Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sum Total

Of course these few things are not the sum total of my mother's life... but I see any of them, individually or as a group and instantly my mother springs to mind. The picture in the back is of her mother, my grandma, as a child. I use this image a lot A LOT in my artful collages. The china shoe is from my grandma's collection, dispersed and dispensed with in 1968. It is all that remains.The chicken trophy was won by her dad, my grandpa. He won lots of chicken trophies, oddly enough. The Hummel, the doll in the green dress and the pearls all belonged to my mother. She especially liked pretty things. I have lots of her pretty things... a ring, nice wine goblets, now the pearls...

And yet the thing that most reminds me of my mom is this ugly pitiful doll. I have held onto and protected this ugly doll most of my life... since I was ten or so. My mother made her when she was seven. This pitiful doll doesn't even have a name, though I have taken to calling her Ruth, my mother's middle name. I have long been amazed that a seven-year-old could make such a thing, shape the wire armature body, wrap it 'round with muslin strips, puff out the body, stitch on a head. Mom made the clothes... all from scraps, leftover bits of nothing,

The hair is fringe from her mother's bedspread. Mom, at age 7, snipped it from the very most visible center of her mother's bedspread and got into terrible trouble for the deed. "I got beat for that," she said. I do not doubt for one minute that my grandmother, enraged, certainly did beat her for cutting a snippet of fringe from a perfectly good bedspread. But my grandmother is long gone. The bedspread is gone. And now, too, my mother is gone. Only this doll, this pitiful ugly doll, remains. My mother died Sunday and all I have of her are these trinkets, among them this doll and the knowing that her hands made something out of nothing.... that's it... the sum total of a life. Something out of nothing, which is enough really... In fact it is everything.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Polo Anyone?

Oh, how I love watching polo ~ don't you? If you haven't yet encountered a match, at next opportunity you simply must. It is a fun game, an exciting game. There are horses and handsome riders, there are tailgate parties lining the field -- there is nothing to not like about polo.
This is a charity game we attend in Indianapolis the same weekend every year.

Sometimes the charities are animal related, like dog rescue groups. (That dog, Holly, is hardly in need of rescue.) Once or twice the charity has been Agape, which is a horse riding therapy program for children with neuro-muscular issues like cerebral palsy or children with MS or MD or even autistic children benefit from a horseback riding program.

This year the charity is women's breast and gynecological cancers. They are putting together a women's health symposium of female specific cancers to further the cause and hopefully hurry the cure. This tent, above, is the raffle and silent auction items -- there were weekend getaways, spa retreats, there was local art, carpets, limo date night with dinner and entertainment -- all sorts of fancy stuff was raffled off. the silent auction items were mostly sports related (don't ask me why or how -- something about a shirt signed by Larry Byrd and Jerseys by the Colts and ... ok, my secret is out, I know squat about sports.... I'm under the impression, though, that this was great stuff, jerseys and shoes and tickets, tra-la.

Apparently this is a very big deal on a lot of levels -- the news people come out....

Little children get dressed up . Isn't she just too too cute in her be-ribboned chambray dress and charming cheery pink cowgirl boots?

The reason I get to go is that guy there, Gordon, in the yellow shirt. I've been dating him since... a long long time. He announces this polo match every year and they LOVE him for doing such a spectacular job. He explains the game very clearly --- he explains the rules and how long the chukkers are and the significance of the riders' positions on the field. When there is a penalty on the play he explains why and how. When Gordon announces a game even first timers catch on very quickly. And since he goes to Indy, I get to go to Indy too.

Ahhhhhhhhh, polo... what's not to like?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pasta Salad?

What this bowl needs is a nice pasta salad, don't you think?

I'm going on a picnic and what I need to bring is pasta salad... So, do you have a Best, Fabulous, Wonderful, Remarkable or even simply Really Good pasta salad that you care to share? I have thunk and thunk and have come to the conclusion that pastaly speaking, I am stumped.

I'd much appreciate it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Look What Got Dumped on My Doorstep

It's the dearest baby!

And I guess, if nobody else wants him for the day... I'll take him in... we'll muddle through. (oh, such a face!)

Looky, he has a turtle on his shirt... maybe my froggy pond needs a turtle... or two.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Dazzling Dirty Dish Fountain

After weeks of fiddling and fooling and deconstruction and digging deep and waiting for electric and cleaning out mud, finally, tah-da, the Magical Froggy Pond with it's Dazzling Dish Fountain is finished:

The very second I turned on the pump and the water cascaded over the stack of dishes and spilled into the pond just the way it is supposed to my heart swelled with pride and delight. "OhMyGosh, the image in my head is actually working before my eyes!" I LOVE that.

I have to mention that this is not entirely my own original idea. Miss Greenthumb Jean
has the cutest tea kettle fountain -- it's shown in her archive under May 5. The minute I saw it I knew I wanted dishes in my pond. I LOVE dishes. Perfect. So thank you Jean for the perfect idea. Blessedly it turned out really well.

Next is the planting here and there so it doesn't look quite so bare. As this was coming about I did get some mums, but despite daily the recent sweltering heat took it's toll. They don't look so good... so back to the nusery to see what further mischeif I can get into.

Also, of couse, the pond so longs for fishes and froggies. There is a fish hatchery nearby, which is where I got the water cabbage/lettuce, water hyacinth and lily pads. (There is some debate here as to which it is -- lettuce or cabbage. If you know, do tell.) Anyway, the fish hatchery people are smart enough to sell other pond accoutrements to suckers like me who say, "Oooh, pretty, I will pay cash money for some of that." At some point I will have to blog about the fish hatchery -- it is amazing! Tank after HUGE tank of fishes and froggies and crawdads, oh my!

But for now we are all glee and delight over my dazzling dirty dish fountains. And if you have any ideas of what to plant there around the pump please share, I am eager for ideas.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Welcome to the Swelter Belt

I know many of you live here permanently and could just as soon quietly die of heat stroke than hear one more peep about current temperatures, but for those of you who aren't from around here there are a few details one needs to to know while visiting the Swelter Belt.

First of all, no matter how cute it sounds, and frankly it doesn't sound all that cute, asking anyone, "Is it Hot Enough For Ya?" not only marks you as a tourist, it's the kind of idiotic comment that can put your life instantly in jeopardy. It IS hot enough for us which gives us cause to be real cranky.

Another overused comment to keep to oneself is the one about it not being the heat, but rather the humidity. When, at 8 a.m. you step from a cool shower in an air conditioned house and by 8:15 you are profusely sweating it's the heat. When you stop at the market on the way home to pick up a bottle of milk which, during the 12 minute ride from the store to home, curdles, it is the heat. When having a bowl of ice cream on the front porch sounds to anyone older than age four like a lousy idea it IS the heat.

Some folks, I suppose, are more acclimated to heat than others. If you live in the southern states along the gulf coast where it is sticky miserable 8 months out of the year, one presumes that eventually a body gets used to it. But those of us in the midwest whose thermometer guage ranges from the depths of sub-zero winters to the current outrageous angry high heat, we're confused for the first ten days or so of a heat wave. "Is this really happening," we wonder. Didn't we just put away our galoshes? Isn't summer supposed to be "Fun in the Sun" season. Sticking to the car seat and not being able to breathe is somehow not so much fun as one might imagine.

So do yourself a favor, grab something tall and cool. Pick up a quiet, solitary activity like reading (it's way too hot to crochet). Sit under a tree or near a fan. As night falls you won't feel any cooler, but you can pour something potent into your tall glass. Pretty soon, for no reason, you'll feel more chipper about both the heat and the humidity... for a little while.

Y'all come back now... ya hear.

For any of you who have wondered where I've been for the last ten days or so, as I pop in sporadically, my computer is in the hot part of the house. My bedroom and my kitchen are air conditioned... the rest of my house is not. We seem to be getting a reprieve. Right this minute it's only 87 ... I might need a jacket. I hope all is cool as can be where you are.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Nice Matters

Out of the blue she pegged me for the NICE MATTERS AWARD. Thanks, Betty. For this I am thrilled and honored. How nice. My own private little credo is that if you can't be nice be quiet. I try to follow this rule as often as possible.

I do need to mention that for some reason I could not get the graphic to come live at my blog, despite noble efforts. It happens that way sometimes. But I did make my own:

And isn't it so true -- being nice DOES matter.

As for who to tap as "nice".... such a hard call. Hmmm -- I can't pick everybody, but I will definitely pick Francie at THE SCENTED COTTAGE... go see her ~ she really IS nice.
Enjoy the nice heat (grumble, crab, bitch, bellyache, whine... ooops, not quite sooooo nice.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Happy Gardener

This is my dad who is a lot happier about his abundant hanging baskets than he looks. In fact he is downright puffed up with pride and delight about them -- though you can't tell by the look on his face.

My dad is the CUTEST little thing. I always thought he looked a lot like a leprechaun. And most of the time he's cheerful and charming... accept with certain relatives, which makes loads of sense to me.

Daddy has been legally blind for some fifteen years -- he has macular degeneration from having spent 40 years in the sun with no eye protection. Yet he does his own cooking, cleaning, laundry and plant growing. Just in front of those baskets is a mighty impressive tomato plant -- and when the tomatoes are ripe he will pick them, peel them and can them. Another thing he does is volunteer at the local municipal building -- what we used to call Town Hall. He works real hard and flirts with all the secretaries and lady cops and anyone else who will laugh at his shenanigans.

He even does his own grocery shopping -- I drive, but he writes out his list which is only sometimes hard to read. Did I mention that he is 80.

We should all be this energetic.