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The End of Live Journal

momilies
As of today, I will no longer be maintaining this blog on LiveJournal.  After a four and a half day outage with no explanation from the people that run this site, I have had it.  Many of my friends are also leaving, which means there's no reason for me to maintain space here.

My new blog is:

Momilies, V. 2.0

The address (if you don't want to just click it and go...) is:

http://momilies.susabelle.com

Come on over and sit for a spell!

My Grandma

granny
The other day as I was unpacking things and putting them away, I ran across memories.  This happens often, as I keep a lot of things because of "memories," but this was a memory very old and almost forgotten.

I had used parts of my Grandma Helen's UFO, unfinished object, a flower garden quilt, to cushion my serger for transport to Colorado.  Most of this UFO is in pieces, small little hexagons all tied together.  As I was taking all of these pieces out to put them into a bin for safekeeping, I ran across my grandmother's crochet hook.  Oh, she had more than one, of course, but this one I knew was hers.  It had a piece of foam wrapped around the handle, taped with masking tape.  
Grandma's Crochet Hook
My grandmother died young, in her early 60's.  She had been unwell in her later years, and I have distressing memories of her in those last years.  She didn't want to give up her crochet, but her debilitating series of illness, including strokes, heart problems, and a tenuous diagnoses of multiple sclerosis, had made it hard for her to hold the hook any longer.  This was before ADA and the ready availability of products for those with mobility impairments.  Gramma was a smart cookie; she invented her own adaptive crochet hook.

It's because of my grandmother that I love to crochet.  It is because of my grandmother that I love to sew.  It is because of my grandmother that I still have my "Miss Rose" doll (actually, she was a "Tammy" doll - Barbie's older plumper) with all of the clothes that my grandmother made for her, including a crocheted green and white wool skating outfit complete with beret, jacket, and flared skirt.  

Running across this crochet hook (size G) was a wonderful memory to be reawakened.  I think if I think hard enough I can picture my grandmother working with her modified hook, probably on an afghan or a granny square.  I still have the granny square hat she made me when I was barely a teenager.  It's still my favorite hat.

And Life Goes On...

momilies
We've now been here just over two weeks.  We are still in love with this place called Colorado.  If you haven't been checking out the 365-Degree blog, you should be!!  I post pictures every day of things we see or do.  Most of the last couple of weeks have been pictures from here.  I drive to work every morning and am just in awe of my view.  First I pass some farms and ranching operations (once I'm out of town).  It is hay season now, and there are hay bales of every shape and size appearing in fields along my driving route.  Some are small and square, small and rectangular, small and round, and then the big-daddies of them all, the giant round ones wrapped in some sort of shiny membrane.  The odd thing is to see a field full of small bales next to a field full of large bales.  Then I get into the foothills, and there are stands of trees (mostly aspen but some Spanish olive and lots of weeping willows) and giant red boulders of granite and the sun glinting off the windows of houses high up in the hills. 

There has been enough rain here that everything is green and beautiful.  We are in the very middle of summer here, which means it will start cooling off in another three weeks or so.  We have temperatures in the 90's, but by bedtime it is in the 70's and not unusual to wake up to temperatures in the 50's.  The humidity is so low that even 95 degrees doesn't feel awful, just a bit of warm.  I don't have to use the air conditioner in the car in the morning, and only use it on low on the way home at night.  This is the kind of weather I've been waiting all my life for.  I do not sweat, or if I do, it passes quickly, and my hot flashes still happen but are a lot less annoying and seem to have a shorter duration.  

This is hot air balloon territory; every morning I see balloons cruising eastward from the mountains.  I'm not sure where they are taking off from, but there they are, floating lazily in the morning haze, toward the rising sun.  Someday, I want to take a hot air balloon ride.  Imagine what I would see from up there!

When we entered Colorado, the sign said "welcome to colorful Colorado."  This is so true.  The mountains are dark green and red granite, and the foothills are green and gold and brown.  The buildings built of granite are red and brown, but the houses are painted in colorful shades of purple, grass green, yellow, and pink.  The sky is the bluest of blue, and sometimes dotted with white, purple, or grey clouds. The sunsets after a rain are pink and blue and purple.  The women wear colorful skirts and tops, and I've seen some of the most fabulous purses and totebags everywhere I turn.  I felt positively drab in my jeans and black pullover the other day. 

Life has been good so far.  A few bumps in the road, like suddenly needing to pay out of pocket for a new windshield for the wagon, and having to buy a window air conditioner for the house when it just got too warm during the day for Klown and the girls.  But there have been positives too; I've managed to buy a houseful of furniture for under $400, and with a small amount of work the ratty front yard is starting to transform into something attractive and welcoming.  I've discovered the joy of customer cards from the grocery store and the local Ace hardware, and have met some of the most friendly and helpful people.  Our town is big enough to have what we need, without being so big that it has no personality.  And, I've already been bumped at work from 32 hours a week to 40, which means a bigger paycheck.  It couldn't come at a better time, as we've burned through most of our savings and I'm going to need those paychecks to pay the bills come August.  Klown has not found work yet, but there have been some decent prospects, and the Perfect Child is looking too. 

I have had a pang or two of homesickness, but mostly just worried about Stinky Boy and my family and not wanting them to worry about us.  This was a huge leap of faith, moving west to a house we hadn't seen, in a neighborhood we didn't know, without a family safety net to back us up.  But so far, I don't regret the decision to move, and I am happy.  I don't know if I'll ever get tired of the view of the mountains.  I'm told by coworkers that they haven't gotten tired of them, and they've been her for 15 years, 25 years, even 30 years.  I am home.  :)
clown
Pardon me while I catch my breath.  We've now been here seven days, and I'm just now having trouble breathing.  Very weird feeling to be sitting at a stop light in your car and realize you can't get enough air.  Very weird. 

Anyway, our trip to Colorado was relatively uneventful.  Relatively.  We went to pick up our moving truck on Tuesday only to find there was no moving truck.  Four hours later, about an hour before our helpers had to leave, we finally had a truck.  This put us way behind on loading but we did the best we could.  Wednesday, we loaded the rest of the stuff, starting at about 4 a.m., and left finally at 10 a.m. to head west.  We stopped in Columbia to say goodbye to some friends, and had a minor cat emergency.  The plan was to have Neuroticat ride with Klown in the big truck, and I was to take BabyCat in my car.  By the time we reached Columbia, Missouri, Klown had had enough of Neuroticat, so after a quick trip to Walmart to buy a different traveling crate, both Neuroticat and BabyCat were in the car with me and the plants. 

Finally, we were making some time.  Several tanks of gas, a traffic jam, and almost 11 hours later, we stopped in Hays, Kansas for the night. 

I don't know that I've ever been so tired in my life.  I wish I could say I'd taken note of the landscape, but I had one eye on the road and one eye on my rear-view mirror to keep an eye on the Perfect Child, who was driving the second car.  She's never been in a car so long, and her highway driving experience was limited to mostly Florida.  

The second leg of the trip only took about 8 hours, and had us driving through rush hour in downtown Denver in a vicious thunderstorm.  It was the scariest bit of driving the Perfect Child had ever done, but she was a champ, and we finally arrived at our new front door as the rain eased up.  We unloaded about a third of the truck, enough to get the sleeping bags and our mattress and box springs in, along with some bare essentials of kitchenry, and called it a night. 

I really didn't want to be bored by Kansas.  And my memories of Kansas must be mixed up with memories of Texas and Oklahoma, because Kansas didn't look anything like a remembered.  It is not flat, it is instead full of long, rolling low hills that look the same from one to another.  There are no billboards, no settlements around the exits, which are 7 to 10 miles in between.  By the time we got out of Kansas and into Colorado, I was ready for something, anything, besides those hills with nothing to look at.

Colorado almost immediately blooms with color and variety.  Each exit has something interesting to see.  Still, it was another long day and at some point, you just want to be done with it all.

Our house is odd, but livable.  It is huge, but laid out strangely.  We are slowly but surely making it home.  After unloading the truck on Friday, Saturday was devoted to locating all of the second-hand and thrift stores to replace furniture we sold off before we moved.  We scored a dryer, bed frame for Tater, night stands, a dresser, a kitchen table and chairs, and a double bed including headboard for the Perfect Child and BabyCat.  We discovered the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which was the best place we went.  I intend to visit again!  A week later, we have both the girls' and our bedrooms set up completely, as well as the kitchen and dining room, while the living room, garage, and "man cave/guest room" is still a gigantic mess.  It will get done, it's just taking a loooooong time.

I started my job on Monday, and so far, it's great.  I'm enjoying it immensely, getting to do what I love with people who appreciate me.  There is much to learn, but I have a great team to work with, and I will get there.  Colorado is beautiful and the mountains make me happy.  Hopefully this weekend we can get out and do some sight-seeing.  

Updates to Come

momilies
 We are safely in Colorado and trying to get things put away. I  promise a post within the next few days.  Hope everyone is well!

Good God it's Hot, or, Counting the Days!

momilies
Update on the Deadbeat Mom story - she actually came to the house and paid the Perfect Child in person.  Of course, she stayed on the phone all the time,I'm sure so she wouldn't have to talk to anyone or make eye contact.  I'm sure the phone call was not even real.  But, the Perfect Child has her money, and that's what matters!

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah.  My brain is fried.  I could say it's fried from the packing, the getting ready to move, finishing up at work.  But no, the reason my brain is fried is because it is NINETY-NINE FREAKING DEGREES.  Humidity is hovering between 50 and 70 percent, and I am just miserable.  I'm counting the days until I leave this horrifying weather behind.  I have always been a bit heat sensitive, but the older I get, the worse it is.  It doesn't help that I can have a hot flash for no good reason to begin with, but throw in heat and humidity and I'm a goner.  Two showers a day seems to be the norm right now.  We spent twenty minutes outside this morning helping someone load our freezer onto their truck, and came in feeling like a rung-out washrag.  

I'm disappointed that our last weekend in St. Louis is unfortunately going to be typical weather-wise. A nice cool weekend would have been too much to ask for, I suppose.  We wanted to do a few things before we left, like visit Grant's Farm or the Zoo, but it's just too hot to do that.  I really can't afford to get sick at this point.

We are picking up the moving truck on Tuesday, and loading it with help from my brother and sister-in-law.  I hope everything fits.  This is my current fear.  We have so much stuff, despite the fact that we've gotten rid of most of our furniture, I'm worried stuff won't fit in the 24-foot truck we are renting.  And then what?  Too late to get rid of anything left. 

Then comes the drive, which will take two days.  Klown and Neuroticat will leave early in the morning with the truck, the girls and I will follow in the cars with BabyCat as soon as my landlady takes a last look at the house.  We are praying for a cloudy drive.  And calm cats.  We're probably not going to get either one of those.

In the time between now and Wednesday I have to get utilities turned on in our new place, do our change of address, get a hair cut, get my nails done, finish packing, try to cook and eat up all the food in the freezer, finish trim-painting the family room, etc. etc, etc,  There is still so much to do.  

I need a magic wand.

Deadbeat Mom

momilies
The Perfect Child babysits for a family down the street.  The two little boys adore her, and she adores them.  She's been watching them on and off for about two years.  The mother and father are divorced, and she does her babysitting at the father's house.  The usual routine is that she goes down early in the morning to get them ready for school and onto the bus, and on days off, she watches them all day.  And if one has to stay home sick, she stays home and takes care of them.  The parents have 50/50 custody of the boys, so Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesday mornings belong to the mom, and Wednesday afternoons, Thursdays, and Fridays belong to the dad.  On mom's days mom pays the Perfect Child, and on dad's days dad pays her.

It works well on dad's end.  But mom is a deadbeat, and often does not pay.  Right now, she owes the Perfect Child $35, $25 of which is from March.  The Perfect Child has asked over and over, via text and phone call, and gotten nowhere.  Now that we are leaving town, I wanted to be sure she got what she was owed.  So, I texted the Deadbeat Mom on Monday with the following:

Momilies: This is the Perfect Child's mom.  I am asking you to please pay what you owe her from March and from a few weeks ago.  This has gone on long enough and there is no excuse for you to not pay her this small amount of money.  She has taken exceptional care of your boys, even when they have been sick.  She has always been there when needed and has put up with you not paying her in a timely manner.  Enough is enough.  Do tghe right thing and pay her what you owe her.

Deadbeat Mom: *crickets*

So, Tuesday came and I still had not heard anything.  So I texted again.

Momilies: I have not heard back from you regarding paying Ginny what you owe her.  I expect you to respond promptly, or I will have to take the next step.  I can guarantee you won't like it.  It's $35.  Pay it now.

Deadbeat Mom:  Look don't threaten me...you do not scare me...she will get her money Friday.  If you threaten me again I will have the police involved

Deadbeat Mom: (10 seconds later as I'm typing the below) Please respond promptly to my last text

Momilies: *ignoring empty bluff* The money needs to come our house and not dropped off at [dad's].  You know where we live and we will be home all day.  I shouldn't have had to ask on The Perfect Child's behalf int he first place but you have not followed through.  I'm not as patient as her and will not hesitate to do what is needed to see her paid for the work she performed for you.  Three months is long enough for her to have been paid.

Deadbeat Mom: I will drop it off at [dad's] and not your house.  I do not feel safe coming to your house.  Your threatening behavior is unacceptable.

Momilies: Your non-paying behavior is not acceptable.  You will pay The Perfect Child directly and that is the end of it.  She will be waiting for you here at the house.  You have no reason to be scared of me.

Deadbeat Mom:  Not scared of you never will be sorry.  And no, I will not come to your house.

Momilies: You just said you didn't feel safe coming to our house.  Which is it.  Get over yourself, suck it up, and do the right thing.  THe Perfect Child will be home all day and will be expecting you.

Deadbeat Mom: *crickets*

The only reason she won't come to the house, and won't pay the Perfect Child directly, is because she doesn't want to look her in the eye.  She is a very poor excuse for a mother.  What does she think I'm going to do to her, anyway?  My "next step" involved me showing up at her workplace (she works at a restaurant) and holding out my hand until she hands over her tips.  I'm not responsible for her personal guilt or inability to do the right thing.  I wasn't born yesterday, and you don't mess with the Mama.  I will always win.

We'll see if I have to make that trip to her workplace Friday night.  I rather doubt I will!

Clean House, Momilies Style

clown
I'm a huge fan of the Clean House show on the Style Network.  Even in the absence of Neicy Nash, the show's original star, I enjoy watching it.  So when we were starting to clear/clean house in anticipation of our move, I kept hearing Neicy's voice in my head.  "Mayhem and foolishness," and "It was a HOT MESS."

Yup, that about describes it.  We had years of junk collected.  Tons of stuff we didn't need or use, years of accumulated stuff.  Within days of the job offer from Colorado, we were packing and stashing.  Every cabinet, closet, or shelf I emptied was disposed of in one of four ways:  packed to travel, into a box to be sold at the yard sale, into a box to be given away, or into the trash can.  This means half of our stuff (or less) is being packed, while the rest is leaving the house never to be seen again.

This past Saturday was our yard sale.  We had so much stuff it wouldn't fit in the garage.  It wouldn't fit on the three banquet tables I own.  It wouldn't fit even when we added a huge table atop a set of sawhorses.  We drug the patio table from the back yard, and spread blankets on the grass, and still, there was too much stuff.  When I said HUGE MOVING SALE on our signs, I meant it.  We had furniture; household stuff like glasses, plates, coffee makers, blenders, baking sheets; a sewing machine and craft supplies and fabric; costumes and clothing; knickknacks and chickens.  You name it, we probably had it.  The driveway was lined down the middle with tables, one side was lined with furniture, the other side had tools, books, and toys.

And when it was all said and done with, we had sold about half of our stuff, and made over $1200.  We still had a ton of junk left, but I opened the garage up for a "free sale" on Sunday and got rid of two-thirds of what's left.  Now we have four or five bins to take to the thrift store.  None of the furniture was left to be gotten rid of, and nothing of any value (sentimental or otherwise) we had to dispose of. 

This was an ordeal.  For weeks we've been at each other's throats about what to sell, what to keep, what to throw away.  It's been some of the most stressful stuff we've ever gone through.  It was necessary, but there were plenty of days I think we all wanted to just walk away!  

I am thankful for incredible help from my mom, my brother and sis-in-law and niece, who all came to help on this very busy and very stressful day.  It is hard to see some of your stuff going away with strangers, even if it is stuff you haven't used in a while.  I think some of the furniture was the hardest to let go of, as I am going to miss these things when we get to our new house.  But some of them just would not have survived the trip across country, and it was necessary that they find new homes. 

I just wish Neicy Nash would have been there.  She matches the first $1000 made at the yard sale, money to be used for a home makeover.  That would have been nice cash to have!

The Boy Who Fell off a Bluff

momilies
I spent some time at the family reunion talking with my cousin David.  As a boy, he was stocky and sturdy and had a ready smile.  He was amused by everything, it seemed, and because he was strong, he was also a bit of an enforcer (in looks only) and was relatively brave as well.  When he, my brothers, and his brother Mark got together, trouble was often to be had.

When he was 9 or 10, we were at gramma's house for our yearly summer vacation.  One of our favorite things to do was to climb down the hill behind gramma's house and dig in the weeds.  The hill had been used as a trash dump.  In those days, there was no trash hauling service, and you burned what you could in the trash barrel, and everything else got tossed down the hill.  Empty glass medicine bottles, tin cans, broken toys, you name it.  Sometimes we found milk bottles or other treasures.  If you went far enough down the hill, and up a short embankment, you could stand on the edge of the bluff overlooking a set of railroad tracks and the Osage River.  That bluff is easily 100 feet from top to gravel at the bottom.  The view is spectacular.

This particular afternoon, the boys were foraging for treasure, while the girls were in the house probably working on some sewing project or other.  I think my dad and uncle (father of David and Mark) were likely sitting on the porch smoking or back in the tool shed doing Useful Things, like dads are supposed to do.  At some point, the boys got too close to the bluff, a place they had been told never to go, and David tripped and went over.  He says he remembers screaming and screaming and suddenly he was at the bottom on his knees in the gravel, wondering how he'd gotten there.  The other boys high-tailed it back to the house, and I can imagine they argued with each other about which one would tell someone what happened. 

All I remember was an overwhelming sense of panic.  I didn't know what had happened, I just knew that the kids were gathered into once place so that everyone knew who was missing, and the dads took off in our station wagon down the steep hill to the bottom of town, where they could get to the access road along the railroad tracks.  At the time, and even for years afterwards, I didn't understand the breadth of the events of that day.

The dad took David to the hospital in Jefferson City, a good half-hour's drive away.  My mother and my Aunt Barbara (David's mother) stayed at the house with the kids and my grandmother.  Thankfully, David was not seriously hurt, despite his fall.  He had broken his upper arm, the humerus, and had some bruising and scrapes on his knees.  But he was alive, and basically unhurt.  Some guardian angel was watching over him that day, that's for sure.  I can imagine his mother, and even my mother, sitting in controlled panic and worry the entire time they were at the hospital.  As a mom, I know that was the most nightmarish afternoon of their lives.  They had to pretend that everything was okay, that everything was normal, and that nothing had happened.  As a child, I only remember the feeling of panic running through the house.  There were no cell phones for quick updates, only a house phone on a party line that would have been long distance to call from the hospital thirty minutes a day.,  I can imagine the worry on the mothers.

The rest of the week was spent with my dad and uncle being creative in my uncle's station wagon.  David's arm had to be completely immobilized, and they had a very long two day trip back to South Carolina to make at the end of vacation.  They created a sitting space for him behind the back seat, where he could sit sideways and his arm be propped up appropriately and he could rest easily as they drove.  David is a grown man now, no worse for the wear.  He says he doesn't know how he survived, or why he wasn't more badly hurt. 

The bluffs were off-limits for us from that day on, not surprisingly.

Daylilies and Old Houses

momilies
This past weekend was our family reunion on my dad's side.  We do this about every 7 or 8 years, and invariably, not everyone can make it.  But this year, everyone made it but one of my cousin's, and a few of the grandkids were missing (like Stinky Boy, who had to work).  The cousin who didn't make it is from South Carolina, although his brothers and sister and mother did make it to the reunion.  The opportunity to reconnect with my memories of a farm, my mischievous cousins, and wholesome (and high-calorie) foods was not one to be missed, for sure.

My husband and girls came with me, and I have to be thankful of their forebearance in letting me reminisce, drive them all over the little down, and drag them with me through the ramshackle house that was my grandmother's.  They made friends or at least stayed occupied, and I got to catch up with people I hadn't seen for a very very long time. 

My cousin Mary Ann, a year older than me and a prissy southern gal, has not changed.  We were driving on one of the many gravel roads that intersect the area of the Ozarks where my family comes from and encountered a 4 foot long black snake slithering itself across the gravel in the afternoon sun.  "Ew!" was her immediate response, while I stopped to get a closer look.  That's my Mary Ann.  Every summer for many years when we were young, a week-long "family vacation" revolved around a trip to grandma's.  Mary Ann and her three brothers, mother, and father (my dad's brother) made their way from South Carolina with a tent camper.  We did the same, but only had to drive a couple of hours from St. Louis.  The tent campers would be set up neatly in the side yard of gramma's house in town, and the kids would commence to climbing the poison-ivy-infested hill behind the house or sweating it out playing "house" in the attic.  My mother and my aunt Barbara (Mary Ann's mother) tried to occupy themselves with sewing projects using gramma's old Singer, or working in the little garden, or cleaning house, or taking walks around town.  My grandmother was not the nicest woman when it came to daughters-in-law, unfortunately.  We kids never felt or saw the tension; it wasn't until I was much older and had my own mother-in-law problems that I realized what torture that week of "family vacation" was.  Halfway through the week, my mother and Barbara would pile us girls in the car along with the laundry and off we would go to Linn.  We'd help with the laundry, and we'd stop and buy eggs from a house along the way, and sometimes there was shopping, but only a little.  Mary Ann remembers the woman who ran the shop had a huge goiter in her neck.  I remember that if we were good at the laundramat, we would get ice cream sodas at the drug store next door.  I also remember when Mary Ann sewed right through her finger with the sewing machine one afternoon.  She was probably 10 or 11 years old when that happened.

After a huge amount of eating at the reunion, Mary Ann, my girls, and my husband and I all piled in the car and drove to town from the farm where the reunion was held. We had been told that gramma's house was empty, that someone had started to rehab it but that no one had been working on it for a year.  "You can walk right in," one of my cousins said.  That's a dare neither I nor Mary Ann were going to deny.  The exterior of the house had not changed a lot; there was a newer porch railing made of treated lumber, and the enclosed side porch had been un-enclosed and now stood like that warm-weather porch it had been built to be.  If faced north, and even in its shabby condition, I could picture a pair of cushioned wicker chairs and a little table set upon it, the view leading up the hill to the little church.  The little frame church that might hold a hundred people if they all stood touching each other now has air conditioning. Back in the day, the windows would be wide open and we'd turn the bulletins into fans and sweat our way through services.  I spent many a Mass staring out the window and watching the mud daubers and wasps going in and out, buzzing around the stations of the cross that lined the wall.

We walked around and around the yard.  The tiny garage is gone, but the tool shed that was on the back of it is still standing.  I remember my grandfather parking a black, 50's era car in that garage, although there was hardly room for such a thing in it!  The workshop built of concrete block nestled into the small rise in the back yard was still there, but falling down.  Next to it was the outhouse, where my grandpa spent considerable mornings with a pile of newspapers and his pipe.  It was a fancy out house, framed prettily and with a wide six-panel door.  It had been painted in pretty pastel colors, still visible but faded.  The garden and rows of concord grape vines were gone.  I remember slinking through those rows of grape vines on a hot afternoon, sneaking ripe grapes and popping them in my mouth.  The skins would burst in my mouth; the insides were sweet and delicious.  I spit an awful lot of chalky, unchewable grape skins and seeds out along the fence behind the rose bushes where no one would find them. The picket fence is still there, although in very sad shape.  When we were little, we always went through the gate.  When we were bigger, we just stepped over the fence.  It was only about 2 and a half feet tall. 

The doors to the house were unlocked, so we went in.  The kitchen was gutted, and a cat was spooked and made its way out through a gaping hole where the sink and kitchen plumbing had been.  My husband didn't want me to walk on the floors, the boards were creaky, but walk I did, and made a complete tour.  The dark, real-wood paneling was still up in the hallway and main room of the house.  It was as beautiful as it had been all those years ago when I'd been small. The bedrooms were in stages of rehab, but the dining room had not been touched at all.  It was filled with old furniture and construction supplies.  You could still see on the floors where the rugs had lain, tacked down and the closest thing to wall-to-wall carpet my grandmother ever had. There was even a runner down the hallway, and you could see where it lay, the floor boards under the rug not having ever been varnished or stained.  My teenager and one of my nieces investigated the attic, a place I remember with very fond memories.

"It seems smaller than I remember," Mary Ann noted when we stood in the living room.  She is six foot tall.  Everything looks small to her.  But yes, it does look small compared to how we remember it.  It didn't matter that it was empty and unkempt.  It was full of our memories, and that was enough.  I am glad that we made the trip to town to see the house, and that we went inside. 

I hope to add more reunion memories over the next few days.  There is still a lot for me to process.  The Ozarks are beautiful, with rolling hills and untouched expanses of woods that have existed for hundreds of years.  "Picturesque" is not a strong enough word. I am all the more blessed because these have been a part of my life.

And the day lilies part of my post?  Mary Ann is enamored of the millions of day lilies that bloom in our area this time of year.  They are everywhere, on every hillside, along every road, rural and non-rural, under the edges of stands of trees, around mailboxes, you name it.  They are orange as pumpkins and don't care if it is hot, dry, wet, cloudy, windy, or still, they bloom and bloom for weeks.  They will bloom for days outside, but once cut and brought in to put in a vase, they quickly whither and die.  Their beauty must stay outdoors.  Mary Ann wanted to take them all home!

The front hallway of the house, looking from the main room to the front door.  That is the original stained glass in the door.  Notice where the edges of the floor have been painted, but the part where the rug lay is still bare as the day the floor was laid.
Front Hallway

The glass on the front door.  The etching is just as I remember it, a basket of flowers.
Front Door with etching

The front of the house.  That's Tater leaping around (I have no idea why). 
Front of the House
One of the amazing views that you drive by in this part of the world.  This is one of my mother's favorite views, and many many pictures have been taken of it over the years.
Ozark Hillside
Just a small patch of the millions of day lilies that line the roads of my state.
Day Lilies under trees along road

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