The Ladder

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There is a ladder in my dining room. Yep, it’s not scary that it is there… no, to me it is scary that I no longer even notice it. That means it has been there a while. Oops! You see I’m doing some painting and redecorating around the house therefore I just leave the ladder in our least used room so that I don’t have to drag it in from the garage every time I need it. (I know, pretty brilliant huh?!?!)

Back in December, we inherited a moving van full of beautiful antique furniture from my sweet mother-in-law and once I got it in our house I realized that our walls looked a bit…. shabby shall we say? Now some of them had been painted after we moved in back in 2005 but others… well I don’t think they have ever been painted other than the white builder grade paint used back when the house was built in the 1990’s. (Pretty bad huh?!?!) You know for a while, I could overlook it and “pretend” I was still deciding what color was the right color… yeah, that was fine for the first few years but after nine years it doesn’t really work so much anymore. So, inspired by the new furniture, I decided it was time.

I waited until January so that all the boys would be out of my hair… I mean back in school. (Hey, it’s rather difficult to paint around all the college stuff spread from room to room to room. Yes, it was all your stuff Luke.) Thus far I have gotten about a quarter of the house done. My hope is that by the next time all the boys are home in May it will be done… yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

So if the next time you see me out and about, it looks like I am REALLY getting gray, have no fear, my hair dye is still working just fine… it’s most likely paint.

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One of a Kind

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She was a grandmother many times over when we met and I was just a bit older than her oldest grandchild. I was the woman her son had chosen to spend the rest of his life with and I’m sure I wasn’t anything like what she dreamed of for her precious baby boy. Yet she never made me feel like anything less than royalty. She welcomed me into the family with open loving arms and acted like I was just what she always wanted for Tim. She taught me many things in life, but the best lesson she ever taught me was how to be an amazing mother-in-law.

If you know Ruth Reeve, you know she is one of a kind and an extra special person. She has more friends than you can count and any one of them would concur on what an amazing and caring person she is. Today is her 92nd birthday and I’m thankful for all the birthdays I’ve seen her celebrate. Icepocalypse 2014 is keeping us from being with her today but I feel certain she will be well celebrated.

So heres to you Ruth Reeve, world class mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and if I can be half as wonderful a mother-in-law as you, I will feel like the biggest success in the world.

Birthday Lunch, Box Wine and Family

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You learn something new every day. This past Saturday, Tim and I went to Carrollton and took his mother out for an early birthday lunch. Dana, Ruth’s other daughter-in-law, joined us and even though I’ve known (and loved!) Dana over 25 years, I learned many things…

Tim and I dated at Tee (Tim’s brother) and Dana’s house. We would just go over and hang out with them or babysit their kiddos. (We were poor and they would feed us, so it was a win-win situation people!) We don’t get to Carrollton as often as we like, and we certainly don’t get to see everyone we want when there, so it was great to have some time with Dana. I learned so… very… much…

Being a just few years younger than Dana, I look up to her to keep me on my toes regarding what is hip and current. Lo and behold, box wine is now hip and current… who knew?!?! Well, it may not really be up and coming but I about spewed my drink when Dana told me she switched to box wine because she was getting embarrassed by all the wine bottles she was taking to the recyclers (can you say two bin habit?) Now I promised her I would not mention this to anyone, so y’all keep this on this down-low, K?? Thanks! She also may or may not have mentioned that playing into this decision was the fact that she kept running into a certain member of the clergy who she was certain now thought she supplied her whole neighborhood with wine. We got to laughing so hard and loud that I’m afraid I may never be allowed in Plates again… oops!!

I have said for many years that it was wonderful to have family that are friends… I know it’s rare and I’m grateful every day for all of my in-laws. Besides, Dana will be SO GLAD I didn’t mention the HUGE stack of ones in her purse that she “claimed” she had left over from a mission trip… yeah! That’s a good story… let’s go with that… seriously, where else could someone thin and beautiful get a HUGE stack of ones in the Atlanta area?!?!?!?!? Love you bunches Dana!!

Back When It Was Normal

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(yes these are photos from 1991, yes that is my nephew and yes my husband has a bow on his head….what do you mean that’s not normal??? You must not know MY hubby.)

Do you remember when all these sweaters from the ugly sweater contests were just called Christmas sweaters? I mean, we couldn’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving so that we could begin wearing them. Oh yes, not only did we wear these sweaters in everyday life… we paid good money for them. Yes back in the good old days, we’d put a holiday party on our kitchen wall calendar and immediately begin to think about which Christmas sweater we were going to wear. Would I wear one of the five I own or borrow one from my mother’s even larger stash? No, maybe I’d borrow the amazing lame’ ornament sweater from my mother-in-law…. but only if the party was going to be dressy.

People, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s we wore these sweaters… in everyday life and we wore them with … stirrup pants. GASP!! Yes my friends, we were essentially wearing loose leggings that had elastic loops that wrapped around the bottom of our feet so that we could tuck them into our faux leather pumps. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? I am quite certain somewhere, someone laughed every time he saw women in stirrup pants because, like Rachel’s apartment pants on Friends, they were most likely started as a joke, something that was never meant to be.

Are you picturing this people? Imagine the ugliest Christmas sweater you have ever seen being worn with BRIGHT red stirrup pants and the woman wearing this outfit is not heading to tacky day at school or an ugly sweater party. She was most likely heading to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for turtle cheesecake and chicken divan. Heck, she might have even been headed to the Christmas bridal shower my best friends and I gave where we presented the bride to be with her own custom made Christmas sweatshirt onto which we had sewn crocheted snowflakes, satin ribbon, sequins and pearls. Yes, we were living the dream people. Living. The. Dream.

Dear All

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As I opened our first card of the Christmas season, I was reminded of my mother-in-law who is truly one of a kind. At the wonderful age of 91, she still has more life in her than some twenty year olds I know. When looking back on what makes her so full of life, I have come to the conclusion that it’s because she truly LOVES people. Some people read, others paint, still others love working with flowers but Mema, she socializes.

She spent many years writing what we call her “Dear All” letter every Thursday as she sat under the dryer at the beauty shop. No matter what was going on in her life (or the world for that matter) Thursday mornings at 9:00am Mema was at the beauty shop getting her hair done. I get the feeling that had any of her children tried to come into this world on a Thursday morning, she would have politely told them to wait… and I’m also quite certain they would have obeyed!!

But I digress, Mema’s “Dear All” letter went out to an untold number of people. One lucky recipient would get the original each week, while all the others would get a mimeograph copy. (I have to mention at this point that her handwriting, while a lovely script, was challenging to say the least and there was an innate sense of pride whenever I was able to decode an entire letter…yay me!) As technology advanced, she migrated to a “Dear All” email that while not written under the dryer was still sent out to scores of people (most I knew but some… still no clue) I loved the fact that she signed her letters “Ruth, Grandma, Mema, Ruppie” denoting the various names she was called by the multitudes in her life.

Yes, one thing Tim inherited from his mother is her love of people. If Ruth Reeve became your friend, she was your friend for life. She kept up with you and your children and your children’s children. Whenever we visited her in Carrollton, there was always time in the study for her to catch me up on all the goings on of the people in her life. In fact, Christmas was my favorite time to visit because I got to look at the hundreds of photo Christmas cards she and Papa received every year. (Not even exaggerating here people, HUNDREDS!!) So every year as Christmas cards begin to arrive, I am taken back to the kitchen in her house and all the time I spent over the years looking at all of the Christmas cards taped up on display. And Mema would not only take the time to tell me the names of every person on every card, she would also tell me about their relatives not on the card.

So I guess in my own way, this is my daily Dear All letter. Here’s hoping I can make half the friends in my lifetime that Mema made in hers.

Road Trip

Last week I set out on a six hour car trip with my best friend’s mother-in-law, who shall hence forth be called MIL (don’t you love it when you can legit use “hence forth”?) Now MIL is not only a super lovely lady but one of the kindest people I know. We were both traveling to Nashville from Augusta and we truly love each other, so why not travel together? Almost as soon as I agreed I began to panic… six hours, just the two of us, in a car, traveling through Atlanta which can only be described as a traffic nightmare, purgatory at best, the transportation pit of the world??? Yikes! You should know I’m not exactly the calmest person in the world when I’m surrounded by people who have no business driving much less owning a car. (Right?!? How DO some people get a license??) So I was really worried about maintaining my composure in front of MIL. This is when I learned something REALLY important about myself… I’m not comfortable with silence.

Well, I really should clarify that statement. I’m not comfortable with silence when someone else is around. When I’m traveling by myself, I LOVE silence in the car. Sure I sometimes sing along to the radio or listen to pod casts, but my favorite is riding in total silence so I can enjoy the fact no one is calling my name or asking me to do anything (I’m sure this is somehow a byproduct of the 20+ years spent traveling with three boys… well four if you include my husband who was the biggest trouble maker!) Yeah, I can do silence and enjoy every second of it … when I’m ALONE.

Unfortunately, as MIL and I traveled along I realized that she is TOTALLY comfortable in silence. TOTALLY COMFORTABLE IN SILENCE! But me? I just couldn’t do it. I kept thinking “is she waiting for me to talk? Oh no, does she think I’m driving to fast? Should I just start talking to distract her from how dirty my car is?” (somehow I never notice dirt until someone else is around) I was losing it in my head. So I did what any self-respecting woman would do- I BABBLED.  Oh I’m certain that she now thinks I’m a blathering idiot because I rarely shut up the entire trip. Now a part of me is quite impressed with myself that I thought of enough things to talk about for six hours while another part of me is mortified that I RATTLED ON and ON and ON and ON for six hours. I’m telling you people, my throat was as sore as if I’d spent hours cheering on my favorite team in the championship game. I could barely talk when we arrived in Nashville but arrive we did.

This is when my sweet friend became ever dearer to me. She looked at me a calmly said, “You rattled on and on the whole trip didn’t you?’ I shamefully nodded yes and she said, “yeah, I knew you would.” People, this is why we are friends. She knows me and yet she still loves me. Here’s to great friends, road trips and sore throats.