Posted by: picturefool | November 17, 2008

Double Thanksgiving

This year we are THRILLED, ECSTATIC, OVER THE MOON to be hosting Thanksgiving as a pot luck dinner at our house. It is a huge blessing and we look forward to being surrounded by family and friends on the big day. I hope the turkey will fit in the oven! (Our oven is kinda small…)

So, that day, and hosting was plenty for me. But last night I got a call from my aunt inviting us to join in her family celebration which is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I haven’t been invited to something like this in…. ever. Well, since I was a teenager and had to go or else. I will spending the week with a shocked look on my face. We will drive two hours on Saturday and have some of the best food ever and then drive two hours home if we we can stay awake that long. (Starbucks will get some money from us that day!)

I’m not sure what I did to merit the invitation but I’m glad of whatever it was.

Also, prayer request…. a friend of a friend was in a hiking accident in North Carolina and had to be airlifted to Grady Hospital. He had his ninth surgery this morning after having his foot amputated. He may have some brain damage but it is hard to say. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. His wife his with him almost 24/7 and they are 100 miles from friends and family. It’s a lonely and scary time for them.

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Posted by: picturefool | November 11, 2008

Geneology

On my mother’s side of the family we have my grandmother (crazy) and her brothers (alcoholics) and sister (alcoholic). All of them are, not surprisingly, deceased. The last one to go was my Aunt Fran who, despite her alcoholism and addiction to various narcotics I remember as being fun and sweet and absolutely wonderful.

The reason all of these siblings were so prone to addiction and insanity is blurry. There was another sibling, who would have been the eldest, who died at the age of 2 or 3 from scarlet fever. I’m sure that threw her parents, my great-grandparents, into a terrible state. I can’t imagine…. However, I think there is more and I think it goes further back.

My grandmother always talked like she had grown up in a Currier & Ives painting. There were horseback rides at Christmas and hot cider and playing with handmade toys on warm country days. The implication was that there was money and lots of it. I can’t swear to this but I am pretty definite that she said that they owned the horses.

In truth, they owned a run-down unprofitable farm of some sort. I’m not clear about what they grew or raised there. They were poor. Poor white trash in the deep south of Georgia.

My great-grandfather ended up shooting and killing himself after shooting his oldest son in the ankle. The background of the story is muddy to say the least but that information remains constant: my great-grandfather killed himself.

And that’s my grandmother’s family history… lots of crazy, one attempted murder, one suicide.

My grandfather’s family on my mother’s side seems fairly normal. Divorce seems to be a way of life but other than the three or four marriages a piece I don’t know if any suicides or murders.

Then there is my father’s side of the family.

He, himself, is a criminal with a record a mile long of fairly petty crimes like theft and stalking. Then there is the whole grand theft auto charge. But, hey, who doesn’t forget to return a rental car for five years? We all do that, right?

His sister is crazy. She just is. But it’s an almost good crazy most of the time and I really am fond of her.

Their parents, my grandparents, were a-typical for a lot of Southern families of the time. My grandmother had the audacity to get a degree in nutrition and have a real job running the kitchen at, for the sake of some anonymity here, a large holding facility for crazy people. She worked there until a fall caused some neurological and physical damage that kept her from working. She then stayed home and taught bridge to every woman in town. (She tried to teach me and gave up. My cousin and I are both bridge drop-outs.)

My grandfather had a 7th grade education but somehow built a successful trucking company. It was pretty large and by all accounts quite profitable. He had hoped that when he died (something he began talking about before most people do) to leave it to my aunt’s husband because he had a good head on his shoulders. Basically, he knew my dad would ruin the business. Guess what? He was right on. Unfortunately, my uncle had no interest in it as he was already pursuing a degree in dentistry which has since made him, in his words, pretty well off.

One Christmas Eve my grandfather got a new pistol as a gift. He took it out into the woods behind his house, presumably to just mess around with his new present. At that point the story, like so many others in my family, gets muddy. He either sneezed and accidentally shot himself. (Think about that one. What are the odds of that happening?) Or he turned the gun on himself and shot himself. On Christmas Eve. My dad went to look for him and found him dead. There was a brief police investigation but for those of you who don’t live in the small-town South you need to know that when you are white and have money the police will cover anything up that you want covered up. No one will ever know the truth. Suicide seems the most likely option, especially given the conversations about death and leaving the business to anyone other than my dad.

Until this weekend this was all I had about my family and it was enough to make me say: So, sometimes I need a Xanax but at least I’m not totally nuts.

Then this story rolled in over the news wires (otherwise known as an email from my aunt).

Apparently, my great-grandmother (my father’s father’s mother) was married and had my grandfather and I think at least one other son. Then my great-grandfather died (how?) or just disappears from the story. My great-grandmother remarried. They had a bunch of kids…. four or five. One day her second husband came home and shot my great-grandmother dead right in front of the children. Then he turned the gun on himself and killed himself.

My great-grandmother’s remaining family raised those kids.

So, that’s a new chapter for you. I’m wondering when the chapter will be written about the puppies and the balloons and the unicorns. I’m a little afraid to find out any more.

Posted by: picturefool | November 10, 2008

Portrait Taking

Portrait photography makes me nervous, still. There is someone sitting there… staring RIGHT AT YOU… and it gets a little, well, freaky. I feel like I’m performing. But with kids, you can let your hair down a bit. This little guy is pretty cool. He’s funny, he’s cute, and he’s cooperative.

Here is last year’s favorite:

chubby cheeks

And this year’s favorite:

Portrait

The differences are many and I hope that even though I took so much of this year as a break from photography the improvement shows in the work.

Posted by: picturefool | November 9, 2008

Fall Colors

… in Athens, Georgia

Fall Colors

Posted by: picturefool | November 5, 2008

Halloween in Review

Those who know me know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It is low-pressure and just plain silly.

So, Sam started out wanting to be a Storm Trooper. I checked out the prices of the costumes. I know my child and am painfully aware that he would want the boots, the gun, the everything-it-would-take-to-be-a-real-storm-trooper kit. $80. Eighty DOLLARS! For one night. I told him very sweetly, “If you could be a non-licensed character it would be a big help to mommy and daddy’s finances.” He agreed and the ideas started to be batted around. A ghost… a vampire… a pirate… none worked.

And then one day were sitting in the living room and for some reason I just shouted out, “That’s it!! The Ghost of Jacob Marley!” And Sam agreed immediately. I think what he said was, “Genius!!” Which I have to admit is true.

So, here are pictures of Sam as himself – sweet little boy at the pumpkin patch:

Sam at the pumpkin patch

On Halloween I sprayed his hair silver/gray:

DSC_2505

And then we added makeup:

DSC_2511

And then the rest of the ensemble:

DSC_2549

DSC_2533

DSC_2529

He had a good time and got a good haul though he was too tired to do as many houses as I had hoped.

The best thing was the next morning when he ran outside to find candy in the driveway where kids had dropped it as they ran back to the street. He has declared that his favorite part of Halloween was when it rained candy.

Posted by: picturefool | November 4, 2008

Election Day

I miss blogging so I think I’ll be back. Facebook is fun and has stolen a lot of my attention but I also like having this a sort of journal to look back on….

So, today is Election Day. I voted for Barack Obama. Shocked? No? Okay, I guess I haven’t been subtle about who I like. I am so excited about watching election returns with my son and my husband and, God willing, shouting and dancing and maybe even crying a little when it is announced that Obama is the President Elect.

Sam has been talking about Bush moving out of the White House but I hope that tonight we can focus more on who is moving IN than who is moving OUT. Change is in the air.

Today is also our house-find-iversary. One year ago today we walked into our house and walked out knowing that we had to have it. Hurray for the universe for helping us get it. I still can’t believe it. So, we will be celebrating that as well.

So, if you haven’t voted get out there and do it. This is your voice… your time to stand up and tell the country what you think. Even if you want to vote that other guy… what’s his name…. just vote. That’s what makes us strong.

Obama in '08

Posted by: picturefool | September 3, 2008

Do you think…?

… that McCain is spending every private moment banging his forehead against a wall and whimpering, “why? why? why?”

Seriously, dude, this is not you hire someone. McDonalds has a more extensive interview process.

Gah.

Posted by: picturefool | August 26, 2008

12 Years and Counting

Twelve years ago today I married my Len… this goofy man who makes straw-wrapper mustaches and makes me laugh all the time. How lucky am I?

Clowning around

Posted by: picturefool | August 20, 2008

Calling all pack-rats

EDITED – I really need issues from between 1949 and 1955. k? Anybody, Anybody???

Now that we have a house built in 1960 we are (okay, I am) becoming obsessed with mid-century style and furniture. Our neighbors in large part participate in the insanity as they create their own mid-century homes. As a result I have bought some small lots of magazinest published between 1958 and 1969. I need more. If any of you have people in your family who refuse to throw anything away and are about to buried under a magazine avalanche can you ask them if you can snag some for your bestest friend in the whole wide world? Coudja? Thankyousomuch!

When the news came out about the Extreme Makeover home being in foreclosure a group gathered where I could overhear them and began poor-bashing.

You can’t do anything for those people.

You can’t help people like that.

It’s just proof that people like that are too stupid to learn how to handle money.

I was so upset by this. We have had people help us in times of need and I like to think we are working hard to keep from needing help in the future. We are still recovering. It will be a while before our credit is healed and all of our debts are settled but in the meantime we are both gainfully employed, working hard, trying to raise our child the right way.

Everything these people said was a slap in the face and I still feel the sting.

I did some checking. There have been 121 episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. One, ONE, home is now in foreclosure. That is 0.83% – less than 1% – of the homes built by this show.

Now, I don’t know what happened with this foreclosure family. I know what has been reported in the news. They may be jerks. They may be morons. Or they may have had some devastating losses that led to this situation. It doesn’t matter, in a global sense, what happened. This one isolated case is not representative of the whole. To deem it so is to diminish the honor and dignity of a very large percentage our nation’s population. To say that they are not worthy of a helping hand.

I’ve seen it all from all sides. I work around very wealthy people – wealth managers, in fact. I have lived above crack dealers and thieves. I have lived in middle class neighborhoods. I have met and talked with people from all of those groups and there are good people and bad people in every cross-section. Poor people are not bad, rich people are not bad. It’s all a mix.

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money. ~W.C. Fields

*Psalms 41:1

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