Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our offer was accepted on this house yesterday!

For a long time I had been dreaming about a white mantle, these
dreams occurred in the 1980s.  There was a white
mantle in our Plano house and here's another one
that could possibly be in my life. 

I wish I could find another unique table
like this one, I really like it.

Jackie Price on the right, we could have not found
a better realtor.  I "found" him by a random phone call to a large
real estate company in Knoxville in May 2010.  He had shown
me homes then and had kept in touch the past year.

I don't want to come across as being boastful about this house.  Getting the offer accepted was another hurdle, we still have to wait and see that our buyers get their loan approved.  I have to say this week has been so very stressful with some behind the scenes happenings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Rainy Night in Georgia

It was a rainy night in Georgia when we arrived last Saturday.

A rare sight, an almost empty I-635 in Dallas as we left
at 4:06 am.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, diced, capped,
topped, peppered, and all the way!

We spent two nights here with my mother-in-law, her apartment
is directly across from the waterfall ... we all agree she has the best view there.
We always have a great visit and a lot of fun with her.

In Alabama we heard sirens and announcements from a loud speaker
about tornado warnings.  Clint and I both agree this was the longest period of
 being in torrential rain that we have ever experienced.

I had white knuckles and was not even driving  ...
maybe from my backseat "driving".

One of the original art works in the retirement village where my mother-in-law
resides.  One of many good works of art.

Once again we were confronted with torrential rainfall as
we left the Atlanta area at 6 am Monday morning to
keep an 11 o'clock appointment with our realtor in
Knoxville, TN.

I-285 is no fun in fair weather and
white knuckles appeared for the second time :~)

A very welcomed sight!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Faith and Flowers

The pasta dishes and desserts were delicious
and the tables so festive! 

In the spring of 2005, I attended a woman's event at our church called Faith and Flowers.  I was so impressed when I walked into the event!  There was a large attendance.  The tables and stage were decorated beautifully.  The speaker at this event was Cindy Brinker Simmons, daughter of Norman Brinker.  Norman Brinker started a charity in honor of his wife Nancy's sister, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

I remembered this night wondering how I had missed being such a part of this special evening.  Soon afterwards I started attending planning meetings for this annual event and worked at the event.

Fast forward three years, in 2008 when I was working full time, I received an email asking me if I would chair the 2009 Faith and Flowers.  Me?  My first response was that I could not possibly do this, I was busy working, I did not know how to do this, etc. Clint reminded me I would not have been asked to head the event if there had not been some faith that I could do it. I did it and it was so rewarding! 

Thursday evening I attended the 2011 Faith and Flowers.  The attendance has greatly grown and it was a wonderful eveing.  Local tv and radio host Jody Dean was the keynote speaker.  He is now the voice of the Dallas Cowboys.

Party favors were these neat bracelets ...  in many different styles.
It was good that approximately 250 women were given these bracelets!

There was a long line when I arrived.

Jody Dean is a dynamic speaker! 
This was an encore appearance at
Faith and Flowers.

The table flower arrangements were to go
to a local nursing home after the event.
A great idea!

Bob Hill keeping the Methodist Men in line ...  it has
 become a yearly tradition that they help serve and do
other kitchen duties.  They do such
a great job, thank you guys!

I didn't get there in time to make photos of the food
 before they began serving.

Jody Dean speaking with some of the guests.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Aunt Minnie

My Great-Aunt Minnie,
my grandmother's sister.  Her stage name
was Dixie Gardner during her
vaudeville days of the 1920s.

Minnie Bland Blankenship was anything but bland.  Born in Alabama in the early 1900s, my grandmother's sister left the rural life in the 1920s for a show business life in New York City.  In the mid 1960s she came to live with us for about a year and a half after my parents' divorce.  My brother, sister and I were between the ages of 10 and 13.  I loved hearing my great-aunt tell of her experiences and never tired of hearing them over and over.  She never tired of telling them, either.

She traveled to South America to be in a film, Tropical Love, with the silent screen star Mae Murray.  Mae was known as "The Girl with the Bee Stung Lips".  While filming the movie, the actresses rode horseback and stayed in tents.  One night my aunt placed part of her costume, a large hair bow, on top of an object in her tent.   The silhouette outside the tent gave the appearance of one of the costumed actresses.  The following morning a dagger was found thrust through the outside of the tent right under the silhouetted hair bow. (I could just picture this savage beast outside her tent that night)

I want to believe the above story is true but I have seen the above described scene before in an old movie. :~)

What sultry eyes you have Mae Murray!

My aunt said she saw a tipsy Mae Murray drink champagne
out of her slipper at a party. 

(Loved this story, too!)

My aunt is third from the left.  While filming this movie in South America,
she said she met a Prince Alfonso who wanted to marry her.  She said
he threatend her and to take his own life if she would not agree to marry him. She "consented"
at the time she said to save her life.

She said she received threatening "telegrams" from Prince Alfonso while on the steamer
traveling back to Greenwich Village from South America. She said she moved immediately
 after she arrived back home, fearful he would trace her to her apartment.

The story is her brother refused to have anything
else to do with her, he disapproved of her "show business" life.

In later years, probably during the 1940s,  my aunt worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at one of  the plants originally called the Clinton Engineer Works, a code name for the facility.  There were over 400 buildings there, one wonders why it took so many buildings to process atomic materials for the atomic bomb.  A far cry from her vaudeville days!

Women , monitoring electromagnetic machines at Y-12 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known
as "The Secret City" during the era of the Manhattan Project.  My aunt and grandmother both worked here during
this period.

The other fascinating stories my aunt told me involved women inmates.  For several years during the 50s and 60s, she was the matron of the Knoxville City Jail in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Oh my goodness,  I have to say, the stories she told of the jailed women were as interesting as those from her vaudeville days.


My great-uncle Taylor, Minnie's husband, displaying one of his passions.  What a character!  He had
a collection of antique cars in pristine condition.  In the late 1960s
he would drive to our house in one of his cars from
the 1920s. Taylor and Minnie were quite wealthy, I can still hear my mother
say, "they lived like misers and ate canned mackerel".  ;-)

The story of my family's relationship with my aunt did not have a happy ending.  The Reader's Digest version:  My uncle wanted his wife to return home and came after her one day.  She didn't want to go and thought my mother should have stepped in and "stood up for her."   She left with him that day and never spoke to us again nor did we ever see her again.  I'll always believe she was wanting to escape a bad marriage.

As we age our physical eyes are dimmed but our hindsight vision becomes 20/20.  I realize now it was my grandmother's "suggestion" to my mother that her sister come out to "help" us when no help was needed.  I feel my mother could not say "no" to her mother's "suggestion" that my aunt come and help when no help was needed.  I have written before of the lesson of learning to say "no", it is difficult to say even at our great expense.  We would rather greatly suffer sometimes than say that simple two letter word.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Contract Pending

In our front yard!  A good sign!
I had to make my own "contract pending" sign,
the real one is not up yet.  Nothing is
certain but it is a good start.

My world is a little upside down right now.  We now have a contract on our house!  We signed the papers Saturday evening.  If all goes well, we have six weeks left in this house.

The dreaded house inspector will be here in 2 hours and 57 minutes.  There's just something unsettling to me for someone to come into our house and pick out everything that is wrong!  I am half way kiddin' here, I know it is part of the process.

Very soon we have to find a house 800 miles from here.  We are going to visit Clint's mom in Atlanta on this trip, we are looking forward to seeing her.  I can't wait to see my mom and family, too.

We both are still going to work on our blogs while we are on the road.  I sure don't want to lose any of my precious followers and commenters.  Hopefully we might find some very interesting stories while on the road and house hunting.  We will be in Knoxville, TN, during one of its most beautiful times during the Dogwood Arts Festival.

This afternoon we have to be gone during the house inspection.  I could spend four hours at the library, Clint does not want to do it.  I have decided I am going to have an "artist date" that Julia Cameron wrote about in her book, The Artists Way.  Right now I have decided I am going to get together all my black pens, take some paper and go somewhere to draw.  I love sitting at one of the tables in front of Whole Foods, that might be an idea. Of course, I could get distracted with my love of 'people watching' and not get any drawing done.  I may also draw at the local library.  Clint and I may meet up somewhere during these hours, if he gets bored, he can move along to some place else. We both are going to take our cameras.  Clint is also writing about the house contract on his blog.
Got to get busy for that inspection and my date with myself!  Thank you for reading this far! :~)

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Vargas Girls

The airbrush class was in Louisville, Kentucky.
(That vintage fur coat weighed a ton!)

(Are you sure it doesn't make me look fat?) :-)

As I have written before in an older blog, I fell in love with the airbrush when I was a teenager.  Years later, while working in a photography studio, the opportunity to study airbrushing presented itself. I attended a three day seminar in Louisville, Kentucky, and I was hooked!  Later I would be teaching the airbrush technique.

This "template" is from the original
pattern from the long ago airbrush course.

If I were to airbrush her right cheek,
I would paint right along the edge where
it meets her cheek.

The airbrush instructor was an older gentleman from Chicago.  He had a book of the art of Alberto Vargas and told us we should be able to paint similar figures (yeah, right! :-)) using two template patterns he gave us in class. Some details to the paintings are done with a brush and watercolor. 

Alberto Vargas, (1896-1982), was a Peruvian painter of pin up girls.  His dad, Max,  was a famous photographer who taught him how to use an airbrush. At a very young age, I was studying those figures and thought I had never seen such beautiful painting.  I think it was my dad's boss who gave him a yearly subscription to Playboy when I was young.  ( I sneaked and looked at the magazines just to see the Vargas girl, I could not imagine how someone could paint so beautifully)

My first "official" airbrush painting, I won a second place
award out of 660 paintings at the Dulin Sidewalk Show in
Knoxville, Tennesse, in the 1970s.

I really needed this at
that time in my life.

Years later when I was able to attend the class,  it was exciting to me when the airbrush instructor used a book of Vargas pin up art as a perfect example of what could be achieved with an airbrush...the Vargas girls I had admired for years.

Back to the beautiful art of Alberto Vargas ...

Jane Russell, 1942

I adore the art deco influence in this early Vargas portrait.  Notice the lines
reflected in the compact's mirror, I thought "how clever" to repeat
the deco design that way.

Those elongated fingers ... I simply love this painting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some Random Images

This morning Clint and I had watched a full length *movie and walked
our two miles before daylight.  (7:40 am)

*The movie was Welcome to the Rileys", we both agreed it
was entertaining and we liked the performance of James Gandolfini.

Ginny's beautiful Christmas Plant

A patch of blue.

Monday morning on Preston Road
Interesting bird body language ...

(i would be the loner on the left :-))

Canopy of trees on our walking route

(Please double click on image)
The best saved for last!

Have you ever seen anything like this?  I was
almost brought to tears when I saw this.

P.S. This bear photo was published in The Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 3, 2011.  No, we didn't see this on our daily walk! :-D  The photographer is Ann Wilson of Maryville, Tennessee.  These bears were in the Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains.

(Can't wait to get back to the mountains.   ♪ ♫ Rocky Top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me ...  ♫ ♪