Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

December 9th arrived quietly today.
It brought snow,
a personally made card,
three Face Book greetings,
two text messages,
three phone calls,
a Red Velvet cake,
ice cream,
and a loving family to wish me "Happy Birthday!"...
and it was.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn's Song

Sweaters and boots find their way to the front of our closets.
Days are cooler now.

Iced coffee is replaced by hot chocolate, gazpacho by bisque, and
Marc Jacobs "Blush" by Gucci "Rush".

School buses slow our commute.
Children walk in groups, heads bent forward, back packs in tow.
Squirrels scamper about, booty clenched tightly between tiny teeth.

Foliage becomes high fashion, adorning trees and bushes with oranges,
yellows, and reds as timeless as Chanel's, "little black dress".

Geese fly overhead in perfect formation.
Pumpkin spice donuts are available for a limited time.

Walkers wear hats and gloves.
Their dogs wear sweaters.

Chilled rains beat leaves from trees to scatter onto driveways and streets.
Pumpkins and cornstalks adorn lawns.

Smoke rises from chimneys in thin white streams.
The scent of burning leaves snakes through neighborhoods.

Night comes sooner.
A midnight sky canvases twinkling stars, frothy clouds, and a brilliant yellow moon.

Autumn continues her song...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Movie Girls

After work, I met up with the the "movie girls" at Five Guys. 
We ordered burgers and shared fries soaked in malt vinegar. 
We talked about how wonderful they tasted years ago at Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips and how we hadn't had any since, until now. 

After catching each other up on the latest news and finishing our meals, we drove to the cinema. Tonight we would watch Tyler Perry's latest movie, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself".

Two more friends joined us as we purchased tickets and made our way into the theater. 
We settled ourselves into two rows with free popcorn, crunchy snacks and Greek yogurt with cherries (me), then waited for the movie to begin.
And so it did. 

The action started in the first scene and continued until the very end. 
There was no down time. 
We wrapped ourselves in the characters and the story. 
We loved who we were supposed to love and hated who we were supposed to hate. 
It was an emotional ride. 
We laughed out loud and allowed quiet tears to roll down our cheeks. 
Gladys Knight, Mary J. Blidge, and Pastor Marvin Winans sang beautifuly. 
Tyler was hilarious, Taraji was powerful and Adam Rodriguez was the man every woman hopes for.

Afterward, we left with a promise to meet for dinner and another movie in the near future.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Bounty

Green beans, corn, okra, zucchini,

tomatoes, cucumbers,

yellow squash, jalapeno and green peppers,

collard greens, romaine lettuce and yellow corn.
What do all of these vegetables have in common?

They grow in my brother's urban garden.
Yes, right in his backyard.

My mom and I dropped in for a visit which turned into a harvest fest.
We walked, talked, picked and ate our way through row after row of organic wonder.

Four hours, and several baskets later,
I made my way home with this bounty.
What to do? What to do?

My first thought was to make an arrangement.
Cute, but not too functional.
I had to get serious and look for recipes.
So far I have baked zucchini bread and prepared tomato/cucumber/vinegar salads.

Now I'm looking for yellow squash recipes.
If you have one you love, and would like to send, I'll try it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Life Lesson From My Yard

It's amazing what two days of heavy rain can do to restore life.

Amazing how brown, brittle grass turns lush and green.

Amazing how leaning flower stems raise themselves tall.

Amazing how wilted leaves develop firmness.
Amazing how droopy fern fronds stand erect.

Amazing how weak buds grow into strong blooms.
All because of rain.
Even when it comes at the 11th hour.

Is there a lesson here?
Where does your rain come from?
Be Restored!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's My Turn

I always enjoy an afternoon with my daughter.
When she was little, it was my job to introduce her to life's little pleasures.

Now that she is an adult, she introduces me to hers:
a plate of seasalt chocoloate chip cookies...

the beauty of a local vegetable garden.

Moments more precious than gold!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael's Gift (Jackson Five Dreams)

We were in love with the Jackson Five.
Their posters and pictures were taped on our bedroom walls.
My oldest sister loved Jackie.
I loved Jermaine.
My little sister loved Michael and one cousin loved Marlon (sorry Tito none of us was your age).
My other two cousins loved the whole group.

We were loyal fans who: everything we could find about them
...zipped the dial on our transistor radios to find their songs
...called each other if they were going to be on TV
...watched their cartoon
...saved money for their albums

During a Christmas break sleepover at our house, we had a great idea.
We would become the girl's version of the Jackson Five.
The first thing we did was name the group "The GMP's".
It stood for the initials of our last names: Gilmore, Martin, Prince.

We practiced their dance moves in our basement.
When we got good, we added formations.
The one thing we could never master was the vocals, but that was all right.
It was the early seventies and we pantomimed like nobody's business.

My oldest sister was in charge of getting us an audition with Motown Records.
Once we became big stars we would move all three families to Los Angeles and live life in the sunshine.
Our compound would be surrounded by a tall brick fence shaped like a peace sign (just enough space inside for three houses).
Of course we'd have gates in the fence so we could visit each other.
And, we'd live that way, making music, until the Jackson Five came to their senses and married us.

Over time, due to "artistic differences", the dynamics of our group changed.
The "G's" went their separate way.
We became the "Four PM's" (So much for the peace sign).

Well, after what seemed like months of practice our big break came.
We had a gig!
It was our Aunt Luzia's birthday.
With the family gathered around, we froze into formation in her dining room.
"Okay ya'll, remember to spread out so we don't bump into each other."
Then, the room was silent until we heard the scratchy sound of the needle on vinyl.
'Stop nah nah nah, you'd better save it!
Stop, stop stop, you'd better save i-it. Whooo!'
And just like that, we were a hit in our families eyes.

The Jackson Five became J5, Michael went solo and life went on.
We graduated, started our careers and priorities shifted.
We fell in love and some of us got married (not to any of the Jacksons).
We are teachers, administrators, musicians, deputies, and wonderful mothers.
And we still have a soft spot in our hearts for the Jackson Five.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We Learn What We Live

I have appreciated the beauty of flowers for as long as I can remember.
My mother planted them at every home we've lived in.
She began with Irises, Lillis, then moved on to Rhododendrons, Peonies, Sedum, Dinner Plate Dahlias, Dusty Millers, Hibiscus and a host of colorful annuals.
Like her, I plant.
As soon as school is out I start.
It takes about three weeks before I'm satisfied.
Blue Hill Salvia, Cone Flower, Black eyed Susan, Shasta Daisy, Gaillardia, Columbine, Catmint.

My absolute favorite is Lavender.
I plant it near the front door.
The fragrance from its beautiful purple flowers wafts into the house through the screen.

Three beds are complete. Four more to go.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A City Left Behind

Who lived here?
Broken windows,
Cracked sidewalks,
Boarded buildings,
Tall grasses swaying their seeded tops above vacant lots.

Who loved here,
Married here,
Raised a family here?

A park remains,
littered and unkempt.
If you listen closely,
can you still hear
Stoned Soul Picnic?
Groovin' On a Sunday Afternoon?
Cowboys to Girls?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Quiet of Morning

A cup of coffee, golden brown, mildly sweet,
sits on the table beside me.
I relax in the morning air and collect my thoughts.
This is the one thing I have in common with my great grandmother.
She, too, was a coffee lover.

So we sit,
me on a small balcony with a view of the Atlantic.
She on the back porch with a view of mountains.

These were probably the most peaceful moments of her day,
at the break of dawn,
as chickens awake,
as biscuit dough rises,
before she cuts thick bacon strips from a slab.

Soon the house would be full of morning aromas,
bacon, biscuits, fried eggs, grits, and coffee.
Aromas that waft through bedrooms on a mission
to wake sleeping ones from pleasant dreams.

But for now, this is the quiet of the morning she loved, same as I.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm Grateful For...

"I'm grateful for every day above ground," my mother's words.
As a child I thought them funny.
My father would recount the days of his youth then say, "Seems like only yesterday".
As a teenager, I found those words odd.
How could the twenty years I had yet to see, seem like only yesterday?

As an adult who has seen
joy and sorry,
sickness and health,
birth and death,
fairness and bias,
faithfulness and anxiety,
trust and betrayal,
I find myself grateful for every day above ground and the youthful memories that seem like only yesterday. They make me who I am.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Honor of a Life Well Lived

Today we honored Daddy with this stone and fresh flowers.

It was the least we could do for the man who taught us so much.

The man who loved us so much.
The man who gave us so much.
We are grateful to have loved and been loved by him.

*For the reciter of poems,...a poem

A kind hearted man
stood in his backyard
feeding his young dog 'Bo',
When he heard the call of a Mourning Dove,
that soft cooing sound he loved so.

He remembered the joy,
he felt as a boy
when Mourning Doves gathered in trees,
to sing just for him,
a lone country boy,
so happy and easily pleased.

Daddy, you continue to inspire us!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Princess Phone

My "space age" phone has an attitude and won't take calls from me or anyone else.
Texts? Sure.
Surf the net? No problem.
Calls? She sends them straight to voice mail without so much as a ring or shake.
I found out when my sister called.
It never rang, so she texted me.
Now I'll believe my son when he says he never got my call (maybe).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Subdivision Yard Sale

Got up early.
Beautiful day.
Memorial Day weekend.
Set up yard sale display.
Brewed coffee
Carried coffee, banana and a book to lawn chair to sit and wait
...and wait.
One van of eager customers came by.
They loved the clothes (which were too small).
Bought a teapot, sauce pan, toy car and canister set instead.
Made $8.25.
Dog walker stopped to talk.
One dog lifted its leg.
Yard Sale over!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

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