Monday, March 31, 2014

the last bunch...

Here they are -- the last of my "60 Favourite Things About ELC." These have been MY most favourite blog posts to write -- they've also been the easiest.

46. She takes "Pinterest-ing" very seriously. Her boards and pins are so fun and creative and inspiring!

47. She loves camo -- and wears it well!

48. She loves to color and is really good at it, too! She always happily obliges when Little Leighton drags out her Elmo and Minnie coloring books.

49. During the Spring and Summer, she'll make "sun tea" in a big Mason Jar. She'll even throw a few lemons in there. For good measure. It tastes extra yummy.

50. She is so much better than me about actually having the pictures on her iPhone printed. I want to be better about that because LL adores looking at pictures. ELC also takes great pictures. She has a knack for catching moments we'll always want to remember.

51. She's the most thoughtful gift-giver. She finds wonderful treasures. Two of my most favourites are a sweet, little, blue and white pitcher and a shabby chic angel. I look at them both every day and smile.

52. She is always up for a road trip -- be it the 20 minutes into town for a frozen yogurt or all the way up to Rhode Island. She loves adventuring.

53. On her actual 60th birthday this month, she bought LL a tutu. Nothing for herself. Just a pink and purple sparkly tutu for our tiny, twirlin' ballerina.

54. We love to sing duets together. We try to harmonize. We think we're pretty good. If it happens to be a song sung by a man and woman, ELC always and graciously sings the man's part. She can sing lower than I can -- we are well aware of our "registers." (I don't know if I used that word correctly -- I hear them saying that on "The Voice" all of the time.)

55. For many years, she would send me flowers on my birthday -- always three roses.

56. She loves stars. You can often find her rocking on the front porch, gazing up at the sky.

57. She loves tulle. We both love to wrap presents with it -- it makes the cutest bows.

58. She not-so-secretly wishes she was a cowgirl. She loves boots and horses.

59. She's a survivor.

60. She's kind and brave. Honest and soulful. She's the best woman I will ever know.

ELC -- I hope you've truly had the happiest birthday month. You deserve it. I can easily think of ONE MILLION things that I adore about you. You make me and LL and My Sweet Dad "happy when skies are grey." We hope you know how much we love you.

Forever and ever and a day.

Friday, March 28, 2014

part trois

31. ELC taught me how to use hot rollers. It's the only way I know how to fix my hair. It's the only way to make sure it's "Texas BIG."

32. Every two to three months, she'll restock my hairspray supply of our favourite: Vita/e.

33. She types AMAZINGLY fast. I'm certain she could easily win some kind of "speed typing" contest. I love to watch her type. (So does My Sweet Dad!)

34. She makes the fluffiest scrambled eggs. Her trick is to constantly stir them. No matter how hard I try, I can't duplicate them.

35. Her favourite perfume is Estée Lauder's "Knowing." It's her "signature scent." She's worn it for as long as I can remember. After she's come for a visit, I can walk into the bedroom where she stays and catch a slight whiff of her perfume. It makes me smile. She knows just the right amount to wear.

36. Her favourite flowers are daisies, pansies and yellow roses. We fell in love with daisies after watching "You've Got Mail." They're the happiest and "friendliest" flower.

37. Her favourite hymn is "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God." It was her Nana's, too. And it's mine. We sing it to Little Leighton.

38. She joyfully takes LL on walks around my neighborhood to see the ducks and geese. They talk and laugh together.

39. Every last time LL looks up at her and asks, "Hold you?" (LL's way of saying, "Please hold me!") -- ELC does. She says hearing that is "music to her ears."

40. She collects bears and angels.

41. She loves old rotary telephones.

42. She loves Doris Day movies. I remember watching "Pillow Talk" with her when I was younger. If I ever randomly catch it on TV, I must watch it.

43. She used to faithfully wear Estée Lauder's "Apple Cordial" lip liner. Then it was (wrongfully) discontinued. Now she faithfully wears "Fig." You will never see her without lip liner. And, for her birthday this year, I'll wear some, too. That will be her most favourite gift. Bless her heart.

44. She LOVES to read. She started reading to me the moment she found out she was pregnant. I have no doubt that is why I love to read, too. I hope and pray I'm passing that love on to LL by following ELC's example.

45. She has the most beautiful smile I've ever seen! I'm not biased. Her whole face lights up when she smiles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

the next 15 favourite things...

...about my ELC!

16. She doesn't like turning left...she will drive out of the way to make right turns only. She needs to work for UPS!

17. She will always split meals with me. Even salads. (I equally love how much it drives My Sweet Dad bonkers that we share everything.)

18. I adore her passion for numerology.

19. And angels! My Sweet Mom is very spiritual.

20. She taught me how to pray. I remember holding her hand at night and saying, in this order, "Now I Lay Me," "The Lord's Prayer" and then she would say a "special" prayer. I love talking to God, and it's because of her.

21. When I had my left ear pierced for a second time, she did, too! She was over 40. And fabulous. People are always worried we're missing an earring when they see two piercings in our left ears and only one in our rights. We just laugh and smile. It's one of our quirks!

22. Her favourite color has always been blue. It's mine, too.

23. She mails me articles and clippings from newspapers and magazines that she thinks are helpful or encouraging. She says her Nana used to do this, too.

24. For as long as I can remember, she sings me the "birthday song" whenever she first talks to me on my birthday. "It's your birthday! It's your birthday! Happy birthday!" I look forward to that little tune every year! I think she must have written and composed it herself!

25. I had a hardship license when I was 15. I worked at a flower shop and delivered flowers. However, I had "restrictions." I could only drive between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. by myself. So, if it was after hours and a friend and I wanted to go cruise around the Sonic in my hometown, ELC would sit in the back seat and basically crawl onto the floorboards when we would pull into Sonic -- so we could pretend we were by ourselves. What a trooper and what a Mom!

26. She "shares" her friends with me. She has several of the most amazing, kind, generous ladies in her life. I'm blessed to call them my friends, too.

27. She patiently lets Little Leighton ransack her purse every time she comes to visit us. LL literally pulls it all out and scatters it across the floor. ELC just giggles and plays right along.

28. Her laugh. She makes me laugh so hard I cry. She reminds me that laughter truly has healing powers!

29. We also share a favourite movie -- You've Got Mail. We can basically recite it word-for-word. We can't wait to show it to LL someday.

30. She saves TV shows on her DVR for me to watch when I come to visit. The newest one (which she mentioned recently in a post) -- Private Lives of Nashville Wives. She knows I'll always appreciate a good reality show.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lasagna, Turtles and The Sugarbakers

Of course, on this Fabulous Friday in North Central Texas, I can’t NOT respond to TLC’s precious post this past Tuesday. It made me smile, laugh and sniffle a time or two.

I’m so truly and deeply sorry that you’ve only had my lasagna about three times in your thirty years on Earth, TLC. I should be ashamed. I AM ashamed. Promise. But, actually, once a decade? That ain’t bad for your old Mama, right? No. It is bad. I’m a hopelessly pathetic Chef/Cook.

I’d also like to apologize for the fact that you’ve only enjoyed my Turtle Cake about three times in the past (same) thirty years. Oh, OH. How embarrassing.

At least I can say you’ve had tons o’ my salads in your young life. For that culinary fact, I’m proud. I thank you for complimenting me on this talent (?) I do seem to have.

I have no explanation as to why I’ve always loved jewelry. My Nana didn’t wear a lot. My mother didn’t really wear a lot. Yet, I am positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I loved it early on. Like four years old early. I don’t need expensive jewelry (Although, when Dad asked me to marry him and I realized he couldn’t afford to buy me a diamond ring, I opted for matching wedding bands. I wanted a BIG rock—or nothing. Who knew that might mean I’d NEVER, ever get a big rock?!?) The truth is I won’t allow Dad to spend a wad of dough on jewelry for me. As I’ve shared in the past, I adore David Yurman (but not the really expensive/fancy pieces), James Avery and Brighton. I take care of my jewelry and wear what I have over and over and over…That’s the way I seem to roll. I'm the same about purses, aren't I, TLC? One purse for six months (Spring/Summer) and my other for six months (Fall/Winter). I am what I am. Sigh.

I’m confident my love of cardinals was passed down to me through My Nana. She loved birds. All birds, really. She loved gardening and being outside. When I see a cardinal—even if I see one or more every day for many days or weeks in a row—I never get tired of their beauty. I almost always get a little tear in my eye. Seeing them makes me miss Nana. Very, very much. (She’s been gone for twenty-eight years. I can’t really believe that.)

Loving glitter, I suspect, goes hand in hand with my love of sparkly jewels! Ha! I do want to let our Friends know I don’t wear a lot of glitter on my eyes or as part of my makeup. That would be wrong—and too weird. I wish I could! But I feel there comes a time, in every woman’s life, when less is more. When a thick layer of glitter could lodge itself in one’s wrinkles and that would not be a good look for someone over the age of fifty. Or a gal significantly past the age of fifty. Oh, okay. I can say it. Someone who is about to be SIXTY. Sheesh.

Hallmark cards? Therapy for me. They have been for at least forty years. The beautiful, descriptive words? The scenes and pictures and colors? The wit and humor? LOVE. I think I like to send cards—and always have—because the members of my generation were letter writers. I was never a stamp collector—but I had friends that were. I’ve enjoyed finding pretty stamps for a long, long time. (Especially now that you can look at and order them on-line.) I search for special and/or meaningful stamps. It’s fun to “coordinate” your card/stationary with the postage you put on it. Or maybe I should say it’s fun for me. I realize not everyone even cares—or notices—the stamps on a letter or card. I can’t take credit for my handwriting. That, in my opinion, goes to genetics and some of the AMAZING teachers (One teacher, in particular, was actually what I'd describe as "demanding!") I had as a child/elementary school student. Now cursive handwriting is about to be extinct. I hate that. Even “bad” handwriting is innerstin...

Yep—love my country music. With all of my heart and soul. I actually enjoy sooo many kinds of music. Heck, almost every kind—with the exception of opera. I admire opera singers for their talent and dedication. I don’t really understand opera—the stories and plots and characters. The point. People have told me I need to attend an opera with someone who can explain it all to me. That might be true. I think, at this time in my life, I’ll stick with Miranda, Blake, Martina and Brad. Oh, and ADELE and PINK! Thank YOU, TLC, for requiring me, over the years, to be open to the music you love and listen to. I’d say 90% of it is magnificent!

I’m not very hopeful that I’ll ever be asked to sing our National Anthem at even a local ballgame. Much less the Super Bowl or World Series. I can dream…and I will…

Designing Women? One of the BEST TV SHOWS EVER. Ever. Amen.

I'm extremely grateful for all of your kind words, TLC. (Can't wait to see the next 45...YIKES...Forty-Five!) I do so love you, Dearest Daughter O’ Mine…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

these are a few of my favourite things...

about ELC!

In honour of her SIX decades, I wanted to share SIXTY of my favourite things about My Sweet Mama -- though there truly is no end to how many things I love about ELC.

Today, I'll start with 15 -- these are in no particular oder:

1. Her lasagna.

2. Her "Turtle Cake."

3. Her YUMMY salads.

4. Her love of jewelry (especially PEARLS)! Her Nana would call her "Miss Got Rocks" when she was little.

5. Her love of pretty cardinals. They hold a very special place in our hearts!

6. Her love of glitter -- especially glittery eyeshadow.

7. She ALWAYS finds the best Hallmark cards for any and all occasions.

8. And she mails said cards with the most "appropriate" and perfect stamps. She puts a lot of thought into her stamp purchases.

9. Her handwriting. It's impeccable.

10. Her passion for country music.

11. But also exposing me to many others -- like The Beatles, James Taylor and The Carpenters.

12. Our shared-love of Adele and Pink.

13. Her not-so-secret wish of singing the National Anthem at some kind of sporting event -- be it a baseball or football game.

14. Introducing me to Designing Women.

15. She always reminds me to put on lipstick, pack an extra pair shoes if I'm wearing some that are new and potentially uncomfy and to stand up straight. I love her for those little reminders.

Please stay tuned for the next installment!

Until then, have a HAPPY day!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Intervention

Despite the fact that TLC wants to do the rest of this month’s posts about me, I feel I must intervene! YIKES—twenty-four pictures of me in your My Sweet ELC post? That’s about twenty-three more than I'd have liked, Dearest Darling Daughter-o’-Mine. (Of course, I do so appreciate the way you came up with that number. Yes. Yes, I am intrigued by Numerology and am proud that I’m a “Life Path 6.”)

I can honestly say I don’t enjoy being the subject of photographs. I think this started when I was in 5th grade when, upon seeing my “school” pictures, I realized I looked like a frog. Seriously. I had too, too many awkward years of development and I think I was permanently traumatized by that difficult year. Well, okay. There were other iffy ages. Thirteen. Eighteen. Forty. Fifty. Sigh.

We can’t escape people with cameras. Or, now, cellphones that have cameras. And video capabilities. In fact, I remind all of my loved ones, quite often, that we should assume we’re being photographed or videoed. Everywhere. Always. Although I’ve come to accept TLC is going to force me to “SMILE!”, I pray these moments are tres limited. As few and as far-between as possible.

The first picture on your post, TLC? My calves and ankles look atrocious. The one where I’ve fallen asleep with Little Leighton in the rocking chair? Lovely. Simply beautiful. (At least my mouth wasn’t open, right?)

I’ve decided, on this Spring-Is-Almost-Here! Sunday in North Central Texas, I’ll embrace your enthusiasm with my some of my own and that I’ll count myself lucky you didn’t decide to do SIXTY pictures of moi…Lordy.

Sixty. It’s getting closer and closer by the day…

Gotta scoot. Need to take some deep, cleansing breaths...
smooches...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

my sweet elc...

As you lovely readers know, My Sweet ELC celebrates six decades this month!

Because she is so dedicated to our blog and has really covered for me as I have navigated pregnancy exhaustion, newborn exhaustion and toddler exhaustion, I wanted to take the reins and write the next few posts. And, guess what? Those posts will be ALL about ELC!

I've been trying to save all of the pictures on my computer to some kind of external-hard-drive-thing-a-ma-jig (technical term). In the process, I've come across some of my favourite pictures of ELC, and I had to share a few. Okay...quite a few! (I did 24 because 2 + 4 = 6 and you know ELC and her numerology!) Y'all may have seen some of these before. I hope you'll humour me.

(ELC -- I hope you "approve" of these pictures. I love you and every memory we have! You are the most amazing Mom and "Mam.")

After a long day of nursery decorating:



Many a nap was spent just like this:








Modeling our Piggy Pajamas in Fredericksburg, Texas:

Our "Girls Only" trip to St. Thomas and Mom and Dad in Montana:


More modeling:

Little Leighton's first trip to the Fort Worth Zoo:






With Nelly and Sunny:





In Gruene, Texas:


And, finally, I like to call this Patriotic Modeling:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sacrifices

I won’t lie. I’m none too good at making sacrifices. I'm not proud of this, either.

I’ll confess there are quite a number of things I should sacrifice—as of thirty years ago: letting frustrations get to me; sugar; chocolate; carbs—in general; Diet Dews (I have, however, cut down to ½ every few days…ONE HALF! I literally pour half down my sink. That is HUGE for moi! Yes, and wasteful. But it's for a good cause, right?); Diet Vanilla Cokes from Sonic (This addiction, too, is one I am making significant improvements on for my well-being—aarrrgggghhhhh...); sitting (As in sitting on my couch toooooooo much, watching the telly, and not moving around enough to get my metabolism going. Yep. Me loves to sit.); being shamefully disorganized. Etc. Etc. Etc.  I could probably list about thirty more issues/things/foods/bad habits I need to immediately sacrifice. I won't. You’re welcome.

Instead, at this time of year, i.e. Lent, I’d like to share that TLC and I spend a few days prior to Ash Wednesday discussing what we should give up. When she was young, I encouraged her to challenge herself. My siblings and I learned, early on, if we gave up something we didn’t even need/want/or have, Lent went a lot smoother! It was wrong. So wrong.

I’ve gained weight and I’m mad at myself. TLC has lost a lot of weight and I’m mad at her. (Just kiddin'. Honestly. I am!) Anyway, the logical thing for me to do was to try, once again, in Jesus’ name, to give up sugar. Instead, I made it “snacks.” Mostly because at least 3/4ths of our "snacks" involve sugar and/or chocolate. We both indulge in snacks. Every day. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes four times a day. (I could be considered out of control.)

We determined we'd only have three meals a day. (We use the term "meals" rather loosely because we both normally have very light breakfasts and mostly light dinners/suppers.)  I repeat: No snacks. None. ESPECIALLY zero after our last meal. Our hope is that Jesus’ sacrifice will inspire us. (Two nights ago, as I watched TV, I had to pray these words: Please, Jesus. Help me. Help me to stay on this couch or go to my bedroom and get in bed. Before I head to that kitchen and snack. Please, Jesus. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. I’m proud to say my plea must have been heard. I went to bed without a sidetrack by the fridge.)

So far, so good...but it has just been four days. Kiddin'. Again. WE CAN DO THIS.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Six Decades...

Well, Folks/Friends, in three weeks-ish, I’ll celebrate the BIG Six-O. 60. Wwhhhaaaattttt? How and when did this happen?

Please don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for every single day I’m blessed with Life on this Earth.

I didn’t mind 30. I’d just had TLC—she was the BEST GIFT EVER.

I wasn’t going to mind 40. (I got to plan my own Surprise Party—Ha!) But then I was diagnosed with breast cancer six weeks later. I had a modified radical mastectomy of my left breast and six chemo treatments over the next four months. Spent five more years on Tamoxifen (nicknamed chemo-in-a-pill—it was only tough the first three weeks and then it leveled out). That’s how I remember 40. Breast cancer.

50? It’s not that I was upset about it. I really just couldn’t believe I was there. I didn’t feel like a 50-year-old person. Whatever the heck that feeling is, I suppose. I went totally deaf in my left ear at 54. No explanation. No treatment. Can’t even wear a hearing aide. There’s nothing left to “aide.” Was grateful it wasn’t both my ears.  Had my first broken bone at 55. Broke my right wrist (I’m right-handed, of course.) falling down in our shower one morning. (I was in a HUGE hurry to meet two high school friends, in Ft. Worth, for lunch. They teased me about the lengths I went to to get out of that date!) Was grateful it wasn’t my hip or leg. Or neck.

Now, sixty? Hasta la vista, fifties. Sixty! I’m ready for you. BRING IT ON.

(Feel free, at this point, to practice singing me the Birthday Song, okay?)

Smooches and hugs from a Senior Citizen in Texas…Sigh…

Monday, March 3, 2014

asparagus?

Little Leighton and I are currently visiting ELC and My Sweet Dad (MSD) in the good ol' country! We arrived on Friday and were originally planning on heading back north come Sunday, but the truly bonkers Texas weather had other plans. On Saturday, it was 85 degrees in this part of North Central Texas. By Sunday morning, the temperatures dropped about 65 degrees and there was sleet! It's even colder today, so LL and I decided to hunker down with my folks and stay warm and cozy for a few more days.


After LL's nap on Saturday afternoon, we all decided we had a hankerin' for some frozen yogurt -- or "mo-yo" as MSD calls it. We piled in my SUV and headed into town. LL didn't have socks and shoes on. I didn't have makeup on. MSD was driving, so ELC was nominated to go into the mo-yo store. MSD and I did fret a bit the whole time she was inside -- we thought she might be a little "chintzy" with our toppings. We are very particular. We like the "low-fat" (no time for that non-fat mumbo-jumbo) white chocolate frozen yogurt, topped with lots o' Heath and Butterfinger. Luckily for us, she was quite generous. Our fears were for naught -- we decided she was a better "mo-yo maker" than me! Even LL got in on the action. She shared a little mo-yo with ELC -- just plain white chocolate -- and loved every bite. It was her first frozen yogurt experience. She now requests "yo-yo" at breakfast, lunch and dinner.


As we were cruisin' down the main drag of my hometown, this was the conversation I had with MSD:


TLC: Dad -- my massage therapist told me that there was going to be a big switch-a-roo with the two grocery stores in town. One is building in a new location and the other is moving into the "old" location of the other one -- but completely revamping it. Have you heard anything about it?


MSD: Hmmm. No -- I haven't heard that.


He sat there quietly for a few seconds, as if he was really contemplating something. Then he says:


MSD: Now, who did you hear that from? You said her last name was "Asparagus?"


At that point, I practically spit out my yogurt. I had tears rolling down my face from laughing. I said:


TLC: Dad -- do you know anyone on this earth that has the last name "Asparagus?"


MSD: Well, I guess not.


This man -- intentionally and sometimes unintentionally -- keeps us all in stitches. I love him so much for that and his silly "interpretations" of what we're saying.


Happy Monday, y'all!