THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE MESSY

Fall Ma 1 Superstar

Last week was a very short week. Hubby and I returned home on Tuesday afternoon, unpacked, played couch potato and went to bed two hours early. We slept off and on all day Wednesday. What could possibly have made us so exhausted you ask?

On Friday afternoon, the 21st, we traveled over the mountains to help facilitate our daughter’s and son-in-law’s move to a new home: a four day process. We were greeted with the usual excitement from our granddaughters when Nonni and Poppi visit. It was short-lived, however, because we proceeded to the new house to set up camp for the evening, placing our cots in the empty living room. We bought a to-go pizza and had dinner on a TV tray, sitting in our camp chairs. Sounds like a campout to me. How about you?

Early the next morning the granddaughters arrived, followed shortly by a mid-sized U-Haul van full of furniture and appliances. Hubby proceeded to help with the unloading. I watched the girls, trying to keeping them from getting stepped on or knocked over by a cadre of the male members of the two families carrying bulky, heavy, vision-restricting items to their respective rooms.

Naps for the girls were interesting. I laid on the floor between the two youngest ones–they had crib mattresses on the floor.  I knew they would have trouble going to sleep in a new room. I also suspected they would start getting into the boxes stacked along the walls. Besides, it was a good excuse for me to take a rest.

By Sunday morning the kitchen and living room were stacked with boxes. Playing with the plastic storage containers was permitted. I didn’t know there were medicinal products squirreled away in one of those boxes. It took me two days to find out what the 2½-year-old had squirted into two narrow-mouthed containers… antibiotic ointment!

That was the second incident of the day. Our son-in-law’s dog, an extreme coward, was intimidated by our little dogs who were penned up in the dining room. Tucker is four times the size of our pets but he was so afraid that he refused to pass them, and out the slider door, to go to the bathroom. Instead he turned and ran up the stairs, which is where our daughter found him trying to do his business. Her shocked, disgusted reaction was to grab him by the collar and drag him down the stairs, across the living room and dining room floors, to shove him out the door. He left behind a trail of poop and pee. She was livid, especially when she saw the 1½-year-old sliding down the stairs on her behind, right over the poop. I didn’t blame her. I cleaned the dog mess while she cleaned the baby. I figure that’s when the older one got into the ointment. The following 48 hours were a mix of stress and hilarity.

Monday morning the girls were put to bed for their morning nap. I didn’t go up with them as I had the previous two days because their mom was in charge. The house became quiet and we made the assumption the girls were sleeping. Wrong! Eventually they started making noise. Mom went upstairs and was very unhappy at what she found. The oldest toddler had found the tube of diaper ointment. She squeezed it out on her sheet and smeared it around. She smeared it on the younger one’s face, pjs, and I don’t know where else. More hollering (stressed-out mom) and crying (kids). Their auntie stayed upstairs with them for the afternoon nap.

But it wasn’t all trouble. Late afternoon on Monday the 2½-year-old decided she was leaving. After loading a small plastic bag with blocks she came up to me wanting a kiss. After giving her one she lifted her arm, waved and said, “bye-bye”, then proceeded to walk into the kitchen to a corner where she couldn’t be seen.

“Oh, oh,” I thought, remembering the trouble of the past two days. Before I could check on her the littlest one came up to me. Always the copycat follower of her older sister, she puckered her lips, wanting a kiss. After getting one she waved, said “bye-bye” and traced her sister’s footsteps.

Once again intending to check what was happening in the kitchen, I was interrupted by the older girl coming to me with blocks in her hands–one for me and one for Poppi. Another kiss, another wave, another “bye-bye.” Little sister followed, needing a kiss and waving goodbye. For twenty minutes they repeated the pattern–kiss, kiss, wave, wave, bye-bye, while Poppi and I laughed in amusement. They were so cute and charming.

Moments like that make all the trouble and exhaustion worth it. The good far outweighs the bad and the messy. I love taking care of the grandkids and I don’t much mind spending the following week trying to regain my energy (and sanity). What’s 10 days not attending to my own agenda compared with the memories I’ve made with and for my granddaughters?

Do you have grandchildren… or children? Share some of your memories of good and bad times.

Posted in Children and Grandchildren, Making Memories, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Forsyth Park

wide walkway, pedestrians, fountain - www.ahealthysliceoflife.com

wide walkway, pedestrians, fountain – http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com

FORSYTH PARK

Returning is not a choice,
But a necessity.
Coolness in the midst
Of excessive heat and humidity.

Trees, hung with Spanish Moss,
Tall and strong,
Brown, grey, and green.
Broad avenues of sidewalk,
Leisurely strolling passersby.

Community building with stage,
Modern and white,
Reflecting pool a delight.
Provides comfort and entertainment
For young and old alike.

A stark contrast
To the aging, old monument
Honoring Confederate heroes
Of the Civil War.

Coolness versus summer heat.
New and old.
The living, and organic.
Non-living, concrete and marble.
All belong here.

Forsyth Park is in Savannah, Georgia. I would have included my own pictures but they have mystriously disappeared. The photos you see were uploaded from the internet (source websites included). The 20 acre park was founded in 1851, the cast-iron fountain was built in 1858, and the monument to heroes of the Confederation (Civil War) in 1875. Dozens of tree species have been planted over the years. Forest Gump and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil are two of the more recent movies that were filmed there.

What is your favorite park? Have you written about it yet?

Posted in Places to Visit, Scenery Descriptions & People I met, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

HISTORY: Alive or Boring?

     I have been reading Bob Welch’s book Pebble in the Water. It’s about his search for information regarding Frances Slanger, the first nurse killed in action in WWII, and the book he wrote about her entitled American Nightingale. He’s a good storyteller. Welch makes the places and times he writes about come alive — become memorable.

      As I read I Welch’s book I am beginning to think about the memoir I am composing and how the story of my paternal grandfather seems to be dominating my thoughts and my writing. He died much too young – too young for him and too young for me. I was only ten years old at the time. He came from Holland at the age of 19, just before WWI started. Grandpa Bert’s life in America took him from Southern California, where he chauffeured rich folks around to horse races and the like, to South Dakota where he became a vegetable farmer, and finally to Dexter, Oregon where he did the same.

      Now, as a not yet elderly woman, I can think of all sorts of questions I would like to have asked him about his life in Holland, about his years as a chauffeur, about how he got started farming. But at 10 years of age I didn’t even know what history was, or that years later I would lament not learning his story. His-story. History.

      My introduction to history was the same as most anybody’s in North America — school. It was facts and dates in dry boring textbooks and lectures from, predominantly, dry boring teachers. There was no life to it. There should have been. History is about people. People experience things; they have stories that need to be told. The subject would be more memorable if it centered on the stories of the people who lived through a particular time period .

      I love history now. I love it because I’ve read about people who lived through it. I’ve visited places where historical “facts” happened. My hope is that I can become the kind of storyteller that makes my history and the history of my family and the people I’ve known come to life.

      How do you feel about history? Is it dead and boring? Or is it full of life and exciting? Are you inspired to write a memoir, weaving in the history of family and the times they lived through?

By the way… Pebble in the Water is a great resource on the process of writing (e.g. gathering and organizing information, revising, polishing, etc.).

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Check out Christi Corbett’s book ALONG THE WAY HOME

Along The Way Home, by Christi Corbett. Front Cover

Along The Way Home, by Christi Corbett. Front Cover

I want to take this opportunity to introduce Christi Corbett’s new book ALONG THE WAY HOME. Christi is one of my writing pals and part of our local writing group. I’ve had the privilege of reading many chapters of Along the Way Home and providing hopefully useful critiques and advice. I’m so excited that I now have the opportunity to read the whole book.

Christi has worked hard getting the characters and settings just right, making sure the historical facts are accurate and making the story a “keep the pages turning” read. Congratulations, Christie!

Here’s what she has to say about her accomplishment and a synopsis of Along the Way Home:

 Enjoy….

Tori

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     It took me thirteen years to drag my debut novel over the publication finish line. There were times when I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, but what kept me going were the writing friendships I’d developed along the way.

How about you? How do you support the dreams of your friends and family?

They lost everything but their dreams on the Oregon Trail…

     Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in OregonTerritory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society.

      Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

     Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

     Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted?

 

Advance Praise for Along the Way Home

…author Christi Corbett unfurls an unforgettable epic romance inside of an epic Western adventure. Beautifully crafted, this debut novel is a tender journey of the heart as well as a treacherous journey of many miles.

Eve Paludan, author of Taking Back Tara (Ranch Lovers Romance series)

 

 A breathtaking account of courage and adventure along the Oregon Trail.

Jillian Kent, author of The Ravensmoore Chronicles.

 

dash of action! A touch of intrigue! Loads of sweet, clean romantic promise…

Reid Lance Rosenthal, Winner of 15 National Awards, #1 Best Selling Author of the Threads West, An American Saga series.

 

About Christi

     I’m addicted to coffee, sticky notes, and the Oxford Comma. I live in a small town in Oregon with my husband and our twins. Our home’s location is especially inspiring because the view from the back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the OregonTerritory and beyond.

     Along the Way Home is a Sweet Historical Romance. It released in e-book format on June 11, 2013 and will be available in print July of 2013. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Astraea Press (my publisher) and several other retailers.

      When I’m not writing I love chatting with readers and writers alike. You can find me in one of the following locations:

Email: christicorbett@gmail.com

Blog: http://christicorbett.wordpress

Twitter: @ChristiCorbett

Facebook: Christi Corbett—Author

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I’m Back — hopefully — maybe?

Carol, Eleanor, Ben — I hope you haven’t given up on me. It’s been a long time since my last blog post in August and it’s been a hard  six months.

After my back injury  seemed to be better I had only a few months of working on catching up on all the chores and projects that  had been left undone during the previous two months. Then seasonal illnesses hit, right during the holiday season. I had a lower respiratory virus from Thanksgiving to Christmas, was recovering from that and got hit by an upper respiratory virus for the next month, culminating in a sinus infection.

I hate being sick — who doesn’t?  It’s been many years since I’ve actually had to deal with a cold or any other type of illness that wiped me out like these did. It wasn’t the flu — no aches and pains — but it absolutely sapped my energy. I don’t know about you, but when my head is all stuffed up my brain doesn’t work very well. Keeping up with the necessities is difficult and creativity is impossible. Being determined to put an end to being ill I steadfastly refused to go anywhere there were a lot of people, except for the grocery store. Those forays were a necessity and I used copious amounts of hand sanitizer as soon as I got back to my vehicle. Sanitizer and prayer seem to have worked.  Now I just have to beware of family members who want to be generous and share THEIR germs with me.

But enough about all that.  I am now working on getting back up to my former level of energy and grubbing out the built-up dust and clutter. Hubby and I deep cleaned our family room yesterday and the next project will be turning the breakfast nook  (currently our office) into a room for our dogs and moving the office into half of our large family room. A big project to be sure.

I’ve written about my office in previous posts. I’m ashamed to say I’ve made only minor progress to organizing it just to see it get recluttered during repeated flurries of activities and projects.  I’m great at organizing. What I can’t seem to do is get an extended period of time — days, maybe weeks, uninterrupted — where I don’t have to quit and take care of some other responsibility or another. Once my organization efforts get stopped I have a very difficult time picking up where I left off. My brain just doesn’t seem to want to go there.  Add to that the fact that the process of a major organization always includes days of extreme disorganization as I pile stuff into categories temporarily before it gets to it’s final destination.

Then there’s the minutiae. By the time  I get to the miscellaneous papers and items I’m tired of making decisions and my brain is fried. The minutiae is the items that need to be kept but don’t fit neatly into any specific category. The minutiae is the stuff that seems to end up in filing trays and small boxes and becomes a new pile of clutter. Does anybody out there have an idea regarding dealing with the miscellaneous odds and ends when the trash can isn’t an option?

Oh, the good news. During one of my brief periods of recovery I got a brain storm for a new story. Hooray!

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Ode to Apricot

I’m back from vacation. The day I got back I saw a quote that so represented my time away.

“No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.”  Edward Hubbard

I’ll just say, for now, that it was not a relaxing time and I came home with a strained back (either muscular or a displaced vertebra) and haven’t been worth much all week. On Monday I’ll share more about our camping trip with kids and grandkids. For today I’m sharing a guest post from a great lyrical memoirist in my writing group. Please welcome Karen Wickham.

Ode to Apricot
By Karen Wickham, ©July, 2012

Apricot, taste of summer
But only if fresh picked and eaten by the picker

Aroma of a tiny farm on a dirt country road
Peach Avenue, Sherman Oaks, California

Apricot, essence of my childhood
Straddling branch of an apricot tree, I viewed our one bedroom tiny home, along with chickens, goats, ducks, cats, big brother Nels, baby Jon, dog Daisy June and whatever else wandered in.

Apricot , velvety, soft, yet firm, furrowed like a baby’s bottom.
Color of blushing sunshine fits perfectly in a small hand

Apricot tree, reared me, planted within me my adoration of trees.
Sacred sisters, majestic sentinels guard my earth path still, in pine/fir woodland
From Dallas wasteland, steel and concrete, I ventured to Oregon in search of trees.

Apricot, small, sweet, succulent juiciness, one bite heavy with memories.
My brother and me selling apricots on the busy street near our house.

Hammock gently rocking my small girl dreams of “someday…”,
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth..

Sleeping outside on cots, waking to sun in our eyes, delicious warmth.
Spinning stories in grapevine cave, arboring my secret solitude.

Chasing pet goat Pete, caressing cat Isabel
Crawling on hands and knees in vacant lot, creating trails in sweet tall grasses.

My mother standing on the front porch my father built,
Wearing her apron, calling us to supper. No one wears an apron anymore.

Apricot sumertime memories. Sobbing while washing dishes this morning.
My grief feels new, raw
How is it Mama is not here? She would have time at last, with Daddy gone.
I miss her
Can’t we hang out together now,
Two wise women shelling nuts and sharing biddy intimacy?

Poignant longing. How can she no longer be?
The one who birthed, cared for, adored me?
I miss her powerfully.

Apricot memories ripen. Does she see? Can she know?
Time has no meaning
She left us yesterday, packing with her part of me.
23 years ago.

Karen Wickham July 2012

Note: I went searching for apricots recently (June) in California with son, Jonathan. We found orchards ripe with apricots. Oh joy! I hoped my stash would not be confiscated at the airport. It wasn’t. Yum!

Are there smells, sounds or sensations from your childhood that pull you into a nostalgic mood as you recall details. Have you ever thought about putting those  remembered thoughts and feelings down on paper or into your computer?

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August 24th Update on Rosalie

With this post I’m signing off until September 7 while I take a much needed vacation. See you then. Please read on.

Below is the latest update from Rosalie’s Facebook page. It gives a picture of what a rollercoaster this has been for the family and for Rosalie. And yet, God performs miracles! To find out what happened to Rosalie go back a few posts to “Ribbons and Prayers for Rosalie.”  You can also go to the Facebook page and follow her progress.

The pictures break my heart because I think of my little granddaughter who will be 2 years old in a week and how I would feel if this was her lying in the hospital.
Tori

Please Pray for Rosalie (Facebook link)

Thank you Lord for another day with Rosalie!! Praise you Father! A couple of weeks ago we noticed that Rosalie’s hemoglobin was trending down. On Monday it was (8.2). I woke up today and noticed that Rosalie’s face looked white as a ghost, lips were a purple color, her eyes had dark circles under them and her face looked sunk in a bit. Her vitals all looked pretty good. From a medical stand point it looked like she was very low on her hemoglobin. So they came in and looked at her and said I think she looks like she might need some blood. So they drew some blood and sent it down.

Image

I got my oil and anointed her, I put my hands on her face and I cried out to God….In the name of Jesus Christ let His blood run all through Rosalie’s body.  In the name of Jesus Christ she will not need blood today. Please Father bring color back into her little body. Thank you Father, Love and Trust you. Amen

Over the next hour we watched in amazement as the color started to restore in Rosalie’s face! Her lips became bright pink again, her cheeks got bright “Rosie” pink, the dark circles went away and her sunken skin filled in and got squishy again! Got her results back….. (9.5)!!!!!!!

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and ever situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Thank you Father God for your love!!! Thank you for restoring the blood back in Rosalie’s body and letting us all witness an instant miracle!! Lord you are all we need! We trust you with Rosalie’s life! I will continue to lay her at your feet. Father she is in the best hands and I can’t wait for the day she opens her eyes and looks at me!!! You know my heart Father, you know how much we all miss her and love her. I can’t wait to take her around the country so she can thank everyone for loving you so much that they were led to pray and believe in her miracle. I can’t wait for everyone to hug her and feel your love all around her! Father she loved you so much and always asked for you to come into her heart. The only words that brought my eyes and heart to tears instantly were her saying in her sweet little voice “ Jesus come into my heart” then she would say.. I want to get “bapnatized” Praise you God for being in Rosalie’s heart. Everyone can see the love she had for you, it shines all around her.

Thank you Father for her life, thank you for this circumstance that is changing lives for your kingdom! God eternity is all that matters, and I will do everything I can in Your Name to make sure you use me and my family to spread your word and light to many. Father thank you God for Rosalie! Please God in the name of Jesus Christ I proclaim life back into her body! For God she is in your hands and I know you are healing her. I will be patient and wait until you are ready. I can’t wait for that day!! Praise you Father! Thank you for all the people following Rosalie. Thank you for all their encouraging words. I know they are words sent to me from you, thank you for their hearts for you to believe in this miracle.

“With you nothing shall be impossible” Thank you father for your love and Grace. Father we all fall short and we all sin… Thank you Father for always being there to pick us up when we lay our sins at your feet. Lord your renew us and give us strength. I am content Father with whatever my circumstances bring as long has I am hand in hand with you. Thank you for never leaving nor forsaking me.  I love you Father! I pray all this in your sons name…. Amen


This is the goal: to see little Rosalie whole, healthy — fully restored — to the picture you see here. Please pray for her. Please pass this on. Put it on your blog — on your Facebook page. Put it on your prayer chain. Go to the Facebook link and see other children who are in need of healing.

The pictures are from the photo album on Rosalie’s Facebook page.

Please Pray for Rosalie (Facebook link)

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