Friday, April 29, 2011

History making in Alabama

We are in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama visiting our son for a couple of weeks never dreaming we would experience such weather. Thank God for my new cell phone. Yesterday morning we were awakened about 6 am with incredible wind and stuff slaming against the upstairs bedroom window and the beagle howling. In the backyard we could see a large tree fall just missing the fence around the pool and then the power went off. And it was all least the first round. We drove the kids to school which had no power so all were sent home again. Several houses had trees blown on them. To me, shades of Ike minus the water . The sky cleared as we searched for a battery powered radio to figure out what was going on. Neighborhood kids drifted in and it was party time. My son has the only pool on the block. They went through food in the pantry and fridge like locusts after a few hours in the pool. About 6 or 7 the power came back but no TV or Internet. Then we prepared for the next predicted wave of tornadoes and the sirens went off and we headed for the basement and spent the rest of the evening drinking beer and watching a Bruce Springsteen DVD. Gratefully nothing happened but some hefty wind and we all went to bed unaware of the devastation that was going on in the neighborhood next to us and the tragedy in Tuscaloosa. This morning the power blinked a couple of times and then went out. We found a couple of huge trees uprooted at the back of my son's property and leaving the area, saw houses with lots of damage, streets blocked by large trees and traffic lights out. And then there were areas where there was absolutely no damage. We drove the kids to their orthodontist and it was a regular day in his office...crazy. We grocery shopped on that part of town (nothing open near here), bought Kate a birthday cake, shopped at Belk's and came home to fix her favorite salmon dinner.

Tonight we celebrated Kate's 13th birthday with lights (yay, electricity), TV and now Internet. Family friends who have no power are staying with us tonight along with a kid from down the street who just showed up with a sleeping bag. The girls want to get up early to watch the Royal Wedding at 5 am...I may try to join them. All of you have probably seen more of the incredible devastation than we have bu the stories are everywhere in the people we've encountered, many family and friends touched by this. Recovery efforts are underway and the kids' school is a collection point. We are so blessed in so many ways.

Tomorrow is the real birthday party with more friends in for a sleep-over so I'm off to bed to hopefully get some rest before the bigger batch of giggles and screams tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This beautiful clematis vine is growing up my son's mailbox here in Alabama.  Such gorgeous star-like blooms.  I ran out between sprinkles (yes, it is raining, the wet stuff that we haven't seen in months in SE Texas) to take its picture.  It is very quiet today in this huge house while the kids are at school, son is at his office and daughter-in-law is taking grandson to the doctor.  My husband is buried in a computer upstairs and I am so relishing the quiet along with Pat Conroy's My Reading Life. Oh my Lord, I hang on every sentence for the poetry in his language.  For me, as a writer, it is intimidating and inspirational at the same time.  I want to hold lines close to my chest and neverr let them go.  I want to steal them as first lines of my own work.  I want to soar off to the Carolinas on the wings of his words.  He inspires me to go back and read War and Peace once more, The Yearling and more.
     Conroy always knew he wanted to write.  I'm a late comer to writing and doubt I will ever write anything as lyrical or profound as Conroy but it is only in reading the best that I learn to appreciate the hard work that real writing demands.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This is our bird alarm system...makes no noise at all but cat Slick has taken it upon himself to remind us when it is time to pull the night cover off the bird cage. He also reminds us each evening that it is time to cover them. Go figure!
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby shower

My beautiful little granddaughter-in-law.  The shower was lovely and the kids got some great stuff for the coming Sophie Nicolle.  That's her sister sitting next to her and my granddaughter, Taylor, standing behind and helping with gifts.  What a lovely group of young women!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A great grandbaby is in progress

My fingers are sore but late this afternoon I finally finished the baby quilt for Sophie Nicolle who is due in a couple of months.  I started this quilt 10 years ago for my youngest grandson and didn't get very far at all.  I was determined to finish it for this great-grandbaby in time for her baby shower tomorrow.  Whew!  It got pretty grubby by the time I was done so it is in the washer with some Woolite before I dry it, press it and wrap it up.  I so wanted to continue the tradition started by my grandmother, Bonnie, who cross-stitched a quilt for my first child shortly before she died.  I have made quilts for all my grandchildren except the last one who will get his father's quilt.  It is an act of love for sure as there are many, many hours in this quilt...why I ever chose such an elaborate pattern I will never know and never do again.  It has taken several doses of Aleve to get through this one. 
Now back to cleaning house and getting my life back together...some exercise wouldn't hurt.

Cross-stitching a Life

Row after row
Stitch follows stitch
Up, down
In, out
Over, under
Loop, tie, knot
Yellow meets blue
Green greets purple
Needles, thimbles, thread
push images into form.
Crosses cover quilt,
a thousand threads
to keep alive the tradition
of wrapping a newborn
in an heirloom of blessings and prayers
for a healthy life full of joy.

Kay L. Cox    4/11