Friday, February 26, 2010

It Fits You to a Tee

Photo by
Every now and then I come across something so incredibly creative that I just have to tell someone. This happened yesterday when I discovered CritterJitters, an etsy store which has the coolest tee shirts in the whole wide world. I thought to myself, who can I tell? And my self answered back, "You have a blog, dummy! Tell your blog friends!"
So I'm telling you. (I have to. My self is very bossy!)
You must hop over there and look. Because winter is almost over, right? Or at least it should be. These tees will put you in a springy mood.
And because who doesn't love a T-rex in bunny slippers?
(Yes, it comes in adult sizes. You know you want one.)
And naked trees!

Photo by
Yes, these are people after my own heart!
I also like this one.

Photo by
It would brighten my day.
Hardy har har.

And this one.

Photo by
I'm nuts about it.

I should go now, before this gets any worse.
But I'll leave you in care of Rhett and Link and their amazing stop motion tee shirt craziness.

Have a great weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Fair, Smarty Pants!

Do you ever get jealous of kiddie brains? You know, that theirs are thirsty little saplings, roots soaking up moisture, branches stretching to the sun, bending in the wind. While mine is more like a forgotten lump of cottage cheese that got pushed to the back of the fridge. That's shrunk and sprouted strange fuzzy Who-ville things. And a crust.

I've been reflecting/fuming/pouting about my molding cerebellum ever since my fresh-brained middle child showed me this video.
Take a look.

How about that? It's perfect proof of why children can speak like little French people after six months in Clermont Ferrand, while I sound like a cave man with a speech impediment.
Kids know how to mimic. And they have no fear! They learn their first language by copying the movement and shape of their mother's mouths. By listening and trying it for themselves, until the big people standing around them clap and squeal, "Did you hear that? She said Mama! I know she did! Say it again!"

So what does that mean for us? For me, with the old science project curdling in my head? Whenever I'm trying something new, No fear should be my mantra. I'll try my best at mimicking. I'll just hope there's nobody with a video camera around!

Have a great Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky

Friday, February 19, 2010

If I Knew You Were Coming...

I'd a baked a cake!
Oh yeah. I did already!
It's the most glorious chocolate cake I've ever eaten, if I do say so myself. But I can't take any credit. It's a simple gâteau au chocolat, and all the glory goes to France. Well, France and Carole Clements and Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen, the writers of French.

my best loved cookbook of all time.
If you like French food, you MUST get this cookbook. I use this book at least a couple times a week and it never fails me. Ever.
My favorite recipes, besides the cake? The scalloped potatoes, the quiche Savoyarde, the zucchini and tomato bake, the chicken and pistachio pâté, the provençal beef stew, and the pear and almond cream tart.
But the cake. Oh, the chocolate cake.
It will make you want to slap somebody in happiness.
Or kiss your dog on the lips.
Or strip down to your undies and do interpretive dance.

Beware of the power of this cake.

Guess why I'm making it.

This little cutie pie is coming home from college for the weekend.
We will eat cake. We will clasp hands and do ring around the rosies in the kitchen.
Then we will do her laundry.
I can't wait.

Have a great weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Did You Two Lovebirds Meet? / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Maybe I'm still in mid-swoon over Valentine's Day, but I just love hearing stories about how sweethearts meet. Don't you?
Like Boston Bill's parents, dancing in the photo above. I don't know Boston Bill, but he posted his parents' love story on flickr, and I'm so glad he did. He writes,

"My parents met on a blind date on New Year’s Eve in 1952. At the end of that first date, at about 4am in the morning, my father proposed marriage to my mother. They formalized their engagement on Valentine’s Day 1953 and had a June wedding in that same year. My father died in May 2003, just three weeks short of their 50th wedding anniversary. We miss him dearly.

This photo of my parents is not from that fateful first date but was taken just a few years later at a New Year’s Eve party in the mid 1950’s. I’ve always imagined that this picture pretty much sums up what that first date would have looked like. Love at first sight? The father that I knew was anything but spontaneous and he resisted change of any sort. Even growing up with full knowledge of this story, I was always a bit skeptical that such a thing could really happen in today’s world. And then I met my wife. But that’s another story."

Isn't that wonderful?

I also think of the story of my husband's maternal grandparents. When Pat's father died, his mother put him in an orphanage. He hated it and ran away, surviving by hiring himself out to farm families needing extra hands. Eventually Pat met up with a traveling evangelist and toured around with him as his guitar player and assistant. One night he met a young girl at a revival, and they fell in love. Mabel was just 16 when she married Pat, and they lived a long and happy life together.

Then there's the Kentucky love story of my parents, who met at a family reunion. No, silly, it's not a joke, and they're not related one least little bit. There wasn't a lot to do in their small town, so when Judy's friend asked her to come along to the big Skaggs reunion, she happily went. (If you think that sounds boring, you obviously haven't been to a Skaggs reunion.)There she saw a good looking boy named Wayne, and her heart went pitter pat. Wayne and Judy started dating, and the next thing you know, they were the it couple of Elliott County High School. Judy followed Wayne to University of Kentucky, and they were married the summer after her freshman year. Guess who was born on Registration Day of her senior year?

My, my. All these children, falling in love and getting married, entirely too early.
Don't listen, Sarah, Ben, and Sam. I think 30 is the perfect age. I really do.

So, friends, tell me your story. How did you meet the love of your life?

I'll tell you mine to get us started, but I warn you, it's a little schmaltzy.

After my sophomore year in college, I was ready to do something crazy. I had gone to college in my own hometown and even roomed my first two years with a good friend from high school. What could I do to shake things up? I considered moving to Denmark, but that seemed a little extreme, so I moved to East campus where I didn't know a soul. We had a floor meeting my second night there, and when the Resident Director stepped out from behind a corner to introduce himself, I stopped breathing. You probably won't believe this --and it might make you gag-- but he was all gold and sparkly. It was love at first sight.

I think I need to go find a cold cloth.
Won't you tell me your love story? I'm all ears!

Have a great Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky

PS. To get you in the mood, watch Jane Austen's Emma dance with Mr. Knightley.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Heroes!

We interrupt this blogging break to bring you a video that must not be missed.
Hear me?
Take a minute to watch this! You'll be glad you did!

We now return to the previously scheduled blog break...
Love, Becky

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Bit of a Break

Have a great week, folks. I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break, hanging out here at the vineyard, giving my full attention to other projects.
(Like the sign? The kids made it for Todd for Christmas.)

See you soon!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Naked / CC BY-ND 2.0

One of the best things about winter is that we get to see what trees look like naked.
I know I sound cuckoo, but don't you love to look at them with all their clothes and jewelry thrown to the ground? No frilly leaves, no buds. No distracting colors, except the silver or the browns or the reds of the bark.

There's a huge oak outside my window. It stands in front of the mirror, all its moles and scars exposed, just being who it is underneath. Skin, dry and cracked, arms, crooked and gnarled. Anchored in the earth, enduring the icy rain.

Why do I love this so much?
Does it speak to me because I'm feeling older? I'm not that gnarled yet. :)

Maybe it's one of those universal symbols, something that we see again and again, even existing inside us, under our own skin.
See what I mean?

Twin trees!

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all.
Love, Becky

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mr. Williams / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I was doing my Meals on Wheels route last week when I noticed a name missing from my delivery list. Where was Mr. Williams? I'd missed seeing Barry the last time around, but I'd assumed he was at a doctor's appointment, as my clients often are.

I drove by his house anyway, just to see if a home health nurse was visiting. Maybe a neighbor would be standing out in the yard and could tell me if he'd been moved temporarily to a nursing home. It happened before with Mr. Foster and Miss Pearl. Miss Pearl still lives there and loves her new life. Being such a chatty lady, she talks the nurses' ears off.

What I saw in front of Mr. Williams' tiny house sent shivers up my spine. There, out beside the garbage by the side of the road, was his recliner, the chair in which he spent his life. He slept in it at night so he could stay upright, and sat in it all day long, watching television or looking out the window. It was the only piece of furniture in his living room--the only piece of furniture in his entire house besides his bed, a dresser, an old dinette set in his kitchen, and whatever was in his granddaughter's room. She lived with him, though he once told me that she was only there half the time. The other half she was on drugs, wandering the streets. He worried about her, and when she'd take his television and move it into her room, he put up with it.

"Would you like for me to go in there and get it, so you'll have something to do?" I'd ask.
"Naw," he'd say. "She'll move it back tomorrow."
(Don't worry, Todd. I only offered when she wasn't at home.)

After I finished my route, I called the Meals on Wheels office and asked about Mr. Williams. The lady looked him up for me and then paused for a moment. "I'm afraid Mr. Williams died, Becky. About three weeks ago. I'm sorry."

I got on the internet and searched for an obituary in the local paper. There wasn't one. Of course there wasn't one. Who would have sent it in anyway? He had no family left in the area except his granddaughter. There wasn't any record of a funeral or where he was buried. What happens to people like Mr. Williams when they die? Where are they buried? I'm asking because I really don't know.

I wish I'd known Barry Williams better. I can tell you that he was a very kind man. Every single time I came, he told me how much he appreciated his meal. He was diabetic and had serious problems with his legs and feet. He'd leave the door unlocked each morning so that he wouldn't have to get up and answer it when the Meals on Wheels folks knocked. He'd just shout, "Come in," and I'd let myself in. He'd always ask me how I was, and then he'd pull off his blanket and show me his legs. I'd try not to wince. They were always blueish red, covered with sores. He'd lost a couple toes to his diabetes, but he never mentioned that.

Sometimes he'd tell me the latest news of his neighborhood, of the drug bust that happened or how the local prostitute got arrested. He told me about the huge woman who roamed the neighborhood, checking for unlocked doors. "She'd come in my house and steal milk from my fridge," he chuckled, "and I couldn't do nothing about it, stuck here in my chair. Course I yelled at her, but she didn't say nothing." He called the police, but they couldn't seem to catch her. The last time I visited, he said that his neighbor, "a little bit of a girl," saw her come in and stormed over here and threw her against the wall. "You shoulda seen it," he laughed. "She ain't been back since."

Last year I was lucky enough to be the one who delivered his birthday meal. Meals on Wheels is great about giving clients cards and donated cakes on their birthdays. "You're going to have to read it to me," he said when I handed him the card.
"Do you want me to get your glasses?" I asked.
When he muttered that he couldn't read, I tried not to look shocked. I'd never known that about him. Months later I noticed that the birthday card was taped to his refrigerator, in the envelope with his name on it.

I hardly knew Mr. Williams at all, and I'm sad that he passed away with such little notice from the world. He was a kind man and always insisted that I make a U-turn through his front yard instead of backing out, since his driveway was in a blind spot. "You'll get hit if you don't. The grass don't matter."

You would have liked him.
Rest in peace, Mr. Williams.

Have a great day, friends.
Love, Becky