Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's the Little Things

Yesterday I wrote about how I was going out to my old school and helping one of the fourth grade teachers.  Well, today was my regular day to volunteer.  I walked in and a little girl said...

But first, last go back a few years at Christmastime. For my Christmas present that year, Danny gave me a  lovely string of pearls with matching earrings.  I LLLOOOVVVEE them. Anytime I leave the house I wear my pearls.  My pearls have visited the grocery store, Home Depot, and church.  So, of course, I wore them to the school when I went to help.

So back to the current story.  As I walked in, a little girl ran up to me with something in her hand. This was a student that I had helped  with addition the day before.  She asked if "they were like mine."  I looked down. She had a dime store version of my necklace in her hand.  She wanted to wear a string of pearls like I wore.

That was a sobering moment.  At this point, the putting on of my pearls is automatic.   I don't give it much thought.  When preparing to leave the house, I change my clothes, comb my hair, and put on my jewelry, including my pearls.  No thought. 

But this seemingly small thing seemed to make a impression on this little girl.  She wanted to emulate me. 


If the little ones are watching inconsequential things like jewelry they are also watching how the big people in their lives act.  How they act when someone cuts them off in traffic.  When the clerk has trouble with the cash register.  Or when that same clerk gives them too much change.

They are watching.

All the time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Kids Remain the Same

Over two decades ago, I decided that I wanted to do something to change the future. I knew I would never probably find a cure for ANY disease.  I never would be an elected official that would change laws.  I seriously doubted that I would head some big philanthropic group that would give millions to the needy.

But I could teach.

So I returned to school and acquired my degree in Elementary Education and, with my brand new degree in hand, starting teaching.

And I felt I was making a difference.  I was teaching small children to read and putting the hope of higher education in older students minds.  I was opening their minds to how much plain FUN science and mathematics can be.

And then No Child Left Behind hit the scene.

And the fun stopped.

Suddenly the art of teaching was overshadowed by the science. Time was spent on testing and testing and testing.  There wasn't time for opening minds.  No time to talk about higher education.  No time for the fun in science and mathematics.

So I retired.

But recently I have been helping a fourth grade teacher at my old school with some of her students that need just a little extra help.

And guess what?

I have discovered the fun in teaching and I am loving it.
It is the kids.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Round Up

This last weekend was a whirl of activity around the ole' Champion homestead!

On Friday night, Danny and I did some shopping for him, an activity that he would rather have a root canal than do.  If he would just resign himself to the fact that he is my great big Ken doll and just roll with it, the whole process would be much easier.  But no, he always looks likes he is looking into the veritable gates of hell when we arrive at a mall. But we did manage to acquire a new Hawaiian shirt, running shorts, and vitamins with no casualties.

After shopping we went and ate a bite of Mexican food.  There is nothing better than Mexican food in the Mesilla Valley.   Add a little Hatch green chili to it and it is the same as manna from heaven.

Saturday, Danny rode his bike for thirty something miles and I sat in my newly refrigerated air conditioned house and read The Help.  I had been saving reading the book to read until we had seen the movie.  I am always disappointed in movies if I read the book first so I purposely delayed my reading.

And just let me say, it was worth the wait.

I then made Danny he traditional Saturday night pepperoni pizza but this time I added some of that fresh Hatch chili.  I was grocery shopping and the smell of roasting chili reached my nose.

Danny and I won't use the huge gunny sacks full of chili but this particular store is aware of two member families like ours.  They had small bags already roasted so I purchased one and added it to Danny's pizza.  He loved it.

Sunday we went to church and the potluck after services. Chicken, casseroles, and desserts to die for. Just let me say that there is nothing better than dishes prepared by Christian women!  Can I get an amen?

Sunday evening we went out with friends to celebrate one of the group's birthday.  Laughter and good food are always fun. Danny and I laughed and celebrated but had to pass on the movie after dinner.  Memaw and Pepaw had to drive their Hover Rounds home and go to bed early.  You know how when you get older you need more sleep.

And after that boring recitation of the activities of two over 50 year olds, you are probably so bored you are looking for a pillow, blankie, and a quiet place to sleep.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Daddy's Girl

He picks up the paintbrush and with one, quick swipe draws a smiley face and writes PAM on the dining room wall.  I remember clapping my hands with delight.  He, of course, painted over it and continue to complete the task of painting the dining room.  The artwork is gone but the memory remains forever.

About the same time, he was sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands softly weeping.  We had a boxer dog named Butch that had a bad habit of sitting under our vehicle.  He had backed out on his way to work and accidentally ran over Butch. 

I was hiding in my parents' bedroom.  I was, no matter what, supposed to stay in there.  I, of course, cracked the door open and peeked out.  He was carrying my Christmas present table and chairs while saying, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

The note was on the kitchen table.  All it said was, "Go get your Pinto."  And that was it.  I had my first new car.  A Grabber Blue Pinto.

He looked uncomfortable in the rented tux but he took my arm and walked me down the aisle to that incredibly young man who wanted me for his wife.

He got in the car and drove two days into a part of the country he had never seen to see that first and, as it turned out, only granddaughter.

And, two decades later, he drove out again to see her get married.

And that  man is my Daddy.
Happy Birthday, Daddy
  And, yes, there are tears in my eyes as I write this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Morning Girl? Not Exactly.

When someone calls me in the morning to ask me to go somewhere, let's say shopping, I always tell them that I will need at least 30 minutes to get ready because my morning look is not exactly good. 

In fact, when Baby Susan and Joshua were staying with us for a few months, Joshua likened my morning look to Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.  In case you are not familiar with these particular cartoon character her is a little refresher.
I think, perhaps, my son-in-law exaggerates just a little but there is a distinct resemblance.  I have a habit of burrowing in my pillow like a little groundhog that makes my hair stand up on end when I get up. But I do think my morning facial expression is much more pleasant.

And I have delighted in sharing this comparison with others because it was both humorous and slightly accurate.

But recently i think I have a more accurate portrayal of my morning ritual.

Or perhaps this one looks more like Danny.  You decide.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I AM One Cool Cat

For those who read my blog who do not live in the southwest may not know what a evaporative cooler is, here is a very simplified version.
Do you get the picture?  (pun not intended)  It is essentially a fan blowing over water.

And that is what has been cooling my house for over 30 years. Memaw is not happy.

So today there are men all over my house hammering, nailing, and do who knows what so that I can have refrigerated air in my house.

So that I can look less like this...
And more like this...

Looks just like me doesn't it?

UPDATE: It's now 4:30 and the guys have left and my air conditioner is now working.  Look at the thermostat at the room temperature when the unit was turned on.
Yep, after an afternoon without any sort of cooling my house was 89 degrees!
That's why we needed refrigerated air!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Things Never Change

So this week classes started at New Mexico State University.  Our house is within spitting distance of the campus so I have seen the fresh-faced students running around town.  And seeing all those new students reminded me of when Danny and I were college students.

Way back in the 70's, when Danny and I were on the Murray State University campus, we would sit around in our bell bottoms, long hair, sideburns and mustaches (well, Danny had the sideburns and mustache, not me)  after a long day of studying and talk about how wonderful life would be after we graduated and went on to our "real" life.  We would have so much more time, what with no studying, research papers, classes, etc.  We would just go to work, which would take about the same amount of time as going to class, and then our evenings would be ours.  It was going to be great.

And we graduated.  We got jobs.  We had a kid.  We had to take care of a home.  We had bills. Responsibilities. Suddenly studying, research papers, and classes didn't look so bad.

But one thing that has been consistent since our college days.

Danny and I like to fight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There"s More Than One Way to Be Green

I am not the best at recycling.  Danny and I do separate out coke cans from the regular trash to be recycled.  And we do save our newspapers to take to the appropriate recycling bin.  But that is about the extent og out recycling efforts.

Oh, I almost forgot, we do use the cloth bags at the groceries.  But, in all honesty, not because it's good for the environment but because I bought cute bags. 

But I have found another way to reuse what could have been another addition to the landfill.

I recently visited the Restore and found these cabinet doors in search of a home.
It's a little difficult to tell in this picture, but they are white wood with glass fronts.  Also the handles are to cute. They are white with little pink flowers.  I did take a picture but it is so blurry you can't tell if it is a pink flower or some kind of sea creature so we will just skip that picture, okay?

I had the idea to make some kind of wall art of these doors but that was about it until I spied these in my back bedroom.

There are "lace like" dollies that I bought at Dollar Tree about 10 years ago.  Inspiration struck!  And that inspiration didn't hurt much.

I would cut the dollies to fit my cabinet doors and staple them to the back.

But then I realized that when you put them against the white wall you couldn't see the lace!  It just faded into the background.  So, I stapled some wine colored fabric on the back over the lace.
Why, look at those too cute Santa scissors that just happened to be lying there!
Then I flipped them over and look what I had!
After Danny put the little picture hanging thingy on the back we hung them over the bed in the back bedroom.
How cute are these! The cost?  Seven dollars each for the cabinet doors. Nothing for the lace since I already had it.  Two dollars for the fabric.  Sixteen dollars total.

Maybe I'll become so green I'll have to purchase a Prius!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Tattoo or Not To Tattoo?

I have always had a love/hate relationship with tattoos.  While I have always had a desire to get a "tasteful" tattoo, I also know that, while they are more widely accepted today, there is still a segment of society that finds them offensive, especially on a memaw within spitting distance of sixty. 

So I have refrained from indulging in body art.

But there may be an answer to my dilemma.  Tattoo Socks!

How special would my gams look in these...

Or these...
Or my personal favorite...
I just love the little birds on these! I think I would feel like a woodland nymph if I were sporting these stockings!
Looks just like me, doesn't it?

And if stockings are not your style, they also come in knee socks.

I know what I may be sporting on my Memaw legs Sunday morning! Just don't confuse me with a woodland nymph.

What's not to love?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Where's My Hover Round?

So, I have already bored you to tears with tales of my injured right pinkie toe that turned out to be broken.  But the plot thickens.

In an effort to keep up some kind of fitness, I have decided to take up bike riding.  My first attempt resulted in a knee full of abrasions after a collision with a guard rail.

And then yesterday evening, Danny and I decided to take a little roundabout on our bikes.  The results?  I fell and twisted my left knee.

But there was a more painful injury than the sprained knee.  As I fell, the end of the handlebar stabbed me in the right upper frontal (for the older audience, that would be breast).  For my male readers this is tantamount to a shot in the private area.

It hurt.

So let's sum this up starting with the foot and working upward..  Right injured, broken pinkie toe, abrasions on right knee from guard rail, twisted left knee, and painful injury to my right upper frontal.

And my bottom hurts from sitting on a rock hard bicycle seat.

Could God be telling me sonmething?

Get a Hover Round!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beau, Beau, Beau

Medical Update:  After a visit to the podiatrist and having x-rays taken, it is official.  My injured right pinkie toe is broken at the base of the toe.  As my friends have said cleaning and retirement can be dangerous. 

A Further Update:  I am waiting for confirmation from my mother but I have misnamed the dog in this post.  After thinking about today, I am beginning to think the dog's name was Bernie.  Doesn't change the sentiment of the story but I do so want to be accurate.

But I think I'll stop obsessing about my toes for awhile and jump into the Way Back Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman...
and go back to a time when Miss Emily was about eighteen months old.  We (Danny and I) decided to take her to Kentucky to see the great grandparents.  We just gloss over that two day car trip with a toddler and get to the point where we got to my mom and dad's home.

Now, at the time my parents and Mark (my brother)  had a dog named Beau.  I have known, but have since forgotten, what kind of dog he was.  But one thing is for sure, he was big.  Not just big but huge.  And apparently his breed of dog was used for herding smaller (of which there would be many animals).  I guess to Beau, Miss Emily was just another small animal for him to care for and watch.
That's Beau eating a cookie from Miss Emily's hand.  Notice that his mouth is big enough that if he wanted to he could put her entire head in his mouth. But instead he eats peacefully from her hand.

And here he lays on his back to her.

Of course the friendship between Beau and Miss Emily had a downside.  Every morning, at about 5:30 or so, Beau would go down  my parents two city block long driveway and chase the trucks on the road below.  Perfectly acceptable behavior for a dog.  However, Miss Emily would sneak out of her bed and join Beau in his morning chases! So let's get a mental picture.

Beau chasing a speeding pickup truck down a gravel road with Miss Emily running behind.

So one of the adults would have to get up and go with her, you know so she wouldn't get run over!

Beau has gone on to his reward but the memories live forever.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

She'll Look Sweet, Upon the Seat

Yesterday I filled you in about my injured right pinkie toe. MEDICAL UPDATE:  My pinkie toe stills hurts.  I do have an appointment with a medical professional to see if it is indeed broken or just jammed up.  

(Jammed Up?  Sounds like the name of a 70's dance show. Can't you just see it.  Bell bottoms. platform shoes. But I digress.)

Because of my injured right pinkie toe, I have not been doing my daily run.  So after a week of not running, I was beginning to feel like a slug on a couch.
Don't I look attractive, lounging around.

So, in order to fight my inactivity, Danny and I decided to go for a little bike ride last night.  Good plan.  Only problem I have probably  not been on a bike since  was child.  I had purchased one in a fit of fitness (otherwise known as F o' F) but had rode it less that 2 blocks.

So last night we pulled out the ole' bikes.

To begin with, the ground is much farther down then it used to be and I do not bounce as well as I used to.  So I was a little frightened that I might get to meet that ground up close and personal. 

And guess what...I did.

Those are abrasions on my knee.  While trying to keep out of the car driving lane, I ran my bike into a guard rail on the road near our house.  While technically I did not meet the ground, I was still injured and I was not happy.

Let's all pray that my injured right pinkie toe heals quickly.  I need to keep my feet on the ground at all times.
Or Danny and I  could resort to this.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Too Cute Running Shorts and Too Sore Pinkie Toe

Once again the kind folks at Kohl's sent me one of those delightful $10 off cards...
and I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth so I clutched the card  in my hot little hand and traveled to my local Kohl's.

Just look what I found on the clearance rack.

Cute, cute pink running shorts.  But let's go in for a close-up and look at the clearance price.
Eleven dollars and 20 cents!  Pretty good.  But once you subtract the $10 off card, my too cute shorts were $1.20!
Ignore the circled area that says that I saved $26.80.  Like I would really pay $38.00 for running shorts.  Also, no tax because it was Tax Free Weekend here in New Mexico. Woo!  Woo!

But I may never get to wear my too cute running shorts for the intended purpose of running.

Last Tuesday, while cleaning my house, I stubbed my baby pinkie on my right foot. The jury is out on whether or not it is broken.  I have limped around for almost a week and, of course, I cannot run.

Now I had got my running up to six miles every other day.  Now, I'm just sitting around waiting around for my pinkie toe to heal.  And, may I say, I am not a very patient woman.

I have decided to call a doctor and try to get in to see him since my pinkie toe screams in pain every time I try to put on my running shoes.  So running is out of the question.  Maybe I'll get a HoverRound and do my laps will riding it and wearing a large, floppy hat. Just like any other old Memaw.

And, maybe someday I'll get to use my too cute running shorts for running.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I AM One Red Hot Memaw

So most of you know that Danny and I have spent out entire married life (except for three years in Germany) living in the desert southwest.  Specifically, southern New Mexico.  Where it gets hot.  Very hot.  Sort of like living on the surface of the sun.  Sort of tough on this Kentucky girl.

So for all of those year in the desert we have had an evaporative cooler (or what is also known as a swamp cooler). For those of you reading this blog somewhere east of far west Texas, you might not know what a swamp cooler is and how it works.  Basically, it's a box sitting on your roof that has a fan and a wet pad in it.  The air blows over the wet pad and the cooled air is pushed into the house.  Simple, huh?

One problem.  Depending on the outside humidity it will, at best, cool the house about 10-15 degrees.  So let's just take today.  It is currently 97 degrees outside and 83 degrees in my house.  Later today when the expected high is 101 degrees, my house will be approaching 90 degrees inside.  Yes sirree, I am one hot Memaw!

But the Champions have made an important decision.  We are investing in refrigerated air for our house!

Can I get an Amen!

Maybe I'll be as cool as these ladies sitting on ice!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Snakes on Planes or Windshields or Wherever

 If you are a fan of snakes, please don't read this post.  If you do, don't say you weren't warned!

So, if you are an internet junky like me you have probably already seen this video making the rounds.  If not, here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Internety reports have it that the apparently the snake curled up around the engine of the car during the night and then came out the next day when Mom, Dad, and the kids were driving 65 mph down a highway near Memphis.

Now I don't know about you, but is I was driving and a large snake appeared on my windshield I probably would have caused a multi-car pile up when I went completely hysterical!

What has amazed me is the number of commenters on the internet  who seem to feel that the family of four were cruel to the snake.  One commenter said that the Dad was mistaken in his assessment that the snake was a water moccasin.  That, in reality, the snake was a harmless rat snake.  When someone questioner her as to how she new this she replied that she had googled it and the markings on the snake pointed to it being a rat snake.

Did she really want the Dad to google markings on snakes and compare them and make an accurate determination of the kind of snake  WHILE TRAVELING 65 MPH WITH THE SNAKE ON THE WINDSHIELD!!! 

Another said that the driver should have pulled over and get a stick and lift the snake from the car and release it to play with the bunnies and birds. (Okay, that last part was my sarcasm coming through).  First of all, she has to find a safe place to pull over and hope there is a large stick lying helpfully on the ground.  Not happening.

One commented that she worried about the mental state of the snake.  How scared he must of been when he realized what was happening. WHAT??

In my opinion, and since it is my blog I get to say my opinion, the driver did a remarkable job keeping her cool and not wrecking the vehicle.  The children don't seem overly traumatized by the event, perhaps because the parents keep some semblance of calm.  In fact, you can hear the little ones saying,"Snakey, snakey". And while I realize that snakes are a valuable part of the environment and perform their part in the food chain, they really have no place on a windshield of a car traveling 65 mph on a highway.   The parents were correct in taking care of their children first and worrying about the snake second.

And any snakes out there reading this blog, stay off windshields!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Tale of Two Parents (or maybe three, if you are counting)

 WARNING:  The following post has my opinions just thrown all over it.  Don't blame Danny, Baby Susan, Miss Emily, Mr. Jacob, or Joshua for the rantings of an old Memaw. Sometimes Memaws just have to let it out.

So yesterday, I was lying on the couch doing my very best impression of a slug.  I was feeling so lazy that it was too much trouble to use the remote to change the channel when the train wreck, Toddlers and Tiaras, came on the television. 


I have, of course, seen snips and bits of the show and knew what it was all about. But nothing had prepared me for THE SHOWDOWN!

(Remember, these are 4-6 year old children)

(And I don't mean the moms)


This is given all the build-up of a heavy weight boxing match!  

For little girls.

For those of you who don't follow the little pageant girls just Google Miss Eden Wood.  She is a cute little girl who, in my humble opinion, is being marketed by her mom.  She has made the rounds on The View, Entertainment Tonight, etc. She is being led around like a show pony.

But she is not a pony.

She is a very little girl in full makeup, fake hair, fake teeth, and a fake tan.

And it appears to be having some effect on little Miss Eden.

About the 0.14 mark in the video, you can see Eden give Mackenzie what can only be described as a death look.   If I had ever caught Baby Susan giving someone a look like that, she would have a lot of explaining to do.

At the end, you can hear Eden crying, "Please God!  Please God!"  over and over.  She is "praying" to God to win the Ultimate prize, which was a canopy bed.

At the end of the show (which isn't in the clip I included), Eden came in second (I guess, I can't really figure out the scoring methods for these pageants) and began to cry because she didn't get the bed.  Mom admonishes her to stop crying because the camera is on her. 

Not to stop crying because she is a beautiful little girl and her mother is proud of her.  Not to stop crying because she did win a large crown when there were little girls there who did not win anything.  Let's get it clear.  She wanted her 5-6 year old to stop crying because THE CAMERA WAS ON HER.  
That says a whole lot about what is going on with little Miss Eden Wood.

Now compare that public crying of a child and the parents response with this 

That little guy, Dylan Sylvia, appears to be taking pictures of when Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett hands him a baseball.  He  is so thrilled \that he breaks down and cries.  Does Dad say,"Buck up, son.  The cameras are on us."  No he reacts as any parent would.  He hugs his son and let's him cry.

I wonder which child has a better chance in life?