Mamaw’s Birthday: Sunday November 27, 2011

Mamaw, MaryLou Wimpy Caylor, turned 71 yesterday. It was a quiet, rainy birthday for her, and it was the kind of birthday she appreciates: No fuss or muss!

I know everyone enjoys “their day”, but Mamaw has always seemed to enjoy sharing the week with Jennifer, her granddaughter and my niece. Jennifer’s birthday is November 23. I host a birthday, pancake breakfast as a “transition” between Thanksgiving and Christmas for our family. However, the emphasis is on Mamaw and Jennifer’s birthdays. We had a great time with family, food, fellowship, and fun on Saturday morning.

Jennifer & Mamaw: November 26, 2011

Carter, Ammon, Sean, and I also visited with Mamaw on her birthday. We had placed Christmas poinsettias on Ammon and Carter’s grandfather’s graves, and on the way home, we spent some birthday time with her.

For everyone out there, I want to share, yet again, how much my mother means to me: love, support, acceptance. She is an awesome mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and mother-in-law. I am so blessed to have her as is everyone whose life she touches.

Corfu, Greece: October 5, 2011

Corfu, Greece

This was our second time in Corfu, Greece. Like Dubrovnik, we’ve only seen it in the autumn. However, I believe that Corfu must be at its most attractive during the summer.

Two years ago, we took a tour of the island, and we saw an Orthodox monastery, downtown Corfu, and the Achillion Palace. The palace was built by the Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the latter part of the 19th century.

This time we decided to spend time shopping since we had such little time to shop in 2009. We also took a “train ride” around the city where some archaeological reconstruction is going on. The ruins are from the 4th Century before Christ.

All aboard the Corfu Express!!

Corfu ruins

Carter, Ammon, & Haven sailing away from Corfu

Thanksgiving Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies: November 22, 2011

The first thing I cooked all by myself was my mother’s birthday cake in 1976. I was 10, and she was turning 36. I have loved cooking ever since. On the evening (Tuesday November 22, 2011) of this photo, Carter, Ammon and I had started mixing the ingredients together, but Ammon became bored and went to play in the living room with Daddy S. When I had the “presence of mind” to get the camera, Ammon wasn’t interested in dropping the cookie dough onto the baking pan.

I haven’t baked too much with Carter and Ammon because it would mostly be cookies, cakes, and pies …things my fat and I do not need. However, I want them to enjoy the kitchen and learn how to bake and cook, so especially during the holidays, we will bake. I want my children to start making cookies and MAKING MEMORIES they can hold and cherish in their hearts forever.

Dubrovnik, Croatia: October 4, 2011

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia is such a tourist treat. It is on the Dalmatian Coast (yep, the area of Dalmatian dogs) on the Adriatic Sea. In the past 10 years, it has become quite popular for summer vacationers who love to swim and sunbathe.  It does seem crowded in the downtown area, but that’s because the main attraction is the medieval walled city. Unlike many middle-ages walled cities, Dubrovnik’s walls (not built all at once  but fortified and added on to from the 12th to 17th centuries) were kept intact and are still utility to the city.

Downtown Dubrovnik

Cavtat, Croatia

It was our second time in Dubrovnik, and we even had lunch at the same grinding mill ( where we visited in 2009. The embedded video in the previous sentence is from the mill.

The city of Cavtat was an additional stop this time. It is on the coast as well, but the rhythm of the town is much slower than the rhythm of Dubrovnik. The next time we go to Dubrovnik I hope it will be in the summer so we can all swim in the gorgeous waters of the Adriatic there.

Venice, Italy: October 2 & 3, 2011

Venice, Italy: Hard Rock Cafe & gondolas near St. Mark’s Square

Last October was our 3rd time to Venice. Our hotel room this time was our suite on the Star Princess.  We were in Venice October 2 & 3. Our #1 goal was to buy more Murano glass: angels, a Santa Claus, and a Christmas tree. We enjoyed adding to our Murano glass collection, and I will include the pieces in some Christmas shots soon.

I have seen a plethora of medieval architecture since 1984, and my favorite structure from that time period is St. Marks in Venice. I think it’s the combination of Byzantine mosaics and other Middle Ages art and architecture that make it so fascinating to me.

The sun sets on Venice, Sunday October 2, 2011

There was a complete horse-drawn carriage cast in the 4th Century B. C. in Greece. It is called the quadriga; however, the carriage has been lost during the past 2,400 years.  I was/am intrigued by it. First of all it’s over 2,000 years old. Secondly, it stood at Constantinople’s (Byzantium, then Constantinople, now Istanbul) famous Middle Ages hippodrome. The Venetians looted Constantinople in A. D. 1204, and carried the quadriga to Venice, Italy. They have been there ever since. Their copy stand over the St. Mark’s Square over the entrance to the basilica. The originals are on display in one of the many museums inside the basilica. If an inanimate object could talk, what AWESOME and FASCINATING tales those horses could tell!

File:Horses of Basilica San Marco bright.jpg

Hawk’s November Dinner

Earlier in the year, I wrote about “our” Red-tailed hawk carrying off what I had hoped was a venomous snake ( I had nothing to do with aiding Hawk with its meal that day; however, Thursday evening I helped Hawk find its dinner.

There is a section of our 13 acre yard that hasn’t been mowed since July 2010. The sage brush, fallen over fescue grass, and the unidentifiable 4 feet tall weeds were HORRIFIC. However, our AWESOME New Holland TC40D tractor chugged through the section and mowed quite well. About an hour into mowing I was getting ready to round a corner, and I saw a huge bird light on the ground about 20 feet from me and the tractor. It was Hawk!  It looked right at me, pecked on the ground, and flapped up to one of the Pin Oak trees that line our driveway. I could tell that in its talon it had what appeared to be a field rat. I had seen all sorts of rats, mice, and rabbits scurry as I had been mowing. I had kind of forgotten about my live “bird of prey nature scene”, but as I was headed to the barn after mowing, Hawk sat up in a Black Walnut tree eyeing my work.  I humored myself by waving and saying, “You’re welcome!” (Seriously, I was glad to help). ;o)

Starting Saturday….more of our October 2011 Cruise!

Caleb the Coonhound

American Black and Tan Coonhound,
Caleb Caylor-Brown (April 13, 2003-November 9, 2011)

Caleb was born at Mamaw’s house under
my bed on April 13, 2003 on a Sunday night. I have raised many puppies in my
lifetime and most of the ones I have kept as my own I have “willed” them or
conditioned them to be mine and for me to be their master.  However, I observed very quickly that Caleb chose me to be his master.  When Caleb and his siblings Sissy and  Ferd were approximately 3 months old and we would come in from hunting in the woods,
Sissy and Ferd would cuddle up together on their dog pillow, but Caleb would
fall asleep on my hunting boots. One evening last week, Caleb spent about 30
minutes jogging around our field with Sean and me. Every 5 minutes or so, I
would bend down to pet his head or to touch noses with him as he and I trotted
together in sync. With each pet or nuzzle he would wag his tail and keep on
trotting with me.  I had no idea we just had another week together.

(Caleb is on the left with Carter)

The following things may sound contrived or “make believe”, but the first thing to
share was that two mornings ago when I turned out the dogs to enjoy their day on the
mountain, I called each dog to me, kissed them, and prayed that they would make
it back to the house safely. In 5 minutes, they were all up on the mountain
bawling after what I thought to be deer. That was 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Caleb did not make it back home until 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. He looked
perfectly normal except for a swollen belly, and I thought he had come home
exhausted and drunk a bunch of water. I patted his head and we nuzzled nose to
nose. I said, “You rest, and I will be back later.” When I returned at 10:00
a.m., he was dead. He did, indeed, make it home to me, and I am so grateful to
God that he did.

(Caleb on July 18, 2011)

He was buried quite quickly with a back-hole digger and just in time, because it
started raining just minutes after the grave was packed down. One of our vets said Caleb died with a Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). It was basically a gas bubble that twisted his stomach and eventually blocked blood flow to the brain, then unconsciousness, then death. Very few dogs even live through surgeries that try to correct the GDVs. I was also thankful that his death was “natural causes”.

Wednesday evening around 7:30 I went out to throw some scraps out to the wildlife of our woods, and I stopped by to see Caleb. I had no sooner stepped to the side of the interment when the rain clouds rolled back like some scroll, and the full moon  with Jupiter beside it
showed brightly down and illuminated Caleb’s final resting place. I thanked God for 8 years with my Caleb, and over the mountain I heard the echo of someone’s shot gun. It was, undoubtedly, a coon hunter out for the evening. It was very apropos for Caleb and for me.

Birthday Photos

Carter and Ammon's 3rd Birthday Party

Ammon and Carter’s birthday party on Saturday (11-5-2011)
was so wonderful. We had a great day with our family: Uncle Tony, Aunt Karen,
Cousin Alusha, Aunt Merrill, Nana, and Mamaw were here at the house. We had a
splendid time with cake and presents.

Thank you all for keeping up on this blog with Carter and
Ammon’s birthdays along with all your “well-wishes” and prayers. We are so
blessed to have all of you in our lives. Enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed
the day. Happy Monday, everyone.

Themes: Cinderella (Princesses) & Spiderman

Candles are out, and we're ready to cut the cakes!