Archives for the month of: April, 2014

Driving trips are my favorite, but sometimes you must fly.  I’m fascinated by the landscapes below and the patterns from above.  I click shots, trying to place what I’m seeing from a high perspective.  Flying west in America is a constant study of geology, geography, and art.  What cataclysmic events caused this upheaval of the planet, what up thrusts of rock, what cutting by glaciers left such jagged marks, which change so abruptly?

From Denver to Burbank, I was crossing territory I had driven several times. The beauty that mesmerized me on the ground created artistic designs from an airplane window.  My iPhone and iPad clicked away.

The snow covered Rocky Mountains in April…



The change from mountains to flatter, dryer lands with canyons carved through eons…image

And more ore canyons, winding in such tight twists that they form circles from above…


The projections of Lake Powell…

imageEdges of canyons…the Grand Canyon was on the other side of the plane…

imageEerie lights somewhere near Las Vegas and agricultural patterns are signs of people below


So many patterns through deserts and then the San Bernadino Mountains…image

And I end our bird’s eye view with patterns of civilization.  From wide open spaces to masses of people.

imageMy feet are back on the ground.

All the arts cause us to feel something, anything.  You can love it or hate it, but you do feel something when you hear music, read a poem or passage, or view a performance.  Visual art is all around us, whether in a museum or on the street.  A couple of weeks ago, I was in Bentonville, Arkansas, visiting Crystal Bridges Museum, an always fabulous place. Two of my friends said not to miss seeing 21C, a museum hotel in the old downtown area, so we went there for a late lunch.  We missed the lunch hours, but had a fabulous hamburger in the bar and got to experience what they were talking about.  I hear the rooms are terrific, too.

There are 3 of these hotels out there now, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Bentonville, with new ones planned in Kansas City and Oklahoma City. These hotels boast their own museums within the hotels, basically everywhere you look.  If the restaurants are all as great as the one in Bentonville, they are double winners.  My daughter and I walked around the outside and the lobby, enjoying or discussing everything we saw. Here are some examples, although I didn’t take photos of some of my favorites inside.  Those are for you to discover.

We first saw the basketball tower as we approached the museum.  One of these would keep my grandkids busy for hours.

DSC_0044The footed car outside reminded me of a Flintstones car.  Whatever, it made us laugh.




The bench by the front door was perfect for a hotel.  Loved the creativity of this one.



Inside, there were some incredible pieces to discover.  This one caught our eye, because how could you miss this huge chandelier hanging low in the corner.  Definitely a conversation piece.



These bodies inflated and deflated as you watched, making an eerie statement of some kind.  We interpreted it in different ways, but we didn’t ignore it.

DSC_0049There was an incredibly intricate drawing of a haunted dollhouse with details to keep you looking for more and more weird things while you marveled at the skill of the artist.  There were beautiful beaded items, and paintings and other sculptures scattered around the lobby and beyond. They even give tours each day.

One of the fun things about the hotels is that there are penguins all around, even on the outside of the building.  They use them as stanchions and for overall whimsy.  The hotel in Bentonville has green penguins, the one in Louisville has red penguins, and the one in Cincinnati has yellow penguins.  I love penguins, so this was just a fun bonus.  Who doesn’t love penguins.

DSC_0047If you’re near a 21C Museum Hotel, I suggest you stop in.  It’s worth the trip.  I’m planning to return to Bentonville for a girls’ weekend to see the rooms.  I want the whole 21C experience!

Happy Travels!




What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

I saw this quote yesterday and it echoes the thoughts I have often now that there are more days behind me than in front of me in this life of mine.  I’m fascinated with the things we remember in a lifetime.  There are a lot of things I can’t believe I don’t remember in detail and wish I did.  There are things that I remember vividly and wish I didn’t.  Maybe this is why I like photos so much – they trigger memories of all kinds in this cluttered brain of mine.

I recently read that old people don’t think slower, they just have more stored in their brains to sort through, like a giant file cabinet filled to overflowing that you have to search methodically for the information you need.  That’s a pretty old school analogy, hunh?  At least that’s comforting – to think you’re not losing it, you just have too much of it.

The other thing that I wonder about is the way people remember the same thing.  I’ve talked with friends about the way members of a family see an event differently, based on their age, family position, personality, etc.  Sometimes a small moment can make a lasting impact on a person’s life while a potentially life-changing occurrence is put in perspective and has little importance in the long run.

Perspective on the memories we have is something that takes some conscious effort most of the time.  We can make choices about how we absorb a memory and it can also change as the years go on and we learn more about why it happened or how others perceived it.  Perspective is what keeps us going through life’s unexpectedness.  If we get locked in on the single impression as only seen by us, we may lose the ability to see it from other views, other people’s perspectives.  I’ve found that we’re healthiest when we learn to look at an event from many sides, to let it grow or shrink in importance to find its proper place in the timeline of our lives.

We all have memories and they can sustain us or crush us.  It’s all about working to put them in place.  It would be nice if we only had happy ones, but that rarely happens.  Memories make us who we are.  For better or worse.  When you lose your memory, you lose a lot of yourself, as seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

Enough of that – may all your memories be put in their place and may they mostly make you smile!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




DSC_0008Today, Good Friday, I’m going way back to a poem I wrote in 4th grade.  Enjoy!

Spring is Here

Spring is here, the grass is green;

Fish are bubbling in a spring;

Frogs come out of their beds of mud,

Tiny leaves are all in bud.

Birds are singing in the trees,

Singing in the gentle breeze.

Spring is when the tulips come,

And the bees begin to hum,

Stars shine brightly in the sky;

Mother sings a lullaby.

Round the maypole, round we go,

Turning this way, to and fro.

Spring is here; let’s give a cheer!




My daughter and I were off the highway, driving rural roads in Oklahoma and Arkansas, when we came around a curve and saw this…

DSC_0003I snapped a picture as we were moving by and realized it was the Easter story, so I kept snapping…  I pulled this from the long shot, realizing we have Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, Jesus in the Garden, and the walk with the cross

DSC_0003 - Version 2Then the crucifixion…

DSC_0004And Jesus rising from the tomb, ascending into heaven…

DSC_0005It was so fast that we could barely take it in with cars behind us on the highway.  There wasn’t even room to stop on the two lane road.  But, it will stay with the two of us because of its unexpectedness.  I’ve counted over 50 figures, handmade life-size dolls, that someone or some group made, not to mention the scenes.  There was no signage, the metal building doesn’t appear to be a church.  The scene spoke for itself and the faith and devotion of its creator or creators.

Whatever your faith, you would be touched by such a scene appearing out of nowhere on a rural road.  Our viewing of it took seconds to get the message across.  We saw the familiar story in a flash that triggered all we’ve ever learned or felt about it.

Happy Easter Week!


While cleaning up piles of whatevers, I read a quick funny article by Dave Barry on how his son had to ask how to mail a letter, including how to buy a stamp, what to do with it, etc.  I then opened a box on the table and found an envelope full of letters from my grandmother.  The times, they are a’changin’…

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was widowed in her 20s during the depression and raised her three children with much strength and humor.  She grew up on a farm in southern Oklahoma, married young to an older man, and lived her life as it was.  I was the oldest of her grandchildren and spent time with her from my early infancy, when the story goes that she came to visit and took me home.  I may have been a couple of months old, which doesn’t surprise me.  My mother loved me very much, but she admitted that she didn’t know what to do with this little premature baby and never thought that she shouldn’t let me go with my grandmother.  Anyway, that was the first of my many visits to Ardmore and her visits to Tulsa through my childhood and into my young adult years before my grandmother had to move to a nursing home near us.  She gave me a lot of unconditional love, a lot of wonderful memories, and a lot of everyday wisdom from her simple life.  Here I am when I was 13 on a trip across the border to Mexico with my mother and grandmother.

Scan 2

Growing up in the 50s, we communicated by mail with occasional phone calls.  It was a big deal to make a long distance call, so they weren’t something you did often.  You had to call the operator and give her (always a female) the number so she could ring it.  I remember what a big deal direct dial was – I think I was in college when we got that.  I can remember the first time I made a long distance call.  I snuck into the little closet in the living room where we had the phone and called the operator and gave her my grandmother’s number.  I wasn’t supposed to be doing this and felt very bold.  It cost money and I surely knew my parents would find out and I did it anyway.  I may have been eight.

Anyway, we mostly communicated by letters and we all wrote letters back then.  I kept most of them from my parents when they were traveling, from my grandparents, from my friends, and, especially, from my boyfriend who became my husband as we wrote during college and his Navy years.  The envelope I found yesterday had cards and letters from my Aunt Georgia and Uncle Bill, who sent me cards for my birthdays, and mostly from my grandmother.

I remember so well how exciting it was to get a real letter in the mail.  You waited for the postman, hoping for something addressed to you.  My grandmothers both wrote to me through the years, bless their sweet hearts.  This grandmother wrote often, maybe because she lived alone.  She printed letters to me when I was little, telling me about her day, mostly telling me how much she missed me.  They didn’t have to say much really.  It was the feeling of holding that paper or postcard with the familiar writing that brought up feelings of love.  Here’s one from when I was about 9 years old, telling me about dogs and chickens and her new teeth as only she could.

Scan 4Amazingly, most of the letters in this envelope were written when I was away at college, from my freshman year through my married years.  She didn’t have much money, but she would sometimes include a dollar bill, telling me to get a coke or a hamburger.  Even then I knew that $1 was special.  I think how much those letters must have meant to me as I entered those unknown years away from home, then as I married and became a young mother.  She was always there, sending me notes, often scribbled outside the post office, sometimes written on stationery I had given her for Christmas.  Three cent stamps became five cent stamps as time went on.  She wrote about her quiet world and it brightened my day.

Reading those letters now, when I’m almost as old as she was when she was writing them, I have more of a feeling of how much the letters I wrote to her meant.  She always said how proud she was to get my letters.  How proud.  I don’t know if anyone says that today.  I wrote her all the time during my life and my letters couldn’t have been much more interesting that hers, but I can feel how they brightened her day.  She wasn’t someone I would call lonely although she always lived alone.  I don’t think she would have understood that word.  Her generation wouldn’t have been that self-involved and my grandmother would have said to get out there and do something.

On another note, my grandmother stayed with us when my parents traveled, which they did several times a year.  She would come to Tulsa by bus and we would walk or take the bus downtown while she was with us.  I can remember her saying, “What don’t your parents want us to do?” or “Let’s go do something.”  No sitting around with her.

I’m thinking of the mail I get today, most of which goes directly into the recycling bin.  A couple of times a year I get a note from a friend, but even our generation uses email and Facebook to contact each other.  Why not?  It’s instant and easy.  The term “snail mail” even resonates with us old ‘uns who don’t have much time left and we don’t want to miss anything we can get today!

On the other hand, I’m sad for my grandchildren who don’t know the joy of getting actual mail, something you can hold in your hand, something you can box up to read decades later.  They haven’t learned to cherish handwriting and stamps, opting instead for text messages and Instagram.  Everything is short.  My generation loves Facebook for all the options we have.  My grandchildren like Instagram because they don’t have to express themselves at all except in short, coded messages.  Even a photo lover like me knows that a picture with 1,000 words is worth more than just the picture, not matter how fun it is.

Maybe that’s it.  Letters took time to write, time to mail.  We don’t give the time.  Our handwriting isn’t as nice as earlier generations, our time is measured in milliseconds rather than days, and we just don’t make the effort.  If we send a pre-printed card, we think we’ve done something spectacular.

I’m thinking today that I am going to surprise my grandkids, who start leaving for college in a little over a year, with a letter now and then.  I’m not sure they’ll know how to check their mailbox and they may not even have one, now that I think about it.  I’m going to try anyway.   And, I’ll tuck in a dollar bill, or a five or ten for inflation.  Just to let them know I’m here cheering them on and loving them as unconditionally as I was loved.  And to take them back to a simpler time.



When I started writing this blog a year and a half ago, I did it because I like to write.  I don’t know that I thought it was going to shake up the world and I didn’t have a specific audience in mind, but I wanted to do it.  Since then, I’ve read lots of other blogs, some fantastic, some not so much, and mine is just what it is, for better or worse.  It’s not very sophisticated and I’m not in it to make money or spread the word.  It just happens.  And it has its own life out there in the world.

Most of the people who read Confetti Thoughts are family and friends.  Sometimes I write something I really like and it is read by one person or four.  Sometimes I write something that touches someone and it gets shared or reposted and maybe hundreds of people read it.  Some of those I understand, some are surprises.  One of the blogs I wrote about my 50th high school reunion is the most read of all.  Wow!

Sometimes I get comments.  Since this posts on my Facebook page as well as the blog site, I get comments from friends.  Sometimes a stranger has a comment.  Yesterday, for no reason, there was an explosion on my blog and 270 people read through it.  I thought there must be a computer error, but two people wrote comments on a blog I wrote last summer.  One determined he is a distant relative, which is interesting and intriguing.

The most amazing thing about this little nothing blog is that it has travelled around the world.  I am able to see where the people who read it live and it makes me shake my head.  Here’s a map, provided by the blog site, of where, but NOT who, my readers are.  Your privacy is intact.

IMG_3786I don’t know if they get translations, which could be very interesting, or if they all speak English, but it makes me smile to see where my little blog travels.  Since I write about my own experiences, with a few observations thrown in, I wonder what they think of this traveling grandmother and her life in America with children and grandchildren.  Which post attracted someone in Sri Lanka or Albania, Croatia or Brazil?  I’ve had readers in Qatar, Oman, Iceland and Egypt.  Someone in 73 countries beside the U.S. has read one of my blogs at least once.

What does it mean?  I’m hoping these strangers from exotic places find something that we have in common or see this American kindly.  I hope they realize that this world is a lot smaller now and we need to see each other as neighbors and not enemies.  We’re all alike in our love for our family and friends, our desire to make the world a better place for the next generation.  If reading some simple thing I write brings someone on the other side of the planet a smile or recognition of a common interest, well, that’s just terrific.

In the meantime, I look at this map and marvel at the magic of communication.  Where, oh where, will this blog travel next?


Growing up in the 50s and 60s, there weren’t a lot of organized sports for kids.  We played the usual at school and learned softball/baseball, soccer, tetherball, etc.  At home, we played workup and kicked the ball around and were always doing something outside, just not very organized except to us.  I took golf lessons and swimming lessons, but there weren’t any teams for a girl to be on.  We had intramural basketball and some other sports in high school.  My brother played baseball when he was a kid, but I only remember going to a couple of games and we sat on the sides in the dirt.  The coach took the team in his car for ice cream sometimes.  My husband played baseball through junior high and there were, of course, teams in all the sports for the boys.  I had a couple of trophies, mainly for jr. golf tournaments or an occasional  swim medal on the 4th of July.

I’ll have to take partial blame for what my generation did to sports.  As parents of three girls and a boy, we made sure they were exposed to just about everything from music to scouting to church to sports.  Between my four, there were lessons or teams in these sports through the years:  soccer (all four played and one went through college on a partial scholarship, one of the first group of girls to get one), swimming (all four swam competitively), golf, tennis, softball/baseball, football, ice skating, track, basketball.  What’s left?  It was a time to encourage girls that they too could be a champion in whatever they wanted to do.

Clayton the football playerMostly, our fields were pretty primitive, barely mowed for play.  Uniforms were basic t-shirts or homemade when my girls started soccer.  There were no cleats.  That market grew quickly and they soon looked like mini-pros.  Still pretty basic though.

Scan 5I’ve been a scorekeeper and a timekeeper and mostly a carpooler.  On Saturdays, my husband worked and I drove all over the place.  I also drove to all the practices and lessons, often on all sides of town the same day.  (How many years was that?  Let’s say 20 years.  I shouldn’t have figured that out.) We didn’t encourage the new competitive leagues because it was too much of a burden on the family, travel, time and money wise to devote that much to just one of the kids.  The one who went that direction excelled on her high school team and got the scholarship anyway.

Scan 15I worked for many years at the local ice rink, doing marketing and working with the families.  I talked to aspiring Olympic moms and dads, telling them the benefits of the sport without giving them false hope their talented child would be one of the extremely few who made the Olympic team.  But, you can’t discourage parents when they have a talent.  I know that.

Scan 4My eight grandkids, 6 boys and 2 girls, are all in sports in a big way.  Well, the 4-year old isn’t there yet.  The others, ages 12-17, are now down to playing football (1), soccer (3), baseball (3) and basketball (5).  Several are on both school and competitive league games (or whatever they are called).  They play games all over the country all the time, sometimes with up to three games a day.  I will have to say my kids never played more than two a day and I can’t even remember that.  And they have practices, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a lifestyle choice for parents because it takes a lot of money and a lot of time for the whole family.  There are a lot of trophies, big trophies, and scouts who come to even the games of the youngest to recruit for high school, college and the pros.  There are specialized coaches, and uniforms and equipment bags and iPad apps for keeping stats and scores and paid coaches and parents who follow the games religiously.  It’s very sophisticated.


One change is the playing fields.  Communities realized there was money to be made by building mega-sports complexes and they built them and the teams came.  I know from my days at the ice rink that you have to keep the facilities filled to keep them going.  You need money to pay them off and maintain them.  There are volunteers to work in the snack bars, someone to clean the bathrooms, someone to manage the scheduling.  Tournaments are a boon to the American economy.  You haven’t traveled until you’re in a hotel/motel with a team of kids sharing the facility.  Family vacations are planned around tournaments or are part of the tournament weekend.  If you’re lucky, you can see a bit of the city where you are playing.  Throw some history or culture into the mix if you have time between trips to the fields.


Don’t think I’m being critical.  I wouldn’t dare, because I was a part of this for my kids and they want even better for their kids and so it goes.  I love watching the families at all the games.  I love the parents dressed in their fan gear.  I love the younger siblings playing in the dirt.  I like watching the young teammates, who always adopt a look of their own, just as they did when my kids played.  They know all the catch phrases and mimic the pros as they high five and yell popular chants.  There is a camaraderie between the parents and they encourage the kids.  There is some murmuring when a kid isn’t playing up to the high standards, but there is mostly a warm feeling.


As it’s always been, coaches are critical.  Since my own childhood, I’ve seen kids drop out of a sport they love because of a coach who made the experience miserable.  That still goes on.  A good coach can be so important.  Well, that holds true for everyone who works with kids.  If we can’t inspire them to want to learn or play better or be a better person, what’s going on?  We’ve all had the bad experience and it teaches us in a certain way, but there’s nothing better than a good experience.


So, what’s my point?  I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and bash the parents who have devoted so very much to their children.  They could certainly hover less or give fewer trophies or find time to just be together without anything organized, but they’re doing good things, too.  We all make our way as parents.  Even with the millions of parenting tips you get, you still have to find your own way for you and your children.


A friend once told me that the only thing we really give our children is memories.  That’s all the lifestyle choice we need to make when you get down to it.  It can be organized or not, just make memories, good ones!   As for me, I’m part of the mamarazzi, the proud grandmother taking a million pictures to remember, just as I always have.