30 Things I Love Right Now

About two and a half years ago I wrote a post about the 30 things I love right now.  I sat down to write a new list, then compared the two.

This is my current list:

  1. Avett Brothers
  2. my soft, warm blanket with he cardinals on it
  3. husband of just about 39 years
  4. my 4+ children, scattered across three states
  5. muscle relaxers… ahh, relief
  6. my church family
  7. Alexa when she actually knows something
  8. reading and my Kindred Spirits Book Club
  9. wearing boots
  10. notes/drawings by my grandkids
  11. planning our trip to CA
  12. poetry and fellow poets
  13. Netflix
  14. La Croix
  15. foster care
  16. my Escape
  17. hiking
  18. subbing
  19. Pita chips
  20. hashtag games on twitter
  21. new rugs
  22. seasons for real
  23. memories
  24. reading
  25. photography
  26. Alex when she actually knows something
  27. Amazon
  28. being off work for a few weeks
  29. relearning how to sew
  30. scarves

Here is my other list:

1.Back porch mornings
2.BFF Cathy – we have known each other for over 40 years
3.Blogging
4.BOGO school supplies
5.Bulletproof Coffee
6.Discovering B’ham
7.Freshly painted bathrooms
8.Hiking at Red Mountain
9.Husband of 36 years
10.Loretta, my black lab
11.Making my own schedule
12.Melatonin
13.Microwaved pepperoni dipped in hummus (just ask me)
14.Mom – my example and support
15.My grandkids – I love both of them so much my heart aches
16.My kids – four plus my DIL
17.PackPoint app
18.Pepper Place Market
19.Photography
20.Prepping for Montana
21.Reading
22.Rug from World Market
23.Salami
24.Spotify
25.Steak from the backyard grill
26.The soft wind
27.Toss pillows
28.Tweeting
29.Writing letters
30.Zumba videos

 

Some things from the original list couldn’t be placed on my current list, but some could have been repeated, such as salami, Pepper Place and steak from the backyard grill.

From my first list:

 

From my current list:

 

 

 

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With cold weather coming on Wednesday,, I thought I’d revise and repost these thoughts on weather.

E.B. White was a man who truly had a way with words. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the author of the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web. When talking about the first flakes of snow falling, he said,

“At first it was an almost imperceptible spitting from the gray sky…”

I love the way he put it – such a perfect way to describe this scene. This is how I want to write.

Below are some pictures from February, 2015, when we had that “…imperceptible spitting..”

And I’ll leave you with this to enjoy…

 

 

Pieces of My Culture

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A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

“I get so frustrated when I talk to people and they say, I don’t have a culture. And it’s mostly white people who say it. And I say, that’s bull, of course you have a culture, where did you grow up? Who’d you talk to? What’d you do? What was your thing? What was your family’s thing? Where’d your family come from?” – – Rhiannon Giddens

I was born in Athens, Georgia, and thus by natural inheritance will always be a Bulldog. Not that I’m an over-the-top fan of any football, but it’s part of my culture. I grew up knowing what red and black were for. My parents met in Athens, where they were both living in the first government housing built in the town. My Dad lost his father when he was four, and Mom’s dad abandoned the family when she was a baby, so they were both raised by mothers who had to work hard all their lives. I never knew my dad’s mom, who died before I was born. But, my Mamaw Bryan was always a sweet, white-haired, lilac dressed Grandma who treated us to Coca-Cola in jeweled colored metal cups and cooked up wonderful fried chicken in her little apartment.

I’m sure being raised without fathers played a part in my mom always being home with us while Dad worked hard to provide. We never lacked for anything, but I have no doubt my parents were on a tight budget. Mom made some of my clothes and we ate a lot of beans, but I never worried about where my next meal was coming from. I learned to save what money I had to purchase what I wanted, like a ten-speed bike and my first stereo.

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We moved to Jacksonville, Florida, via Montgomery and Ft. Lauderdale, when I was six. I grew up there in the same house until I married. The Georgia Bulldog devotion stayed with our family, especially due to the Georgia-Florida game played each year in Jacksonville. My life revolved around school, church, and neighborhood. We saw Mamaw and our Georgia cousins once or twice a year. The extended family loved to visit us, partly because of our proximity to the ocean. We were less than 30 minutes from the beach and that was a huge part of my childhood and teen years. Flip-flops, body surfing, driving on the beach and listening to WAPE radio are all cherished memories that fashioned a part of me.

This was all background, though. It helped shape me, but there is much more to culture. There are also beliefs. When I was ten years old I came face to face with my sinful state and knew I needed a Savior. I went to my mom, who sat me down in the kitchen and gently answered my questions. I was soon after baptized and spent the next seven years or so with a group of friends, many of whom I’m still in touch. Our world was one of church picnics, choir trips, “rolling” each other’s homes with toilet paper and “dinner on the grounds”. I am forever grateful for those gentle times of growing up feeling safe and secure.

Jacksonville was a last-holdout to racial integration. This affected me in numerous ways. My parents would always claim not to be prejudiced, but they yanked me out of public school the year that desegregation was finally enforced. Yes, it was a tumultuous time and I would not have wanted to be bussed across town, but I actually was anyway, for a year, to a private school. By 10th grade I was back in my local high school, and had my first real encounter with a different race. I never told my parents that I actually made friends with some black students. In my house the “N” word was common; even my brothers and I called each other that when we were mad, much to my shame and regret.

Music is a big component of every culture. In elementary school we sang “Found a Peanut” and “Billy Boy” along with learning all the military branch songs; I still remember ““Over hill, over dale, we have hit the dusty trail, and the Caissons go rolling along.” I grew up on the Beatles, KC and the Sunshine Band, and “The Church in the Wildwood”. My first concerts were the Dooobie Brothers and Peter Frampton. I never learned to play a musical instrument, but from the time I got my first transistor radio music has been a part of my life.

I imagine it might take a whole book, and perhaps a quilt maker, to piece together all that is my culture. It’s southern, middle class, and pretty white. It’s sprinkled with ya’ll and yes ma’am and grits. Casseroles are the preface and postlude of every funeral; July 4th and New Year’s Eve bring reason to shoot off tons of fireworks; “Merry Christmas” still abounds as the go-to December greeting.

In reflecting on the elements that shaped me, I hope that I have passed down all the good parts of my culture, and let go of the parts that needed to be left behind.

 

(originally posted Dec. 2015)

Window or Mirror?

 

“I feel it’s healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. With a mirror, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” 

Bill Withers, from Garden & Gun interview

My husband thinks it’s funny to tease me about taking selfies, but honestly I don’t do it very often. I joined a group in B’ham a few years ago  and got some great tips from on self-portraits, but I can’t remember most of them. And, like I said, I don’t take many. I much prefer to be behind the camera. So, it’s with much trepidation that I present this picture taken with my cell phone. It  isn’t the best quality, but I like it.

 

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I Hear the Train A Comin’

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I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine,
Since, I don’t know when,

from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

In early 2014, after we decided on a house and our offer was accepted, my husband looked on Google Maps and saw that the train runs very near our house. He was worried this was going to be a problem, but, I like it. I don’t know what it is, but I enjoy hearing the whistle blow, which it does 4-5 times a day. I think if I could get through the brush and woods on the other side of our back fence I would be right at the tracks.

My last train ride was in 1996, the day my father died. Our van was in the shop and it was the only way I could get back to see him. My brother picked me up at the train station and drove me to our parent’s house. That night as I sat with him his breathing became labored. I had to wake my mom from what was probably her first peaceful sleep in weeks. As she held his hand and I held her, he left us. And even though the lonely train whistle often reminds me of that night, it also reminds me that life is going on all around me. Trains and planes and cars are taking people back and forth everyday here  this little corner of Alabama and all over the wide world. I am just a speck.

 

 

Adventures in Subbing #6

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I was subbing in a history class last year during PAD. On  Two-for Tuesday, we could write either a sonnet or an “anti-form” poem (for those who don’t like formulaic poetry). So, I looked around the classroom that day for inspiration. Here’s my sonnet:

 History Class

Join or die, a choice beyond compare

The mind and heart do battle all the day

It’s felt in lives of young ones everywhere

How do you choose? How do you find your way?

 

Go confidently; follow after dreams

In the direction of the sun or moon

Your dreams may float or shine like gold sunbeams

Or bounce along like notes on sweetest tune

 

With perseverance run the race ahead

Respect, integrity will take you far

Diversity can be the vital thread

In everything you do be who you are

 

They say the price of victory is high

But so are the rewards; reach for the sky

 

Borrowed portions:

Join or Die – Benjamin Franklin

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams – Henry David Thoreau

Perseverance, Respect, Integrity and Diversity in everything that we(you) do = PRIDE – school mission statement

They say the price of victory is high. But, so are the rewards – Paul (Bear) Bryant

 

(edited/reposted)

Adventures in Subbing #5

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“I just wanted to know what it felt like to be someone you look at.” – Ove, from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

 

 

 

 

 

Last year I was witness to a modern day middle school dance. I use the term dance loosely. It was more like a sweaty, sugar high, hormone fest. I never attended a dance until the Prom my senior year, unless you count square dancing in fourth grade.

However, some things don’t change. We all want to know what it feels like to be the one someone else wants to look at. To be someone that a special someone else wants to be with.

(edited/reposted)