Friday, February 5, 2016

Eye Candy Friday | Blue Sky Blooms.

It's easy to see why so many people flock to Florida this time of year. Even the really winter-y days are rarely below freezing and there's plenty of sunshine. Holly and I have been taking full advantage with long daily walks (yay for 10,000+ steps!). The perfect opportunity to capture #blueskyblooms. Here are a few of my favorites over the past two weeks.

Yesterday's stormy rain left behind the promise of more bright blue skies today. I'm looking forward to it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday | 78 Years.

This photo has been sitting for months in a draft post. the planned follow-up to a post I shared last spring about family treasures from Mother's side of the family. Draft posts aren't really my thing - I like to publish the posts as I write them; I rarely even schedule a post to share a day later.
a collection of old photos from Daddy's childhood
But I guess the time is finally right to tell this story. I took that collection of photographs home with me last March promising to have them scanned so we could all have copies. Of course I still need to do that, so I brought the collection back down with me. And yesterday we sorted through more albums, boxes and envelopes and found a few dozen favorites. I scanned, edited and printed them so we can make a photo board for Saturday's visitation.

What struck me as I was sorting through the printed photos today is how well they tell the story Daddy told of his life when he wrote his obituary last summer (to be published only in his hometown paper; you can read it on-line here). Here are few of my favorites.

on the steps of his grandmother's house (the same house featured in this story)
Daddy was the quarterback on his high school football team
Mother & Daddy - 1965 (this is one of the photos Betty brought with her last weekend)
October 1987 - Mother threw a surprise party to celebrate his 50th birthday
1996 - at a Texaco executive meeting - that's Daddy riding the bull!
Mother & Daddy in Newfoundland (one of their many train and boat trips)
Mother & Daddy in Cuba - they went there on a train tour (the trip was only approved because it was educational)
Daddy's 75th birthday - he couldn't have been happier with that backdrop!
I now have a renewed energy around getting all my old photos sorted and scanned. I've heard good things about Scan Cafe, but would appreciate any other recommendations or advice. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | On Repeat.

Today's topic - in honor of Groundhog Day (the day and the movie) - is about moments in our lives we'd like to repeat. I think the timing is perfect to list ten moments I shared with my father that I have on repeat in my heart.

1. Playing games. I originally shared this photo and story back in 2009. It's obviously had a lot of repeat playtime over the years.
Daddy and me, age 2

2. Camping. This is another story I've already shared here and I was kind of surprised myself that it made this list. I do not love camping. I do not love long car rides. But I do love spending time with family, seeing new places and having fun. Those trips were all about that.
summer 1971
3. Eating. Daddy always enjoyed eating and he loved everything (which for a boy raised in small-town Alabama is a real credit to my mom, a California native with very adventurous tastes). One of the hard things about the past few years is that he could no longer eat. But in early 2011, he could tolerate soft foods and we hosted a Chocolate Mousse Throwdown when the family gathered that Memorial Day. My sister, my nephew and Sara all "competed". Of course Daddy couldn't declare just one winner, but he did enjoy a lot of chocolate mousse that day.
Karen, Andrew, Sara and Daddy (and a lot of chocolate mousse)
4. and drinking. Daddy's drink of choice was always scotch, a drink I've tried to like, but ... just can't. So about ten years ago, when he started liking Pinot Noir, I got excited. We shared this toast together in early 2012.
lunch out April, 2012
5. Beaufort weekends. Mother, Karen and I started a "girls weekend" tradition back in 2005. In 2007, we officially settled on Beaufort, South Carolina as our destination. Daddy came along, too (but stayed in a hotel separate from us and had his dinners out with our dear family friend Charlie) and we'd meet up for lunch on Saturday and church on Sunday. Last year, my brother joined the weekend and stayed with Daddy. It was perfect. We are actually going to repeat this one - kind of - in April. The whole family, including spouses, children and Holly, is gathering in Beaufort to inter Daddy's ashes in the Memorial Garden at the church we love there. This place has special meaning for us and being able to share it - over and over again - with Daddy is a blessing.
Steve, Mother, Charlie, me, Karen, Daddy
6. Daddy and Charlie. I am so glad Daddy got to meet Charlie. And we have many photos of the two of them together so Charlie learns about his Grandpa Roy. But I wish they'd had more time together; I know they would've had a great time and Daddy had so many experiences to share.
May, 2014 - Daddy and Charlie, age eight months
7. A proud moment. Daddy loved Georgia Tech. I think the last time he was on the campus was to celebrate Sara's graduation in May 2014. This photo was one of his favorites - what a legacy!
Marc, Katie, me, Sara, Daddy and Rob - all Georgia Tech grads!
8. Dancing. I think the only time we ever danced together was at Katie's wedding in May 2013. I'm glad we had the opportunity.

9. Thanksgiving. My parents have been coming to Atlanta for Thanksgiving for years. They stay with my sister and we plan all sorts of get togethers (pretty much every day except Thanksgiving!) around their visit. This year, we gathered at my house for cocktails (always a favorite "reason" to get together) the day after Thanksgiving. This is the last photo I have of the three of us children smiling with Daddy.
Steve, me, Karen and Daddy
10. ...and this is the last one of us three with him. Much of those last few hours are not something I ever want to repeat, but this moment, simply holding hands, is a beautiful one.
January 22, 2016
Photos can tell a powerful story. Thank you, Carole, for giving me a reason to do it today.

Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Treat-filled Weekend.

My father's sister Betty drove up from North Palm Beach Saturday morning. She left after lunch yesterday. Her visit was a real treat for me and Mother in many ways:

Shortly after Betty arrived, we picked up Mother's friend Martha and headed downtown to visit the Farmers Market and have lunch. The Farmers Market runs year-round here. It's small, but surprisingly well rounded. I bought the last loaf of bread from the bakery stall and we picked up fresh crab dip and red snapper from the fish vendor.

Then we had lunch at Turners, probably my favorite restaurant in Leesburg (we have two more lunches planned there this week). The food is delicious... and the conversation was delightful. and funny. Martha and Betty are both from Alabama; they share a certain sense of humor that really cracks us up.

Maybe one of those next times I'll even remember to take photos of the food. For now, you'll just have to imagine fried green tomato caprese salad and sweet potato cheesecake.
Mother, Martha, Betty and me
Betty brought an old scrapbook that my grandmother had compiled. It started in 1966 and was filled with letters and drawings from her grandchildren and a few newspaper clippings. We had a great time reading those letters. and the clippings. oh my. the hometown paper's descriptions of the weddings are simply priceless.

I also enjoyed seeing photos of everything - afghans, sweaters, toys, hats - that Betty has knitted for her children and grandchildren. She has seven grandchildren ranging in age from 14 months to almost 13. That's a lot of knitting! 

Saturday night's dinner was fresh stone crabs. When Betty texted us about coming, she promised she'd bring them and Mother told me I was in for a treat. This was my first time eating them and wow!

Betty cracking the claws - it's a real art to break the shells without shredding the meat inside

We played two games of Five Crowns. Mother won both times, in spite of Betty's and my best efforts (and on my part anyway a few not-so-best efforts).
not one of my better efforts!
Yesterday morning she and I visited the local church; she'd been with Daddy just three weeks earlier (his last Sunday there). The sermon was on Esther and celebrating life. ♥

She's invited us to visit anytime. It's only three hours away, so really do-able for a quick visit. Maybe in June. She's promised to teach us how to play Mahjongg. I can't wait to learn. Do any of y'all play? It sounds like a lot of fun.

Hope you had a treat-filled weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Full Bloom.

I'm truly grateful for the community this little corner of the internet has nourished. Thank you all for your incredible outpouring of love, support and encouragement. Your thoughts and prayers have truly lifted us. 
My parents received an amaryllis - their first - for Christmas. Mother dutifully placed the box on the kitchen counter, right under a sunlight, watered it according to the instructions...and waited.

When my sister arrived about two weeks ago there was plenty of green, but not really much else. By last Wednesday, it looked like this.

Those buds continued to develop and we hoped one might open Saturday to honor Daddy's passing, but it wasn't until Monday evening that we saw the first real bloom. By yesterday afternoon when I had a chance for photos, there were already two.

And today - it's practically exploding.

We are completely smitten - the color is amazing and wow is it fun to see how quickly those blooms pop!