Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buttercup

I have mentioned several times my true adoration for sterling flatware. I've started a pattern for LMC and am already researching what I want to do for Poppy 2.0 (that would be new baby, until I can come up with a nifty nickname for her).

Let me back up...

Once upon a time, I was in college and met a boy. His mother was a genealogy expert. After becoming friends, she offered to help me find some of my history. Within days, she knew more about my family than my family knew about my family... considering that most everyone was dead, except for my father- she accomplished no small task what with all the marriages, divorces, children, and both land and time that was traveled amongst my people.

My grandfather died less than 2 years after his brother. His brother, Horace, died without a will- en testate? Is that the term? So, everything that was of the Merrys did not go back to the Merrys, rather... his wife got it all. Sallie Berry Merry. How's that for a name?

She discovered that my grandfather's SIL had died in 1993- less than 10 years before this time. Sallie had a sister that was still kicking. Her name was Dorothy Rohn and she lived in Kentucky. She had a phone number.

I had a phone.

I was 21 years old and knew no definition of fear.

I called Kentucky... long distance. My mother would be hacked when she saw the phone bill. But, I had no cable and rarely went out to eat. She'd understand. Eventually.

Dorothy thought I was seeking money, as she had inherited quite a bundle. Dorothy thought I was a solicitor. She thought I was anything but her SIL's great grand niece... by marriage. It was a stretch and as she was about to hang up on me, I said, "Wait! Please! I never knew my grandfather. He died when my father was 6 years old and he remembers so little. Please. Can you tell me something about him? Anything? Like how did he die? Do you know?"

She paused and said she didn't know anything about how he died. But, she did know my great uncle and he was a nice man.... she might have a picture of him somewhere that she would mail to me. I offered to pay for shipping and she said, "NO! I have enough money and don't need anymore. Especially from a poor college student..."

Out of the blue, I pulled a small memory from when I used to sneak into the dining room and play with the silver... there were a handful of forks with "O S MERRY" engraved on the back. I asked Dorothy if she knew anything about them.

"Those were your great grandmother's, Ophelia. I have several pieces from that set. Sallie used to give them away at dinner parties. She didn't much care for her."

WHAT?! How can I get invited to a party like that?!

I would not put it together for another 10 years that my great grandmother died when Sallie was 12... and living two states away. My GGU (great grand uncle), Horace, was 7. O S Merry -- Ola Snedecor Merry was 37.

So out there, are forks and spoons, and serving pieces in a beautiful pattern- Buttercup, by Gorham. They have the old markings- the lion, the anchor, and the "G" with "1899 Patent" on the back. The pieces were all purchased at Abbott and Bro in Birmingham, Alabama and are all hand engraved with "O S MERRY" on the back. It might look like "O T Merry" or "O I Merry" depending on how you decipher your cursive.

But, they are beautiful. And I am looking for them. I've been looking for them with a great fervor since 2007. Dorothy was kind enough to return the pieces she had to me, but there are plenty more out there- hopefully saved from being melted.


I picked up genealogy as a side hobby a few years ago and it has been fun to reconnect with my ancestors and learn so much more than I ever knew. Dorothy Rohn has long since died. She had no children, but several nieces and nephews. 

My hope is that there is someone on the other side of this search, wondering what they have in their hand and who this MERRY person was that had their name engraved on the back of the silver. I hope they might do a google search one day and this blog will pop up... and maybe, just maybe they'll reach out and contact me. I'm pretty easy to get a hold of. Maybe they'll offer to sell them to me? 


That would be neat and a great conclusion to the story. I'm not holding my breath, but I would if I thought it would help.

Aren't they beautiful?




Monday, August 27, 2012

Totally Bragging





Not too long ago, I read on a friend's blog that she once received advice about raising a family. (Advice about child rearing or families- unless sough out- should typically be ignored and avoided... in my humble opinion) The long and the short of the advice was that you, as a single family unit, should take a family vacation once a year. It does not have to be extravagant or fancy- but it should be an opportunity to gather as a family and make memories... as a family.



I clearly remember taking family vacations with just my brother and my parents. I also remember taking vacations with my mom's three sisters... their husbands... and children... my grandparents... and great aunts long since widowed... the bourbon flowed like water. Those were fun, too- but a different kind of fun than when it was just mom, dad, and us.




Husband and Wife have spent a long time talking about how LMC's world is about to be flipped upside down. Not only is she gaining a sister in just a few short months, but a few months after that- we pack our bags and head out to find new adventures in a new home. A home completely unfamiliar to her.


We came to the conclusion before I read her blog that a family vacation was in order. Her blog only made me feel better about our decision.


And it should be a grande one.


One that should be about us as much as it should be about her. One that made us all happy and want to return.



We packed our bags and headed South. Way South. Down to Port Canaveral and onto a boat with mouse ears and characters and a television that plays all Disney cartoons ALL the time. Just the three of us.





It was amazing. I got to rub five days together with Husband with no distractions from work, the internet, television, or a cell phone. LMC got to rub those same five days together with both a mom and a dad who doted, loved, and did everything she wanted to do, short of letting her get away with not brushing her teeth. We spent a lot of time in Nemo's land, swimming in the deep blue sea, and eating chocolate donuts washed down with chocolate milk for breakfast.




It was a great trip and much needed to revitalize the three of us as we prepare to sprint off of third and slide into home. So allow me a moment to brag and show some highlights of our adventure.



As we kiss this summer good-bye, I have to wonder what will happen over the next 12 months. I have to ask where we will be, what will this child growing become and the one incubating be. I have to ask, to wonder, and count on the memories we make to sustain us through the days when life won't be so easy.




We saved. And saved. And clipped coupons. And Husband worked several moonlighting shifts to pay for this trip. And the 'rents (or in-laws, if you are Husband) contributed a portion for our early Christmas present as we won't be able to attend the already scheduled 3 day cruise in December. And it was all worth it to get to spend five days unencumbered by nothing more than remembering to reapply sunscreen and kiss sweet LMC good-night.



I didn't snap that many pictures. I downloaded three books... and read 8 pages. I had every intention of seeing if I could break my camera and read until my eyes fell out. However, I failed at both- but succeeded in doing something so much more fun and better for myself and my family.



It was a good trip and a great opportunity to spend time together as both a family and as a couple. Might I suggest it to anyone?



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Some things I love

I love history.
...and cooking.
...and cookbooks.
I love old things.
...and old pots and pans.
...and I adore old silver patterns.

I hate antique wedding clothes.
...they give me the willies. (When I was getting married- a second cousin twice removed brought over the "Merry family dresses" -while beautiful- I had to try them on and my skin was positively crawling up and down at the site of the one from the early 1800s. That being said, I did get to try on the wedding skirt of [name escapes me] who married the governor of South Carolina when he was in office. While cool, I still got a little heebie jeebie and felt a lot like Ralphie in the pink bunny suit. Now, the custom silk number from Saks in New York that was about 100-130 years old with long sleeves and just a touch too small-- that one, I could have handled... had I been able to get it around something other than my left thigh.)
I hate old baby carriages.
...you thought wedding clothes gave me the willies? You should see me when I see an antique carriage. I positively freak and will walk all the way around the room to avoid going near it.
I hate old hearses.
...but nearly as much as I hate heirloom carriages.

I love old wedding photos. Don't care if I don't who's in it. Just love admiring them and wondering who they become.

I love old textbooks. Especially with notes scribbled along the edges. Especially when homework is written down along the side with a reminder to call Jack about the pledge football game on Tuesday.

But, I love old cookbooks and recipes- especially when they are "receipts" instead of recipes. That, to me, is just quaint and adorable. Somehow, a picture forms of a bitty sitting in her kitchen writing the recipe of a friend... only to remember that she needs to head to the "market" to pick up... oleo. (WTH is Oleo?!)

It is with this in mind that a few (several... okay, a bunch of!) weeks ago, I called that darling FIL of mine and asked what would become of Miss Lucile's recipes. Known for her cooking, her handwriting, her love, and all things southern... where would those boxes upon boxes of her handwritten recipe cards disappear off to?

He said he had them... I asked if I could borrow them- and I'm serious about the borrowing. In some families, like mine- those cards carry more value than gold. MIL sent a large handful and I have been taking my time to study them, scan them into my computer and bind them into a book for all the family to love and share.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ladies Day

Our day started out a little rocky. After waiting for 45 minutes at the pediatricians office, Nurse Ratchet called us back. She had a tray with one shot. I had prepared LMC for four shots and a blood draw. One shot looked a little surprising to me.

"Sit her on the table. She needs a TB test."

"No she doesn't, she needs four shots and a lipid draw. We had a TB test last year."

"No. She needs a TB test. She don't have one in her chart."

(ignoring the grammar, I kindly continue) "Um, I think there might have been a break down in communication he--"

"No. She is three and we don't give vaccinations at three."

"All three year olds?"

"No. Not all three year olds," she says with much more sarcasm than I thought necessary-- coming from someone who is a pretty big fan of sarcasm, she continues"We don't give any vaccines at the three year old well visit."

"We aren't here for a three year old well visit. She's behind on her shots and we are here to bring her up to speed so she can go to school."

"Then she needs a TB test"

Nurse Ratchet was all about this TB test. She was acting like she was the type that liked to make small children cry. Changing tactics, I ask about the lipid panel.

"She don't have nothin' in her chart. I can't do anything about that. Who did you speak to?"

Her cardiologist and her doctor.

"Well, if there is nothing in her chart, than I can't do nothing about it."

Round and round and round we go. I wanted to f*@^&$^ ring her neck.

"Go sit in the waiting room. I'll check her chart again."

"Is there a doctor I can speak with? It's just an order that they have to sign off on."

"No. No doctors are available," and she walks out of the room.

We, somehow, don't make it back to the waiting room. Rather, we watch her check LMC's chart and bad-mouth us to another nurse. She turns around and says, "She don't need no shots. She's up to date."

"Our doctor told us she wasn't."

"Well, he be wrong."

Seriously?! My mind is spinning.

"What about the lipid panel?"

"I told you, I can't do nothing about that. Your doctor has to write an ord--"

I didn't lose it; I thought about it- but I didn't. However, I did cut her off and said... probably a little too loudly...

"Listen. My brother had a massive stroke last week (an exaggeration) and was diagnosed with a genetic disease, hyper familial cholesterolema (rolls right off the tongue, no?). His cardiologist told us we all needed to get tested. My daughter's cardiologist referred me back to her pediatrician, here, to get a lipid panel. She submitted the paperwork to this office. Her doctor is not here today, but assured me this would be and easy visit. IS THERE A DOCTOR THAT CAN HELP ME?"

As the nurse stood up and was preparing to lay into me, a nice-- very nice-- doctor had watched the whole conversation break down and said, "I'm a doctor. I can help you. I'm really sorry that she has been so rude. Don't worry, I'll be alerting management."

Five minutes later, literally five minutes, we are walking out of the doctor's office with the order in hand and the paperwork filled out. Nurse Ratchet tried to get back involved with us, but the kind doctor told her to leave. It took more time trying to get the nurse to do her job than it did to get the job done.

Whatever. That's not the point of this. The point is-- I was determined to have a lovely day with my lovely little lady as she was about to have her first blood draw. We walk into the lab and LMC proceeds to dazzle the ladies with her curtsy, her knowledge of the bones, her ABCs (A-B-C-D-H-I-J...A-B-C....X-Y-Z. She might know her phalanges, but we're lacking a little in the ABC department. Really, what's more important?)

The blood draw girl stuck the needle in LMC and my daughter said, I kid you not, "Hee Hee, Mommy. That tickles."

After arguing with the nurse, getting stuck with a needle, we walk out with only one of us covered in eight large stickers. Two doors down, we enter Bobby's Burger Palace for a celebratory milkshake and french fries. On the way to the nail salon by our house, I call the hair salon and make a $20 appointment for LMC.

I get a pedicure.
LMC gets a pedicure.
I get a manicure.
LMC gets a manicure.
I get my eyebrows waxed.
LMC gets her eyebrows "waxed."

It was really pretty adorable and I was really quite lucky that she continued to dazzle the "nice ladies" with her politeness as she asked for flowers on her toes (?!?) and the woman obliged. Next, LMC politely asked for sparkles on her fingers... and the woman obliged. They brought her suckers, spun her in the chair, and gaggled over her as if she were one of their own. I was blown away. We walked out with 20 pink toes, 10 flowers on 10 toes, 20 pink fingers-- 10 of which were "berry barkely and so beautiful."

Two doors down, we walk into the salon and LMC says, "I'm here to cut my hair, please." Up in the chair, a cape in place, the stylist  removes the two pig tails and ask what I want.

"She has a mullet. Do you know what a mullet is?" (she nods) "Her hair is just crazy. Can you shape it up, please?"

"My hair is wild and cah-razy, Nice Lady! You make it so beautiful like my toesie toes?"

Several snips and the mullet has disappeared. She whips out the dryer and round brush to style the little lady's little hair.

We pay.
We tip.
We thank.
We leave.

And, after spending well over two hours in our two hour parking spot, we return to our car.... where there was nary a parking ticket in sight!

The day had redeemed itself! It was a lady's day of pampering. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

She has a name

Monograms are important to me. When naming children, a concern I have is that the monogram will be balanced and the letters are pretty. Yes, I am crazy. When someone tells me the name of the new or impending child, in my mind I picture the monogram and either make the compliment of, "Oh! That'll be a beautiful/strong/handsome monogram!" ... or I keep my trap shut.

It is because of this little nuance about me that Husband was able to narrow down my list of girl names by three. Three "T" names were struck for this reason and this reason alone. The "T" could not balance with the "C."

I kid you not.

(Two of those "T" names were also stricken from the list as Husband really, really hated them. I like to think it was the monogram. He likes to think we wears the pants in the relationship. Potato... pa-ta-toe)

But, from the start- I wanted this little lady to have a little panache. A little sass. A little innocence of a devil in her.

Aunt Bennie
My grandfather was one of twenty-one children. Actually, he was the youngest of nine. Back then, they must not of known what caused babies. Medical advancements are really a marvel. Of the nine, there were four girls, four boys, and one I am not sure about. For the sake of this story- it'll be a boy as I am focusing on the girls. The four girls grew up and married four Catholic men and each had a herd of babies. In my juvenescence, these women were never seen without their hair fixed, their earrings in, their shoes on, and the dress fully pressed. I remember (this is a big statement- remember, I am a child of the 80s) these aunts ah-tending the Too-nah-ment in heels and gloves.

Aunt Bennie on left- wedding day
pictured with her mother and brother, my grandfather
Talu, Mae, Bennie, and Helen were the definition of proper and lovely. And I loved them for it. Aunt Bennie and Aunt Helen taught me how to set a table and the difference between six different types of forks and four different types of drinking apparatuses. I can now set a killer table and use a ruler to do so. Aunt Mae read me the Bible. If it was after 5, she might have snuck a libation. While Aunt Talu died when I was really quite young, she always gave mints to me- not because of halitosis, but because I loved unwrapping the little chocolate from the green wrappers and nibbling them in the tiniest of tiny bites, taking fifteen minutes to savor the one inch by half inch long triple layered chocolate and mint delicacy.
I mentioned that Talu passed when I was quite young; Mae was the second of the sisters to go- when I was in high school. Helen died a few years ago-- I ache for her companionship to this day. Bennie is still kicking.

Aunt Bennie and Uncle Brady
And still kicking she is. She is the last of the siblings still on this side of the gates. My father once said that the Brennans live so long that Saint Peter (Paul?) has to pick them up and carry them through the Pearly Gates.

Aunt Bennie has a little imp in that angel soul of hers. Her laugh could carry through a room and she brightened any day. Aunt Bennie knew no strangers and was known throughout Augusta-- as they all were-- for her beauty. Back then, money could not buy looks like that.

Aunt Bennie and Uncle Brady
(can't you see that little imp in angel soul?)
The name Bennie never struck me as odd- heck, my grandfather's daughters are named are Rosie, Elf, Spooky, and Ange. What's odd about a little Bennie? It was not until I was somewhere between sixteen and twenty six that I made the amazing discovery that would change my life.

Bennie's name was not Bennie. It was Benjamin. Benjamin Elizabeth. How beautiful is that? I instantly fell in love with her name and secretly stashed it in my box of favorite things. Ohhhh-- that name! That beautiful name! Benjamin Elizabeth... it rolls around in your mouth like a fine scotch and tumbles out with Venus helping spill the words.

To put it mildly, it is a name I love and not just because it is so lovely but because it reminds me of one of my precious aunts. What I adore even more is that she is not the first Benjamin- nor the second. Benjamin Elizabeth is the third woman in my family to have that darling name.

Husband and Wife have been tossing names back and forth. Names we like, don't like, what we like, what we hate... conversations abounded revolving around, "What will we strap onto this kid for the rest of their life?"

My names were old lady names-- like really old lady names. So much so that Husband said if we named Baby Girl [insert any number of names here] that they would come out with blue hair, glasses, and varicose veins. I told him that [insert any name from my list here] is your friend, your sorority president... he interjected, "Yeah- President of AARP."

I sighed. He was right, but old biddies aren't born old biddies- they grow up and then become old biddies before St. Peter (Paul?) scoops them up and takes them to the gates.

We kept tossing out names we liked and tried to find a middle ground between my circa 1875 birthday female names and his plain jane names. Husband got quiet and began to contemplate something I did not know was on his mind. He strung words and pitched a first name for our second daughter.

I smiled and eagerly agreed.

Knock me over with a feather, he followed up with, "And Martha Benjamin combines the best of all worlds. Benjamin gets carried on. What do you think about Mattie?"

"I. Love. It."

Really?
Really!
Really!
Really?
Really!

So, it's settled?
It's settled. I will write it in stone and embroider it with thread.

Mattie.

She's coming in December. For some reason, giving her a name makes it real. Even more real than the pudge, the kicks, the glow, and the scatterbrain. We will close out this year (pending all goes well and there are no complications) with two daughters- Patricia Eileen and Martha Benjamin.

We're excited.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Some things are too cute for words

I should post fewer than thirty one pictures.


Really, I should.


But, when one takes over 400 pictures


 in a 45 minute window...


And then slices those four hundred some odd down



to a mere seventy something. 



I think keeping this post under 40 pictures is doing pretty dang good...


If you ask this very proud mother. 

  
But, the good news is... 



When she is this cute...




And loves ballet this much...



And is obviously the cutest kid in the class...


you out there in cyber space, 


probably don't mind 


taking thirty seconds  


to admire


 to smile 


and to think about how cute


and positively adorable



this little lady  



is.




It appears


that she is 


a much...


much


bigger fan


of ballet


than I ever was!


Thank goodness


for that.


Yes indeed- thank goodness.