Thursday, July 28, 2005

I better get packed!

Since we are not going to the ASA softball nationals this year in California as we had considered doing, we want to see Southern Force's last tourney before Salinas, which is at Orland Park this weekend. In fact, pool play is going on right now.

We saw Southern Force Gold and Southern Force 1 play their first game this spring at SIUC field, and we drove down to Nashville, TN, and saw them play there. It will be good to see them again, and I am excited that "SoJo" is over her injuries and will be up from Georgia to play with the team.

We were leaving this morning. Then we were leaving in the morning. But I think now we are leaving this afternoon. Dave and Katherine and Samuel will have to keep things stirring here at Woodsong. I better get packed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Duckling Update

Last night after supper I went with Gerald in the paddle boat on his evening routine of feeding the ducks and the catfish in Swallow Lake. He had seen a new batch of baby ducklings a couple days ago, and we wanted to check on them. So after his feeding chores, we started paddling around the lake. It is interesting that ducks seem to swim in family groups.

First we passed the mama duck with her one little duckling--all that remained out of the second duck nest that hatched beside our house. That mama started with at least eight baby ducklings. (It is difficult to count the tiny things all batched together and squirming.) One by one her family decreased as something ate or killed the little ones. Because of all the work required "mothering" the first 12 ducklings Gerald gathered on Mother's Day and put under a light, fed for weeks, gradually accoustomed to the lake water, etc., he had decided the let the next mama duck do her own thing and see how she fared caring for her babies. It is just as well, because before he had really had time to rescue them, she almost immediately had them down to the lake. She did not do as well as Gerald, for she was only able to save this one. Once Gerald had seen her swimming with a baby duckling on her back and a couple of others following. So we have always wandering if the surviving youngster was the one smart enough to crawl on mama's back.

At the far end of the lake on the shore, Gerald found "his" babies that he had worked so hard saving. Even though he had kept them penned until they were fairly large and strong, gradually acclimated them to the lake inside a pen and locked them up at night until they were stronger yet, and then released them on the island for safety's sake, several of them too had quickly been killed off. These 12 ducklings decreased to five. Now this was the duckling group to which Gerald added three baby goslings that brother Kieth had hatched for him in the incubator out of six deserted goose eggs. Soon after their release, Gerald found one of the goslings on the island with its head eaten off. Keith told him that an owl will do this. Shame on that owl! So out of the 12 ducklings and three baby geese, we have ended up with five strong young ducks and two geese who are now very tall and big. These eight travel together and think they are full-fledged siblings. Needless to say, they are very special to Gerald. I think they like him too.

Then at last we saw the newest mother swimming in the lake quite aways from the shore--and only one baby with her. Gerald's heart sank. But then he heard chirping from the shoreline. There in the water were three more tiny babies. Now mama duck had turned around and was coaxing them to come to her with her clucking. They were hesitant continuing to swim by the shore. Then with determination the three took off. And with great speed. It was amazing how quickly they swam out to the middle of the lake and joined their mother and more obedient sibling. We left happy watching the newest family swim off with four baby ducks (out of eight or so that hatched in one of the posted barrels) following their mother.

The survival of the fittest is not one of nature's most pleasant aspects to watch--at least not when it is baby ducks not surviving. Of course, if all the many nests of 12 or so eggs had fully hatched and fully survived, there would barely be room for any of them to swim on our lake. Maybe Mother Nature is kinder and wiser than I sometimes think.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Woodsong Visitors on a Sunday Afternoon

Gerald's brothers Kenny and Garry and his wife Ginger came for a Sunday afternoon visit. Ginger looked great, perfectly groomed as always with carefully matched accessories to her attractive outfit, hair coiffured becomingly, and smiling and cheerful.

Ginger had brought me a sweet music box as a housewarming gift soon after we moved here in fall 2001. Because we had been trying to get rid of things when we made the moved here, I was taken by surprise when people started bringing us housewarming gifts. Within a week of her gift that I thought was unnecessary tho appreciated, Ginger had a serious stroke/seizure, and we almost lost her. Then I would play the music box and know how prescious it was to me, for I was afraid that visit was my last visit from her.

However, Ginger got well and has continued to do so altho with some serious setbacks at various times. Unfortunately, her short term memory has not returned. Much of the first confusion after the stroke has disappeared, but not the short term memory loss. Very intelligent, she is aware of the loss and is frustrated but resigned. She handles it graciously and with humor. She will say, "I may have already asked you this...." And she has. But she is still good company and an interesting conversationalist, and we talked hard and fast all afternoon while the brothers visited.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hot Saturday in the Midwest

It continues hot and humid here. Brian and Gerald both arrived here the same time tonight--and both were red-faced from the heat.

Brian, Trent, and Bree came down last night to their camper and got up this morning to cut some volunteer corn out of their fields--character development for the kids. Samuel and Trent had talked on phone, so Brian brought the kids down to our place right after lunch. He went back to do some mowing. The kids played all afternoon in the air-conditioned house, and I hung out here too.

Gerald and Gerry had left Williamson County at 6 a.m. to get to Evansville to watch Geri Ann's Southern Express team play their last tournament of the year. That is why Gerald got sunburned even tho he sought shade at the ball park. How fifth graders can play in this heat is amazing to me. There is no doubt this summer play makes them tough. I always think if the nation gets conquered by thugs or if we have a revolution and we have to march miles in extreme weather conditions to a prison somewhere, the girls on summer softball teams will be in shape to survive such treatment. Except for such an extreme emergency, I am not sure how smart this survival training is. But I definitely admire the girls' toughness. They are indeed in a league of their own.

Jeannie called me this morning on her cell phone from the Freeport coffee house--hoping I could hear Leslie singing there. I could occasionally hear her voice, but not really her singing. But I liked being a part of her audience tho from too great a distance. She leaves tomorrow for Mexico with her youth group.

At the Marion mall yesterday, I was happily surprised when I ran into a writing friend and her husband. I had just heard the night before that she and her recently retired husband were going to Colorado to a home they have there. I was so upset they were leaving us, and to accidently find them at the mall and get to have a wonderful visit was so good. She asssures me they will be back and forth and we should see her again in a couple of months.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Chandra Green speaks to Writers Guild

Because I always enjoyed her column some years back in the Southern Illinoisan, I was looking forward to hearing Chandra Green tonight at Southern Illinois Writers Guild. Her daughter and business partner Dallus was also to come, but was called into work at the Dongola paper, where she is also employed part time.

Chandra and Dalus started Heartland Women with an idea that evolved from their kitchen table, and now nine months later, they have a full-term infant on their hands--nine monthly issues to their credit. And they have a viable business. They pay writers and give away the paper free. Amazing! And exciting. And inspiring.

Would you believe? Loretta went with me to Guild, and as we rode over to John A. Logan together, she told of yet another bycyling couple pulling off the highway desperately needing water! We had weather advisories out today telling all of us to stay inside it was so hot out. And here they were riding bikes. This couple started in North Carolina and were going to Oregon. They cooled off, got drinks, and used the computers to check their emails. I am glad our library tax dollars are blessing the bikers traveling by Crab Orchard. And I am glad I get to hear their interesting stories from Loretta!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Summer Daze

July is scurrying by so fast with so much busyness around here that I want to slow it down--the scorching hot slow-moving way I think summer should be. It seems to me that July should drag--not fly. Katherine and David are working so hard emptying and boxing up EVERYTHING in their house for the remodeling. I do not know how they are doing it. David's mother and his work friends and their church friends have all helped them greatly, but there is much that only they can do. I get overwhelmed by the complexity and confusion of it when I go to try and help for a couple of hours as I did yesterday after I had taken yet another box of Gerald's zuchinni by the soup kitchen.

Gerald and Samuel took corn and tomatoes up to welcome Gerry and Vickie's family home from California. Geri Ann came home with them, and the kids played as hard as they could until Sam and Gerald took Geri Ann back home at bedtime. We enjoy seeing how well the cousins play together. (I don't think cousins are as inclined to fight and be as jealous as siblings are.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Back home to Woodsong

We drove up to see Mary Ellen and Brian's new home yesterday and spent the night with them. After a drive with them around town and a stop at the DQ, we came back to their beautiful home, and they fixed dinner for us. After we were stuffed, we all took a walk up to their nearby park and around the track there, stopping to see the garden project at the edge of the park that Brianna and other children at the school across the streeet had created. Brianna walked Fifi on her leash, and Trent looked for buried treasure with his metal detector as the six of us walked. More visiting and bed.

We had been trying to keep in touch with Southern Force and had learned they beat the California Boxbusters, which was a neat feat. But late in the evening Sunday we were to learn that they were beaten by the Cruisers, so with a single elimination tournament SF was out. Thus, they ended tied for fifth place among all these great teams. We'd rather have been first, but the record is fine nevertheless. They flew out of California to Indianpolis today and will be home sometime tonight probably.

And then after leisurely enjoying morning coffee and the sweet rolls she'd made with Mary Ellen, we took off for home sometime before 11 this morning. It was fun seeing Trent and Brianna, and it was funny to see Fifi fall in love with Gerald. The more he pestered her, the more she liked him. We stopped for lunch at the Hen House at Okawville, where we have eaten down through the years, and then we drove around Okawville and came home on Route 15, which was a change from our regular route.

We got home around 3 or so and got caught up on mail, newspaper, emails, etc. Samuel has filled the art table with his bionicals. Fascinating display.

My friend Loretta shared an interesting tidbit from our Crab Orchard library last week. Two Washington Post reporters on their bycycles pulled off the highway and came into the library. They were on their way from Washington, D.C., to Oregon and plan to write a book about their travels. It was hot and they needed a drink. Behind one bike was a small trailer carrying their traveling companion--a dog named Daisy. Being the dog lover she is, Loretta enjoying bringing him into the library to cool off and have a drink and get acquainted. They may name their book Travels with Daisy a la John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley. We will be on the lookout for that book!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Southern Force won on Saturday

Southern Force won both games on Saturday.

We are going up to see Mary Ellen and Brian, Bree and Trent, after worship this morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More and More Green Beans

I got interupted awhile ago and forgot to say that later in the day Gerald went out and picked yet ANOTHER bushel of green beans. He washes them off with the hose outside. I have those now soaking in the sink for a final wash before they go into the fridge or to Mary Ellen's house or someplace. They'll be washed yet again after they are broken if they stay here.

He also picked a huge bucket of sweet corn, and I fixed six very large ears for lunch. Gerald said the biggest one had to be for Sam and challenged him to eat the whole thing. Sam showed him. He ate that ear and another entire large ear!

And there is another box of zuchinni in the garage that Gerald picked. We'll have to give most of them away.

Our newphew Bryce and son Lex came fishing, and it was fun to see them today.

Southern Force did very well in pool play, but we haven't been able to hear about today's games in the actual tourney. This tourney turns out to be single elimination, so one loss and you are out. Nervewracking!

Little Cecelie was flower girl at a wedding today up in Freeport. The bride was her special friend at church, and Jeannie is concerned about Cecelie missing her now when she goes onto her new married life. Leslie sang at the wedding. I hope I get to see a video or photographs.

Picking green beans

The rains all week have really made Gerald's garden grow. Gerald picked a large container of green beans yesterday, and he brought them in and broke them--this is a first for this farmer. And I am delighted since I really don't want to spend too many hours of my retirement putting food in the freezer. (I have had a hankering lately to can just one more canner of green beans, but I am not sure I will do it this summer. The last I canned green beans was in 1981. Since then, I have frozen them. Yet when we moved over to our new home from the farm house, I could not stand to part with my canning equipment. However, my jars were down in one of the empty hog buildings and we left them there. But while emptying her pantry in anticipation of this major remodeling project at her home, Katherine gave me a box of jars she had somehow acquired over the years. So I really don't have any excuse other than lack of time and energy!

The beans Gerald picked yesterday have been cooking for hours in the slow cooker for tomorrow's Sunday dinner. I have recently experimented and put some I had cooked that way in the freezer--so they would not have to be cooked so long when I take them out next winter. I'll try later to put some in the traditional way by blanching them, etc.

I went out early this morning and picked another big dishpan full. It was so muddy in the garden that my shoes stuck in the mud--and I was trapped. So I slipped the Birks off and picked the rest of the time in my stocking feet. Since my sox were probably 20 years old with a hole in one already, I didn't care if I ruined them, but they are soaking and I will probably wear them again. I have washed those beans but that is all. Will probably take some to a friend and put the rest in the downstairs fridge for next week's meals or to freeze.

Katherine's family have gone to an end-of-season party for their son's baseball team. They are still emptying out their house. Our son-in-law worked all day taking mattresses to storage, taking down doors, etc. The contractor had been delayed and then thought he would start Monday, but as it turned out, he started at 7 a.m. yesterday when the ground at another project was too wet to continue there.

After running by the Crab Orchard library to visit with my friend Loretta, I went by the church house and made the coffee ready to be plugged in there in the morning. Then I could not resist stopping at our little store in Crab, which has just opened this week under new management. There are lots of tables and chairs for sitting down for biscuits and gravy in the mornings, sandwiches at lunch, or coffee and pie in the afternoon. And they have a great selection of lunch meats, which is what I bought for Gerald and my supper. It is nice to have a gathering place in the village, and it is quite attractive.

I have been working on Martin family history a bit this evening, and I was reminded that I meant to look for descendants of Samuel Garrett Martin and his son Mark Martin, grandson Mark Martin, Jr., and great grandson--all in Bluford, IL, area. I found the great grandson's name on Dog Pile white pages, but he was too young to be the great grandson born in 1945--would have to be his son with the same distinctive first name. Unfortunately, Dog Pile said his phone was unlisted. I did get another Martin name in Bluford, and I may get my nerve to phone him tomorrow or sometime.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Busy Summertime

Well, I could not blog last night because I was busy freezing the tub full of sweet corn that Gerald picked from Scott's field. He also picked and took some to the soup kitchen. Gerald had my corn all shucked and ends cut off. All I had to do was wash and brush off the multitude of "hair," blanch it, cool it, and put in plastic bags to freeze for next winter's family gatherings and holidays and probably a church potluck or so.

In fact, I may not blog much for awhile. We will see how it goes. My daughter's family just arrived--very very tired from moving almost everything out of their house for remodeling and then going to the VBS commencement at their church. But they are here and tucking themselves in for what I hope is a good night's sleep.

Southern Force is still involved with pool play. They lost their first game last night and won their second game 7-0. They are playing two more pool play games tonight right now since California is two hours earlier than we are.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hummingbirds, Finches, and Doves

Oh, the four kinds of hummingbirds on Jeannie's beautiful placque are Anna's hummingbird, ruby-throated hummingbird, broad-tailed hummingbird, and calliope. Our first summer at Woodsong when I followed my neighbor's directions and put out sugar water for the hummingbirds, I checked out a book about them from Crab Orchard's library. I remember enjoying the lovely pictures, but I can't remember anything I learned. My grandson Trent would remember and tell us how many times a second the tiny wings whirred. I have assumed ours were the ruby-throated variety cause many have the tiny red throats. But the broad-tailed hummingbird on the plaque also has a red throat, and frankly it looks just like the ruby-throated one to me. There were at least eight at the feeder hanging from the deck this evening. It is difficult to count them because they move so rapidly.

Anytime I walk downstairs and through the family room, there are usually at least four to six yellow finches snacking on the sack hanging outside the window there. I first saw finches at the home of my friend Vernell's friend in rural Vienna, and she told me to go buy a stocking of seed and I could have them too. It worked, and it probably helped that my neighbor already had been feeding them. Katherine used to have red ones on her apartment balcony in Nashville, but we've only had yellow. They are so pretty and bright , and it always make me feel good to see them.

The finches waste a lot of thistle seed, so the doves come to the patio underneath their stocking and eat there. The doves are not only lovely to see so close, but their call is soothing. I can remember as a child in Jonesboro sitting on the front porch steps with a lump in my throat from listening to the mourning doves' sad song at twilight.

Geri Ann returned Gerald's phone call from Disneyland. Southern Force Gold had won both games in pool play today at the Champions Cup for ASA fastpitch softball at Irvine, California. Go Force.

I did make my first two batches of zuchinni bread today, and I put two quart bags of shredded zuchinni in the freezer to make bread next winter. Gerald brought in the first small batch of okra tonight, and I fixed it like Phyllis, a friend from Jonesboro now living in Florida, taught me: wash, trim stem, put on plate and cook in microwave. Not as yummy as friend okra--but much better for us. It was good. And our neighbor Scott called to say that his first sweet corn patch was already to be picked. Aren't we lucky that he shares it with us?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Rainy Monday

It is after midnight, so I should be in bed. We have had a rainy Monday because of Hurricane Dennis reaching here with rain. But ours has been gentle all day long, and is great for our garden and for Brian's crops. We are praying that the soybean rust will not be brought with the rain.

I have paid bills, fixed lunch and supper and cleaned kitchen of course, filed some papers, worked a bit on genealogy, cleared some counter tops, wrote some letters, talked to a writer friend on phone, cleaned a bath tub, and generally did small necessary things that really don't show--but they must be done. These are the things that I neglect when life gets too busy, so I am very happy when I make a little progress catching up.

Gerald did some outside work before the rain started because he is always an early riser. He had a huge box of zuchinni needing a home. (I fixed some for lunch and will try to make zuchinni bread soon, but we can only eat so much.) So he took that box in to the Marion soup kitchen at the ministerial alliance building. Of course, he also read some, watched TV some, talked on phone, and was on the computer some. Then he fixed a garbage disposal for me that has been sounding strange--it turned out to have a small nail file down in there. I have no idea how that happened, for I have no memory of dropping one. But I am very glad to have the disposal working properly again now and that he did not have to go to town and buy a part! He also hung the beautiful humingbird plaster plaque Jeannie brought me for Mother's Day. It has four hummingbirds standing out in relief, and even identifies them. I thought I could remember the four types, but now my mind is blank: let's see--calliope seems to be all I can rememer.

A day's highlight was receiving copy of current issue of Happiness with a small article of mine in it.

Gerry called from California, and Southern Force has arrived there. He hopes to schedule a practice game tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Down on the Farm

It has been a welcome lazy day. After worship, we picked up one of Marion's new $5 pizzas, brought it home, and added fresh garden tomatoes and lunched without work or clean-up. Yeah!

Brian and the children had come down to Wayside Farm yesterday and were camping there. Sam had gone out to play with Trent and Bree last night and they all enjoyed smores around the campfire when Dave and Katherine picked up Sam. So we took the last of their kids' left-behind VBS stuff to them before they left for home and city life, and we took the last of Geri Ann's VBS stuff to her house so they would have it for their trip with Southern Force to Irvine, California, tomorrow when they get home from Champaign sometime today.

I am trying to get everything left behind out of the house because soon the Cedars will be staying here for awhile. I have been moving dress-up clothes into the "art room" from one of the guest bedrooms. I think that will work better cause the kids get pretty messy when they are in the middle of the stress of putting on a show. Now the costume mess can be in the "art room" and out of that bedroom where clothes got tossed on the floor and confused with clothes of who ever was trying to sleep in that room.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Summer's Magic Carpet

Well, I discarded the defective watch, and I did get the cupcakes delivered--a day late. But the family has their new house all painted, carpet ripped out and new carpet chosen, and everything looking lovely just waiting for them to be able to move in.

And now my daugher and family will be going through much the same type turmoil as they remodel their home to make it accessible. Such a shame that early builders had not thought through universal design and made their houses with human beings' limitations in mind. Just a few more inches on doorways and hallways makes all the difference. Every new building should be created with the needs in mind of pregnant women, wheelchair riders, the aged and the feeble. I love being able to enter our house without having to make a single step up to go inside the front door. The gently sloping sidewalk is atttractive and makes a step unnecessary to get upon our front porch.

The church youth minister and wife and some kids and some adults were all at my daughter's yesterday packing, packing, packing getting things into rented storage so the contractor can have room to work--and the items packed away will be free from the dust and plaster that will be flying as rooms are torn up.

Last night we were taken away from daily mundane duties by enjoying the second annual Marion Community Unit 2 Summer Music Workshop presenting Disney's Alladin, Jr. from the Broadway Junior Collection. It is always fun and with a feeling of some glamour that we attend anything in Marion's beautiful new Civic Center. The tens and tens of children and parents who had worked on the production gave us a great show--full of gorgeous colorful costumes and acting that seemed beyond the capabilites of kids so young. But many of these young students have a large number of productions already on their resumes, and they are seasoned and talented actors. Many of the little ones performing for the first time in the chorus and group scenes will soon be as talented. It was good to happen to sit near Yolande Peterson (without whose hard work the Civic Center could not have been built) and have the opportunity to visit with her.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blood pressure rising

Except during a couple of pregnancies, I have never had a problem with high blood pressure. But at my last annual checkup with my new doctor, I was asked to come in for a second checkup to make sure my blood pressure was down--so I was determined to take a calm bath and go slowly to my appointment this morning.

But I also wanted to make some cupcakes to take by a friend's new home, where lots of kids live and where painting and cleaning was going on.

About a month ago I had taken three inexpensive watches by Wal-Mart to get new batteries. The clerk told me one watch (the prettiest one) could not be helped by a battery and I threw it away. About time since I had carried it in my purse since vacation last August to try and get it to the store for the battery. The other two are almost identical. Sadly for some reason, one of the two keeps losing time. I will reset it and then once again it slows and is incorrect. This morning I unintentionally put on the slow one. I was starting to ice the cooled cupcakes--pans and cakes spread all over the kitchen table--when I noticed the stove clock and my watch had totally different times.

To be on time, I had ten minutes to turn off oven and get last pan out, take a bath, dress, and drive 20 minutes to town. I was only ten minutes late, and I probably would have had to wait that long if I had been on time since I still waited a bit. As I waited, I tried to imagine calm visions of flowers growing peacefully in order to calm myself and reduce my blood pressure. That made me nervous, so I started to read a magazine, which must have worked. At least my blood pressure was slightly lower and I got by without having to accept a prescription--yet.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

July Fourth 2005--not 2004

Not knowing yesterday what year it was is indicative of my confusion after a very busy week with little time for contemplation. Ha. However, obviously yesterday was in 2005--not 2004 as I wrote. This confusion is NOT the result of age. I have always been this way.

We are rejoicing this morning because on our way to Gerry and Vickie's for a wonderful supper offering grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats and all the trimmings, it started raining. We needed the rain so bad. We got 2 inches here at Woodsong and 2.7 inches up at Wayside Farm where son-in-law Brian Taylor has his crops. Plants are drinking up the rain and the corn leaves are uncurling.

Vickie fed 15 of us last night, and the only disappointment was not getting to sit on their front porch and watch the Johnston City fireworks display as planned. Area fireworks all had to be postponed until tonight because of that wonderful rain.

It was good to be with Vickie's family last night including her grandmother and Aunt Janice and Terry and Sheila and Sheila's mother Eleanor, whom they'd picked up from her new retirement home. And it is always fun to be around the young people--I think with boyfriends there were six young people in the crowd. Vickie's mother, Shirley, made us homemade ice cream as the final treat of the evening.

We went to bed thankful for the good time and the good rain.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day 2004

After nine days with grandchildren in the house, Woodsong is quiet this Fourth of July. When this time comes after a grandkids' visit, I always remember little Samuel (now 8) over at Pondside Farm the first time he came back alone to visit following a previous week of Christmas visiting with cousins galore at the farm. He walked in the living room, looked around, and whispered, "It sure is quiet."

After all the noise, confusion, laughter, whining, crying, shouting, running, piano playing, guitar music, door slamming, dog barking, washing machine humming, and frequent squealing of the past nine days, believe me the house and yard does seem quiet.

Quiet enough for me to finish Sommerset Homecoming, which I started yesterday. Quiet enough to feel relaxed as I wander absentmindedly around picking up various family's debris from Vacation Bible School at our village church and left-behind socks, pajamas, and toothbrushes. It will take awhile to get the house back into any semblance of order, let alone get everyone's belongings back to them.

There are too many of us to be as organized as we would all like. Things don't happen one at a time during these visits--but usually at least three at a time which invariably signals the phone to ring. I am sure the poor girl making a living doing a phone survey does not understand my hysterics when I asked her to take our name off her list and she refused--but I know if she had been the one trying to fry fish for nine or ten people's supper (I was often not sure how many might end up at the table) and taking care of everything else happening at that moment in time, she would likely have been hysterical also. Ah well.

Saturday was a good example of everything happening at once--celebrating Leslie's 15th birthday, the Eilders getting ready for the Stonecipher wedding, and Brian arriving with Gma Dot (who just flown in from New York for the holidays) and, of course, Fifi to pick up Trent and Brianna. The Taylors were camping up at Wayside Farm where they have their camper installed this summer. After the wedding, Rick and little Cecelie went up to join them at the campfire for smores--but the rest of us were too tired.

But as usual. the week was fun. (Most of the time.) We missed Elijah cause he was at Creation with his youth group in Pennsylvania. We missed Tara and Uncle Gerry cause they were in Colorado with Tara's Southern Force I softball team. Gpa Gerald made lots of memories taking kids on the boat to the island, riding with him in the mule around the lake, taking them to fish even tho he is not a fishing person, letting them help him in the garden, showing them the ducks.
Mostly the kids made their own memories--play acting with the old clothes for that purpose in the closet, creating art from the junk Gma Sue keeps in the "art room," coaching each other in softball skills, watching tv, the two boys playing with their Gameboys, and the whole gang making up their own entertainment. Only two or three people fell in the lake--and one was Grandpa! Because of algae on the lake, we didn't swim there this year but did go to Aunt Vickie's house to their pool one day. While there, Leslie was given an acting/singing lesson by Adam Kee, who is home for the summer from Actors Studio in New York.

Someone was always hungry, and there were four planned table times a day: usually cereal, toast, and fruit for breakfast although I fixed scrambled eggs one day; lunch; supper; and cereal again for bedtime snack. Other snacks were as called for by hungry ones. We ate hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, Ramon noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, and three two-layer cakes before the week was over. Cookies and ice cream, of course, altho both were store bought. And there was some more adult-like entrees a few times.

By yesterday we were down to just one family here--the Eilers of Freeport, and we met them after church at Leslie's favorite Carterville restaurant--Pioneer Cabin--for chicken and dumplings and the family-style dinner served there. The Eilers had gone to Neighborhood Fellowship Church in Carbondale, where Rick had gone as a college student during his SIUC days and also where they worshipped during their first year of marriage before they moved to Carterville. And they drove around Carterville to remember their old life before they moved to Freeport.

The Cedars came out during the afternoon, and we enjoyed that visit while Leslie entertained us with hilarious stories of their youth group's trip t0 teach Vacation Bible School in Eastern Kentucky. And we enjoyed the beautiful music from her high school talent show, which she won singing "The Rose."

But all good things must end, and the Eilers had that long long trip upstate ahead of them. They loaded their belongings, Leslie, Cecelie, and Leah and Lucky--the two dogs--into the van and started the six-hour plus trek towards home. Tomorrow Leslie starts her summer PE class and Rick goes back to class at Rockford, where he is working on his masters. Jeannie had to work during June at the grant job she was employed at, so her vacation begins tomorrow. Elijah will arrive back from Pennsylvania.

The Taylors are celebrating in Lake Saint Louis today, where Mary Ellen has a float in the parade there. We were invited up, but were too tired for a trip on crowded high ways.

We are going up to Johnston City now to eat grilled hamburgers that Vickie is fixing for us and her mother and grandmother and sister and no telling who else will be dropping by. It has been a good week and a good fourth of July. I wish there were peace all over the world--and freedom.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Starting Over

Earlier this spring I started a blog on another site only to have to erase it because of misunderstanding directions. So here I am starting over. Because I am a writer and because I like to write, I figure a blog is a good way to practice my writing. I used to tell students the two rules for becoming good writers:
(1) Read. Read. Read.
(2) Write. Write. Write.

Therefore, my friends and relatives often get long missivess from me when I practice my writing in order to follow that second rule. Even tho I tell the receivers that they can delete my emails without reading them, I sometimes fret they may feel compelled to read them out of politeness. If I write a blog, no one will have to read it unless they chose to do so.

Here are the previous posts from earlier blog:

Woodsong Notes
Sunday, 3 April 2005
Going to Golconda
Topic: Trail of Tears
Yesterday after attending a seminar on multiple sclerosis in Marion in the morning, I met a friend and we drove down to the spring meeting of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association at Golconda. The Pope County Historical Society has done a wonderful job there and we met at their great museum.
After the meeting we were able to walk up the stairs to the top of the concrete levy or dam and view the Ohio River and make a conjecture about where the Cherokee had arrived when their ferry boat reached the Illinois side of the river. Then we walked up the hill past The Mansion (where I hear great meals are served) and visited the Buell House and the log cabin next door, which the Historical Society had moved up from Bay City. The state now owns the Buell house, but the county historical society attends to it and takes folks on tour of it. There were so many wonderful old houses in Golconda. One was the red brick Sloan House on top of a high hill right above us as we walked up to see the Buell House. The riverboat captain named Sloan had built it, and it had the widow's walk on top looking out on the river.
It was a stimulating day, and the icing on the cake was to find out that our granddaughter's team at Johnston City had been in the finals with Pinckneyville, where our oldest granddaughter is assistant coach. The JC team won. The girls' little sister pitched at Marion at a l0 o'clock practice game. Gerald went to that and then on up to Pinckneyville.

Posted by sueglasco at 4:43 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Updated: Sunday, 3 April 2005 4:46 PM CST
Thursday, 31 March 2005
Spring Break at Woodsong
Topic: Grandchildren
With the two Lake Saint Louis grandkids here, others have come and gone this week.
Three were having so much fun yesterday that they elected to skip their big cousin's make-up softball game at Murphy with Gpa and stay here so that one could play Gameboy and two could continue making styrofoam boats to sail, catching minnows at the shallow creek-like run-in to the lake, and of course making a home for the minnows in our "art room" where we have a collection of "stuff" for just such creative work.

We declared the Easter egg experiment that Trent started on Monday a great success. Sure enuf, when an Easter egg is covered with vinegar, the shell will turn to "rubber" when the acid does its thing.

Trent made Ramon noodles for his breakfast. (Doesn't everyone eat them for breakfast?) And we had enuf left over for the three to have small bowls for their first course at lunch plus ham and left-over shells and cheese he'd made the day before. I don't think anyone touched the veggies I had added to the menu. And last night we had blizzards in addition to their kids meals at DQ when we took the Marion grandson home. Getting any food into Trent is a great victory, so all three meals were a success.

The kids were hungry at lunch because all three walked around the lake together with Gma before we ate. We found two dead turtles by end of south end of lake. Why? Was this somehow from the rain storm on Sunday night? We saw one lone duck egg at south end of lake by the water also. Lots of hen bit and purple nettle and tiny blue flowers next to the ground, but not many other wild blossoms right now.

We had a scare in the evening when electricity went off because of thunder/lightening storm, so I provided us all with flashlight in case it happened again. Fortunately, it didn't. So Trent was able to make us popcorn--depleting the world's oil supply as his Gpa noted this morning when he observed the oil standing at bottom of popcorn bowl in family room.

We watched a really good Disney channel basketball movie about some Jewish kids in Philadelphia wanting to win a tourney with what had been a very poor team. I was reading--but I ended up watching with the kids it was so beguiling. Then at midnight we sneaked upstairs with out flashlights so as not to wake Gpa and had cereal for a midnight snack.

It was almost l a.m. when we finally got to bed--all electing to sleep in same room with the two double beds just in case it stormed again. After a final unpleasant flap over hushing up and going to sleep, we made it to dream land. The light wakes me up in the mornings, so I don't manage to sleep in like the kids to catch up on my sleep as much as they do. My spring break will have to come next week. Ha.

Posted by sueglasco at 11:04 AM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Wednesday, 30 March 2005
A Swollen Lake and Swollen House Population
Topic: Grandchildren
We woke up the morning after Easter with the lake higher than we had ever seen it. Three grandchildren were sleeping here as all the kids are on spring break it turns out. (Except the teacher whose school is not on break.)

Another grandchild joined the three and they played hard all day. Gerald took three of them in the paddle boat to the island. (One was too tied up with his Gameboy to go along.)
Gerald has found a field of daffadils in a back field and brought a load of them to the house in his "mule" and took them over to the island to plant. I look forward to seeing a host of them there in future years!

I was proud yesterday because I only had one child here, and he and I walked around the lake and then came back and he fixed us shells and cheese for lunch. He is a good cook. (His sister had gone home with a cousin the night before.) I don't like the total absorption in Gameboy, but we all cope the best we can with that. I like for him to get exercise, and he acted interested in everything as we walked around the lake.

Kids are coming and going as schedules allow and we will be going to our second softball game at Murphysboro this afternoon (a make-up game). We beat Goreville 7-1 at Johnston City last night. The two kids who came home with us for the night and Gerald and I went to MacDonald's for a hamburger afterwards. (That was Trenton's requested place.) Tomorrow we go to Vienna to play there. (Gerald had lunched with Gerry and the two girls up there at J.City while we ate shells and cheese here.)

We had tried to keep the Gameboy in the car during the ball game explaining that Trent would have opportunity to see two of the best high school softball players in the United States at this game. Well, he said if they are so good that I don't get bored, I won't turn on the Gameboy. The game did get a little boring, however, and he sat on the blanket with the gang of kids there--and eventually the Gameboy came out of his pocket. Ha.

Gotta quit this entry as there are three grandkids today waiting for our walk around the lake. Gerald has gone to J. City to roll the lawn up there to surprise our daughter-in-law. He has already rolled our lawn and mowed it for the first time this morning.

Posted by sueglasco at 11:48 AM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Wednesday, 23 March 2005
Gerald's Birthday
Topic: Grandchildren
Gerald was 75 yesterday, and we celebrated with his brothers and one sister-in-law at breakfast yesterday as this is a custom of the brothers. Their sister called from Wyoming, and we passed the phone around and all got to talk to her.
Rain cancelled the softball game we had planned to go to, but nevertheless the local extended family met at 6 for supper in honor of Gerald. Three local grandchildren got to attend. Cards and greetings and yet another call from grandchildren in Freeport made his day full of people who love him wanting to wish him a Happy Birthday.

Posted by sueglasco at 12:18 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Saturday, 19 March 2005
Cecelie's Birthday
Topic: Grandchildren
Today Cecelie reached six years on this planet. We were so happy six years ago when we got the phone call about her birth on her great grandmother Ada Glasco's birthday!

Gerald went to Edwards County to see granddaughter Erin play three softball games. We won all three games and Gpa came home bragging on our Erin.

He also brought home Brianna and Trent from their camper up at Wayside, where their mother had gone back to the field and found herself helping Brian. After supper, Mary Ellen came and picked the kids up and I sent a plate up for her to heat for Brian in the camper's microwave.

Posted by sueglasco at 9:57 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Friday, 18 March 2005
Spring is just around the corner.
Topic: Gardening
Gerald tilled the garden the other day. As of yesterday, he has lettuce, onions, peas, and some okra planted.

Farmers are in the field. Our son-in-law came down yesterday afternoon from Lake Saint Louis to start farming. He has their camper set up at Wayside Farm, and the electricity and water have been turned on up there.

There are seven or eight duck eggs in the nest in the day lily bed, and the nest by the front porch has even more. There are eggs in the one remaining floating nest. Gerald put up some new interesting looking nests on posts this year hoping ducks could fly in them, but that other animals could not. As far as I know, the ducks haven't started using them yet. We'll see if this experiment works.

Posted by sueglasco at 5:59 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Thursday, 17 March 2005
Looking out the bedroom window...
Topic: Ducks,Geese, Deer

Early this morning, while Gerald was talking to our daughter on the phone, he called for me to go to the bedroom window if I wanted to see deer grazing. I hurried but I needn't have, for the five adult deer and one younger one were in no hurry to leave the green grassy field on the other side of the little lake by our home. As I watched the deer, I was also enjoying the three wild geese who flew up from the lake only to return soon afterwards gliding down and then sliding a bit across the water as settled to swim. Soon they were joined by two more. The ducks were also there on the water and on the side of the lake. Each morning I am awakened by the duck who is laying an egg each day in the nest directly beneath that bedroom window. There are usually five or six of the ducks around the area chattering and showing off their beautiful feathers--all so different in design. I try to watch without moving, so that my image in the window does not frighten them.

Posted by sueglasco at 11:25 AM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Tuesday, 15 March 2005
Softball season again!
Topic: Softball
BRRRR! It turned cold on Sunday and continues with a biting wind. At least it is biting if you are at Anna fairgrounds watching a late afternoon softball game as we were today! Johnston City and Anna-Jonesboro High Schools started their 2005 girls softball season today. Our Johnston City team won 5-4 against my alma mater, but it got pretty interesting in the last couple innings. We were once ahead 5-0; it was so cold that we were hoping for another 5 runs quick so we could quit early and go home. But then A-J started scoring including one home run, so we were just lucky to end the 7th inning with us still ahead. It was so cold that I know it hurt the girls hands to catch the ball.

Posted by sueglasco at 8:57 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:26 AM CST
Saturday, 12 March 2005
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Mood: happy
Topic: Flowers, wild and tame
The weather has been fantastic today. When I took lunch over to my elderly shut-in neighbor, she was sitting on her tiny porch enjoying the feel of the approaching spring.

I weeded my day lily bed this afternoon. Pulled crab grass and hen bit and imagined how lovely the yellow day lilies will be this summer. Our neighbors gave us the day lilies in 2002 the first summer we lived here; and since I do not have a green thumb, I am very pleased when they bloom.

We had a call from a son-in-law and he and their kids are camping over at the other farm. He hooked up electricity there today.

Posted by sueglasco at 11:59 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:30 AM CST
Wednesday, 9 March 2005
Going to my brother's home
Mood: rushed
Topic: Illinois 109th Infantry
Mostly I am trying to find out how to add a new entry to the blog. However, I am excited because tomorrow morning I will be driving up to see my brother and his wife at Mattoon. I am taking a little gift for their first great grandchild, and I am taking some of the Civil War papers for our great grandfather William F. Martin, who entered the Civil War with Company E of the Illinois 109th Infantry. I find some of the entries most puzzling and am wanting some help to figure them out. I need to get to bed so I will be rested for my day trip.

Posted by sueglasco at 11:29 PM CST post your comment (0) link to this post
Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:29 AM CST
Newer Latest Older