Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TT #7 Advice from Walt Whitman

Advice from Walt Whitman

When I earned a doctorate in 1993 from the University of Alabama, the speaker at graduation was Howell Raines, an Alabama native, who was editorial page editor at the New York Times. He delivered a memorable address, and, in keeping with the custom of including advice for the graduates, Raines quoted Walt Whitman. In Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass, his collection of twelve poems published in 1855 and added to over his lifetime, he wrote (all the words are quoted exactly from Whitman; I added only the numbers):

"This is what you shall do:

  1. Love the earth and sun and the animals,

  2. despise riches,

  3. give alms to every one that asks,

  4. stand up for the stupid and crazy,

  5. devote your income and labor to others,

  6. hate tyrants,

  7. argue not concerning God,

  8. have patience and indulgence toward the people,

  9. take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,

  10. go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families,

  11. read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,

  12. re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,

  13. dismiss whatever insults your own soul;

and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Good advice 150 years later, I think!

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Regarding Education

I don't know about your community, but in mine we struggle with our concerns about education. In addition to our classroom teachers trying as hard as they can with limited resources, the rest of us are trying to help in our own ways. The Governor asked me to chair a regional committee on education, and I am struggling to provide meaningful leadership. What possible new questions can we ask? What possible new answers might we develop? What possible new initiatives might we try?

In the midst of struggling with these questions---and meeting with various groups---and reading more about the problems in education, I was invited to present a program to a local women's group on "Education as a Change Agent." Whew! Talk about another challenge! To tell you the truth, I don't even remember much of what I said. I do remember issuing a disclaimer that I was not speaking for my college or for the Governor's committee---that my comments could only be blamed on Kay.

I think the premise of my talk was that the problem we think is education is not education at all; rather it is poverty. The result of that talk was that I have been asked to present the same program to the Rotary Club. In the original program, I was talking mostly off the cuff, but I can't do that with Rotary, so I've been reading and studying more. Again my blogging acquaintances have come to my rescue. I have discovered several sites which have provided insight and information. My teacher friend over at History is Elementary introduced me to a privilege meme, which brings home the issue of privilege and how we grew up. You might want to try that little exercise. If you are a baby boomer,it will be interesting to answer first for yourself and then for your children. You will see vast differences, I bet.

Then, over at Aha! Process, Inc, I met Dr. Ruby K. Payne and was inroduced to her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. I have since ordered the book, and I look forward to reading it. Her web site is incredible, too. Take a look.

I guess I am rambling a little because I have not really written about why I think the issue is poverty. I think I will chew on the subject a little more--and I hope you will, too. Think about the privilege exercise; think about the people you see at the supermarket and at the superstores; think about the people who do business with the pay-day loan companies, the check cashing companies, and the pawn shops; and think about the people who ride the school buses in our town. I would be happy to hear your comments. More on this subject later.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rollin' on the River VII

I don't even know how to describe this weekend, except to share the recipe for a successful party. The ingredients:

  • Beautiful spring weather

  • Boat rides on the lake

  • a quaint village in the south

  • great southern food

  • international and national guests---Brazil, London, Egypt, New York, Portland

  • a local saloon

  • 300 local friends and relatives

  • happy hosts

Mix well. Add a hot band, folding chairs and coolers, hot dogs, hoop cheese and oatmeal cookies, a big dance floor---and get out of the way. That's a recipe for Rollin' on the River VII Weekend. There is just too much to tell. Perhaps the pictures can speak for themselves.

And Tom's favorite photo of the weekend--the one of him and Dani, the Brazilian model:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Day to Ride

I took this photo while on a motorcycle trip to Apalachicola, Florida, about 150 miles from our home. We were traveling about 55 mph. Apalachicola is a historic fishing village on the coast of the Florida panhandle where the Apalachicola River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It is in a part of the state that has been slow to develop, but it is beginning to boom. It was a beautiful ride through back roads and miles and miles of pine forests. In the photo, you can see a few clouds in the sky; it was a perfect day!

I'll be out of town this weekend and out of touch, but I will visit as many as possible when I return. I love the photos. Thanks Wom Tigley. For more Skywatch photos, visit Wiggers World

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TT #6 Thirteen Top Gun Trips

I wrote a post earlier about our Top Gun Supper Club, which has been meeting about 20 years with the same eight couples. In addition to sharing monthly dinners, somewhere along the way we began taking an annual 3-5 day trip together. We've missed a few years here and there, and we've visited some cities more than once. We call these our "Eat-Our-Way-Across-Another-Great- American-City" trips; we are a supper club, after all! For TT#6, I've listed our trip destinations. We never worry about having a good time because we take the party with us--and what we like best about each trip is the time we all spend together.

  1. Amelia Island Plantation, FL--we enjoyed the Concours d' Elegance vintage car show.

  2. Atlanta, GA--the Walter Mitty Classic car race (one of our members races)

  3. Cashiers, NC--the mountain views and the hiking

  4. Charleston, SC---the food

  5. Chicago, IL---the Talbott Hotel and tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses

  6. Destin, FL---the food

  7. Lake Martin, AL--the restfulness of the lake and the pontoon boat rides

  8. Nashville, TN--The Opryland Hotel and the back stage tours at The Grand Old Opry

  9. New Orleans, LA---the Windsor Court Hotel and the food---everywhere

  10. New York, NY---The Elysee Hotel and the dining

  11. Seagrove Beach, FL---the beach, sunsets, and dining

  12. Vail, CO---the mountains, art shows, golf.

  13. And Napa Valley, CA coming up in August.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Secretaries Day

Wednesday is Secretaries Day. Some call it Administrative Professionals Day. Whatever you call it--if there is a secretary or office assistant in your life, be sure to say "thank you".

Family Weekend

This was a family weekend---and was it ever busy! Andrew, Tara, and Brooks came in on Friday night. Brooks was in high gear. He stayed up late entertaining Granddaddy and YaYa! Tara went to the Lake on Saturday for a well-deserved night out with the girls, and the rest of us went to the farm.

Saturday was beautiful. We cooked hot dogs, walked in the woods, kicked the tires on the tractor, swept the floors and did anything else Brooks wanted to do. He was a trooper, and he even remembered his potty training!

Andrew and Brooks left on Sunday morning to meet Tara at the Lake, and Tom and I swung into high gear to get ready for Mother's 85th birthday party. We invited four of her special friends from The Terrace to join us for a picnic supper. That's Mother in blue.

Though we didn't see our Tampa children, we did get pictures--and that's always a treat!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another view at the Farm

I took this photo at our farm this afternoon. That's where the sky always looks so beautiful to me. It is about 20 miles north of our home, so it's easy to go up for the afternoon. This farm is where my husband was born and grew up, so it is very special to us. We grow pine trees and habitat for quail. We are fortunate to farm for recreation, rather than livelihood.

Would you like to participate in Skywatch Friday? Visit Wiggers World .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TT#5 Thirteen Entertainment Tools I Love

We entertain a lot--everything from biker parties to supper clubs to large family gatherings to wedding parties to intimate dinners for six to an annual party for 350 of our closest friends. Over the years, I have come to rely on items that I use over and over. I thought I would list twelve of them plus one new find. This is part of my effort to reuse, repurpose, recycle.
  1. Silver nesting vases. I bought these several years ago. I have used them and loaned them. They are 18, 24, and 27 inches tall. I like tall arrangements on my tables. My three favorite things to put in them are tomato red gladiolas, pheasant feathers, and nandina stalks trimmed like a topiary.

  2. Pheasant feathers. Tom hunted in South Dakota for years . The deal was---he brought me the feathers. I have a great collection, and I have used them in all kinds of ways.

  3. Chargers. I don't like an empty table. I have inexpensive chargers in several colors that I keep on the dining room table with napkins and plates. It always looks inviting.

  4. Odd candlesticks. I have a large pine-topped island in my kitchen, and I like to have an arrangement on it. I change it often, but it usually involves tall candlesticks and silver vases that I use with candles.

  5. Crinkle pillow shams. I have two sets of crinkle pillow shams. I use them on pillows, slipped on the backs of chairs, and to camoflage items. Right now, I have one covering a bowl on my island.

  6. Old bedspreads and quilts. I have several vintage bedspreads--chenille, crocheted, and plain cotton that I often use on tables as undercloths. I spread them casually on a table, and cover partially with a topper. I have one quilt hanging on the wall in our farmhouse. It's is what you see when you walk in the door. I keep a spotlight on it; it definitely has the wow factor.

  7. Shot glasses. I have 16 shot glasses in different colors that I found at Big Lots. They are great. I use them all the time for desserts and appetizers.

  8. Pearls. Big pearls. Big decorating item. I buy them in quantities from a mardi gras supplier. We use them on the girls when we travel, on green wreaths for parties, hanging on arrangements, on towels in the bathroom. It's sort of a theme for us.

  9. Striped napkins. Years ago, my mother made several dozen lapkins for me out of vintage kitchen toweling---red and white striped. Have they ever been used!

  10. Wine carrier. This nine-compartment Reisenthal bottle bag goes with us everywhere. It looks great; and it can carry plenty of beverage material for an evening or two--wine or liquor bottles, corkscrew, acrylic wine glasses, and I keep a bottle of water and aspirin in it to remind me not to over do it!

  11. Vintage tablecloths. I have bought great vintage tablecloths from Ebay--all sizes, but I never buy round. I think square cloths look much better on a round table. I have lots of fifties patterned kitchen cloths and beautiful white linen, damask, and cut work cloths---bought for a song. I call them my "old family cloths"---and they are someone's old family cloths!

  12. Sheeting. I happened in a mill store a few weeks ago, and I found yards and yards of sheeting in several patterns and colors. I paid $10 for about 50 yards, and I have already gotten my moneys worth. I simple tear it in the lengths I need for table covers or other decoration. Easy to wash, no ironing. Great!

  13. Red duvet cover. This is my newest purchase--from the same mill store: a Ralph Lauren duvet cover I picked up for $5. I love the red stripe and the burlap binding. I don't plan to use it on the bed, but I will use as a table cover, picnic blanket, or anything else I can think of.

I hope this encourages you to look around you for items that you might "morph" into something else.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Busy Weekend

We had a busy weekend. Andrew came in on Friday to stay with us because Tara and Brooks were invoved in "potty training boot camp"---a three-day, intense, prescribed program to result in Brooks throwing out the diapers.

We went to the Club for dinner and had a wonderful time visiting with friends, and watching little children play on the putting green. I take my camera everywhere, and I noticed how beautiful the sky was.

On Saturday, Tom and Andrew headed out for work day at the Lake. They swapped out a refrigerator, washed the screen porch and windows, and tidied up in general on the outside. Mother and I went up for part of the day, and of course I had the trusty camera.

I went alone to a lovely engagement party for the son of some new friends because Tom didn't get home in time; then we joined some friends for dinner downtown at The Bistro,a little restaurant that makes you think you are in some large, sophisticated town.

Today was absolutely beautiful, so we got our buddies together for a bike ride. Though it was pretty it was very windy and cool. The leather felt good today.

So here we are, early on Sunday evening, settling in for another week, which promises to be a busy one.