Monday, May 22, 2006

Olfactory Response

Every time I smell carnations, I think of funerals. When I was around 6. my great-grandmother passed away and I went with Mom and my grandparents to Mississippi to go to the funeral. My dad wasn't with us because his grandfather passed away around the same time. I remember going to the viewing but not the funeral - but that was enough. It was the first time I had seen a dead body. Anyway, the smell of carnations was overpowering to my 6 year-old nose - they must have been in the casket spray. So to this day, the smell of carnations is associated with funerals to me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Childhood Games

One of my earlier memories was when we lived in Houston - we were playing "ball" in my front yard and one of the boys told me it was "my bat" - I couldn't understand why he kept saying it was my bat - because yes, the bat belonged to me. I didn't realize what he was saying is it was my "at bat." Now, why did I have the bat? Probably the same reason I had a train set before I was a year old - my dad wanted a boy? He always said not, but with 3 girls, I was the one most like him and I was the oldest.

Once we moved to Pearland, we lived on a circle that had instead of a grass patch in the middle of circle - it was concrete, and the concrete was poured in quarters. This made a perfect area for playing Four Square - the ball game where you tried to work your way up to the first square - OK so ours wasn't square, but pie shaped. Four Pie just doesn't sound right.

I had a doll that I loved to play with - I had her from when I was almost a baby. When Kathy was old enough to want one of her own, hers was even bigger. The boy down the street bit the hand off the baby - and this was a big doll. When we were older, the doll was donated to the 7th Grade Homemaking class for learning how to tend to a baby. I kept my baby for most of my childhood and may still have her somewhere. I know that I stil have my teddy bear from when I was a baby, but had to put it away because Buddy thought it was his.

We also used the circle for playing jump rope - everyone in the neighborhood would play with us - even some of the boys. I did a lot of turning but I did also get pretty good at doubles and backdoor, but I wasn't always the best at hot peppers. We also played Chinese jump rope with a big circle of elastic.

My best friend had a front porch that we used a lot for playing cards - usually Crazy Eight, Spades, War, Double Solitaire. We also played jacks for hours.

And a lot of the neighborhood kids would get together and play hide and seek - using the whole circle as our hiding grounds - and back then a lot of us didn't have fenced yards so that gave us even more hiding places.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

5 Favorite Words

I was going to create a list of favorite words and as I was trying to think about them, I realized it was really simple. My 5 favorite words are words that Audrey says:

Love you, too, Aunt Maggie!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Comfort Foods

Well - Chocolate is always up there with the comfort foods. And the funny thing is I'm not really a big chocolate person normally - I like it, but I don't HAVE to have it - except when I'm really depressed or stressed.

Comfort foods are never good for you foods - just about anything fried is a comfort food - chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, french fries. Mashed potatoes and mac&cheese are more comfort foods.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and PB&J - those are truly comfort foods - food from my past and present.

Oh - and ice cream - the ultimate comfort food - AHHHHH!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If I Could Take Tomorrow Off...

First off, I would sleep until 8:00 - or at least stay in bed that long. And assuming that I didn't have to do all the other stuff I have to do tomorrow besides work, I would spend a little time cleaning house - because it really needs it and I haven't had time - but I guess since we are dreaming, I can dream I have a maid and a house that automatically picks up after everyone.

I would spend part of the time scrapping. I scanned a whole bunch of photos last night and have the material for several heritage pages. Plus, I have a couple of challenges that I'm behind on.

I might take the dog to the doggie park. Of course I would have my camera. Or go to one of the other parks where I know I can usually get good nature photos.

More Early Memories

I got my first train set for my first Christmas - ok, I think Daddy really wanted a boy. And no, I don't remember that Christmas, but I do remember the track set-up for that train set. I'm pretty sure it was a Lionel set - I remember an oval of track on a piece of plywood and I think the plywood was painted green. I remember the plywood being stored on end either in the closet or behind my bedroom door. I know it wasn't a 4x8 piece of plywood, but it seemed huge to me.

I had a petticoat that I thought was really cool. It was the stiff material with the netting that was really popular for making the skirts stand out - remember full gathered skirts of the late 50's-early 60's? But this petticoat also had a secret. It had a tube that ran along the bottom edge that you could blow up with air - like an inner tube - that would make the petticoat stand out even more.

My grandfather was a truck driver by time I came along. I remember him driving for Mayflower Moving and he took me with him one trip - probably Houston to Lafayette. But I remember riding up in that big cab. I was so high off the ground!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Colors, Colors, Colors

What are my favorite colors - I guess that depends on what we are talking about.

For clothing, I love the deep jewel tones and bright colors with cool undertones. I have yellowish skin, so anything golden yellow or yellow green makes me look sick. Most oranges do the same. And I really don't like brown that much. If I'm going to wear yellow, it has to be a cool lemony yellow. I can wear bright green, but the teals look much better. I like to wear a lot of red and black - although as I get older, they don't look as good as they used to.

In my house, I used to have a lot of blues and pinks, including mauves. But gradually I'm moving to more of greens - sage-y type greens especially. My bedroom has hunter green with maroon and navy and the pale sage sheets work well. I'm thinking of painting the walls in my kitchen a really pale sage green to pull out the green tones in my granite counter tops. It will also go well with my cabinets which are a eucalyptus-type of wood that's similar in color to cherry.

And in my yard, I tend to go more with the pastels - pinks and yellows especially.

I'm not a big fan of beige and tan. To me, those are really depressing colors - maybe because they are so blah? Anyway, I can use them in conjunction with other colors. For instance, my blog colors are currently blues and sand. The sand color is just enough with the blues to not be blech.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I found out last night that Renee has gone on hospice and probably doesn't have long as she can no longer eat solid food and hasn't been able to for a couple of weeks. She has colon cancer that is now in her liver and lymph system. There is also a kink in her small intestine that is preventing her from the solid food.

Renee is a year younger than Mary would have been. And she has a son that's quite a bit older than Audrey. I feel so sorry for him. Not only is he fixing to lose his mother, he will be moving back with his father which means he loses his mother and home all at once. Poor guy!

Margaret and Bernie have been so good to Mom through Daddy's illness and Mary's death. Renee and her parents even drove all the way to Atlanta for Mary's Memorial Service. I need to think of something to do for them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Earliest Memories

I've seen pictures and movies all my life, so sometimes it's difficult for me to differentiate what are truly memories and what are triggers from looking at photos.

I remember going to my great-grandmother's funeral. I thought I was really, really little at the time, but since she died in 1965, I was almost 7 at the time. This was the first funeral I went to and I remember the smell of carnations vividly. In fact, to this day I tend to associate the smell of carnations - not the flower themselves, just the smell - with death and funerals.

I had a lot of kidney and bladder problems when I was little. I remember having my bladder surgery. My aunt and her friend came to see me in the hospital. Her friend played the Wicked Witch on one of the local morning kiddie shows and I remember getting an autographed picture of Cadet Don. As part of the recovery from the surgery, I had to have a superpubic catheter for several weeks. I wore the bag strapped to my leg and my mom had to empty it for me several times a day. I also had to take oral antibiotics that seemed really huge. The pills were a kind of maroon color and my grandfather called them my "kidney beans."

I remember breaking my collarbone. I don't remember actually breaking it, I just remember waking up in my bed crying because it hurt - my parents think I may have fallen off my trike). I had a big huge cast that was a body cast and kept the upper part of my right arm immobile. I was just learning to write - I think I may have been in Kindergarten and tried writing with my left hand, but that didn't work too well.

I remember chicken pox. Kathy and I both had it and it was at Eastertime so we had our Easter egg hunt in the house.

I remember red dresses that Kathy and I had just alike. They had white lace that ran down the front of the bodice and had a gathered skirt. I think they were short-sleeved.

I remember starting Kindergarten in Beaumont because Daddy was working on a project there. I remember going to a fire station and then we came back to class and drew fire trucks and I colored mine purple because it was my favorite color at the time.

We came home from Beaumont every weekend and the trip seemed to go forever. Mom would make me count to try to pass the time. And when we passed Jacinto City, I knew we were getting close. The only way I could say Jacinto City properly was to silently say San before the Jacinto. I knew about the San Jacinto Monument and to say Jacinto without the San was almost impossible for me.

I remember the neighbor boy in Beaumont (we lived in an apartment there) teaching me "52 Card Pickup." I think he also taught me how to play "Battle." I remember having to still take a nap because Kathy wouldn't go to bed unless I did, too.

Music Tastes

I never was a heavy metal rock fan - but I love anything by Boston, some Queen and a little Styx. I love 50's, most 60's. I grew up with Big Band and I love it. But mostly what I listen to is Country. I started listening to Country in the early 80's because I didn't like rock too much. I have really come to appreciate it - although a lot of Country these days is too much crossover.

I like classical music, but not opera. Being in band all those years gave me an appreciation for the great composers.

And I like a lot of folk music - from all countries.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Memory List - First Home

This is an ongoing assignment for the Book of Me Challenge. I don't know that I will do the challenge right now, but I thought this was a good way to start capturing those memories for future times.

Our first house was on Medford in Houston. It was right off Reed Rd and one block from South Park Boulevard - now Martin Luther King. The street was only like 3 houses long then curved 90 degrees into a another street.

The house was a small 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house with a 1 car garage - but it seemed plenty big to me. The house was sheathed in asbestos shingles and I remember it being a dark green. There was a planter box made out of brick in front of the house. There was a planter box right inside the front door that formed a sort of entry way. And I remember a a planter box that separated the dining area from the kitchen.

As you came in the front door, the living room was off to the left. Mom's "good" dining table was at the far left end of the room. The couch was at the back wall of the living room. And Daddy's platform rocking chair was in the corner formed by the planter box. I think the TV was under the front window opposite the couch. The couch would open out into a bed - like a futon does, not like a sleeper sofa. I remember Mom had recovered the couch in a turquoise vinyl.

There was a pocket door near the dining table that led to the back of the house to the kitchen/dining area. The dining area was to the left of the door and the kitchen to the right. The sink faced the back of the house with a window looking out in the backyard. I remember a long counter on one side of the sink - long enough for us to lay on it to get our hair washed when we were little. There was a space on the end of the counter for the phone and the back door was also at the end of the counter - between the kitchen and dining area. The stove and refrigerator and pantry were on the wall that backed up to the living room. So the kitchen was a galley type kitchen. There was a pocket door at the far end that led to the hallway.

From the front door to the right was a pocket door to the hallway. There were 3 bedrooms in a row. The front bedroom was used mostly as guest room, although I do remember moving into it for a while before we moved to Pearland. I think it may also have been Kathy's when she was a baby. The middle bedroom was mine and Kathy's. There were twin beds in the room with the play area in between. The back bedroom was Mom and Daddy's bedroom. The full bath was off the master bedroom and then led to the half bath Hollywood style. The half bath then opened back into the hallway. There were 2 pocket doors in the half bath opposite each other - one to the hall and one to the other bathroom. The half bath was Daddy's domain, and the full bath was Mom's plus the girl's.

I remember hardwood floors throughout the house - except maybe for the kitchen. I don't remember the floors there. There were window A/C units in the living room, dining area and the master bedroom. There was a huge attic fan in the hallway. And the circular flow of the house allowed for ventilation throughout the house. But I remember that we slept with the bedroom doors open to get some A/C in the girls' bedroom.

There was a huge tree in the front yard and I seem to remember being able to climb the tree - that there was a fork pretty low down for us to climb onto. The backyard was fenced and I don't remember a lot of trees or much else other than grass and a swingset. At different times we had a beagle named Fritsy and a duck named Quackers.

There were lots of kids for me to play with while growing up and we spent a lot of time outdoors.

We moved from the house when I was 9 years old.

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Brag

As part of the funeral service, I agreed to put together montages of Nanny for both the Visitation and the Funeral. Hey, it beat the videotape my uncle wanted. I created them as 12x18, but found out that it's hard to find the frames that size! So to share with my family, I have re-done them in 11x14.

I got lots of compliments for my montages. And the thing is the scanning of the photos probably took the longest. I used the new CD from DSP - Scraps of Pastels and Lauren Bavin's Edges freebie. The font was Scrap Cursive.

The funeral home employees were so impressed, they kept bringing other employees in and asking me all kinds of questions about how I managed to put together both of them in such a short period of time.

Ida Margaret - Nanny Posted by Picasa

Ida Margaret - The Young Years Posted by Picasa

Another Vent!!!!

My mother keeps bitching about certain people and criticizing them - fine, but she keeps telling me about it over and over. Her own brother was the latest one. She told me more than once what his transgressions were. When I called her on it - then I'm being negative and criticizing HER!!! I either have to listen to her, or I'm told I'm the negative one. Arghhhhh!!!!!

I'm really trying to not blow up, but I have listened to so much sniping and infighting this week with everyone's emotions raw from my grandmother's death. And my mom's family didn't have to show up since it was my dad's mother, and maybe my uncle was a little insensitive - but does she have to tell me over and over that he was insensitive?

And I'm PMSing - so I right now I can understand why people go "postal"!!!

PS - Today is all about Mom - her tests and checkup and doctor's appointment and one more round of chemo - and I'm here with her - not anyone else, so - DON'T PISS ME OFF MOM! No one else is around to be your slave!


Sometimes I really hate the fact that the internet doesn't easily show the whole picture. I post on Weight Watcher boards frequently and had built up quite a friendship (or so I thought) with several people on the boards over time. But I made a comment that was taken as a slap to one person - it was never meant to be, but that was how it was taken. And EVERYONE ganged up on me. Well, now I can't do anything right and there are even a couple of people that seem to go out of their way to personally attack or snub me.

One of these people, S - I organized a group gift when they got their son for adoption. She just sent out photos of him playing with his gift - a train set - and I wasn't included on the distribution. The friend that I accidentally insulted was the one that forwarded them on to me!!!

Now, yesterday friend J asked for our thoughts and pros and cons about her son getting a motorcycle. Well, I posted my thoughts and because they weren't positive and supportive but were my thoughts, I was accused of being very negative and mocked by S. When I tried to explain my rationale, someone else jumped on my case. J didn't ask for everyone to convince her that her son's decision was ok, and there was a flaw in his argument (motorcycles are as safe as cars) that I tried to point out. But because I didn't say "Oh everything will be OK and your son will never be injured while riding his bike", I'm the evil person. I guess I'm not allowed to have my own opinion.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter?

As I'm remembering back on my grandmother, the first thing that comes to mind are the differences. My grandmother was 4'10" or 4'11" when I was growing up. It was always a milestone for the grandchildren to be as tall and then taller than Nanny. At the most, I think she may have only weighed 120 at her heaviest. I haven't seen 120 since I was a teenager and at that, shot straight through it. She like dainty patterns, florals, and flowery verses. My style is more clean traditional. Nanny was always happiest puttering around the house and taking care of people. Me, I hate housework

But I caught myself buying some wallpaper for my hall bathroom when I moved into this house 13 years ago and one of my first thoughts was, "Nanny would like this paper with all the flowers on the border."

The most obvious way that I'm like my grandmother is that I share her name. Although her name was Ida Margaret, she went by Margaret. I'm named after her. And it's sometimes interesting to have 2 Margaret Sanders living so near to each other. I started with a particular insurance agent when I bought my first car because he was handy - at a kiosk in the local Sears store. Sears owned Allstate Insurance at the time. I didn't know that he was also my grandparents' insurance agent. Anytime I call up to speak to him, I have to identify which Margaret Sanders I am.

For both of us, family was/is the most important thing. Nanny was a homemaker and did babysitting on the side. She took care of my grandfather as his health deteriorated. Family history was important to her. She talked of her mother and mother's family. She had antique furniture from her mother's house, plus she had a china cabinet full of glassware and dishware that had familial significance.

My family is very important to me - I've always been close to my parents and my sisters and other extended family. And I share a love of family history. A few years ago, Nanny gave me some of her precious glassware as a Christmas present. It was from the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 and one of the pieces has her sister's name egraved on it. It may not be monetarily valuable - it may be but I don't know, but when we evacuated last year in the face of Hurricane Rita, that glassware came with me. And there are one or two pieces of the antique furtniture I would love to have - but I won't fight the family for them.

Nanny loved trying different handcrafts - sewing, needlework, crocheting and knitting. I too have loved doing different crafts during the years. Right now, scrapping is my main crafty interest, but I still have a love for the others although I don't do them much anymore.

And Nanny loved her yard - especially her roses. I love my flowers. I have a rose bush in honor of Mary and a hibiscus in honor of Mom (Nina). I've never gotten the Margaret rose bush even though that's my name because red roses aren't my favorite, but now I may have to get one in Nanny's memory.

And the most important thing - I believe in a hereafter and I know that she's at peace and surrounded by her family that's gone before.

Longest Weekend on Record

Nanny passed away yesterday at 4 am. I was there.

I got to the hospital about 10 Saturday morning and sat with her almost the whole time until after 10:30 Saturday night. People came and went but I stayed except to go to the bathroom and go out to the waiting room and eat. She had a couple of crises but seemed stable when I left.

I went to bad after 11:30 and at about 12:40 the phone rang. My aunt wanted me back at the hospital - it might not be long. I was dressed and at the hospital in under 15 minutes - I live about 5 minutes away. Two cousins came in shortly after and later my uncle and his wife.

Her breathing had slowed way down, but she didn't seem to be struggling to breathe quite as much. Her heart rhythm was slowing and no longer normal rhythm.

My aunt asked if there was a chaplain and they paged one. The nicest woman came about 3 and said the 23rd Psalm in the form of a prayer and then led us in Amazing Grace. We were surrounding my grandmother's bed while holding hands. It was a truly beautiful moment.

About 3:45 all of the monitors started having trouble measuring and the nurse started checking for a pulse and couldn't find one. More than one nurse listened for a heartbeat and couldn't hear it. At 3:50, they pronounced her dead and turned off the BIPAP breathing machine. Thing was she continued to breathe - it was so faint as to be hardly noticeable. With all the machines off, they could hear a very faint heartbeat. But it lasted only a few more minutes.

We said our good-byes and finally convinced my aunt to leave so that the nurses could do their job. However, we sat out in the waiting room and talked for a while - everyone needed a few minutes to decompress - I got home at almost 6 and tried to sleep, but really couldn't

So at 8, I got up and called the funeral home for my aunt to set up the appointment with the funeral director. We were at the funeral home for over 3 hours yesterday and by then tempers were starting to flare - everyone was tired and spent. And there were problems with the contract that couldn't be resolved until this morning - my grandmother had thought ahead and pre-planned her funeral.

Anyway, I went to bed at 9:00 last night and slept straight through until the alarm went off at 5 this morning. I had to come to work this morning for a while since my Admin Asst is on vacation today - the work still has to go out. But the "fun" starts again in a couple of hours.

I will be putting together a couple of montages/collages for the funeral. My cousin and I will get together this afternoon and pool our pictures along with my grandmother's pictures - so I will be doing some scrapping - just on a bigger scale - I'm thinking 12x18.