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Saturday, March 21, 2015

We Got Away

March 21, 2015

Davis works in math heaven.  We visited his work space when we first got to Berkeley.



He didn't actually believe me when I explained he would be just as well off in our living room in Bryan, since I also owned a set of Zomes and other math-oriented toys (including polydrons that were not available at the MSRI) that I would set out on a coffee table for his building pleasure.  I think it has something to do with the inspiring view:


Plus turkeys.


The whole week wasn't wine and hikes.  More like wine, hikes, and views.




And time with Davis.


Teddy suffered mightily in our absence.




Monday, March 2, 2015

What Could Be Worse?

March 2, 2015

You may have read my post from yesterday and wondered "what could be worse" than being stuck for a day in a hotel room in a strange city with a stack of grading accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. 

Well, of course, there are an infinite number of things that might be worse, including receiving a cancer diagnosis for your precious child and burying that child.

But if you want to keep the conversation within the same order of magnitude of misery and awfulness, here's what could be worse:

Finally boarding the plane home (wearing the clothes you slept in and sporting a hairdo that had not made contact with a hairbrush in longer than the average Jerry Lewis MDA telethon) flying to College Station and making the requisite 45 minute flight, only to hear the pilot's frustrated voice announcing that the visibility was too bad to land and the instruments to assist a blind landing were inoperable. . . and that we were flying back to Dallas.

Insert naughty words here: _______________________________.

The good news is that I made it home by 11:00 last night.

The bad news is that my suitcase didn't.  Which would be okay, but I'm scheduled to leave again in less than 48 hours.   This means that I will be chatting with baggage claims and bag status regularly until it turns up.  Luckily, I have the airline 800 number memorized.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Good News, Bad News

March 1, 2015

The good news is that I received an incoming phone call from an 800 number at 2:03 this morning canceling my 10:15 a.m. re-booked flight from my canceled flight home yesterday.  

And if you can get your head around the idea that a second canceled flight in twelve hours was good news, then I don't really have to explain why I my spending the first part of my day drying my undies with a blow dryer, wasn't as bad as it would seem, because at least I had a salvageable pair of underwear.

Why do people travel in the winter?  And even more importantly, why do people eat shrimp potstickers from an airport hotel bistro this far from the coast (Grapevine). And if I had eaten the cheesecake first, would it have coated my stomach and protected me from the aftermath of the shrimp?

The only really bad news is that Davis is in the state for the weekend, but my delayed arrival home and weakened constitution mean that we will have to wait a little while longer to see him.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Obese Squirrels--Not the Name of a Band

February 22, 2015

Don't you hate when people make excuses about things. . . when they won't take personal responsibility when clearly they need to?  That's not me.  I try to live by the mantra "own it."  Not in the let's-go-shopping-and-buy-stuff sense, but in the just-face-up-to-your-mistakes sense.

If I scramble eggs and forget to use Pam, I don't leave the skillet for Walter to scrub.

Every semester I fall on the sword on behalf of my entire profession for teaching the BCG model/GE business screen in the 80s, which ruined value in many good companies in the pursuit of short-term financial gain.  Mea culpa.

And after seeing the obese squirrels in my front yard yesterday, I'm here to say "I apologize.  It was my fault."

Who would have guessed that the simple combination of feeding the songbirds all winter and complying with the neighbor's not-so-friendly request to never, ever let our dogs outside without a leash would have created a public health menace in the squirrel world, but it has.


This is a borrowed photo image.  The actual squirrels in my actual yard are actually much fatter.


Walter tried to give me a pass on my culpability, suggesting that there must have run out of SBCP (squirrel birth control pills) at Squirrelgreens and CVSQ, and that what I was seeing out front was just an extraordinary number of pregnant squirrels, great with child.

First, their numbers were impossible to justify the pregnancy theory. . . And their asses were too wide. . . and they had double and triple chins and dimples on their elbows and knees. . . and they were hiding extra servings from the all-you-can-eat birdseed buffets in their oversized purses and backpacks. . . and they were carrying super-sized drinks to wash it all down. 

So now I will own it.

It is my fault that legions of squirrel families are living without one or both of their parents who have succumbed (choose all that apply):

    • Coronary heart disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Dyslipidemia 
    • Stroke
    • Liver and Gallbladder disease
    • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

It is also because of my personal actions that many squirrels must traverse the yard in small, but sturdy power chairs (and that the families must endure those half-hour infomercials teaching them how to get around squirrel medicare rules to acquire them without a co-pay).

I may have given rise to the squirrel mumu industry.

Anyway, It's my fault.  And I'm sorry.

Next time you may be saying, "Who Let The Dogs Out?" but at least the squirrels will be getting some much needed exercise. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Burn, Baby, Burn

February 5, 2015

Quiz time.

If you needed to start a fire and you didn't have a handy charcoal chimney starter or two in your pocket, what would you do?



And if you forgot to pack back issues of The Eagle or your scout manual that you could crumble up and light, what would you do?

If you didn't want to waste your slim supply of matches on something that wouldn't catch fire and burn steadily until other material could be added bit by bit until you finally had a roaring fire, what would you do?

Forage around looking tiny dry sticks and lifeless bark?  Hope to stumble across some cotton batting spilling out of an abandoned mattress?

The real answer is that you would hope you had a bag of Doritos handy.

Yesterday at the Carter Creek After School Program, Payton Foote led the kids in some survival activities and experiments.  They built a variety of small piles of kindling to test which would be the best option as a fire starter.  The pile that consisted of 3 Doritos burned quickest, most robustly, and longest--better than the piles dried bark or dead leaves or moss or paper or combo piles.  



video

Go figure.  But it does give us all yet another reason to keep Doritos at hand.  I wonder if Cheetos would work?


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Run or Walk, You Choose

January 27, 2015

In honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthday today, I'm going to talk about things completely unrelated to Mozart.

For instance, why didn't Davis name his dog Houdini instead of Lyndon. . . probably more fitting.  Although Walter and I may have caught on that Davis was planning a middle-age fitness program for us by letting Lyndon stay at our house for the semester and didn't want to give away the surprise that we would frequently be running willy-nilly cross country, scaling fences, shoving our way through brush, and generally tracking down a jetting dog who has escaped.  We keep upping the ante on security and then looking at each other and saying "Again?"

I also had the moment on the phone this afternoon with KBTX morning show reporter and anchor, Kessler McLaughlin, who said, "Can we do the interview at your house a little before 8:00 tomorrow morning?"  and I thought, "Isn't that about the time when Lyndon stirs up Willie and Teddy into a baying/howling/barking furor over the passing through the yard of "Dog Friend" and the simultaneous invasion of the morning squirrel brigade?"  Then I thought, with modern technology, the television station can probably dub over any background noise, as long as they keep it below the 130 mark (which they usually do, unless the squirrels are particularly naughty and press their noses against the porch door and stick their little tongues out).



Mainly, I want to rejoice in the wide range of friends and supporters who are rallying to put on and participate in a Fun Run/Walk in Erin's memory, just in time to give all of her friends a great send off in their last semester of High school (which is why I have to deep clean my house AND work on maximizing my beauty potential between now and breakfast tomorrow, so I can be ready to love the camera).



Here are some key rules:
  1. You don't have to run.
  2. You don't even have to walk very fast.
  3. You have to give me a big hug when you pass me.
  4. Or an elbow bump if you are going too fast.
  5. If you have a pair of sneakers that don't work for you anymore, bring them to donate to Dunk Your Kicks.  Donated shoes will support low-income cancer families at Texas Children's in Erin's memory.
  6. If you are reading this, Erin probably considered you a friend.  And that means you are invited! 
Some of you might not have an outing to College Station in your travel plans.  You can still support the race, by registering as "Donation Only."  If you want to send a card or remembrance, I will take them to the race that day and share them in a display.  The race benefits the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer, which, as Walter will tell you, is how I spend my non-paid work time these days.

So, what do you have to do?  


AND CLICK THE "TAKE ACTION" BUTTON
or
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION TO REGISTER!





Monday, January 5, 2015

As Promised. . . The Family Gallery

January 5, 2015

Here I go, spoiling you again by posting so soon.

But I did promise to give you an update when all the Lego family portraits were finished.

Here is our foursome (at a distance, so you can tell who we are):



And here we are, a little closer and with a beagle bonus.



And here is the work in progress (Emma, building herself):



Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Christmas Gift Is Better than Yours

January 3, 2015

Maybe you think this is going to be a spirit-filled post larded with warm feelings about being together with friends and family in the holiday season.   

Maybe you saw on Facebook that we deferred the celebration of Christmas by a week plus because our collective schedules didn't line up until the new year, and you think I am about to wax on about how the 25th is an arbitrary day to celebrate, and how we defied convention and harvested the blessings of a less-stressed day.

Maybe I have lulled you into the mindset that I am about to talk about perfect love or the wonder of thirty married Christmases or memories of Christmases with our complete family.

You certainly don't think I'm comparing what I got to what you got . . . but actually I am . . . and I haven't even got it yet.

For the last two months, Davis has been planning our family Christmas present.  He found individual photos of family members, pixilated them, and built algorithms to translate the pixilated photos into colors in the Lego color palette.  Here's an example:




Then, he ordered Lego pieces from all over the world (more than 6000 of them) that matched our various complexions, hair coloring, and shadowing and had them delivered to our house.  And today he and Emma got to work on this year's Christmas Project--A Family Photo Gallery Rendered in Lego Brick (1x1s):






Since they haven't completed the full gallery yet, you still have time to whip your children into shape so that you have a chance to get an even better gift than I am going to have.   Let me know when you are ready to concede.  

I will post the full six lego portraits when they are done.

Friday, January 2, 2015

"Stop Putting Hot Air on Me"

January 2, 2015

Years ago, when we commuted regularly between Nashville and Bryan with a pre-school-aged Davis, a Rottweiler, and a back up dog, Davis would sit strapped into his car seat booster, with Dolly, the Rott on the seat next to him on one side, and Sparky, the back up, on the other.  Inevitably, he would tire of Dolly panting in his ear and whine, "Mommm!  Dolly is putting hot air on me.  Make her stop!!"

And as annoying as that was, you haven't lived until you have spent twenty-three hours in a crowded, mid-sized sedan with an anxious, hyperventilating beagle and a grown man who would prefer to stick a fork in his eye than be trapped in a car with an anxious, hyperventilating beagle.  But that is the nature of parenting and grandparenting.

Davis has a very cool opportunity and honor to spend this spring at the MSRI (Math and Science Research Institute) at Berkeley where he will devote his time to "furthering the appreciation of mathematics."  Which provides Walter and me with the very cool opportunity and honor to spend the spring with Lyndon, where we will devote our time to "furthering our appreciation of beagles."  It also explains why we spent our Christmas vacation chauffeuring a dog through mid-America.

Little did we know that the normally charming and very affectionate Lyndon is not enamored of car travel.  Of course, once he was out of the car at the end of each leg of our journey from Ohio to home, he no longer resembled a satan-beagle mix and reverted to his old self:



Teddy and Willie were chuffed to see us when we rolled in on Monday and were tolerant enough of Lyndon.  We are each, in our own way, helping the young dog adapt to his new "normal."  Walter, for his part, has walked Lyndon (as Peter Townsend has been singing since 1967) "miles and miles and miles and miles."  

I have become the table top and counter police.  Lyndon has an NFL-worthy vertical leap and can get up on the dining room table without the assistance of a step stool (or anything else).  You may also recognize that a beagle's keen sense of smell allows it to recognize if so much as a crumb is left for sampling.  As I do not want a dog snuffling around where I eat (much less nicking a slice of my spinach pizza when I turn my back, which happened within an hour of our arrival home on Monday), I have had to up the frequency and vigilance of my kitchen patrol.

Willie is leading by example, shining as the "good" dog in a family role that has been a long time coming.  We were counting on Teddy to be the Mistress-in-Charge of Lyndon's education, but she wrenched her back in the first evening's rough housing session and has been prescribed bedrest and high quality meds for the next week.  She does not seem to mind the pampering.

For those of you who wondered where I had disappeared off to at the end of the summer, I was not kidnapped nor did I check myself into the Magic Mountain.  Mainly, I took a break to refresh my writing voice and perspective and tend to both my paid and unpaid work.  If it makes sense to retroactively piece together some of those activities over the next few weeks or months I will.  

Otherwise, thanks to my loyal readers who have continued to check in to see if I have any nonsense to report and Happy New Year to both of you!  


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vacay

July 24, 2014

We managed to slip away last week.  The stated reason was to attend Uncle Dave's 90th birthday in Amarillo.  That, of course, was fabulous.  But if you have already made it as far as Amarillo, why not jump off into New Mexico?  And we did.

First, we stopped in to see our great friends Carla and Larry just above Santa Fe to admire their new place, get to know their new dogs better, and share their view.  I will put a photo of their view here soon.

Then we headed to Taos.  Here's our view of Taos Mountain:



Walter and I come to New Mexico mainly to soak up cool air (52 degrees on the balcony this morning during coffee) and to hike.  I picked the hike today:  The Italianos Canyon Trail.  It had numerous water crossings and some rather challenging switchback courses.  Walter and I had quite a discussions about whether a donkey could get up the trail to carry chain saws and equipment to clear felled trees and such.  We decided "no."

All along the way, I thought we were on a "moderate" trail, and I kept thinking how poor my wind was and how out of shape I was, and how I probably couldn't make it a mile on some of the "strenuous" trails any more.  It turns out that that kind of thinking was very similar to what I experienced when Davis was born.

And, in fact, there may be a definite advantage to hiking a strenuous trail while thinking it is only moderate.

I labored for about an hour and a half and couldn't imagine going another 22 hours like the birthing coach said was typical for first moms.  He was born after a total of an hour and fifty minutes labor.

The rating for Italianos Canyon is, in fact, strenuous.  I feel better now.

One of the things about Taos, is that they know how to do doors.  This is a small sample of the dozens of doors we walk by in the three or four blocks between our hotel and the plaza.  I suspect that anyone could be an optimist if you lived in a place where the possibilities of opening a door was this appealing.


This is the way my life has been, especially the last few years.  A door shows up waiting to be opened, and invariably,  I walk through.  Although it is the subject of another post, here is my most recent door:



Friday, June 20, 2014

Lost

June 20, 2014

When your child dies from cancer,  you focus moment to moment.  You might have been told it was coming, but you didn't believe it.

You wonder if you can I bear to move the sneakers away from the backdoor where she always kicked them off.  What about facing the grocery aisle with the favorite Del-Dixie baby dill pickles or green, NOT PURPLE, Gatorade?

Moment to moment turns into day to day.  Can I face Mother's Day?  What about Halloween with no costumes?  How do you work up to putting the Christmas ornaments on the tree?

You heal and you grow and you love your child who isn't there.  Then one day you read that the average age of a child lost to cancer is 8.  Erin almost made it to 12!

You also read what that means.  71 YEARS OF LOST LIFE WHEN A CHILD DIES OF CANCER.




So here I sit on Erin's 17th birthday, no longer struggling with the moment to moment or even the day to day, but wondering what we lost over the last five years--classes, friends, drivers' ed, soccer, prom.  And wondering even more what the world lost by her missing the next six and a half decades.

Folks, we have to do better.  We can't just go throwing decades of life away, when there is a chance to invest in more effective treatments, and it would cost much less than many of the things we currently spend on as a nation.  #StepUp.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Go Spurs Go!

June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!


And because it is Monday, your featured Map (states that support the Spurs v. states that support the Heat):


As you can see, this morning, slightly over half the states, and probably a much larger than 50% portion of the basketball watching country woke up knowing they backed the wrong team.

Go Spurs Go!

Walter, Davis, and I won't take complete credit for the Spurs win last night or for the series, but we did our part.

Starting with hand-made, silk-screened fan gear (thanks Davis!):


We were also disciplined and dutiful.  We followed out game day rituals, eating the right foods and getting the right attitudes on.

Game time was even more crucial.  Walter watched alone, so he could bring his laser focus to bear at critical moments.  

The other five of us (me, Davis, Teddy, Willie, and Lyndon) became role players channeling whoever was on the floor at the time.  Teddy makes an incredible Patty Mills, and her encouragement on his three-point shooting last night almost required umbrellas all around to protect us from the shots that were raining down.   And if you think that Manu Ginobili could have racked that monster dunk to ignite the Spurs recovery without channeling Willie's inner fierceness, you may be mistaken.  Lyndon was best at BoBo Diaw, always on the move and helping everyone out.

Davis and I did bench squats during time outs and commercial breaks just to demonstrate our mind was right (did you notice the bad start?  Davis was distracted by his cell phone and some lively texting exchanges and did not do the requisite exercises.  I know Pop was relieved when Davis remembered his role on the team and got caught up on his squats.)

Walter wouldn't let us join him upstairs until things were completely in hand.  We tried with three minutes remaining, but he made us wait a couple of possessions more, JUST TO BE SAFE.  In the end, we all howled together, except for Lyndon who, like Kawhi Leonard, may not have learned how to celebrate yet.  He's young.  He'll figure it out.






Monday, June 9, 2014

Map It. . . Monday

June 9, 2014

I know the world (or at least the subset of the world that entertains itself with social media and online photo sharing) has special days of the week.  Who doesn't want to spice up their otherwise mundane Thursdays with embarrassing or personally revealing pictures of themselves from years past, a la Throw Back Thursday?  Until I looked it up, (#hashtag for every day of the week), I didn't actually know that I could have been chronicling this blog and my Facebook and twitter accounts in a much more systematic way all these years.

But considering that I'm a pretty poor photographer and that I haven't historically carried a camera NOR REMEMBERED TO USE IT IF I LUGGED IT ALONG in the first place, I don't have a huge ready stock of photos to share.  Did I mention that my elegant and precise system of filing all my hard copy, pre-digital photos involves packing boxes and my personal promise that one day I was going to scan, label, add snappy captions, and place them all in acid-free photo albums, EMPHASIS ON "ONE DAY"?

But I do like the idea of a little structure (Katherine Luquette, stop snickering!) and I am crazy in love with maps, so I am implementing Map-It-Monday.  Here's the first installment, which is a visualization of the ratio of bars to grocery stores in the United States.  It's easy to see Wisconsin.  Which Texas dot do you think represents Brazos County?




You can explore other Nathan Yau's similar maps of other countries here:  http://flowingdata.com/2014/05/29/bars-versus-grocery-stores-around-the-world/.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sleep and Share

May 29, 2014

Little known fact:  

If you are highly motivated, you can sleep on a cot, with a beagle, with phone alarms set for 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and the next day believe you had a restful and an unremarkable night.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Drive

May 26, 2014

I know this sounds too bad to be true, but for the third time in the last 21 months we are in Columbus attending Davis's knee surgery.  ACL repair tomorrow.  Report to check in at 5:00.

This time it's a little different.  I don't know if you have heard, but Walter and I have a new business partnership:  the Doggie Summer Camp and Orthopedic Rehab Service.  Davis and Lyndon are our first customers!

As soon as they are travel ready, we'll head back to Texas.

We have spent the last two days driving for the pick up!  I can tell it was about 21 hours in the car because I'm a bit stiff through the hips, shoulder, and neck.  

And, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, I can tell I drove through east Texas because I saw:

  • a bank advertising on a billboard with a picture of a ginormous chicken and the words "we delight in poultry financing."
  • a second billboard $895 CREMATION as the only words besides the company name.
I can tell I drove through Tennessee because there were more Cracker Barrels, Waffle Houses, and Shoneys than there were Starbucks.

Also, can anybody tell why Ohio farm houses are white and Ohio barns are red?

Final Thought:  I think people in Brazos County should pay me to go out of town.  When we went to Galveston week before last, it rained 5 inches in Bryan.  I understand that the rain started today at noon and has already rained a couple of inches with more expected tomorrow.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Win

May 24, 2014

Before I ever donate any books that may have come from Fort Stockton to the Friends of the Library book sale, I always have to check them for goodies.  Janice, Walter's mom, was an absolute demon for tucking things inside books whether they were related to the book or not.

Here is evidence, found tucked into a song book for children, published in 1938, that the Walter L. Buenger, Sr. family were a creative force in Fort Stockton.

From the Fort Stockton Pioneer, 1969--"The front door of the Walter Buenger residence at 705 N. Missouri presents a holiday welcome which won first prize in the door decoration contest judged here Sunday night by members of the Fort Stockton Garden Club."




Friday, April 11, 2014

A Gift Redux

April 11, 2014

Sometimes gifts come in threes, in addition to these two:  http://erinbuenger.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-gift.html on April 11, 1988 this special gift came into my life:


Happy Birthday, Davis!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Gift

April 9, 2009

Some things are a gift, like Erin, and like this slideshow with fresh lyrics that my cousin and special friend Marcia created for my mom, Walter, and me.  


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Picture slideshow made with Smilebox
Thank you for both.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pack and Clean

February 23, 2014

Things you find behind the television, when you pull it out to disconnect the VCR (yes, VCR, not DVD.  Not Blue Ray--TRUTH IN BLOGGING DISCLOSURE:  this tv is in the living room and is the main unit we watch).  Before you guess, you have to know that no one has watched a video on this machine for a looonng time.  I think the last attempt was The Blues Brothers.  Erin and I started it right around this time of year around five years ago, and the movie that I thought she would laugh her head off to, turned out to be a few laughs with a lot of long boring yawns in between.

Anyway, back to the question:  name the things (besides copious piles of dust) that you find behind the television when you pull it out.



From left to right:  

  • a Ritz cracker sleeve (believe me when I tell you this isn't the most surprising place I have ever found one of these waxed wonders.  It was Davis's after school snack--34 crackers in each one--almost every afternoon after school for most of his life).
  • a $10 gift card from Best Buy with the bonus that it has not expiration date and not fees
  • a piece of Davis's junior year in high school ID card.  Students have to buy a replacement card when lost or broken, so as pieces chipped off he would just punch a new hole and wear a smaller and smaller piece.  This was left by the end of the year.
  • a picture of Erin framed with craft sticks from when she still had her baby teeth.  I'm guessing this is on a school field trip about a month after transplant in 2003.
  • a long unfound Easter egg, with candy still intact.
  • Walter's bumper sticker
I would also like to point out, that when I packed the loft bookshelves, I tried to do it in a systematic way, so that books in similar broad categories (classic fiction, theology and religion, joke books, etc would end up in the same box, so that when we eventually unpack the boxes our bookshelves will end up fairly organized.

Doing that naturally helps uncover duplicate copies.  Of course, there are many reasons to own more than one copy of a book.  It might be treasured.  You might have a well-worn copy and a newer version.  You may occasionally buy the same book twice on accident (this happens to me sometimes when I read a book series out of order).  You could own a book and receive a duplicate gift copy.  

You may can imagine other scenarios, but for the life of me, I can't explain how I ended up with three copies of.  .  . The Bobbsey Twins in the Country.  I'm pretty sure the only time I ever read it, I checked it out of the library.



Teddy knows that a good supervisor is always on the job.






Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blast (as in . . . "from the past")

January 2, 2014

After the bedroom, I tackled the loft office, which has/had lots of potential for thinning and shedding.  You ALL know what I'm talking about.  Did you really think you were going to look something up in a textbook you kept from that beloved class you had as a second-semester sophomore that was so meaningful and made you know that you had FINALLY become an adult and worldly, too?  And does anyone need the warranty and the receipt for the toaster oven you bought in 1987 (and has long since warmed its last tortilla).  

But, the damper on the spirit of "toss it all" is that there could be a treasure tucked in with the crap.  And I didn't need to consult the Antique Road Show to know the value of these finds:

First, from inside the seven-volume Complete Works of William Shakespeare that originally came from my great-grandparents' home (and maybe somewhere before that because that house was built in 1905 and these books were published in 1887) came these three gems:  

Behind Door #1 (alternatively, "Inside Volume Number 1")--A complete stranger (any help from family members reading/viewing this?) standing in party attire next to a Model T decorated as a parade float.  

I think this would be an excellent entry for a "Best Caption Contest."  

How about  "Really dear, I promise I took your car out for a spin every few days while you were gone to keep the battery charged, just like you asked me to."


Behind Door #2--A handwritten note to my great grandmother Mabel Octavine (and you wonder if I am sad that I was named for my Grandfather rather having to explain why I was named "Octavine" or  some other fabulous family name?)



If you can't read this marvelous Palmer penmanship, it says:

Mabel--
    I want to see you before you go home, so please come by after you go to Mrs. Lucas'.  You can tell her for me please that I am awfully sorry not to be able to come, and I am, but the truth is that my front tooth is out & I look like my Grandmother, & I couldn't go &  have the women saying "Don't she look old"-- Kitty

And I can't imagine the story behind that missing front tooth.

Finally, Behind Door #3--the worship bulletin from the Easter Service at the M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] Church, South, April 7, 1912 that features my great-grandmother, Mrs. J.B. Channing, singing alto and my great-great-granmother, Mrs. E.R. Ford singing in the flotilla of sopranos.  Ah to be Mr. Walter Wainwright in the chicken party.





Two other prizes I knew I had, but have to decide about (you know, the pressure to give in and hoard):

My grandmother's mahjong set, which celebrated its 90th birthday last year:


And something I don't have the technical skill (or further time to waste) to show you:  three Kodak, Ektachrome transparency slides of the Astrodome in November 1963.  My grandfather, Fafa (married to my grandmother Momo. . . what kind of warped people choose grandparent names that will be totally ridiculous to say out loud when you turn 14?) was one of the steel estimators for the construction of the Astrodome.  These three slides show the building skeleton, completely constructed with no "skin" or "innards," just like a framed house only much bigger and with an igloo shape instead of a peaked roof.

I also have about seven slides of my grandmother in some sort of community theatre performance but little information beyond that.