Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Birdies

My friend Jennifer and I went to an antiques mall this week, and it's always a little disheartening to see things *I* remember from my childhood in the '70's and 80's displayed as "vintage" pieces. C'mon!? Eight tracks...those aren't...well, OK, those are kinda old. But, surely, macrame purses with wooden handles. I mean those can't be more than...all right, you've got a point. Oh, but what about these Smurf figurines, and these Fisher Price sets? (Boy, they do look pretty grungy.)

All right, all right, so I'm something of an antique now. And while the accoutrements of the 70's and 80's are looking very dated and, face it, ugly, I do have some wonderful memories of those times, especially the summers...just not the bell bottoms and feathered bangs.

1. Summer weekends at my cousin's lake place on Lake Lizzie, where I wore my bikini for days, ate sour granny smith apples and red Twizzlers, skipped rocks on the water, and caught sunnies off the dock.
2. Driving through Lindenwood Park with my parents on a Sunday afternoon, watching the stinky, skinny hippies play frisbee in their tight jeans with their car radios blaring hard rock songs from Q98.
3. The joy, the utter and complete joy of Saturday morning cartoons.
4. Trips to the candy aisle of Stop-N-Go on Sundays, where we got to pick out three pieces of candy as our treat for the week. Until my brother got six cavities. Then no more candy (thanks a lot, Pete!)
5. Backyard games with friends like kickball, Green Ghost, Whiffle Ball, Slip-N-Slide, Jarts (aka Lawn Darts), and a game we made up called "Museum," which involved spinning the participants and buying statues.
6. The smell of a blow-up vinyl pool and hose water on a hot July afternoon.
7. Popsicles that you have to break in half before unwrapping (and trying to see through the wrappers to make sure I got grape or cherry, and not orange.)
8. Sitting on the front lawn reading with our dog, Kasha (a part chow/part Small Colllie who was very cute, but a bit of a loner and a biter.)
9. Riding our bikes EVERYWHERE.
10. Fishing for golf balls after dark at Prairiewood Golf Course, just two blocks from our house. We'd go over in shorts with an ice cream pail at about 9 o'clock and feel around in the shallow end of the pond on hole nine with our feet. The best was finding an orange or a yellow ball. Once I found one that was half pink and half yellow.

The picture above is one my dad took in 1975 of my brother Pete and I (before he got all those fillings.) He told us to look up at him and pretend we were little birds waiting to be fed. Maybe this is how he saw us back then, when we were all young and had little money but a lot of love. Mouths waiting to be fed. But I hope he saw two fabulous future adults who were very happy and well cared for.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy news about my PetSmart friends...

Part of my week involves volunteering at PetSmart to "socialize" (a.k.a. play with and love on) the cats up for adoption from the Southern Pines Animal Shelter. After they are given a social and health inspection, and after being spayed or neutered, the cats are dropped off on a regular basis to look for new families from the folks who stop by the store.

This week, I had really been worrying about Abby, Jack (you can see him in my birthday blog below), Jezebel and "CoCo," (that was our name for her...a beautiful Siamese mix in chocolate and cream. It looked like someone had taken her face and smooshed it into a chocolate pie.) Normally, our PetSmart adopts out five or more cats a week, but these four had been in their tiny cubbies at the pet store for four weeks or so. Now, typically, the store will only house cats for the shelters for two weeks, but it's such a great way to find them homes, because people keep coming on by to see them.

I had played with a few of these felines half a dozen times, and every time I'd put one back in his/her cage, I'd say, "Now, smile pretty for the people, and don't turn your back when you sleep. I want you to get adopted!" Two of the cats (Jezebel and CoCo) were adopted out earlier this week -- even though they were the less social of the four. (One woman apparently phoned in and told the store she was sending her husband for Jezebel, even though she hadn't even HELD her. God help her. That cat is a cling-on, and uses her scratchy nails in a frantic kind of death grip around your neck, lest you set her down.) I went over a couple of days ago to pick up cat food, and saw poor old Jack and Abby, two suh-weet cats STILL there, waiting for new families. I told the guy in the fish department I'd be back during the weekend to play with them.

Wouldn't you know it, Steve and I went over today and found EMPTY cubbies! We asked that nice fish department guy, and he said, yes, he had adopted out two of the cats yesterday, and last night, someone adopted the only other two there (one from another shelter, and one that was new from Southern Pines just this week.) It makes me so very happy to know those sweeties are now sleeping on someone's bed, and getting scratched, and talked to, and fed proper food, and getting to look out windows at the birds. Yea for Jack! Yea for Abby! Yea for the adoptive families!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here's what a birthday looks like in Theresa-land

The big joke in our family is how fanatical I am about my birthday each year. I've always been that way. I can remember waking up extra-early as a child and just singing, making up songs about how it was my birthday, and what-not. It's crazy, but hey, it's your ONE DAY a year to celebrate YOU! Here's how I celebrated my 40th, in part...

Irish oatmeal was my start to the day, with brown sugar, butter and a strawberry on top. I love this -- I'm pretty much the only one, though, so I took the half hour to make it and then enjoyed it.

I also poured myself a cup of milk in my Mickey Mouse cup (with my name etched on it) from my Disney World trip last year. Of course, when I opened the fridge, a hungry creature came to see what I was doing.

But then, party pooper that she is, Boo Boo found a chair in the computer room and took a nap. On my birthday?! (sigh) Some girls!

Since the guys had gone to school, I spent a good chunk of the day by myself, answering the phone and running errands. Before I left, I took a quick picture of myself by my piano.

And even though the guys all thought it was weird, I took a picture of my feet. How many pictures of your feet do you have? These feet have put on a few miles in 40 years. And you can see, I'm wearing my comfy old sneakers and my favorite pair of blue jeans.

I really wanted to go do some volunteering, and so I stopped by PetSmart and played with the cats up for adoption. This one's name is "Jack," and he's very friendly and playful. I call him Mr. Snuffleupagus, just because, and when you're not playing with him, he's whacking the lock outside his cubby, trying to get it open. What a handsome boy.

Dad sent me some beautiful flowers -- how much fun is that? They're still beautiful.

Of course everyone's a critic. My curious creature hopped up on the table again to inspect...and made a face.

I had stopped at the book store, and found a book that I had on my wish list. When Steve got home from work, he said, "Didn't I get you that one for Christmas?" Yes, he did. That's what I get for getting brain cells are dying off more quickly than I thought.

By then it was time to go get Graham, and he loves having cat company in the car. On Mondays, when I work at home, I take a cat with me to pick him up, but since it was my BIRTHDAY, I took both. Kitty's always a back-seat driver.

One of the many reasons I have loved picking my kids up after school all these years -- a smiling face ready with stories about the day.

While we were waiting for our turn to pull out and leave, Graham took a few pictures...what day is it, Mom?

Hmmm...I seem to remember it's my birthday. Which one? Which one?

My fortieth!? AAAARGGHHHH!

Harrison came over to wish me a happy birthday and get a pizza dinner out of the deal. He gladly posed for a picture, but when I asked him for a picture that showed what he thought about his mom's big birthday...

...this is what I got.

Steve brought me home some new African Violets. I don't have much of a green thumb, but my Grandma Carmen used to grow these, and I've got a knack for them. I had gotten rid of mine when we moved, and miss them, so now I've got some new ones to love.

Mellow Mushroom was on the agenda -- a place we can all find something we like. Graham is in that "don't take my picture" part of teenager-hood, but gave me a look when he was deciding what to order.

Then he turned the camera on Steve and me, and hey, we look pretty good for 40.

Harrison was just happy to get his hands on some killer 'za.

...apparently, so was Steve. Yikes!

The crust is the best part, isn't it?

I only had room for one piece, but have eaten on my birthday pizza all week. They're so delicious. Pepperoni, mushrooms and black olives. I always get the same thing, and I'm never disappointed.

I had some presents to open later at home, and received this killer couple of pictures of my favorite 80's band, Hall and Oates. These are originals by an artist on Etsy that Steve procured for me. Now I can have them on my desk here at work, edging me on. No can do? CAN DO!

"Oh," I said, when I saw this one, "My mom will like this picture." Two cakes, you ask? Why the heck not? It was a clerical error on our part, but one we may repeat.

I mean, come on, who doesn't want a plate of cake like this on their birthday?

Graham sure wasn't complaining.

And neither was Bea.

Thanks to all of you who made my birthday extra special by sending me messages, cards, presents and good wishes. A new decade. How exciting!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts on turning fuh-fuh-forty...

Well, tommorrow is it. The big day. The top of the hill. The end of the climb. As I stand at the precipice of a new tomorrow, the light shining down, all of my memories lined up behind me like storied soldiers of old...nahhh! Just pulling your leg! Whoo hoo!!!! BIRTHDAY!!! Forty? Who cares? Bring it on! Where's the cake!

Here are my plans, thus far, for my big day tomorrow:
1. Sleep in a little.
2. Play with the cats.
3. Go out to lunch with Harrison and Steve.
4. Stitch.
5. Go to the bookstore and buy a couple of things to read.
6. Answer the phone, "Happy fortieth birthday, to me." (I hope I get a telemarketer or two.)
7. Eat cake.
8. Open gifts with wild abandon.
9. Smile pretty for my picture.
10. Play some of my favorite music.
11. Take a bubble bath.
12. Pick out something fun on
13. At around ten, open the fridge. Look at the cake again. Carve myself another piece.
14. Wear my favorite jeans.
15. Stitch some more.

Hope y'all have a great weekend. Don't forget to check out my Facebook page (do a search on Facebook for Shakespeare's Peddler.) If you post, you have a chance to win Stitchopoly from me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My name is Boo, and I'm a Stash-a-holic...

I think my kitten Boo Boo may have a problem. I'm hoping she has the strength to admit her weakness and change her ways, or she may find herself on the side of the road with a bindle hitching a ride to the next town.

I keep a bunch of my threads in plastic bags for later use (they're often grouped by color or type.) Two mornings ago, I was home and on the computer, and I heard a crinkling sound. I looked under the computer desk, and back in the corner sat Boo on top of a huge pile of bags of silks and over-dyed flosses. I guess during the night she had been carrying them from where I had them to her own hidey place. Of course I laughed and picked them all back up.

But now, we're having awkward encounters in the hallway. I'll be on my way to the kitchen, and she'll stop mid-stride to look at me, a plastic bag of floss hanging from her mouth like a dead mouse. After a good long look at each other, I sigh and retreat to the fridge for a piece of cake, and she skips away happy as can be with another bag of stash to add to her pile.

Hey, you can find a fan page for me now on Facebook -- if you're already a member of the Facebook community, just do a search for "Shakespeare's Peddler" to find my designs and commentary, and you can join up to become an "official fan." Happy stitching!