Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ALPHABE-THURSDAY-Mrs. Matlock, this assignment is too hard! @DayDreamnWorld

It's time again for ALPHABE-THURSDAY hosted by Jenny at Jenny Matlcok..."off on my tangent." This week's assignment was to find a word (or words) that begin with the letter K.


Over the weekend the kids got out their Letter K Book and began to study. This was not an easy assignment for them. They wanted something special for the letter K and nothing satisfied them.

Finally, one of them had a brain storm. KEITH is always teasing about not appearing on his Mom's blog enough. KEITH is pretty special. KEITH starts with a K! Problem solved. So here it goes...

KEITH was born on May 31, 1969 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Naples, Italy. He was our first born and we were living in Catania, Sicily at the time.

The hospital did not have a photographer come and take baby pictures, so I have no newborn pictures of KEITH. I was flown to the hospital on Thursday, May 29th because the doctor didn't think I would last until the scheduled Tuesday Medivac flight. He was correct. I went into labor on Saturday and KEITH was born a few hours later. Jim had flown up that day for the weekend and arrived at the hospital and was told that I was about to give birth. KEITH was born within twenty or thirty minutes of his arrival.

I know this sounds crazy now, but at that time there was a rumor going around that babies could incur damaged eye sight from a camera flash. Being a very diligent first time mother I limited the number of pictures that could be taken early on. We do have a few slides of KEITH taken within the first week or so, but I haven't gotten them scanned with my slide scanner yet. So, I'm using the earliest regular photographs that I could find.

This is KEITH at three months old. By this time we had moved from Catania and were living in base housing at the US Naval Air Facility at Sigonella, Sicily.

Like all proud parents we wanted a picture for the Christmas card. This is the one we took ourselves and used Christmas 1969.

This one was taken in November 1970 shortly after Troy was born.

I think this one was taken around the same time.

And since KEITH wanted a post about him I felt it was necessary to include the obligatory bathtub picture. That's KEITH on the left and Troy on the right. This was taken in May of 1971 shortly before Jim was discharged from the Navy and we returned to the states.

This was Halloween 1971. KEITH was Superman and Troy was a devil. By this time we were living in Parsippany, NJ.

This is KEITH's pre-school picture. If memory serves me correctly he went to the Paige School in Parsippany.

Here are KEITH and Troy in June of 1974. We were living in Virginia Beach, Virginia when this was taken.

This is KEITH's second grade school picture. I wish I could find a picture of KEITH holding a book under his arm. From 1st grade on he never went anywhere without a book. He loved to read. Even before he learned to read he'd follow us around begging us to read to him. "Somebody please read to me. I don't know how to read yet." Talk about a guilt trip. We read to him as often as we could, but it was never enough. He has always loved books. I thought for sure he'd be a librarian someday.

This is his fifth grade school picture. By then he was attending Kings Grant Elementary School in Virginia Beach.

KEITH was in his Junior year at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas when this picture was taken.

And this was in 1993 and KEITH was teasing his brother by pretending to be him. At the time Reid was in high school. KEITH had already graduated from the University of Houston and was working for the state. He has always had a great sense of humor and whenever KEITH is around we're all usually laughing.

This was December of 2000. Years ago I made an Advent calendar and when the kids were young they used to argue over who would get to put the day's ornament on the tree. As they got older it became a joke. I still hang it up each year and to this day they try to beat each other to the calendar.

And this was on Tuesday as KEITH left to go home to Austin. Once a month he works for a day in Houston, so he comes on Saturday and leaves on Tuesday. His cats come too!

Here he is getting Mittens and Katie in the car. One thing I'm very proud of is that we managed to instill a love for animals in all our kids. Mittens was a cat I found and KEITH agreed to adopt and Katie was a cat Keith found.

KEITH loves living in Austin and has been there for a couple of years now. We still get to see him pretty regularly. He's been very supportive throughout Reid's illness. When he found out Reid was in intensive care he drove all the way to Houston for the day to see him. He calls often to find out how Reid is doing and to lend us moral support.

Yes, KEITH is definitely my favorite K word!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's official...I'm getting old!

Not really, but on a particular day I can be ancient.

Yesterday we drove up to Warrenton, Texas near Round Top. Twice a year Sleepy Hollow becomes Coney Island for a while when cattle and horses are kicked out of their fields and everything from fine antiques to honky tonk takes over.

We drive over for the day from Galveston County and usually take I-10 to Sealy and then cut over to Belleville where we stop at the local bakery for a second breakfast. This is a tradition for us that began many years ago. Yesterday there must have been a bikers' convention going on at the bakery. We saw some pretty fancy bikes.

I kind of liked the Eagle on this one!

For years we've gone this way and usually stopped at some fields along FM 1457 in Shelby on our way into Round Top. There were fields on both sides of the road and at one time they were mobbed, but last October I noticed the one field was completely gone and there were just a few people set up on the other side of the road. I didn't even stop and I guess other people didn't either because now that field is gone too.

So, we headed over to Round Top and down to Warrenton. The weather was beautiful. It was cool in the morning and I actually heard a couple of people complaining about the cold weather. It didn't last. By afternoon it had warmed up, but was still pleasant. And it wasn't real crowded yet. Once everything else opens later this week it will be mobbed.

I did manage to snap a few pictures along FM 237 in Warrenton.

The police were there to direct traffic - Texas style. I took this one through the truck windshield. Just ignore the dirt spots.

I am getting old. On this particular day my back was bothering me for some reason and we stopped often to rest. I didn't get to see as much as I would have liked to have seen.

On the way home we stopped at La Bahia for a quick look. Now I know what happened to Bambi's father.

And this guy was in a field right across the street. He seemed a little curious.

Not too many Blue Bonnets in bloom. Perhaps they're late this year due to the colder winter? I saw a few along the side of the road, but not enough to stop the car and get out to take pictures.

What I've noticed in recent years is that some fields have gotten much smaller or have closed down as new places open. I used to enjoy stopping at The County Line Show right off of 290 on FM237, but it's been getting smaller and smaller each year. I read in the Show Daily that it was recently sold, so maybe it will grow again.

So what did I buy?

A few odds and ends, but my best find were these tiny, little toy soldiers for my boy dolls! Oh yes, and the little toy guns too.

And you'll never guess what I saw at Cole's in Warrenton. A vintage Ferris Wheel in Ginny Doll scale! The thing was huge. It was mounted on a large board and would have fit nicely on the dining room table once we removed the chandelier. As I recall it was $800+. I'm nuts, but not that nuts!

And here's a You Tube video of Warrenton shot in the Fall of 2008. I believe this was filmed while the vendors were setting up and before the shows actually opened, but it gives you a good idea of the size of this thing. Be made me dizzy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ALPHABE-THURSDAY - "J" as in Jeans, Juice, Jelly, etc

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." Head over to her blog for a list of participants and information on how you can join in on the fun.

This week we are working on the letter J. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

The boys put on their JEANS and headed to the kitchen for peanut butter and JELLY with JUICE.

Then they went out in the backyard to play and saw JACK Rabbits. They decided to take turns trying to JUMP over the picnic table like a JACK RABBIT. (Boys will be boys.)


Once again, Ginny Ellen showed up. This week she had her favorite J word for the boys.

Easter Crafing...

I'm afraid it's back to the drawing board with this little project. I decided to get crafty and make a string Easter egg. Actually, I am experienced. Around twenty years ago I made one and it was adorable. Over the years I guess the humidity here made it soft and I tossed it a few years ago.

I thought I remembered how to do it, but googled just to make sure. I was surprised to learn that this is a very good project for children. Let me warn mothers everywhere...I'm 64 and I made a big mess. There was liquid starch everywhere. The shirt I was wearing turned to cardboard.

In case you've never heard of string eggs I'll explain how they're made. You blow up a balloon, knot it real well, and then soak a ball of crochet thread in starch and start wrapping the balloon. Use the entire ball. Then hang it up to dry. Sounds easy...huh?

OK, I wrapped my balloon and much to my surprise I ended up with a beach ball instead of an egg.

I guess I knew that was going to happen, but I was kind of hoping it would elongate over night and become an egg. I did this late at night and figured the convenience store probably didn't sell balloons, so I plunged on ahead. I'm an instant gratification type of person and once I started I had to keep going with my round balloon.

I ended up giving this one to the cats to play with, but they weren't even interested. You'll notice the balloon is still there and hasn't been popped by cat claws. I clipped it to the hangar and hung it on the fireplace just to take a picture to show you. No, I'm not using it as an Easter decoration.

I went out and bought more balloons and crochet thread. It's back to the drawing board with this project. With a little luck I'll have one made for next Easter. My plan is to cut it open after it dries, decorate the edges, and put a little Easter scene inside. Unfortunately, the craft stores are running low on cute, little Easter items for the scene. My original egg was adorable with little rabbits, chicks, and eggs inside. I should have kept it. I always regret throwing things out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ALPHABE-THURSDAY - The Letter "I" as in...

It's time again for ALPHA-BE THURSDAY sponsored by Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." For a list of participants and information on how you too can participate head on over to Jenny's blog.

This week we are working on the letter I. What a coincidence! GinnyFaith's class is also working on the letter I this week. For show and tell each member of the class had to bring something that started with the letter I. (Click on each picture to enlarge.)

GinnyFaith got to go first. Since she's IRISH she decided to tell the class about IRELAND and some of their IRISH traditions.

Then it was Ginny Joy's turn. She surprised everyone by bringing ICE CREAM and making ICE CREAM CONES and ICE CREAM SUNDAES for the entire class.

Ginny Sue was up next and she brought her ICE SKATES to share with the class.

Mikey and Joey brought an IGLOO filled with ICE. It was very heavy and took two of them to lift it. Good thing they're strong.

Then Anthony brought a bowl full of reptiles including two baby IGUANAS. He held them in his hands for all to see.

With that Ginny Ellen had seen enough! She held up a sign with one of her favorite "I" words and let Anthony know exactly what she thought!

Thank you Mrs. Matlock!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

In case you haven't noticed I moderate all comments. Even if you comment on a post that I wrote a long time ago I still see it and delete it. Your comments will never appear on my blog. If you want to sell something get your own website.

I do let some anonymous comments go through, but if there is any doubt in my mind as to their legitimacy I will delete them. I'm not interested in anything you're selling and I don't think anyone else is either.

And to the anonymous commenter that likes to tell me how my post helped them with their school assignment...I've been deleting you lately too. I've even noticed you commenting on other blogs telling them the same thing. If you spent less time online that "so called" assignment might be done by now.

I appreciate all the legitimate bloggers that visit and comment here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

ALPHABE THURSDAY - "H" as in the first word spoken on the moon

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent." This week we are working on the letter H.

Do you know the first word spoken on the moon? The answer is a little controversial, but many believe the word HOUSTON was the first word actually spoken from the moon's surface on July 20, 1969 during the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission. Neil Armstrong said, "HOUSTON, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Prior to that there were some exchanges regarding probes making contact with the surface first and the engine being shut down. Some say they were on the moon at that point, but you can decide for yourself by listening to the audio on You Tube. You don't have to listen to the whole thing which is 9 minutes and 39 seconds long. I've made it easy for you. Just pick up the audio at 5 minutes and 09 seconds.

Who can forget the words uttered by Jim Lovell during the ill fated Apollo 13 Mission,"HOUSTON, we have a problem." Another controversy here. It's actually, "HOUSTON we've had a problem," but most people believe it's "HOUSTON we have a problem." Who cares? The important thing is that the first word of the sentence was HOUSTON which begins with the letter "H." Even if you're not old enough to remember the actual event you've probably seen the movie Apollo 13. The actual audio of this event is also on You Tube. Again, you don't have to listen to the entire thing. You can pick up just these words 35 seconds into the audio.

"H" is for HOUSTON home of the Johnson Space Center and Space Center HOUSTON.

"Mrs. Matlock, I'm finished with my report. May I be excused now?"

Monday, March 08, 2010

Second Time Around Tuesday - Vintage Recipes

It's time for Second Time Around Tuesday sponsored by Diane at A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words. Be sure and visit her blog for the list of this week's participants.

I enjoy collecting vintage recipes in boxes or books. I find plenty of recipe boxes and books on my travels, but most are empty. I like the ones that still have the original owner's recipe collection. I never spend more than $5 or $6. Any more than that and I pass.

The long wooden box in the front is my one exception. I don't recall what I paid for it, but there were no recipes inside. I just liked the box and it now stores my recipes.

And I like these books...especially the ones with the pockets stuffed with recipes. The one in the back on the right hand side was my mother's. The rest I purchased at either a resale shop, estate sale, or antique mall.

Pretend you don't see Zoom on the kitchen table. She just wanted to see what I was doing.

Family Updates...

Last week Reid went with me to visit Dad at the nursing home. He hadn't been for a while and I wondered if Dad would remember him. Dad spent most of the visit drinking the milkshake we brought him and only said a few words the entire time. As we were leaving he told Reid to get well. We were both shocked since I had no idea if he even remembered that Reid was undergoing chemo for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We think Dad is often off in his own little world and on occasion snaps out of it and joins us in this world.

Reid had a PET scan last Thursday and the usual blood work. On Friday he had his doctor's appointment at MD Anderson. His voice has been weak and horse for a long time. We were originally told it was because the mass in his chest was pushing on his vocal cords. Reid has found communicating a little frustrating and was looking forward to his voice improving. At his last visit we asked why his voice was still horse even though the mass had shrunk significantly. Well, the latest PET scan indicates that his one vocal cord is paralyzed. We were told this can sometimes happen after a chest biopsy or it could possibly still be from the mass. It just sounds like it's more likely from the biopsy. If it's from the mass there is a possibility the vocal cord will recover. So, we just have to hope and pray that's the case. Reid was very disappointed with this news.

The doctor said when he completes chemo he'll have a consultation with the radiologist to see if he can have radiation. He probably will, but since his mass was so large there is a possibility the field is too great for radiation. We'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

We also learned that the mass hasn't shrunk much since the last scan, but were told this is common. I guess it shrinks significantly at first and then slows down. I asked if it would be gone by the time he finishes chemo and was told no. It will continue to shrink on it's own for one to two years. After that he will be left with scar tissue.

This past Saturday he went for chemo again. That means there are only (easy for me to say) 3 chemo treatments left. There is light at the end of the tunnel! This time he seems to be doing a little better. They tweaked his medication again and he has been able to keep food down. He sleeps a lot, but fatigue is a constant side effect.

I asked what the stage of his cancer was originally. (I hadn't wanted to ask before.) He had stage 4 cancer, but with Hodgkin's Lymphoma it doesn't have any bearing on the success (or lack of success) of the treatment. It only indicates that it left the lymphatic system and with him that was his spine. I've mentioned before how Hodgkin's is different from other cancers in that only about 1% of the mass is cancer. The rest is inflammation and white cells. That is why there is a pretty good cure rate. Although there are no guarantees we remain very optimistic and hopeful.

Reid still walks with a cane when he goes somewhere, but around the house he goes without. He just needs it for balance when stepping off curbs or on uneven surfaces.

I want to thank everyone that calls and/or sends E-mails asking how Reid is doing and offering their morale support. You know who you are and it means a lot. Thanks for being with us on Reid's journey back to good health.

Meanwhile, MaMa our feral cat has been missing for six weeks now. I've put about 125 fliers on doors in the surrounding neighborhoods and continue to get calls from people who think they might have seen her. We continue to go out looking for her and I'm hoping she'll hear my voice and associate it with food and come home. Meanwhile, I continue to put food out for her. I had thought she might be sneaking into the yard and eating, but discovered this going on in broad daylight. Someone will have to tell this possum that he's supposed to sleep during the day!

That's it for the latest update from the Martin Family!