Friday, September 30, 2011

you did WHAT?

I am sitting here with my sisters, and we are painting wine glasses and laughing at our efforts.  We begin to tell stories from our childhood. Dooj and Vix do, that is.  I can't remember much of my childhood.

Dooj talks about her first typing class in high school with Mr. Pilgrim.  What did she have to type?  "I will not chew gum in Mr. Pilgrim's first period typing class ever again."  One hundred times she typed that.  She says it is why she is an excellent typist today.

Vix tells us about cutting class with the other seniors one day in high school.  The problem?  Our mom worked in the office at school.  Her teacher came through the office and asked mom if Vix was feeling ok, and Mom said sure she was.  Then the teacher mentioned that Vix wasn't in class that day.  Mom screamed at her at home that night, and told her she hoped she didn't fail.  Vix made an A in the class.

Patty Martinez told Dooj in the fifth grade that she was fat.  Dooj said it was true, she was fat, but by 7th grade she was a sweater girl (aka "boobage") and Patty Martinez never said anything else to her again about being fat.

Dooj also talks of spending her lunch money in middle school at the candy store (the same candy store she kissed John Conwell in during another adventure), and going to the secretary's office to tell them she had "lost" her lunch money, because she knew mom had a deal with them to front her lunch money if she needed it.  (If that had been me, I would have been so afraid I would have gone hungry before lying about it.)

Vix talks about rescuing the transistor radio that was stolen from me in grade school.  We were supposed to leave them at home, but I was vain and wanted to show off the transistor radio no one else had, because dad brought them back to us from a trip to Japan, and that made the radios, and by ownership, made us special too.  (We were Air Force brats.)  Someone took it, removed the leather cover, and showed it around.  I saw the radio, and the thief, and told Vix what had happened.  She walked right up to the girl and ripped it out of her hand, while shouting at her that she was a thief and that was her sister's radio.  Vix was my hero.  I feared everyone and everything and kept my face stuck in a book, and she saved my rear more times that I can recount.

What do I remember?  Not much, but I do remember tearing Mary Jo Zimmer's new skirt because she was walking in circles around me taunting me about the size of my butt, and I saw red, snapped, and grabbed that ugly yellow skirt and spun her around, telling her to SHUT UP.  (Back then I was bullied a lot in school, but didn't realize it was bullying.)  The funny part of this story was that Mary Jo had a butt the same size as mine.  I didn't realize that at the time though, and when Mary Jo told me she was going to beat me up after school, I beat a hot path home screaming in fear.  Mom went to school the next day to complain, and my teacher pulled out a note I had written weeks before with a bad word in it (I think the word was "ass") and mom totally folded and turned on me in a flash, saying she'd never stick up for me again.  I didn't have to worry about it though, because I learned a valuable lesson that day.

Don't write notes.

I love my sisters.  They make me laugh til I am out of breath.  There is no one else like them in the world. 

~cath xo
find me on Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, September 29, 2011

be my baby

Yesterday in our rambling about, our Garmin took us the long way back to my sister's house.  We wanted to go via the Silverado Trail, and make some stops at some wineries along the way.  It's crush time, and I had noticed as we drove along that the grapes are just hanging in clusters, ready for harvesting.  The leaves are beginning to turn, and soon the vines will go dormant.

But Garmin had other ideas.  We had shared a wonderful bottle of Chianti over lunch in a lovely little Italian restaurant in Calistoga, California, and I was pretty mellow as we drove back.  Stevie Wonder wasn't quite as mellow, but we were both enjoying the drive.

Then we noticed we were in a canyon in the middle of nowhere.  How did that happen?  How had we made that turn?  We kept going, thinking that eventually we would run into more wineries.

Wrong.  We passed ranches, and hills, and curves in the road so tight I could see our tail lights when I glanced sideways through my window.

No wineries.  We saw a lake, Berryessa.  Beautiful.  I got a photo or five.  Then we came to a creek.  Putah Creek.  And we decided to stop because there were Canadian geese everywhere.
Putah Creek
But there were no geese where we stopped.  Ok, I thought, it's going to be one of those wineries, wrong turn, no geese.  I was beginning to feel cursed. Then I saw this...
...a peahen and her baby.  Suddenly it was all clear.  The day wasn't for touring wineries, and it wasn't for taking photos of geese.  It was to capture, for a moment in time, a chick following its mother.  Simple, eh? 

As I watched that chick follow its mother, I realized that is how all mothers care for their children as they raise them... leading them along, trying to teach them, keeping them safe.

It was a lesson.  In life.  In patience.  In moments unanticipated, the moments that teach the greatest lessons in life.  Grasp the moments, because once past, they are gone forever. 

Had we gone home via the route we thought we'd chosen, I would have missed that beautiful creek.  I would have missed that sweet moment, watching the peahen carefully lead her baby past us, keeping it close as she strolled through the park.  I would have missed that perfect moment, had it not been for the wrong turn the GPS made.

I am @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

living life large

Blog posts have been scarce the past few days because life got in the way.  It is good for that to happen.  I get so caught up in blogging and obsessed with the written word that I forget what brings the words to the page.  Life.  And that is what I have been doing the past several days.  Living life large.

Stevie Wonder and I have been traveling the past couple days in my home state of California.  From Bodega Bay up the coast to Fort Bragg.  Then from Highway 1 over to Highway 101, through the redwoods, down the Avenue of the Giants.  I have more to write about our adventures, but for now, I will let my photos speak for themselves.

Live life large.  Experience it every chance you get.  There is nothing better on this sweet earth.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

confession: how to prepare for a high school reunion

This weekend Stevie Wonder and I fly home to visit my family.  We also have a small road trip up the California coast planned, with detours through the redwoods and down the Silverado Trail through the Napa wine valley.  I am anticipating lots of fun and laughter with people I love, as well as some great photo opportunities with Big Girl.

Then there is the other reason I am going home.  My high school reunion.  High school reunions, if you aren't familiar with them, are gatherings of people who spent time together when they were pimply, sweating adolescents.  Those were the days when we lived under peer pressure in an academic setting that was supposed to prepare us for life beyond the 12th grade.  Some went on to college, some to work.  Me?  I went on to a marriage that started 2 days after I graduated from high school.  A marriage that has lasted for over 40 years.

I missed the first high school reunion.  There may have been a second reunion I missed too.  I wasn't really sorry, because I don't really like being in crowds of people that I have absolutely nothing in common with any more.  Well, come to think of it, I never had anything in common with most of those people anyway, except the classes we shared.  I did make some close friends in high school.  And have kept track of a couple of them over the years.  But the majority of the 200 or so people I graduated with?  Just a distant, almost demented memory that is more like a delusion now than anything that really happened.

But for some reason, this year I decided to go.  So months ago, I made a list of things I needed to do before I went to this reunion of people I probably won't remember.  I decided a whole makeover was necessary, because I had to look my best.  The list floated in my head over the months, and from time to time I would check my progress.  The reunion begins in two days, and this is the end result of the list:

1. Lose weight.  Failed.  The best I can hope for is a really tight pair of spanx that reaches from my armpits to my knees that can mold me to look like Sophia Lauren.  From the neck down anyway.
2. Increase my exercise routine.  Failed.  I have yet to begin an exercise routine.  The dust on the treadmill is so thick that I can write my name on it.
3. New manicure and pedicure.  Failed.  Reason: I've been buried in paperwork for weeks now and time slipped up and oh well, I'll be going with toes that have polish half grown off, and nails that are in their virgin state, untouched by anything.
4. Facial and body massage.  Failed.  I have a coupon given to me by a dear friend for my birthday, that I have yet to use, for reason #3.  I pat the envelope every now and then to remind me it is waiting for me.  I was trying to wait until I accomplished #1 and #2, so the masseuse wouldn't be kneading the Pillsbury Dough Boy when he worked his magic on me.
5. New wardrobe of exciting, cutting edge designs, for my new body.  Failed.  Doubly, because of #1.  So I've had to settle for designer wear from WalMart and the local discount department store on sale.  

As I ticked off my failures in my head, it suddenly dawned on me.  I'd gotten sucked into a morass of superficial triteness. This reunion isn't about me.  It's not about how I look, it's not about how other people see me on the outside, or how they look to me.  It's about sharing a bit of time, with people I most likely will never see again, and comparing how our lives have turned out.  Sharing some laughs, some memories, and reminiscing for a bit with people who shared a spot of time in my life many years ago.  We've all changed physically.  Time assures that.  But what's happened to our dreams and plans?  Did we accomplish what we planned to do those many years ago?  Or did life take us down other paths?

I am prepared.  The wrapping doesn't matter.  I'll have fun anyway, and my sister will be at my side (it's her reunion too), along with Stevie Wonder.  Sharing memories, laughs, catching up on news with others.  And making some new memories.  Trying to remember names will be the piano part.

Margaritas last night with my friend was my cure.  As we sat and talked, I realized what is important.  People, life, sharing food, drink and time with others are what counts.  The connection.  That is what matters.

What happened to my mental list?  I threw it in my mental trash bin.  Where it should have been long ago.  Life is good.  Anxiety is gone.  And I am centered once again. your life where you thought it would be when you were 17?  :D

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Monday, September 19, 2011

confession: 10 things i discovered by accident

There are some important things I learned, some years ago, and some along the way up until just about a week or so ago.  I guess this means I am always learning lessons in life.  Or something.  Sounds profound doesn't it?  You may rethink that after you read the list of things I have discovered by accident:

1. If you cook the right amount of chocolate, oatmeal and sugar together and make a cookie out of it, you will have the recipe for ExLax (a chocolate laxative from hell), and your kids will tell everyone how gassy they were when they ate it.
2. If you wipe the lipstick marks off the milk container, no one will ever know you were there.
3. Grandkids think your soda is their soda if they are thirsty.  And they are at least 4 before they learn not to backwash and leave floaters in your drink.
4. Never go to bed after your first prom with your hair teased and up in curls.  You awaken looking like a rat's nest.  Literally.  And find out the neighbors need you to babysit NOW.  Rats and all.
5. Fat rash on the inner thighs is exacerbated by two things: heat, and cheap pantyhose.
6. Girdles don't make you look thinner.  They round you out like a wiener, then shove the extra fat over the top, making your body look like a bomb went off in it.
7. Don't use lubricating eye gel in your eyes right before you put your contacts in, if it has petroleum jelly in it. You see nothing all day.  Nothing.
8. Take your makeup off at night.  Especially if you draw your eyebrows on.  There is nothing more disconcerting to your husband when you wake up than looking like you have a quizzical expression on your face, because one eyebrow rubbed off on your pillow.
9. Your legs get proportionately heavier according to how many glasses of wine you drink.  So remember to climb out of the hot tub before that third glass.  Or you'll be sleeping in the hot tub on a pool float.
10. Changing your diet to 80% vegetables in one day is the equivalent to paying big bucks for a colon cleansing.  Never do it the day you go to work.  On Monday especially.  You will end up in the Gas and Poop Hall of Fame.

Hope y'all have a Marvelous Monday...mine will be Manic since I am getting ready to go on vacation and way behind in everything (my normal speed).
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Sunday, September 18, 2011

loving the liebster

I got an award the other day from a new feels-like-a-long-lost friend and one of my favorite bloggers, Mary from The Adventures of Cilgin Kiz.  I can't quite remember how I found her.  I find so many blogs just by surfing from one blog to, and there was Mary.  She is a wonderful person and I fell in love with her blog.  She says it is a travel blog...but OH! it is so much more than that.  I encourage you to travel over to her blog via the above link and read through several posts.  Her stories are wonderful...her photography stunning.

She decided to share this Liebster Award with me.  I love the name.  Mostly because it means love, and makes me think of lobster, which is a liebster for me too.  There are a few stipulations to accepting the award:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

I've fulfilled the first.  I will now reveal my top 5 picks, not an easy thing to do when I have a bazillion blogs I read and love.  I am picking blogs I enjoy but don't always have time to comment on in my race around the blog-reading world, but that touch my senses deeply:

1. Photos by Jan is just that.  Photos Jan has taken and posted.  But they are some of the most beautiful, interesting, thought and emotion provoking photos I have seen.  Take a look, and enjoy a treat for your eyes.

2. One Eye on the Rearview Mirror is a stunning blog that will absolutely knock your socks off.  Insightful, deeply emotional, and gets you in the gut.  Written by Paul F., you won't want to stop reading.  I promise that.  I especially recommend the post The Fullness of an Empty Spot.

3. Pure and Simple reflects Debra's journey through life.  Sounds like every other blog you've read a blurb about, doesn't it?  But it isn't.  Debra delves much deeper, and writes in such a beautiful and touching way.  Her blog is just soothing to my spirit, and it seems like every time I am troubled, I journey to Debra's blog, and find something she has written that I can connect with.  I recommend you read Two for Twenty.  It will change the way you see people.  

4. The Titanic Swim Team by Steve is a blog covering a variety of his thoughts.  I seem to be drawn to people like me, who think about and write about many things that carry substance, and this is one of those blogs that never leaves me wanting.  I especially loved reading about Steve's time in Honduras and what he learned while there, working to help build homes for people who had nothing.  One of my favorite Honduras posts was one of his first: Two Weeks in Honduras is Like a Year Anywhere Else: The Glory and the Gory.  I am linking to it because it was written a while back. 

5. Last but not least, is a new blog I am following.  For those of you who know me, you know I am serious about art, photography and blogging.  They are three things that I am passionate about.  I listed Jan's photo blog at top, and I am ending with a blog that is written by Lisa, an artist who also blogs, at Art and the Human Condition.  Lisa is my kind of woman, and a very talented woman I am just beginning to know.  I just recently discovered her marvelous blog.  Be sure to check out her art website too.  I am sure you will be amazed at her talent and creativity.

That's enough Liebster to sink your teeth into and fill up on.  I hope you will take time to click on some or all of my links.  Like most other bloggers out there in webspace, I think the blogs I follow are wonderful.  The world is so full of amazing people spelling out their lives and thoughts, loves and hates, passions and creativity in blogs.  Take time to read.  It'll change your life.

Have a great week y'all.  Smile at someone.  And watch them smile back.  Or faint from shock. 

~cath xo

Twitter @jonesbabie

duncan, maddie, and flag football


What a day it was! My first time out as a Grammy Action Photographer. Big Girl was in top form, and by the end of one hour game (Dunc's) and one hour of cheering (Maddie's- the second game), Big Girl was wiped out, and so was I.

It was hilarious watching a bunch of 6 to 8 year olds run up and down a half football field trying to figure out what they were doing. By about halfway through the game, you could see the lightbulb go off in Dunc's head... "OH, I'M SUPPOSED TO GRAB THOSE RED THINGS!"

Up until then, Dunc thought those plastic things hanging off his waist were to play with while you watched everyone else running. He'd get excited when someone started to run the ball and stop in his tracks and jump up and down hollering "RUN RUN!" and throw his arms in the air. I was thinking we had the wrong one on the sidelines waiting to cheer for the second game. Then he caught on and the race was on.

He did capture one flag during the game, and told his Mommy when the game was over:

"Mommy I LOVED my game!"

The best part was the goody bag they gave the players. Nothing like rewarding a bunch of sweaty, hot little boys with water, Gatorade and sugar.

More football photos to come. Grammy is worn out right now and taking a break. :D xo