Birthday Wishes

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My mother, long ago

This is my mother, at about age two.

 

This is my youngest grandchild, Isa. She is one year’s old today.

I have only seen her one time, when this picture was taken. I am one of the legions of grandparents across this country who are not part of their grandchildren’s lives. I think about her, and her sister, Freya, every single day.

And it hurts.

I hope you are well, sweet baby. I hope you know that you have my blood coursing through your veins. I hope to hold you again….someday.

 

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I Heart Enjoying Life

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Hey Y’all. This is my precious grandson, Kole, at Wrightsville Beach last month. His parents brought him home from Seattle, for their first visit back, since they moved last August.

He discovered a stick in the water, and his reaction reminds me that the world is still a fabulous, mind-blowing place! Through the eyes of a two-year old, we can really learn to enjoy life.

This week’s theme at I Heart Faces is “Enjoying Life.” I hope all of you are doing just that on this fine Independence Day!

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own.

Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.


There’s a blog I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.

 

Saturday. The day you’re supposed to describe your life in Six Words. I can do this, I told myself. It’s been really hard to write about anything lately, but surely I can manage six words.

The thing is, my life has been turned upside-down the past few months. I’m not sure where it goes from here. I find myself, alternately, on the verge of a prayer and on the verge of despair. There are no road maps to go by anymore.

In July, (or was it June?) my oldest son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law/best friend I ever had, Erika, told me they were moving. Across the country, as in, on the other side of the world. With them, they took my precious grandson, Kole, who was just turning into a delightful little boy of almost two.

In August, the three of them boarded a plane that would take them to the opposite coast; Seattle, Washington. My husband and I went with them to the airport. The morning was a blur of putting things into the car, checking behind for last-minute items, taking things out of the car, holding onto Kole’s small hand while Mommy and Daddy got things organized at the airport, and a few brief minutes of standing in line.

A hurried kiss and a hug good-bye. Then, they were gone.

The drive home was precarious, trying to see through my tears. Jeff and I stood in the kitchen afterwards, for what seemed like hours, holding each other, reeling, crying.

Kole is the grandchild that was born on Thanksgiving two years ago. He is the grandchild that came to us just two months after our first grandchild, a beautiful girl, was re-located by her parents to Michigan. Kole, we decided, was a gift from God –  to us. A grand baby that we could pamper and love and teach to play golf and instill in him our love of the sea.

We were still staggering from the pain of this loss when our dog, a rottweiler named Hannah, began staggering herself. Eight years old and a victim of hip dysplasia, her limbs succumbed to years of pain and she stopped. When we saw her fall on her face, trying to take a step towards Jeff, we knew it was time.

And so, in August, we sent our proud, black, four-legged friend and protector to heaven. She was the child we could not have, our reason to get up on some days, always waiting for us with a “smile” and a wagging nub when we got home from working a twelve-hour shift.

On September first, another grandchild was born. A tiny girl with a tiny name; Isa. My middle son’s second child, she is here in the midst of, and in spite of, her parent’s rocky relationship and uncertain future. What should be a joyous event for a grandmother like me, is bittersweet. I am not welcome to call, to visit, to share in the joy. The pregnancy itself was kept secret from our family until my son finally said to me (about a month before she was born) “Mom, sit down. I have something to tell you.”

I do have a couple of minuscule photos of her on my cell phone, and a handful of recent photos of my oldest granddaughter, Freya. I haven’t seen her in a year. I know she has long blond hair and a gorgeous smile. But that’s about it.

I’m trying to take steps to accept these changes. It’s hard. Jeff and I spend a lot of hours at the beach, staring at the waves, wondering “why us?” I’ve booked a five-day trip to Seattle for next month.  I’m going to a counselor. I have seen a psychic. I talk to friends. I pray.

My psychic told me to write. She doesn’t know how hard this is. I don’t think anyone does.

But I’ve managed more than six words, and that’s a start.

How to Make a Southern Style Pound Cake

My first husband’s grandmother, “Grandma Henry” was a true southern lady. When I met her in 1975, she was in her eighties. Her pride and joy was her own vegetable garden. Every morning she wore an old “house dress” with a faded apron over it to walk out through the neat rows of beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes, using the generous apron to collect and carry squash and cucumbers that were “ready” back into her kitchen.

After the early morning gardening chores were done, she would make a list of supplies she needed, change into one of her “good” dresses and head out to the local grocery store in her old car. There she would meticulously inspect  every aisle, while she listened closely for the sounds of familiar voices.

Because shopping was more than just picking up milk and bread. Shopping was a community event, a social happening, a chance to catch up all the neighbor’s news and gossip. It was her chance to see and be seen. She loved more than anything to talk about her garden, her new grandchildren, and what flavor of cake or pie she was planning to bake for Sunday.

Because every proper southern lady knew that Sunday was “visiting day.” A day when friends, family or neighbors could, and would, drop by unannounced to compare notes about who was doing what, who had married whom, who had passed and what was said at the funeral. And a proper southern lady had “refreshments” to offer her guests.

Grandma’s Henry’s specialty was her pound cakes. People would drive from miles around to have to pleasure of sitting at her old-fashioned kitchen table to consume a small slice of heaven. Afterwards, she gave them a “tour” of her garden and a few tomatoes and squash to take home.

This is the recipe that I remember her making the most. She had several recipes for different kinds of pound cake, and she experimented and made different versions… but she was always real proud of this one.

She called it “Sour Cream Pound Cake.”

1 cup soft butter

2 3/4 cup sugar

6 eggs

3 cups of sifted cake flour

(Yes, she used “cake flour” and yes, she sifted it with a real sifter.)

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. soda

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 t. vanilla

1 t. lemon extract

(She like to try different types of extract, too. I remember her making this with almond.)

Sift flour, salt, and soda together 4 or 5 times; set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, continue to cream. Add flavoring and sour cream. Add dry ingredients a little at a time and blend well. Beat at high-speed for 3 or 4 minutes. Bake in a greased tube pan at 350 degrees for 70 minutes in a preheated oven.

She always “fixed” her cake pan like this: She would rub the insides of the whole thing with Crisco on a piece of wax paper. Then, she put the bottom of the tube pan down in a sheet of wax paper and traced around it with a pencil. She cut out this circle with scissors and folded it in half, then into quarters and cut a line halfway down the center of the fold, so that when it was opened up, there was an opening to stick the middle part of the tube pan through. She then inserted this into the tube pan, so that when the cake was baked and cooled, it would come out nicely and not stick to the pan.

Most of the time she served this “plain” that is, with no embellishments. It is very good with strawberries and ice cream. Sometimes she made a “glaze” for it, out of about a cup of powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla (or lemon) extract and a tablespoon or so of milk.

I made this recently for my youngest son, Klinton. It was his 26th birthday. Grandma Henry would have been so proud of him. In my mind, I can see her now, calling out to a long-lost cousin’s great-niece, as soon as they walked into the small store.

June Bell? Hi! It’s Aunt Daisy Henry! How are you? It’s been so long since we’ve talked. Have I told you about my great-grandson, Klinton? He’s graduating for college with a degree in physics next week!”

The cake turned out pretty good, although I smashed the top of it of bit trying to cover it too soon. Grandma Henry would have been proud of me, I’m pretty sure, y’all.

I’m linking up to Sweets For a Saturday over at Sweet As Sugar Cookies. If y’all want to see some more yummy dessert recipes (and photos!) or enter one of your own, head over there…it’s an incredible party!

And if y’all are searching for something special to cook for you Easter Dinner, stop by Dee Dee’s Delights. She is having a “Buffet Line” for food bloggers this weekend! How creative is that?

Wordless Wednesday – Kole’s Day at the Beach

I took a few snapshots at Wrightsville Beach the other day, while I was waiting for my daughter-in-law and grandson to show up.

I think the seagulls were just sitting around waiting for him, too.

The shells were just lying around, waiting to be discovered.

Then……They’re here!!

Kole, surveying his kingdom…

“I see birds!”

“I can make them fly!”

Rolled up little blue jeans? Be still, my heart!

Seeing the beach through his eyes?

Pure joy, y’all!

There’s a lot of folks posting for Wordless Wednesday!

Check out:

Nanahood

Mom Caboodle

Life Is A Sandcastle

My Organized Chaos

Ramblings of An Empty Mind

If you know of any that I haven’t listed here, leave me a comment and I’ll add them to the list!

I Heart Faces – Best of March

This is a photo I took last month of my grandson, Kole, at the beach. We had an unseasonably warm day and it seemed like the perfect chance to let Kole run off some energy. We’re teaching him early on what it means to be a Wilmington, North Carolina baby. Important things – like how to walk barefoot in the sand.

I love this image of him stuffing a Nab in his mouth. Eating Nabs on Wrightsville Beach, while squishing your toes in the cool March sand? A quintessential, coastal North Carolina experience, y’all!

And if you are wondering what a “Nab” is…. then I reckon you ain’t from around here. Come on down to the beach and we’ll share some with ya!

This week’s photo challenge on I Heart Faces is “Best Face Photo from March, 2011.” It is a People’s choice award this week, so please go over there and vote for me!

 

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own!

 

You Capture Emotions in B&W

I’ve been participating in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week it was “Emotions in Black & White.”

Hey y’all! I’ve been missing for the last ten days. I guess I sort of fell off the blogging train and got left behind for a while.

Life is funny, ain’t it? I mean, you start out blogging because you want to capture bits of your life, either in words or in photos, or both. Then, you get so wrapped up in blogging that sometimes you don’t have time to live. Or, you get so busy living that you don’t have time to blog.

Sigh.

That’s what happened to me this past week. Both of my sons came home for a visit. My son, Ryan, who moved to Michigan a year and a half ago, was here to attend a wedding (and catch up on some much deserved R&R, not to mention family time.) My son, Klinton, was on spring break. He pretty much came home to see his brother, Ryan, and provide him with a free taxi-cab service, I think.

Myself, I was nothing but a huge mass of raw menopausal emotions walking around on two legs. It was bitter-sweet for me to have all of my sons together again. It has been over a year since I had them all sit down to my table to eat. I couldn’t figure out whether to cry tears of happiness or tears of sadness, because the week flew by so quickly, and they both had to go back to where they live now.

Notice I didn’t say they had to go home? Silly me, I still think they are home when they are with me. Darn those old Empty Nest Syndrome emotions!

One of the nicest things that happened this past week was Ryan finally got to meet his nephew, Kole.

I grabbed the camera when they were outside feeding the ducks in our back yard. Ryan was tenderly showing Kole how to feed tiny pieces of bread to them, but Kole was a little terrified at first. After all, the ducks are almost as big as he is, and they have big scary looking mouths.

Ryan gave Kole a little piece of bread, thinking he would like to throw it to the feathered friends.

Kole had his own idea. He promptly stuck it into his own mouth!

After that, Ryan picked him up and they ran around the yard like maniacs, chasing the ducks back into the pond. Kole was a lot happier when the ducks were running away from him, instead of running towards him!

My step daughter, Danielle, who lives in New York wanted to be a part of the family reunion, so we skyped her after dinner. While all three of my “boys” were gathered around my netbook talking to her, Kole just couldn’t figure out how that pretty girl inside the computer could be talking to him!

Now that everyone has gone home, and things are starting to get back to normal around my house, I find myself itching to get back onto the blogging train. Thanks to You Capture, I had a good excuse to post some of my photos from my week of being an emotional wreck living.

Next week’s You Capture topic is Youth! Grab your cameras, y’all, and join in the fun!