A LOOK AT THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF A CONSERVATIVE FREE-SPIRIT

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cobwebs: Phil

I've been slowly but surely working on a new project which I'm sure I've mentioned recently. I'm organizing/minimalizing my life. I'm going through my books and deciding which ones I really love and keeping only those ones. I'm doing the same thing with my movies. I've also been going through old letter boxes and keeping only the letters or cards which REALLY really mean something to me.
So, today whilst going through the box of letters from my Air Force days, I found some really interesting and special things. So, I'm sharing 'em with y'all.
For those of you who don't know: I am an Air Force veteran. I was an active duty "airman" for four years from 1988 to 1992.
When any airman is in training, whether that be basic training or technical school, they must carry a "form 341." It is basically a piece of paper whereon a military superior may inform your immediate supervisors of your really great or really bad behavior. It is a tool used to encourage or reform you.
I can't remember exactly how many 341s got pulled on me, but there were some.
Below is an example of a 341 which was "pulled" by my friend Phil.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Mary

27SEP10

Dear Mary!

It is a beautiful autumn morning! Pop and I are out under the car porch with jackets on enjoying the cool air. Moments ago, i took a picture of the temperature gauge. It was 66 degrees! I know it'll warm up to the 80s by late afternoon, but I love it right now. I believe I'll stay out here as long as Pop wants to stay this morning.
When I awakened this morning, the house was quiet. I knew it was supposed to be cool, so I grabbed a book, got something to drink and then went to unlock the front door.
Last Sunday, Pop's children installed a lock on the door which requires a key from the inside. They installed it so Pop couldn't escape. That night, when I locked the door, I felt such relief wash over me cos I knew Pop couldn't escape and get hurt. I even slept in my own bed! I'd been sleeping on the couch because Pop, as intelligent--and somehow magical--as he is had gotten out TWICE without the alarms going off over the course of the last month and a half.
Funny thing is: When he came back IN the house, the alarms did go off. I'm not sure what spell he used to stop the alarms when he went out, but he must've done so. Either that or he disapparated from inside the house onto the porch. Do you think he could be a former Hogwarts' student who is living as a muggle here in Buna?
Anyway, so that was why I'd been sleeping on the couch. I wanted to make sure he stayed safe, yeah? So, this morning after I'd fixed myself a drink and a french break snack, I headed to the door I'd just unlocked moments ago. As I did so, I noticed that the blinds on the window were very askew--in the way that they get when Pop tries to open them so that the sun shines into the den.
I remember thinking, "Pop must've gotten up sometime after daybreak and opened the blinds." I knew he'd gone back to bed, though, cos the door to his bedroom was shut in the way it is when he is inside it sleeping.
I opened the door and set my book, drink and food down. I was really looking forward to reading on the porch in the cool morning air! I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up. Snow White (the dog pop loves and who follows him around, well, like a puppy dog) was standing there, panting and looking up at me.
I believe my heart rate jumped to at least three times its normal rate at that moment. "WHAT are you doing out here?" I asked, perhaps with a little fear in my voice. My mind raced. Had I not brought her into the house last night before I locked the door? I was hoping for that choice, really. Not that I'd done that before or that I wanted to leave a dog outside in the cold, but--if I had--then Pop hadn't escaped, yeah?
A quick check of my memory, however, vetoed that idea completely . I'd remembered seeing Snow trotting after Pop when he had awakened at ten-thirty or so last night. I stood there--for just a moment--and took a deep breath. I'd have to go check on Pop. I hated to do it because if he WAS still asleep--which I hoped he was--opening the door to his bedroom would awaken him. The door makes a very loud noise when opened because the house--which is fifty years old--has shifted on its foundation. Pop had been so tired yesterday--he even went to bed early--that I wanted him to get as much sleep as he could. Alas! I had to open it! What else could I do? Snow White being outside could only mean he'd somehow breached the security systems which have been installed around the house. In case you're wondering, I did check them FIRST THING after I saw Snow White outside. They were locked. After opening Pop's bedroom door, I slowly walked down the short hallway, hoping for the best. The few other times I'd had scares like this one, the end of the walk down the short hallway had brought relief and a slowed down heart-rate. Relief was not in the cards this time. His bed was empty and made-up. Pop ALWAYS makes up his bed when he leaves it for the day. It looked like Pop was gone. I kinda freaked a little in my head. On the outside, however, I maintained the facade of calm, cool, and collected. Ha!
"Pop" I called out repeatedly throughout the house. As I walked, I noticed things I hadn't when I'd been going back to see if Pop was in his room. Dale and Marilyn's bedroom doors were opened, and--though the window was shut--the screen was missing from one of the windows in the den. When I saw that screen sitting to the side of its "owner" window, i knew the truth for certain. Pop had escaped! I ran outside, calling his name in case he was just outside messing around in one of the out-buildings. No such luck.
I raced inside, threw on some clothes and brushed my teeth. As I grabbed my keys and headed to the car, I called his daughter. I knew she'd call out the cavalry. I drove down business 96 toward town and checked several of the streets.
As I passed a certain one that holds significance for Pop, I saw one of our dogs bounding around someone's property. I knew Pop had to be around there somewhere. I got out of the car, calling Tipper. She ran over to me easily enough. She didn't answer my questions as easily, though.
"Where's Pop, Tipper?" I asked her, but there was no reply. The moment felt very much like an episode of Lassie, but Tipper didn't quite communicate as well as her more famous counterpart.
I called Pop's name a few times to no avail. I decided to take a pass on Gum Slough Road. AS I walked back to my car, I noticed a big white work truck parked over on Gum Slough. Standing outside the driver's side door was Pop's son-in-law. The cavalry was here! Surely we'd find Pop now!
I waved to him and he waved back. His wave wasn't just hello though. It was followed by a pointing gesture. He'd found Pop! Relief washed over me completely. I walked over--with the son-in-law--to where Pop was and helped him over the stones and rocks to a flatter walking area. I put my hand through his elbow and we strolled down the railroad track toward our vehicles. I was struck with how much this seemed like a chapter in a Jane Austen novel. Here we were--a lady and a gentleman--taking in some sun and fresh air on our morning stroll.
We eventually made it home, safe and sound. The two of us have been sitting here on the porch enjoying the cool air ever since. Although, I imagine if we were in a Jane Austen novel, Aunt Norris or some other bossy busybody would have made us come in from the cold by now, yeah?
So, Mary, that was my adventure for today. it is only 10:05 a.m. There is still so much of the day left. I hope we don't have any bigger adventures!

I love you!
Loralee :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Driving around Buna

Here are some interesting trees and such that we saw when we went driving around Buna yesterday afternoon. We'd gone to avail ourselves of the $.75 drinks at Sonic and decided to tool around Buna and explore a bit. Eventually we found ourselves on a gravelly/dirt road that kept on going and going and going. We thought we'd eventually come to another road, but we ended up having to turn around. I think we spent maybe 15 minutes--at 20 mph--driving on that road. There were so many amazing trees on that road. Some of them had broken off and were lying horizontal in the air, the uppermost branches resting in the branches of another tree which was vertical.
Some of them were standing in their rightful spots, but were leaning a bit to the right--kinda like the leaning tower of Pisa. There was even one spot where the trees covered the road entirely, like Green Gables' Anne's "White Way of Delight/The Avenue"



There wasn't enough light--or I wasn't close enough--to see this tree very clearly. The picture on my camera phone screen isn't the greatest. Through experience, I've found that if it doesn't look fantastic on the cp screen, it might look much better on my computer screen. And adding to that, it will prolly look much much better on the blog page. For some reason, the pictures look really great on the blog page. I'm not complaining, though. I'll take it!
So, the point of all this is that you can't really see how cool the tree looks.
It kinda takes a half-right (military marching term) about 1/2 way up the trunk, then--about the time the branches start showing up--it takes a half-left and straightens back up. I worked on the photo in my "photoscape" and lightened the picture up a little bit. Hopefully, y'all can see it better.


These two look like ones you might see if you were in Sleepy Hollow at night trying to escape the Headless Horseman, yeah? It is the end of summer so you'd think there'd be a bunch of leaves, but these trees are bare as a baby's bottom. I'm thinking it might be dead, but because the trees are so strong from when they were living, it has stayed upright. Thought they are bare, I think they're pretty beautiful.

When I saw this chicken coup, I was charmed immediately. I know I wasn't born in Texas, but a solid 2/3s of my life was spent here and I consider myself a Texas girl. I loved that the coup has a Texas flag painted on its side. If I ever live elsewhere, I think I'll bring a Texas flag with me.

This sign made me laugh out loud. We're used to seeing signs that warn about a deaf child or children at play. This one; however, warns of grandparents at play. Obviously, the grandparents who live at that house are still kids at heart.

Things that are cool about Pop, # 15

He really has a great sense of humor. Here is an example:

A few months ago, someone--I think it was Cole--brought over a pair of those Groucho Marx type of glasses. Sometimes he puts 'em on and walks around, grinning. He likes to have fun every now and then.

So, yesterday, I picked them up from off of the coffee table and put 'em on.
I turned to Pop and asked him what he thought of my "new" glasses.
He replied, with a grin and a big laugh in his voice:

" I think I'll be running as far as I can the opposite direction of you!!"

I suppose the glasses do look funny. Here is how funny the two of us looked!






Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things that are cool about Pop, # 14

I was doing some work on my computer when I realized that I'd made a mistake.

Me: Oops! I made a mistake.

Pop: You made a mistake?

Then he smiled really mischievously and said,

Pop: I'll tell ya what, I have never made a mistake!

________________________________________________________

We were eating supper--my version of King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Pop was asking about where everyone had gone. He asked about his kids and his little brother, and then:

Pop: Where is my wife?

For those who don't know, our pat answer is usually that she is visiting her eldest daughter in a town 2 1/2 hours away. When we try to tell him that she died 15 months ago, he gets really upset. We just quit telling him. As it is, we had already had Alzheimer's for about four years when she died, so her death isn't part of his reality. Therefore:

Me: Well, she is visiting Sharon for a few days. They're going to do a little shopping.

Pop, grinning: They won't be doing a LITTLE shopping. They'll be doing a LOT of shopping! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things that are cool about Pop, # 13

11:50 p.m.

I am silently working on Italian lessons and Pop is dozing, sitting up on the couch. He yawns rather largely.

Me: Pop. You're yawning. You know what that means, right?

Pop: Sleepy.

Me: That is right. You are tired. Do you want me to show you where your room is?

Pop: Maybe.

Me: I'm following you in about five minutes. I'm gonna finish this and head to bed. Do you want me to show you to your room now? or do you wanna wait?

Pop: Well, I believe you can show me now.

We walk toward his room.

Me: Pop, this is your room--the one with the light.

Pop: Well, thank you.

Me: You're welcome, Pop. I sure hope you sleep well.

Pop: I believe I'm half-way there now.

Things that are cool about Pop, # 12

Pop had already gone to bed, so I was using the quiet time to study my Italian lessons with the Rosetta Stone program on my computer. As is sometimes normal with Alzheimers patients, he got up a few hours after going to bed, thinking he needed to get home.
Most of the time, when Pop gets up in this fashion, he'll sit down for a little while and take a little nap. He usually doesn't insist on going out the door and heading back to the fantasy home of his youth.
Often I can continue doing whatever it was I was doing, except that now I have company. Tonight--after he sat down--I continued with my Italian lessons. I have found with the lessons that I learn faster and can become more proficient with the pronunciation of these foreign words if I repeat every "slide" I see even if the slide does not require verbal response. (Some of them do)
While I was practicing, Snow White hopped up on the couch and sat down next to Pop. He was petting her when--after I had spoken aloud some Italian word--he said to me,

"This dog doesn't understand Italian, does she?"

He pronounced it in the old-fashioned way "Eye-talian" instead of "It-talian."

That man just makes me laugh all the time.

My newest beautiful thing

I'd already put this piece of old-fashioned wall art on lay-away before I'd decided to start "minimalizing" my life. When I went to pick it up, I found out that the store has a "no returns" policy. So, I paid the rest of my tab and headed home. When I arrived home and upon closer inspection, I was glad that I'd bought it. It is one of those pictures that make you want to jump right into the picture and start exploring. I REALLY love pictures like it.
Anyway, here are some photos of my new acquisition!




Check out the puppy in the window and the flower box! I like that this apartment number is in easy view of visitors! Check out the old fashioned street lamp! I love how there is an alleyway of sorts off to the left. I wonder where it leads?
I like the ambiance in the little cafe made with the small ceiling-hanged lighting over the tall tables.


As I was leaving after picking it up, I and the owner of the shop noticed another canvas with a picture which is really similar to this one. She bought the two pieces months apart, so we just presumed they were done in similar styles. and the styles are REALLY similar. There is a cat in the window above the restaurant in the other piece. There is a cat in the window above the window flower box instead of a dog. There is a # 7 on the side of the building instead of a #8. There was a street going off to the side with more places to explore. In the restaurant, there was even a tall table with an old fashioned ceiling hanging light placed over it.
We were surprised that there were so many similarities. After searching for awhile, we found matching signatures! I'm super tempted to buy the other one, it is only $22.00. But seriously, I'm working on this minimalist deal so that my life will be more organized and easier to live. Hmmmmmm. guess I'll have to do some thinking about it.

Things that are cool about Pop, # 11

A commercial was on for some phone company. They have some new program wherein kids get to have the use of one of their phones for free 'til 2012--as long as their parents pay for the phones and their use of said phones.
Here is the conversation which followed:

Pop: Kids are free! Do you think I could pass for a kid?

Me,grinning: Nope, Pop, I really don't think so!

Pop: Well, Ya can't blame me for trying!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slowly, Autumn--again







Didja know that Autumn is my very favorite season? Even here in hot ol' Texas, I love Autumn! There is just something different in the air in Autumn. I don't guess that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day count as its own season, but that is the only section of the year which enchants me more than Autumn--which, incidentally, contains about a month of Autumn in it.

I've spent part of this evening remembering 2007. I don't really remember the Spring being anything really fantastic. I had to move up to the North part of Austin for my job. I was always alone when I wasn't at work. I lived in a Cracker Jack box up on 55th street. Well, it really wasn't a Cracker Jack box, but it wasn't much bigger than one. It was part of a one car garage--maybe 250 square feet?

But, do you remember that Summer? It rained at least SOME every day for about six weeks! I loved it. But then, I love the rain, yeah? Then, the Autumn was FANTASMIC!!! The weather was chilly and crisp and the trees were actually changing colors! Austin was acting like she ought to do in the Autumn. I enjoyed it greatly. Since I didn't have a car then, I took the bus and walked everywhere (which I didn't mind) Perhaps, that added to the charm of the crisp Autumn we were having. I HAD to be out in it!

Anyway, I fear I have been babbling. Let me get to the point of the blog: I loved that Autumn!! She was so lovely, in fact, that she inspired a poem in me.
In light of the fact that the 21st of September is USUALLY the first day of Autumn,(this year it is the 23rd) I decided to re-tool and re-publish my Autumn poem. Hope y'all enjoy!

Slowly, Autumn

Slowly, Autumn is drifting this way.

I sensed her yesterday--but just slightly--as the wind playfully blew hair out of my face as I crossed Lamar on my way home from breakfast at Mickey D's.

Slowly, Autumn is strolling this way.

I noticed her last Tuesday morning as I walked down Guadalupe through the crunchy, brown leaves, whilst smelling the crisp, cool air.

Slowly, Autumn is sauntering this way.

I saw her today in the large piles--10 feet high, at least--of multi-colored pumpkins which waited, patiently perhaps, just outside the doors of the Whole Foods Market on 6th.

Slowly, Autumn is heading this way.

I felt the excitement lingering in the air--and in the hearts--of the crowd as they sat--en masse--under the stadium lights screaming "Go Buffaloes!!! De-bill the Cardinals!!"

Slowly, Autumn is meandering this way.

I wish she'd hurry up, though! I know this is central Texas and the heat makes her a bit lethargic, but...

...Oh Autumn! Run! Come this way!! Oh Autumn! Rush! I'm ready to play!!

The Porch Swing

Pop's swing has been hanging out on his front porch for many, many years. Originally, it was his middle daughter's swing. Her grandpa made it (or bought it) for her, but--at one point--she decided to hang it at her parent's house. Pop likes to sit outside and swing on his porch to enjoy the slow pace of life here in Buna.
Well, y'all know all about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, yeah? Here it is in layman's terms: Once something has been created, it begins to break down. This is exactly what happens to Pop's swing. Here is a picture of the Thermodynamic swing:

You can't notice it from this picture, but the left back is separated from the front "bench" portion of the swing. For at least the last four months, only one person could safely sit on the swing at a time. If two people did sit on it, well, then, one of them would be sitting precariously. There was always the chance it would break off completely and someone would go head over heels backward into the bushes. Pop's kids had been discussing it off and on for awhile and had even priced a new one to replace this broken one.

I tried to get pictures of both swings from several perspectives and this shot of Tipper hiding out from the sun in this cool little nook next to the house was one of the results.

I saw a picture online somewhere today. This was me trying to see if I could recreate it. The picture showed a flower in the foreground--a close-up--with some other things in the background. I was seeing if I could get some of the greenery right in front of me with the old swing in the background. I wasn't wearing my glasses--which are broken--so it didn't turn out well; but, at least I'm trying, yeah?
Anyway, on with the story. Last week, Pop's eldest daughter and one of his grandsons came to visit him. They noticed the swing in all its disrepair. The grandson--who is recently graduated from law school and awaiting a job offer--spent all of last week building--from scratch--a new swing. The grandson told me that he based his swing on the swing his parents have hanging up at their home somewhere. He chose stain colors which looked "masculine" even.
Here is the finished product:

And, here is a picture of Pop on his brand new swing, built by his second youngest grand-boy. It is a beaut, ain't it?

Things that are cool about Pop, # 10

Pop had been sitting on his new porch swing for nearly an hour and a half. I had sat on it with him for a little while, but the heat got to me so I went back inside for a little while.
I looked through the window to check on him. He was standing by the chain link fence gate, watching the dogs. As he opened the gate to leave the front yard, I asked him,
"You gonna come inside for a little while, Pop?"
"Nope." He said, matter-of-factly. "I'm not much of an inside dog. Know what I mean?"

Things that are cool about Pop, # 9



I was sitting on the couch with one of those round laundry baskets in front of me. I had just taken the last piece of clothing out of it to fold. I needed that space to put another laundry basket in front of me so I could fold those clothes, also. I intended to put the round basket on the other side of the coffee table, but--in the process of doing that--the basket turned on its side and rolled away in an arc toward Pop. I intended to get up and get it, but Pop grabbed it first. He put it on its side and rolled it back to me.
I laughed out loud. I know it seems such an odd thing to find humorous, but Pop has this unique sense of humor. The look on his face when he rolled the basket indicated that he was being mischievous and giggly-hearted. I just really like seeing this playful "Daddy" part of his diminished personality. Seeing the man he must have been long ago peeking through the haze of his Alzheimers is always a pleasure--and laugh inducing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From the Cobwebs: Abigail

25 Jan 07 Thursday

Out of the mouth of babes...
Current mood:head-achey
You know, I really like those Leland girls. Elisabeth is adorable. She is just now talking so she says things with the unintended laziness of the young. My favorite word of hers is "Lorlee" (I'm sure you recognize that it is my name minues the "A") which she often says repeatedly for several minutes at a time. I"m sure, to other people, it can get annoying, but I happen to love being adored, so to me, it is like music to my ears.

Abigail can be just as charming. She is starting to think things through and have some logic going on in that little mind of hers. It is this particular ability of hers which is the main focus of this blog. Last night, we were coming back from Bible Class. Some of y'all know that I live less than an 1/8 of a mile from the local H.E.B. Last night, I asked The Lelands to drop me off. I intended to walk home after doing my errands there (which is the norm.) I was surprised to find them still outside the store waiting for me when I exited the store.

I'm not sure exactly what they were discussing, but the conversation when I got into the car was very interesting. It went something like this:

Abigail: "So, there are bad people out there in the world, Daddy?"

Troy: "Yes, Abigail, there are."

Abigail: "Why are they bad, Daddy?"

Troy: "Well, Abigail. They do bad things to other people thinking that it will be good for them, but it really isn't in the long run."

Abigail: "Because they are disobeying God, Daddy?"

Troy: "That is right, Abigail."

Abigail: "But us and Loralee...we obey God."

Troy: "That is right, Abigail."

Abigail: "Look Daddy! The moon is cloudy tonight!"

Troy: "Yes, it is, Abigail."

It was an adorable conversation. I laughed to myself that she automatically included me in the group, but I'm glad she did because that let me know that, at least to kids, I'm being a good example. :) However, that isn't the main point. The main point is "Kids sure can be so smart sometimes."

and I REALLY love how she ended her perfectly logical statement about obeying God with something as charming and whimisical as "The moon is cloudy tonight!" Kids are so ridiculously fabulous and endearing.

From the Cobwebs: Dougie Paul


07 Mar 07 Wednesday

Letter to Douglas Paul
Current mood: happy
I wrote this letter to my little brother just before christmas, and I found it in my notebook today while at the hospital wasting time until the van came to take me back home. It will eventually become self explanatory.

Dearest Douglas Paul,

I work in a big warehouse kind of place. My personal office is separated from the other two offices by about 150 feet of warehouse space. After clocking in at the beginning of the day, or after lunch, I must pass through my boss' big open-spaced office and the warehouse space in order to return to my own office.

Bossman's office has a large television and an old fashioned couch that looks as if someone weaved browns, blues, creams, and greens together to make the fabric which covers it. It is extremely ratty-looking, but very comfortable. I suspect he chose that couch purposely. He is in his office a H-U-G-E amount of the time and he wants it to be comfortable, ya know? So comfortable, in fact, that he even pays to have cable t.v. piped in.

It's useful, actually, to have cable on that t.v. For example, if it is stormin' out, we tend to turn the t.v. to channel 44 so we can keep our eyes on the weather. Sometimes, at the end of the day, we sit on that comfy couch and watch "Your Word" on that FOX news channel for just a few minutes before we head for home. Katie, our office manager's grand-daughter stays with us here at the office three days a week. Cindy often puts Nickolodean, or Disney or PBS on so Katie will be entertained for 30 minutes here and there.

It was during one of these half hour periods, today, that I was walking through the two main offices. I stopped short in front of the television because I heard a familiar voice! The program was Sesame Street (which, didja know, Doug, was born the same year I was?) and I heard Cookie Monster (forthwith and forward to be known as C.M.) and some blonde and braided puppet gal discussing the "letter of the day" (l.o.d.) which I'd like to note, was "Q."

Strangely enough, Blonde and Braided was disagreeing quite vehemently with C.M. as to which letter actually was the l.o.d. She continued to insist that today's l.o.d. was the letter "O." Finally, C.M. looked down at the letter he was holding, as if to give proof for his assertions. One glance down at the letter, (which looked suspiciously like a cookie with a hole in the middle) and ol' C.M. smiled. "Well" he said, "the letter of the day actually is a "Q", but I accidentally ate the stem-y thingie."

I think, perhaps, that C.M.'s puppet friend began to berate him because his consumption of the "stem-y thingie" might cause some confusion among the show's younger viewers, but I cannot be certain. My laughter drowned out her words. "That is something Dougie Paul would do" I thought to myself, "He would eat the stem-y thingie unapologetically and just smile."

A smile graced my face as I thought of you, Little Brother. The memory of Daddy telling Lana, Vicky, and me of your arrival on the day you were born; the memory of your ardent affection for Cookie Monster; the memory of the day you first walked; the memory of your fishie kisses, the memory of how you used to INSIST that you were a girl like the rest of us; the memory of Mary Beth and her melodic "Can Dougie come out and play?" and many others wandered through my mind and made me smile all afternoon.

Perhaps I don't let you know often enough, Douglas Paul, but I love you and I'm glad you are my brother.

Wishing you...

Sonshine, laughter, and lots of stem-y things to eat,

Loralee, your big sister.



Read more: http://www.myspace.com/loraleefabulous/blog?page=9#ixzz0zwbveu5q

From the Cobwebs: The Quarterback

18SEP10-

In the mail today, I received a CD. It was Madonna's album "The Immaculate Collection." Most of her good songs are on this album. I don't really like anything else of hers, but that isn't the point of this post. Track 6 is "Crazy for you." I hadn't heard it in a while and so when I did, I remembered my high school crush vividly. A few years ago, i wrote a creative non-fiction article about this song and my memories. I'm pasting it here for y'all.

The Quarterback and Me


It was 9 p.m. that warm Spring evening in 1985. I stood in the bleachers of the well lit stadium at Judson High School. I was surrounded by my excited team-mates. We were cheering for our relay team as they raced against the other schools who were present at this post-regular-season track meet. Suddenly, though, it was all over and Steve and his three partners had lost the mile relay race. Groans surrounded me in the air where once, very recently, the Samuel Clemens Buffaloes cheered, en masse, with loud voices. I didn't really hear them, though. My mind and heart were elsewhere. I was watching Steve as he walked across the track, his disappointment evident in the defeated way that his head hung down. My eyes lingered with him as he continued across the field. They stayed with him as he opened the waist high gate on the unoccupied side of the field and walked through it's opening. My eyes clung to him as he plopped himself down on the ground in a sitting position; his elbows resting on his knees and his face in his hands. I decided something in that exact moment; and, for me, it was something brave. I was not naturally brave, so my decision surprised me, but only in retrospect. All I knew at that moment was that I needed to be there for Steve. I didn't really know the reasons why I should go to him; I just knew that I needed to go. I raced across the field toward the still open chain link gate. When I reached it, Steve was still there, head in hands. I didn't know at all what, exactly, I should do; I just knew I needed to comfort him.

I knelt down near Steve in the grass and placed my hand on his calf in an attempt to comfort him. I do not recall what I said to him because, to be honest, my focus was, suddenly, on something else entirely, namely, my hand on his calf. Steve responded to my words by lifting his head up out of his hands and looking at me with the sorrow that only accompanies defeat. I responded to my actions with shock. My hand was on Steve Slate's calf and was rubbing back and forth in the same way a mother does with that almost asleep baby on her shoulder. It is funny to me that I remember this series of moments out of the many moments which I experienced that day. I remember specific details even. For example, I almost can still feel his course leg hair underneath my fingertips. I remember recognizing (a little late, perhaps) that he really just wanted to be alone. I remember not saying much and walking away back toward the parking lot. I chose a seat alone on the second of our two buses and I sat near the open window, through which I could hear the music of the wind instruments that make up the opening strains of Madonna's "Crazy for you." And, I remember finally seeing him head across the field toward our buses. As he passed my window, he looked up at me. He smiled at me shyly at first. After all, we had just shared a special sort of moment, hadn't we? Then he crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue. His face burst into his regular, confident, gorgeous smile. My heart skipped a beat because that smile was aimed at ME! You see, I was in love with him in the way only a fifteen-year old unpopular girl can love the well liked quarterback who is nice to her. I knew then that this smile did not mean what I would have previously hoped it would mean. What it did mean, though, was so much more BRILLIANT! Steve was telling me, "I recognize you. Though I am the popular quarterback and you are the total geek, we are kindred spirits."

I have felt many more feelings, thought many more thoughts, and connected with so many more people since that moment. Yet, despite the passage of nearly a quarter of a century that song sung by a youthful Madonna still brings to me the feelings of belonging, acceptance, respect and love that can only come from kindred spirits. And, you know what?? It still feels Brilliant.

Out of the Mouth of Babes: Political Wranglings

I wrote this "creative" blog back in the Spring of '07. The first paragraph actually occurred just as it was written, but the rest of it was my imagination gone crazy. Hope you enjoy it!


Out of the Mouths of Babes: Political Wranglings

Current mood:mob-like excited

We were driving to bible class one day last week when my neighbor, Troy, had to suggest a bit of discipline to one of his daughters. Well, you know, Elisabeth is only 2, and Abigail only 4..it's possible that a little mischievousness slipped in when their adorability was looking the other way, yeah? So, he asked the simple question to one of the girls regarding their need for some corporal punishment.

It was just seconds after a negative response was given that their car underwent an abrupt and massive change. No longer was the ceiling simply carpeted in a boring beige. Oh No! Red, White, and Blue colored confetti began falling from the ceiling, and, somehow, when we stopped to turn right onto Monarch, a brass band must've lifted up the hatchback and jumped in because I heard the strains of "Hakuna Matata" coming from the back of the car. I turned around to see what was causing the music when I saw Elisabeth standing at a lecturn giving a speech in the backseat of the car. "What is going on here?" I thought to myself. It was as if someone had cast an engorgement charm on the inside of the car. Suddenly it was as big as Laurie Auditorium in San Antonio. I have always been surprised at the number of people that can fit in the Leland's car, but on this day, I was beyond surprised. In front of Elisabeth's podium were thousands of excited people chanting her name over and over again. Many of them were carrying signs which proclaimed OUTLAW SPANKING TODAY!! I looked just beyond the podium and spied Abigail and Noah Jones up on stepladders hanging a huge banner which screamed NO SPANKINGS FOR EVERYONE!!

Suddenly I found that I was no longer in the car, but was standing in the crowd of Elisabeth's political fans. I began getting caught up in the excitement of it all! I began chanting her name along with my fellow activists. I wanted a sign to carry as well, but no one had any extras. I was contemplating running over to the H.E.B to grab a Marks-A-Lot and some poster board to make my own sign when the noise of the crowd began to lessen. I saw people pointing toward a location just to the left of the stage. I stood up on my tippie toes and craned my neck in hopes that I could catch a glimpse of whatever it was that was causing the commotion. Since politicians don't usually show up at their opponent's rallies, I was surprised to see Troy walking toward the stage with his head hung low. As he walked up the steps toward the podium, I saw Elisabeth step away from the podium and motion toward it with a welcoming gesture.

Troy nodded to Elisabeth and cautiously stepped up to the lecturn with a defeated look on his face. "Well" he began, "I guess you all know me. I'm Troy Leland, The Daddy." A few people in the crowd were booing and one heckler yelled "Go back to work, DAD!" but they stopped as soon as Elisabeth stepped forward and put her index finger to her lips and her index and middle fingers up in that universal elementary school symbol for "Hush, Y'all!"

"I've made a decision" began Troy again when the crowd had quieted, "There will be no more spankings for everyone." he said loudly. The crowd erupted in loud cheers. More red, white, and blue confetti began to fall from the sky. I heard someone nearby shout "We DID it Elisabeth! No Spankings For Everyone from now on!!" The din was deafening! So deafening, in fact, that the crowd missed the last thing Troy said before he walked away, his hand caught tightly in the hand of his wife, Sarah. "Henceforth" he announced to the jubilant and distracted crowd " Spankings will only be administered to those who deserve them."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Things that are cool about Pop, # 8

It was about 8:45 p.m. and Pop and I were in the den. I was sitting up on the couch reading and Pop was in one of the recliners "watching t.v." He was really dozing. His eyelids were bouncing--slowly--up and down. It reminded me of his great-grand-daughter, Lily, trying to fight sleep.

Since it was near 9:00 p.m. (Pop's normal bedtime), I asked him if he was ready to go to sleep yet. He replied in the negative. "No, I don't think so."
"Really? are you sure, Pop? You look pretty tired. Here is what you are doing."
I waited 'til he was watching me and started mimicking the up and down bounce of a sleepy baby. When I was done, I looked up and saw Pop winking at me and grinning like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

"See?" he asked me, grinning still. "Did you see what I did?" He winked at me again.
"Yep" I responded, grinning myself as I winked back at him. "You were winking at me, Pop!"
He grinned again and said, "Yep, I was. Maybe I can do it again sometime soon."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

random thoughts

I remember the situation pretty clearly considering it was 1982. A kinda cute boy in my grade in school came up to me and started chatting. I was surprised cos I was kinda geeky, yeah? I was surprised that he seemed nervous and even more surprised when he asked, “Do you wanna go with me?”
For those of you who aren’t 41 or thereabouts, that meant “Do you wanna be my girlfriend?” in that way that is uniquely junior high. We didn’t kiss or any of that other stuff. I’m not even sure we held hands. I don’t think I’d ever considered really liking him before that moment. But, I—geeky Loralee—had been asked to “go with“someone! It was the biggest shock of my short life. I was so thrilled that I said “Yes.” My thrill was short-lived, however. Not 24-hours had passed and we were no longer “going together.” It wasn’t me who got dumped, either. It was Landon. I went home that night and spent a good portion of the evening writing him a note explaining why we couldn’t continue “going with” each other. I’m sure I didn’t sleep well that night and looked for him immediately upon my arrival at school the next morning. However, it was much later in the day before I finally saw him. I went to him and handed him my painstakingly created note. Then, for whatever reason, I got the guts to tell him how I felt to his face. He took it quite well, really. “That’s okay” he said without a hint of sadness in his voice. “I only asked you out to make Tammy jealous.” I might have been shocked. I don’t really remember. Nothing he said would have changed things anyway. The reason I had broken up with him was solid. And it was this: I didn’t want to disappoint my mom.
A few weeks or months before that day, Mom and I had a conversation during which she informed me that I wasn’t allowed to “go steady” with a boy or have any dates until I was 16. I probably wasn’t too keen on such a restriction, but—in reality—I didn’t really have any boys lining up ready to ask me out or anything—until THAT day. You can imagine that once the shock wore off, I realized clearly what I’d done. I’d disobeyed my mom. I remember planning to keep the whole affair a secret from everyone because I’d known it was against the rules. Imagine my surprise then when—on the way home from school that afternoon—the following words popped out of my mouth: “Guess what, Mom? Landon Vetter asked me to go with him.” A smile popped onto my mom’s face and into her voice. She was quite pleased with this milestone. She said something to me—I can’t remember what exactly—which made me realize that she presumed I had said no. Well, why wouldn’t she? To do so would have been breaking the household rules, wouldn’t it have? I never let on that I’d said yes and when we arrived home, I immediately went to my room and began writing the break-up note.

For some reason, tonight—during Bible Class (sorry Jamie)—the memory I just shared with you flashed into my mind for a moment or two. Just after it ended, I thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all so tender-hearted and fast to repent when it came to the wrongs we do our Father in Heaven? Ah—wouldn’t it just? How fast am I to notice my wrongs and mend them? How fast are you? Something to ponder, yeah?

ROSSI

There is no bouncing when it is only me.

And—in reality—I already knew that THIS wasn’t “it.”

I ALREADY knew.

But tonight, when I saw the proof right in front of my face,

With my very own eyes, BIG-AS-LIFE,

I REALLY knew.

And my little girly heart felt a little stab of pain

And my little girly heart wondered why

There is no bouncing when it is only me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

In case you wondered...

...I'm just super tired lately. Really, the past three days, I've been either tired or sick. Please forgive! Maybe tomorrow I can get enough rest to feel creative again.
love y'all,
LollyFab :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Super Great Bevegnoo

Pop helped me name it: Super Great Bevegnoo. I know, I know weird, but it works.


The Ingredients


The Dish

It is actually one of my new favorites, I believe. Sadly, its carb base is noodles which can be kinda bad for a diabetic if said diabetic does not watch how much of the Super Great Bevegnoo he eats. {Pronunciation: Be like in led(short vowel) Veg ( like vedge) Noo (new)}

Okay, so here it goes:

-Brown a pound of hamburger.
-Mince three dealies of garlic and add them to the hamburger as you're browning it.
-Cut into chunks--about 1/4 of an inch in size--a quarter of a large onion. Add them to the browning hamburger mix.
-Cut--with scissors--about 5-6 long stems of chives and add it to the browning mix.
-Add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
-Add a ton of pepper--or however much pepper you like!
-If you've used extra fatty meat, you prolly ought to drain it before you add the other ingredients. We must've had really lean meat cos by the time I added all the initial ingredients to the hamburger, the fat was cooked up!
-Boil a third (1/3) of a bag of whole wheat noodles. (Certainly you can choose to use normal noodles if ya want to do so)
-Pluck the leaves off a handful of lemon thyme and then cut it up in as small a way as you can.
-Pluck the leaves off of half a bunch of cilantro and then cut it up in the same manner as the lemon Thyme.
-Cut up three or four roma tomatoes(or about ten cherry tomatoes-halved) into small chunks.
-Cut up into 1/4 inch chunks a green bell pepper
-Shred 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Of course, you can add whatever type of cheese you desire. I chose those two because that is what I had available. I would have preferred Pepper Jack cos it would have made the dish a bit spicier.
-Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, lemon thyme, and cilantro to the browning mix and stir occasionally.
-When the noodles are ready, add the cheese to the beef mix, drain the noodles, and then add them to the mix and you're ready for some Super Great Bevegnoo!

It is actually really delicious. :)

What is this?


The leaves

A picture of the fruit and the flower

picture of plant with its fruit

So, I planted what I thought to be flowers. I don't actually remember from where I got the seeds or what the package said about the seeds, but I would almost bet--if I were a betting gal--that what I planted in that white pot was wildflowers. Weird, yeah? Cos I'm pretty sure what is sprouting is banana peppers! I'm excited about having grown something from seed which is already producing fruit cos all the other veggie plants from seed are still puny little guys and gals. I like yellow banana peppers so this'll be okay,but it is all just weird.
Hey, a wild thought just occurred to me: I think last year--when I was living in Kilgore--I had a pot of yellow peppers. All my Kilgore plants died cos it snowed so many times. However, I have re-used the pots. I've even re-used some of the dirt. Do you think this could have been a baby of last year's banana peppers? hmmmmmmmmmm... ponderings, ponderings!!

If ya know WHAT THIS IS, please let me know.

love,
your pal,
Lolly Fab ;-P