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I’m No Artist 

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder… and so are cats. 

Spencer has  gotten into the habit of bringing me a marker and paper every time he comes over. He hands them to me and says “kee cat.” So although I am no artist,  I comply with his wishes and give it a very primary try.  He’s always so happy, smiling brightly  at the results.  He smiles.  I smile. 

The #weeklysmile is a weekly link up hosted by Tent.  Stop by and share a little smile with us

Spooky Vibes

The other day, while reading this blog post, I was reminded of a similarly creepy instance with my daughter some years ago.

I was taking my three kids on a tour of my alma mater. They were enjoying the tour and seeing the places they had heard about. As we approached Memorial Church, I told them about the mosaics both outside and inside of the church and about the beautiful organ inside. My son and youngest daughter entered the building but my middle child, Tina, held back. Her face grew pale and she started to hyperventilate. I asked what was wrong and she said, “I can’t go in there. I have a feeling something really bad happened in there. I can’t go in.” She paused then added, “I think someone was killed in there. Was someone killed in there, mom? I’m right. I can tell by your face.” I guess my face had gone equally pale to hers. I answered her, “You’re right. I’ll tell you about it later.” I stayed out with her while Tony and Susie went inside.

I had not told my kids about it. I had not spoken of the events of 1974 since they had happened, certainly not in my daughter’s lifetime. But yes, she was right. It is still difficult to talk about and I will only give you the outline here as it still haunts me, and at times through the past forty plus years I have been visited by nightmares of that night and what could have been.

It was my freshman year, the second Saturday night of the school year, with lots of parties going on as people got to know each other in the dorms. I had left the party at my dorm to walk around campus with one of the boys from a neighboring dorm who had been showing some interest in me. We walked all over and about midnight, we found ourselves in the Inner Quad. He had been a little too aggressive for my likes so I distracted him by saying we should go into the church. We walked to the church and tried the door but it was locked. We tried the other doors. No luck, but we did hear some noises  from inside and expected to have someone come open the door from the inside but no one did so we left. Behind the church, he  got very pushy and we got in a fight and I walked back to the dorm alone. The next day I went home to do laundry (my parents lived a half hour away from campus) and heard on the news about a brutal murder inside of Memorial Church; a murder of a young woman who was the new bride of a sophomore student. They had gotten in an argument and she had left to cool off, ending up in Memorial Church where she was murdered then her body violated and left near the altar. When security went to unlock the church the next morning, they found one of the doors to be unlocked then found the body.

When I got back to the dorm on Sunday evening, the police had been there and had left instructions for me to call them back. Their extensive questioning had come across my name and that of the boy I had been with the previous night as people that had been unaccounted for during the probably time of the murder. I spoke to them by phone and they basically wanted me to verify my companion’s statement. I was able to do that as well as give them some more information that he had left out, including the noises from inside the church and the time and a person sleeping on a bench in the quad near the church. I guess I had been a little more observant than he had. The police said that the noises we had heard inside the church the previous night were “the right noises” and that the killer(s) was (were) probably still in there when we were trying to get in.

And to think I had also walked back to the dorm alone after getting in a fight with the guy I was out walking with. I found it ironic that the Arlis Perry  fought with her husband and walked to the church and never left alive. I got in an argument with my companion and left the church alone and lived to tell. Arlis was 19 and just a few months older than I.

So yes, something horrible did happen inside of the most beautiful church I have ever been inside of. And I had been on the other side of the door. But I had never told my kids, or anyone else since it happened in 1974, yet she picked up on the negative vibes of the place and the still unsolved murder of Arlis Perry. It really freaked me out that my daughter, had picked up on that twenty years later.

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A Garden Of Smiles

I’m late for last week’s Weekly Smile but here it is, finally.

As my regular readers may know, last week I took my two older grandsons for a mini trip. They are 6 and 3 years old. We ended up in a tiny inn. I think the owner said she has only 12 rooms. The motel was charming, with each room having a different theme. We were in the Aviator Room which was decorated with all things related to aviation, both current and historical.

The jewel of this inn, in my opinion, is the garden. It is both well tended and wild. The boys and I loved it. We even took our food out there to eat. The boys loved exploring every nook and cranny of the garden and having me read the signs to them and answer all their many, many questions. They loved it and if I had had more energy, I would have let them explore a lot longer but i was exhausted so after about an hour, I had them go inside with me.

Here are some pictures of the whimsical garden that brought many ooooh and ahhhhs and many smiles.

 

The #WeeklySmile is a weekly linkup hosted by Trent. Come check it out. Enjoy a smile. Maybe share one?

If we were having coffee, we would be outside. It’s a very nice 71 degrees with a mild breeze and a mix of sun and clouds. No weather complaints!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the overnight mini trip was, mostly, a success. The boys had a ball. So did I but it was sleepless for me so that was tough. There are also some inconveniences when you are the only adult traveling with a 6 and 3 year old, like taking care of my needs (bathroom and non-Mc Donald’s food), but I managed, uncomfortably but still.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Spencer has been known to get up in the middle of the night and wander outside. That’s why we have child proof door knob covers. Well, the place we had planned on staying didn’t have vacancies so we ended up at a really cute little mom and pop inn for half the price but…no chain on the doors! So not Spencer proof. I decided I would put a chair in front of the door along with all of our luggage and sleep with my hearing aids turned all the way up so I could hear him if he tried to get out. Well, that was fine until about 11 pm when I went into the bathroom and noticed something moving outside the window. I looked. I almost wished I hadn’t. Cougars! Two of them right where the boys and I had been playing just hours before. Well, after getting a good look at them and calling Anderson over to see them, I wasn’t comfortable with my sleeping plan. So I sat up in the chair in front of the door all night. Spencer was not going to get by me. I managed to doze off and on for about an hour but I mostly sat and stared into the darkness. Then, just before 4, Spencer woke up. And stayed up. He was ready to play but I managed to keep him quiet until about 7:30 or 8. That’s when he had had enough of being quiet and whispering so he decided to start jumping and singing and laughing. Anderson woke up about 8:30 so I got them ready and packed up and checked out. We headed for breakfast but Spencer had a melt down just as the food arrived so we had it packed up to go and headed for the park to eat our food.

The rest of the day was mostly fine. They enjoyed driving through Wildlife Safari. I pointed out the animals to them and they got to feed the goats and deer as we drove through (they sell “feed me” cups which were included with the GroupOn package I got). We took a lot of pictures then headed for the “Village” which is kind of a low key zoo with activities and animals to look at and a petting zoo. The big draw for them was the playground so I let them play and work off the energy they had stored from being in the car during the drive through portion. Then as we drove out of Wildlife Safari to get ice cream before hitting the freeway to come back, Spencer zonked out…finally! He missed the ice cream but it was more important for him to sleep than it was for him to have ice cream.

That was the highlight of the week. I learned that I should travel with at least one child proof door knob cover. Just in case. And maybe I learned not to look out of bathroom windows late at night, although the sight of two mountain lions up close and personal was pretty neat!

I also got to read Rebecca Bradley‘s newest novel, Made To Be Broken, and can report that it is quite the page turner! I thoroughly enjoyed this second Hannah Robbins novel! I highly recommend it!

What about you?  What’s up? I’ll be coming around to read your blogs but it will take me a few days to get to them all! But I’ll be there.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Come check it out!

Mini Trip

I don’t think there will be a California road trip with Anderson this year. However, I am taking both of the boys on an over night trip tomorrow. I don’t think I am game enough to try taking Spencer any place for any longer than that without another adult. So tomorrow we will drive south three hours. If we get there in time, we will stop at a fishery where they have a “window” that lets viewers see beneath the surface of the water to watch fish as they swim by. I think they will like that. Then we’ll go on another 5 miles to a motel where we’ll spend the night then go to the Wildlife Safari in Winston on Thursday then come home. If Thursday proves to be too long of a day, we might stay some place a second night.

I think they’ll have a good time. Today will be spent on getting them some snacks for the trip and a few little surprises to distract them should it become necessary. Legos for Anderson and cars for Spencer.

I’m looking forward to it. I think. Wildlife Safari is one of those places where you drive your car through the place and see the wildlife. We’ve gone numerous times. We’ll see lots of zebra, giraffes, elephants, lions and tigers and bears (they are kept in a guarded area behind a fence). There will be different types of goats and rams and elk. We’ll see bison. There are so many species that I can’t remember them all but there’s a lot to see. There is also a “village” where the kids can run around (think zoo) and see more animals. The only thing that worries me is that I will need to figure out the kid lock for Spencer’s door so he doesn’t open the door when we are on the drive-through portion. And I need to remember to figure out the window locks, too. We can have windows down but some animals come really close to the car and I don’t want them sticking their head in the car with Spencer because he’ll try to touch them!

Then there is the motel room. He’s tall (Spencer) for a 3 year old and he’s smart. Bad combination. He knows how to unlock doors and will just walk out of the motel room. It happened in Seaside, during the night when everyone was asleep. He woke up and let himself out of the room! If it hadn’t been for the door being noisy when it shut behind him, we would not have known! So that’s the other worry. If the door has a chain lock that is high enough that he doesn’t reach it, it will be okay. However, I’m thinking of taking a sleeping bag in case I have to sleep in front of the door!

So that’s this week’s adventure. I’m sure we’ll have fun. Of course, I might need a getaway all to myself when we’re done!

Left Behind

Not much else to say.

Behind the White Coat

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She made a raw cry that rose up from deep inside, like the rending of a heart, the most soul splitting sound of grief I have ever heard. Her body shook with the violent sobs as she managed to explain that her husband had died unexpectedly, violently the evening before.

Senseless.

Tragic.

My first thought?

Please, God, when I die let there be someone who loves me that much….

My second thought?

Why? Why does it have to be this way?

This sound has been heard all over the country, over and over again. This is not about guns so much as it is about fear.

And as a consequence, anger.

Fix the fear.

It is going to get worse, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

If shooting someone makes all of this better, then here. Take me. Kill me, right now. I will die willingly if it means no more death…

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The Sweet Smiles

Sometimes the best smiles happen when you least expect them!

Yesterday, I accompanied my daughter and the two boys on a few errands. We went in my car so when we got back to their house, I stayed a bit and had a sandwich before coming home. When it was time to come home, I had two boys saying they wanted to come home with me so I brought them home and brought their little wading pool. I set up the wading pool first but by the time it filled with water, they were distracted playing with other stuff; exploring the yard. When they are in the yard, I go out and sit with them to watch them because the front yard is not fenced in. So I sat out there until they came inside the house. They played and played. They were here for about three hours then Spencer wanted to go home. Anderson did not. I told Anderson that he had to go with me to take Spencer home but he could come back with me if he wanted to so that’s what we did. When we got to their house, Spencer went in and Anderson stayed in the car so we came back to my house. When we got in the driveway, Anderson wanted to stay in the car and play Legos. He had a few with him. As I got all of our stuff out of the car (the candy, gum and lunch trash and empty water bottles) Anderson ran out of the car and said “Wait a minute!” and ran in the house (it’s a key less entry and he knows the combination). Quicker than I could figure out what was going on, he came out with a bunch more Legos and a building platform and got back in the car.

He played and played with the Legos, inside the car. He didn’t want to go inside. So I stayed in the car with him. For an hour and forty-five minutes! I loved it. It reminded me of when we are alone, Anderson and me. He plays and gets so involved in his play. I watch. He talks. I listen. Lately we haven’t done that because his little brother is always around. Last night, he talked and showed me the Lego figures he had made and what each one was named and what their power was and how they worked. He told me stories about his Lego creations and other stuff.  I really enjoyed it. Finally, he found a memory game I bought for them that we hadn’t played so he said “Let’s go to my house and you can come play the game with us, Nana.” So that’s what we did. We played a Finding Dory memory game for a little while then I came home.

Before I left, he asked why I was leaving and I said because it was time for me to go home and time for him to go to bed. He said, “I want you to go home never, Nana. You have to stay here forever.” That’s when I smiled. And I’m smiling again. I know I’ll smile many times over that memory.

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The #WeeklySmile is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Trent. Go over and check out the smiles and maybe share one of yours?!

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