Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie

My baby nephew turned 9 years old last Saturday. He had a skating party at this cool skate rink with his cub scout friends to celebrate. I drove (round trip) from south Georgia to Jackson, Georgia (almost to the Atlanta Airport) for the skate party. Totally worth the drive because I had a wonderful youth-size guitar to deliver to the birthday boy.

He was not surprised because we had already discussed the gift, but his buddies thought the gift was very cool. Exactly the reaction I wanted from the cub scout buddies. You see, I want this kid to be a totally cool guitar player who people radiate to because of his tremendous talent. You know that I, not so secretly, want the same reaction for myself. Unfortunately, I think I waited too late and I won't be the cool guitar player girl that people are drawn to because of her tremendous talent. Perhaps I can still be the guitar player girl who people wonder why I won't tune my guitar. So sad. But, I digress.

I had watched the baby nephew play guitar hero and he was awesome. I tried to do it and he finally took the fake guitar from me and said, "Aunt Tina, just give it to me and let me show you how to do it." His instructions didn't help, but he is really good at guitar hero.

So, I called him and asked him if he wanted a guitar for his birthday. Of course, you have to handle these sort of things delicately. I knew that I couldn't be over anxious and reveal how much I wanted him to start playing the guitar. Over anxiousness by Aunt Tina was a sure fire way to nix the whole thing. So I played it cool.

I called him and in casual conversation told him how impressed I was with his guitar hero abilities and I wondered if he would like a real guitar for his birthday. Well, he went into a long, detailed explanation about the differences between a real guitar and guitar hero. I let him finish and asked "ok kid, do you want a real guitar or not?" I found great guitars that were the right size for him locally at Beans and Strings - The Coffee Shop that Rocks! He finally concluded that he did want the guitar and that he could settle for an acoustic guitar since I would not buy him an amplifier. My plan is working beautifully. I knew to keep calm and play it nonchalantly so that the baby nephew didn't get spooked by my excitement. But, inside I was dancing with joy and I realized that the baby nephew was getting a real guitar!

To my joy his mom (thanks baby sister) arranged for him to start lessons that very week. He called me several times to ask questions about various aspects of the guitar. One question that he asked was the name of the strings. I told him that the strings were E,A,D,G,B,E, and that the mnemonic (or memory aid for remembering the strings) was Eat All Day, Get Big Easy. He was set and he prepared for his Tuesday lesson. We talked twice on his way to the lesson and he assured me that he would call me again as soon as the lesson was over. I waited not so patiently.

When he called me he said that the lesson went well and that he was totally liking his new teacher and that he felt sure that he would be pretty good at the real guitar. He also added, "Aunt Tina, it's not Eat All Day, Get Big Easy, it's Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie." Ok, to the 9-year old baby nephew eating dynamite is more interesting than just eating all day.

I can not tell you how excited I am to have the baby taking guitar lessons at 9 years old. My old brain takes forever to soak up information. I know that within the next few months I will hear, "What do you mean, you don't know how to do this Aunt Tina???!!" I will be overjoyed that the baby has already passed me in guitar knowledge. More posts about the baby guitar prodigy....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Familiar Things

I like familiar things. I don't mind change, but some things are so comfortable and so much a part of some special time in our life that we have to cling to them. I still have the maple bedroom suit that my mom bought for me when I was four years old. The finish has darkened over the years and there are a couple of stress fractures in the wood, but I can't possibly part with it. I love the patina of the wood and have the entire suit set up in one of our guest bedrooms. You probably remember the kind of bedroom suit that I am writing about -- it has a nice little rounded headboard and foot board on the bed, a little dresser with a mirror with room for a chair, and a nice chest of drawers. Probably lots of this type of bedroom suit in homes from the 60's.

Speaking of familiar, new clothes are fabulous, but so are the gray, bleach-stained, stretched-out sweats that I jump into when I get home each day. I know they look awful on me - heck, they would look awful on anybody, but they are familiar and comfortable. I can usually make it 3 or 4 evenings before they have to be washed. Of course, If my big ole self makes it to the Y I have to wash them more regularly. They are comfortable, they are stretchy and I can eat all I want while wearing my gray sweats. They are familiar and I love them.

Obviously, humans are not the only animal that likes familiar things. For the fourth year in a row, a fabulous mama bird has laid her eggs in the same nest. I can not prove that it's the same mama. I even imagine that maybe one of the baby birds matures and comes back each year to use the "homestead" nest. No proof of that either, but it's my story and I can write it as I please.

The nest is at the top of one of the posts on my front porch. The original builder of the nest is a genius bird because there is no way that predators can get to the nest. I always check to see that no snake or rat has bothered the nest. For four years, the nest has survived predator-free. Usually I have the wonderful delight to see four or five babies mature just outside my big picture window. The birds grow up so fast and it's fun to watch them as they grow. Eventually they seem to do nothing but squawk for food. That poor mama bird is constantly bringing in food to five little open mouths. She works tirelessly to ensure that here little ones are fed.

I love when it's time for the birds to learn to fly and leave the nest. I have never found one of them on the ground -- indicating an unsuccessful flight attempt. They hesitantly hop around the edge of the nest for a week or so before they finally take off. I have lots of pictures of these sweet baby birds and I look forward to their return every year.

This year the birds made nests very early. Maybe it was not so early, but the continuous cold weather made the timing seem early. I was afraid that the babies would not survive the cold, but of course the mama took very good care of them. She even built the nest higher and closer in at the top to keep the babies warm. She is one smart mom.

When I had my house pressure washed this year, I told the guy doing the washing that he absolutely could not spray the cleaning formula or the high pressure water anywhere near the bird nest. He assured me that he would preserve the nest. When I returned home that day, the nest was still in tact, but no mama bird around. I was afraid that she had left the nest. I watched for her until almost dark when she dutifully arrived back to her nest to protect the babies through the night. I will continue to look forward to the arrival of a new family of birds each year as they seek out the familiar nest.

What familiar thing do you cherish? What makes your list of things that are comfortingly familiar?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am thankful for....

Maybe God is reminding me of all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for because I keep counting them in my head. It's about 4:30 am and I woke up thinking about the crazy things that I am thankful to have in my life. I would like to share them with you.

1. I am thankful for being saved. Just to be introduced to the saving Grace of Jesus is a blessing. How different my life would be without the guidance of the Bible and how terrible death would be without the assurance of salvation.

2. I am thankful that I am still completely in love with my husband. It's a gamble when you marry at 23 that you will still be in love 20+ years later. He still makes my heart jump a little when I see him and I can't imagine life without him. Don't think that I don't ever get angry with him -- you know that I want to hit him with a stick sometimes! However, I imagine he has those same feelings toward me at times. We are normal.

3. I am thankful for garage door openers. I know this is silly compared to my first two on the list, but that garage door opener has saved me from the rain many times and I think it's a great invention. I wish I could program the garage door opener that is part of the fancy stuff in my car. Can't make it happen.

4. I am thankful for people who send me hand-written notes and call to check on me for no reason. Tony, Mom, Lora, Carol, Connie, Jackie, and Cathy -- Thanks for sweet notes, texts, and phone calls. If you are reading this and you don't send me hand-written notes, texts, or phone calls you should. I need you.

5. I am thankful that I have a baby sister. I was almost six when she was born. Mom told me and my younger brother that she was our baby and we should help take care of her. No jealously, she was ours. I still call her "baby" and she turned 39 in January. She will always be the baby and is the closest I will come to having a kid of my own. Call me if you need something baby!

6. I am thankful for a job that I love and for the people I am honored to work with. To have a job at all is a blessing in this economy, but to have one you love is an added blessing. You can be sure that I have had many jobs that I did NOT love. I definitely have some point of reference to compare my current job. I have worked continuously since I was 15 years old -- long before that if you count working at home in the huge garden every summer. Lots of character building over the years. Thanks to all my great co-workers who make our college so great.

7. I am thankful for my health. My neck hurts, I have to wear glasses to see, my back hurts, and I can't wear high heels anymore because my knees hurt. Those are just things that happen when you keep living. My church's prayer list has so many people who are sick and dealing with awful diseases. My aches are minor. Thank you God for my health.

8. I am thankful for a plentiful supply of safe food. I struggle all the time with my weight and I often think about what a blessing I have to be surrounded by food. Many parts of the world never have enough food and people are dying at this moment from malnutrition and tainted food. I know that there are many health problems associated with being overweight and that we must eat in moderation. But, I am thankful to have the necessity of "watching what I eat" in order to stay healthy. I hope to never know the horror of real hunger. I once worked with a lady whose husband had been a POW. He was severely abused and starved at the hands of his captors. She said that they had stray cats everywhere at their house because her husband always fed every stray that came on the property. His explanation was that once you really know what it's like to be at the point of almost starving to death, you could never let another creature go hungry if you could help it. She told me this story 20 years ago. I will never forget it.

9. I am thankful for my dachshund Stretch. He is a genius. It's now 5:15 am and he has gotten out of bed to sit near me while I type. He is snoring. I had never had a dog of my own until Stretchy. I have two other dogs who are wonderful, but Stretchy and I are best buds. He really is amazing. He loves two things -- food and me. He is too fat and I should cut back on his snacks. I don't think I will. Sometimes he cries to go outside so that he can run right back in for a snack. He is a genius. He does not like men -- except for Tony and he will bite you if you come to my house. He loves me, Tony, my sister, my mom, my step-dad, Joshua, and my friend Connie. That's it. When I first got him, I left the house to go to Macon and that baby ran for almost a mile following me screaming "mama, please let me go with you!" No one has ever run after me screaming "I just want to be near you, please let me go with you!" He can have anything he wants. Just ask Dr. Marty, he will tell you that Stretchy is a spoiled dog. He and I have the same birthday. He is a genius and I love him.

10. I am thankful for my Bible - The Book. It's written in a modern language that I can understand and apply to my life. I love the KJV also for its wonderful language, but I find it hard to extrapolate the meaning of some of the passages. I read my Bible every night and usually find something that I have never read before or realize a new, deeper meaning for something that I have read many times. I am amazed that there is almost no aspect of life that is not addressed in the Bible. Of course, I need to go much deeper and study many more years to understand the wonder of the messages of the Bible. I am amazed that we can hold the Word of God in our hands. Sometimes I expect that something so holy might even burn my hand when I touch it. Thank God it doesn't burn my hand and I can keep studying.

Stopping this blog with 10 items. I will write more soon. I know that I have much, much more to be thankful for and I AM thankful for so much in my life. Sometimes the most simple blessings are the greatest. Sometimes our blessings are very complex and come to light more clearly through pain. Please tell me some of your blessings. I am very interested. Thanks for reading.