Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grandad Was a Fencer!

Most everyone knows that Grandad was a fencer during his years in New Haven. Certainly Emily has seen this picture over the mask, right-handed glove, sabre, foil and épée that are framed in Grandad's office. He was the captain of his college fencing team and was very successful at the sport. When I met my beloved in 1977, he had joined a fencing club here in Atlanta and was trying to get back into it. He was quite dashing when he came home from a bout with his swords, even if he did have a few welts on his arms and legs from being slightly out of practice.

Well, Emily discovered some fencing gear downstairs in the basement this past weekend and, after trying it on, decided that maybe asking Grandad for a lesson would be cool!
Grandad scored again when he stepped in (because Emily's dad was off receiving his own creative award in NYC) and took Emily to a father/daughter Pinewood Derby car race. Grandad pulled out matching jackets that he and Kate used to wear, and off they went. Emily brought home two trophies, one for winning 1st place in speed and the other for 2nd place in creativity, out of a field of 100 cars!
Mind you, this is not to trump the trophy Andrew won for best dancer of the Cha-Cha, at Weslyan's Cotillion on Sunday - but this post is, of course, all about Grandad. In addition, Grandad cheered Ford and his basketball team to its first victory of the season...For me, I happen to think the old guy is still pretty cool.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mongolia-based father-son pop band

I don't usually blog outside our immediate family, because I'm afraid I will get into trouble publishing things that are none of my business. That said, this was just too good to pass up and I knew you would all enjoy it! Layton, (Terr's brother Tim's son) and his wife met in Mongolia, through the Peace Corps, stayed and have lived there for many years. A talented man who is obviously passing his interest and talent on to his sons, Chaandmon and Sky. Enjoy!

I quote:

"Weekend" is the first music video from Mongolia-based father-son pop band Seven And a Half: Chaandmon Croft (drums, vocals) and Layton Croft (guitar, bass, vocals). "Weekend" includes backing vocals from the Star Kids Chorus (Max, Sky, Kiana, Mika and Israel), and is taken from the band's debut "Lunchbox" EP, released in July 2008, when Chaandmon was 7 and 1/2 and Layton was 37 and 1/2. The Weekend video was shot mostly at the International School of Ulaanbaatar (ISU), and was made possible with many thanks to the students, faculty and staff of ISU. All seven songs on "Lunchbox" were written, produced and copyrighted by Seven and a Half. "Lunchbox" is available free to anyone; email for details.

Quote from Layton:

"This was really fun to make. We're working on our second record now, which may include a cover song or two -- suggestions most welcome. Feel free to forward to others......."~ Layton and Chaandmon

*Note to the nine of mine: This is what I think we should do for Mimi's project at the beach: A music Video!!! It could be great and we could have such a good time. Maybe Uncle Tom or Jeremy and Kate could help so it could be cool!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Family Business

Pausing to enjoy...

Daughters and Granddaughters...Wow!

Mike and Joe just came back from a successful fishing trip in the Keys.

Shannon called me today to check in and let me know that everyone is crazy busy but all doing well.

The Sabonis-Chafees spent the day with us on Saturday. Tom helped me with a neighborhood directory that I am putting together, and the big four entertained us as they worked on their Apostlelot Script for the next day's Sunday School.

Beth is hard at work, preparing and getting closer to taking the Bar Exam in February.

Alan, Kris and the boys are spending as much time as possible together, getting to know each other better.

Kate and Jeremy are doing well and celebrating the inauguration of our new President.

Terr and I are just enjoying the fullness of life and, thanks be to God, good health!

Let me know if you have any news, I'm all about spreading it!

Oh! Don't forget, as requested by our new president, to keep your eyes open for something good you can do to help out your country. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Words from the heart of Keegan

Keegan wrote this song tonight. It's so nice to have poetry flowing from him again, in one form or another....Love to all, Kristin

Starry Day

Today I woke, I rose
like a morning star,
maybe a late bloomer.

Then I thought, it started
like a rock,
yes just one rock.

Oh then, it
went just pop.
ooh, it's
fiery heart came out.

But just like that,
we passed it by,
like the others unnoticed.

Oh, pay attention
just look at me for a second.

Now I see that star,
that rock above,
just going pop.

Like they need one push.

Ooh, just like me.

One push

Maybe I, maybe
one push
on one starry night

Oh just one push
on a starry night

I am touched by what the children write, draw, paint and create through their imaginations and talent. Please take pictures of their creative work and send it to me so I can post them on Chatterbox. We need to celebrate these wonderful children and all they have been blessed with.


...This is a remarkable portrait that Isabelle did of her father. She did it in my studio with me as her teacher.

This painting Morgan did in a local art class.....

....Emily painted this painting for me for my Christmas gift this year, and Joe drew and colored the art work on this lovely journal for his gift to me...

William colors like a 5th grader and Aidan can make anything fly. Ford writes like Kate and Andrew gets a part in every school play and they all excel in school academics!

What fun it is to watch these children grow and bloom. It is the best part of getting old. I'm a proud Mimi. May you all continue to grow to be uniquely you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fightingtown Creek

When I got to Northcroft after Christmas, the creek was swollen with five inches of rain brought in by the New Year. It was loud and swift, and I could tell how high the water had gotten from the sides of the bank where it had been scoured leafless. It always amazes me, how powerful that little Fightingtown Creek can be as it flows NORTH to the Ocoee River.

My friend Charles Oliver and I talked of our fast-running little creek in the mountains, and he sent me information about its history. I've learned a lot of things about the valley from Charles' mother, and now that he has come back to the North Georgia mountains, we are both enjoying learning together...

"A few miles north of Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fightingtown Creek arises and snakes its way through the woods to the Ocoee River just above McCaysville. The creek’s English name came from an incomplete translation of the name of a Cherokee town near its banks. Let’s trace it, with some meanderings.

The word “wa-lo-si” (usually pronounced “wa-lawsh”) meant “frog.” Not a bullfrog or a toad, but quite specifically the green frog that my herpetologist friends would call Rana clamitans melanota.

In our North Georgia mountains grows a little plant of the lily family known commonly as the yellow mandarin; botanists call it Disporum lanuginosum, and it reminds one of a very downy Solomon’s seal. I think its red berries are likely to be poisonous. There is an ancient Cherokee story about a couple of green frogs who got into a fight using the flimsy stalks of the plant as weapons, so the old-time Cherokee called the plant “wa-lo-si u-nu-li-sdi” which means “frogs use it to fight with.” Near a big patch of these plants was the Indian town “Wa-lo-si-u-ni-li-sdi-yi” (”Place where the frogs-fight-with-it plants grow”). The name of the town, as often happened, became the name of the creek, but, untranslated, it proved too much of a mouthful for English speakers. To keep things simple, they just translated it as Fightingtown, choosing to ignore most of the story. And that was that."

Anyway, Fightingtown Creek is one of the most enchanting things about our little place in North Georgia. I love how it flows every day, hour after hour, and because man hasn't built much on it above our place, it is clear and stays within its banks, even with great amounts of rain. We are worried because we see fewer frogs, salamanders and hellbenders in the creek these days, but I was encouraged that the recent large amounts of water coming down from the mountains washed out much of the silt that had built up from road construction a few years back. The rocky bottom is sparkling once again like it should be.
It's always hard for me to leave such a peaceful place. From the beautiful sunset I experienced on my way to the valley, to the little Pine Siskins I stopped and watched for a while at Mrs. Oliver's on the way out, there are always amazing things to behold and enjoy - but the creek provides a world of cool refreshing wonder to those who simply sit and watch as the water falls north.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Today, just me and the waterfall...

While the peace and joy falls on the face

Of the one who stopped to hear the call

Of the tinkling, dancing waterfall.

m mulder

Until I went to the Oliver's this afternoon, I was alone, hiking and watching an abundance of freshly fallen rain water flowing down from all over the mountains, into the swollen swiftly moving creek. It reminded me...

"As the mountains, rivers and waterfalls become one, so must we~~"

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A January Christmas in Murfreesboro....

As most of you know, Mother went into the hospital very early Christmas morning, so our Christmas on Church Street had to be postponed. Never fear - a week later, though a little weak and tired, our beautiful Queen was back on her throne, presiding over the belated, but time-honored Christmas event.

We gathered around the kitchen table for prayer. We stood in the long line of about 40 people, waiting to fill our plates. We sat at the dinning room and kitchen tables and all over the rest of the house, eating and chatting with all those sitting around us. We looked at old photos. We tolerated the joyful noises of the children. The men watched football until it was time to go to the living room and participate in the gift exchange with the young boys playing Santa Claus. You could hardly hear yourself talk through the thank you's that were being yelled across the room.

It was sweet how the torn wrapping paper was being picked up almost before it hit the floor and the bows were carefully put into another bag to be untied and rolled up so they could be reused next year. (Mama's wrapping is part of her gift, done with artistry and with the most elaborate of beautiful, reusable ribbons!) The effort was to honor her, and to do what they could to help Nana continue with what she does best.

After the gifts disappeared from under the tree, we tried to clean up and not stay too late so Mom could get some rest...I said, "tried." It was hard to leave!

For the first time, my bunch headed over to a Bed and Breakfast a few blocks away. The kids had such a busy day that they were already sleeping by the time Grandad and I got there. Grandad was tired too, but Kim, Tom and I stayed up in the living room until around 2:00 a.m., talking, reminiscing and sharing good thoughts of family.

The following morning we dressed and took a long walk on the very same streets that I use to walk in my youth. We headed to the Historic Oakland Mansion. It is an impressive antebellum home, just a few blocks from where we were staying. After the Union army took over the mansion during the Civil War, the surrendering papers for the battle of Stone's River were signed in that very house. I worked there as a high school sorority pledge to get my required civic volunteer hours. I also used to go to the well spring on the property for solitude and reflection. I remember thinking I was truly part of that place. I enjoyed showing it to my daughter and to her children. It wasn't open, but I do plan to visit again when it is.

We walked back, packed, and made a few pictures in the wedding arbor that was directly behind our cottage before leaving for lunch at Mother's.

Mom had had a pretty bad night after eating things that didn't agree with her the day before, but she was gracious and we enjoyed our time with her before leaving and letting her recover.

As always, she stood at the door after we said our goodbyes, and watched us leave. At this point I always look back, and somehow I know that she knows, I am touching her with my heart.

Thanks, Mom, for 61 years of Christmas memories.

Monday, January 05, 2009

An Unexpected Christmas Surprise!

Forgive me for the delay in this post, and for the quality of the pictures (I didn't know how to use my new camera yet - but I am going to learn from lessons that I also received!), regardless enjoy the good news...

'Twas the night before Christmas (well, maybe it was a couple of nights before was so busy around here that I forget), when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the children (it was late and everyone had gone to bed except Kristin and Alan, her boyfriend for the past year or so. They had planned on going out for a romantic dinner when Shannon called and said that Aidan, who was spending the night at Shannon's house, along with Keegan, wanted to come home) - when Alan, pulling out a fake WalMart diamond ring, popped the big question to Kristin (in our living room!): "Will you marry me?"

Kristin said, "yes!" and the very next day they went shopping for Kristin's prefect ring and it became official.

Alan was a wonderful addition to our family during the holidays, and over the coming engagement period we hope to see more of him and to grow in our relationship. That brings to mind part of the oath of the Ya-Yas... "Our circle is open but unbroken." When you're family, we welcome you with open arms and trust you will make our circle stronger.

Alan lives in New York but his family lives in Atlanta. I am told that his destination is California! We look forward to seeing him when he is in town for visits. Alan, our door is always open. We liked the way you fit into our family!

We wish you, Kristin and the boys the best of everything.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


My God bless and keep you healthy and happy in the new year!
With much love,
Merry and Terrence
(Personal note to still have the spark that sets off my fireworks. Happy New Year! I love you. MPC)