Three hundred sixty-five days . . . and counting

anniversary-1x

Yep. One year ago. Before that, I knew nothing about living in Blogland. I knew it was there, because I had a few blogs I followed quite regularly. But to actually MOVE there, take up residence, and invite people into my personal blogspace?? Wasn’t happenin! Until last year, when I made THE MOVE.

I got notice today that I’d just celebrated my first anniversary with WordPress. And I didn’t even show up for the party! My invitation (self-issued, of course) said my party was on March 12, the same day as my anniversary on the job. I guess I’ll have to start reading that calendar a little more carefully in the future. I could’ve missed out on this party completely!! What a cryin’ shame that would be.

So, to continue the celebration right up until when I *thought* I was having an anniversary, I’ve decided to give something away on each of my blogs. On the REmissionary, I’m giving a handmade purse (that one open to USA only); on Don’t Carry the Donkey!, I’m giving two handmade bookmarks (open to anyone who comments). What should I give on this one??

I know!! Hubby has been sending out really strong signals lately that he’d like me to take over the cooking again, so I’ll honor that request by giving away a tortilla warmer. I hope the winner likes tortillas … one of our favorite foods, by the way – they’re so versatile.

me gustan las tortillas

me gustan las tortillas

So, here’s what to do, if you’d like a chance at winning this. First, leave a comment here saying you’d like to win. Then, go visit my other two blogs and leave a comment. Share this on Facebook, etc., and tell me you did. This is open to USA residents only. After I get a feel for this, I may do another giveaway and have it open to anyone. For now, though, please forgive me for having to limit this.

I’ll choose a winner on each blog March 5 after 5:00 p.m. PST, and the things will be mailed March 12 – since I had that date fixed in my mind to start with.

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Sleep Walkin’, Dream Talkin’

What a character!

My foster father Claude had a cousin that walked and talked in his sleep, and did all sorts of other funny things – especially if he’d been sick. I never met him, but I heard so much about him I think I would’ve known him in a crowded hotel (come to think of it, I KNOW I’d know him in a crowded hotel – he’d be the one hanging out the upstairs window). Claude described him often, in fond, head-shaking terms. I’ll call him Clarence, in case any of his relatives are reading this.

As a boy, Clarence was clumsy, uncoordinated, and gangly – all arms and legs. He was usually pasty white from being sick a lot, which made his freckles quite prominent. His pale blue eyes squinted in the light, behind black horn-rimmed glasses, and his wispy-fine, straight hair stuck out at odd angles all over his head, waving wildly with any passing breeze. Clarence’s reddish-brown eyebrows curved in a way that always made him look surprised. His hair was only slightly darker than dirty dishwater, with just a hint of red, and smelled very much like dishwater. And pee. He wet the bed, y’see, right up until he was about 11 or 12. He also, on occasion, had other accidents in his breeches. His older sister Charlotte had to take care of him at school, because he was always forgetting his books and his lunch and where he lived. A bookish, quiet girl, Charlotte was a little taller than Clarence but just as skinny, with straight dark hair and dark blue eyes, and a perpetually embarrassed expression.

When Clarence got excited he’d repeat certain words or phrases in his peculiar, high-pitched singsong whine. Imagine trying to cry and sing at the same time, with your nose pinched shut. That’s the sound. They attended a one-room school in the country when Clarence was six years old. One day Clarence had one of his accidents in his pants, and the entire room was decidedly anxious for him to go home. Right away. It wasn’t really his fault; they’d had beans for lunch, and Clarence always got the runs when he ate beans. But being poor, beans were a staple … and Clarence loved beans.

Back to the story. Clarence had filled his pants, and his embarrassed sister began shoving him towards the school door, making their getaway. Clarence got a bit put out with her, and jerked away from her grasp. He yelled in his best sing-song whine, “Stop a-pushin‘! You’ll make me speeyall it you’ll make me speeyall it.” He did spill it.

Clarence absolutely LOVED anything sweet. If you told him it was sweet, he’d gobble it – usually without even chewing! One day his dad (Claude’s uncle) was eating sauerkraut and crackers, and asked him, “Hey Clarence, want some sauerkraut?” Clarence immediately responded, “Yes, yes! Is it sweet?”

Clarence liked to read. He imagined himself in the stories, especially stories about pirates and cowboys and truck drivers (his interests varied, depending on the tales his grandpa, a retired truck driver who lived with them, had been spinning). But Clarence often had trouble distinguishing between reality and story, so his family kept a close eye on him when he’d been reading. You see, he tended to doze off in the middle of his book, and that could be bad. As I said before, Clarence had always been a sickly child – and when he was sick, he often walked in his sleep. His family kept a particularly close watch if he dozed off during the day in the summertime. It was funny, but when Clarence went to bed at night, he stayed in bed – it was only when he took a nap in the daytime that trouble brewed.

Another peculiarity of Clarence: he hated being hot. Summers were hard on the boy, and not much better when he became a man.

Once, when he was about ten, Clarence had been reading his favorite book on a Sunday afternoon. The family and some friends sat outside in the cool shade of the huge old oak tree by the side of the house. Everyone was having such a wonderful time visiting and drinking lemonade and eating homemade ice cream, that they all forgot about Clarence … until he appeared around the side of the house dressed only in his tidy whities and carrying his socks. His mother jumped immediately to her feet and took him gently by the arm, guiding him out of sight of the others to the side porch. She knew not to awaken him or he’d be scared and not remember why or how he got where he was. She asked him where he was headed, and he said, “I’m a-goin’ to the store an’ git me some new shoes.” She took him into the house and told him the store was closed, and he should lie back down and wait until it opened. He was quite happy to wait for his shoes.

Another afternoon, Clarence got hot and sweaty, and went upstairs to take a nap. Claude got worried about him, and went looking for Clarence after an hour or so. He REALLY got worried when he checked Clarence’s room and didn’t find him. Clarence’s clothes were all lying on the bed, every last stitch of what he’d been wearing. After a moment of panic, Claude noticed the window sill looked a bit odd – there were hands on it! He went over and looked down, and there was Clarence. He was hanging out the second-story window by his hands, stark naked, sound asleep. Claude asked very quietly, “Clarence, what are you doing?” Clarence smiled and cocked his head to one side, hair smacking at the flies as they buzzed around him in the breeze, and said in his singsong whine, “I’m a-coolin’.” It took Claude and another family member about 15 or 20 minutes to get him safely back inside the window, dressed, and back into bed – without waking him.

Well, that’s our Clarence in his growing-up years. He grew into a fine young man, Claude said. His hair never quite calmed down (those were the days before spiked hair became a fad), so he kept it cut very short. His eyes didn’t get any better either, but he got glasses that didn’t make him look like a half-blind owl. And he put on some weight too, enough that his arms and legs looked like arms and legs, instead of random twigs stuck wildly onto a weeping willow branch. Clarence also married and had several healthy, robust, extremely intelligent children. They all remembered their lunches and their books and where they lived. Not one of those kids walked in their sleep, not one had to have Aunt Charlotte escort them out of school with full breeches, and not one single offspring ever hung out the upstairs window a-coolin’. I think they missed out.

Got A Hankerin’ For Home

keep the home fires burning

keep the home fires burning

I was reading the latest WordPress Photo Challenge about “Home,” and thought, hey, that sounds more like a post challenge than a photo challenge. Reckon it could be both, though, eh? I mean, the two go together . . . a photo of what makes me think of home, and a post about the home(s) I grew up in – and changes that I’d make/not make to them. I sure wish I had some pictures of those – but, alas, I don’t. It’s just as well, though. They were houses, not homes.

My home is much more than a house. It’s a mindset. A feeling of belonging, no matter what type of building I run to for shelter from the elements. That old saying, “Home is where you hang your hat,” isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s close enough. Why isn’t it entirely accurate?? See, you COULD hang your hat in somebody’s house that doesn’t really want to claim you as part of their home. Then they’d be obliged to say to you, “Here’s your hat what’s your hurry.” Kind of puts a hitch in your gitalong when that happens. Takes the starch right out of your collar!

So, then . . . what exactly is my idea of home? I’m glad you asked. It’s a place where I feel welcome, included, a necessary thread in the fabric of my surroundings. That doesn’t necessarily intimate that my surroundings are always pleasant – it just means that no matter what is going on around me, I have a place I can go to “get away from it all.” Even when there is domestic turmoil (as in my childhood), I always felt accepted by my siblings – an integral part of our family’s fabric. The world was falling down around our ears, but we had each other. That was home.

What would I change about home? Nothing. Well, maybe just that one thing, that one time. But that had nothing to do with my concept of home, so I guess it doesn’t count.

(And yes, that IS the kitchen sink you see in the photo, with a fire in it. I’ll be most happy to explain it to anyone interested in hearing the story. :lol:)