Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sphere of Influence

Each time I clean my bathroom, I wipe the faucets to a shine and mentally thank a friend from our twenty-something years who planted the idea in my head. I had not thought of it at all, but she loved it when her faucets were pretty and sparkling! Prior to that, when I was eighteen and in college and required to go to chapel daily, I sat behind a girl who was constantly chewing her cuticles. Though I never knew her, I picked up the same (bad) habit. Not too many years ago I sang in choir, altos on the front row, and each Wednesday, Glenn, the bass behind me would ask in a sort of humorous way, “How are you?” elongating the you to a nasal yeew. Another habit learned. I often think of him when I automatically speak a silly yeew at the end of that most frequently asked question. Sometimes a person will tell me something they remember that I have said or done, and I will think…yep, that sounds like me. We all have the potential to impact people's lives in small ways. I wonder if Carol is still keeping her faucets shiny.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scenic Conway

A grand old Southern tree. A live oak draped with Spanish moss.
A nice day for canoeing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thanks Nikki.

Today was the second time I have heard our governor speak, and I am inspired by her. Not only did she she wear a pair of those cute boots I mentioned a post or two ago, but she talked enthusiastically and lovingly about the great State of South Carolina. Even though she is not ancestrally Southern, she seems like a true Southern girl, and I really like that; she is pretty, smart, socially skilled, and tough. Some of her talk today was centered around finances such as difficulties working with the obsolete and stubborn Budget and Control Board, fighting for fiscal restraint, yearly tax reforms, backing Romney primarily for his good business abilities, and opposition from the federal government. I felt really glad that this competent, positive and hopeful young woman is passionately working on many of the things I believe in also.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


January is a wonderful time for grapefruit. It tastes refreshing and cleansing, and I love the way my mouth puckers at first bite. This pretty variety is called Rio Star. Grapefruits are of course loaded with that wonderful nutrient Vitamin C that does so many important functions in our body. Go ahead. Treat yourself to a few.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sexy Boots vs. Black Pants

I followed four skinny college girls into church this morning. Three were dressed in short skirts, leggings, and almost to the knee leather boots. The other had on tight blue jeans with the tall boots. Each walked with a confidence that a girl gets only when she knows she is well dressed. Me? I had on my best pair of black pants. As any working woman knows, you cannot have too many pairs of black pants. It is almost a uniform among us women of a certain age and size. They can be denim, twill, stretchy, or dressy. They go with anything, can be dressed up or down, make you look thinner, and people are less likely to notice your below the waist parts when they are covered by the darkest of colors. What a blessing they are! It would be fun to once again have the young body that honestly I hardly got to know. I think I would have loved those long boots. But I am settled into being the mature me now, and that includes a wardrobe of black pants for any occasion.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I voted

...but I politely declined the I voted sticker. "I'm not going anywhere," I told her. No place but back home. We have had heavy rains and thunder all day and I have been happy to stay put. I checked the weather channel earlier and it said "cloudy" in Greenville. Ha! But the national news guys reporting on the primary got it right when they wondered how the downpour would affect the outcome. Not much in my district, the poll workers said. At least now that it is all over in SC,  the deluge of political ads will end. Watch out, Florida. They are coming your way.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Today's Class

The watercolor teacher stuck with the apple theme today, working on some basics that I really needed. He gave each of us a picture of an apple with a black background and we were to paint it, the apple, in ten minutes flat. That was a perfect challenge for me because I found I knew more than I thought I did. Then we did another (this pic) focusing on the very black background. When we finished we put all our pics on the board. As you can see, they all look pretty much alike. Mine was not that bad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who will it be?

If you are busy at work, or if you keep your nose in a book or your head in the sand, a South Carolinian may miss all the hoopla. But if you turn on television, answer the phone, or take in your mail, you would think the upcoming Republican primary is all there is! Since I have made up my mind, I find those ads to be just a waste of air time and paper as well as a source of irritation, but on Saturday, the results will be in and the primary will be history. On local talk radio this afternoon, I heard that the pollsters are scratching their heads because they don't see a clear winner. Good for us! The liberal-type media continues to be mystified by the Evangelicals whom they assume abound in our state. Who will those Christians choose? Actually we are a diverse and growing population with about three million eligible voters, and we will come up with a winner. It is interesting, sort of, being a part of the process.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I love that old time Rock and Roll

The hubby and I went to the Bob Seger concert tonight. Our seats were on the small mezzanine level right near the stage, not too bad for getting the tickets just yesterday. I thought it was a great concert and the rest of the approximate eleven hundred in the audience seemed to think so, too. Bob Seger sang just as good as ever, and at sixty-six he can still move around the stage. There were no pyrotechnics or gimmicks, just great rock and roll music. I took some little videos with my iPhone, but they didn't turn out as well as I hoped and that bummed me out. Anyway...I loved it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes an apple...

So far watercolor seems to be one of those things that I have a hard time grasping. I just know that I will get it eventually. After all, it looks so easy! Yesterday was my first class of a new eight week session, and it is with a different artist with a different style of teaching. To begin, he passed around a bag of apples and we each picked one, first to draw and then to paint. I thought…I can do this. But the more I looked at that apple, the more I saw. I saw the light shifting on its shiny red surface and shadows trying to decide where to settle beneath it. There were specks of gold and stripes of Cabernet, a stem springing from a pale green navel.  It was more complex that I could handle! Although I did come up with something that resembled a red apple, the result may not have landed me in the top of the class. I figure it's OK to be a student with nowhere to go but up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wild Wild Weather

We have had some spectacular skies the past couple of days. If I were a meteorologist I may understand why, but my uneducated brain is simply marveling at the intense beauty. Tonight the wind is whipping around, the waning moon is providing enough light to see the ominous gray clouds, and the constellations are brightly visible. Yesterday, rains were alternately heavy and misty, the clouds heavy, stratified and dark, yet at other times the sky was filled with layers of brilliantly lit, angelic clouds. The only pic I got was with my phone in the car. I love an awesome sky.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Lowly Meatloaf

I wish I could do vegan. Truly. I am sure it is makes the human body operate at peak performance and makes us feel really good, but being born and bred American, I often crave the food I know the best, especially in the winter. More and more I appreciate the wonderfully versatile meatloaf. It is good out of the oven of course, but also good cold in sandwiches. It can be frozen serving size and popped out to be enjoyed in its usual sliced form, or it can be be cubed and used in spaghetti sauce in place of meatballs. It also falls in that category of comfort food. yum...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mamas, love your babies.

Ninety years ago a young woman was one day away from giving birth to her first child. My grandmother often talked of that day and how in the agony of childbirth, she yelled out to the doctor as he was trying to calm her, “How many babies have you had!” My mother grew up very loved, as I was, as my children were and still are, and my grandchildren, too. Lori and I were talking yesterday about the love that we get in our earliest years and how it gives us strength for the rest of our lives. There is no replacement for it. It is a cushion, the spring of self worth, and a place to lick our wounds. That is just how it is.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Warming and more

Having more padding than the average human needs does not keep me warm in these cold days as it may seem that it should. I have to rely on layers, wool socks, and cups of hot drinks that heat my hands and innards. For Christmas I got some great loose Jasmine tea and a neat floating tea infuser (thank you Trip and Lori) and a fine and hip china mug (thanks Carin), and I have been enjoying them all together. After my last drink of the fragrant and sweet Jasmine tea, I looked to see what the health benefits could be. Honestly I was surprised to see there were so many. It calms your nerves, helps with weight loss, reduces risk of cancer, and helps prevent fat absorption. I have also been drinking some organic white tea from Stuart the tea man. I have learned that this tea, from tender, young, barely processed leaves, is the very best tea for us because it is so high in antioxidants and improves our body’s immune response. Both of these teas need no adulteration by sweeteners since they taste good enough without. I think the case for tea will keep me drinking on through summer.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Book of the New Year

Today begins the much anticipated year of 2012. I hope it is a happy and blessed one for us all.

The cold and often gray month of January has become a welcome time of refreshment. With its short days and low demands except for those I place on myself, one thing I feel set free to do is to open waiting books and read with intensity. I just finished The King’s Pleasure, a biographical novel about Katharine of Aragon written about forty years ago by Norah Lofts, and recommended by a co-worker. As we know, a well written book has the ability to take us to another time and place; this one took me to sixteenth century England.

Just about as much as I am taken to a bygone or different era or situation, by the time I get into a book I also start feeling a connection with the author. I wonder what the room is like that she is writing in. I picture her sitting alone, writing by hand, on an old typewriter or new computer, pulling just the right words from her brain, and reviewing for long hours, for that is what it would take to come up with a cohesive and interesting tale. (Unless of course one is manic.) In their pensive, quiet times, authors also must precisely record their astute observations that give stories their character. Here are some simple and true observations Lofts gave about people.

”…it happens when too much power falls into the wrong hands.”

“To become excited, to laugh and cry too readily, to show rage…it never serves.”

“Sharp words, spoken with a smile, can pass for wit.”

“Patience and time sort all things.”

“Smiles are interchangeable currency.”