Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Scoop on Poop

I can remember when I did not think I would ever live to see the year 2000. I thought I could never possibly be that old. Now, I am a decade into another century and going strong. WooHoo!
DD-Ki and her 2 little ones have been here almost a week and are getting ready to return home.
Twenty-month old, Ky, was sitting at the table, waiting patiently for her breakfast, and carrying on one of her never-ending conversations. The paper placemats, which had served us well the night before when 7 of the cousins (between ages 11 years & 20 months) had eagerly shared ice cream for dessert, still graced the table.
Suddenly, I was summoned to the table.
"Grandma! Come see!"
I rushed over and looked at the placemat Ky was holding up.
"What is the problem, Ky?" I asked.
She pointed to the brown, chocolate stains.
"What is it? I asked.
"Reindeer poop!" she announced with conviction.
We threw that placemat out.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy 12th Anniversary

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Tia said she tried to make it difficult for DS to forget important dates....her BD 3 days before Christmas and their anniversary 3 days after Christmas. Smart girl!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Is Christmas over for you? Well, it is just getting off to a good start at my casa.
DD-Ki, Lem, and Ky are arriving this afternoon. Lem usually orders a brown or a blue plane without much success. Everyone will gather after church tomorrow for our Christmas celebration, complete with turkey dinner. Everyone else may be sick of turkey, but I have been waiting for this moment. Meanwhile, I have a reprieve and a little more time to finish the projects I have been working on. The sewing machine has been going hot and heavy, and I hope to have most of the baking done so we can eat fairly early.
I have been strangely disturbed these past few weeks and wondered why. Then it struck me, this has been my first Christmas at home since DH died. It has been rougher than I anticipated. In fact, it took a while to realize the source of my inner turmoil. Our family went to the beach the first year and met in St. Louis last year. This year I had to share my family with other people. Now I know what to expect, I can plan accordingly. It always helps to have a plan to follow and an alternate one in your back pocket.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy 48th Anniversary .......

....Uncle Dan and Aunt M.E.
Posted by PicasaHere is the rest of the story......
Uncle Dan said... A blind date in 1958 while I was in the Army in DC, Dated for 2 years at which time I returned to college in CA, ME followed me and we were married in 1960. She worked to put me through school while I did odd jobs. After graduation I got a job in a different town and she continued to work. When the economy went south in 1966, we moved again to the area in which we still live. Two girls and their college later we retired, ME after over 30 years of teaching elementary school and I after 45 years of Architectural work. ME continues to write books for teachers to use, I keep the computer running for her. Wow! We're approaching 50 years soon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Silent night
Holy night
Throngs of people crowded the way;
The soldiers were pushy and rude.
The journey had ended in Bethlehem,
But there was no where to sleep, no food.
All is calm
All is bright
Poor Mary was tired and heavy with child,
And Joseph was weary with worry.
"Please." he begged of an innkeeper there,
"We need a quiet place in a hurry."
Round yon Virgin,
Mother and child
Holy infant,
So tender and mild
Born in a stable warmed by oxen and sheep,
Then laid in a manger close by,
A babe, Love Incarnate, The King of Kings,
The hope of a world that draws nigh.
Sleep in Heavenly peace.
Jackie Taylor Switzer
10th in a Series
I wish you all the blessings and wonders of this Holy season......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "Santas"

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These Santas are just too cute. They reflect the sense of humor of the giver.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "San Francisco Tram"

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I have been privileged to enjoy several memorable trips to San Francisco. Can any trip to SF be anything but memorable?

The scariest event took place on one of the trams. I was in SF for a Convention of Critical Car Nurses and several of us headed down to the waterfront one evening after a long day's session indoors. We inundated the place. There were so many of us on one tram that we were all hanging off the sides and holding on, just like in the movies. Suddenly the tram tried to stop. The brakes did not hold and we went sliding back down the hill. It was all too fast for anyone to jump off, so we just held on for dear life until we reached the bottom of the hill.

There was no screaming or panic....after all, we were all Critical Care Nurses....we figured no one could have been in better hands if something had happened.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tia!

Lovely, kind, vivacious, open, and caring - we are so happy to have you in our lives. Happy Birthday!!
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh, Deer - Part 2

I got my car back last night, clean as a whistle and completely healed. Express Autobody [free plug] did a great job and stayed late to make sure I got the car.
I was keeping the 3-H's (DD-Ko's 3) overnight and promised them another ride around the neighborhood to ooh and aaah at all the Christmas lights. It was a pleasant outing, heads swiveling to catch all the displays, expressions of delight, and Christmas carols playing on the radio.
It was pleasant until we saw the deer.
"Oh, look! Real deer!" Junior was excited. So was I until I pulled the car around to catch the deer in the headlights. One poor creature was limping very badly. S/he didn't appear to have any problem grazing and watching, but had a real problem when trying to move around.
"It must be the deer that Grandma hit!" they all decided. It was a possibility I did not want to consider.
"I didn't hit the deer; the deer hit me," I reminded them.
"Grandma, you need to get out and see if it is alright." Em was very concerned and my feelings of guilt were doubling by the minute.
"If I were to get out, it would try to run away and be worse off than it is now," I told them.
I eased the car around and quietly pulled away. I did not want to see that deer running. The children were busily emptying buckets of guilt on to my head and were not at all consoled by my pointing out that it might not have been the same deer. Even if it were the same deer, s/he must get around all right since it was 2-3 miles from the site of the accident.
Poor deer. I am so sorry.....

Christmas Ornaments - "The Cornpopper"

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This little cornpopper was originally a key ring but, with the key ring holder removed, it makes a very nice Christmas ornament. DH and I discovered a whole wall of similar miniature toys at an Amish store when we visited a small town in Illinois. The cornpopper reminded us of the one we bought in the early years of our first child. She could hold on to the handle and feel she had enough support to take a few steps on her own. The machine sent the enclosed balls "popping up" in the small dome with a most satisfying noise. Well, it was satisfying to her, but very annoying to us. Nevertheless, it served the purpose and continued to serve our family for several years. We did learn to buy quieter toys.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "An Angel for Grandpa John"

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This little angel looks mad. but that is just the way she came. I belonged to an club for RNs when we first moved here. Their yearly project was to make and sell angels for Hospice. Each angel had the name of the honored person and hung on the Hospice tree for the Christmas season, then the ornament
was given to the donor.
This one was for Grandpa John. He never had children of his own and was very excited when he married DH's mother and acquired an instant family. We all loved him!
Grandpa John had plenty of stories to tell, but I only got to hear a few. He had a world of experiences including a stint as a boxer (he was known as K.O. Rutherford). John served in WWII as a Radioman and received an injury that ended his military many stories....I'll leave them for another time.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "Beading"

Posted by PicasaThis is a close-up of a small ornament made by DD-Kr. It is about 1-1/2" in diameter and intricately hand beaded. She says beading is "relaxing" for her.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas ornaments - "Pinocchio"

I brought this little fellow home from a hiking trip in Italy.
I also brought these home for my grandchildren's yearly ornament. Every year I give each child an ornament for the tree. One day, when they leave home and begin their own traditions, they will have a start on memorable ornaments for their trees. This is a tradition I started with my children but those were mostly handmade ornaments. I spent my waiting time (swim meets, practices, etc.) sewing. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Ornaments - "Alaska"

These lovely ceramic ornaments were gifts from DD-Kr who lived in Alaska for about 15 years.
Two of them feature works by one of my favorite Alaskan artists, Barbara LaValle. The scenes capture some family memories. Of the first one, top left, she said - "we never lived in snowy climates, but I imagined that we would have all been trying this out, if we had."
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy 14th Anniversary

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Happy Anniversary to you, ABW & Gunner!
Maybe one day you will be able to spend it together....I know, I know...."If the Army wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one,"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "Ecuador"

These intricate, colorful ornaments are made of bread dough in Ecuador. We have had them for about 40 years. That is an amazing length of time when you consider the number of miles they have traveled and the number of times they have been brought out to grace our Christmas tree. The Indian looking guy is in several items we have from Ecuador, including a carved wooden head. I do not know the history of the Indian image.

I know, the word Indian is not politically correct, but it certainly doesn't seem right to call him a native American when he is from Peru. Does anyone have any ideas?


Uncle Dan,

I have only known them as Quechua Indians, with an Incan heritage. I certainly never saw any dress like this one.

"Those who speak Quechua as their first language are called Quechua Indians by the dominant Spanish-speaking cultures. However, most Quechua speakers, who live in numerous distinct cultural groups, prefer to identify themselves with their Inca heritage. The Quechua refer to themselves as Runa, 'the people'."

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Christmas Ornaments - "Girl Scouts"

Girl Scouting was a tremendous influence in my life. Not as a child, since I was not included in the troop when it split and we never did find a leader.
When we returned from Australia, DD-Kr entered 3rd grade. The first week of school, she was invited to join a GS troop. That was a defining moment in the life of our family. We all participated in GS activities for the next 15 or so years. There was support for girls and women in all areas of the Scouting movement and I saw many people changed by this support. My own girls benefited greatly. These were a few of the ornaments given to me in exchanges and for thank-yous. Just hanging them every year brings a flood of memories - people, activities, events, and emotions.
If you have never worked with girls and adults in Scouting, give it a go.
"Find the gift in every child."

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Ornaments _ Peruvian Dancers"

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These tiny Peruvian dancers are only about 1-1/2" tall. They are so intricate and remind me of happy times when we visited Cuzco, Peru. The people of the villages were constantly working with their hands. This handcrafted pair, although quite inexpensive for me. probably provided an additional necessity (or maybe a luxury) for its maker.

Christmas ornaments - "Hearts & and an Angel"

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Ornaments bought on a trip to a beautiful church in Santa Fe New Mexico. It also housed a children's school.
Lovely glass hearts in DH's favorite color. These remind me of the fragility of life and love, both of which should be embraced with enthusiasm. The clay angel was made by a blind girl. The clerk told me there were other pieces all in one color; this one had obviously been made from several remnants of different colored clay. I preferred this one. It sings of the melding of diversities in our lives.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas ornaments - "Korea"

Posted by PicasaThe Korean teens love to hang these on their cell phones, backpacks, zippers, etc. I love to hang it on my Christmas tree and recall a fun trip to Seoul to visit my DIL's mother.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "Kokopelli"

DH and I chose this brightly colored, enameled metal figure of Kokopelli as a souvenir of a wonderful trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kokopelli appears everywhere and has become a popular symbol for the tourist trade. The colors on this piece figure prominently in most of the Southwest art. They are reminiscent of the red earth and blazingly beautiful sunsets. You can't help but be happy when you look at Kokopelli. This one seems to have a bag of presents on his back, or prehaps he is off to prepare the earth for Spring planting.

Ko-ko-pel-li (kô kô pel´ lê) n. {der. Hopi "kokopilau" (koko = wood, pilau = hump)} the humpbacked Flute Player, mythical Hopi symbol of fertility, replenishment, music, dance, and mischief. The mysterious Kokopelli character is found in a number of Native American cultures. He is especially prominent in the Anazasi culture of the "Four Corners" area. The figure represents a mischievous trickster or the Minstrel, spirit of music. Kokopelli is distinguished by his dancing pose, a
hunchback and flute. His whimsical nature, charitable deeds, and vital spirit give him a prominent position in Native American mysticism. Kokopelli has been a sacred figure to Native Americans of the Southwestern United States for thousands of years. Found painted and carved on rock walls and boulders throughout this region, Kokopelli is one of the most intriguing and widespread images to have survived from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology, and is a prominent figure in Hopi and Zuni legends. Kokopelli is also revered by current-day descendants
including the Hopi, Taos and Acoma pueblo peoples.
Kokopelli is considered a symbol of fertility who brought well-being to the people, assuring success in hunting, planting and growing crops, and human conception. His "hump" was often considered a bag of gifts, a sack carrying the seeds of plants and flowers he would scatter every spring. Warming the earth by playing his flute and singing songs, Kokopelli would melt the winter snow and create rain, ensuring a good harvest. Kokopelli often displayed a long phallus, symbolizing the fertile seeds of human reproduction.

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Christmas Ornaments - "Memories of Japan"

Miniature getas and an origami mamasan, souvenirs of a memorable trip to Japan with our two older children.
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "A Handprint"

A precious handprint from my firstborn grandson, Ch.
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Christmas Ornaments - "Absent Tea"

A treasured ornament from my sister. We chat by phone but seldom have schedules that mesh for meeting. After I moved back to Houston with DH and children, we would make it a point to get together at least once a week.We both lived in Houston, but there were 38 miles between our houses. We managed to play one game of Scrabble each time we got together. With seven children between us, it took all day to play that one game.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "Nutcracker King"

I bought this shiny, jaunty, nutcracker King to cheer DH when he was in the hospital in Houston.
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Christmas Ornaments - " A Babe in a Quilt"

I bought this at the Houston "Quilt Festival" one year. The little china-doll baby is wrapped in a small square made from a vintage quilt. What a wonderful way to rescue some of a precious quilt that is otherwise unusable and not really salvageable.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Abs Tales

Just in case some of you were thinking Abs was only a "creative thinker" at home, let me enlighten you. The children visit almost every weekend. Usually only the 2 older ones, stay overnight on Saturday and attend church with me on Sunday morning. This gives us some bonding time and, hopefully, gives DD-Ko some relief. Abs is busy from the time she arrives until she goes home. I try to keep an eye on her all the time, know how that goes.

Abs has 3 rules to follow for church. She repeats them to me before we leave the house, once or twice in the car, before we leave the car at church, and after we enter the church building. Sometimes I just remind her to think of the 3 rules before she goes to the front of the church for the Children's Moment, a lesson held with the children gathered in front of the altar. The three rules?

  1. No "picking" -Abs has an ongoing problem with her underwear. No, we don't know what it is. One day her mom bought seven new sets of underwear - different brands, sizes, and styles. Nothing seems to work. Abs pulls at the underwear while contorting her body into some amazing positions. It doesn't matter where she is when the mood to "pick at her underwear" strikes. I just try to keep it from happening at the altar during the Children's Moment. Most people find it a little distracting.
  2. One answer, and then only to a question - Abs usually has something to contribute on every subject. She also questions everything she is told and wants to discuss it. This is not a bad thing, unless she happens to be sitting in front of 150 people who can't wait to hear what will come out of her mouth next. Example ...Leader :"We have a direct line to God." Abs: "That's a mess of wires!"
  3. Keep your hands to yourself - Abs will try to hug everyone in sight, see what the leader has in the closed box, examine all the items on a tray, and check out everything within arm's reach. She has not yet equaled her sister's escapade. When Em was about 5, she was bored during the Children's Moment. Lacking anything to busy her hands, she got up and began examining her surroundings at the altar. The area around the altar is pretty barren, but at eye level ON the altar, there is plenty to see. She strolled around, just looking at everything. She lifted a corner of the cloth on the table, then let it fall. She looked closely at the closed communion trays. As she reached up and considered removing one of the lids, there was a collective intake of breath from the congregants, followed by a collective sigh of relief as she moved on, deciding against a peek inside. The Leader courageously ignored this activity and focused attention on all the children sitting quietly in front. After church, I took her up, showed her everything in depth, and answered her questions.

Abs has learned not to admit to anything.

Some very young children do not realize that they're lying. They tell imaginary lies which are a mixture of make-believe and reality. Such lies combine children's rich creative playful side and their everyday lives. As children continue to develop and grow, these intricate tall-tales will pass away.

Me - observing about a cup of soft butter plopped in the kitchen sink - "Where did this butter come from?"

Abs - "I don't know. It wasn't me. I thought I heard Em walking around, then a "plopping" noise like peanut butter or something."

Em - getting ready for church after leaving her jewelry on my bathroom counter before going to bed - "My ring is gone. Where is my ring? Abbbiiieeee!"

Abs - "I don't know. I haven't seen it!"

Me - "We will sit here and look at each other until someone knows something!"

Abs - "Fine! I didn't do it, but has anyone even thought of looking in the suitcase [in the other room]? I didn't do it, but it could just be in the suitcase! Duh!"

Me: "Well, why don't you look in the suitcase and see if it is in there."

Abs: "Fine! I will look, but I didn't do it." Abs finds the ring in the suitcase.

Well, you get the picture. Every day is a surprise. Abs is fortunate to have a mother who can, sometimes, see the humor in all this.

Christmas Ornaments - "Three Lanterns"

I think these are really Chinese, but they remind me of the 1 1/2 years my family lived in Okinawa. The first lantern appeared on a Christmas package from my sister one year.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Texas Weather

The weather in Texas is always a good conversation starter. If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change.
We have had a glorious week. It has been in the tolerable 70's, except when we walk at 6 AM and the changing of the leaves is a spectacular show of color....reds, yellows, oranges....I know, I know, you Northerners see it every year. Here in Texas we usually get a little red from the sumac, but the changing leaf color is generally green to brown.
Tonight I heard a mysterious rattling noise at different intervals and was worried I might have to deal with a mouse. Even worse, I was worried a squirrel had taken refuge in the attic. It proved to be sleet on the windows. So we have moved from tolerable 70's to 33.8* with a wind chill of 23*. We don't really mind. We can hold up in our warm homes for a day or two, then we will be back to normal. When there is snow, the whole town shuts down. We will back in the 60's on Thursday and we can almost always count on a warm front on Christmas Day.
Eat your hearts out, Yankees!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Ornaments - "A Real Lady"

A real ray of sunshine...the giver as well as the ornament. We are "the Three Musketeers" - sharing birthdays in the same year, sharing our religious convictions, and sharing similar losses. We find strength in our friendship....but not much time to share lunch.
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