Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August gardening in Georgia

Yes, I'm alive! and up in the night!

I got a Mac so I'm not sure if I can make this work or not. This is all supposed to be easier. We'll see??

Worked in my front garden for 3 hours yesterday. No humidity. 1 bazillion weeds pulled. Clipped seed from all my coneflowers and blanket flowers. Aggravated hummingbirds by pulling up the vine that bears their name.  It should be called smothering blanket vine. All over the place.  

Gardening like childbirth. No memory of what August was like in the past or I'd never have planted a thing.  Too sad to watch it all die because I missed a day or 3 of watering. 
Weather was perfect to garden in yesterday. Cloudy, cool, breezy. 3 wheelbarrows full of weeds to the street.  Only quit because I'd used up all my bend-overs for the day.

New neighbors make life pretty awesome on the Hooch. All my grands and their parents. Makes life easier when one brother changes his mind about spending the night. Walk across the yard and get the screamer so he can see his Paw. Never mind that it's his Sughar who is carrying him across the yard in the dark.  Also great to walk next door for butter, salad dressing or whatever thing that will make life easier at the other house. "Please buy me some bacon when you go to the store. I have a box of summer tomatoes."

My heart goes out to the people in Texas.  I remember watching flood waters rise. They didn't get to my house but it was anxiety provoking wondering what if? UMCOR with the UMC church is a good place to donate money.  Our family did disaster relief in Ocean Spring, MS for them a few years ago.  They do good work. 

Returning to bed now.  Maybe I'll sleep. Grateful for a dry house. Peace.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Easter eve.  If tomorrow is more beautiful my heart may burst.

Of course, this is assuming I'll get out of bed tomorrow.  10,000 steps on my Fitbit . Most of them from bending, twisting, toting and planting in my garden.  What a day to be on the Hooch.  Zero humidity...or at least it felt that way. Remember social work school. Not weather school or whatever the name of that profession is??  Visited Ponders' nursery yesterday.  Good thing I have 2 car seats in my back seat now or I'd still be digging.

Ok my big news is that I'm Sughar to three boys now.  So fun to have a snuggly baby to go with those two barely sit in your lap three- year- olds.  He is a good baby...no gas stations have been robbed, however, he only sleeps for about four hours which is pretty amazing for someone barely seven weeks old.  His brothers love him and he definitely knows when they're in the room.

Our non-flash light egg hunt with the cousins was fun.  Daylight savings time makes sunset very difficult to wait for when you are 3 and can see some of the eggs from the porch.  Sughar declared the sunset on the Hooch and time to hunt! It was my party and we can hunt if I want to! It was a good call to hunt and not wait.  Swinging with our neon glowing bracelets was more fun then carrying a flashlight and a basket and running at full tilt trying to avoid other 3 year olds.  Our cousins helped make the evening lots of fun and a sugar high was had by all.  60+ eggs later. 


T-ball, thanks to Duffey's Pest Control, is who-lare-re-us. Most of the kids on the Pirates are 3. So funny seeing them decide which way they're gonna run when they FINALLY hit the ball.  Some of them run to the infield to retrieve the ball Finally hit.  Sometimes they are the only one that has noticed it was Finally hit.  Dirt in the in-field is fascinating to 3-year-olds. 

Retired life is still good.  Lots of time to play with all 3 boys.  Sleep, read and now garden again.

Happy Easter to all of you. Prayers for peace.





















Friday, December 9, 2016

First family retired Christmas for EBs

Yes, I'm still alive. Busy e ness.  You know what I mean.  I wrote this for our local paper and thought I'd share with the rest of you who take time from your Busy e ness to ready my ramblings.
Merry Christmas!

Christmas time in the small town…sat on the tool box of the old red Glover pickup last night to watch the Christmas parade go by…drank a free cup of hot chocolate from a local church…drove around looking at “holiday houses” and small town Christmas street lights…admired Baby Jesus and his family on the dry hillside in Langdale…viewed the “horsey-go-round”. While having dinner with a friend this week we discussed our love of this town, actually Valley area.  She and I live in two separate towns. We can get anywhere we want in about 10 minutes unless there’s a train-for me. We know most of the people we bank, church, shop with and we see most of them again at church . She grew up here but I didn’t.

 I first came to this Valley in the late 70s to see a boy whom I’d date a little at Alabama. His parents made me feel welcome. The youth at Lanett UMC did the same when I attended the Lay Witness Mission weekend.  Forty years after our first date we are still together, Veasey Creek was where we got engaged, and we’ll celebrate 35 years of marriage on December 20th.  We are now in our 6th month of both of us living together as retired people. “How is that working out? “The most asked question when we run into friends in Walmart, Kroger, church.

My Advent devotion this morning was how most of us keep asking God to forgive us for the same old sins. So true…retirement is about the same old sins. However, this week Donnie aka Dukeboy, has engaged in some new behaviors.  He’s been assisting in the assembly of a wooden swing set for our most precious twin grands in the world.  Today they are assembling the twisty slide. His partner in this effort, the man with the tools and experience in construction, has decided to not make a career of swing set assemble.  Dukeboy is retired and plans to stay that way.  Good thing he loves those grands which is motivating on this 32 degree day to show up and assemble the twirly slide. Prayers that it will come together beautifully. We, the family, would like to have a big reveal for the grands today.  They love their yard and have missed their play place aka construction zone.

My new retirement behaviors are…vacationed for a week with girlfriends, gave up gardening due to the drought, did grow lettuce in my pots out front which is probably frozen this morning, called about piano lessons…no teacher yet, trekked to Tuscaloosa twice for football games…this is one more than we usually attend. (We picked a good year to go twice.  Roll Tide.)

While I write this I’m looking around my house at my Santas and Baby Jesus Boys.  It always make me smile to unpack them.  Lugging the boxes up the steps is not as entertaining.  I walked four miles last Friday carrying boxes back and forth.  It was such fun though to see the grands looking at each one and asking to hold them.  I do have a “holdable” group.  My prayers for you this Christmas are that you are part of a holdable group that keeps you smiling and enjoying the warmth and love of this season. Peace from the Valley…and West Point, Lanett and…..






Friday, August 5, 2016

Discoveries from the retired folks


Yes, we are still retired.  We don’t have paying jobs anymore. What are we doing with our time? Mainly playing. It is a time of discovery.  Discovering things such as…do not take twin two year old boys to find Dory. She is still lost as far as I’m concerned.  However, I was able to find a small shoe, a bobo (pacifier), and my dignity…it too was under the theatre seats.  It was near the area I crawled around with my phone light trying to locate the afore mentioned objects. A lady sitting near the area was very nice and offered to help me instead of calling the police to report a weirdo crawling near her leg in a dark theatre.

 On that same trip we discovered there are booster seats located outside theatre doors.  These are what evidently keeps children from being swallowed by the thwonging flip up seats.  We once served a church that had theatre seats…the mother of these two boys was also once swallowed by a thwonging theatre seat.  Hers was during a hymn in the worship service so her screams were muffled…the lights were also on… Note to self.  It is much easier to extract a distraught toddler from a thwonged theatre seat in the light…this might have caused the FIRST shoe loss. Perhaps the reason that we didn’t see the booster seats were #1 toddler on hip, #2popcorn bucket in hand, #3large purse containing toddler cups, 2 of the most expensive bottled waters ever,  snack cups, boot-legged reasonably priced chocolate, bobos, wipes, cell phone with flashlight, lots of cash for discount theatre day #4other toddler on Dukeboy hip, #5 dimly lit hallways designed for people with younger eyes. I neglected to mention that we noticed the seats when other people were carrying them in for their young children…we had lots of time to notice because the previews which are usually 20 minutes long were 30 minutes…are you kidding me?  Do these movie planners have toddlers?

We thought we had this theatre thing locked up… we’d had lunch at a burger joint with a playground. A massive, wonderful playground. Get them tired before a relaxing movie.  All I can think of though is “Where’s the Beef?” I’ve never been to a chain restaurant where they were “out of beef”.  Chicken is good there though.  Did I say wonderful playground?  Actually massive is the best description.  Dukeboy went up top and I stayed on the ground.  Next time I’m taking the top.  Did I mention this was a MASSIVE playground? It must have eight slides!!! On all four sides, and a fort underneath.  God is merciful though. The only other children there left shortly before after our arrival.  Their parents probably were beef eaters. I enjoy other kids too but when you are trying to eyeball Two Two-year- olds it’s much easier when you only have those two to choose from.  Did I also mention this was July and I was sweating profusely after all that fun on the MASSIVE playground?  Time for a cool relaxing movie, ha!

We also discovered since retirement some of the best entertainment is in our own backyard. This news is for another day.  Thanks to all of you who attended Dukeboy’s last sermon and retirement party.  We had friends from every church we’ve served. Wonderful food and lots of well wishes. It was a great day to start retirement.

Karen Erwin-Brown is a retired preacher’s wife, retired therapist, and full-time Sughar of twin two year-olds. She lives on the Chattahoochee with her retired preacher.




Monday, May 2, 2016

Porch sitting news


Porch sitting. The choo-choo is blowing by on the other side of the Hooch.  Pine straw awaits spreading. Two bales a day is my limit. Playing with boys is more fun than that job. Birds chirping…please get off that branch and eat some grasshoppers! Yes, those buggers are back.  Conventions being held at various places in the yard planning which flower to chew next. All the rain has things wonderfully green including the weeds which of course grasshoppers don’t eat.  ­­­

Winds of change about to blow through this porch.  Rev. Donnie Erwin-Brown, aka DukeBoy is retiring. June 12 at 11 A.M.  is his last sermon at Shawmut UMC.  I hope all of you who have shared this journey of his ministry will come to hear that sermon.  Many will be listening from The Church Triumphant, aka the Saints, many of whom DukeBoy has said final words over.  We hope to see some of those babies he’s baptized, couples he’s married, and kids he’s helped raise.  Donnie has served five United Methodist Churches in his thirty years : Pell City, East Lake, Lanett 1st, Harrington Heights and Shawmut.  He also directed the dining hall of the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega and was Headmaster of the Episcopal Day School in Talladega.  He’s done a great job of feeding people over the years…a husband who loves to cook is truly a gift from God. Many of you had his food even if you didn’t hold membership with the UMCers.  Come and help celebrate his ministry. He will be tickled to see you. His retirement plans are to play with the boys.  They do love their Paw.

Someone said to me the­­­­ other day..."You won't be a preacher's wife anymore.” Had to put my thinking cap on for that one…married 34 years…I remember slinging my stuff into boxes on the move to Pell City and thinking “I hate to move. I’m marrying a UMC minister. They move a lot.” Fortunately, Donnie has had relatively long pastorates so we haven’t moved a lot.  We’ve actually lived in our current home for fifteen years.  Our third “owned”home. We’ve also shared an apartment and two parsonages.  Fortunately being a preacher’s wife has given me friends in several churches and cities.  Two of the counseling jobs I held were housed in the churches we served: East Lake and Shawmut.  East Lake helped raise my baby for 7 years with a daycare and a school on site. Guess there are lots of reasons to be glad to be a preacher’s wife. 

Not sure what the future holds for this family but like the song says, “I know who holds the future”. Thanks to all of you who have loved our family through the years.  Food, fellowship, shared worship, fundraising, mission trips, funerals, weddings, baptisms.  Several of you have asked, “Where are you going to go to church?” The answer is??? We’ve never had this as a question. We will visit and save that decision for a later time.  Hope to see many of you while we think on it.  Peace for the journey and thanks to all of you who’ve been a part of it for our family.

Don’t forget June 12 at 11AM eastern time.  Donnie Erwin-Brown preaches his final sermon “on the payroll” as a UMC minister, Shawmut UMC in Valley, AL.   There will be a reception from 12 to 2:30 following the service for those of you who have commitments at other churches.  Hope you will come and hug his neck. If you have a memory to share via email or a picture to send for a memory book please send to Lucy at theroysters@charter.net.  RSVP to Karen at rivgarden@charter.net or 706-518-0640.


                                              Dip cone fan

Monday, February 1, 2016

Barely February...or how I nearly swam through January


Retired for nearly a year now.  “Time doesn’t fly…it zooms” to quote my older beautiful sister.   She has a January birthday.  People ask me what I do now that I’m retired.  I stop to think…well, play…pick up toys, make cheese sandwiches, dance, sing, laugh, redirect, and laugh, play …yep, that’s about it.  I do read at night.  Not writing as much.  Write cards to friends. 

My bucket list must have a hole in it …learn to play the piano, garden more, go to Paris, singing lessons, have coffee with friends…all those were there.  I’m sure I’ll add more and perhaps do some of those.

  I do “play” in the nursery for English as a Second Language.  On Tuesdays from 10 to 12 at Shawmut UMC in Valley.  Even when we don’t have customers I can to play with my Grandtwins for two hours.  Cool, I know! 

The Naomi group for widows meets the second Thursday evening of each month at 6 PM at Shawmut UMC.  Donnie and I come to support…they really do their own leadership now.   A meal is served and we provide support for those who are recently widowed.  It’s free and open to the public. 

Our house was quite lively during the game for the National Championship.  The loud noises you heard were from our porch.  Donnie was pretty excited to say the least.  Roll Tide. 

We did have a few days were I thought we might get washed downstream with all the December rains.  Always interesting to see flocks of geese swimming where dry land is supposed to be.  Also watching a crane look for fish on our land/water park.  This weekend promises more rain but no snow for us.  Boo.  Would like to play in snow with the boys.  They got new coats and boots for Christmas that need testing.

I’m still cooking.  Seems that most of my Wednesday family concoctions have an Asian flair.  Perhaps I’m just good at stir-fry?  I do like chicken and rice and vegies.  Had a great meal with some new Korean friends.  Glad I spend time in the floor with boys because we sat on the floor for the Korean lunch.  Delicious food and lovely people.  It takes a lot of energy to communicate when the languages are different but well worth the effort.   Can’t imagine their side of it since they have to communicate with almost everyone in English and I just have them.  Their brains must grow weary of the effort. 

It’s now February and I’m still working on this …Had a marvelous day of gardening on Saturday.  Picture perfect weather.  Watched an eagle, two hawks and a bluebird fly over me.  The bluebird sought safety and the woods were strangely while the big birds were about.  Planted some bulbs that I hope will have enough cold to draw flowering strength.

 Great porch visit last night from the boys and their sweet parents.  Warm enough for an impromptu meal out there.   Twins ate their meal from their own small table.  Did I mention they are precious and sweet?  Well, I should have and I did.

Hope all of you venture outside a little on these spring like days.  Know that I’m well, happy and retired. Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts.  Peace from the Hooch. 

This will also appear in the Valley-Times News. 




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How I spent December..I know you wondered??

It's a sunny 35 degrees at nearly 11AM and I'm still in my jammies.

Learning how to use Windows 10.  I am too old.  Never read the Windows 8 for Seniors--not high schoolers...All my computers skills are self taught...so glad that fact goes undetected.  I'm proud I have a SMART phone that I can use to get to the internet while my laptop is circling...you know what I mean...the little "o" that orbits for hours on end...like being on hold with the cable company without all the free commercials for products giving comfort while you wait to talk to a human. 

Enough about that...found my blog again after 4 months absence.  Some of you must have missed me because 301 of you still looked at the old stuff last month.  I'm back with more cheery family updates, helpful hints, where I ate and ate and ate, number of Christmas tubs in the basement and...
news on the flooding of the HOOCH! 

Did you think it would ever stop raining?  Today the Hooch is in the banks at my house.  Not so for most of last week.   Geese held a dance party on the lawn/lake with about 20 happy honkers over the weekend.  Think it was all those who couldn't get enough of New Year's Eve.  Also saw a crane, many white seagulls??, two eagles, a flock of blue jays, and a flock of black birds--I didn't see the one that pooped a berry on my head in my back garden. 

Little Hedgies loved exploring all the puddles in the garden with their new winter boots. So precious in their silly monster toboggans especially when they get that one-eyed pirate look going. 

Christmas was such fun this year.  Did Callaway lights in convertible again.  Also Nativity at Nazarene Church. Merry-go-round.  Lights at Sughar's--had boys take turns helping me turn on all my lights in my house...I now know why it takes Callaway so long to get theirs on.  It took me about 10 minutes to do 4 rooms.  Maybe I'll be on one of those "Great Light Fight" shows next year.  Ha.

Special evening at Lagrange College hearing their lessons and carols service.  RJ has gotten me there for 2 years but alas she's leaving us for God's country--T-town not heaven.  Perhaps she'll return during the holidays next year for that special treat.  Additional joy comes from the carol singing that happens from the audience--wonderful. 

Fun Christmas party with my NYC niece, sister, all the Hedgies and Duke Boy at the Montgomery Zoo.  Beautiful non-rainy day for Zoo light safari.  Did the combo ticket to see animals first, then rode train to see the lights.  Great way to do a family Christmas gathering.   Super play ground.  Boys did all the slides to the waiting mud puddles.  We were at the zoo so the mud wallowing critters didn't care if we weren't cleaner than them.

Also had fun seeing my beautiful Mom and sister's family in December. 
Sadly,the flooding washed away a Christmas weekend gathering.

Thanks to Duke Boy for lovely Advent services at Shawmut UMC.  Our church was lovely with a Christmon Tree, poinsettias, and dear friends.  Christmas Eve service was washed out.

Sad but we did get to see Santa ride by inside the firetruck.  Too much bad weather to sit on top. 
Guess that was another light event.  Love standing in the dark driveway waiting for Santa to flood our street with lights and sirens.  Very cool.  The little Hedges did a lot of puddle jumping then too.

Well that was my December along with  few other parties, lovely gifts and too much food.  Food made me remember the discovery of "deep fried bacon". It is literally to die FROM...ate it twice..once at  Acre in Auburn for our anniversary and again on Christmas Eve during our family time.

Peace and joy in 2016.