Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back in Action

When I say "Back in Action," I'm actually referring to around home.  I've been in action-packed Atlanta for a short visit and got to see Buddy, Daddy, Caryn, Brantley, Lindsey, and Anthony, among others.  Had some great conversations with Daddy about his umpteen relatives and had two after-dinner concert/singalongs.  Caryn's crew provided a great Chic-fil-a picnic which we ate under a breezy covered patio at Daddy's place.  Great visit.

But the title really refers to getting home to Judy and those grandchildren.  We had a blast keeping Claire Saturday and Sunday.  We did everything under the sun.  She had only been in her new house a couple of days, but knew that place like the back of her hand.  It's a really cool house, classic "Southern Pines," in my opinion.

Both days we visited the nice neighborhood park just a half mile from Claire's house.  It has THREE slides, and lots more stuff.  Claire is sitting on her blanket in this photo because our Sunday visit to the park was mid-afternoon and the swing was rather hot.

She did a whole lot of climbing, too.

We also went on a couple of stroller rides in the neighborhood.  Just a couple of houses down is a really neat home with this tin-crafted airplane.  Claire just LOVES airplanes, even moreso on this weekend because she knew Mommy and Daddy would be coming home on an airplane.

The family obviously loves other transportation, too.  Their L & D Rocky Railroad sign prepares you for the next pictures. . .

Well, look at that!  They've got a whole village in their yard, featuring the railroad.

And since you probably didn't detect it in the previous picture, note that the train actually enters the house through a window.  How cool is that? Anyway, I liked it better than Judy or Claire did.  Maybe if the train had been running.

Neighborhood adventures were not over.  The Kirby house is right on a roundabout.  That's right.  But this one has been in Southern Pines for decades.  And it's such a quiet neighborhood, I suspect you rarely have to yield the right of way.  So quiet that you can walk to this little bench in the center of the roundabout and play for a while without seeing many cars go by.  Since Claire likes all things "pine," I poked holes in magnolia leaves and made "yella umbrellas."  She took over and entertained herself for some time.  The pinestraw on the bench was left from the day before.  Different day, different game.

Evan spent the weekend with Matt's family, and he was returned to us about an hour before his bedtime on Sunday evening.  Happy as always, he didn't even whimper when he was laid in his crib that night.

By the following Wednesday, Judy and I were back on schedule with Brianna and Hunter for the afternoon.  Bri can still try to get a "private reading" from Grandma, but Hunter is getting doggone good at injecting himself into the conversation.  You can't keep a good man down.

Bri thinks cucumbers and oyster crackers are just the ticket to snack on during a good book.

And as for Hunter, he'll just snack on whatever's handy.

Okay, people.  If you won't let me chew on sandals, I'll just put together this way-advanced Sesame Street puzzle.  How 'bout dat?

Now Bri has moved on to yogurt.  And from the wide-eyed look you'd think we were showing her "Bride of Frankenstein."  But know, this is just the climax of "The Farmer in the Dell."  She knows it from start to finish.   And if I try to fool her by ending with "Grandpa stands alone" or "Kittycat stands alone," she busts me: "No-o-o-o-o-o.  Cheese stands along!"

I'll close with a cute video of Claire's climbing exploits.  This is in her own sideyard.  She climbs as high as she wants to go, then starts calling DADDY, knowing full well he's coming home on an airplane that night.  She's not scared, she knows Daddy's not going to help her down this time, but she puts on quite a show before I offer my assistance.  As Jennifer and Amanda will attest, we have a couple of drama queens. 
All of us will be at Claire's big 2nd birthday bash tomorrow.  Hard to get this crowd all in one place at the same time.  Hopefully, my camera will be there, too.  Battery's charged and ready!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Spontaneous Father's Day Post

This Father's Day is a good one. I have more to be thankful for than many Father's.  The pictures below speak for themselves, so I'll just make brief explanatory remarks.

This is daughter Amanda, wife Judy, me, and daughter Jennifer.  The occasion was that they all joined me on my grand finale class field trip to the House in the Horseshoe before I retired in 2008.  What a nice gift that was.  My students loved it, too!

Since then, Jennifer and Amanda have found the best way to make parents happy is to make them Grandparents.

Amanda and Stephen have given us Brianna and Hunter.

Jennifer and Matt have given us Claire and Evan.

And for me, my journey toward fatherhood had its beginning when my wonderful mother and father tied the knot in 1948.  Both of them taught me everything I know about love and family.  I hope to continue to pass those lessons along.  And at 97, I think Daddy is still teaching me.
Happy Father's Day to all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Eclectic Collector of Collections

I have ALWAYS enjoyed collecting things, as a child and as an adult.  The biggest difference between me and most collectors is that my collections are almost uniformly without value except to me.  A few of them have educational value or entertainment value and I can occasionally share them with interested individuals or groups.  But most just give me simple pleasure without doing any harm.  Except they take up space, some more than others.  That's why, if we ever move, I'm going to have son-in-law Matt build me a nice sized storage building.

In addition to my many collections, I have several hobbies which don't involve collecting.  I'm going to list both here, with occasional comments or words of explanation.  Any one of these could be a future blog post, but today is just a brief overview.

The Collections
  • Stamps   ~   began with going through old envelopes as a child, then buying bags of foreign stamps at Woolworth's to place in albums
  • Coins  ~   my favorites are Indian Head pennies and Stone Mountain half dollars
  • Rocks   ~  began at Camp Cherokee with unusual finds from campouts
  • License Plates   ~   from my own cars and a couple of trashpile finds
  • Vintage Glassware   ~   much found on our own property in trash piles
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers   ~  following in my Mama Gaddis's footsteps
  • Civil War items and books   ~  began by age 6
  • Books  ~  have loved books and stories as long as I can remember
  • Comic Books   ~   dating back to the '50's.  DC (Superman) and Dell are favorites
  • Brainteasers  ~   loved them as a student, collected them as a teacher
  • Baseball Cards   ~  collected in 1965, my first year in Little League.  Willy Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and more
  • Games   ~   I have ALWAYS loved games, both indoor and outdoor, old and new
  • Toys   ~  I love old toys, creative toys, and durable toys
  • Vintage Videotapes   ~   the most eclectic of my collections
  • Record Albums   ~   As long as they keep making diamond needles and turntables 
  • Fake Snakes   ~   this isn't your typical rubber snakes.  I invent my own
  • Rubber Stampers   ~   something for every occasion.  Saving these for the grandkids when they're a little more "responsible."


  • The Civil War
  • World War II
  • History in general
  • Genealogy, Loyd Family History
  • Photography
  • Waterfall Hikes
  • String Tricks
  • Playing the Piano, other music
  • Volunteering
  • Storytelling
  • Writing Limericks
I could go on and on with either of these lists.  It didn't take me so long to compile them.  I get untold satisfaction from these varied activities and the surprising destinations they have taken me to.  My greatest pleasure is when I can share them with someone else and see the fascination grow before my eyes.  What do you collect?

My father, Marvin E. Loyd in World War II
Mama Loyd and her family-- genealogy

Singalong at a Daycare

Cave hiking in Kentucky

The marks of the Civil War surround my birthplace.

My Roy Rogers gear.

Salt and Peppers.  And these are just the COWS!

One of my favorite dragons-- solid pewter.

Just as I was completing this post more ideas came to me.  I had not listed that I collect dragons or old tools.  And that one of my favorite pastimes is cutting and splitting wood.
When people ask me how I keep busy I don't have to hesitate to respond.  And this is just what I do when I don't have the grandbabies-- my newest and most favoritest hobby AND collection!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Summer List for Students: Ways to Keep from Getting Bored

When I taught 3rd grade, one activity we always did at school during the waning days of the school year was to have a brainstorm: Ways to Keep from Getting Bored this Summer.  I would ask the students to post it on their refrigerator and always consult the list for something to do before bugging their parents with the time honored "I'm bored."

The list was student-generated, though I was allowed to make suggestions, too.  Each year's list was different, but certain favorites always seemed to appear.  Maybe you have school-age children this would be helpful in keeping productively engaged-- or at least entertained (we do what we have to).  This is my list from 2008, the last year I taught.  The list is not categorized, nor did I delete some items that didn't happen to be my favorites. 
  • Watch TV
  • Play video games
  • Make snacks
  • Draw, sketch, or color
  • Make crafts out of recyclableds
  • Make a fort or playhouse (indoors or out)
  • Practice Math
  • Play sports
  • Board games
  • Ride bikes or dirt bikes
  • Read books
  • Write or add to your autobiography
  • Make a humor magazine
  • Call a friend
  • Pick flowers
  • Write poems or stories
  • Jump rope
  • Exercise
  • Have a sleepover
  • Dance
  • Catch bugs or small animals
  • Swim
  • Make up home water games
  • Write a letter to a friend that moved
  • Earn money
  • Start a collection
  • Camp out
  • Sell lemonade
  • Invent a game
  • Play all kinds of card games, including solitaire
  • Practice somersaults, headstands, and gymnastic stunts
  • Entertain a friend or neighbor
  • Help your parents
  • Watch videos
  • Explore the internet (with permission)
  • Learn about your family history
  • Hot Wheels Races
  • Imagine --- anything
  • Walk a dog
  • Do pet activities
  • Go fishing
  • Clean your equipment
  • Listen to the radio
As you can see, the list is both random and ECLECTIC.  Maybe that's why I love it.  The activities require varying amounts of supervision and equipment.  Some can be done alone, others require more children.  I think I could brainstorm another 15 or 20 right now (learn to make hand shadows, learn string tricks, blow bubbles. . . )  If you use this list or make your own, be sure to make rules and boundaries very clear to your child.   Hope this saves someone from pulling out their hair or from having that last nerve trampled on.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Where Was Hunter?

Yeah, I know.  In my last blog Hunter disappeared early and wasn't heard from again.  But just so I don't hear from him in a threatening way, this one's all about him.
He doesn't seem a bit peeved, does he?

Grandpa Ken got some quality time with Hunter at Hunter's house a few days ago.  It was a hot day, but his swing was in the shade.

I wish Bri was here so I could find out how to make you talk.  Talking to Grandpa gets old.

I miss Bri.  Oh, and you, too Mommy.  And you, three, Grandma.

Same Hunter, different day.  At our house all the books and toys are readily accessible.  Just try to keep this crawler in a confined space.  I dare you.

He's not just a crawler, he's a climber, too.  And climbing on Grandpa is just the ticket. He's up to six teeth now, but just four when this picture was taken.

You're right, Grandpa.  The string did go through one ear and out the other!

And that's where Hunter was.  See you soon.

Potpourri Returns

It's been a long time since I did a "Potpourri" blog.  Here's a scattering of shots from the month of May.

This picture wasn't taken until May, but the house actually burned on April 30.  NO NO NO!  Not OUR house.  Sorry if I scared you.  This vacant house is as old or older than ours -- a century plus.  Our great neighbors, the Cleaver family, had lived here forever.  Almost.  The lonely chimney reminds me of
"Sherman's Sentinels," the trail of such images Sherman's marauding army left from Atlanta to Savannah in 1864.

Say "Hi" to Hunter.  He's multi-tasking: learning to drive while practicing his ABC's.  Now say "Bye."  You won't see him again until the next blog post, which will be ALL his.

Some of you saw this image of a Pandorus Sphinx moth which found refuge in our porch during a recent thunderstorm.  Its name combines two of my favorite Greek myths (now are you burning to look 'em up)?

On Memorial Day, my friend Ray and I did an old-fashioned singalong at Manor Care Health and Rehab.  My mascot Chipper always dresses appropriately for these functions.  And he is always very popular with the ladies.  I guess they haven't heard him sing. (Yeah, I'm just jealous).

Evan is a master at holding his own bottle (as is Hunter).  Which is interesting since neither Bri nor Claire ever did much of that.  Or needed to.  Seems somebody (who shall remain nameless, but my initials are . . .) was always grabbing those girls to hold 'em.  Anyway, nobody starves in our family.

Well, on a Tuesday, Judy and I just happened to have all four grandchildren together for a while.  Hunter was asleep and Jennifer snapped a few shots of the rest of us sharing a storytime.  Brianna gets to flip the flaps on the left side of the page.

Claire flips the flaps on the right side of the page.
And Evan seems to stoically accept that there are no other sides of a page for flaps to be flipped.  Oh, well.

Not all references to "wild life" are about grandchildren.
This is (we believe) a grosbeak, an iridescent blue bird with red-orange wing bars that we see occasionally at the feeder or bird bath.  Or strutting around in the driveway, acting suicidal.  Be careful, little birdie.

Them's the pics.  But I can't resist squeezing in a corny headline I detected in this week's Moore County Schools Newsletter:

Two Moore County Teachers
Named Kenan Fellows

Now, I'll admit that Kenan Fellows is not an everyday name.  And for TWO teachers to be named that is unusual.  But is it really newsworthy with all the local, state, national, and world news to report?  I think not.
What?  You say a Kenan Fellow is what?
Um . . . never mind.