Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Animal Zoo → Medicated Goo"

Woo... Hoo????

Woo... hoo...
is the call my "Meema" rang out when entering a house or calling out for you!

I sure do miss hearing that call.

This photo was taken on the front porch of Boswell's Tavern during the visit I spoke of in an earlier blog.  
The one when I went back to Ben Lomond with Meema, 
the old farm....

I found these pictures from that trip the other day and thought I would share them.

The Exchange Hotel

The Exchange Hotel was used as a make-shift hospital during the Civil War.

This building was the subject of many a ghost story told by my "Oompa"
Wow... he sure could scare the britches off us grand kids!

I  lived about 4 blocks from this old Hotel in Gordonsville, VA.
It sure didn't look like this then though.  
However, the remodeling and restoration began just before we moved.

I had just finished 3rd or 4th grade.
Those years are a bit foggy for me.

Ben Lomond

So many memories here...

There is a pool now, just behind that white fence.  

I think that was one of my biggest shocks...
it never occurred to me.

We always swam in the lake!

The lake...
as I look at this picture several images flood my mind.
First and most memorable for me is the infamous tubing accident.
Until that day...
I had never broken a bone in my body, I was 13.
I came away from that experience in a wheel chair and many broken body parts.
However... I learned that day that there was a very bright, warm, white light in my future
and drowning was not the way I was going to leave this earth.

After that accident I was given a book to read during my recovery...

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Thanks Aunt Angela!  It made quite the impression!

The second image is of a water spout coming up and across the lake.  And then running up that hill as fast as we could go, to the house.  Looking back only to see Siobhan and someone (Zac maybe) holding one of the aunts hands( Angela I think)  and being lift up off the ground.  Everyone screaming and racing to the front door, fighting the wind to get the door to open .  There was quite a storm that night.  I remember a very dark candle lit evening and a very restless night in the bunk bed room.  The next morning we woke to find a HUGE tree up rooted and laying fantastically between an assortment of  cars.

There are many more images filled with fishing, cousins, music, ice skating, lily pads and water skiing.

I had my High School graduation party here...

April 13, 1986
 Dad, Mom and ME

This was one of the last BIG soiree we ever had at 
"Ben Lomond Farm"

This was my cousin Tolli and my cousin Willie's UVA Greek party.
Willie and Tolli had two of these parties, I attended at Ben Lomond.

I believe this was the one Indecision played...

Older and Wiser

Here is a pretty cool tid-bit of information...

my cousin Libby who was probably around 8 at the time of this party, 
 married Craig, the drummer for Indecision.

Woo hoo... I married an older man too!

They were married at Boswell's Tavern, and what a beautiful wedding it was .

Side or Front?

As a kid I always thought it was strange that everyone referred to this door as the side door.

I thought the "front" of the house faced the road?

It was the door used most for coming and going.

See that tree, to the left of the photo?
I don't know what anyone else called it, all I knew it as...
"Monkey Cigar Tree"
If I ever noticed one again I couldn't say until...

I went to Newport News to help clear out my husband's grandmother's farm house. 

I have since then discovered that this tree is also called a
Catawba Tree.

Another Generation

Another generation is greeted and bid farewell at the front door by Meema.
Or is it the side door?

Boswell's Tavern
A new set of memories
But all with a familiar ring.
"Woo Hoo"

This is no where close to the size of the lake at Ben Lomond.
However, does my daughter seem disappointed?

I don't think so!

I can  not begin to tell you how blessed I feel to have such a wonderful and colorful bag of memories.

Let' Try This Again

I picked these round pointed needles up at the store Friday.

And I stopped looking at the Hardware Store for bread.


We stopped here on our way home from church Sunday.

My Mary got to get her feet wet and I got to get a little more perspective.
When we got home, Mary and Bill went to a benefit for a local 13 year old girl.

Isabella Rainey

who suffered a brain aneurysm

I don't know if this is true of not.
But, Mary heard that Bella was having a typical mother, daughter difference of opinion.
And right in the middle of their exchange,
Bella fell to the floor.

The other day Mary started crying and said...
"What if she dies and the last thing she said to her mom was mean?"

Now, I can't help but wonder ...
what my kid's internal dialog must be.

Do I sense a bit of identifying going on here?

This is a difficult age for so many young girls,
(and moms too) 
when there are more clashes with Mom 
than these tender moments of exchange.

God Momma Mary

This was the first Thanksgiving weekend that Mary Neva's band 

She and Maah Huff had somewhere else to be.

To my joy...
Mary Neva was by my side in the same tiny, little church
I took my
First Holy Communion.

Momma Knows Best

I love ya Miss Neva!

Now it has been raining for 3 days straight and we have a coastal flood warning in effect.
I have to chuckle, 
I know that I was asking for rain and all, but daggg... I am finding it kinda difficult to get my arss out of bed and bust a move.  
My motivation wants to playing hide and seek with me today, I can't seem to drink my coffee fast enough to keep up.

Gotta Have the Right Tools

I truly believe that every situation presents an opportunity...

Wa... la...
my perfectly flawed bathmat!!!!

(made from recycled and re-purposed fabrics)

Of course when I actually use the correct tool from my tool belt
the job was a breeze and was finished in no time.
I imagine it would be rather difficult to build a house with a wooden spoon.
I am sure it could be done...
talk about an opportunity to practice patience

Let's Be Jolly

Now for a footnote in today's blog...
I want to say that my baby brother has poked his head out of seclusion.
He is showing an interest in the Gerson Therapy

Woo... Hoo

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Southern Culture On The Skids - "Biscuit Eater"

Southern Culture On The Skids - Come On Get It - Art Fein's Poker Party

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Doing The Same Thing, Expecting A Different Result

Good Morning Idgie!

Skippyjon Jones

I woke up the other morning and decided it was time to shake the cobb webs out and get myself busy with a project.  I went to put  some music on and Idgie was sitting on my CD case, giving me a look.   It just tickled me so much for some reason I had to grab my camera.

Idgie's personality reminds me of the main character in one of my daughter's favorite books.

"Skippyjohn Jones"

I love this book series.

The main character is a Siamese Kitten who believes he is a Chihuahua.

I "Want" This

Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures

My bath mat has seen it's final day.  
The last time I washed it I knew we were probably in  need of a new bathmat.  The rubber matting on the bottom was starting to dry-rot and fall off... not a "good" sign.
However, the big clue was after someone took the first indoor shower and we couldn't get the mat to move.  It was stuck to the floor!
I remembered something I had see in my "Soul Momma" book and decided that I wanted to give it a go.
The "old" me... would have compulsively run out to the store and bought a new rug.
The "new" me said...
Debbie, remember we are trying to make more intentional purchases and only when "necessary".  We can make a "new" re purposed bathmat out of old towels and old sheets.

A Gift


This is one of my favorite sewing accessories.
It was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law.  They gave it to me several years ago on one of their treasured visits to the states.  John & Rou-yu live in Saipan (Saipan is one of the 14 islands that make up the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands... just in case you didn't already know that) and they don't get our way very often.  When they do come, they come bearing wonderful gifts and then we are spoiled further by a delicious authentic home prepared Chinese dinner with extended family.  It is wonderful.  She will not let me help her prepare the meal.  However the last couple times she cooked for us, she DID allow me to stand over her shoulder to watch and pick up on some of her culinary secrets.

Sewing Preparation

I crank the stereo up and begin to pin the towel strips to the pre-cut fabric.

Once I had all the pieces pined and cut, I went outside and watered the flowers, container plants and cut down and trimmed  back a lot of the things in the vegetable & perennial  gardens.

I felt great...
I was ready to whip a bathmat together.

I start to sew...
clunk, clunk, snap....
I thread the needle again and start sewing... again.

Then clunk, clunk, snap..


I checked my tension and gave it a few adjustments...

I start to sew ...

clunkitie, clunkitie, clunk it went.

Now one of the reasons I love my old machine here is because of the nice quiet steady hum it makes... 
 the annoying, empty clunkitie sound the newer machines make... 
with all those fancy plastic pieces. 
The clunkitie sound turned into the nice ...
Unfortunately, this is not a "good" thing... it actually signifies that the thread has once again snapped.



Once again I place the thread through ...

The Eye of the Needle

I kept this up all day until my daughter got home from school.
I think it took me close to five hours to get only 2 strips sewn on.

After homework, dinner and bedtime rituals...
I went back into my studio and got right back into it... I was getting a little better progress but still clunking along.  By this time I was fully aware that I had the "wrong" needle in the machine.
 I didn't have any Ball Point Needles, I had broken the last one several months ago.

I didn't care,
I WANTED to finish this bathmat.

Now get this...
I woke up the next morning, got my kid up and off to school and guess what I did.
No, I didn't go get a new needle.
I went to my computer, put on my Pandora
Levon Helm Radio Station and ...
I went right back to it...

Clunk, Clunk, Snap

I can chuckle now... 

But I can tell ya... there was no chuckling going on in my body... 
until I had a thought.

I thought of a video I watched a while back on the TED website.
Then I looked down, saw the round hole and then I saw the big square peg I was holding in my hand.

What in the world was I doing?

Getting Perspective

I needed some sanity.  
I pulled out the yarn I had been using to make wash cloths and began making one for my daughter.  She had asked for one a couple days prior to that.

No sooner than I had started knitting this song began to play...

This got more than a chuckle...
this one got a belly laugh and even a note worthy snort.

... Want?

Too dag on funny!

Mary's Washcloth

Just a few loose ends!

Sage & A Prayer

A little something I picked up at an Inter-tribal Pow wow a while back.  The sage that is...
not the shell.

Sage is the difference between cleaning my house and "cleansing" my house.

"Country Roads"
My Maternal Great-Great Grandparents

After my constant questioning of my grandmother about this photo of of her grandmother, my Great-Great Grandmother.  "Meema" gave me a book that belonged to her.  She said it was her all time favorite book.

 The Education of Little Tree

This is actually a children's book.
This took family secrets to a whole new level for me.
If you have not ever read this book, I highly recommend it.  
Especially if you are related to me.

Wanna see what my "Meema" gave me for a wedding gift?

There is no box large enough to hold the gift she gave me that day~

Can anyone tell...
I had another recent visit from my baby brother?
A little tid bit of information that I neglected to throw out there when I blabbity bloged last week.
My brother's cancer is back...
No surprise there, unfortunately the lack of surprise doesn't make it hurt any less.
Now he is MIA.
My head knows what I "need" to do... it is just taking my heart a little longer to catch up.

Back to Sanity on a Scain

I love how our lives are inter-connected.  

Everything has a place and a purpose.  
I don't believe in coincidence.
I was able to spend time with a phenomenal woman over the past couple days.  I had not seen her in such a very long time.  I was able to share time with her beautiful children and husband on the beach.  And a wonderful morning coffee time.  It felt as if we picked up just where we had left off ...
minus the few extra white hairs, extra baggage, and years of memories to catch up on. 
She opened her arms,  her heart and her understanding to me.
I am glad to see that some things will never change!

I love ya "Care Bear"!
Thanks for reminded me that it's more than OK to be ME!

Keep On Keeping On!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good, Good, Good... Good Vibrations


In stead of putting on ANOTHER pot of coffee, I decided to try something different.

I love this tea cup my wise friend Nancy made special, for me!

I took a rejuvenating outdoor shower and got a new start to the morning.


Random piece of info about me.
I know that most people when they get homesick, they make a phone call, write a letter or some other way to plug in.  However me... I was in an unusual mindset at the ripe ole age of ...
let me think...
26 or 27
and living in Ohio.
Back in the days when I couldn't stay put for very long.

Where Did You Come From

I found this crystal on the ground, near my outdoor bathroom.
I have had many crystals over the years.
However, I really don't know where this one came from.
It doesn't really surprise me too much.
I'm sure it's one of mine from days gone by that some how found it way back to me.
I have been doing a lot of de-cluttering, purging and reorganizing.

It looks a bit banged up...
but, then again so am I!

Hair Stick

My brother Michael, made this one.  Both of my brothers got all crafty up in the mountains of Virginny.  And on one of my visits a while back I talked him into allowing me to give it a new home.  Unfortunately, not long after bringing it home my "sweet" dog Lexi decided that it needed a little more work... Yikes.
I think it is still beautiful!

My hair is finally long enough to wear it again.

Last summer, I cut all my hair off... again. 
This time I wasn't able to donate it to Locks of Love, unfortunately.
I had allowed myself to get pretty sick and my hair was falling out in clumps.
I didn't have enough to donate...
I barely had enough to make a No. 8 paintbrush.
It was pretty bad.
My husband didn't want me to cut it...
"what if it doesn't grow back" he asks.
My response was...
"well, I guess I will shave it then"

Luckily for him ...
and anyone else who doesn't like the Kojak look...
I made a LOT of changes in my life.

Gotta Brand New Bag

After a cup of tea and a nice shower, I put my hair up and set to work.
I found a piece of the material we used for my wedding dress.
Sorry folks... it isn't white.
This piece was big enough for me to make 3 of these small pouches.
I figured I need a place to put my new found crystal.

More Flannel Sheets

I dug these out of an old trunk...
I forgot we even still had these.  I will either pass them down to Mary if she wants them
or make more pads. 

Ben Lomond

I figured since I am throwing little pieces of my past out there...
this is a pretty BIG piece.

This is what I get homesick for these days.

When I was growing up we moved around a lot.
This is probably one of the reasons I had such itchy feet as a young adult and couldn't stay put for very long.
Ultimately putting down shallow roots on a barrier island.

Ben Lomond was a constant for me.
So many stories begin and end here for me, as I am sure they do for many others.
My grandmother sold the farm to some developers not too long before my mother died.
She moved to Virginia Beach, Va to be close to my mom and my mom's sisters.
My aunts both lived in Virginia Beach at the time and my mom was on the Outer Banks.

My grandmother was a mountain woman... and eventually moved back to the mountains not long after my mom died.  Now, I don't know if my mother's death prompted this move... it is simply a way I measure time.

I have been back a few times over the years.  Once with my mom & dad and a couple times with friends and my now husband.  The last time I was there, I went with my grandmother.  We had lunch at the restaurant, took a tour, met with a woman who wanted to know more about the history of the property.  And then ended the visit with a trip to the stable to see the horses which is near where the old barn and cottage use to be.

It was definitely strange to go back but I am glad I did.

Life goes on!
Things change and new memories are made.
It is funny how things go sometimes...

your past comes up and taps you on the shoulder.
I was sent one of those random status updates on facebook by someone I know who is affiliated with a Va Wedding Magazine, he had no clue of the connection. 

Kinda funny...
I always said when I was younger, that I wanted to get married there.
Now lots of folks do I suppose.


Boswell's Tavern

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother's long time friends
Jack and Mina Schwem owned this farm not far from Ben Lomond. They were some very interesting folks, let me tell ya.

Jack Schwem

 This is not how I remember him...
I just thought it was a cool picture.  I remember him more like a
 Mark Twain figure. I remember him liking books and making amazing things with wood and metal. 

Meema told me that when he bought Boswell's Tavern he wanted to refurbish it as authentically as possible.  When he set out to find fixtures to match the period he was limited.  So he decided to make them himself.


This is Mina Schwem. 
From what I remember of her she was a very sad woman
a very beautiful woman, but very sad.
I remember Meema saying something about a fire... and her not being the same afterwards.

Jack and Mina never had any children of their own and as far as I know there was no one in Jack's family who was willing to keep Boswell's Tavern going the way he wanted after he died.

A Historical Landmark

So he left it to my grandmother.  She moved in and we continued in the Jarmen & Farley tradition to live long and make many memories.

It wasn't "open to the public" but she always gave anyone who stopped by the grand tour.

On a visit I made to Bowell's Tavern...

My aunt was getting a few things out of the attic.  This picture was one of them.
I commented on how much I loved the drawing.
Meema didn't feel the same... she didn't think it was particularly flattering to Mina.
Aunt Angela said that she just wanted the frame.

Any who...
several months later the painting showed up at my wedding dinner as a gift from my aunt.

I love it!

My Wedding

Now that's a story for another blog.

Barefeet, snow, sleet, rainbows, wind and laughter!

This is one of the Cherokee Wedding Vases from our wedding.
My phenomenal friend Robin, got them for us.  One was used during the ceremony and this one to keep.

Carolina Lily Project

Pretty cool huh? 

Minus the dust bunnies.
This was part of her NC Symbols Project for Social Studies last year.
The rest was a power point presintation.

She got an A+