Sunday, September 27, 2009

My "take it easy" weekend...

Okay, I'm all relaxed and comfy in my recliner. Time to add a little text to the photos I posted earlier about my way-too-busy weekend. I'm supposed to be "taking it easy" these days...

...but Marty's only gonna turn 40 once...and Belva made the yummiest margaritas...

...and there's no way I could skip the Memory Walk!
(Even if they wouldn't let me walk and put me at the Forget-Me-Nots volunteer table, instead.)

So these WONDERFUL young men from the AHS football team helped run the Forget-Me-Nots, each with the name of a loved one with Alzheimer's, to six locations all around the zoo. As walkers passed the stations, they would see the name of the loved one they held in the air during the Opening Ceremony.

Can you see Lea Emma's forget-me-not? Later, Karen planted her forget-me-not right beside this one. (Oh, and we found her red tribute flag along the walk...upside down! Trust our red-headed grandmother, Lea Emma Fowler, to be different!)

I love the bonding going on in this picture...both sets!

Then, after the walk, TEXAS AUTHOR KATHI APPELT signed the Madison library copy of her award-winning book, The Underneath, right before the Books and Boots Luncheon where she received the A.C. Greene award!

For Renee and me, this was like meeting a ROCK STAR!

Marty and Mike Renfro, the author of Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer. Kirsten is going to take her brother to the brewery this Christmas...and if I'm lucky, I'll get to come, too! (Until then, I'll just have to wait until Dan lends me the *signed copy* Kirsten bought him...)

There is no entertainment like the Hardin-Simmons Cowboy Band.
Let's hope they come back every year!

Oh, and did I mention that this weekend is also the Balloon Festival? (Also known as "Our Dogs' 48-Hour Freakout.")

These photos are taken from our YARD Saturday afternoon. People in the hot air balloons, including one of my students, hollered greetings down at me and the traumatized canines.

And then, to make up for all the calories consumed at Belva's house and the Books & Boots Luncheon (catered by Harold's Barbecue, y'all!), here was my dinner Saturday night.
(Well, veggies and a "diet" not entirely innocent.)

What a great weekend! I don't know how Kirsten avoided getting her photo taken...I was armed with the school camera this weekend, and clicked anything that moved! We both enjoyed all of the luncheon's speeches, especially the ones about Shiner and crusty old LBJ.

UPDATE: I just looked at this blog and realized that I'm HUGE compared to Ms. Appelt and Renee. I look like some kind of freaky Steroid Librarian, fixin' to stomp my way through the Hall of Authors like Godzilla, leaving a trail of splintered destruction in my path...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Babies and jackasses agree.

Now, I'm not saying Kanye was *right* or anything, but...this baby likes the Beyonce video.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tonight's Skype...Walton-syle.

[8:48:41 PM] Kristy Fowler: Herroooo!

[8:49:18 PM] Kristy Fowler: I tried to Skype you this morning as I made spaghetti sauce. It didn't work...

[9:01:09 PM] Bethany Hicks: mmm spaghetti sauce

[9:01:13 PM] Bethany Hicks: i have to go teach class
[9:01:17 PM] Bethany Hicks: right now

[9:01:34 PM] Bethany Hicks: bye for now. Be back in a couple hours

[9:01:39 PM] Kristy Fowler: Just as we're headed to bed. That figures...
[9:01:43 PM] Kristy Fowler: says Karen!

[9:02:03 PM] Bethany Hicks: Night Karen! Night mom! Night Hannah! Night Little Bit!
[9:02:20 PM] Bethany Hicks: Good night Maybee. Goodnight Bennett. Goodnight Dolly!


Want to see Bethany's China pics & videos? Click here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We miss her already.

What a great week. Mom came Sunday afternoon, just in time to go to HOPE with us and hear one of Damon's sermons. She arrived just as I was starting to feel better after the Big Surgery; a week earlier, and I would have felt too bad to go anywhere...a week later, and I would have been back to work. God's timing once again!

And speaking of God's timing, Tuesday, September 8th (Mom's 3rd day here) was the date of my *original* appointment with the doctor, the day I would have learned of a problem that required a hysterectomy right away. Instead, it marked three weeks and one day of healing. What a lovely blessing, and anyone who thinks that the doctor's office calling me during Summer School in *July* and offering me a last-minute cancellation was just "Dumb Luck" is so, so mistaken.

Mom packed a whole lot of Abilene living into 6 days, with lots of laughter and good food. Although she had to do a lot of the driving in an unfamiliar town, we managed to visit El Fenix, Jordan Taylor, Harold's, the Cockerell Art Gallery for Jessalyn's photo exhibit, the Bush home for cheesecake with Kirsten's parents, the Texas Star bookstore, 2 Thai restaurants, a baptism at ACU's Jacob's Dream sculpture, the Maxwell home to see a childhood friend, the mall, ArtWalk (complete with folk music & bellydancers on the streets of Abilene), the doctor, ACU, and probably a bunch of other things I'm forgetting.

Side note: Mom was a great taxi driver for someone post-surgery! She drove slowly in the right-hand lane, trying to avoid all the manhole covers and potholes. Who cares if she sometimes turns left when you say "right" or right when you say "left" or turns when she dadgum feels like it, even though you told her to stay on that road? We saw a lot more of the city using Mom's method!

And here's a delicious twist: Mom and Dad are always telling me that *right after* I leave Virginia every summer, the weather turns cool and wonderful and the leaves start to turn and the air turns crisp and apples fall from the trees and red cardinals perch on their windowsills, singing cheery autumnal melodies. EVERY year, I "just miss" the cool weather.

Well, now I can report that the same thing happened in reverse! All week, Mom kept complaining about how hot it was, even though we had cool weather every morning (high 60s/low 70s) and Every Single Building in Abilene has AC. We even had rainstorms that made the air smell wonderful! And what should the local paper proclaim on the front page today, the DAY AFTER Mom left town? "Fall temps move in." No kidding.

We love you, Mom! Hope you had fun surprising Uncle James on his birthday, snuggling James Russell, and hangin' with The Girls (including Dolly) in Abilene! Don't be a stranger! Bring Dad and Jackson next time!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You should have seen "In Color" performed last night!

You will need a tissue or two before you watch this've been warned.

It's not like me to recommend a country & western song...ask my college roomie, Linda McCrary. I once told her to pull her little red Pinto over to the curb so I could WALK rather than listen to some C&W heartbreak twangfest playing on her radio!

Side note: Linda liked ALL music. everything imaginable. Her album collection included Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, Ethel Merman records (oh, yes!), and everything in between. There was no telling what you would hear as you entered our apartment. I, on the other hand, drove her crazy with The Police and Prince...over and over...and over.

So, fast forward 24 years...last night when Jamey Johnson performed "In Color," it made me cry. Absolutely terrific. So maybe I've finally broadened my horizons? Maybe returning to Texas, the land of my birth, has changed me? Maybe that one George Strait concert I attended finally convinced me?

Who cares?! Bring on the Nashville, baby!

P.S. Upon reflection, I'm pretty sure what got me first about this song was the cotton farm (which reminded me of Nanny, the best cotton chopper in Collin County, and her sister Lillian, the best cotton picker of Collin County, according to their dad, my great-grandpa) and the line about the tail gunner. As soon as he sang about the tail gunner, the throat lump started; the tears came when he got to the part about the wedding day. Unlike the tail gunner in this song, my dad's Uncle Lloyd didn't come home. His best friend, Levi Frank Caldwell, did, though, and I felt SO PRIVILEGED to meet him last Christmas.

You can see pictures of him here.

(The cloth he embroidered from threads he hid from his captors is stained with his own blood.) Mr. Caldwell only told me one thing about his torture in a prison camp, and it was pretty dreadful. It is obvious that there is so much that he intentionally keeps to himself about those days...he said that more than once he thought to himself that my Uncle Lloyd, who died as the tail of Our Belle hit the ground, was the lucky one...