My Castle

a section of the backyard -- just needs a little tweaking this fall

My home is my sanctuary, my castle.  It is also sometimes a great source of financial drain and worry.  The memories that fill it are good ones and sad ones.  The people who have lived here before me, who frequented this home, left good vibes; they were good people.  And now, I am the caretaker.

happy faces, sad faces, old faces, new faces

My sunflowers remind me of my family and my friends: those standing tall in the glory of their youth; those whose personalities shine so brightly they bring light to everyone around them; those with sturdy stalks from working hard and holding up their family; those who prefer to stay within the confines of their home, their own castle; those who are beginning to fade, get a little droopy (why you lookin’ at me?); those who hang their heads in defeat, depression, shame, fatigue; those who laugh and hold their heads high, delighting in their good fortune and joy; those with new little faces, budding out each week, month, and finally into the years; those who have grown old and withered, dying as their family and friends stand by their side.

from the barn to the backyard

They lean on each other, sometimes faces turned as though in conversation.  They have different centers, different hues: different personalities, different abilities.

I love my sunflowers and grow them every year.  They give me comfort and peace and enjoyment.  They are a part of me and a part of my home.

looking to the sun

Friends are the sunshine of life.  John Hay

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.  Helen Keller

Lifting as they climb, onward and upward they go, struggling and striving and hoping that the buds and blossoms of their desires may burst into glorious fruition ere long.  Mary Church Terrell

Eden is that old-fashioned house we dwell in every day without suspecting our abode until we drive away.  Emily Dickinson

Happiness is a Swedish sunset; it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it.  Mark Twain

I reach for the Son that He may shine brightly within my heart and soul.  Brenda Byassee






And the Winner is…

Bert's basket of good stuff

Yum!  Yum!!  This basket is filled with delicious food from my friend, Alberta:  home-made chicken noodle soup, two turkey sandwich halves, angel food cake with lemon sauce, and a clementine.  She knew I had been sick (forever it seems) and came to see about me and make sure I was still among the living.  I love her!

Bert feeds my cat, Bo, (and any other straggler I may be feeding at the time) when I am gone (or sends hubby to do it).  She comes by in the spring and yanks off all the blooms from the flowers before I can even make the word “Nooooooo!” come out of my mouth (I know it’s for their own good).

Bert and her wonderful hubby

I don’t think I can ever remember a time she didn’t do some little nice something every time she has stopped by my house.  She is a true, good friend, and I can depend on her with my life if I needed to do so.

and I may anyway

So… since I got no response to my potential give-away, (Coming Event: The Give-Away) I am assuming no one is interested in free stuff; free, cool stuff.  Since I know Bert likes free, cool stuff, and since she already participates in person, I think she will win the contest I am starting March 19 and will end March 27.

It will take place those dates because that’s when Rosemary and Maddy can help me pick out something really cool and soon to be really free!

My Funky Fabulous Friends

Funky Three without Me (add me to the mix and it's Funky Four)

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will have been introduced to the Funky Four, the pinochle-playing partners, best friends, a/k/a Charlie and the Angels.  The foursome started several years ago, reuniting from a long-time-but-got-too-busy-with-life friendship and cousin kin. 

Babe (nickname for baby of the family or maybe stud muffin) is Charlie; Kay, his blonde-haired (okay, maybe white by now) wife, and Sandy (a/k/a Carmella Celeste) with the red hair (fairly certain it’s as true red nowadays as my Loreal brown), and I, the bottled brunette, make up the Angels.  We’ve all lost someone we loved, survived hardships, and have grandchildren we adore.  There are plenty more things we have in common too: dancing; playing cards; looking for tribute memorials of old singers;

village people

 discussing, deciding upon, and then dressing up in Halloween costumes;

The big 5-0

throwing awesome getting-old parties; and giving wacky or wild or inane gifts for every conceivable occasion.

And my blog was just such an occasion. The four of us got together to play cards at my house, out in the garage since I have no furniture in my house yet (floor refinishing project). It worked out great, though. There’s an extra dining table and chairs out there, a warm morning stove, and plenty of light and room (well, the vehicle had to be ousted to the driveway first). So we got our pizza, got our cards, got our snacks, coffee, tea, and Coke.  We were ready to deal ’em out.

getting ready to play

But first, my funky fabulous friends had brought me a blog-warming gift all wrapped up in Veggie Tales stickers paper (perfect paper to symbolize my cooking adventure when I get the house back to order).  When I opened the box, it was filled with the neatest placemats and matching cloth napkins to place my white dishes with their delectable delights on them and take the photo shots.  I’m so excited!! 

my neat gift from my neat friends!!

Next was the movie Julie & Julia!  (I will refer you back to “Just the Beginning” blog.)  And to top off this so perfect gift was a personalized tote (embroidered by Laurie, the very talented daughter-in-law of Babe and Kay) (she takes awesome pictures, too)(  It even has a cat on it for Boaz; maybe I’ll start carrying him to the card games in it.  Although, I think it’s meant to pack food to and fro since I will be cooking some of my recipes at their house.

my personalized tote!

We were all set to begin the games.  This year we have decided to keep track of who wins the most money (I’m gonna be rich!!) at the end of the year, so for Christmas, I gave Sandy, the scorekeeper, a scorebook.

our scorekeeper and scorebook

At the end of every evening of playing, she keeps track of who wins and who loses and how much we won or lost.  But before she can do that, we have to pick our partners (refer you back to January 22 blog, Pinochle) by drawing numbers and then pick our names.  We do this by using our combined initials, all or some.  And those names can get rather wicked, let me tell you.  Sometimes just the names almost scare me into submission.  (But I want to win the BIG money at the end of the year.)  We play three games, (sometimes more) and keep track of those in a notebook. 

yearly and per-game books

big winner book

These Funky Fabulous Friends of mine have given me too many hours to count of laughing till I couldn’t laugh anymore, but did, accepting me for who I am (even I can’t do that), and creating adventures out of nothing more than a deck of cards.

Oh Happy Day!! Oh Happy Day!!!

doing the happy dance

This has been a great day!!!  The internet customer service dude finally took the time to actually fix my internet connection.  (I can’t discuss it anymore than that, or I will forget I had a great day!)  I took pics of my neat gift from my neat friends (Funky Three without Me) (will finish that story tomorrow);

the wrapping paper (I love Veggie Tales)

I got my floor all sanded and polished and the furniture back in the house; AND (drumroll please) I got my baby grand delivered!!  YES!  What a great day.  And to top it off, I went to my Matilda and the Hogbottom Girls book club meeting,  pigged out on great food, and discussed the book Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin.

Matilda and the Hogbottom Girls

So now I have to sing the song of joy and happiness as they did in the movie “Sister Act” with Whoopie Goldberg.                                      

the baby grand!

“Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.  He taught me how to fight and pray. And live rejoicing every day.  Oh happy day.  I’m talking ’bout the happy days.  Oh happy day.”

Nancy and Darla… and babies and diaper bags and…

Nancy and Darla with their babies

The neighborhood wouldn’t have been complete without the “little sisters.”  That is, Terry’s little sister and my little sister.  You never saw one without the other.  You never saw either without their babies in one arm and their diaper bags thrown over the shoulder of the other arm.

Nancy lived up the hill from us, a block away.  Those two kept that road hot.  I can still see them walking up or down that hill with their “children.”  They would meet in the middle to discuss important “stuff” or just to walk with the other to one of the homes.

As they grew up, they embraced Barbies (along with the babies) and went wild and crazy over the Beatles.  One of them would get a pretend microphone and stand on the bed and pretend to be the Beatles, singing her heart out, “I Want To Hold Your Haa-aa–and,” while the other, standing at the foot of the bed, would squeal and scream and fall down on the floor… just as the girls on the TV did at the Beatles concerts.

Nancy was Catholic; Darla was Southern Baptist.  I’m not sure what kind of Catholic game they played, but I was privy to the Baptist one where Darla would stand and preach to Nancy and sing hymns.  She perfected her preaching when she was raising her children and ordering them to get dressed, clean their rooms, just generally behave…  and she still sings hymns.  I’m thinking that Baptist preaching Darla taught Nancy may have come in handy as Nancy raised her own four children and had to do a little preaching herself.