Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chili and Softball at Woodsong on a Cold Winter Day

I slept late this morning because last night I unintentionally stayed up late trying to review family history after a distant (very distant) cousin joined our GlascoFamily yahoo group. I was still sleepy and in my pajamas devouring the newspaper and a bowl of cereal when Gerald yelled up from the family room that I had a phone call. I had already thought about the day’s agenda and had even decided the day before to make a pot of chili. I figured I would put it on when I finished the newspaper.

Our neighbor Marylea was on the phone with the announcement that she would be over in about an hour with a pot of chili for us! I am sure she was trying to say thanks to Gerald for having taken his front-end loader over recently and helped when hay was delivered for her horses. So I finished my morning routine, and long before lunch, here came Marylea with a crock pot full of chili for me to plug in and keep cooking. It was good!

Gerald had planned to take Katherine and Samuel for his checkup after his recent ear infections. He was leaving early to go by the hospital and see his brother Kenny and was backing out of the garage when Katherine phoned saying that doctor appointment was cancelled. But in addition to visiting Kenny, he still went by Katherine’s and left some of Marylea’s chili that I had put in his truck for sharing with her family.

We will be eating chili again tomorrow, and I will have a container yet to put in the freezer for next week. I did fix a different meal this evening, but phone calls to Gerald’s siblings took up the thirty minutes that we had between the double header games of Texas A&M with the University of Houston.

So we filled our plates in the kitchen and carried them down to again watch the second game with game tracker on Gerald’s computer. We do this and play the audio of the radio announcers there at the Aggie Softball Complex. It is not as good as being there, but it is the best we can do. We like hearing about the beautiful weather there while we look out and see snow on our lawn. And we like hearing Texas A&M continue to win. Their record is 18-2 now, and the coaches again voted them the number two team in the nation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Whoops! Life A Mite Out of Control?

Oh dear. I did not think I'd have any trouble writing on here this Wednesday. But I almost forgot again. At least we do have electricity this week! We probably missed Geri Ann's volleyball game because we do not have a schedule. She and her mother have been out of town going to Erin's games in Tempe last weekend, and we haven't connected as usual.

Gerald and I were still at the supper table when Gerry called from the Yucatan about Erin's games. We had forgotten that schedule also. I can't seem to keep up with things. They had already won their first game in a double header against Stephen F. Austin when Gerry phoned. So I left the messy kitchen, and we hurried to Gerald's computer to listen to the second game. We were certainly glad we did because we got to hear Erin hit her first homerun for Texas A&M! Exciting. It must have been quite a hit because the announcers were excited that the ball hit the new scoreboard--a first. CoachJo Evans said in the after-game interview that Erin initiated the scoreboard, which had been up three years.

I do have the kitchen cleaned now. And then after email exchanges about the game, I wrote a sad email catching the kids up on the news about their Uncle Ken, who went to Barnes yesterday and came home the same day. The doctor had changed his mind about giving Ken another bone marrow test and more chemo.

Last night I had barely gotten home from a long day in town including Wal-Mart, my least favorite place to have to go, and I had fixed Gerald a nice supper since he had fixed his own lunch. Again I was starting to clean the kitchen, when my friend Linda called. We were talking about plans for the rest of the week, and I said, "Well, let's see. Today is Tuesday." At that moment (7:05), I realized I was supposed to be leading singing at our class meeting at Imogene Graves' house. I had the song books in the car. But an over-crowded day had crowded that part of the day's agenda from my mind.

Imogene had prepared for us twice last week and because of the ice had to cancel both times. I felt terrible I had forgotten this the third time she had prepared for us. So with hair awry and kitchen in shambles, I jumped in the car and was there by 7:15. Fortunately, I got out of having to lead singing. I got there in time for prayer (which I was needing) and a very good devotional by Charlene Morris.

After our business meeting, we gathered at the table in Imogene's pretty kitchen/dining room alight with red berries and bright red accessories everywhere. She had prepared us a feast, and I am ashamed to say I ate a second supper, but I enjoyed every bite. Then after more sandwiches and the delicious cheese ball and candy had been passed around again (no, I didn't take seconds or candy), she and daughter Shirley served us Imogene's famous strawberry pie. Of course, I could not turn it down. It was sumptious as always.

As good as the food was, the fellowship was better. Perhaps we'd all been housebound too long the week before struggling against nature's unkindness. Maybe it was our sated appetites, but as stories and tales were told, we laughed more than I have laughed in years. I needed that. Now we are looking at weather predictions of another ice storm making tomorrow's doctors appointments and tomorrow night's carefully planned Writers Guild meeting problematic. I am sure I am better able to face tomorrow after such a good time last night.

Now, I better quit writing and go do my knee exercises. As of Monday, I started doing them twice a day. I think I can already feel some difference in my stability.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Resolutions Destroyed by Winter Storm

Last Saturday when I blogged on here, I resolved firmly (I thought) to get back on schedule and blog on Wednesday night like I originally planned. What I did not count on was having a winter ice storm hit Monday night which resulted in our electricity going off at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Even then I assumed we would be back on by nightfall. That afternoon Gerald hooked up our two gas fireplaces that had not been on for two years--just in case. Good thing he did. Our electricity did not go on until almost noon on Friday. Since our brother Garry and some folks in Lick Creek still do not have power, I am not complaining. I am grateful.

I hope to blog on schedule on AmazonConnect tonight and on here on Wednesday--if the ice does not come, the creeks don't rise, and the power stays on. See you then.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Listening to Erin Play Ball

Gerald and I spent our afternoon and early evening hovered over his computer listening to Texas A&M softball team play in their kickoff tourney at Cathedral City, CA. The announcers described the Big League Dreams Sports Complex and the beautiful mountains, and we enjoyed knowing Vickie was there watching her daughter catch for two All-American pitchers and for the team rated second in the nation. Gerry is at the San Fernando lodge with hunters or he would be in California too.

We were pleased to win over the New Mexico State Aggies 3 to 2 in the first game and disappointed, of course, to hear us lose to Cal Poly Mustangs 5 to 1 in the second game at Fenway Park. (Evidently each field in the complex is named after a Big League park elsewhere.)

Yet we agreed with Coach Jo Evans in the after-game interview that this was nothing to be discouraged about. We beamed when she praised Erin’s playing just as we had beamed when the announcers described Erin’s “pretty out” with one of her exciting throws. We cheered for each of her singles.

We will be tuned in again for tomorrow’s two games after watching Samuel play Upward basketball in the morning. We want to be at Rend Lake at 4 p.m. to see Erin’s cousin Drew Johnson and our young friend Jared Barger play for first place in the middle school Class 2 state tournament there. I am wondering if we can work all this in. We will do our best.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Serenades and Signings at the Illinois Centre Mall

Thanks to Carol Jennings, authors from our area had a fun day signing books at the Illinois Centre Mall today. An administrative assistant in the mall office, Carol came up with the idea of having an early February annual book fair where writers could sell their books to the public. This was the third year for the event, and it has grown and gotten better every year. Authors from here who go to Sturgis, Kentucky, are impressed with the floods of people who come to the fair grounds there all day long for the sole purpose of buying books. There has been nothing like this in Southern Illinois.

However, if the Third Winter Book Fair is any indication, we may someday grow into something even more exciting. Refining the fair every year, Carol outdid herself this year. Attractive posters at the entrances announced our presence. Attractive cloths graced a generous-sized table for each author. Chairs and table name tags awaited us. All we had to do was carry in our books and fountain pens. The cookie store gave each author a coupon for a huge free soda The foot traffic was heavy--perhaps because people were so pleased to have a lovely sunny Saturday after yesterday’s bitter cold snow day keeping the kids home from school. There were twenty-two authors who enrolled to sign and a great variety of books including many poetry books. Judy Askew was up from Brookport, Rick Keisheim from Robinson, and Sheri Richardson was down from O’Fallon, Missouri. The rest of us had less far to drive.

Besides seeing friends and making new ones, perhaps the highlight for me was the children’s violin recital in our midst--bringing a host of parents and grandparents with them. There were tiny children with tiny violins and older kids with large violins. The program was diverse and delightful. Seeing these beautiful children poised and talented performing on difficult instruments was an unexpected treat.

I am sentimental about violins because my father played one. When my sister Rosemary was young living in Jonesboro, Daddy took her to weekly violin lessons from a gentleman in Anna. Thus, she was prepared to play in the high school orchestra. He listened in on the lessons and also learned to play.

When he and Mother retired in Goreville, one aspect of their social life was asking other couples in for the evening. If one of the couple could play piano and it was usually the wife, Daddy would enlist her to play the piano while he played the violin. Mother and the other husband would usually play Chinese checkers together. Daddy became quite proficient at the hymns they practiced, and Mother became quite good on the star-shaped board. I always knew who would win when I played her.

Daddy liked to go with his church group once a month to play hymns and sing at the Vienna nursing home. He was still doing this when he was so old that he was no longer steady on his feet. Naturally, the elderly residents loved for one of their own age to come and play. Daddy would leave the house and smile wickedly at Mother and me and say, “Well, I have got to go play the violin for the old folks.”

That was a long time ago, for Daddy’s violin was silenced first by the ravages of Parkinson and then by his joining a heavenly choir. Yet for my sister and me, a violin is a symbol of our father, and we are quick to choose a Christmas or birthday card that has a violin on it. We each know the other one will remember the same man when it is opened. Daddy loved children, and he would have been even more pleased than I was if he had heard the well-trained youngsters at the mall today

Addendum: Those authors at the mall today were Jim Lambert, Pat Evans, Violet Toler, Mary L. Hackett, Carol Jennings, Dixie Terry, Anne-Marie Legan, Joy King, Harry Boyd, Rick Kelsheim, Ron Schmeck,Patty Morrison, Ernestine Brasher, Sherri Richardson, Judy Askew, David Bond, Roger Poppen, Sue Glasco, Fog Gilbert, Jon Musgrave, Marie Samuel, Jeri Beth McRoy. Did I miss anyone?