Thursday, May 7, 2015

The ABCs of Me by Carolyn

I loved Andrea's post so much that I am shamelessly copying it! In fact, both of us can thank our co-writer Susan, for showing us the very cool book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It's one of those books that you look at and think, "Why didn't I think of writing a book like this?" The author has simply written a snippet about her life for each letter of the alphabet, but the result is quite entertaining. What a deal!

So here is a beginning for my personal encyclopedia:

A is for Angry Resting Face.

From the Urban Dictionary: Angry Resting Face (ARF) - Term used to describe the angry-looking facial expression that one instinctively makes when s/he is resting, zoned out, or not actively engaged in a conversation. Someone with an angry resting face may be unfairly perceived as cold or aloof. An effective remedy for an ARF is to learn to "smile with your eyes." 

A colleague taught us about this a few years ago. I was extremely relieved to hear that it was a real thing, because I have been accused all my life of being angry, or grouchy, or sad, or worse, when I am not. That is just the way my face is. I have tried to develop an HRF (Happy Resting Face), but it just does not work. We who suffer with ARF deserve your pity, not your scorn.  :)

B is for baby. Maybe I should have saved this for "G", as in grandbaby, but I wanted to get it in here as soon as possible. People always tell you that there is nothing like being a grandparent. This is true. The joy of snuggling with your own little hunk of love, knowing you do not have to get up in the middle of the night with the little bugger is complete and utter bliss.

C is for CeCe. One of the most important decisions of your life is what you want to be called by your grandchildren. It is of supreme importance. You should start worrying about it as soon as possible. I have been weighing my options for quite some time, hoping I would eventually need to have something ready. I'm happy to report I now have the need for a grandmother name (see entry under "B is for baby" or "J is for Jude"). I have contemplated Grammy C and CeCe and various other options, but ultimately I know it will be up to my first-born grandchild to choose my name. I just hope he doesn't decide to call me MeMaw or MooMoo or something equally horrid!

D is for dogs. If you are a faithful reader of our blog, you may know that I have dogs. Three of them, in fact. What was I thinking? But that is a different story (see Life Lesson #7 from July 15, 2014). Here is what I like about having dogs: they love me, they do not talk back, they (typically) do not generate dirty laundry or dirty dishes, they love to cuddle, they let me pick what to watch on TV, and they are occasionally very entertaining. What I do not like about having dogs: they chew up EVERYTHING within reach, they track mud and various other unidentified debris into the house, they like to dig in trash cans and pull out all the contents thereof, they jump up on me in a frenzy of overwhelming affection, and they do not understand the concept of sleeping late on weekends. As with everything else in life, you take the bad with the good. They are part of my life.

E is for elementary school. I am a teacher. I briefly dabbled in middle school and high school earlier in my career, but my heart belongs in elementary school. I remember having a conversation about that a few years ago with my long-time friend who taught middle school. I said one of the reasons I much preferred working in an elementary school was that I got hugs from the kids there. Totally shocked and disgusted, she said, "And you LIKE that?" Yes, I do. Research tells us that hugs make you happier, healthier, and more relaxed. Who wouldn't like that? I work with wonderful, giving colleagues and have the privilege of touching young lives. It just doesn't get any better than that.

F is for food. I really, really like food. That is all.

G is for grandmother. Yes, I am one now, but that is not what I want to talk about here. My father's mother was called Mawgaw, which is my sister's fault (see entry under "C is for CeCe"), My sister was the first-born grandchild and apparently couldn't say "Grandma" correctly. I feel sure I would have done a better job of it if I had been the one in charge of naming the family matriarch. Be that as it may, Mawgaw was an incredible woman. She was love personified. She hugged and kissed and generally loved on us every possible moment. She didn't cook fancy dishes, but the food she made was absolutely wonderful! Hot yeast rolls, juicy and tender pot roast, sweet, flaky blackberry cobbler . . . every bite was full of love. She was tough as nails - she worked every day alongside my grandfather on their cattle ranch, planted and tended and harvested a  huge truck garden every year, canned and preserved the produce, managed the roadside fruit/pecan stand, cooked three meals a day, and ran the house as well. But she was also tender-hearted and felt the pain of everyone around her. I remember one time when I had hurt myself as a child (which happened regularly), she was pouring out sympathy on me, hugging and kissing, and lamenting my wound as grandmothers are supposed to do. My mother said, "Sarah, quit being nice to her; it just makes her cry harder!" Mawgaw was also generous to a fault and always assumed the best of everyone. She was an amazing woman. I miss her every day. I hope I can be as good a grandmother to my grandchildren as she was to me.

G is also for geocaching. This is a pastime I discovered a while back. It consists of using GPS coordinates to search for and (hopefully) locate "caches" hidden by other geocachers. Very fun. Unfortunately, I don't get to do it very often - lately, my only involvement in geocaching has been talking other people into trying it! I hope to get back to it soon - the excitement of recording my geocaching name and date-of-find on the list inside a cache is calling to me.

H is for hospital. I was born in Lampasas, Texas, in the Rollins-Brook Hospital. At that time, the hospital had 13 rooms. It was, strangely enough, a source of pride to me for many years that I was born in such a teeny-tiny facility. Sadly, the hospital was enlarged greatly several years ago. I was, and still am, bummed about that.

I is for . . . you guessed it, Ireland. I am homesick for a place I have never lived. I'm not sure how that is possible, but 'tis true. The moment I set foot on Irish soil, I knew it would become a part of who I am.
                “There’s music in the Irish names—
                 Kilkenny . . . Tipperary . . .
                 There’s beauty in the countryside,
                 From Cork to Londonderry,
                 And whoever makes his earthly home
                 Close to the Irish sod
                 Has found a bit of Heaven
                 And walks hand in hand with God.”

J is for Jude. Yes, I managed to work my grandson in here again.
But really, how can I resist those toes?

J is also for Jessica, who married my older son, became my daughter-in-law and daughter-in-my-heart, and co-produced my grandchild. What a deal!

K is for Kenneth. K is for Kyle. Just want to say to expectant parents out there - don't give your children names that begin with the same letter. Didn't you hate it when your mother called you the wrong name, so you swore you would never do that to YOUR children? You probably will, and giving them names that begin with the same letter increases that probability approximately 68%! This will irritate your children greatly. Need I say that I love both of them with my whole heart? They have been, and continue to be, the joy of my life and my greatest accomplishment.

L is for libraries. You probably already know I am a book lover and voracious reader. Could there be anything more captivating and comforting than a whole room full of books? I could cheerfully pass hour after hour snuggled in a comfy chair with a good book or two or three. After all, there is "no furniture so charming as books" (Rev. Sydney Smith, 1808-1895).

M is for mother. I lost my mother when I was 26; she was only 50. She was my dear friend, my trustworthy confidant and wise advisor, a dependable haven of love and security and tenderness when I was sad or confused or troubled. She has been gone twenty-nine years now: I have been without her loving presence in my life for longer than I had it. I still feel the void.

N is for nose. A very prosaic entry, I know, but nonetheless important to me. I do not know where I got my nose. It is not my father's nose, my mother's nose, nor is it like any of their parents' or siblings' noses. It is a confounding mystery. It appears that God stuck it on willy-nilly, without regard for family resemblance. If I had been given the choice, it is not the nose I would have picked, but there it is anyway, smack-dab in the middle of my face.

O is for Oregon. About three summers ago, my sister and I went on a trip to the Pacific Northwest with our father. It is an area of the country we knew he would like to visit, as he greatly enjoys the beauties of nature. Oregon is, of course, jam-packed with evergreen trees. Tourists flock there in droves to see them. The trees are awe-inspiring, indeed, soaring up into the sky, towering over everything. However, too much of a good thing is apparently too much. After a couple of days of driving along the winding country roads surrounded by the sturdy trunks and lush, green branches of those lovely giants, Dad complained, "I wish these trees weren't here. They are blocking the view." Oh my.

P is for poetry. One of the joys of my life in recent years has been "teaching" poetry to kids. A few years ago Susan, my co-coach, and I decided to delve into teaching poetry in a way that would preserve its joy. We have had a lot of fun with it ever since. This past school year I had the pleasure of introducing Jennifer's second graders to poetry - they caught my enthusiasm for it so thoroughly that they begged me never to stop bringing them new poems!

Q is for Queen Bee. My sister and I have often observed to each other that we were apparently born as worker bees, rather than queen bees. You know, those women that sit on the couch and look glamorous while the rest of us skitter around cooking, cleaning, and generally taking care of all the grunt work. Sometimes I wish I had been born a queen bee instead of a worker bee, but I guess it's a little late for that.  Buzz, buzz.

R is for redheads. That's something else I wish I had been born as. (Poor grammar, but you get the idea.) My father and his mother were both redheads before they went gray. I have always wished for red hair. When that clearly was not going to happen for me, I wished that one of my children would have red hair. That didn't come true either. Maybe Jude's hair will turn red . . .

S is for sister. I only have one, but I am so glad she is the one I have! I would not always have been able to say that truthfully. Candace was not very nice to me when we were growing up, as is the way of older siblings. If you ever meet her, be sure to ask her about the time she closed me up in the attic!

S is also for shoes. All of us have a weakness - mine is shoes. After all, shoe love is true love!

T is for Texas. Born and raised. And don't you forget it.

U is for university.  Anyone who knows me probably also knows that I love Texas A&M University. Proud Aggie,  class of '79. 
I know, that was a long time ago.  

V is for vagabond. I think I would like to be one. At least for a little while. But I also know it is important to me to have a home to come back to.

W is for widow. I am one. Never wanted to be (at least not seriously). Never imagined I would be. I occasionally griped at my husband for not spending enough time with me. He would reply, "We have forever to spend together, precious." Forever was not long enough. Give your spouse a hug and kiss every day and treasure your time together.

X is for an "unknown quantity". Lots of people think they have me figured out. They don't. Can any of us really know anyone else? 

Y is for yen and yang. Balance is best. I'm still trying to find it.

Z is for zzzzzzs. I love sleep. I have always loved sleep. My mother used to joke that I was born just in time to take a nap before lunch! 


  1. For the love...this was so entertaining! We must continue with our encyclopedias.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you. I may even try to write my own encyclopedia!

  3. I too, thoroughly learning more about you. Your wit, humor and intellect are delightful. I see more and more where the boys (K & K) get theirs! You should seriously consider writing! I share many of your feelings about life, love & wisdom. Feels like I've discovered one of those "doors" in life I did not to open. Now wishing I'd had the opportunity to explore.