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Remembering My Mother on This Mother's Day

This year on Mother's Day I won't have my mother with me.  It's the first time in my 56 years of living that she won't be living.  Mother's Day has always centered around my mother and my mother-in-law.  Treating them to lunch and presents.  And although I am a mother, myself, I have always considered the holiday to be for them, to honor them.  So this Mother's Day I painted  something for both my sister and my cousin (Her mother was my mother's sister and passed away one month after my mother did.).  You see, there was this old photo that my sister gave me when one of my children was getting married and I was so stressed out over the planning phase of it.  The photo came in the mail with a little note attached that said, "Hope this makes you smile.  P.S. I think our mother had the best figure!).  And that little photograph did make me smile.  After my mother's death, I pulled it out and remembered just when it was taken.  When I was a little girl, my mom and I used to visit her two sisters in Texas and in the summertime we would always make a trip to the beach in Galveston.  That's where the picture was taken.

The more I looked at this picture the more I wanted to do something special with it.  So I decided to watercolor my version of it and frame one for all of us.

There are other old photos that also make me smile and I am attempting to make my way through painting some of them too.  This year on Mother's Day I want to remember the mother of my childhood.  The mother who drove the white Pontiac that had no console in the middle so I could lay my head in her lap on the way home from church.  The one who never had much in her purse but always seemed to have sticks of Wrigley's Doublemint Chewing Gum in there. Of which she only chewed one half a piece at a time.  The mother who, as the only child at home, I asked to please adopt a little Chinese girl and in the next breath begged her to buy a pair of patent leather go-go boots for herself and dye her hair black because I thought, “How cool would that be?!”  The mother who allowed me to have a little dog when she really wasn't a pet person and he peed on her bedspread quite regularly.  The mother who made and taught me how to make the best stove-top popcorn you've ever tasted, that we sat eating at the kitchen bar out of a huge plastic bowl for dinner. The one who would put out bird feed every day so she could sit in front of the glass door in the afternoons to watch them fly in while drinking a hot cup of coffee.  Coffee, which she introduced me to at an early age by giving me coffee milk with cold homemade biscuits. The one who had the greenest thumb of anybody I know; who could take a twig and turn it into a beautiful, thriving plant.  Who got the greatest joy out of working in her yard from daylight until dark most days. 

I want to remember the mother who often sacrificed to give me things I wanted. The one who took me back-to-school clothes shopping and let me try on all the cute clothes and then surprised me by telling me I could get all of them. The one who always got me what was on my Christmas list...and more.  And taught me who Bing Crosby was whenever she played his White Christmas album each Christmas season while I helped her make Christmas candy. The one who gave me the wedding of my dreams on what I thought was a huge budget but now know was a shoestring one.  The one who taught me to care more for others than myself and include those who were lonely or had no one.  And last, but certainly not least, the mother who took my to church and taught me about Jesus and reading my Bible and praying.  Those things that now give me comfort, knowing that one day I will see her again.

Last year, as my mother and I were sitting in her living room visiting she suddenly gazed in the distance and said, "Oh, how I wish I could talk to my mother."  Her mother (my grandmother) passed away when I was still in my 20's and expecting my third child.  So, obviously, it has been many years since her death.  And I only thought I understood her longing to talk to her mother but I really didn't.  Not until now whenever I so desperately wish for just one more conversation that I cannot have here on this Earth.  Simply put, I miss my mother and this Mother's Day, I choose to remember the mother of my childhood.  The one in the photograph.  With the black hair and swimsuit, showing off her cute little figure.  That's the mother I'm going to remember this year.

Famous Mothers in Art and Literature

All mothers are important. They literally keep the world going. They encourage their children in every endeavor and are their loudest cheerleader; their biggest fan. No matter how old a child is, they always look to their mother for comfort and guidance. There are many mothers throughout history who have made countless contributions to our culture and society. In honor of Mother's Day, I thought it fitting to pay tribute to some of the trailblazing female writers and artists of our time. Invaluable created a beautiful infographic
on these famous moms in art and literature. The visual is full of inspiring motherly advice that everyone can relate to.  Click on the link above and read on for a little art history refresher.  Then call your mom and thank her for everything she does for you!

Sunset and Champagne on a Boat

If you read my first post on Sunset and Champagne, you will know that I made a list of all the best places to see the sunset in the Florida Keys.  This past weekend we set out to see another one.  On a boat.

There are boats that can take you out of Malory Square to see the sunset but why not get on your own boat and do it?!  Hubby surprised me by buying lights for the boat and spent some time Sunday installing them so he could take me out on our boat to watch the sun set.

It doesn't actually set until around 8 p.m. but we wanted to leave in plenty of time to drive there and get situated in the right place to watch it set.  I grabbed a bottle of champagne and my camera bag and off we went!

It took about a good 30 minutes to get where we wanted to be.  It seemed as though we were chasing the sun as it was setting.  And I would have had no idea where to chase it to, to get in just the right location.  Thankfully Hubby has a great sense of direction.  And a compass.  That he knows how to read...because I don't (sigh...).

We were there in plenty of time and as I looked around, everything was still and quiet as if we were the only ones on the water.  We popped the bubbly and sat back and just waited for the sun to put on its colorful nightly show.

And boy it did not disappoint.  I captured it in several phases going down and as I was clicking away, I told Hubby, "You know, every sunset is different.  No two evenings does it set the same."

And as a bonus, on the way back home we watched the full moon rise...

Learning to Drive a Boat

I remember how excited I was to learn to drive a car.  I was only about 13 years old but I was raring to go.  My brother-in-law taught me my driving skills on a little Simka that was a standard shift.  Yep, I still may not be able to parallel park but I can drive a four-on-the-floor as we called them.  Anyway, I would practice by driving all over our yard which was huge!  I just couldn't wait until I got my license and was able to drive myself places.  My how things change over the years because I sure do like to be chauffeured around these days by Hubby.  I enjoy putting my feet up and reading or napping on long trips instead of doing the driving.  So on to the driving a boat subject now.

We were out on the boat the other day, Hubby was fishing and I was laying on the back of the boat reading.  He suddenly asked me to get behind the wheel and move him in a little closer.  OK, I could do that.  Then when we got ready to find another fishing hole he told me to get behind the wheel; I was going to learn how to be his first mate.  Wait...What?!  He said I was going to learn to drive the boat that day.  Well, let me tell you that the excitement I felt as a teenager learning to drive a car just wasn't there.  I have a fear of going overboard in a boat anyway and I sure didn't have any confidence in my own boat-driving skills.  But I got behind the wheel.

I was doing Ok just driving at a slow pace but then he said I had to go a little faster.  Again...the car thing.  But out on the open water I did not want to go fast, pleaded for him let me go at the pace I was already going.  Which, I admit, would probably take us four hours to get to the next fishing hole but I was just hoping he would say, "Move over and let me drive."  But he didn't (sigh...).

So, I picked up the speed, which I must confess, made me a little nervous because what if the water got too shallow in places and I didn't know it and hit the bottom and you got it...fell out of the boat or worse!  Whatever worse might be.  Drown in 2 feet of water, get eaten by a shark, you get the idea.  He told me, "No worries, just look at the GPS map on the screen in front of you and follow the course it has plotted."  OH MY GOSH...Now I have to read a map?!  Let's just hope nothing ever happens to Hubby while we are out on the water because I might now be able to physically drive the boat but there is no way I can read a map.  We could possibly end up in Cuba or the Bahamas.

I drove for a bit and then he pointed me toward a little island and said we would stop there (Whew!).  But I was going to have to ease us up there because the water was shallow and the bottom rocky (Great...).  I was now reading the GPS and I could tell how shallow the water was getting and I was getting a little worried.  I mean, what if I tore a hole in the bottom of the boat and we got stranded on this little island which probably had no cell service?!  We would just have to wait around for someone to save us.  Like Gilligan.

OK, I managed to pull the boat up to the island and we got off and walked around in the water for a while.  It really was so beautiful there.  But as we got ready to leave I sheepishly asked, "Do I have to drive back home?"  He said I didn't.  And so I found my comfortable little place again to sit and turned my face to the sun as my trusted captain set sail for home.

Judy Blume and Freckle Juice

Thursday I told Hubby I wanted to make a trip into Key West to visit a couple of place on my "list".  Yes, although I'm not very organized, I have an ongoing list of things I want to do while in the Florida Keys this year.  I've actually explored a bit and grabbed some brochures and one of the places I wanted to visit was a little book store, Books & Books at The Studios of Key West.  This adorable little shop is not only a book store but also carries art supplies and I spent an hour in there before I knew it!

The night before we went to the book store, we ate dinner with a friend and she mentioned off hand that 
Judy Blume had a home in Key West and was often seen out and about in town and doing signings at the book store.  I commented on how cool that was and really didn't think much about it again.  Until I lifted my head after perusing books for an hour and made my way to the cash register to check out.  As I glanced up I had to take a double take; it was Judy Blume talking to someone and signing a book for them!  Well, I told the lady to go ahead and ring my items up but I would be back.  I ran to the bookshelves to grab one of her books to have her sign and suddenly a book jumped out at me, Freckle Juice!  I pulled it off the shelf and ran over to get in line behind the people she was already signing for. You see, Parker Ann is my cute little freckle-faced granddaughter and I always comment on that because she's the cutest thing with her big blue eyes, freckles sprinkled across her face and missing front teeth.  I told Judy about her and she signed this book for her...
               My day was absolutely made and I cannot wait to give Parker Ann this treasure!

When Things Go Too Far: Shame on Michelle Wolf!

I only keep up with the news because most days Hubby either leaves the television on in the mornings or he clicks it on in the afternoon.  Otherwise, I have taken to not watching much of it because of the negativity.  I did, however, hear about the White House Correspondents' Dinner the last night and was absolutely appalled by the treatment of Sarah Sanders.

I read an article about how, as a representative of the White House, Sarah Sanders was in attendance at the White House Corespondents' Dinner.  She deals with the press on a daily basis and I know that she has had to put up with some push back from many of them.  Even about her pecan pie.  However, the things comedian Michelle Wolf had to say about Sanders with her only feet away were abhorrent.

People, let me just put this out there:  Hurtful, hateful things are not funny.  And that is the only place that these sort of remarks can come from; pure hatred.  And why?  Because she is a conservative, republican?  Because she works for President Trump?  Do any of these things warrant another individual coming out and not only criticizing the manner in which one does their job but also one's appearance?  Making fun of their name, even?  Attacking them, in essence. I have to stop and wonder about people who do these sort of things and carry this sort of hate around with them.  How were they raised?  I know for a fact that if any one of my (adult) children pulled a stunt like that I would turn them over my knee!

What it took for Sanders to sit there and take every insult that was thrown at her is commendable on her part.  And probably not something that any of us would be capable of doing.  I know that I would have either gotten up and left quietly or gone out in a flame of glory as I screamed, hollered and stomped my feet right then and there!  OK, so you now know why I'm not in the public eye.  But think for just a moment about how you would feel sitting in a room,  full of people watching you be publicly bullied.  And folks, that's exactly what it was; bullying.  And not one person stopped it then and there.  Oh, they have come out today against it, but why didn't anyone have the courage to stop it while it was in progress?  Because, we have become numb to what is right and what is wrong.  Our moral compass has gone way off track as we have become more and more tolerant of those who do these sort of things in the name of comedy or their 1st Amendment Rights.  I know, I know, some have declared,"It was a Roast."  Y'all, she wasn't Roasted, she was burnt to a crisp.

She sat there, held her head high and absorbed everything that was said about her.  And then she left. Went home and in the privacy of her home probably shed some tears.  I don't know this to be true but I imagine that's what any of us would have done had we been attacked so vehemently.  Sarah Sanders has more class and beauty than any of those hate mongers and I would just like to say, "Shame on you, Michelle Wolf, shame on you."

Sunsets and Champagne

Whenever we decided to travel back to the Florida Keys for a longer period of time this year, I told Hubby that I had a list of the best places to see sunsets.  My intention was to take photos in each location so I could later print and frame them.  Now, seeing a sunset may not be a big deal for you but y'all, the sunsets here are just gorgeous and not to be missed if you ever find yourself here.  I packed  my camera and set out for the first location, Malory Square in Key West.

We called and made a reservation at a restaurant outside on the dock and settled in to watch the sunset.  I also had decided that I would watch each of these "best" sunsets with a glass of champagne to celebrate God's handiwork and show gratitude for another day.  So, I got my champagne and we ordered our meal and then literally TONS of people crowded out on the dock in front of us.  All we saw were the back sides of them instead of the sunset that evening.  Needless to say, I was not too happy about that.

  Let me explain something here.  When I set out to do something I will not be deterred.  Call it determined, obsessed or whatever you will; a few days later we headed back to Malory Square.  With camera in hand we made our way down to the dock early, I grabbed another glass of champagne and then got right next to the railing so I could get some photos.  Very quickly people began to crowd in behind me but I didn't budge; I was going to get my photos this time!

And then the sun began to set and I started snapping some photos in succession because I love to see the different stages of a sunset.  Then suddenly a few clouds appeared and there went my sun; behind them (sigh...).  I did get a couple of great shots though and I'm happy with them.

I suppose I will check Malory Square off of my list for now and move on to one of the other locations on my list...