Sunday, November 30, 2008
Doing What I LoveTo Do
One of the things I most enjoy doing is introducing grandchildren to the ballet. Being able to share something I love so much with children I love so much is a wonderful experience for everyone. Only one has ever found ballet so boring that when I glanced over at her to see her expression, I immediately had a huge spasm of guilt because it appeared that I was torturing her. A couple of others are in the take it or leave it category, but the majority have simply fallen in love with ballet and are always eager to go.

Friday night I had the pleasure of introducing the last two of our 10 grandchildren to the Nutcracker. I confess, I was a little worried about Little Girl, who is 5 -- excuse me, she is 5-1/2, as she will quickly tell you -- anyway, she is quite energetic and can be moody and I was praying that she would be interested and not bored. I didn't need to worry. I have never seen her sit so still for so long. She was simply enchanted. The rats and soldiers draw lobby duty at intermission and pose for pictures with children. After the performance, you can go to the Green Room and meet the soloists from the performance. Here are some pictures from the evening:

You think maybe they had fun? Technically, by blood, these are the Professor's grandchildren, but he is off on a dive trip and missed Thanksgiving and the ballet. On the subject of travel and holidays, we agree to disagree, and I'm sure we each secretly think the other's priorities are totally screwed up. But looking at a bunch of fish and coral that will still be there a few weeks or months from now vs. witnessing your granddaughter's first ballet? I certainly know who got the better end of that deal!

posted at 10:37 AM
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Monday, November 24, 2008
To - Do List
My list:

1. Spend $140 on fixings for Thanksgiving dinner for 20. Check.

2. Start baking Christmas cookies and pumpkin bread. Check.

3. Give cookies and pumpkin bread away to customers as fast as they are baked. Check.

4. Now that all floors are in, put furniture back in its place. Check ... except for the knock-down bookcase that was missing hardware, and the knock-down file cabinet that showed an illustration of two pieces on their sides, which turned out to be an absolute lie, as the weight of one piece broke off a small appendage I had just carefully bolted and glued ... and also the coffee table, end table and two night tables which will be delivered tomorrow.

5. Put all the dishes back in the china cabinets, put knick-knacks in their proper place, make everything clean and tidy. ARE YOU KIDDING??? I CAN'T EVEN FIND MOST OF THE STUFF!

6. Eliminate all dust left from re-construction of the walls, baseboards and floors. I have vacuumed and dust-mopped over and over and still everything is dusty.

7. Find all the business receipts for November's expense report. Well, at least there's only three or four stacks of paper to go through now.

8. Work out a meal time that accommodates those having their first Thanksgiving dinner at noon, those having their second Thanksgiving dinner at 5:00, those serving dinner to displaced hurricane victims until 2:00, those working until 3:00, and those who will be here with big appetites shortly after noon. If anyone can figure this one out, you will be my bestest friend forever. It's a lot easier to do if you assume people will be transported from one place to another, a la Star Trek. That would save all kinds of time.

9. Remember to count my blessings. I have my health, a home I love, and the privilege of hosting big family gatherings. It really doesn't matter if the silver is polished, or if some people end up eating after the others. What matters is that we are family coming together to celebrate. My favorite childhood memories involve holidays spent with my aunt's big noisy family. I hope I am helping to make memories that will nourish my children and grandchildren in the same way my memories nourish me.

10. Wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. I can check that one off, and from the heart:

May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

posted at 8:24 AM
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Monday, November 10, 2008
Must be Murphy's Law
Deep breaths. This is just an annoyance, not a tragedy. My house is intact, no lives were lost, everything will be okay.

They started putting in my wood floors today. The Professor and I moved all the furniture out of the rooms where the wood will go. Everything was going beautifully until I walked down the hall to the kitchen, glanced into the dining room where they were working, and ... eeek! ... what in the world are they putting on my floors?

Well over a year ago, I had picked a reddish floor. When we tried to order it, it was unavailable -- I thought it was discontinued, but apparently just out of stock. So I picked out a much browner color and was very grateful that circumstance had pushed me to that color. I chose all my paint and stain colors using the browner floor. But somehow my very nice, inexpensive but completely disorganized floor guy went back to the original color when he placed his order, despite having given me a bid in writing for the correct color. And it clashes. Oh dear, does it clash!

And of course we can't get the right color. He has gone beyond the flooring distributors to the manufacturer's rep, trying to find enough of it to do my house. If we can't find it, it will be 6 - 8 weeks before they can get it in.

The carpet is actually in his store, but his crews are booked solid. On top of it being the holiday season, everyone is getting their insurance checks for hurricane damamge now, and they all seem to be ready for carpet. All the furniture that was in the rooms needing laminate flooring is now stuffed into one bedroom -- and when I say stuffed, I mean you cannot walk into the room. But if he can work something out, I will move all that furniture out of the bedrooms, if it takes me all night to do it. We may have Thanksgiving dinner with concrete slab floors, but I really need carpet in the bedrooms so the company can sleep there.

Like I said, it's an annoyance, not a tragedy. But it sure does consume a lot of time and energy trying to straighten it out.

posted at 1:40 PM
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Way To Go, America!
My great-grandfather owned a slave, just one, a young male whom he named Sidney, after himself. There is a family legend attached to Sidney which I am going to repeat here, but with the caveat that there is no transcript, no video tape of this event, and there is a tendency in all people to shade stories to their favor. In other words, I am not sure if I completely believe it or not.

It was the end of the Civil War and Sherman was marching through Georgia. War is a terrible thing even when God is on your side, and the Union troops were stealing everything they found, then burning the houses to the ground, even the small ones of those too poor to own more than one slave. Slaves were told that they were free men and now proud members of the Union Army.

We've all read about how news traveled at the speed of light through the slave network. Sidney knew the Union Army was coming and he ran off and hid. Several days later he returned, to find my great-grandparents packing what little they had left into a covered wagon. Here is the dialog as it has been handed down through the generations:

"Where are you going?"

"We're going to Texas. There's nothing here for us anymore."

"Then I'm going with you."

"No, you can't, you're a free man now."

"But you're my family."

However the conversation went -- and who knows, maybe it actually did go that way -- Sidney came to Texas with my ancestors and lived to be an old man. I have seen a picture of him sitting on my grandmother's front porch, holding my father when he was an infant and my grandmother somewhere well into her forties. A little thought convinces me that he was fed and clothed and sheltered, but the shelter was a separate hut or possibly a sleeping porch, the clothing was castoffs from family members, and the meals, while the same food as the family ate, were always solitary. I'm sure that he continued to labor for them, and that they never paid him wages. They were all aware that he was free, yet at least for my relatives, he wasn't a person they could associate with in the way they associated with other whites. But I'm also sure they were genuinely fond of him, and certainly the picture I have seen indicates that they took good care of him when he was far too old to work for them. I am not trying to make them seem either evil or saintly. I think they simply did the best they could.

I guess it takes generations for things to change. I have chronicled here before how my unthinking acceptance of the segregated world I grew up in was shattered. I have watched a lot of racial strife in this country, sometimes turning into violence. But yesterday we elected a President whose father was African. That could not have happened 100, 50, even 20 years ago. I happen to really, really like Obama's politics, but I think that even if he were diametrically opposed to my views -- say, if we had elected Clarence Thomas -- I would still be very proud to live in an America that can elect a man without regard to the color of his skin.

posted at 7:59 AM
Comments (1)

Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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