The View From My Window

The world as seen from my window and through my eyes

A real Mizzou Christmas December 26, 2007

Filed under: My View on Events — auntlelo @ 8:37 pm


As you can see from the photo, we had a pretty black and gold Mizzou Christmas at our house this year. Not pictured is my daughter Annie who got a black and gold purse, but, thought it wouldn’t look as cool if she posed just holding something instead of wearing it.

We had a great holiday. I had a few favorite moments this year, all of them very sentimental:

  • My Mom doing a reading for the Advent service at church
  • Allen volunteering to lead us in prayer at our Christmas morning breakfast and saying such sweet things it almost made me cry
  • Getting to spend time with our grandchildren Aiden, Jill, Allana and Seth
  • Having Bobby, Mark and Annie with me on Christmas Eve for the first time since they were tiny children
  • My Mom volunteering to lead us in prayer at Christmas lunch (for the first time that I can ever remember) and it was amazing
  • My kids following the rules we set and giving something to charity instead of getting gifts for their Dad and me
  • Watching our kids enjoy opening the gifts their Dad made for them
  • Singing with my cousin Kevin at church

I got some lovely things, but, the most lovely were the moments and the memories from the season. Hope all of you enjoyed spending time with your family this year and made them the center of all that you did.


Bowling for buzzards December 20, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 4:01 pm

I couldn’t wait till tomorrow. I was afraid I would get busy, not post in my blog, and all of you would be pining away for the promised entry.

A few years ago when my kids were small and still at home, we drove out to church one Sunday morning (yes, most of my traveling DOES seem to involve traveling to or from church and choir practice). As so often was the case, I was trying to find ways to involve my children in conversation and relieve a little of their boredom. One of the boys suggested something called “bowling for buzzards” when we saw a group of the nasty looking birds gathered around a dead animal a little further up the road.

Apparently, bowling for buzzards was the process of speeding toward the buzzards on the road and getting them to fly away from their prey. I was game (uh, bad choice of words here, wasn’t it). I sped ahead, gleefully watching those nasty birds scatter in flight. All except…THUD!!!!! Oops. I think one of the buzzards was too hungry to pay attention and ended up stuck to the front grill of my vehicle. EWWWWWWWWW!

We get to church and I take a look at the front grill and, sure enough, there were feathers plastered there. As my children ran into church, their Sunday School teacher, Dwight, greeted them and they excitedly told them their Mom had been bowling for buzzards on the way to church and that she ran over one. At that, he drew a frown, looked at me and said:

“You know those are a protected species, don’t you?”

Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? Buzzards? Protected species? This can’t be true. Who would protect something as nasty as a buzzard. Well, I’m not sure whether they were at that time or not. All I know is I stood there in church having just killed an innocent, albeit ugly, creature in the pursuit of entertaining my children and felt just as low as…well, as a buzzard. Yes, let’s face it, I’m a murderer.

And yes, Fat Chick and Henrietta are now staring at me in horror. Sigh.


Another story from my teenage years: What I hit on the way home one night…

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 10:56 am

Last night on the way home from church, my son Allen alerted me to a deer that was just about ready to jump out onto the road in front of our Tahoe. That Allen has a pretty keen eye and has saved me and/or a deer from grief in the past. He’s a good pair of eyes to have riding “shotgun” when you’re traveling.

He asked if Dad or I had ever hit a deer. We had, once, but I told him that wasn’t the most interesting thing I’d hit. In fact, I’ve hit a couple of rather interesting critters in my time.

When I was around 17, I worked at the Fulton Public Library. I usually drove home around 10 p.m. or so and on this particular evening, it was rainy and dark. (Don’t all great tales start with it was a dark and rainy night?) The road between town and our farm was very hilly and had many blind curves. I had just started down a particularly big hill near my great-uncle Brent’s house, when something darted out in front of the pick-up. THUMP, I heard and I skidded to a stop.

I got out of the truck, heart pounding, to see what it was. There, lying in the road in front of the truck was a billy goat. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know where the goat had come from or who it belonged to, but, I was scared to death. The next thing was to look at the truck and see if it was damaged. After all, it wasn’t my truck. It belonged to Mom and Dad and I would be called on to explain any dents, scratches or marks that appeared.

I didn’t know what to do, so, as in most every situation, I quickly drove the rest of the way home and ran into the house to get my Dad. He’d know what to do. He didn’t seem terribly concerned—after all, I’d woken him from a perfectly comfortable slumber and he wasn’t eager to pull on his clothes and go back out in the rain. But, I was emphatic about going to check on that goat in the road, so, my Papa did his fatherly duty and out we went.

We drove back to the spot and got out. And looked. And looked. And looked some more. No goat.

“What do you think happened to it?” I asked my Dad. He grinned and said that like most goats, it probably had a pretty hard head. I’d likely only stunned it and after I left it had probably gotten up, shaken itself off and went merrily on its way.

All that panic for nothing. Stupid goats should stay out of the road anyhow. Too bad not all creatures have such hard heads. Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the time I took my kids bowling for buzzards…


The “best” or “worst” Christmas gifts you ever received December 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 11:46 am

Whenever I talk to anyone at Christmastime, there always seems to be some nostalgic reference to gifts they received in the past. Some of these are recollections of great and sentimental gifts, sometimes it’s a shudder of horror when recalling some truly distasteful present. All of these stories are interesting to me. I think some people might think my choice of favorite Christmas gifts would be pretty predictable, my choice of not so favorite gifts may be a surprise. (My apologies in advance if the giver of one of these gifts happens upon this blog and is in any way offended.)

A few of my favorite things:

  • The whole set of “Little House” books (I didn’t come out of my room for weeks after I got them)
  • My first set of oil paints (They were taken away from me for two weeks after getting them because I stuck my tongue out at my Mom)
  • Barbie Winnebago (What can I say, it was the 70’s!)
  • My own personal jar of stuffed olives in my Christmas stocking (weird, but, it was quite a treat)
  • Opal ring from my parents
  • Pearl ring from my parents
  • Pride and Prejudice, the miniseries, BBC version with Colin Firth
  • The clock my husband gave me for our first Christmas together
  • My set of Wustoff knives

A few of my least favorite things:

  • A bundle of switches (Yes, I really did get a bundle of switches wrapped in paper under the Christmas tree one year)
  • Socks and underwear (Whoever thought it was fun to get those for a kid at Christmas?)
  • Money (Great for an adult, not so great for a little kid who likes to unwrap packages)
  • Black, red and green sequined blouse (the person who bought it for me said when they saw it they immediately thought of me—don’t know how they mentally made that connection, but, it’s never, ever been worn)
  • Purple beaded necklace (Sorry, Annie, I know you were a little girl and you thought it was pretty, but, I had a devil of a time trying to find something I could wear this with to make you happy)
  • Perfume and smelly stuff (This may be a standard gift item for some people, but, I can’t wear any of this because it aggravates my asthma)
  • Things that are obviously purchased at the last minute from a convenience store (Need I say more?)

What are your favorite or least favorite Christmas gifts?


A milestone reached December 14, 2007

Filed under: My View on Events — auntlelo @ 10:16 pm


It seemed like this day would never come, and yet, it seemed like it happened so quickly. Our little Annie has graduated from Mizzou and will be an elementary teacher.

When Mark and I got married, Annie was a tiny little girl, just starting school. When she was in about first or second grade, my husband used to say that someday Annie will be a school teacher. He was right on target. Some people are called to do certain things. Annie has always been a teacher.

I don’t think there is anything more special in the life of a parent than that of watching your children accomplish their dreams. We’re so proud of Annie. She’s been a joy to raise and we’re eagerly awaiting the next chapter in her life. There are a lot of very lucky children out there whose lives will be forever changed because Mrs. Arnone was their teacher.

What a special day! Tomorrow, we watch Annie’s husband, Josh, graduate with honors from the College of Engineering. A busy weekend and a very rewarding one. Annie and Josh will both be going on to graduate school. Looks like there are more graduations in our future!

Congratulations kids!


The sisters +1—the story of our Christmas lunch December 13, 2007

Filed under: My View on Events,My View on People — auntlelo @ 4:40 pm

Each year, I have a lovely Christmas lunch with my 3 sisters and one honorary sister. The honorary sister is an old and dear friend of the family who is male and in his seventies. Why he thinks it’s fun to have lunch with this crazy bunch of cackling hens, I never know. Every year, we seem to also end up with some sort of conversation topic or perfectly quotable statement that seems to stick with us long after Christmas. This year the quote was:

“You wanna buy my Jeep?”

Of course, the next question became “Why, are you buying a new one?”

The honorary sister will soon be the new owner of a silver gray BMW SUV. He is currently tracking it’s progress from factory to driveway online and it seems to be somewhere floating about on the ocean at the present time. He would very much like to sell his Jeep now to make room for the new Beemer in his garage. I wonder if they’ll deliver it with a big red bow on top?

Beyond this conversation, we talked about our Mom’s fear of mice. This conversation led to a discussion about our Grandpa’s pet black snake George who lived in our corn crib. We progressed to more stories about Mom and her aversion to certain animals, like cats. The story about the afternoon sitting on our deck when the neighborhood stray cat leaped onto Mom’s chest, hanging on for dear life and staring her down, nose-to-nose, was told again with lots of giggles to follow.

We had plenty of time for conversation since our very simple lunch of soup followed by salad or a sandwich took it’s time being served. Long story short, the most enjoyable part of this lunch was the conversation and time we had to spend together. We must be getting old. We’re starting to reminisce in the way our parents, aunts and uncles used to do. Hmmm, I wonder if our children are making fun of us like we used to make fun of the “old folks and their old stories?” Probably!

So, the question of the afternoon is this: Do you wanna buy a Jeep? 🙂


My current position on Christmas cards

Filed under: My View on Events,My View on People — auntlelo @ 10:17 am

I’m in a quandary this year about whether or not to invest a lot of time (which I don’t have) and money sending out a big stack of Christmas cards. Each year, the number of cards we receive lessens. Last year, I think we received less than a dozen in the mail. Compared with previous years, it seems that this is an abysmally small number. There are are two or three scenarios that may be considered here:

1. People are no longer considering the sending of paper Christmas cards to be a priority. With the ease of staying in touch all year via phone, email and social networking, a card at Christmas to catch people up on all the great things happening with you and your family just isn’t as necessary. Nobody likes to write anything in longhand anymore.

2. People who used to send us the big stacks of cards were in a different generation and one by one are passing away. Not only are we not receiving as many cards, we’re not sending as many either.

3. People don’t like us anymore and have placed us on their naughty list. I hope this isn’t the case, but, hey, you never know. It’s entirely possible, considering I have a ceramic chicken as my alter ego.

So, do I continue on with this old family tradition, or do the brave thing and just say to all things there is a season and it’s time to with people a Merry Christmas in a new way. What do you think? My current thought is to send cards to a few people I don’t see or talk to much throughout the year and to continue to send a few to elderly family members who get excited when they get a card from one of “the kids.” I think I may have a hard time doing this cold-turkey.

Poll: Are you sending cards this year? 


Holly, jolly chicks December 11, 2007

Filed under: The Adventures of "Fat Chick" — auntlelo @ 9:34 am


Fat Chick: “Do you realize it is December 11th? You haven’t even decorated your office for Christmas yet! What’s the matter with you?”

Henrietta: “Yes, dear, you do seem to be a bit late getting on with your Christmas duties. Why, there’s not a sign of yuletide spirit to be found in your office.”

Me: “Sorry, girls. I have the best of intentions, but, as usual other things seem to have gotten in the way. You know, little things like football stuff, ice storms, office projects. Time does get away from me these days.”

Fat Chick: “Well, get a move on, will ya? It’s like a dungeon in here. I could hear them all decorating down the hall last week and we didn’t get to put up a single light!”

Henrietta: “Maybe you could take a few minutes this morning to decorate before you start your day?”

Me: “Okay, but, I’m in a bit of a rush. I don’t have time to go out and get a tree. How about we just make do with the plant on the table?”

Fat Chick: “Well, if that’s the best you can do, go ahead.”

Decorating commences in a rather haphazard fashion.

Henrietta: “Oh dear, oh dear. Chick, this is awful! Do you think she intended it to look this way?”

Fat Chick: “And what way would that be? Like the ghost of Christmas present just threw up on the table? I don’t think so.”

Henrietta: “Whatever shall we do? My holly’s all askew and that bow you’re wearing makes your butt look very large.”

Fat Chick: “Ya don’t say? This isn’t exactly what I had in mind. I thought we were going to get to decorate a tree or something!”

Me: “Complain, complain, complain. Isn’t it enough for you that we took turkey completely off the Christmas menu? We’re not having chicken or quail or pheasant or any other flying companions either. We’re having prime rib on Christmas Eve and something else on Christmas Day. Not sure what, but, something not poultry. Can’t you be happy about anything? I’m kinda busy, you know?”

Henrietta: “It’s okay, we understand. We’ll just make this work for now. Maybe we can do better next year.”

Fat Chick: “This never happens when that Niki person is here. She always makes sure things look presentable at the holidays. If she weren’t at home taking care of the new baby chick, she’d fix us right up!”

Me: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Chick. That’s her plant you’re babysitting. If it weren’t for Niki and her plant, you’d be sitting next to a pile of pine cones this year!”

Henrietta: “Maybe we should just put ourselves in a better mood by singing a few Christmas carols! What should we sing first?”

Fat Chick: “How about Deck the Halls and make it neater, fa la la la la la la la la…”


A hair tragedy

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 8:35 am

With three granddaughters, it was bound to happen eventually. I believe the story is that our eldest granddaughter, Aidan, took control of some scissors and played barber with our granddaughter Jill’s pretty blonde hair. Jill has been well and truly shorn, down to the scalp in a few spots, right before Christmas. I believe the Mama’s cried and are now very hopeful that it can be repaired for Christmas pictures and will grow out sufficiently before the wedding in June.

I know it doesn’t help to hear this, but, it happens to everyone at least once. Someone plays with scissors, someone gets a wad of gum stuck in their hair, someone gets their pretty long hair stuck in a toy with working parts. It’s tragic today, but, as we all know, hair grows. It will become one of those cute stories you’ll share in the future and you’ll find it in your heart to laugh.

Just be glad no one cut off a finger!


Looks like a tornado hit our neighborhood December 10, 2007

Filed under: My View on Weather — auntlelo @ 4:01 pm

We got out for a little bit before the next storm hits so that we could have plenty of milk, bread, eggs, etc. We, like all of our other Fulton neighbors, were also in search of batteries and lamp oil in case the power goes out again. We were successful in our pursuit of batteries, the lamp oil was a lost cause.

As we drove to and from the store, I took a few more photos of the scene around us. I know most of you in Columbia are probably thinking we’re a bunch of light weights over here. But, believe me when I tell you I think we got a heavier dose of ice than many other places in the last 24 or so hours. There was a house just around the corner that had a huge old tree that had completely fallen over in the year, the complete rootball had been wrenched from the ground. It narrowly missed the house, which is for sale, and the older woman who owns it must be awfully grateful.

This is a photo of my Mom and Dad’s old house on Hickman Avenue. Note the beautiful Bradford Pear tree my sisters gave Mom for Mother’s Day several years ago is no more. It, like many others, is split in half under the weight of the ice.


Our neighbor, just 3 doors down, lost a big old tree right next to the house. (This is next door to Aunt Pat.) woodhill.jpgThere were several houses along West Seventh Street and Court Street that were hit hard. I wasn’t able to photograph some of them because we were moving and couldn’t stop, but, there doesn’t seem to be a house around that didn’t have some sort of mess to clean up.