Saturday, July 30, 2011

bright spots

Being disappointed can be a good thing. Does that sound like a stupid statement?

Not really. It makes me appreciate the things I have. Tonight was
a good example. When I found out a few weeks ago we'd be coming down to the beach, all I could think about was the wonderful shots I might capture with Big Girl.

We've spent the weekend with Stevie Wonder's sister and her husband, and some assorted family. Reconnecting and sharing some good times, wonderful southern cooking, and just enjoying being together for a bit of special time. We took all the kids to the beach today. I took a few fun shots with my iPhone. Because it was hot and the sun was too bright (not ideal photography conditions), SW and I were going back tonight to let me get those sunset moments.

It didn't happen. We haven't been to Gulf Shores in years, and even though we received some good directions, by the time I found the place I wanted to stop, the sun was down.

At first disappointment washed over me like a wave breaking across the sand. The feeling grew stronger as we headed back to the house. I told Steve I'd love a frozen yogurt, but by the time I said it, we'd already driven past it.

Another disappointment.

Then I realized. So what? There would be other sunsets, other frozen yogurts, other trips to the beach.

And I said that to Steve. And we shared a laugh. And I relaxed, and enjoyed the last bit of light at the end of a beautiful day as we drove along.

It was a perfect day. Really.

I'm sharing the photos I got today of the kids. My grandchildren. The bright spots in the sunset of my life.

Tomorrow will be another day. And more life lessons. For now, I am appreciating what I have.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 29, 2011

morning dew

dog days of summer
air lies heavy on your skin
crickets sing dirges

This played in my mind while I was shooting this morning's photos...Morning Dew, written by Bonnie Dobson and performed by Robert Plant...

have a great weekend...and enjoy every morning...
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

the softness of a man

First posted on September 13, 2010:

Yes, he's a redneck.  Steve is a man's man.  He's always been the tool carrier, the meat provider, the one we all know we can count on when ANYTHING breaks down.  He's gifted that way, a genius with anything mechanical.  Not only do I know that, but everyone in the family knows it, and in the community too.  He always has a running list of things to be fixed.  He's been called on to fix things for elderly community residents, or just to trouble shoot when something stops working.

He spent most of his adult life a couple thousand feet underground, mining coal.  Many of those years were spent as an electrician.  I am not sure how much most of you know about coal mining, but it is one of the hardest, most dangerous jobs in the world.  Steve has had third degree burns on both hands from an electrical burn, lost friends in underground mining accidents, and at times literally had to crawl on his knees to get to what needed to be done.  He's been burned, cut, bruised and scraped over the years and never really complained.  He's tough and strong.

Why am I telling you all about this?  Because I have also seen another side of this tough man.  The soft side.  It surfaces at odd times.  And sometimes I just observe when he thinks I am not aware of what is going on around me (I am an airhead legend in my family).  He likes soap operas, has traded recipes 2,000 feet underground with his fellow miners, won't watch Old Yeller EVER because it made him cry when he was a kid.  He can make a story about anything that has happened to him funnier than anyone I know. 

I first saw the soft side of Steve when I was 17 years old and we were dating.  He came over to pick me up one Friday night to go out, and asked if we could stay in.  He told me he had just found out that his grandmother had died.  Steve worshiped his Mama Jones and I could tell he was devastated.  So we stayed in and that night he told me all about her.  Every memory he could remember.  We talked for hours, laughed together over those memories, and occasionally we were quiet while we both fought down lumps of tears in our throats....and that was the night I realized how much I loved him.  Because he shared his softness with me....

Over the past 40 years we have had our share of fights, some of them real doozies.  Like the time we went camping with the kids in the middle of nowhere on a local lake, and were both so tired we snapped.  I lobbed a Coke bottle over his head, or thought I was, only he raised his head about the time I lobbed it, and it smacked him in the middle of the back of his head.  He smacked me in the top of the head with the flat of his hand, I got mad (I have quite a temper) and took off in our car with the boat trailer still attached, headed for the house.  As I drove, I cooled down, and realized I was going to have a tough time explaining to my in-laws (who lived next to us) what I was doing at home with a car and empty boat trailer, and no husband, kids or boat.  So when I found a place in the road big enough to circle like a buzzard (no way did I know how to back that trailer up), I headed back to camp.  When I got about half a mile from camp, there was Steve walking down the road, with our two babies on each side of him holding his hands.  Seems he didn't know what he was going to do either....they all climbed in and we went back to camp, and the fight was soon forgotten.

The kids are grown now.  Steve didn't get to spend much time with them because he was always working.  And don't even give him a baby, he wouldn't know what to do with it.  Until the grandkids.  Then all things were new....he handles the babies with ease and has enjoyed every second of time he has with them.  I see the love in the looks he gives them, in the way he holds them, and in the stories he has to tell about them.  All four of the grandkids have their own stories, and he remembers them all.  This is the softness I love, the tenderness, and what really defines him as a man to me.  He doesn't fear showing his emotions, he loves to hug and be hugged, and I still see things about him that surprise me and make my throat lump up...

Like today.  I asked him this morning to tape Oprah's last season opener for me.  He watched it live, and couldn't stop himself from spilling the beans about what happened to me, until I reached a point and told him to shut up so I could watch it and see for myself.  He was so excited about me watching it that he turned it on and watched the whole program again with me.

Which was a surprise to me, because Steve never watches anything twice.  He always says after he has seen it once, he doesn't want to see it again.  But I know different.

Because today he watched Oprah.  Twice.  In a row.  My throat is lumpy again, thinking of it.  He's such a marshmallow, this man I love.

He's still the one...Music by Orleans...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

two little kittens

pieces of fluff
warming a child's hand
sneaking into a heart

each moment a wonder
a purr, a snuggle closer

a bond formed by touch
each teaching the other

~lessons of life...

and love...

Twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

liddle lamzy divey

Received this from Ivy today:

Don't look for me. I've left the country. Wretch was told to get rid of me and I scrammed to a better place. It's all the fault of a bunch of nasty pooping dogs. They ruined it for us cats.

And don't be fooled by the new girl. She's such a drama queen. She also drinks too much, and always has a milk mustache. Ugh. Slob.

I'll be back soon though. As soon as I get rid of some ugly Schnauzers down the street. And the bulldog next door. Oh, and that yapping Yorkie a few doors down. A girl's work is never done. *sigh*

Miss Ivy Jones

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 22, 2011

dooj the stooj

doojy's eyes

my sister Debbie
aka Dooj the stooj
she's our baby  
the family goofball,
source of family legend
  the primpcess

  our heart

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

jack and the magic toadstool

Children are curious critters.  They spend every day exploring their little worlds, checking out what is new and unique.  I call it "getting into stuff" for lack of a better term, because more often than not, we have to drag their little butts back to a safe learning level.

My grandson Jack is no exception.

We have had lots of rain.  Lots.  Almost every day we have had a thunderstorm.  This has been one of the rainiest summers I can remember.  All this rain brought a surprise the other day.

There, in the middle of my front yard, was a crop of toadstools.  As adults, we know they are poisonous.  At least I think they are.  (It was what I was told as a child.  I guess mom thought I might eat one.)  So imagine our horror when Jack came into the house the other morning with one of the biggest toadstools I have ever seen in his hands.  I heard Steve holler at him first: "put that down it's POISONOUS!"  Steve wasn't hollering because he was angry.  That is just his normal tone of voice.  (His hearing isn't what it used to be so hollering back and forth when we talk is normal around here.)

I walked into the living room and Jack lifted his prize up to my face.  "Look what I found Grammy!"

I recoiled in horror, grabbed it from him and threw it in the garbage as I explained how POISONOUS a toadstool was.  Then I told him to go wash his hands.

After I threw it away, the guilt set in.  Jack was trying to show us his discovery, and Steve and I reacted like grandparents.  I had just effectively squashed the learning process.  How could I fix this?

Then I had an idea.  I grabbed Big Girl and Jack and I went out in the front yard.  I took photos of the toadstools, and of Jack with them.  And as I shot, I explained about them, how they come out only when there are certain conditions, like lots of rain and less sun.  Then Jack dropped the bombshell.

"We got to go get that one you threw away and put him back with his family Grammy."

I was looking at toadstools.  And Jack was seeing what I was telling him with a child's eye and mind.  He saw that gathering in the yard as a family that had come to visit.

So I explained to Jack that once you pull one up, you can't put it back.  He listened quietly as I explained.  And didn't say anything.

I think we both learned some important life lessons today.  And we taught each other.

Life.  Death.  And magic toadstools.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, July 15, 2011

haiku tea

Every morning I drink my tea from a favorite cup.  Which cup I use depends on where I want to travel that day. It is not travelling in the literal sense.  I travel in my mind.  And my destination depends on my mood.

You see, everywhere I travel, I collect cups.  Not just any cup.  A Starbucks cup.  (Don't groan...I am hopelessly addicted to their chai latte, all my brother in law's fault since he was the one who told me they serve something besides coffee...and fetched the first cup of heaven to my lips.)

Today, as I share some of my favorite cups with you, I am sipping my first cup of tea...don't try talking to me though...I am on Beale Street listening to the blues...

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

This moment was inspired by Debra's blog post Creature Comforts.  Please take time to visit her blog, Pure and Simple.  Her posts are thought provoking and well written, and her blog is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

morning has broken

I got up this morning and after sitting down with my first cup of tea, I started to work on a blog post I had been thinking about.  Then Stevie Wonder got out of bed, staggered sleepily to the front door, and said "wow look at all that fog!"  I was half listening to him, as I often do, and then suddenly his words settled on my brain and I went to look out the door.  I've seen fog a thousand times (I grew up in northern California, the fog capital of the world), but as I looked outside, I saw something different.  

Everything had a soft edge to it.  The woods were blanketed in fog, and you could barely see the horizon.  The sun was just rising.  And I knew I wanted to try to capture this lovely, soft summer morning.  So I grabbed Big Girl and stepped outside.

With my first footstep outside, the heaviness of the air struck my face and body.  It was a warm, enveloping feeling, like being wrapped in a soft blanket.  I started walking around the yard, taking photos, and just enjoying the feel and smell of the morning air.  I could smell the flowers and grass, hear the crickets chirping, and as I walked down the road and looked at the sun rising through the trees, I suddenly stopped.  And just experienced the moment.

As I stood there, a song came to mind, the lyrics playing out in my head as I looked around me.  And so my post for today changed in that instant.  Today I am sharing my thoughts about morning.  How each one is a new start.  Each day is fresh.  And there is life all around us, just waiting to happen.
I hope you enjoy the photos I took, and stop a moment in your day, in your morning, to experience the newness, the smell and feel of it.  And let it lift your mind and spirit.
I am sharing the song I heard in my head, by Cat Stevens, with lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon.  To start your morning.  
It's a new morning, a new day.  Enjoy it.

~cath xo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

brothers and sisters

Maddie, Mandy, Ian and Duncan
We spent the day a couple weekends ago at my daughter's.  Just a day around the pool.  One of those days in your life where you slow down a little bit and just enjoy the moments you have together as a family.  The moments pass quickly though, and soon everyone is scattering in all directions like a dandelion blown apart by a puff of wind.

But oh! those glorious moments together.  Those are the bits and pieces of life that sustain you, that give sweetness to your old age as you remember the days.  Even now, I think of times spent with my mom's family, and my dad's, and it brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.  Such sweet memories.

As I watched the kids playing together, I was thinking of similar times with my cousins as a child.  Oh, the fun we had.  Life was simple, and I had no worries or cares.  I just enjoyed the moment.  I lived in the moment, never thinking about time past, or what would come tomorrow.  Never realizing how fast those moments were speeding by, until they were over.

The twins were overjoyed to see their older brother and sister that day.  Maddie spent over an hour, maybe two, sitting on the back of the couch looking out the window, waiting for her older brother Ian to arrive.  Ian had been gone (he's Air Force now, stationed overseas) and Maddie hadn't seen him for 2 years.  She had trouble sleeping the night before, and it wasn't because of the long nap she had.  It was because she was so excited that Ian was coming.  Do you remember being that excited as a child?  So overwhelmed you couldn't sleep?  I do, and watching Maddie, I understood every emotion she was having.

It made me think about the unique relationship we have with our siblings.  And how blessed I am to have two sisters of my own.

As I photographed the kids together, I realized that even though my daughter and her ex-husband are no longer married, they have 4 kids that love each other, and that will never change.  Four kids who have a stretch of years between them, but are close to each other in a way only brothers and sisters can be.  And I am thankful for that.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, July 8, 2011

summer haiku moment

Because I am a person of words, I am changing the Friday moment ritual, to reflect my spirit a bit better...and so I share with you a moment from yesterday...

{this moment}  is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

have a great weekend!
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Monday, July 4, 2011

the egg and i

The egg is my friend.  It is a small oval mouthful of nourishment and only costs me 2 points per egg.

What are points?  Why that is the balance of food in numerical equivalent I am allowed to ingest every day.  Twenty nine points total.  To stay alive.

And healthy.

In simpler terms, I became a Weight Watcher a week ago.  And that was also 2.8 pounds ago.  I am told by experts in success that the best way to succeed with a plan is to announce it.  Make it public.  The more people you tell the better your chance of success.

So I am announcing it: By the end of this year I will be a healthier person.

I guess this means if I don't succeed, I will be eating a lot of crow.

But I really prefer eggs to crow.  So I will continue to murder eggs and masticate their small oval bodies.

I will become known as the serial eggster.

Beware eggs.  I am coming to get you.  And boil you.  And peel you.

*Side note here:  I got a great tip from the leader at the Weight Watchers meeting last week.  "Boil your eggs, leave just a tiny bit of cold water in the pot after you cook them.  Then put a lid on the pot and shake the dickens out of them.  (Yes, she really said dickens.)  When you open the pot, voila, the eggs are peeled."

Sounds too good to be true, eh?

IT WAS.  When I opened up my little dickens shaken pot, I looked inside with excited anticipation.

And saw what looked like puked-up eggs in a pot.

I wretched.  Then threw them away.  Boiled some more eggs.

PEELED said eggs.  And ate them.  Two points each.  Four points total.  Breakfast.  For someone who never eats breakfast, it was a rough start...

But 2.8 pounds later those eggs are paying off.

So beware can run, but you can't hide.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, July 1, 2011

plane karma

7/1/2011: This was one of many emails I sent to family and friends over the years of my "travails and adventures".  I was blogging before I knew there was a word for it.  So I guess you could say I have been blogging for the past 16 years.  And it's been a lot of fun to share my thoughts with family and friends.  This was a post about my plane karma (it is legend in my family) and was first reposted (from an email in 2008) on August 24, 2010.  

My plane karma is still bad.....

The day started off great...packed for my trip home and had the tickets printed the day before...Southwest Airlines flight through St. Louis to Birmingham.  We got to the airport early (yes mom we actually got there way ahead of time...) but I made the mistake of telling Vix my ticket had my name spelled wrong just as she pulled up to kick me to the curb...her eyes got like saucers and she said "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO" and I said "GET ON THE PLANE WITH A MISSPELLED NAME".  She is telling me to go straight in to the counter and get the mistake straightened out and yada yada yada....while I calmly get my bag and get in line to check in outside.  She noticed I was in line outside as she drove off so down goes the window and as she drove away I could hear her faintly saying "WHY ARE YOU IN LINE THERE YOU NEED TO GO INTO THE BUILDING TO THE COUNTERRRrrrrrrr..........."  I got a very nice skycap who earned a nice little tip when he lied and told me how young my photo ID looked...and then there was the security guy (who, yes Vix, looked like Keifer Sutherland) told me I looked good as a blonde or a brunette (my ID had the blonde version) by the time I made it on the plane my head was well inflated.

I lucked up and got a good seat, settled back, read a little, listened to a little IPOD, then settled down for a good nap...the steward was talking but I had heard all the seatbelt, oxygen mask info many times before.  I drifted off into a nice relaxing little nap and woke up just as they were announcing our arrival in Phoenix...I looked at my watch and thought wow that was a fast trip, but I also figured I was in a different time zone and that always throws me off a little, watch settings you know....

So we make a smooth landing, and I jump up and grab my carry on and charge off the plane with the rest of the herd, waving to the steward and stewardess and telling them bye, thanks, etc.  I walk through the terminal and the main thing on my mind at this point is the 3 cups of tea and half gallon of water I had before the flight that morning.  I spy the local Starbucks and am scoping out a place to get something to eat while waiting the hour or so for my connecting flight to Birmingham....I get finished in the ladies room, and as I head to the Starbucks I had spotted I decide to check and see what gate my next flight leaves from.  I head over to the departures screen and look for Birmingham and find it, then check the flight number, because I am such a thoroughly organized person, and always check those things.  I drag my ticket out and look at it and...........the numbers don't I stand there and look for any other Birmingham flights and there are I am standing there pondering this and then I look at my ticket....yes it says St. Louis to Birmingham...then I look at the the flight numbers still don't match....something isn't quite right and I look slowly around the airport....and then realize.......

HOLY $*&!$%* S*%T!!!!!!  I am in the wrong airport!!!!!  Panic set in as I raced to the nearest counter and told the person there I had gotten off the airplane in the wrong airport...I tried to cover my stupidity by telling her I ALWAYS connected in Phoenix (I had never connected in Phoenix before) and that I just got off without looking at my ticket (I had looked at that ticket so many times the ink had faded from my eyes burning holes in it).  She smiled at me and said no problem I could just go back to the gate and get the person at the gate to put me back on the plane (she made it sound like putting an egg back in a carton).  THEN I had to tell her....... "I can't remember what gate I got off at" and I had no ticket because they took it from me when I got on the flight...she smiled again and asked where I was coming from and I told her (thank goodness I knew that much)...she found the gate and sent me on my way...

I raced to the gate and explained the whole story again to the ticket agent (I hated to have to repeat my stupidity again but ANYTHING TO GET BACK ON THAT PLANE) and he printed out a piece of paper that said basically "please let this idiot back on the plane" and told me to go to the gate and the agent there would let me back on the plane....well I did that...he told me go on down, so I went to the back of the line figuring he meant to get in line (that was easy to misunderstand after all, he was using his head to point with because he was scanning tickets after all)...and I am standing there thinking ok it is all going to be ok....when suddenly someone behind me says "wouldn't he let you on the plane" and I look around and there is the ticket agent, and I say "well he said go on down, so I figured he meant to the back of the line" and he laughed and said "no he meant to go on through", so I skulk back to the front of the line and jump line and get to the plane....the steward sees me and smiles and I said "I got off at the wrong stop" and I hear the sound of his laughter as I go down the aisle desperately looking for a seat....I see one and throw myself into it and look at the person next to me and realize....

it was the same seat I had gotten out of thirty minutes ago...and the same person sitting next to this time I don't care and I tell her what I did...then save it by saying well at least I made it to the restroom and she said be glad the one on the airplane was microscopic....

The rest of the flight was great and as I got off in St. Louis...and yes I made sure I was in the right place (I had my ticket glued to my forehead)...I told the steward bye again and said you WON'T see me again'  and as I got off I heard him laughing and saying "sure.... we heard THAT before....."