Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Memory

Long ago, when our first-born was just a toddler, we went sight-seeing in Washington DC. We went to the top of the Washington monument, stood in awe at feet of Lincoln and walked through the capitol building. None of it seemed to impress our little girl. Then we went to the Jefferson memorial. She got more excited than she had been all day. She seemed overwhelmed with the giant statue of Thomas Jefferson. As she stood transfixed in wonder she said, “Wow Mommy. Look, it's Batman.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day I am going to discuss toilet paper.

Did you know that the majority of toilet tissue is made from big, beautiful virgin trees? The virgin wood pulp provides longer strands and makes the paper softer and thicker. When it comes to toilet paper we like soft and thick. I don't know about you, but it bothers me to think of all those lovely trees being used for nothing more noble than wiping our behinds.

Several companies make toilet paper and other paper products from 100% recycled paper. For the past year we have been using these recycled paper brands. It works just fine. It is soft enough to be comfortable and strong enough to do job it was intended to do. It is an easy way to honor Earth Day. It is good for the environment.

If every household in the U.S. Replaced one 4-pack virgin fiber toilet tissue with 100% recycled paper product we could save:
1,267,000 trees
458 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 3,500 families of four
3.2 million cubic feet of landfill spaces, equal to over 4,600 full garbage trucks

I THINK that I shall never see
 A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
 Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
 And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
 A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
 Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
 But only God can make a tree.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Like Your Mom

“You look just like your mom.” “You have your mother's laugh.”The words wrapped around me like a warm embrace that welcomed me home.

We moved across the country from my childhood home when I was a young woman. We raised a family and built a happy life far from my mother and father. I am known by my role as wife, mother, grandmother, co-worker, and friend. I often hear people say that my daughter and granddaughters look just like me. Very few people think of me as the daughter of Byrtle, the most wonderful woman God ever created.

One of those few people who see me as my mother's daughter is my ninety-year-old Aunt Wilma, the last of my mother's generation of relatives. She lives in San Antonio and we were able to visit with her after our grandson's graduation from basic training. Our visit was a delightful trip down memory lane with many stories about my mom and dad. She had pulled out old pictures and told stories about times long gone. She said that I was just like my mom. Sweet memories surrounded me.

It felt good to have someone know that I am Byrtle's girl.

My family, Mom & Dad, my brothers and me
San Antonio, Texas, 1951

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day

Today is the day everyone's taxes are due. Along with 95% of Americans I received a tax cut from President Obama this year and I am grateful for that savings. Even if the tax cut had not been given I would not complain too much. I think I am getting a pretty good deal for the money I pay. I am grateful for a stable government and all that it provides.

This year I am happy to pay the salary of the president. It is a terrible job, but I approve of the way our current president is doing his job and I think I am getting my money's worth. I like the senators and the congressman who represent me. They are doing a good job for me and my state and my country. I don't agree with all of the members of congress, but it is important to hear different sides of important issues and I am not complaining about paying them either. (I might make a small complaint about the guy is afraid that Guam is about to tip over.)

Most of his working life my husband has worked for NASA, so he has been a federal employee. I am grateful for all the years he earned a salary and for the retirement income he now receives.

I am grateful for a strong military that helps to keep our world safer. I am thankful for the interstate highway system. I am thankful for schools, trash collectors, public health agencies, police protection, food inspectors, public libraries, fire departments, and services for young children and old people. The list of the benefits we receive from our tax dollars goes on and on.

What is something that our taxes pay for that makes you feel thankful?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our New Airman

It is hard to find words to describe all the emotions involved in watching our grandson become one of the nation's newest airmen. Of course we are very proud of him. Getting through basic training was a major accomplishment. We were all amazed at the transformation he has gone through in the past eight weeks. When he left he was a boy. This week-end we met a motivated, disciplined, physically-fit young airman.

Nine of us flew from Maryland to join the festivities of graduation weekend. Thursday we were all up before dark to get our first glimpse of John in the Airman's Run. It was very cold in the Texas morning. We strained our eyes trying to pick him out as the trainees ran by us. It was a bit like trying to find Waldo because they all looked very much alike. Then we saw him. He looked great!

The coin ceremony came a few hours later. This was a big deal. The graduates in their blues paraded onto the drill pad. After a few speeches they received their first Air Force coin, an important symbol of becoming a member of the US Air Force. At the conclusion of the ceremony we were finally able to really see him and hug him and talk to him. To say his family was happy and excited for him would be a great understatement.

During the afternoon he entertained us with funny stories about the past eight weeks. I don't believe I have ever heard my quiet grandson talk so much. It seemed like he just had a never ending list of things he wanted to share. We were a proud and happy audience.

Friday morning was the graduation parade. Flags, marching, airplanes. Now his uniform was decorated with a stripe and ribbons. He was promoted from trainee to airman and took his official oath. There were many tears of pride from all of us.

Saturday we enjoyed a day in the beautiful city of San Antonio while he continued to tell us more stories. He was excited to be off base for the first time since arriving eight weeks earlier.

He is now off to tech school at Sheppard Air Force base for a few months. He is excited about this next next step in his career.

Our little boy has become a man.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


We had a lovely Easter Sunday. Church was good. Communion in the memorial garden at sunrise was a powerful worship experience.

The family gathered at our firstborn's home for dinner. The food was yummy. The weather was beautiful. We sat in the backyard and enjoyed each others company for several hours. This was the first year we did not have an Easter egg hunt. The grandchildren have all outgrown hunting eggs. I do miss having little children in the family. They are all either grown or they think they are grown. I do love my family. They bless me every day.

Tomorrow we are flying to San Antonio to watch our grandson graduate from basic training in the Air Force. He has done well and we are all so very proud of him. He is excited about finishing this segment of Air Force life. I don't know yet where he will be going after this week.

Happy spring everyone.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm spring day. We, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, decided it was the perfect day to take a look at Washington DC's famous cherry blossoms. There are beautiful cherry trees in full bloom scattered all around our area, but there is just something very special about these trees. In spite of the throngs of people, the traffic and the noise, these trees were breath-taking. The sunshine, the monuments and the cherry blossoms combined to make a perfect day. It was wonderful to be part of an enormous Washington crowd who were there just to bask in the beauty of the moment.

Looking up through the trees

White House

Washington monument

Jefferson Memorial

The Kennedy Center

Thursday, April 01, 2010


I just mailed in our census form. This is the seventh time I have been officially counted. I was born in 1941, so I was first counted in 1950 at the age of almost nine. I was the youngest of three children in our household of five people. In 1960 I was living away from home at nursing school. According to the rules I should have been counted as part of the school's count. I wonder if my parents included me in their household count that year? I'll never know. I was busy during the sixties and by the census of 1970 I was the mother of four children and lived in a household of six people. In 1980 everyone was still at home and again we were a household of six. There were a lot of changes during the eighties. Children grew up, went to college, got married and began to have children of their own. My nest felt empty and we became the foster parents of a teen-aged boy. For the census of 1990 we were a household of three. In 2000 we were a household of two very busy working adults. The form I mailed today says two old white people live here.

I wonder what my granddaughter fills in as her race. Her father, my son, is white. Her mother's racial heritage is black, white, American Indian and a little Chinese.

How many times have you been counted in an official U.S. Census?
How many people dwell in your house?