Thursday, September 30, 2010

And Sew It Goes

The Seamstresses:
Jean Upchurch and Deborah Moebes

Yesterday we hosted a booksigning for Deborah Moebes, owner of Atlanta's Whipstitch Fabrics and author of the new book Stitch By Stitch.  

That's my mother on the left up there.  She's been sewing forever.  Most of the clothes I can recall most vividly from my childhood were those she made for me.  As prodigious as she was -- and with two daughters, she really did sew all the time -- neither my sister nor I ever quite caught the bug.  Testament to that is that while the conversation you see taking place up there between my mother and Ms. Moebes was going on (it involved something about bias tape and scissors got involved), I was showing the author's mother the waistband of my slacks.

Which is missing a button.

For 3 years.

Because I don't have a needle or thread in my house.

If I could fix it with duct tape, I would, because that works very, very well on all the clothes I have with hemming issues.  

My mother is weeping now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One of those Mondays....

The day started out rife with goof-ups, bad timing, and just generally nothing going right or according to plan.  We've all had Mondays like this.  It must be why Mondays have such a bad reputation.  They've earnnnnnnnnnned it.

The weather made things tolerable.  It was the first day in a long time that has me hopeful we might get an autumn this year.  The sun came out, a nice breeze hung around most of the day, and my 3:00 cup of coffee didn't seem as masochistic as it does when it's 102 degrees in the shade.

But the day itself?  Truly a take it or leave it one. 

Until I got to Rosemary's house.  Her folks had a meeting with a client, so I served as a placeholder for what was to be just about a half hour.  Rosemary got up from her nap and we went to sit on the front porch where we could catch a breeze, listen to the dry leaves skate down the driveway in a hurry to get somewhere I hope is special to them, and ring the fairy bells a few times.   (That's what she and I call the wind chimes next to her back porch.  Well, mostly I do the calling and she does the ringing, so far.)

When her people got home they invited me to come to the park to share a few minutes of their precious family time together.   Luke and Abby played fetch to an appreciative audience, who soon had their fill of such and went to the swings for a bit.

I had shared the cursed beginning of this day with so many folks that it seems only fair to share the blessed ending of it.


Rosemary enjoying silly Abby Dog.

Rosemary also enjoys watching her Daddy fetch.

And she is a great studier of nature. 

I have no idea how far back in the family this goes,
 but Great Big Buzzard never, ever fails to delight a kid
with any Upchurch genes at all.

And Grandmamas get to snatch a kiss
when the Great Big Buzzard lands!

Princess Oopsy Doodle and her sweet Mama.

Sue me.  I can't stand to see beautiful trees without taking a picture. 

Shall we swing?

I believe we shall!

"Do again, Mama!"


I hate to think how many decades it's been
since I was on a swing.  

If they could bottle moments like this the world would be a nicer place.

What next? 

The afternoon ended with some Peek-A-Boo going on in the gazebo.
I love how babies are delighted by this every time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Saunter

I've had the MapMyWalk app on my iPhone for quite a while now, but I've really just started using it to its full advantage.   Some false starts, to be sure, but I've figured out from whence most of the glitches I have had have come: user error, and sunglasses that are not the strength I need for reading. 

One of the features of this little bit of software/GPS magic is that you can take pictures along your walk, and the map that is created on the website to which the information is uploaded pinpoints the location at which they were taken.  

(I swear, I'm not as big a geek as any of this is making me sound.)

Anyway....   had I been strolling and stopping the first two of these wouldn't look so wonkadoodle. I was having a really excellent walk and I just didn't want to stop.  


 We are now officially back under drought conditionsmade evident by this little bump-a-dilly at the corner of Allendale Road and Green Park Drive.

Lack of rain is causing the streets to buckle and sink. 

I thought long and hard about ditching this next picture, but there's a story behind it. 

I had just turned from Stratford Lane onto Lansdowne when I spotted something big moving just a wee bit up in a tree.  I'm talking bigger than your average neighborhood bird, folks.

It was a hawk.  An amazing, beautiful hawk.  It's not that it's such a rare thing to see one, but I do not think I have ever been as close to one as I was this time.   He was so majestic I just had to see if I could get a photograph.  As I pulled my iPhone out of my back pocket he startled, spread his wings and began to ascend from the branch on which he had perched. 

It is fair to say that I could barely breathe for the beauty of that hawk, and the reason you see the picture of the street is that in that instant, I decided to just experience the moment fully for the gift it was, and capture it in my memory.  The iPhone was heading back into my pocket, and I must have hit the snap button as it was on its way there.  

So sorry. 

You'd have seen something amazing if I hadn't been so, um, amazed myself.

Now, this last one I'll confess to not taking while I was walking, but I did pick this up on Stratford Lane, and I wanted to share it with you, on account of I just like little acorns.


photo taken with my iPhone, but fancied up a bit with my Camera+ app.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Walking With.......

Over the last couple weeks I've been working on establishing some new routes for my morning walks that won't put me slap-dab in the middle of school traffic on Carter Hill Road (home to both a high school AND an elementary school, on opposite sides of the street).   I've been pretty happy with the changes, and although I'm walking through a neighborhood that abuts mine, it's not one with which I'm terribly familiar.  I just don't do much driving through it to get anywhere.

It's not been the new route that's fascinated me as much as it has been really getting to know my own neighborhood again.  We live right at the outside of it, and rarely spend time in it ourselves.

I leave the house around 6:30 or so, head through Brentwood (where we live) and into Vaughn Meadows (where we don't).  Generally, I get back into Brentwood around 7:15 or so, and back to my house around 7:30.  It has been a treat seeing the little kids who live around here walking to school, and taking the opportunity to see some of our newer neighbors for the first time.

Brentwood has changed a whole lot since we moved in, but we are content here and have no plans to leave it.   We know a few of our neighbors, but not well, as they have changed so rapidly or because we just don't ever see them.  I do regret we've not made more of an effort to change that.

I didn't know, for instance, that at the end of the street just at the dead-end is a member of Montgomery's Fire and Rescue Department.  He's a handsome young man, and we've taken to saying good morning to one another as he leads his three young children on their walk to the elementary school around the corner.  They are adorable, and they follow him, one behind the other, like little ducklings.  This delights me each time I see them.

The first time I saw my favorite "new" neighbor, though, was about a week ago when I spotted her waiting to cross the busy street that runs in front of my house.  She was scared nigh unto death because cars were going so fast, and they were not paying any attention to this precious little person.  She was nearly in tears standing there at the corner, and I took her hand and led her across the street to the sidewalk.

The last couple days, I've seen her but she's been a little earlier, so I've missed being able to help her navigate the traffic.   This morning, however, I passed her house just as she was coming out.  She put one tiny hand over her mouth to hide a little smile, and with the other she sort of waved.   I waved back, and I said, "Come on. If you can keep up with me I'll help you across the street again."

I thought I had scared her, so I looked back and there she was -- right behind me, again with the hand over her mouth suppressing a giggle this time.   I told her I was Miss Eleanor, and I asked her what her name is.


It's a nice thing, anticipating walking a bit with her every morning.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Because I Feel Like It

Yesterday we had a great book event for Mark Leslie and his utterly delightful (even for those of us who don't cook) memoir/cookbook, Beyond the Pasta.  The crowds were out in full force, some most excellent wine was flowing, but I could not tear myself away from thinking about these flowers that graced the table where Mark was signing.

I'm a flower idiot, and once you get much beyond your basic tulips, roses, and canna, I'm pretty much in the dark.  These may be roses, or they may be some sort of rose-ish-looking-but-not-really-roses sort of thing, but what I do know for sure and certain is that sometimes a little shot of unexpected beauty is just flat out good for the soul.

And because I'm just in that sort of mood, I'm going to share for no particular reason other than because that's just the way I roll on occasion.

By the way.... did you know that if you click on the pictures
 they get really, really big? 

It's, like, magic or something. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday


We are in danger of slipping back into drought conditions here.  The streets are a mess, as the earth beneath them shifts and sinks.  Manhole covers are literally rising up out of the asphalt in a few places along my walking route.  We wail and moan about our lawns, even as some have wells dug on their property with the express purpose of keeping them green without running up their water bill.

Our home foundations are going to take a licking.  I'm counting cracks in my walls as signs of character, much like the lines on my face.  There's not much to be done for it at this point, other than to gauge which direction the house is leaning by which doors won't stay shut, or which require superhuman strength to open.

Even so, when I go to my faucet and turn the spigot, clean water comes out for me to drink, in which to bathe my granddaughter, to boil my spaghetti in, and yes, to fix my daily cup of instant once the brewed stuff gives out.

It never occurs to me that what is going on out there is ever going to impact my daily life in here.   Oh, sure, maybe we'll have to go on a watering schedule, or stop washing our cars, but I'll still pad down the hall from the bedroom to the kitchen every morning and get 'er done, hydrationally speaking.

But all over the world there are folks who work real hard to get to any water they can find, and when they get to it, it's often dirty, or so full of disease-carrying stuff that drinking it, bathing in it, washing clothes in it, becomes an exercise in risk-taking.

God sends us all the same rain.

It's what happens to His good gift after it hits the planet He entrusted to us that things go wrong.  The same merciful God that sends rain, sends intelligence that develops technologies that can radically alter the lives of God's people all over our planet.

And then He sends folks who can help, like these folks.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How I'll Do It

Here's how I have, and how I will, observe this
day of grim remembrance.

I awoke at 6:00, thanked my Creator for the gift of another morning. 

I did not turn on a television.  I have not done so in the mornings since that day.  It wasn't really intentional, I just never have again.

I had coffee, checked my e-mail, checked Facebook, checked Twitter, checked the Weight Watchers thread from last night to see what went on while we enjoyed an evening out.

I put on my walking clothes and headed out.  Along the way I remembered waking up on the morning of September 12, 2001 and finding every yard in our neighborhood had a flag planted in it by some unknown benefactor.  The only family who removed theirs lives next door to us, and it was because they are Jehovah's Witnesses.  I honor their exercise of their beliefs, even though I don't understand them.  They are good people, the Stephens family.

As I walked along I reflected on how quiet the skies were for so long.  We live in a flight path for both the airport and for the Air Force Base here, and we are so used to the sounds and sights of airplanes overhead we hardly noticed them before.  

The silence, when they were grounded, was profound.

And I remember jumping out of my skin when I heard the first Air Force jet pass overhead again, probably a week or more later.

I remembered going in to work that morning, and seeing the look of disbelief on the face of my sister-in-law that mirrored my own.  We had customers, but I don't recollect that we sold a thing.  I also don't recollect that we cared.  It was about being a community that day, not about commerce. 

I remember how many folks just showed up out of the blue at our church, and other houses of worship across the city, because we needed to be somewhere to put our fear, and anger, and grief.  

Later today I'll be babysitting our Rosemary, doing some laundry, typing up some final drafts, preparing a meal, and settling in to watch my favorite football team take on a well-respected rival,  wanting to win, but knowing that if we don't the world won't stop turning.

And that is how will I honor the victims of September 11, 2001.  

I will live this day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Swing, Battah, Battah, Swing

I was walking this route June 13, 2010, but was rudely interrupted before I could finish it.

There are a hundred reasons I hadn't tried it again since: some good, some silly, some downright stupid.

Today I decided that every one of those reasons had turned into excuses, so I fired up my iMapMyWalk app, turned on some good music, and finished it.

Life is going to throw you curveballs. It's just the way it is.

You get to choose whether to duck or swing with abandon.

Outta the park, baby.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pop + Rosemary + Paper

A quiet Sunday afternoon with Pop.

"What's a monkey wrench, Pop?"

"I believe I need to study that a little more."

"Is there anything we can do with this paper besides eat it?"

"Explain this to me again... You're gonna do what?"




"Thanks, Pop!  I tip my hat to your mad hatter skills!"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010