Friday, December 31, 2010

Twelve Posts from the Past Twelve Months

Another year gets put to bed tonight. 
A brand new year wakes up with us tomorrow. 

There's something sad and yet cleansing about looking at it that way.  Sad because it seems so final and the year is gone whether we made the best of it or not.   Cleansing because new beginnings can bring about a fresh attitude or change for the better.  No resolutions for me this year...because I usually can't keep them past noon on January 1, but I am going to stay committed to making the best of each day.  Even on the worst of days, there is almost always something to be grateful for. 

Our family gained a "son" this year when our oldest daughter got married in March but we lost Chuck's father in April.  If that doesn't say take the good with the bad, I don't know what does. Balance.  Just try to balance. 

I've looked back through my posts over the last year and have chosen one for each month....some are highlights of the year, some just make me smile when I remember what was going on at that time. I am addicted to reading others' blogs so I know that sometimes blog posts can come across as boring, bragging or just not worthy of one's time.  But as a writer of a blog, it serves as a journal...and for this writer, it serves as a memory keeper.  If you are a reader of this blog....I humbly thank you.  If you are a family member...I humbly thank you, too, but also appreciate you for letting me expose you on here. 

Life is not perfect.  This writer's life is far from it.  But I do use a filter when writing and save the dysfunctional family drama for oral conversations with my closest friends and family.  One day, I just may get up the nerve to write about some of that.  But probably not.  My mouth gets me in enough trouble as it is....

Just know that I appreciate you stopping by here. To go to the post just click on the post title under the picture or month.

 January, 2010

February, 2010

March, 2010

April, 2010

May, 2010

June, 2010

July, 2010

August, 2010

September, 2010
Don't Postpone Joy

October, 2010
Twenty Seven

November, 2010

December, 2010

I hope you have a safe celebration when
 bringing in the new year......
and that you see even the hardest days of 2011
 in a positive light.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

M. I. Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I.

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I. Hump Back Hump Back I.

Yep.  We've been there and back.  We made our semi-annual trek to Chuck's hometown in the Delta of Mississippi.  He's the only one that moved away so we see his siblings and families as well as his mother when we go.  This was the first Christmas without his father Bill, who passed away in April, so his presence was sorely missed.

As was the "Trash" Bill always made...the Chex Mix, peanuts and pretzel stuff.  He would make tons of it each year and send us home with a huge jar of it.  Rarely did it make it to the Texas border on our way home.

If I started listing all the things we ate while there for 72 hours, you would have to take a restroom and meal break.  Here's just some of what we ate: chili, chips and dip, chocolate cake, ham and cheese sandwiches, tamales, hamburgers, beef and cabbage casserole, peas, lima beans, corn, rolls, breakfast casserole, sausage balls, biscuits, scrambled eggs, bacon .........and sweet tea at every meal.  Also a pitcher of boiled custard was consumed by Chuck and Will.

Boiled custard is similar to eggnog.  But the only time I tasted it, I got a taste of tuna in the sulfurish boiled eggs that sometimes are in tuna fish salad.  That was the only time I ever tasted it.  I'll pass, thank you. Chuck and Will got their annual cholesterol intake.

On Monday, we shopped the downtown area, Chuck ran some errands for his mom and we made plans to eat at his sister's house. On the way there, we made a trip out to the cemetary to see Bill's headstone. This was very important to my mother-in-law so we did this.

We were only there for a few minutes and it felt strange to stop, see it and go.  Maybe the next time we're there, we'll have more time to spend with our thoughts. For me, Bill is not really there...but the marker and the gravesight is a tangible thing for others.

Chuck's sister, Beth, is married to a farmer and they live in the middle of nowhere on a big farm.  Well, it's "somewhere" obviously, but when you're out there.....there is nothing for miles around.

Middle of nowhere...the view from her front porch.

Beth has a beautiful home but we rarely drive out there on our visits to Mississippi...since the parents' home is our hub while we're there.  Beth usually takes down her Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, but left them up this year because we were going out to her house on Monday evening for dinner.  I took some pictures of 5 of her 8 or 9 trees. 

 Red tree with silver ornaments in her study.

 Santa Claus tree in the family room.

 Black tree with wild animal ornaments in the sun room.

 Another little tree in the safari decorated sun room.

Ole Miss tree on the kitchen table.

Beth is a huge Ole Miss fan so there was
lots of evidence of that around the house.

He donned him now his gay apparel.......fa la la la la la la la la.

An Ole Miss painting over her kitchen sink.  This is from a local artist
and the sides are covered in beer bottle caps. 
Pretty dern cute...  
even if this house pulls for Mississippi State
and of course the fighting Texas Aggies.
Maybe some of you Aggies can come up with
something like this.

I made Beth a Hotty Toddy Ole Miss photo block for her
 Christmas present per her request.
I forgot to take a picture of it before
 I wrapped it, so here's a bad picture of it
 after she opened it and put it on her desk. ha.

We did a lot of sitting around, watching football, eating, and then
 eating some more before we all got dessert.

Marmie (Chuck's mother) and Mimi (Beth's mother-in-law)
smiled for the camera.  Both of these women lost
their husbands of over 50 years this past year. 
They are strong but are certainly struggling to adapt to the change
of living alone for the first time since being 19.

Some texted. Nonstop.
Really Will?
Grrrr.  Be in the moment, mister.

 Tuesday night, we ate at Chuck's brother Michael's house. 
 Another fun night of hanging around, watching football and eating.
  When I say "watching football"...I mean others
were watching football.  I was in the room with them until I got up and wandered around with the kids and took pictures.

That bulletin board is a regular bulletin board painted.
Even the border of brown is painted on. 
 I studied it for you.  

 Little Billy Hackney

A competitive game of Wii between
 a 10 year old and a 20 year old.

 Chuck's parents on their wedding day.
Circa early 1950's.

I was taking pictures of the tree
 when the dogs starting peeping in. 
I made that Santa on the left years ago.
It made me happy to see him again. 

The majority of the Mississippi Hackney cousins
were there so I had them pose for a group shot. 

While we were sleeping, the kids grew up.

And because I'm not in any of the pictures,
 I had Will snap one of me. 
Proof I was there.
We headed home on Wednesday.

Somewhere around Lufkin, Texas.

I tried to capture the eery skyline from
 a moving vehicle with a rainy windshield.
This is all I got.  Trust me, it was spooky.
I kept thinking a tornado would drop down any moment.

The ride home was long and stormy but we arrived safely. 
Home again, home again, jiggety jig.
Nothing feels as good as my bed on the first night back.

The year is over tomorrow. 
Two thousand ten was a good year in so many ways and
a sad year in other ways.

Like a teeter-totter,
 our lives go up and down. 
The best we can hope for is to 
 remain balanced in that middle place.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I Heart My Dog

Merry Christmas! 

This house does pajamas and cologne for Christmas gifts...and I received pajamas that were black and white and red flannel...with the words "I love my dog" all over them.  The tag read "For Mama From Maggie, Dixie and Sadie."  I have no idea how those 3 dogs got out of the yard and to the mall.  Or where they got the money.  But I love what they picked out!

I took a few pictures this morning while the grown children were slowly opening what little stash they had.  Very few pictures were without a dog in them. 

 Sweet old Dixie....always looking for a tennis ball. 
She was actually whining for one that she knows is under my
chair but she can't get to it...
I had just told her to "hush up!"....
so she is pouting.

 Sadie is obsessed with Will.  And he allows it.

 These two had just hugged and I asked them
 to hug again so I could take their picture. 
This was more like a tackle. 

Dixie was totally into watching the gift opening.

 Sadie is balancing on the arm cushion. 
 She must have thought there was bacon
in that box...
because she was taking a huge risk up there. 

 Chris and Jordan and Mia.  Merry Christmas via Skype. 
Dog in the picture? Check. 

 My brother-in-law cat napping last night after the big meal and
church service with the cat-dog Oliver. 

Very much like that long ago stable...we were surrounded by animals.

It's turned cold here in Houston.....thank goodness
 my sweet dogs got me some new flannel pajamas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Twas the Week Before Christmas....

When all through the house,
Lay the college kids' shoes
And all their other crap.

And I in my pajamas
And Chuck in his sleep attire
Sat out on the back patio
And built us a fire.

Okay, enough with the poetry...

It's been a very relaxing week.  Although I had dreams of sleeping in late, my body wakes up at 7:00 a.m. each day.  And by body, I mean bladder.  Chuck and Cameron have had to work, Will has been busy with his hometown friends, so I have had the house mostly to myself.  Nice and quiet and relaxing. 

Gift wrapping while watching HGTV....second cup of coffee....catching Ellen at complaints. 

Last night was the first evening with all four of us at home, so I begged asked if we could all meet out by the firepit. I love when they say yes without a fuss.

This is the smile of a college student with only one semester left! 
 And she loves her internship at the job that is
 waiting for her when she graduates. 
This one operates on very little sleep. 
She headed to bed before the rest of us.

Our very own pyrosomewhat maniac. 
He kept the fire going with some dead branches
we had pruned from a tree last weekend.

And then Will, the fire builder, got the hose and put the fire out...and we all went to bed. 

It was a near perfect evening....I missed having Jordan and Chris out there with us.


Last week, I thought the area around the tree looked a little empty without packages,
so I pulled out a trunk with some old toys.

And then this happened.....

Oliver, sunbathing. I guess the Matchbox cars were a little in his way.

I really hate cats.  But this one is part dog.

 Merry Christmas Eve Eve!