Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something's happening here...

What it is, ain't exactly clear...

[If you're old enough to get the song reference, congratulations!]

Let's just do a list. It goes nicely with my complete lack of focus.

A. Is fall really going to show up? I am so excited! The windows are open, it's supposed to rain occasionally, and we might not get out of the seventies all week. Given that it's October, bring it on!

2. This family is on Weight Watchers. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know it's been a couple of years. Sadly, the weight came back on when I lost focus and allowed a stressful job to stop me from doing what I knew to do. It's been a week, and I'm probably down a couple of pounds. We're also going to boot camp three times a week -- so I can safely say there's a little competitive spirit in the house. Everyone is tracking for themselves and so far no one is admitting to really falling off the points wagon. Just tonight, the comment was heard that "getting thin is hard." Well duh. If it wasn't, everyone would be... you know. Anyway, it means lots more cooking is going on, so maybe there will be a few more blog postings with pictures. 
Turkey sausage lettuce cups and some Arborio rice.
It's been over 2 years since I've made (or eaten) rice. It. Was. Awesome.
III. Speaking of a job, one of my jobs at work is QA manager. In the 10 months I've been here, it's been tough to find enough time (and brain power) to spend much time working on those processes because of my  project management job. Finally, though, I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'll get to spend some time indulging my love for all things QA and grammar.
I was too lazy to make my own list of 10 for this, but it'll do...
even though it's missing my beloved Oxford comma in #6.
D. I will not admit that I've been watching Orange is the New Black. The language is atrocious, the subject matter is not what I usually enjoy...but it is so freaking entertaining I can't stay away. I don't think it will be a long-term thing for me, but hilarious.

5. Now that I think about it, I have several TV addictions, some that I've mentioned before:
  • Scorpion: Have you guys discovered this one yet? We're on episode 3 and I love this show. Katharine McPhee has been a fave since Smash and I love her in this. The premise is great, and so far, it's a complete departure from our usual gore-filled procedurals. It needs to stay around a long time. 
  • Speaking of gore-filled, The Walking Dead! I'm probably going to lose credibility when I say I haven't watched the premier yet -- but the kid doesn't watch that one with us so we have to wait til she's otherwise occupied. It'll definitely happen this week and I can't wait!
  • Royal Pains: I know, it's been around forever, but we just started watching it on Netflix. We needed a break from our usual (see above) and I'd seen enough of these to know we'd probably like it. I just think Mark Feuerstein is so adorable, and "Evan R. Lawson, CFO of Hankmed" makes me laugh. We're in Season One and Fonzie just showed up! I have no idea how long he hangs around, but it's so fun to see him!
  • Speaking of "where was I the first time around" -- Gilmore Girls is on Netflix! I'm debating taking a week off work just so I can marathon watch, but that seems irresponsible. It's another one that just didn't fit in when it was on originally, but I always wanted to get back to it. Thanks, Netflix, for becoming a bigger timesuck than Pinterest. 
VI. Boot camp three days a week when a woman is of a certain age should be illegal. Just sayin'.

Finally, speaking of age, it's birthday month here. Bug turns 19 on the 19th, and I'll turn some other age soon after that. Not sure what we're doing for her big day yet, but I have fond memories of last year. 

So that's the update from around here. What's going on in your neck o' the woods?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Family History

Things have been a little crazy around my mom's house the past month. She has a single-story, ranch-style house, and a pipe burst at one end of the house. It apparently spewed water all night while she was asleep, and it had soaked the carpet through three bedrooms and the hall, and into the front room before she knew it and turned off the water. Everything had to come out of those rooms and closets...42 years of living there, and it's gotta all be moved. 

Of course, that means we go through everything. It was like moving, but without the big truck and burly moving men. I live a couple of hours away from her, so the bulk of this work fell to my brother/sister-in-law who live there and have a more flexible schedule. The rest of us chipped in when we could. 

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a Saturday to help with closet clean-out. It happened to be the closet in what had been my dad's office; we'd cleaned in there several years after he had died, but apparently we did a lot of "we'll keep this for now" as we went through his things. This time? Ruthless. Well, sort of. My favorite find? Report cards for all of my siblings from elementary and middle school. Hilarious. My youngest brother was a blabbermouth and wouldn't focus (probably ADD), my oldest brother (the smart one) got an F -- can you imagine seeing an F on a report card these days? I'm pretty sure it won't happen for fear of damaging a child's self-esteem. They all turned out okay, but it was hilarious to read the teacher notes. 

Anyway, Labor Day weekend was for the garage sale. We'd separated out books, decorating stuff, crafty crap, clothes, shoes...all the normal garage sale stuff. We didn't really have anything big to sell, and still made about $300. Not too bad, and the rest of the stuff went to charity.

When we were going through Dad's closet, I pulled this out:

Metal box, marked with "Artstyle Chocolates." Inside, 

Mom told me the story. My daddy was the only boy of four children, and was something like 11 years younger than his closest sister. My aunt Billie was the only one that I'd ever known; his sister Blanche had died in a car accident when she was in her twenties. I knew the other sister had died before Daddy was born, but I'm not sure I ever knew the story. Dortha was about 14 or 15 when she contracted rabies and died, somewhere around 1930 or 1931. This box belonged to her. 

This wooden spool says "Tacky Party at Mrs. Bett's 1929 | This was part of Alton's beads." The wooden spoon: "Mary Wilma's party | July 20, 1929."

Check this one out:

A tiny celluloid doll from the Amarillo Fair in 1928. I wonder if she'd gone to the fair with friends or with family, did she win this or did someone give it to her...

This silk handkerchief looks hand-painted. Was it a gift? Did she draw this herself? Was she a swimmer?

Ribbons from school competitions:

Math and volleyball -- was she exploring her interests like you should in junior high? Was she really good and planning what she wanted to do in high school?

And then this:

Dortha was salutatorian of her 7th grade class, and this was her speech. "...I realize more fully that each day brings our [m]arks nearer to the end of the highway of life." She probably died within three years or so of this speech. 

She put things in this box, never knowing that she wouldn't get the chance to add to them with other special keepsakes in a few years. 

When we went through this box, I knew I didn't want her story to get lost in a couple of generations. I brought the box home with me and placed it on one of my bookshelves. I've told the story to my daughter and maybe she'll share it with her children someday. 

The theme of her speech was character, and included this story:
"Once upon a time, a certain owner of a large British estate called one of his faithful servants to him and said, 'I am going away upon a long journey. Select the spot on these beautiful grounds, and build there a house. Spare neither time or expense, but do it well.' The servant started the house and as the building went up, he from time to time would substitute old lumber in its construction. When finished, and painted, it looked fine and the key was turned over to the master upon his return. Then the master said, 'You have been a faithful servant. Take this key, the house is yours.' 'Alas,' thought the servant. 'If I had known it was mine, I would have built it differently.' And that's the way, as young people, we are building character. Let us resolve that as we go forth, we shall build wisely and well. Let us bear in mind that the things that we do go into the character which we are building, and when once placed there, they cannot be erased."

I think I would have liked knowing this aunt.

Do you have any family stories you're sure to keep telling? How are you making sure young family members don't completely lose the history?