Friday, September 29, 2006

The Artist -- jcarolek

My grandfather was the 20th Century man. Born in 1904 in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, he was the eldest of five children. He was somewhat sickly, took a little longer to get through school than was normal, lost his mother at age 16 and was required to help raise his younger siblings. His father worked long hours at the mill. Larry, my granddad, took over as the other parent.

Larry did graduate and went on to attend

Chainsaw, Wench, and Bark -- jcarolek

Chainsaw lesson 101

  • Judy lives in a house in the woods on a pond
  • Judy wants to see the pond from the house.
  • Judy decides to cut down some trees.
  • Judy takes the electric chain saw and starts her work

BUZZZZZ --- Down goes the first tree
BUZZZZZ --- Down goes the second tree
BUZZZZZ --- Down goes the third tree
BUZZZZZ --- Down goes the fourth tree..well, almost..

  • Tree number four gets hung up in the other trees in the woods, only falls part way
  • Judy surveys the situation
  • The tree branches in two a few feet up
  • Judy decides to cut through each branch, then the tree will fall all the way

BUZZZZZ --- down goes the first branch
BUZZZZZ --- down goes the second branch
WHACK!!! --- Up goes the bottom of the tree trunk, hits Judy SMACK in the mouth
BOOOOOM!!! --- Goes Judy, to the ground
THUMP!!! --- Goes the chainsaw to the ground

OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!! Judy comes to, on the ground
EWWWWW!!! Blood everywhere, in mouth, bad taste, BIG PAIN

Judy gets up
Judy picks up chainsaw
Judy puts chainsaw away
Judy goes into the kitchen
John looks at Judy
John says, “what did you do?”

Judy ignores John
Judy goes to bathroom
Judy examines damage
Judy has BIG hole in face
Judy has much crap in hole in face
Judy cleans out crap as much as possible

John suggests emergency room – stitches

Judy decides not enough time to deal with stitches

Judy holds paper towel with ice on hole in face.

Bleeding stops in about 3 hours
Huge, ugly black “thing” still in hole in face
On closer inspection, “thing” is hunk of bark from bad tree

One week later
Inside hole is healed
Outside hole is healed
Big Bark Bandaid left nicer scar than stitches would have

Two months later
Feeling has returned to lip
Scar is barely noticeable
Judy still cuts trees

But Judy makes sure she cut ALL THE WAY through the trunk BEFORE cutting off the upper part!

And now you know the saga of the CHAINSAW, THE WENCH and THE BARK

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stew, you say???? --- jcarolek

Another story from the “my former life” series.

When I was a newlywed, living in a trailer park in Tallahassee, FL, we owned one car. My husband drove it to work and I, working as a seamstress at the time, took the bus to the mall where I made custom clothing. My husband and I worked different shifts…I worked days and he worked nights.

Those were the days…we were in love…I was pregnant

Standing Tall -- jcarolek

My son was always small. He was the shortest in his class in grade school, the shortest in the school in middle school, and high school, until his junior year. He was never picked on for his size, rather, he was treated as somewhat of a “mascot.”

To say he was happy with his stature would be to lie. He wanted to be tall,

Queen of Stale News -- jcarolek

Do you have a “Queen of Stale News?”

When my daughter was about three, she LOVED company. It didn’t matter who or why they had come to the door, once in the house, they were regaled with ALL the important things this little child with a big vocabulary could remember…she reeled off her list, as if she were the news announcer on the T.V.

One day, my brother Tim, having visited only

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Jarring Exercise == jcarolek

Today I will take yet another jar of coins to the bank. The jar is heavy; it is one of more than twenty such jars. My bank offers a cool money counting machine that takes my coins and produces a receipt, which I then take to the teller for deposit into my account. I have been taking these jars to perform this activity every day for the past few days.

Yesterday, as I lifted the heavy pickle jar

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Nursery Rhymes and Harmony -- jcarolek

Every child I know learned nursery rhymes, most of them little jingles or chants that young voices could accommodate nicely, allowing the expression of joy in a somewhat controlled manner. In early blogs, I have written about the music gifted to me and my siblings by my father for whom music defines life. So it was, at age 14, as I prepared my song for the school talent show, that I learned the "song"

For every thing -- jcarolek

Today I was practicing with the rest of the choir for my best friend's upcoming wedding. One song she has requested is the Parable..the one from which the Byrds made their hit, Turn, Turn, Turn. The words hit me today, in a way I least expected and I could not sing. I could still play, but the tears, choking off my voice and running down my face made it impossible to sing. Why is it that sometimes a song,

Monday, September 18, 2006

The I Hate Jeannie Club -- jcarolek

I was born number two child, number two daughter, 14 months after my sister. In quick succession followed four boys. My parents had six children in seven years. My sister was the bane of my existence.
  • She got to do everything first,
  • she was the "pretty" one,
  • she was the bossy one,
  • she was "miss perfect"

My brothers copied me. Everything I did,

The transformation -- jcarolek

At 21 years old, my daughter knew what was what and what she wanted. She had landed a great job (by her standards, not mine) in Charlottesville, VA. She wanted to find a place to live, where she could have her cat and maybe a dog. She wanted some room, some space. One day in January, she told me she'd found a cabin she could rent for, well, a reasonable monthly rent. I was happy for her.

Iron Rules

I remember when I was a little girl...very little...I couldn't wait to be ALLOWED to iron, just like my older sister. I was 5, she was 6. Yes, my mother believed in teaching her youngsters ALL the necessary skills, at an early age.

Age 6 - Daddy's handkerchiefs

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Growing Up and The Best Christmas Gift

For my father's Christmas present a few years ago, he was 70, I gave him a homemade gift. I compiled a notebook of songs, with guitar chords. For the cover, I made a collage of photos taken at the family reunion four months earlier. I slipped into the front of the song book two things. A CD I recorded with my two children of my father's favorite songs, and a "poem" which I hoped

Saturday, September 16, 2006

When the Gardener is no more...

On August 30, 2006, my favorite Gardener passed away. At 81 he worked the red South Carolina soil, producing more vegetables, grapes, apples, figs, and peaches than anyone I have ever seen! His garden covered about one acre and he worked it by hand...a dawn until dusk kind of guy. He battled the fire-ants who challenged his every move!

Every visit to SC was a visit to my idea of culinary heaven! My mother-in-law is a fabulous (southern) cook and the corn, field peas, beans, greens of all kinds, okra, tomatos, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cabbage, grapes, apples, figs, peaches, onions, cucumbers, melons, peppers (should I go on) were always served in plentiful portions!

Bud (my FIL) produced so much from his garden that he had a regular stream of customers, ready to buy the surplus bounty he had picked. It was a standing joke that my MIL was the "receptionist, and chief order taker!" She grumbled about this. My husband grumbled about not being able to pull into their driveway, for all the customers' cars.

In the days, and now weeks since Bud passed away, his garden, so full of bounty, has stood as a testiment to his labors of love. My MIL looks out the window with a tear escaping from her eye, as she watches the "customers", now "harvesters", pick their own vegetables and fruit. They pay her for their gatherings...the same prices Bud charged. She knows Bud would want all this food to be used, not left to rot on the vine, and yet...

For me, I know the days of the "care packages", bushels of fresh produce, which Bud always insisted we carry back to Virginia with us, are gone forever. My mother-in-law will no longer make her fabulous dishes from the fruits of his labors.

Next year, the garden will sit idle. It will soon turn to weeds and be mowed like the lawn.

As the Gardener is no more, neither, then, is the Garden.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The masked face of an intruder!!!

I was working in my office when the racket began. Killian was beside herself. I came downstairs to determine the cause of the commotion and what to my wondering eyes did appear but…
the masked face of an intruder!!!
Killian was having no part of it….this guy HAD to go! (She had already endured the meter reader at 7:00 am and this was JUST NOT COOL.
But did I help? NOOOOO…I went back inside to get the camera. After the photo op, I did pull Killian in long enough

Who's the official WIZARD of Electronics in your house???

Are you the electronic WIZARD in your house? I am! Do I want to be? Not really. Can I officially claim the title? Well, only here in the Blogs....

Of course, in our house my HUSBAND is the official WIZARD of electronics. After all, he is

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

When my cats are old and gray -- jcarolek

I wonder if I'll ever see

My cats looking older than me
By all accounts they are quite old
Their years are ours times seven (I've been told)

I have three cats ten, eight and

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stories from my former life -- jcarolek

When my son was in 9th grade (freshman in highschool) he went to NYC with the high school marching band. I went on the trip as a chaperone...more stories about that later....

The trips was great. We saw Les Mis and Phantom

Friday, September 8, 2006

Stories from my former life -- Kindergartener Skips School

When my children were 5 and 7 we moved Florida to Virginia. It was Christmas time and we had lots of snow, which was a new and fun experience for the children. We also got a new puppy for the children to help they aclimate to their new home.

All went well and January came and the kids began

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

So Dam Sad

Before the dam broke, Cow Creek Mill Pond was beautiful, teaming with fish and a lovely place to spend a quite afternoon.

Then come Ernesto....and

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Stories From My Former Life -- another entry

When my children were very young, I made most of their clothes. In the evening, after putting them to bed, I would sew an outfit for my daughter or a shirt for my son, etc. I usually completed the item I started before heading to bed myself, as I was never sure how soon I'd get back to it, should

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Stories from my former life -- Jennifer LOVES Daddy

When my daughter was very young (about two) she would awaken very early every morning, climb out of her bed and come crawl into our bed (on my side). Every day my husband would complain that she favored me over him. Every day I assured him that this was not true...she would crawl in on his side one day.

Happy was I one fine morning when Jen came padding into our room and headed for Daddy's side of the bed.

Happy was I when she said, "Daddy?"

Happy was he as he reached to pick her up to help her crawl in.

UGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! Unhappy was he when she puked on him (right in the face)!

(Happy was I that she had selected DADDY to take care of her that morning!)

HAHA...I still laugh when I think about that morning.