A Picture Perfect Christmas

Christmas ~

That time of year when we decorate everything that doesn’t move, trying to recreate all those beautiful images we see on Pinterest. You either nail it or fail it! I’ve been guilty in the past of over decorating and have the pictures to prove it…but the older I get, the more difficult it is to keep up!

We all want to live that perfect Christmas, but where I live, we don’t get beautiful snowy scenes like this one! Thank you Photoshop!12265852_10201336929102208_7425298091410155474_o

We also don’t see people ice skating on frozen ponds….12291708_849411115156196_1131659081857891675_o

But we do have beautiful decorations in the city though…this scene is from Sundance Square in Fort Worth –15815831659_d9319bc4c4_o

Ahhh, one of my favorite things to do…lean back in my comfy chair with a cup of hot chocolate and admire my tree.297276_2623236917172_415736083_n

Of course, every time a bell rings…1486088_509043362526308_428006049_o

This is “Leon”…he visits our house in December to make sure we are being good and reports back to Santa every night! We never know where he will be the next morning!205057_2623286838420_864669216_n

My adorable grandson was seemingly overwhelmed by Christmas year before last. We would never leave him “home alone” …883834_3793435611408_1835789829_o

Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas, though….12265861_849134751850499_4839915693882912705_o

Remember to let your light shine, not everyone will have a warm, cozy holiday.12366160_10201370684866081_6404405836560199289_o (1)

No snow for us this year, the weather forecast is calling for 70 degrees on Christmas Day. We can always hold out hope for next year, though!12363256_10201381106046604_5728194156823991609_o

Photo Obsession

Hello, my name is Debi and I am addicted to photography. I admit it, I’m hooked, obsessed, totally over the top with this *hobby*.

I bought my first DSLR almost 2 years ago, a Nikon D3100. Now I’m up to four, yes, four cameras. Nikon D90, D5000 and D7000. Four cameras, 5 lenses, 3 editing software programs, one new MacBook Pro, a serious case on wheels to hold everything……and assorted accessories!  Woohoo….. My husband has decided he’d like to join me in my hobby (yay?) so I’m going to teach him what (little) I know. Wish us both luck!

I feel like I have learned a great deal in two years. I graduated to shooting in the RAW format a year ago, and have found it increases editing options. I do love editing, it brings out the frustrated artist in me, since I’ve always wanted to paint, but had no talent for it. Editing is the next best thing. Just changing the white balance or a using a preset can change the whole tone of an image, from boring to dramatic; from ho-hum lackluster color, to elegant tones of black and white.

I shot my first (and only) wedding last November, for my oldest niece.  It was a learning experience, for sure! The bride was thrilled with the photos, which made me feel better; but I realized just how little I knew about what I was trying to do. She was on a small budget, though, and I offered to do it as my gift to her. There were some sweet moments:

This was in a very small room, with lots of background clutter on the walls, so I cropped in very close to capture the sweetness of the father of the bride, giving her a good luck kiss before the ceremony.

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The bride with step-mom before the ceremony……I was so happy with this shot in the mirror, which was necessary because the room was so small.

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The bride, groom and family…. Continue reading “Photo Obsession”

My Love Affair….with the Piano….

I’ve written a lot about my musical background, including my shady days as a bar-fly, but music still is my heart’s desire, even at my age. I grew up with piano music in my house, and as a small child, I think I just assumed everyone’s mother played the piano like mine did. I must have thought every house had a piano, just like a sofa or dining table. I didn’t know that not everyone heard the music of Chopin, Beethoven or Rachmaninoff being played in their own living room. What wonders these kids missed out on, for sure!

So, of course, I think the piano is the best musical instrument ever invented by mankind. The piano, under the right touch, can produce any style of music, from classical to ragtime to country to pop. Nothing against guitarists, because I do know some really awesome players, but I feel the piano outshines them all. My mother, who is a mere 18 years older than me, has such a lyrical, melodic style that I have tried to emulate for 50+ years, without success. She was classically trained and it shines through in whatever she plays. Someone once described my style as “Broadway”, but I think it’s Broadway meets country meets Southern Baptist……it just depends on where and what I’m playing.

My talent is just a shade past its prime these days, as arthritis has made my hands slow and my fingers clumsy; and my style has become simpler, less adorned….playing safer means fewer mistakes. It breaks my heart at times, because I love to sit down and play; and now I get a little frustrated because of the limitations. Ah, well….such is life, though. I’m still blessed to be able to play and I’m thankful that my mother shared her knowledge with me at an early age and instilled in my heart my love of good music.

Summertime Ice Cream Socials

These days everything is “social network” this and “social network” that. Hmmph. I love my computer and technology as much as the next geek, but when I think of the word “social”, I think back to the many ice cream socials from my childhood.

Yes, I am a person of that age….that old lady who remembers and talks about “the good old days” when life was simple and we enjoyed it. I grew up in church as a 3rd generation Nazarene, both sets of grandparents went to our church in my hometown. My grandfather on my mom’s side was the big ice cream fiend, which rubbed off on mom…and me…so I have fond memories of “helping” him make the ice cream.

I stayed out of my granny’s kitchen as a kid, but I knew there was mixing, measuring and cooking done beforehand. My big thrill was after the mixture had been poured into the can, the paddle in place and the top securely fastened. My papa would use his ice pick to chip the ice (never in a bag from the store, we froze our own ice in wax milk cartons!) layer it around the can, adding the rock salt as he went. Then, several layers of newspapers were placed on top, followed by a towel…..and all the cousins clamored to see who would get to sit on top while the cranking was done by papa! It was so much fun to sit on top of the freezer and feel the chill from the ice below, while the hot summer wind blew across our faces, underneath the shade tree.

My cousins, left to right…Britt, Gwen, Tami….and me on the right 1961

Of course, everyone brought a freezer of ice cream to these socials, so there were many flavors to try. Peach ice cream made with fresh picked peaches, chocolate, strawberry…but my favorite was always vanilla. Call me a purist, I just love plain homemade vanilla ice cream.

I can still see it in my mind, lawn chairs around the yard, bowls and spoons clattering, brain freezes because we ate the ice cream so fast! Women chatting together in groups, men engaged in whatever men talk about…..and kids running around barefoot without a care in the world. I wish I was an artist so I could draw or paint the picture that’s in my mind.

I’ve owned several electric ice cream freezers over the past 30 years, but somehow it’s just not the same to plug it in while it sits in the sink and churns. I’m pretty sure the ice cream doesn’t taste as good either as it did in the 1950s…..

I suppose that’s why us “oldsters” like to relive our fondest memories…..sometimes the memories are better than what’s surrounding us now.

Thanks for reading and reminiscing with me….I feel a trip to Braum’s in my future 🙂

When I Was a Teenager

Just a few observations about teenagers and misconceptions about life. I became a teenager in 1966, got married in 1970 and dropped out of high school. Just the facts there.

 

 

When I was a teenager:

We weren’t allowed to wear jeans to school. Only “coordinating pant suits”.

We weren’t allowed to wear PANTS to school until I reached high school.

 

We didn’t have air conditioning in classrooms until high school, and then only the “new” wing had a/c.

At our house we had “swamp coolers” which don’t work well in high humidity. Finally got a window a/c unit to cool the living room and kitchen. Not the bedrooms.

 

I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. Curious how I ended up married at 17, huh?

On dates, I wasn’t allowed to go to the movies, or to dances. Still curious how I ended up married at 17?

 

I learned to drive in a portable building full of simulators. Kinda like a gigantic video game.

Video games had not been invented yet, so driver’s ed in the simulator, was just … driver’s ed.

 

The only phones we had were wired into the wall in a very open place of the house. Conversations were never private.

The word “cell” was rarely heard outside of science class or the county jail. The word “Text” was the first half of “textbook”….

 

Dragging Main Street was great entertainment on the weekends if you were lucky enough to have a car.

Gasoline was about 22 cents a gallon then.

 

LBJ was not a freeway in Dallas. Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States.

Yes, he really was a crook after all.

 

On Saturdays we washed our hair, rolled it on brush rollers, sat under a hood dryer until our ears burned bright red.

For really special occasions, we would  go to the beauty shop for a fancy “up-do”. I have pictures to prove this. 🙂

 

Just normal everyday people, had gun racks in their truck’s rear window, with real guns hanging on them.

No special gun license was needed. Most people had common sense. Most. I am from Texas, after all.

 

I thought people over 30 were ancient and didn’t know anything about my life.

I was wrong. Everyone has been a teenager.

 

 

 

These are just a few things that come to mind, some of the differences between then and now. I work with a lot of teenagers and I hear a lot of the same complaints I made way back then in the prehistoric age. Please share your thoughts with me!

My fabulous, elegant beauty shop up-do for a wedding! I was 15 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Bill’s Gray Horse”

This is a true story my mother wrote about my dad’s horse ……I was the baby in this story, so the year was probably early 1954.

This is me, sitting on top of the horse…..

It’s just me, the littlest cowgirl in the world…..on a gigantic horse! My dad was REALLY hoping I’d love horses as much as he did……..I’m so sorry dad, I tried, I was so afraid of them!

Bill’s Gray Horse

by Clover Kimberling

It was such a nice sunny afternoon and we decided to drive to Bill’s grandmother’s house and visit with that part of the family. It included Grandma, Grandpa and their three grown sons still living with them. They were adult men but were slightly childish in their actions and speech. My husband decided to give his horse some trailer training and let “the boys” admire his prized horse. He loaded the horse into the trailer and I gathered all the essentials for our six month old baby.

My husband was an avid horseman and especially loved this gray horse that was very large and very strong. The trip to their house was uneventful and we arrived, unloaded horse, baby and baby necessities and settled in for an afternoon of showing off our baby and his horse.   As the sun began to drop lower in the sky, we decided we needed to load horse and baby and return home. We were driving on a small two lane road, the sun going down and the car radio blasting out our favorite country songs.

Traffic was not bad, but a big eighteen wheel tractor trailer pulled close behind us, blared his loud horn and began to pass us. The loud horn startled the horse and he became extremely agitated and began pawing at the trailer and eventually got his front feet over the front of the trailer and onto the highway he went. He hit the pavement and broke one of his front legs , some ribs and injured his mouth. The big truck continued down the highway and we managed to pull over to the shoulder of the road. The horse was in great pain but was able to hobble to a nearby pasture. There was no way we could get him back into the trailer, so we had to leave him there.

We went home and Bill and his friend returned with a large cattle trailer and wench to retrieve the wounded and frightened animal. Because of the serious nature of his injuries, the horse had to be destroyed. What a sad ending to a day that began as a carefree holiday.   My husband was devastated and when we finally got settled in the bed, I could feel the bed move gently as he sobbed silently, and I knew we would remember this day for a long time.

Letters to my Mother

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we drove up to visit my parents like we usually do. We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch at Cotton Patch…..okay, just kidding, that place is so noisy, you have to yell to carry on a conversation. Afterward, we visited more at the house, and my nephew, his wife and their adorable 3 year daughter came by to visit.

I had asked mom for some letters that she had kept from the time my kids were small, so yesterday, she handed me a large envelope full of letters and some photos. YAY…..more treasures! Oh, but wait….maybe not. The first letter I opened was from El Paso in 1986, after I had moved there with my boyfriend. It was quite sobering, even though I was sober to begin with. How my life has changed since then. For the better, of course.

The rest of the letters were far more entertaining, written in the early 1980s when we had moved to the country and were living in a ramshackle farm-house that we were renovating. Renovating is really an exaggeration. Trying to keep it from falling in on our heads, is more accurate. Most of the time that we lived in Forney, Texas, we didn’t have a home phone, so I wrote letters to keep my parents informed of our general progress on the house and the kid’s activities. Just an aside…..the postage stamps ranged from 20 to 22 cents on these letters.

The farmhouse….we paid $2,500 cash for the house and had it moved around the corner to our 2 acres.

The house did look better about a year later, and was still standing in spite of the wood-burning stove in the living room. Luckily the house did not burn down the winter that everything froze up for more than a week. We endured cold winters, and very hot summers in that house….and lots of dust, dirt and construction. Whew.

 

The best thing in the envelope was a hand written poem, that was once set to music, that I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day 1979. I actually don’t remember writing this down and decorating it like this, but I did.

And she kept it.

All these years.

And people say *I* am a hoarder!!!

This is quite fragile as it’s written on construction paper, and I even made an envelope from the paper also. Who knew I was so thoughtful and resourceful?

 

So, the most funny thing was a handwritten list, I must have been as young as 13-14…..titled “My Real Life Problems”….

I particularly love #15 and #18……my little brother was quite a brat back then. You can see I had a very low self-esteem, and I outgrew that for the most part. It does sneak in every once in a while to try to bring me down. I’m not sure about #14 as I never had trouble with my complexion, I was blessed with good genes in that department! Still, pretty funny to read now and see how insecure I was then. (this proves that I have always been a really good speller!)

 

When I began writing this today, I had intended to scan some of the actual hand written letters and include them; however, after re-reading them, they seem intensely personal to me, so I changed my mind. Some things are better left un-shared, I think. But, these letters reinforce my belief that my life has gone through a great many changes in the last 30-40 years, and I have come out on the other side a better person. The once painfully shy first grader who wouldn’t speak a word for six weeks, somehow morphed into a musician who loved to entertain on stage, and then became a force to be reckoned with in the retail world.

So, thanks mom, for keeping these for me. I am sorry for the many times I’ve let you down, and I’m thankful that you always forgave me, and you never gave up on me.