Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Long Legged Bird

We finally tackled the shed today, also known as the building that houses our well.  I believe it's called the Pump House. 

What a blessing to have a truck to haul away all the broken glass, rusted tools and broken and spilled pesticides that were in the shed when we moved in.  It was a lengthy job for Bill, as he needed to stop frequently and rest his heart. A job that might have taken a few hours in another life.  How nice not to be under pressure to work at a normal pace.  I helped by bringing out iced tea, lunch and poking through a few ruined boxes  to see if anything could be salvaged.  Gracie and I were not allowed to help as a rat had been spotted early on.

We are happy to see there is a cement floor that can be swept and we can spray for any lingering vermin that thinks this is where they are retiring also.  Nothing will be able to be stored out there except the mower, yard tools and the ladder.  The roof leaks and boxes were moldy, bags were torn open and contents ruined.  It will never be a substitute garage and that is probably a good thing.  I have been known to fill up a garage with treasure.  It is my intent to be very picky about bringing in anything new, well old. 

If I just am careful and resist taking home anything from the dump like a vintage metal flamingo silhouette to decorate Tortoise Cottage, I will be cured. 

Have you ever found a treasure you couldn't resist in trash? 

The Silver Treasure

It's a big night for Mom, she is a special guest at a fancy 25th anniversary party of her Sweet Adaline's chapter on October 1st.  She is one of five or six charter members and it was suggested the charter members come attired in silver to honor the occasion.

Two of the original members Edie and Mom

You know how that is.  It's pressure cooker time.  Not only do you need to shop for something appropriate, but your color choices are narrowed down to ONE.  My sis and I decided to help.  We took Saturday afternoon and combed the shops along Highway 19 looking for silver.  The shops have not stocked their winter holiday silver clothing yet, so looking for the right shimmer among the patchwork, orange and black, fall casual clothing would be impossible.  We turned to the resale shops.

Always looks beautiful

The low prices were a boon.  We didn't have Mom with us to try things on.  She was lounging in a salon having her hair or nails or something done.  An air conditioned salon, no doubt, with comfy seating.  We trudged in and out of stores loaded down with every dazzling silver top we could find.  It  was hot, humid and sweaty work but when we were finished we crawled into Karan's house as the sun was practically setting with enough tops to satisfy even our mother and toasted our effort with a refreshing icy beverage and had a couple of  pizzas sent in.

Always smiling!

I delivered the bags full of silver tops on Sunday and then was off to do a dozen things, confident Karan and I  were on the A-list and the problem was solved.  Karan called late Sunday night and ...nope.  Several didn't fit, several were not the color of silver Mom wished to wear and the one she liked, well...it just didn't work.

Nothing worked??

Soooo plan B went into effect.  We arranged to meet today at the mall and try our luck there.  Again, among all the FALL clothing.  Mom and I parked outside Sears and met up with Karan and we thoroughly exhausted dozens of racks.  Sale racks, new for fall racks and the dressy racks.  Nothing.  Her feet were aching and I must admit mine were too. We wore out two sales clerks.  And me.   Shopping is not my thing.  We decided Mom and I would go by car to the next store as it was easier to drive than to cross the length of the mall by foot.

The handicap parking was nearest the door, but the hike out there was brutal in the heat.  We got into the furnace...er..car and I asked where we were going.  She said Macy's.  I looked up and was dumbstruck.  I was facing Macy's.  It was right next door.  Six lanes away from where we were parked. Know your mall, I thought.  Had I lived here more than six weeks, I would have known we could have just walked...like Karan did!

And such a good sport!

I smothered a giggle and we were off.  I knew we had rattled her by making her try on a dozen tops in Sears.  She barely got started and suddenly she wondered if we were supposed to meet her at Penny's, not Macy's.  With determination she made a quick left and another quick right and floored it to two stores down from Macy's towards Penny's.

Mr. Toads automobile

"Let's call her" I suggested.

I was envisioning a trek around the store in vain looking for Karan who was not there but at Macy's.  She handed me her cell.

"I don't know how to use it,  I protested,   You call." 

"I don't know how to use it and I'm driving", she responded reasonably.

With a big sigh I figured it out and made the call.  No answer.  We pulled up to JC Penny and stopped quite abruptly.  I didn't hit the windshield, but barely..  I finally reached Karan and she was at Macy's.  No, she didn't want to come down to Penny's.  She found a great top!  Again, I held on to my hand rail above the window as we took off across all the empty lanes and swooped around the building.

"Damn" she said.  Wrong lane!" as she wheeled past the entrance a few steps from the door to air conditioned heaven.

She careened off to make a U turn on two wheels and rounded the concrete island as I hung on for dear life and we parked in the middle of two spaces. 

"Whew!  She said, we made it."

I looked up and there we were.  Six lanes over from where we started.  The giggles won out and when I told her why, she joined in.

The Silver Treasure hunt was a wild success as Macy's had two perfect tops.  She'll be the belle of the party!  We purchased them and retired to Red Lobster for a fun late lunch..

Thank goodness she decide to have a beer with her lunch.  I got to drive home. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy First Day of Autumn

Welcome Fall!  The first day of a new season is always special! 

I trimmed the palm tree, but not close enough.  I'll need to go back and trim each one closer.

Wished the elves Autumn luck

Rejoiced  that these flowers bloom year around!

I hung our bird feeder from Shanty Hollow

And now we'll just enjoy the season until I put my fall decorations out.

When do you put out your fall decorations?

What is your favorite fall activity?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

As the Season Turns

                It's officially Fall tomorrow but Gracie couldn't care less.  It's always cool in the living room!

                                                              Hickory Dickory Dock......
                                                   We love our new addition to the family!


There is always some knitting going on. 

                                                Gracie keeps a careful watch on the house when sitting out in The Garden Shop!

That is.....when she isn't rolling in the sandy dirt!

Bill's flag pole made it just fine.  Even with Fall arriving in a few hours, the leaves are as green as ever.  There is an old saying....if the leaves are slow to fall prepare for a cold winter.  Should I be worried?   I think not. 

So let fall come, we did enjoy the last hours of our first summer in Florida

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Garden Shop

We enjoyed the weekend with Janet and James.  It was impromptu and sometimes that is the best way to have fun.  A quiet evening at home talking late in the night out on the patio was so comfortable.

                              They liked the wicker chairs. The evening air was warm. 

The music was oldies, dare I say...Golden Gate Greats?  It was soft and  non intrusive.  A perfect background for talking over old times.  The smoke drifted lazily out the screens while the evening drifted by.

                                   Even the dinosaurs were listening.  Inside the screens.

Our little Garden Shop, is going to have lots of use this fall and into the winter.  I'm just going to love it here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Old Interview Surfaced

James' big bro, Billy

 Billy came across this interview online and sent it to me with a smile and a wink.  It had some pretty amusing parts.    I don't remember seeing it before.  After reading it a few mornings ago I have been pondering about this one portion......


Apart from fans, what do your families think of your music?

James: My mom loves it and I don’t why, I like to think she loves it in a motherly way but I honestly will walk in on her listening to some death metal band on myspace. It’s so random and I will ask her why she’s listening to it and she’ll say “well I think they’re pretty good” (in his best female impression which gets Mike and myself in hysterics). She took to it and follows it much the same as my sister. My family never listened to music and ever since I have been doing this they have all of a sudden re-found music and me being the example they have kind of taken to this type of music.


James Baney

There is a simple explanation of course.  I wasn't a fan of Death Metal or Metal of any kind prior to 2004, but James is right. When you have a son involved in a business, any business, moms are interested.  Dianne is truly interested in all the music, whereas I listen for a reason:  When he comes in or calls and is excited because they are touring with a certain band I want to be genuinely excited too, not because he says they are big, or fun or interesting but because I know who they are and know for myself they would be great to tour with.

I listen and follow bands to get an ear for this type of music to learn what is good metal and what is just copycat or repetitious music.  I still like the music of TDWP best by far and I don't think it's just because he is in the band, but because I lived and breathed it for years.  I'm a real fan.

I used to wave good bye to them them as they left for shows most weekends

First of all as the songs were being put together I could hear parts of them alone. James played the songs for me as they were working on them.  I can see him react to different parts, drum along and stop it here and there to explain something.  This makes their songs much more personal for me.

                                                                        The boys of  2005 TDWP

Look at these guys in the photo above.  I was there that night.  I was there every night.  The band began in our home and then my building where this photo was taken.  Right from the beginning I heard them writing music every single day.  I went to all the shows and saw them perform.  Very early I recognized they had something special over the other local bands.  I remember the second or third show being shocked suddenly when they began playing,  thinking, wow, they sound so professional.

The first three albums came together right under my nose and so those songs are special to me.  Now, what they put together is far and above those songs and I'm glad I know enough to see that.

Now, back to the interview....I do have to take issue with we never had music at home!  The truth is we never played the radio at home, but we always had music.  While James was growing up, Dianne, Shelly and Billy all played piano day and night practicing all the time.  Plus they played other instruments as well,  clarinet, the bells, drums etc.  Billy had friends over and jammed occasionally in the middle of the night.

Shelly and Billy were in the marching band at Wayne and we went to many practices and almost every home game for years.  Dianne played piano for our church.  Being in the music program at school meant three to four concerts per year as James grew.

James & Dianne

I never hushed them while they were in high school and James, "the baby" was sleeping at night or napping.  He learned to sleep through all the family noise and music.  Especially music.  Billy was always writing drum cadences, tap tap tap...all day.  Those same cadences are still played at the local high school twenty years later.    He wrote songs on the piano, but mostly he played for fun.  I could listen for hours when he played for me.  Dianne had to learn and practice hymns and her classical music. She worked at her piano lessons.  She had an elegant touch.  In between them Shelly was practicing her piano lessons as well.  I loved it when she played the bells in Middle School.

James and Shelly Warped Tour

Oddly enough we didn't allow anyone to listen to metal music or any type of extreme music at home or go to a show or concerts.  Not that they didn't listen, just not at home.  White Snake was big when the kids were teens and they scared me, but even years later when James was a  Linkin Park fan, he wasn't allowed to go to a show....they were evil in my book.  I had never tried to investigate the music scene.   I just forbade it all and was completely closed minded.  It took knowing the kids in James' bands and the multitudes constantly flowing in and out of the house when the boys practiced to understand they were nice kids, good and very interesting music and nothing to fear.

It's hard to believe now!  He is right when he said we have rediscovered music through him.  All kinds of music.  We really do enjoy the shows, the excitement and hearing new bands.

Six years later The Devil Wears Prada are releasing their newest album on Sept 13, 2011.  Dead Throne.  It's their best one yet. 
Now why should I be afraid of this??  Haha
                                                                 The boys today

And as for the portion of the interview where he says:  "she’ll say “well I think they’re pretty good” (in his best female impression which gets Mike and myself in hysterics)"

I know where he got the speaking in a high falsetto when quoting me:
                                                      His dad....who cracks me up too.

Anyway...It's an older interview, but it you would like to read the entire interview..here is the link:

How open minded were your parents?  Did you have music at home?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Literary Tattoos


I was reading a review about literary tattoos and started to write a comment.  When my comment became so long I decided it was really a blog post. Therefore I shortened my comment to simply:  "A novel idea!"  and decided to share my real comments with you. 

Literary tattoos are a whole new world for me.  My experience with tattoos is somewhat limited since no one in my immediate, and very few in our extended family, has one.  But living on the fringes of the music world for a brief time, the tats I've seen at shows seem all wrong for me.  If I were going to choose any I've seen, I'm telling you, I'm going to pass right now on all the skulls, zombies and especially the seven deadly curses God sent to Egypt.

The ones I was slightly interested in were the floral, birds, angels, and more feminine ones, but they still seem all wrong for me.

Then I saw a photo recently on Facebook.  It was a picture of an online friend with Maud Hart Lovelace "sleeves". One of my all time favorite authors!   Suddenly Uncle Keith's Trunk drawn by Vera Nevill or the Backyard Maple drawn by Lois Lenski or even my three heroines on the bench all looked fun to have!  Not as sleeves of course, but as an individual tattoo.

I've always loved Lois Lenski's  Backyard Maple

                                           And the  Neville illustration of Betsy and Tacy

Instead of music lyrics, and let's be real, even if my own son did pen "He wears a slick jacket and gold watch" on the 2006 record, Dogs Can Grow Beards all Over,  I just can't imagine having that inked anywhere. Music lyrics are fine if you stay 22 forever or choose a song that has stood the test of time. Let's say a more tried and true song...such as inspiring lyrics from Amazing Grace, A little sappy lyrics such as Wind Beneath My Wings or Christmas favorite, Ave Maria.  Wait.  Scratch the last one.  I think it only has one lyric.  Maria.   OK, I'm digressing now.  Music lyrics are fine if that is your life passion.  Mine happens to be reading.

                                           My favorite job over my lifetime was as a Librarian
        who better to spend the rest of my life with but 10 year old Betsy and Miss Sparrow

Literary illustrations and specific quotes from well loved books could be the answer to my staunch statement "I would love to have a tattoo, but...." 

I've quoted Ma Ingalls for years. "All's well that ends well"  "There's no great loss without a small gain" and even in my head while cleaning, "Draw the broom, Laura don't flip it"  (Actually, I may even be remembering the quote slightly wrong, so I recommend before you tat, look it up.)  Even the stiff Nancy Keeps House book has quotes that have gone through my head for years.  "Hot water cooks eggs" (so soak your pan in cold soapy water).  "Iron the collars and cuffs first"  ( so you don't wrinkle the freshly ironed garment trying to do them last) .  But really, I think I could do better than that. 

How about this gem that began hundreds of beloved stories?

                                           Surely a better choice than "Iron the collars and cuffs first"

I have always maintained that the time to get a tat was when you were 60 and knew that your tat would be memorable and beloved the rest of your (much shorter) life.  I never forbade my kids but counseled them about how something you love with all your heart at age 20 might look foolish on someone aged 60 with saggy skin and generous pockets of fat here and there.  I don't fool myself thinking I was the reason my girls don't sport any and surprisingly my son who is a former Marine and  my rock star son are ink free, but maybe there was a tiny influence there. 

So,  I'm over 60 and never found a tat I wanted until now.  It's just a shame that I have saggy skin and generous pockets of fat.  Soooo...I'm pretty sure you won't  find one on me anytime soon. 

                                       Unless I decide to mix the music and literary themes!
                                                     Hmmm...  Zombie Betsy, Tacy and Tib?

An actual illustration from the book:   Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little Excitement at Tortoise Cottage Today

I had been out all afternoon.  Mom and I  had completed a lot of errands.  We had been shopping, to the hairdresser, out to lunch and made several stops.  I realized, after we loaded up the car with items from Wal-Mart that needed refrigerated, that I still had to pick up a reserved book at the library.  Well, it wasn't going to happen in the Florida heat.  I didn't know then I was about to learn something new about the Florida Heat.

I  took mom home and jumped into the truck that I left parked alongside her house and wheeled it around the corner in my haste to get home.  I felt like Bo and Luke as it slid a bit, but I was in a hurry to pick up Bill and get back to the library before it closed.  They close at ungodly hours here...some days as early as four in the afternoon!    As I skidded into the driveway I noticed a police car driving down the road.  I watched in the rear view mirror to see it go by but it didn't.  I'm flummoxed because I looked around both sides and I didn't see it anywhere.  I looked as suspicious as heck.

I was hot and sweaty and I didn't want to go in to get Bill, I was calling him to see if he wanted to go with me since today was the first day I had driven the truck and I hadn't done so well taking it around the corner and back.  I felt I needed a lesson or two before taking it out on HWY 19.  As I was listening to the phone ring I completely craned my head around and saw the officer walking up to the truck.

"Is everything OK?"  He asked.

"Yes." I replied like a dolt, wondering how he could possibly ticket me for reckless driving in my own driveway.

"Who are you calling?"  He inquired.

I babbled about shopping with mom and being too hot to walk in....he interrupted and said "There was a 911 call from this address."

I jumped out of the truck and raced to the door as fast as my injured heel would let me (and that is not fast.  I was slower than Rambo, our tortoise) saying "My husband is a heart patient!!"  I burst in the door and yelled "BILL!!"

He comes around the corner, I swear just like Tom Cruise but with the phone in his hand instead of a microphone....only he didn't have the shirt and socks on.  Just the underwear.  He said "Whaaaat?"  Then he spotted the police officer behind me.  His face was a sight to behold!  I have to admit though he looked pretty good in his underwear.

It turned out he hadn't called 911.  The officer left quickly, mumbling something about our living close to a cell phone tower ( Huh? )  and I quickly called my sister Janet, the last person to live here, to see if she had called 911.  I thought it might have reported her former address as her current address.

Unfortunately, I got her boyfriend again!  I keep forgetting to correct her number.  He did clear up the mystery.  In a most distressing way.  He laughed and said that happens all the time.  "Hahahahahaha" he laughed merrily..  (I'm not laughing).  He said while they lived there probably that happened once a month.

  "What??" I gasped.  It flashed in my mind that we have lived here one month today.  His timetable was eerily accurate.  "Sorry!" he said and I apologized for having called him once again.  At least this time it was at a reasonable hour.

If he is right, apparently these guys are going to be our new best friends.