An Un-humdrum Day

I remembered to take a photo at the creek the first day daughter Lise walked with us. I’m not good at selfies, so I was pleasantly surprised that my tongue wasn’t hanging out of my mouth as I concentrated on getting the shot.

Lise, John, and Anne at the creek

We petted dogs on the way home. Smoky, who often won’t come when called, ran out to greet us. Neighbor Marla was walking Albert, and Lise got her hands on the dog. Marla and Lise had a chance to chat for a few minutes, extending their friendship from Facebook.

With the young people around, you never know what is going to happen. Normally grandson David is the one who likes to balance impossible things, but this time it was Nathaniel. We were discussing tomato sauces for spaghetti. He read the list of ingredients on the bottle of pasta sauce and then perched it on his head. I was the nervous one in the room, since I once dropped a large pan of spaghetti sauce in the kitchen. It dripped into the oven, splattered the back door, and pooled on the floor. Thankfully, he put the bottle on the table without incident.

Bubble wrap was lying on the table. Lise, like many others, has a compulsion to pop the bubbles. She shared the wrap with Nathaniel as he shared the footstool with her. Lise was falling asleep while popping away. I knew she was excellent at multi-tasking, but I hadn’t realized she could keep using her fingers while sleeping. Amazing!

We had another round of hilarity when Nathaniel inserted a non-word in the conversation. We learned to listen closely several years ago when he used the word “plowish”. In my opinion, the best one was “quirbles”, a mixing of quirks and foibles. We found out Nathaniel had the reputation of having a wonderful vocabulary in high school. He inserted non-words with confidence, and people accepted them without question. I was not so lucky. Sitting on the floor was a hanging fixture with candles, and I called it a chandelabra (chandelier and candelabra). When I hesitated, Nathaniel pounced on it and fell out laughing. His latest word was “sarcastical”. Of course we teased him, and he pretended to writhe in agony.

He said, “Now you’re going to tease me for every mistake I make.”

We said, “No, we won’t. Keep on making up new words all the time, and we won’t be able to remember them all.”

There is nothing like a warm, supportive family. (I am being sarcastical.)

Visiting Continues

Our five spent the night at brother Bob’s house so that we could visit a bit more. Doing that three-hour drive twice in one day would have been a bit much. Daughter Lise was still on Danish time. She needs much less sleep than I do, and I found she had been awake several hours when I got up. We decided to go for a walk in the neighborhood, since we had been sitting for two days in a row. John was the only one up then, so we weren’t missing most of the people. Lise loved the way the sunlight hit the trees.

As we walked around, we found happy smiles drawn on the pavement at one house. I asked Lise to pose her feet with the painted pair to show how large they were. We were happy to begin with, but this added an element of joy.


Our overnight stay gave Lise more time to buy a new wardrobe, with niece Julie’s help. Lise’s clothes out-grew her after she lost a lot of weight. She brought a huge suitcase from Denmark filled with her old clothes. I get first choice of hand-me-downs before she donates the clothes to Goodwill.

We had another meal together at a local Italian restaurant. Eating at 2:00, we had the dining room to ourselves most of the time. That was good, because we filled the space with talk and laughter. I took the photo, so I’m the only one missing. Lise asked the waitress to take another that included me. She hasn’t shown it to me, but I’m not sure I want to see it. When we got back home and I saw myself in the mirror, I wondered what I looked like all day long. I don’t remember using a comb at all!!!

Bob, Beth, John, Jay, Julie, Lise, Nathaniel, and David

Thanksgiving Begins

The first event of the Thanksgiving season was daughter Lise’s arrival. We picked up grandson Nathaniel from college and waited longer than expected to get Lise from the airport. Her flight from Denmark was delayed, making her miss the connection in New York. We were relieved that she was only four hours late getting to Charlotte. We were home by midnight and fell into bed.

The next morning we hurried to pack for the trip to my brother’s home in Winston Salem. Nathaniel deflated the air mattress by lying on it.

Nathaniel is thin, but he looks almost flat in this picture.

Son John $pencer and Rose participated in the mirror ceremony, when Nathaniel moved the hall mirror to a higher hook. He will move it down again when he leaves.

Dog Sadie is looking the wrong way.

Meal prep was underway when we arrived at Beth and Bob’s house. I took a photo showing a few people, not realizing how many would soon be there. We think there were 23 people to eat this feast on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

John, David, Don, Bob, Kate, and Nathaniel

I’ve never seen a group that could mix and mingle as easily as this group did. At one point Lise and niece Julie had a few minutes together on the sofa.

Lise and Julie

Grandsons David and Nathaniel were joking around near the back door with Grandpa. Nathaniel and cousin Kate modeled their leather jackets, both bought at thrift shops.

The photo I enjoyed taking the most was one of Lise and Zeke. When I was introduced to Zeke, I knew immediately who he was. Forty-four years ago his sister Mary visited us on Long Island. She was on a missionary trip, raising funds for her work with Wycliff Bible Translators. Mary’s first cousin was Bob’s first wife, who was the one who engineered her visit to us. All these years I remembered her talking about her family. She was the oldest, followed by two boys. When the fourth child was on the way, she set her heart on having a sister. She said she was so angry that another baby boy arrived that she said she was going to call him the ugliest thing she could think of. That name was Zeke. When I retold the story to Zeke, he laughed and said that was just like Mary. He claimed his mother said she was not going to have any more children and nicknamed him Zeke because it began with the last letter of the alphabet. With a twinkle in his eye, he asked if any of us knew his real name. We didn’t. It is William.

Lise and Zeke

I showed Zeke a photo I took of Lise and Mary when she visited in 1977. Of course he recognized his sister, and he was happy to pose with the grown-up version of Lise.

Lise and Zeke won the honor of being the ones who traveled furthest to our gathering. Lise lives in Denmark, and Zeke lives on a sail boat in Seattle, Washington.

A Day in the Mountains

Grandson David had a day off, and son John $pencer and Rose were free. We had a delightful day driving in the mountains, first going through Cherokee and on to Robbinsville. Eating at Lynn’s Place was great. This eatery is like a small diner, one three of us had been to before. One of the wait staff asked where we came from, and when she heard Waynesville, she said they have a customer who comes often. She finds any excuse to be there for a meal.

We drove on a skyline drive, one that I could spell if I could remember how to pronounce it. Surprisingly, there were more leaves on the trees in Tennessee than we have. Most of the leaves were gone near the edge of the road, so we could see the mountains through a filter of bare branches. Sadie seemed content to rest on the seat next to David, which delighted him. She went around the car occasionally, greeting the rest of us. It was fun having her with us.

David expressed interest in seeing Bald River Falls again, the place where he and his mother went swimming one time. No one was interested in touching that cold, cold water! It was fun to watch the falls from the bridge, well away from the spray. Everyone was willing to pose, except for John taking a nap in the car and Sadie trying to smell every inch of the bridge.

Rose shared two pictures I requested – David with Sadie and my son with me.

Sadie Gets in Her Licks

As I put the biscuits in the oven, I asked son John $pencer if Sadie could lick the bowl. He held it for her as she performed her prime job here – pre-washing the dirty dishes and bowls. Sadie is spoiling me by making the kitchen floor look clean all the time.

I apologized to the camera for getting flour on it. It just shrugged and cleaned itself off in my pocket.

Zero Birthdays

Both son John $pencer and friend Rose had birthdays ending in zero while they were traveling out West. We wished them happy birthday via telephone, but we had to celebrate in person when they came back. John prepared his spaghetti sauce, and I used my mother’s Apple Crisp recipe for our homespun celebration. It was wonderful to have them home again for a while.

I told $ the little present for him was a gag gift. It was a set of salt and pepper shakers in the shape of owls. I couldn’t tell by his expression if he remembered I gave him the same thing last year. We raised him right, and he said thank you sincerely. I explained that I spotted them in the store, knew he’d like them because he likes owls, and bought them. After I got home, I remembered that was exactly what happened last year – same thought, same store, same time of year, same price. Aauuggghhh! At least my thinking is consistent!

Geography with Logan

It’s easier to keep up with neighbors in warm weather when people sit on their porches or work in their yards. We hadn’t seen neighbor Logan and his parents for a long time, so we got together after school for dessert and a quick visit. We knew they had an appointment and couldn’t stay long. That explains why the exit photo had a deer-in-the-headlights aura.

Shawn said she is going on a mission trip next year, causing John to bring the globe to the table. Logan found the country, and that led to John’s talking about the Gulf stream. That’s the wonderful part about having a living encyclopedia in the room. You get information focused on the present topic. I once likened John to an interactive screen. You press him, and history comes out.

There must be a magnet in that globe. We all find it irresistible once someone begins looking at it. Shawn said geography isn’t taught in school any more. I asked grandson David if he knew where Africa was, and he pointed to it and continued identifying Australia and New Zealand as the globe turned. David was just out of camera range, but he was in on the conversation. I was relieved he had map skills, some of which must have come from early schooling.