My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some Fall Photos and Halloween Stuff

Happy Halloween! No trick-or-treaters here at Cedar Hollow as our driveway is steep and dark and there are no kids that live back this way. I'm down in the Whine Cellar looking at all the Facebook postings of my friends kids and grandkids in their cutie-patootie costumes. Here's a picture of my nieces that my sister-in-law just posted:

Sarabeth is a purple crayon (which Jamie clarified to "wisteria crayon, that's what it says on it." because Jamie is a Gant and we must always be as literal as possible) and Jamie is a gypsy. She wanted to be Esmerelda (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) but it being an older Disney release, there weren't any Esmerelda costumes out their so she amended it to gypsy. Of course, Aunt Heather had to go into a long story about the Roma people and how hard their lives are and how I had seen an article about the poverty and illiteracy among them. Because, you know, just being a plain old gypsy wouldn't be enough. She has to really understand her role. Sarabeth just likes purple. Notice how long her hair is? We took another vow the other day not to cut our hair. I don't know how much longer I'll make it because mine is so dry. I don't mind the little bit of gray but I hate the texture. Hers of course is gorgeous.

Anyways... Halloween... what great memories... when the kids were little we lived in a mega-subdivision that had so much trick-or-treat traffic that you just camped out on the porch and hoped you didn't run out of candy. It was a constant stream. When I was selling Avon (yes, I used to sell Avon and I actually made a little money at it) I would hand all the moms an Avon book and some samples and I got a good bit of business that way. I heard someone on tv talking about a neighborhood where they hand out candy to the kids and fill the parents wine glasses as they walk along. Sounds congenial and neighborly and all that but I'm not sure as a mom it would be a good idea for me to be in charge of excited young children who are hyped up on sugar if I'm a bit woozy.

With three kids we went through a lot of Halloween costumes over the years but honestly, I can't remember most of them. What I remember is the stress of trying to afford all the things the kids wanted and always being that loser who was at Party City the day before Halloween trying to find something that my kids and my budget both agreed on. Probably the most memorable costume was the year that Ryan went as the Unabomber. He was nine. Always on top of the news, that one. It was a simple costume - a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.

We've had three family members over the years that got attached to a particular costume and wore it all the time - not just at Halloween. First was my brother Michael who WAS the Lone Ranger, complete with mask and cowboy boots. (That's not embarrassing for an adolescent - going out in public with a little Lone Ranger clone).

My brother Bryan wore a cat costume for what seemed like years. He had the whole meowing and eating on the floor with the cats thing. Although now we have the cats' food on the dining room table - because we don't eat there and it keeps the dogs from eating their food. Being a cat would be much easier on him now.

Austin was attached to his grim reaper robe which was a little creepy in and of itself - but then the son of a good friend of ours was tragically killed in a game of Russian Roulette. We left Austin at my mom's while we went to the funeral which was, as you can imagine, a very emotional and sad situation. Then we pull in mom's driveway to pick Austin up and he runs out the door in the grim reaper costume and - we just lost it! The irony was too ridiculous for anything but laughter. And as we all know, "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." - Steel Magnolias.

I made a trip into town this morning not really because we needed anything but more because I needed to get out for a bit. The leaves are finally becoming colorful and I took a lot of pictures as I drove. They aren't great quality because the only way to make them not blurry is to take the picture from straight ahead, looking through the windshield and my windshield is pretty dirty. Still... what I lack in content I make up for in pictures so here goes - hope you enjoy! Have a great Halloween, y'all!

 the horse at the end of our road.

 These colors are starting to come out more just over the past two days. I've got to get back out and about tomorrow to enjoy a little more "color" before the weekend. This will probably be a big tourist weekend.

 The road is loooong...
You can't really see a lot of color on the mountain yet... still to come, I hope. Some years we have really vivid colors and sometimes not so much. It seems like I remember that the color is brighter in years of drought for some reason. This was the wettest year in my lifetime so I guess it's possible that we won't have a true "peak" of color.
 The pumpkin patch at the Catholic Church. I know I've shared this already but I still think it's one of the best fall scenes around here.
 
 The old truck with the sort of muted color of the tree made this feel like an older picture to me.
My doctors office with the mountain in the background. If you get put in one of the patient rooms in the back of the building, you get to look out at this while you wait. Honestly, it doesn't make the wait any better.

 Our old drive to our old apartment. That place was a bit rundown and I certainly went through a lot physically while we lived there but it was always a pretty view and so very quiet. Not as quiet as it is here on the lake but quiet.
 In this little stretch of road there is one tree that is always the most colorful of them all. One day when we were driving I said to Austin, "look at that tree"... because to me it was so obvious which one stood out among the forest. Austin, because he has a double dose of literal-ness (not a word) being both a Gant and having that whole autism thing going for him was flabbergasted that I would expect him to know which tree I was talking about and still, to this day, many years later, will frequently make the comment as we drive by this spot, "look at that tree". It's our thing.
Last but not least... the view as I headed down the driveway this morning. Never grows old.














Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cats + String = Good Times!

Take a piece of string... wrap a screw in a piece of plastic and tie it to the end of the string. Add a teenage boy and two cats and you've got entertainment for days! Or at least until the plastic gets shredded and the screw hits the sliding glass door. Don't worry, the glass didn't break.



Trouble is still a very frisky kitty and loves chasing things. He is so hilarious when he gets on his hind legs and jumps for things.


Even Stubby couldn't resist after watching the fun for a little while. They worked together to gain control. 



It was the most fun we've had in days!

I made a quick trip to Leaf Grocery (it's a little gas station that also sells food, it's the closest store to us) and noticed that we're really starting to see some fall color. The trees around the lake are really starting to get colorful and the reflection off the lake is beautiful.

I stepped outside with Oscar this afternoon and let him crunch around in the leaves. He much prefers the backyard to the front yard poop pen.



Mom made applesauce bread this morning and it was soooo good! Yesterday she made peanut butter cookies. I still haven't tried my hand at making a pound cake but I will, some day. This is the kind of weather that lends itself to baking.

The pain of the day today is joint pain. Less of the hernia/whateveritis pain and more of the joint aches and pains. Not bad enough to need the "hard stuff". That's a good day.

Last month I ordered some leggings from zulily. I don't subscribe to the "one size fits all" notion and I don't believe all body types should go out in public in leggings. One of the cashiers at Walmart yesterday had on leggings with her Walmart smock. She was a good sized woman and the leggings were tight enough that you saw every jiggle. I was surprised that it passed dress code.  I ordered leggings in my actual size because yes, they do make them. My leggings came today and they are the softest material my legs have ever felt. It was like every nerve in my legs was singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I promise, fair citizens of White County, not to assault your eyes by venturing out in public in these comfy things but if you stop by Cedar Hollow, all bets are off. Of course, by the time you pass Serendipity (the nudist resort around the corner) you've already needed eye bleach.

UPS Man, you have been warned.

Of course most delivery men around here are of the drop and dash variety. They hear Oscar and see Lily and think they're about to lose a limb.

Anyways. That was my Tuesday. Love and hugs, y'all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Took My Girls to the WalMart

I woke up this morning feeling like I was sleeping in a straight jacket. As it turns out... I was just being cuddled by three furry beasts. My camera was on the night stand so I grabbed it and snapped a picture first thing...


See that barely twelve inches of space allotted for my legs? Not as cozy as you might think. You can't see Stubby in this picture. He has just now figured out that he can climb up the little chair beside my bed to get up on the bed. We slept on top of an electric blanket because there was a chill in the air and my back was in spasms at bedtime last night. 

Ever heard of the Princess and the Pea? On top of my mattress there is a foam mattress pad, a comforter, a down mattress pad (on just one side) a quilt, two fuzzy blankets, another comforter, an electric blanket, me, three cats and another fuzzy blanket. We will never freeze. 

This is a picture of the kitties from the other angle. I had a devil of a time climbing out of the bed which is already a tad bit high for me. 


I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing Little Kitty sleeping belly up... he looks so furry here!


That strange half-bald creature is Stubby, trying to find a place to stretch out since the other two cats were hogging the bed. I also really love it when my little penguin of a cat tries to groom his belly. It looks like he's doing sit ups!


Or like a turtle trying to flip over. Or like me trying to get out of bed when there are cats on either side of me. My stomach muscles are the pits after almost three years of not really being able to engage my core. And now that I have this new issue which Doctor Hottie thinks is a hernia but of course we're not sure until we do the costly work up that I can't afford to do. It could also be a cyst - there was one when they did my first MRI but it was another one of those, "let's leave it alone for now" deals. Either way... it comes and goes and although it's a different kind of pain, I'm growing accustomed to living with pain. Even when it's my day to pick up the girls. 

Sarabeth has chorus on Mondays until 3:20. Jamie has to be picked up by... 3:15? I think? I'm not even sure. I just head over there some time between 2:45 and 2:55 and we're never the last in line. I pick Jamie up and then we sit in the parking lot for - however long it is - and I get some quality one on one with Jamie before Sister joins us. Today I painted Jamie's nails and she read to me. Man, I love that kid!


She loved the blue, by the way. 

This afternoon I needed to go to Walmart to get yarn for Mawmaw to make a new afghan. She's crocheting as a way to entertain herself without putting too much strain on her heart. They ran a bunch of tests on her last week and things are ok other than her heart not relaxing in between beats like it should. She's had tachycardia (like me) for awhile. She gets out of breath and dizzy sometimes so she's taking on more sedentary things. 

In addition to the yarn, I had promised the girls a few dollars to spend at the dollar store, which turned into a few dollars to spend at Walmart since we were going there. And since I hadn't gotten SB a birthday present yet, I gave her the option of picking out something for her birthday... and, to be fair, gave Jamie the option of an early birthday present (her birthday is in December) so she was able to shop, too. 

I'm not great with Walmart because it's so big, which means a lot of walking. It wasn't bad today because we had a pre-determined game plan and went straight to the craft section and then straight to the toy section and they are both on the same side of the store. 

The girls are still adjusting to the idea that I have a handicapped tag and are always worried that we're going to get in trouble for parking in the handicapped spots. Jamie saw the sign that said "maximum fine $500" and she wanted me to hang the little thing from my rearview mirror in addition to having the license plate "just to be sure". And then as it turned out there was an open spot right beside the handicapped parking (and no handicapped spaces available) so Jamie was worried that if you had a handicapped tag you couldn't park in a non-handicapped space. She's a worrier, that one. She also wanted to help push the cart so it would be easier for me. 

Sarabeth wasn't sure what she wanted for her birthday. I suggested that she get another Georgia sweat jacket (the one I got her for Christmas two years ago has been her favorite jacket ever since!) and when she hesitated I teased her that "you might not want to advertise that you're for them right now since they've been losing". She said, "Aunt Heather you ALWAYS have to stand behind your team!". And she told me about a shirt she saw that said, "My favorite team is Georgia - and any team that is playing Florida". Football in the South is about good old fashioned hate and we teach the ways of rivalry to our young. She gets it already. 
Sarabeth, 11 years old, tall and lean! 

Anyways... two girls trying to make a decision about how to spend their little birthday budget takes longer than I expected. I also didn't realize how hard it would be to have two girls who wanted to shop on two separate aisles of the store - not wanting to take my eyes off either one for a split second. I did a lot of standing in the end cap between two aisles darting my eyes back and forth like I was at a tennis match. In the end, Sarabeth picked the game "Apples to Apples" and Jamie picked some anime looking rainbow doll. Both went over budget but they're my only girls and you only live once! And with 2/3 of my children living a good distance away, these two girls may be the ones helping to pick my nursing home. I want them to remember that Aunt Heather always tried to make things good for them. 
Jamie ponders the Barbie Microphone as a choice... 


It was funny... as we were talking about their budget and what kind of things they might want to buy, Sarabeth asked if there was anything they couldn't buy. I said, "yes. beer." and she added, "cigarettes" "Lottery tickets..." I added. She came back with "marijuana and other drugs". It's red ribbon week at their school so they're especially aware of the evils of these things. 

Even mundane things like a trip to Walmart is so much fun when you can go with people that you love and enjoy spending time with. As a single, empty-nester, I spend way too much time alone in stores. It's not that I shop that often but even for things like picking up groceries... it's much nicer if someone will go with me. 

As soon as we got back to their house, their dad was right behind us. I won't see 'em again until Sunday when we're all riding down into civilization together for Grandma's 90th birthday party. I've gotten to the point that I can take percocet without feeling altered at all mentally. I almost feel like my mind is sharper because I can focus on something other than pain. But if I take percocet, I can't drive and I will sort of crash physically at some point and get really sleepy... so even when it wears off I can't really drive until I've had a good sleep and since none of us is looking to spend the night at the Motel 6 in Woodstock, Georgia, me, mom and Austin will ride with Jim and Angie and the girls. I'm very excited about this party. It's going to hurt - it's a lot more sitting than I've been doing between riding the hour and a half (guessing) it will take us to get to the restaurant, a couple of hours there and then the long ride back. That's a lot out of my spine in one day but ninety is a big deal. Grandma is a big deal. She's had an amazing life. I'm so proud of the book I made for her. After the birthday party I'll make it available for any of y'all who want to look at a sneak peak of the project. I hope it's something she'll be happy with. I kinda sorta want to get my hair done one day this week so I'll look freshly coiffed for photos. I want this to be a very special day for our family. 

Anyways... I've rambled on for about an hour. That's about all the goodies from today. Mama made peanut butter cookies today and they turned out really awesome. I'm anxious to do some holiday baking but I don't really have that many people I see that I would bestow that type of gift on. So if you're in Helen in December, stop by and say hello and get you some fudge or cookies or whatever. 

We found another comforter to try with my purple wall. I really need some purple pillowcases or shams but for now... this is what we've got:


It's a really light pattern and I'm not sure it's what I'm going for. It's reversible so I may flip it tomorrow and see if it looks better that way. 

Hope you all had a great day. Thanks for stopping by! Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Weekend and Another Episode From The Vault

And... *blink*... another weekend dashes by. I'd recap it for you but it looks pretty much like this:


Actually. There are a few things new around here....


A DIY blue manicure for me. Note to self: don't try to take a selfie of your hand when there's a friendly dachshund nearby. Oscar is licking my thumb here. 

As you can see, I'm a nail biter. I found the nail polish for a dollar at Dollar General this morning and thought it might deter me from biting my nails for a bit. It was also something different. I've never done any nail color except traditional pinks and reds and so forth, even when I used to keep acrylic nails. 

That was back in the season of life where I believed that you could weigh as much as you wanted as long as you did your hair and makeup, kept a good tan and had acrylic nails to deflect from the excess poundage. 

Not that I bought this nail color to deflect anything. I'm beyond that stage. What you see is what you get. 

Anyways. 

I also have a new (to me) comforter on my bed. I have been so desperate for something to tie in the purple wall and sage green curtains and new bedding is not currently in the budget. This old thing is so old that it was previously used to block out the light in Austin's old room and was one of the few things in his  room that survived the fire. True story. It's a relic. And it will do for now. 


Eddie approves. 

The weather has been unremarkable. I haven't cooked anything interesting this weekend because we've had plenty of leftovers... but I did take this picture last week and have yet to share it. We call these "english muffin pizzas" but they really don't taste like pizza. It's just a very thin beef patty on an english muffin, topped with a stewed tomato, a little ring of bell pepper and parmesan cheese, drizzled with olive oil. The olive oil really makes a difference. Austin loves these and it's a good way to stretch a tiny bit of meat. 


They are quite tasty. 

I just finished watching The King's Speech so I'm typing in an English accent. I have this fun habit of not watching a movie when it's in the theatre or when comes out on video or even when it's on cable. I love to wait until all the buzz has died down and then there's this great movie just waiting for me to see it. I do the same thing with tv shows. More fun to catch things on the downswing, don't you think? 

Ok. More from the vault. This time I'll share some of my Teen Mom memories with you. 

Ryan - who we all, to this day, still call "BooBoo" or "Boo" for short - was my practice child. My starter child. My guinea pig. How he survived at all is a testament to God's grace over our family. I was 18 when he was born. His father was 17. When we first got married (before Ryan was born) we lived with my husband's mother who was (and still is, I presume) near about crazy. Not fun crazy but a super sized episode of Hoarders crazy. Her husband died in Vietnam in 1969 and when I married her son in 1986 she still had every article of clothing, every book, anything Papa Ned had ever touched still in that house. People say she raised Robert with a ghost. 

Anyways... she also expected us to pay 2/3 of the household expenses since we were 2/3 of the household. This was particularly difficult because her son was still in high school and I was the only one working at that time. She was already on disability by then (I think she was about my age now, come to think of it). I was super sick with morning sickness and getting to work was a hugely uncomfortable ordeal and then I had to turn my entire paycheck over to her for us to have one tiny little bedroom and a shared bath. No thanks. 

Then we moved to my parents house which was crowded but cheaper. When Ryan was about five months old we moved to an apartment that was so crazy run down - it was $330 a month but it had a huge mold problem and he had bad asthma. We didn't last long there. After that we moved to Stratford Arms which was slightly nicer, right across the street from my parents. Stratford Arms were townhouses - you know, because every young couple with a toddler needs to live in a house with stairs. We not only had stairs in the apartment but also leading up to the front door was a steep set of concrete stairs. I was afraid to go downstairs by myself when Ryan needed a bottle at night so I would make his dad go fix the bottle. He wised up and started fixing a cooler with bottles to bring upstairs at night so he didn't have to go downstairs.

I worried myself sick about Ryan falling down those stairs in the apartment - which he did, a few times. But the worst was the day he tumbled down those concrete stairs in front of the house. Poor kid hit every step while I stood there screaming like I had lost my mind. It went in slow motion. I ran to the bottom of the stairs expecting him to be knocked out and half dead or at least screaming and instead he looked at me and said, "Mommy said, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God". Which was indeed, about what I said. I don't think he even cried. 

In the movie Fried Green Tomatoes there's a line where they say there's a separate God for children. I think there's a separate God for children who have children. Ryan was such a sick baby. He got sick at six weeks old and I don't think he was well until he was 12 years old. I can't tell you how many nights I spent sleeping on the floor beside his bed to make sure he was breathing and then he started smoking as a teenager. All that time I invested in those lungs! He had pneumonia time after time after time. His baby and toddler years were one big blur of sickness.  His resistance was so low he had to go once a month for intravenous gamma globulin treatments. We would sit in a little room for three hours while he got his treatment. He was such a pro at it. At three he would tell the nurses, "you can use this vein here but this one... it's got a little valve in it and it won't work well". 

Ryan was born grown. He had a serenity and maturity about him that made you feel like he had done this before. He's one of those kids who makes you believe in reincarnation (I don't really believe in it). We didn't have to worry about him breaking anything or getting into poisons or trying to put his fingers in a socket. He just knew what to do and what not to do. 

I've always said that it wasn't hard to be a teenage parent. I knew how to handle babies because I had little brothers. What's hard is having wisdom and life experience enough to parent a grown person when I'm still figuring things out myself. 

So there you go... a few tales from my own edition of Teen Mom. 

Hope your weekend was good. Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photo Phinish Phriday + A Ride in the Time Machine

Or is Foto Finish Friday better? Hmmmm....

I'm a little low on content today but that's never stopped me before! I'm even low on photos but... we'll make do.

The only feedback I got on things to blog about came from Barbara who wants to know more about my time in theatre and more about being a young mom. I'll do some mom tales later on this week but OH the stories I could tell about my life in the theatre! I used to want to write a book called, "Confessions of a Fag Hag: A Fairy Tale". Seriously. Being the best friend of a gay man... especially one who is dramatic and talented and all that... I have got me some stories to tell!

There truly were some amazing times when I was hanging out with people who were far more talented and creative than myself. I came to work in the theatre because my brothers were involved in the local community theatre... which led to my youngest brother being asked to join a dance company... which led to my kids being invited to come and take dance class... which led to them participating in The Nutcracker... which led to my introduction to Purple Michael... which led to me working with Michael on two shows: Footloose and Fiddler on the Roof.

Michael is magical. There is no other way to describe him. He has this personality that draws you in... unparalleled charm... he's handsome... and he has this incredible voice. Once we took a group of kids from the dance school to perform at a La Leche League Convention. Each group was going to do a dance number and then Michael was going to sing. We had prepared all of the children that these were nursing mommies and there could be breastfeeding and it was all perfectly natural and normal. We neglected to inform the gay man who was with us. Michael gets up to perform and he's singing this really sweet romantic song and THE MILK... BEGAN... TO FLOW...  He said he was singing and all of a sudden, "BAM... Out comes a breast... and another breast... and another breast..." I think he still has post traumatic stress from it today.

Michael first talked to me at The Nutcracker because I was sort of the stage mother to all the male performers because, well, half of them were related to me. He was a performer but he also had a crush on a male performer who had a close bond to me. We also had a mutual crush on a stagehand and it evolved into our first game of "who can get him first?". A game we played up until the time that Michael became exclusively partnered with Ross. The mutual crush turned out to be a short time thing for me. I don't even remember his name, to be honest. We went on one date and he was all handsy beyond what he earned on one date. Then he was sketchy and I didn't hear from him for a few days so I was sort of bummed about it so Michael invited me over to spend the night with him and his roommate Ken. We drank martinis in our pjs and had the best girl talk I've had in my life! Later, the crush guy found out I was hanging out with Michael and all of a sudden he wanted to come hang out. Which made me think... maybe he was just using me as a pathway to Michael?

Michael was the first gay man I had spent any sort of time with. As a born and bred Southern Baptist, I had always just thought of homosexuality as a sin and figured it was better for me to avoid it but... all of a sudden this "sin that I was supposed to avoid"  had a name and a face and a laugh that draws everyone in for miles around. He listened to me. He cared about me. He cared about my children. It didn't take long for us to become a family. We took care of each other. I will always struggle with what I know to be true in the bible and what I also know to be true in how gay men were my village when I was a single mom. That's another post in itself though. Let's move on.

Sometime during those first few months of our friendship, I lost my job. I had worked in Freight Forwarding and Customs Clearances that were done through the Atlanta Airport. After 9/11 the amount of freight going by air had dropped way off. I was the last hire so I was the first fired. I was devastated until Michael said, "hey... I'm directing these two shows with Clayton Alliance For Summer Theatre this Summer and I could really use your help. What I lacked in theatrical training, I made up for from being a single, working mommy of three boys - I knew how to handle the logistics of getting a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. I work well under pressure. I am protective of Michael which makes his job easier because I'm answering the questions that he didn't need to be bothered with and making sure he has time for the people who truly do need to see him. Michael took care of the creative aspect of the shows and I took care of the logistics of it. And made sure he ate. And made sure he got enough rest. And really, just mothered him.

I formed a lot of relationships through theatre and one of the early ones with with Joey, a high school senior from a very conservative family. Joey was ALL over the stage... he knew the ins and outs of theatre and was willing to teach me the things I needed to know... he was willing to do the things that needed to be done - anything from set dressing to hemming costumes - he could and did do anything we needed of him. He, like Michael, were likely to turn up at my little double wide trailer more than once a week. There was always something going on.

Joey wanted to audition for a show "Damn Yankees" at Stagedoor Players in Dunwoody. He was young... not really used to driving around Atlanta... I went along with him to the audition and after he got the part, I made several trips with him for rehearsals. If anyone needed my help with something... I did it. I made sure Joey was on time and fed throughout rehearsals and shows. I worked the front of the house selling tickets, selling concessions, being House Manager. I was there for every show. I felt like I belonged. That's how I met my dear Mr. Drake. (I could write another whole entry on my Adventures with Mr. Drake because he truly expanded my horizons!)

 And then Joey wanted to audition for The Rocky Horror Stage Show. Most of the show the characters are in corsets and little black panties. Joey was just turning 18. I wasn't sure he'd get it. We had just finished set strike for Damn Yankees and were rushing to get Joey to his Rocky Horror audition. I got almost all the way home and realized I had Joey's headshot in my car. SO I... on a Sunday evening, after having worked all day at set strike... drove all the way from Fayetteville to Decatur - probably a 45 minute drive - and ran down the steps into the green room (where the actors were waiting) saying, "I've got your picture, Joe!" I sounded like Mama Rose. And so I became Mama Rose.

So Joey DID get cast in Rocky Horror. I'll scan some pictures for you guys at another time (too tired tonight) and I ended up getting drafted to help build costumes. I worked on bedazzling the robe that Frank Furter wore... it was a delicious deep green trimmed in feather and with little sparkling jewels all over it. I worked on that on piece on a Saturday for over 12 hours. Didn't move... no food breaks... just kept working. Once the show started I worked again in the front of the house... making audience participation bags that contained all the stuff you throw during Rocky Horror. And these bags... they had my lip print on them. I wore deep blood red lipstick and kissed hundreds of those bags! I dressed up with heavy tranny makeup, especially the thick, blood red lipstick that I used for the bags. I wore sassy clothing like fishnets and gold lame... and collected tickets, sold concessions, helped with costume repairs... whatever.

One night Michael came to see the show. The wine we served was really bad, cheap wine. Box wine. And we ran out during intermission. Now... I had been bringing my own. I'm not a big drinker usually and I'm an incredibly unsophisticated drinker. I'm still just as happy with a bottle of Boone's Farm than I am the best bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay (My kids used to say, "mommy's getting KJ Chardonnay!". When we ran out of wine in the lobby and Michael came to complain about it/see if I could fix it... I whispered in his ear, "there's some backstage in the costume closet..." So we snuck into the costume room and found my stash of Boone's Farm.

Now... we would do two shows every Saturday night for Rocky Horror. I'd be at the theatre by 5 for an 8pm show. There was always something that needed my attention and if not, I could hang with my cool actor friends. I was such a groupie! We would start in on the box wine before the first show... and when it ran out, that's when we turned to Boone's Farm. Every Saturday night during the run of that show, I was always wiped out by the time we did an 8pm show and a midnight show. We'd leave the theatre bone tired and fighting to come down from a buzz. Joey's apartment was about two miles away so we always made it home safe and sound.

Back to the Boone's Farm in the costume room. Michael and I have always had an affectionate relationship. He's gay and I'm a straight girl so there's obviously no mo-jo there but we were very comfortable with each other. We even ... on occasion... will kiss... it's not a big deal. It's sort of like playing spin the bottle... you kiss but it's only in that moment and there's a pre-defined line of how far it will go. It's like... the fun of kissing a member of the opposite sex without the fear that it will go further than you want it to go. So when we got to the costume room we found the wine... finished it off... and we made out. It was lighthearted, silly, funny, friendly but it was really not sexual. It was a good kiss - passionate - but not foreplay.

It was dark backstage. Dark enough that we could barely see to make our way up the long dark hallway back to the front of the house. We opened the door to go back to the lobby and ran right into our friends Ethan and Josh. (small world sidebar: my Joey had a massive crush on Ethan, which is what got us steered toward theatre in Atlanta in the first place. And Josh... his mom cuts my mom's hair.) Josh kept looking back and forth between Michael and myself. He said, "were there two of you kissing back there?" and we both denied it heartily. "No way!" And then as Josh started speaking again we turned and looked at each other... "then why, " says Josh, "Does she have her red lipstick smeared all over your face?" We saw each other and both doubled over laughing. Pretty much every inch of our faces from the nose down were covered in that thick, iconic blood red lipstick.

Ok. That's enough for tonight. Hope you enjoyed! I'm about to go climb under the warm blankets with the kitties. Gonna be a cold one!

I'm still taking requests so if there's something you want me to blog about... let me know!

Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Thursday

This photo from yesterday's christening of Prince George hit the media today. How precious is that boy? Am I the only one who thinks how sad it is that he will never know his amazing Grandmother, Princess Diana? Am I the only one who thinks it's amazing that Princess Diana could be a grandmother? I'm still stunned that people I grew up with are grandparents. I guess since I was a mom before most of my friends, I assumed that I would be a grandmother first, too. Not that I mind the wait. I'm really not in a rush. Everything in it's due time.

Austin spent the night away last night so I was alone in this big house by myself all night and most of the day today. It doesn't really bother me to be alone. I sorta like it. Logan stopped by this afternoon to pick up his phone charger and we had a long talk. The gas men came to fill the propane tank. The trash men came. So, even when you're alone out in the middle of nowhere, you're never really alone. Especially if you have high maintenance cats.

My food fascination of the week is instant mashed potatoes. Comfort food. It's cold out there, people! I've also shifted from my constant cup of juice over ice and am now enjoying hot tea and hot chocolate. I quit coffee earlier in the summer and I haven't missed it yet. When you don't have to get up until you want to get up, you don't have as desperate of a need for coffee. Who knew?  We're also beginning the eggnog season early and I bought real nutmeg to grind over it. It's one of those love 'em or hate 'em dishes and for me, it's true love.

Speaking of true love - where are my readers falling on the Kimye engagment? (Kanye West + Kim Kardarshian, for those who aren't in the know on such things). I pretty much abhor Kanye and see him as a narcissist who could easily cross over to abuser. I say, "take the baby and run, Kim". I did enjoy Golddigger, though. My favorite song of that ilk. Kim, to me, is just a phase. Sure, she doesn't really DO anything but she's carved out quite the celebrity for herself by doing nothing so I've got to respect that in the smallest, tiniest way. She's more notorious than famous but... whatever. I'm fascinated by the dynamics of that kind of blended family but I'm sure much of what we see on their reality shows is scripted. Fact or fiction, it's an interesting story.

Today has not been a bad day as far as back pain is concerned but I'm having sort of a fibromyalgia flare in that I keep feeling fluish and really run down and have random aches in places that don't usually ache. All of this could be attributed to other things too but just like my doctor told me when he finally diagnosed me with fibro - it becomes the reason for everything. Today it's sore throat, headache, the flu-ey thing I mentioned before and... yeah. I just don't feel good. I even contemplated taking a nap and just couldn't do it. I also thought about an early bedtime but I want to see the new Grey's Anatomy.

I'm trying to keep this blog fresh... I've been using this format for Five YEARS now and I've been blogging for nearly nine years. I enjoy giving the daily recap... I also enjoy pontificating on subjects that interest me. I had a conversation yesterday that enlightened a reader as to how much of my life's drama I DON'T share. I try - I'm not always successful but I try to keep the blog restricted to My Story without sharing something that someone else in my life might not want me to share... and I try to say things in a way that wouldn't be offensive to people I knew read here. A lot gets censored. So while confiding in a trusted Mother Hen yesterday she was surprised at how much goes on behind the scenes that doesn't make it here. There's a whole lot more crazy below the surface! I'm not going to change THAT aspect but I would like to share stories with you that you might find interesting. Would you like to hear about my college years? Also known at the time that I was a working mom with three kids - of course I didn't go to college! But those were fun years nonetheless. How about my time working in theatre? Some of the behind the scenes secrets that can be revealed. More about family history? More about the characters that make up our huge, diverse family? If there's anything you want to know more about, just let me know.

And now I'm ready to tuck into bed. I may not make it all the way through Grey's but I'll give it a shot. Happy Weekend-Eve, y'all! Love and hugs!











Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Overcomer

I've always been someone who found inspiration all around me. Back in the years when I was a single working mom there were a lot of people in my orbit and a lot of places to draw inspiration. Since I'm mostly home most of the time now, that orbit has shrunk quite a bit but thanks to the magic of the internet, I am exposed to a lot of people, many of them providing inspiration.

From the blog, "I Life Up My Eyes to the Hills"....
Here's what I read in my Jesus Today:  "I am taking care of you.  I know how hard this is to believe when conditions that are troubling you get worse instead of better.  It's easy to feel as if I am letting you down-as if I really don't care about what you're going through.  You know I could instantly change your circumstances, and you can't understand why I seem to be so unresponsive to your prayers.  But I repeat:  I am taking care of you.  

She's battling ovarian cancer and things are not looking good. She's one of so many warriors. Everywhere you look on the internet (and in real life, I suppose) there are people who are suffering, facing disaster, discouraged, lonely... and in every mess there is the potential for a message. I'm listening to a lot of those messages lately. 

I'm not really into popular music. It's not that I have anything AGAINST popular music. I mean, there's a lot of stuff out there that I find offensive and some of the lifestyles of the performers are particularly disgusting *cough*JustinBieber*cough*.  Mostly I listen to Contemporary Christian music because I need the encouragement. However, there is a song by Katie Perry that I really love - "Roar". I'm going to try to embed a video for you that was made by a group of kids with cancer. 

If you have a few minutes, listen to this. I promise, there are no bad words and you can actually understand what she's saying. Katie Perry seems to be really good at doing this kind of enthusiastic anthem. She's not pulling me back into the secular music scene but this song is a great encouragement for people - any people - who are suffering. 

I hate reading lyrics but I'm going to put them here for those of you who don't/can't pull up the youtube link. You'd rather listen to it, though. This video is amazing. 

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything
You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, the fire
Dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar!


Read more: Katy Perry - Roar Lyrics | MetroLyrics 


Good stuff. There is another song out right now on Christian radio that has this same theme of being strong and... well, being an overcomer. It's actually called "Overcomer" and it's by Mandisa. She's been a favorite of mine for several years because she can belt these big anthems and out of the three CD's I've bought in the past five years, hers is one of them. Here's a video with lyrics of Mandisa's song. 

And lyrics... just part of them.... but they're even better than "Roar", if you ask me. (And since you're reading here, I'm going to assume that you're semi-interested in my opinion on things.) 
You're an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You're not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds You
That you're an overcomer
You're an overcomer


This just piggy backs on my entry from yesterday. I've got a lot of reasons to be pretty miserable right now and I just can't be. I went out this morning to buy groceries and I was able to buy groceries. I was able to put gas in a car that I own. I'm able to insure that car despite not having worked in almost six months. I was in a good bit of pain by the time I got home but I did what I had to do. 

There's a chill in the air and we're headed down toward freezing tonight. The cold air is refreshing. There are white caps on the lake from the strong wind. It's so much better than the constant rain we had all summer. The leaves aren't at peak yet but they're definitely changing colors and everywhere I look there's all this incredibly beauty. 

So what if my body doesn't work like it used to? I'm still getting where I need to go, finding lots of beauty and inspiration in the world around me and that makes every day worth waking up to. 

Thanks for inspiring me to gather my thoughts everyday and share them with the knowledge that there are people out there who want to hear what I have to say. Love and hugs, y'all. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All I Can Do

It's been quiet and cool so far this week and I've been nesting more deeply than usual. Austin's Basement Clown Posse is otherwise engaged and so it's just been me, the kid and the cats. Very quiet.

It was so quiet today I sat in the living room this afternoon and watched two deer wander through the front yard. Since there were no dogs barking they lingered in the yard for awhile. I caught pictures of them through the screen door. I didn't want to startle them away by opening the door. I'm wondering... minus them eating the garden (which, didn't do anything this year anyways)... and the unfortunate deer vs. car accidents, is there any reason we wouldn't want deer in our yard? I'm just contemplating putting something out to attract them since I enjoy watching them. And then I realize how old and sedentary that makes me sound... wanting to commune with nature in that way.

I had a call from the disability attorney yesterday making sure I had received the second denial. Yep. We began the appeal process. They just reviewed what we've reviewed a half dozen times since May and made an appointment for a conference call on November 4th to complete the paperwork. I can't even say that I'm frustrated or disappointed with the process at this point. I knew from the beginning that it would be a long process and that very few people get approved on the first or second attempt. I worry about running out of money (which seems to be flying out the door way too fast between grocery shopping and Christmas shopping) but I don't worry about the process. All I can do is all I can do. That applies to working and not working. I can't make myself better. If I could, I would have done that 33 months ago. I can't make the government easier to deal with. I can just keep getting up everyday and doing the best I can.

I had a rough time over the weekend but yesterday and today the pain hasn't been as bad. I made stir-fry yesterday for dinner (since peppers were on sale at the grocery store) which involves more prep than most things I cook. I've been able to keep on top of the dishes and cat clean-up (although I've considered cutting back on their food to reduce the poop and puke - Stubby throws up at least once a day). I've slept pretty well the past two nights. Being able to prepare meals and clean up from meals without being miserable is something I don't take for granted. I've pretty much got the kid trained that dirty dishes bypass the sink and go immediately into the dishwasher. I run the dishwasher first thing in the morning and empty it before he gets up so that all the dishes he uses after I go to sleep can go right in the dishwasher. Just not having dishes in the sink does a lot for my sanity.

Little Kitty always stands on my Nook
Honestly, that's the key for me for this season of life, I think, just managing the things that I can and avoiding stressful situations. I can live under the "all I can do... " mantra when I truly have done what I can do. Some days I can't prepare meals or clean up. Some days I am in too much pain to really feel hunger and I have to just eat what I can to keep from getting nauseous from meds. Some days food is my only vice, the only real indulgence I have. I spend a lot of time playing Farmville2 because it gives me a way to measure success. It seems trite but it does help. I watch a lot of tv because it does help pass the time. I try to stay on some sort of routine - not because I have to or because it matters what time I get up or go to bed or fix dinner - it just makes life seem more structured and normal. I don't make apologies or excuses for what I can't do because it's not in my control.

And while I was typing all of this I just burned a batch of popcorn  of smelled up the house. So much for multi-tasking. That skill has left me.  I think I'll have a bowl of cereal instead.

Anyways... we're headed down toward freezing temps this week and I'm looking forward to it. We've brought out the warm woolies and the electric blanket and shifted our mentality from staying cool to staying warm. Austin still hasn't put his winter wardrobe back together so he ends up looking like this...

He would only let me take the picture from the back view.

I'm settled in for a night of PBS watching and then I'll tuck myself in to watch a few more episodes of Mad Men. I'm still in the first season. I think the little bit I pay to Netflix every month is money well spent!

That's about it for now. Happy Tuesday!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is It Ok To Have A Little Whine On Sunday?



























You know, it's really hard to complain when you start your day looking out at this.

It was a chilly 43 degrees when I got up today. I lounged in my fuzzy Grinch pj pants all day (which I'm sure I've modeled here before).

I got the birthday book ordered with a few copies to share. It posted here without me knowing today so if you stopped by, you got a sneak peek. I'm trying to wait to share it until after the birthday party. I have my typical creativity hangover... worrying that I didn't include enough pictures of parts of the family... worrying that I may have included something Grandma wouldn't want to share. When you put yourself out there "creatively" you can't help but feel a little vulnerable.

Austin's girlfriend came over today with her baby. She was so tiny! And so precious! And unbelievably beautiful! And perfectly behaved! And I got not one picture.

I've had a terrible headache since the first minute my eyes blinked open today. I think it's sinus stuff because I'm congested but it will not go away. I've thrown everything I've got at it today. I've laid with my eyes closed (because I can never manage to nap). I've taken advil migraine which always works. It didn't. I took my tramadol. No relief. I took percocet. Not one bit of improvement. I took more advil migraine. (goodbye liver, it's been good knowing ya!) I told Austin that if he came upstairs and found me with my face drooping to call 9-1-1. It hurt that bad. It still hurts but it's eased up a little since then. But I'm feeling achy and sort of dizzy/sick to my stomach and weak. All of this can be just part of a fibromyalgia flare. Or it could be a sinus infection.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have absolutely nothing on the agenda for the week. The girls are out of school tomorrow so no after-school pick up for me. Austin's girl is coming by tomorrow after school (she's going to be a nurse). One of the Basement Clown Posse members is spending the night tonight. He's been gone for a week because he works in Helen and things are currrazy there this time of year so he's getting a lot of hours which means he can't play in Austin's all night gamer club. But he's off tomorrow.

And that's about all I have to share. Just wanted to pop in, share my lovely photo and whine. Hope your weekend was lovely.
Love and hugs, y'all!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our Lovely Saturday: Road Rage, Football and My Clean Car

Eddie the Cat takes over the dog bed
The doggies have gone back south and it's just me and the cats and the kid that lives in the basement. We made a grocery run today and you would have thought I was buying for a fraternity, not a grown person + half grown person; chips, cracker and cheese tray, little debbies, guacamole and chips. I did, however, buy carrots to dip in hummus and they had colored peppers on sale so there is a stir fry in our immediate future. It was nice to have the basement kid along for the grocery shopping, though. He even wore real shorts and not pajama pants.


The beginnings of fall color but nothing dramatic
I would like to make a public service announcement to all people who will be visiting our lovely Northeast Georgia mountains this Autumn. In the words of my former spouse: act like you've been here before. I took the scenic route home from the grocery store, not because it's scenic but because traffic around the town square was stacked up and I wanted to avoid the square. Instead I got vacationers from Fulton County, Georgia and somewhere in Virginia who were neither familiar with speed limit (as in, driving AT LEAST the speed limit) or the reason their cars have blinkers. It's rare for me to have road rage up here in the hills but I surely had a raging case of it today. Then I turned on the road we live off of and got stuck behind someone whose car was apparently missing a gas pedal. It was pure insanity. I told Austin to remind me to avoid going to town on the weekends until at least Thanksgiving.

Hey Oscar: I got your BLANKET! Love, Little Kitty
I know that I should be grateful for the tourists. Tourism saved this little corner of the world. I'm grateful for tourist dollars but it's amazing how inconsiderate people get when there's a little color on the trees. And honestly, there's not that much color yet. There is some. The weather feels very fall-like. I had to actually close the windows this afternoon.

It's like when Americans go to Paris and they can't speak French and they expect all the French people to just figure out what they mean. Our language here is niceness. It's a slower pace but that doesn't mean you drive twenty miles under the speed limit. Not an exaggeration. And to really appreciate this part of the world, you have to have consideration for your fellow drivers. By not driving twenty miles under the speed limit. Or pulling out right in front of them. Or turning right from the main lane and not the turning lane. Without a blinker. Or changing lanes without using a blinker. All of these things happened.

So I came home and ate guacamole and chips and drank warm apple cider and watched football. And when I got tired of football I watched a Modern Family marathon.

Austin wanted to buy a cinnamon broom at the store and he placed it on the mantle behind my lovely little Fall themed decor and it looks really awesome. It's like... the kid is Pigpen... and then he has these little bursts of greatness that make me think that all the gay men in his life growing up did more for him than teach him the value of a mani-pedi and the words to every show tune ever written. Every now and then the kid has real style.

This afternoon he offered to clean out my car. He's offered to clean out my car about twenty-eleven times in the past three years and has not actually cleaned it ever. Also, "clean out" is a subjective term. My "cleaned out" and his cleaned out are different animals. Like a cat and an orange, different animals. He actually did a decent job. I mean, it still needs the upholstery ripped out and replaced shampooed. That car has been through a lot... I can't tell you how many times I ate all three meals in the car between rushing to get kids to school before work... taking my lunch break in my car... having dinner in the car while waiting for a kid to get out of sports practice or dance rehearsal or... whatever. It's taken me to Florida and back more times than I care to remember. It's been a good car and I haven't been a good owner. MY KIDS have not been good owners with all their drips and spills and trash left behind. Austin had the audacity to lecture me about not keeping my car clean. I'm like... pot meet kettle... his room usually looks like he could be on Hoarders.

I'm watching the Florida State / Clemson game. I explained why it's important (rankings) and Austin said, "so is this the game I need to watch to be able to have something to talk about with my brothers?" I said, "well, it's a start."  That child does not get sports. He just lives in a different dimension, the gamer dimension. His brothers are rabid Florida State fans. I am not sure why. It's random. I just buy things for them with FSU on it and listen to their long analysis of reasons why they're the best team ever. I suffer the Gator hate. I even let them burn one of my Florida shirts. But... to be fair... it was really my ex-husband's and there was a little retribution in it for me too.

Just had a quick chat with my grandma. She didn't have any new information about Kathryn Holmes but she did want to let me know that her cousin Kate Hall used to own a millinery shop in Columbus, Georgia. I don't know if that gets me any closer to Kathryn but I haven't given up on figuring it out. I love a good history mystery. Grandma wanted to know if I would be at her birthday party brunch. I told her I wouldn't miss it. I explained that it was going to be painful and that I'm trying to arrange it so I don't have to drive so that I can take pain meds - which take the edge off but don't make me loopy.

I'm actually closer to my old self when I'm on drugs because the pain isn't so bad that it distracts me. Without pain meds, the pain is always there. You can't help but look for the escape hatch in every situation because you know there is going to be a point where you just can't take it any more. Going out to eat, especially in a large group is a big old floppy pain souffle for me. I'm looking forward to seeing her... seeing family members... a good  meal that I didn't have to cook... but I am so afraid of the pain. My pain doctor wants to put me on anxiety meds and I just think it's a waste. Give me better pain meds or... here's a thought - FIX ME... and then I will cease to be anxious.

Anyways... I guess I've rambled on long enough. Happy Weekend, y'all. Love and hugs!

Friday, October 18, 2013

At Least They Aren't Cat Pictures

Me and my mom, Christmas 1970. How cute are we?
Last night I didn't sleep. Well, maybe for an hour or so but it was interrupted by Little Kitty and cold. It got chilly overnight and I was too tired to get up and close the window but I was too cold to sleep. Little Kitty was just really needy and any time I wasn't sleeping like we were siamese twins, he would repeatedly tap me on the arm until I moved closer to him. Sleep interruptions are HUGE for me because they set off a cycle of misery that I won't bore you with but trust me... my body needs sleep in the worst way. I can't nap. Our house has too much activity and it just makes me ill to get to sleep and be awakened before I've gotten sufficient sleep so it's no bueno.

Aunt Claire, Pop, Uncle Bruce, Cousin John Ward 
On the up side... I managed to transcribe the rest of the info for Grandma's book last night, wrapping things up around 4am. I went back and corrected a few typos today, rewrote the inscription to make more sense, changed the way that I listed family members... (sidebar) you know, it's hard when there is divorce in the family. I don't want to have to list my kids' dad in my grandma's memory book. I just don't. I don't want to come across as some scarlet woman with a bunch of fatherless children but honestly, that is my Grandma's story too. Her kids' dad left her with three kids too. All three of my cousins on that side of the family have children with a person to whom they are not wed. I don't want to have asterisks all over the place. So what I did is just list the names of the people who are still in the family without any explanation. It's not like she thinks the stork dropped them off.

my dad's dad on a horse as a child
As a result of the no sleeping thing, I didn't go to my niece's birthday party tonight. I needed the strong pain meds today - haven't had them since Monday, which is a good thing, I always try to put days between doses when I can. I knew that if I didn't take the meds I was going to be not just sleepy but also in pain all day. I can't take handle being two dwarfs at the same time  (Sleepy and Dopey - or maybe Sleepy and Grumpy, take your pick). And she's a big girl now. Parties are more about her time with her friends and not about hanging out with relatives. We get lots of quality time together. Of course, not going meant I was dogsitting which meant that I was actually moving around a lot more than I would have been at a party. It doesn't hurt the dogs' feelings when I'm grumpy with them.

I got notice from Social Security today that they denied my appeal. On to round three. Again they say that they can tell from my medical records that I can't work as much but they can't tell if I can work at all. I had sort of prepared myself mentally for this and so it wasn't a huge surprise or disappointment. I would have loved an approval but honestly, I had expected each round to take six months and instead I've gotten through two rounds in less than six months. So at least the no's are coming faster. I've heard lots of stories about people who are more profoundly disabled than me (in a wheelchair, for instance) who had to go through several rounds as well. It's part of the game.

I chose this for the book cover. she looks nice, doesn't she?
After working hard and getting Grandma's book ready to go to press, I discovered another photo album that had much better pictures than the ones I was using, especially of her as a child. I took another hour this afternoon to go back through and rework some of the layouts and I'm pleased with how it came out. Honestly, working on yearbook staff in 8th grade helps a lot in putting these kind of things together. I'm using Shutterfly which is relatively user friendly but for some pages they didn't have a layout that would work for what I had in mind so I had to create my own page. I'm pleased with how it came out.

While I was sorting through the archives this week I came across a collection of photos of a lady named Kathryn Holmes and her Mother, Father, Brother. She was born around 1901 so these were OOOOOLD pictures. I had seen her name in some of Grandma's writings and she is always described as a distant cousin. I figured... since I'm a pro at ancestry.com that I could figure out the exact link that her family has to ours and perhaps share some of these old treasures with her other relatives. I won't bore you with every step in the process but suffice to say, I haven't had any success. I asked my dad and he got Grandma on the phone but all she could tell me is what was she had already written - she's a distant cousin. I asked if it was a legitimate family link or was it one of those Southern things where you call folks, "cousin" or "aunt" if they're close enough friends that they seem like family. She thinks it's legitimate. She had a few other things she wanted to share with me but Pop had to go - and I was on his phone - so I'll call her back tomorrow and see what we come up with. I do know that Kathryn never married. She worked for the U.S. Navy as a civilian employee during WWII. She lived part of her life in Macon, Georgia. It's just a big mystery to me how we connect. I'll share those photos with you, tonight, if you're not bored with my throwback photos this week.
The old family homestead: 1001 Oakdale Rd. It was my dad's first home, my brother's first home, my first home...
It's in a lovely section of Atlanta

Anyways... so that was my day. Hoping to feel well enough to go see my niece cheer tomorrow morning. Then Mawmaw and the doggies are heading back home for a week or so and it'll be just me and the kid for a bit.

Happy weekend... love and hugs, y'all!

 Great-Grandma Sarah Ward and her daughters - Jane, Bette and Leta.  Leta is my grandmother.








Great-Granddaddy Charles P. Ward (I think) with Bette, Leta and Jane kneeling

 From left - Bette, Grandma (acting goofy) two people I don't know and "Sis" - my grandmother's half sister, Cynthia.
 This would be two Steel Magnolias in training: My Great-Aunt Bette and Grandma
 Asbury Park High School graduate, my grandfather.
 Leta and Bruce while dating in Washington, DC
My Grandparents Wedding Day

 Honeymoon Cottage loaned to them by cousins. It was in Cloudland, GA.

Aunt Lucretia Bullock, sister to my great-great-grandfather George Washington Bullock. 

Holmes Family Photos

 Julian - age 16 months.  Lucien



 Kathryn Holmes
 Kathryn Holmes with a friend. She never married but at one time Grandma was in possession of all the love letters she had received. I didn't find anything juicy like that.
Kathryn Holmes drives a car!
 Kathryn's mother Mary Kinchen Holmes
 Lucien Holmes. Not sure if this is the elder or the younger.
 Mary Holmes as a young woman. I believe she was born around 1870.
. Kathryn's grandparents. They look relatively young here. Her mother was born in 1870 (around then) so I would assume this picture was taken around that time period. They look relatively young and in love. 



 Dapper looking Lucien Holmes. Is it the father or the son?
 Mystery part deux, Annie Lou Holmes - "Mrs Hardison". I couldn't find her at any point listed in the census with Kathryn's immediately family. Mary Holmes DOES answer on a census record that she had given birth to four children, three were still living. We've only got photos of Julian as a small child - did he die young and Annie Lou is the missing sibling?
  See... little Julian

 These photos seem to be me be squarely in the 30's. That would be about the right time/age that younger Lucien would be.

That's all folks! Now that my project is over I'll be back to pictures of cats and trees. Good times!