to me this year. There has been so much chaos in our home for the past 6 months, that the idea of dragging out boxes and decorating the house was a challenge I was not ready for. We both wanted a simple Christmas this year, and seem to be enjoying things more. Perhaps the picture above will remind us of these feelings in years to come.

 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

1 Year Ago Today

One year ago today it was cold and rainy. I remember this because it was the day of the funeral. There were so many people there in spite of the bad weather. Cars were lined up on either side of the road at the church and cemetary. There were people from so many places that came to pay their respects. Some came from different areas of Georgia and some came from other states to pay tribute to Daddy.
 
Daddy was a volunteer fire fighter. The community fire department paid a beautiful tribute to him. The sound of the bagpipes were hauntingly beautiful.
 

 
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There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about him. I miss him terribly, but grow more grateful daily, that I had the privilege of calling him Daddy.

This is the song that was in my head when Daddy went home. The song stayed for several days. It is a Glen Campbell song and for some reason it was in there in my memory. This morning it was there again, so thought that I would share it with you.



I hope that you find it to be as beautiful as I did. Daddy liked Glen Campbell's music, perhaps this is one of the reasons that it was on my mind that day.
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Musing - A Christmas Reminder

 
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It is that time of year again, time to get those Christmas decorations out and get the tree decorated. This means that Atticus must be warned repeatedly about the tree, the 4 missing ornaments have not been located. Atticus would not tell me what happened to the ornaments if he did have the ability to talk. He would chuckle and walk away. That mystery remains unsolved in spite of the fact that every stick of furniture in this house has been moved searching for the decorations.

The tree is now decorated with shatterproof ornaments. We chose to use that type just in case this mischievous feline gets the notion to climb the tree for a repeat performance of his antics. It hasn’t happened again, but it could, better safe than sorry.

Atticus prefers to sit under the tree now, as if he is guarding it from attacks by a vicious predator. He is saving the tree and its ornaments from destruction. SuperCat is on the job! This should make me feel better about the situation, but it doesn’t. History speaks loud and clear.

This makes me wonder if Atticus is smarter than I give him credit. What does Atticus know about Christmas? Does Atticus realize that this season is more than gifts, decorations and celebrations? Does he realize that this season would occur without all of these things? Perhaps Atticus is somewhat of a reformed Grinch, I would believe that if he returned the 4 missing ornaments.

My chronically misbehaving feline reminds me that sometimes my focus is on the wrong thing. He reminds me that some of the things that we do, aren’t important. Christmas will happen regardless of my circumstances. Despite the pressure we place on ourselves this time of year, the loss we have experienced and the decorations and gifts that we feel obligated to purchase, there is more to Christmas. It is easy to allow myself to get caught up in these things, but Atticus reminds me to look for Christmas in a different place.

Christmas began in a place that lacked fancy decorations and smells. The greatest gift given to man occurred in a place that most of us would avoid. It was decorated with animals, the smell wasn’t cinnamon and there was a manger waiting to receive the gift. Christmas began there. This holy gift is the reason we celebrate. This is the gift that came without shiny wrappings yet lasts for eternity.

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holidays Are Hard Work!

It is work getting ready for the holidays, especially Christmas! There are shiny things that need to be investigated.
 
 
It is especially a lot of work if this is your first Christmas.
 
 
These new things must be checked out to see what there is that can become a new toy. Adventures are waiting around every corner, there is much to be explored.
 
 
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This work makes a body very tired, so tired that in the middle of climbing a chair, a body can just fall asleep. Thank goodness that this was a good place to sleep soundly for a few minutes! The nap was energizing, supplying the energy to create more mischief, or investigating, whichever your prefer to call it.

Please forgive the lack of quality pictures, it is difficult to take good pictures and laugh at the same time. This was one of those rare times that camera was in hand at the right moment.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Musing

 
Recently Sharon, from Im Sharon with you, posted a story that her husband Bob, had written. I loved the story and thought that others would enjoy the story too. The story ran in my column Mellie's Musings, you can find that story here. Bob is a talented man and I hope to read more of his work!
 
If you haven't visited Sharon yet, then you are in for a treat! Sharon is one of those people that you can't help but like immediately! Her blog is warm and inviting, just like her.
 
Enjoy the story and I am sure that you will be as touched as I was by his words. Thank you Sharon and Bob for sharing this with us and allowing me to use it in my weekly column. We enjoyed it immensely!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lizzie

Lizzie, also known as Lizard, Lizard Blizzard, and The Miracle Cat.
 
Favorite Activity - Chasing leaves across the front porch as the wind blows them.
 

 
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This was taken last week. It is the last picture taken of Lizzie.


It has taken me 3 days to post this. Lizzie enjoyed the front porch and chasing the leaves across the porch. I let her out for her daily fun this past Saturday after lunch. She was not there when it was time to come in. We walked the orchards and the road Saturday evening until almost 10 p.m. and couldn't find her. Lizzie always stayed on the porch except when I took the dogs out, then she walked with me. Kevin found her Sunday and thought that it had just happened.

My amazing Miracle Cat, Lizzie is missed desperately. I still feel like this can't be true!

You can read about Lizzie's Special Surgery and the fun she had with Lisa here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Wednesday Musing

This is for my friend and class mate Sonya. It is from my column Mellie's Musings and ran before I began posting my columns here.
 
There is always something to do outside. There always seem to be plenty of fire ants in this area. You can guess where this is going, because you probably have had your own experience. The scenario is familiar, you are experiencing the great outdoors and then you feel the burning sensation on your foot. You have been stung by a fire ant. This happened to me yesterday.
Closer inspection revealed the tiny beast. How is it that something so very tiny can hurt so badly? How is it that these tiny pests know exactly where the strap of your sandal will be? They know somehow, or they choose a place where the sting will be noticeable to everyone. Their microscopic brains know the exact spot to inflict the most damage.
Perhaps their brain power should be harnessed to do good rather than harm. Imagine if that ability could predict when and where a storm would hit, think of the lives that could be saved! Think of the problems that could be solved, if only we could harness that power.
Once in school, my friend Sonya and I decided that we needed to investigate these evil pests further. We each carried a jar to school and scooped some fire ants from the playground, into the jar. We were going to take notes and watch what these ants did. We would be the ones to solve the fire ant problem for the world. The next day when we talked, we were both discouraged because our mothers would not let us bring the jars into the house. This event may have ended a career in science for the dynamic duo of Sonya and Melanie, now the world will never know what discoveries we would have made about fire ants, thanks to our Mothers refusing to allow us to examine these pests in the comfort of our homes.  Just think of the impact of 8 year old minds would have had on this problem. We did move on to other intriguing ideas or mischief rather.
Fire ants are still a problem; however I now understand why our mothers would not welcome them in the house. We did not manage to solve that problem, but continue to live in a world where the fire ants know exactly where the strap of your sandal will be, so that they can leave their mark.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Musing - Heartbeats


This past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a breakfast with some of my classmates. Our 30th reunion was the same weekend and I was unable to attend the banquet, so the impromptu breakfast was a must.

Walking into the room, I saw the sweet faces of my friends. The girls greeted each other with squeals of delight. Thirty years disappeared into thin air, and the sweetness of youth reappeared among us. It was as if no time had passed. We may be more mature at this point, but these hearts have remained young.

The field was level, we were each successful in our own way and there is no place for haughtiness on level ground. The questions we all had for each other were how many children, any grandchildren, and where do you live? This is an extraordinary class that has ignored ordinary and embraced reaching higher. We were taught to overcome mundane and have climbed our own ladder yet we remain able to reach across to each other.

Looking around the room, I wanted to hold on to each moment, memorize each face, the sound of their voices and laughter to carry with me. A precious friend said it best when she stated that she was coming to this reunion to be with the people that she grew up with, that knew her and loved her anyway. It was true. We grew up and learned together and sometimes we taught each other.  We have taken our own paths in life, yet we each basked in the company of the ones that knew us in a way that only we understood.

The breakfast quickly turned into lunch and it was time for the small crowd to disperse. My heart did not want to go back to reality, but remain with my classmates inhaling the sweet youth that had momentarily returned to each of us. The laughter once again flowed easily, as if no time had passed and we enjoyed the presence of childhood friends.

 There were secrets shared with the laughter. Sorry they can’t be revealed here or anywhere. I will share a few tidbits: trying on different shoes, Duck Dynasty and a certain classmate needs to upgrade her phone.  A secret is so much better when it comes with a smile and the familiarity that exists among friends. The extraordinary Class of 83 Bobcat heart beats stronger than ever.

 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Random 5 Friday

Today doesn't seem like Friday to me. Perhaps it is because of the observance of Veteran's Day on Monday, or could it be because time seems to speed up as we approach Christmas. Time will move quickly until the end of December. Thanks for joining for another Random 5 Friday!
 
1. I wish that I could take a photography class! I see things that I like in pictures and things that I wish I knew how to change. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity.
 
 
 
2. Last weekend, I went to a breakfast with some of my classmates. We had so much fun and laughed so much. Time may have altered appearances, but hearts are still the same.
 
 
3. Glad to say that the kitchen, laundry room and bath have been painted. If DIY home projects are the test of a marriage, then we must be okay. We survived! The porches were not painted by us. There is only so much a relationship can survive!
 

 
 
4. The warm sunshine must feel good to Maizie. She is lying in an odd position for a cat. Guess that the sun feels that good on her belly.
 
5. The pan of chicken below may not top the list of healthy foods, but sometimes we just gotta have fried chicken! It is not often that I will fry our food, and it will be awhile before I do it again. Maybe that is why we enjoy it so much, it is a treat!
 
 
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Thank you for visiting and hope that you have a super weekend.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clean Laundry?

Perhaps we should change his name to Spoiled Rotten Little Stinker. I walked away to put more clothes into the dryer and came back to this.
 
 
When the weather turns cooler, the animals like to snuggle too. Honey will allow Maizie to lie in her bed for a little while.
 
 
Honey doesn't want her to get too close though. After all Maizie is a cat and Honey is Queen Over All Animals here. Commoners are not allowed to touch the Queen. They may sit nearby while adoring her but must make sure that they do not touch her.
 
 
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Cold air will be moving in today, record lows for this date are predicted for tonight. The Queen may welcome the warmth of an adoring feline under these circumstances.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unexpected Surprises

Sometimes, the one thing in this world that you are absolutely sure you didn't want or need finds a way into your life. You know, that thing that if someone asked you if you wanted it, you would turn quickly and run from?
 
 
The one thing will surely come along and work a way into your life and before you know it, it has your heart. That has happened to me. My seemingly unneeded "thing" has a name, Gray C. Mae.
 
 
I took this little fuzzball to the vet because of a cold. My vet looked at the name on the card  and asked if this was a girl or a boy and then he checked.

It is a boy. Yes, her is a him. We can't have a boy named Gray C. Mae. I never looked to see, I didn't care because my heart was stolen.
 
 
My husband jokingly says that he is a bad baby. He moves like greased lightning and he is trying his best to become as wide as he is long. Everything in sight is something that needs to be played with.
 
 
He needs a real name now. Bad Baby is not a suitable name. Atticus is excited because he has a pet now! Maizie thinks that he needs a bath and has held him down to give him several.
 
 
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You never know when that thing that you don't want or need will come into your life. There is no preparing for it, it just happens. An unexpected surprise can come to you. Then you look into those eyes and that is it, you have just lost the battle.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Musing - Time Change

 
Did you set your clock back Saturday night? If you didn’t, then you missed that extra hour of sleep and you will have to wait a whole year before you get the opportunity again. I know this because I managed to miss mine last year. That is one less hour of sleep. When the time sprang forward this past spring, I woke up an hour earlier, so it was like waking up two hours earlier. The total is three hours now and I feel cheated at this point. These hours could really add up over a lifetime.
The reason behind daylight saving time is supposed to be a way to conserve energy, what about the personal energy loss that a time change causes? The time that we have to sleep is precious to most of us. Our bodies must adjust to a different schedule, now we are going to bed an hour earlier. That was probably not good news if you are a child.
This made me wonder who had this not so brilliant idea and why. George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist in New Zealand was one of the men with this idea. He wanted to collect insects in the evenings. Is this the reason that we must struggle with a time change? Have our sleep patterns been disrupted so that this man, who is no longer with us, could collect bugs? Does that make you mad?
There are other reasons for the time change and if you research it you can find that there has been a study done somewhere that will support whichever view you prefer to take. It does not matter if you are for or against the time change, there is a study somewhere to support your point of view.
The fact remains that Daylight Saving Time has ended and your body must adjust to that change. Unless you are Atticus, Ruby Tuesday or Little Peep, then you can enjoy the fact that you are getting fed an hour earlier now. That is fine until springtime and those annoying humans begin to feed an hour later. Their protests are loud, these poor animals can’t understand that a man once wanted to go outside and collect bugs. There is probably a study somewhere that will support our animal’s feelings and prove that changing the time is not beneficial for them.  Perhaps Mr. Hudson's collected insects should have had a study done for them too.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Jobs

The 31 day challenge is finished, but there were still some things that needed to be completed. Fortunately I had a helper. Lizzie was interested in what I was doing and she wanted to be right in the middle of everything, until she noticed that the leaves were falling from the trees and they needed to be chased. Perhaps she was making sure that there was nothing dangerous or tasty rather, hiding in the leaves.
 
 
She did come back and resume the position as my assistant. We painted today. The weather was lovely and warm. The furniture for the sun porch was in need of fresh paint.
 
 
The rocking chairs still need a couple of touch ups because my assistant wanted to sit in them.
 
 
We have a sink in the laundry room. It is one of the enamel coated sinks with the metal cabinet. The cabinet was in need of a fresh coat of paint and now it looks so much better. It was one of those things that we had put off doing and then wondered why we waited. It will get some new or different hardware rather.
 
 
The porch will need to be arranged with the freshly painted white furniture. Christmas ideas are dancing around in my head, right along with plans for the things that I want to do next summer! I am thinking about outdoor curtains for this porch a couple of ceiling fans and a bed swing!
 
 
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Now that all of the painting and work has been done on the porches, it is time to shake the pecan trees. Guess that I will be covering up the furniture when they begin shaking the trees!