Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-or-Treat : Featuring the Pinehurst Traffic Circle

Okay, this one really taxed my imagination.
Here it is Halloween, and I'm blogging about
the Pinehurst nightmare.  How do I do that?

Well, how about this?  For some people
the traffic circle is their
Well, personally, I've never had many complaints
about the traffic circle.  For any major wait I've
had on there, I can easily conjure up memories of
dozens of much-worse traffic tie-ups in other locales.

But if you frequent this traffic circle, have you ever
noticed the sign as you approach it on 15-501
from Aberdeen?
They couldn't have chosen a more fitting symbol than a

Well, sometimes you get a treat,
sometimes you just get a trick.
Be sure to see all three of my
Halloween posts before you leave.

Trick-or-Treat III

Just home from a wonderful visit with my
Georgia family, I wanted to post some highlights
of my visit.  Here's Daddy, who at 97 has
rekindled an interest in playing the harmonica.
His first experience with one was in his teens,
when he says you could buy one for a nickel.

Me, Caryn, and Buddy, all retired teachers now,
enjoyed our time with Daddy immensely.

The Halloween spirit was evident all about.
I did a couple of musical evenings as well as
playing some sacred music one afternoon.

I've made many friends among Daddy's
neighbors and caregivers.

At my final night singalong, Daddy agreed
to play something on the harmonica.  I wasn't
able to record that event, but I did record him
practicing "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"
the day before.  If he keeps practicing, I'll record
him again on my next visit.

Well, time to get ready for those
Trick-or-Treaters.  If any.  Be sure to read
Trick-or-Treat I and II.

Trick-or-Treat II

I have always loved Halloween, and as a kid
I loved our school Halloween carnival almost
as much as trick-or-treating.  For one thing, it
was always all day long on a Saturday.  It included
all kinds of games, a country store (my first yard
sale), the SPOOK HOUSE, and more.  In Atlanta,
I came across this poster I had created when I was
in 5th grade: The Skyland School Carnival.  Note
the lettering-- Daddy had brought home a special
alphabet stencil from work for the "shadow" effect.

Of course, to get Frankenstein right, I had
to practice over and over and over and over.

I continued to love Halloween fun during
my teaching career.  I blogged a couple of
years ago about funny epitaphs and that blog
still gets a lot of hits from around the world,
especially at Halloween.  Here are some
in case you haven't seen them. 

I had fun encouraging my students to make
up their own humorous epitaphs, then draw
a variety of tombstones.  Students would
embellish their "graveyards" with hands
coming up from the graves, bones or skulls
lying about, dead trees with bats and owls,
and so on.  I'm sure you can imagine.
Happy Halloween.  Be sure to read the posts
just before and just after this one.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trailers from the latest Video Kids

One problem with posting videos of the
grandkids is that I always intend to point
out things to look for-- then I can't remember
what they were.  Well in this video, young
Hunter goes for his first "drive" around our
house.  He encounters a little traffic, a couple
of fender benders, and speed bumps.  Stick
with it to the end to see a cameo by Kitty Cat,
much to Hunter's delight.  And then that big
smile celebrating his successful drive.
(For much of this one, I was literally a "trailer.")

Brianna has always loved the song "The Wheels
on theBus." In Grandma's rocker (which Grandma
is obviously off) Bri sings her way through the book
of the same title.  She had sung through the better
part of it before I could sneak away to get the
camera. Back I came to hear "The babies on the
bus go "wah-wah-wah" and "the mamas on the
bus go shh-shh-shh."  I was very impressed
with Bri's attention span-- it was the end of a
long day for her.  And by the way, she is gentler
on pop-up books than some 3rd graders I taught!

Judy and I were amazed at how Claire can get
around on the tricycle she got for her birthday
back in July.  Here, she negotiates her fairly level
front sidewalk with no help.  She ends up showing
off her mastery of "reverse."  And don't miss the
obligatory "cheese" at the end.

Claire is versatile (if I told her that she'd be
saying it next time I saw her).  Her song-and-dance
routines seem strikingly similar except for the words.
This one is "Oh, Be Careful, Little Eyes."
I would be totally out of breath if I tried to do these
double-time bounces while trying to sing.  What a
workout!  And at the end, the obligatory "cheese."
Why does that sound so familiar?

Well the only grandchild you haven't seen
in action is Evan, and here he is, to close out
this video fest.  There were SO many times that
I wished I had my camera in hand to film him
(what's "film"?).  And when I did have my camera
in hand you'll see what happens.  Not content to be
taped, he wants to HAVE that camera.  I hold him
at bay as long as I can, but he will not be denied.

I don't know how many of my readers will
persevere to the end, but as I've said before,
I think I'd blog if I were the only person who
viewed it.  After all, in the sense that a Weblog
is like a diary, it's not for everybody.  That said,
I hope these lovable kids brightened your day.

Action All Around

These pictures were not all taken on the same day,
but they're all recent.  And today is CATCH UP
DAY on the blog!

Hunter: "Did somebody say KETCHUP?"

Brianna loves for Grandma to share a book.
And she likes chewing on Grandpa's whistle
and bird-caller.

Hunter: "I'm just goin' for a spin. 
I'll be back soon."

Obviously, fear of snakes is a learned response.
Well, Hunter won't learn it around here.

Bri loves playing with this little Ferris Wheel
bank.  It was actually the first gift I ever gave
Judy, way back in 1975.  It plays "A Spoonful of
Sugar" when you drop in a penny.

But we make up all kinds of other games
when we drag out the pennies.  Like "Hide
the Hand."  Hmm.  Where is it this time?

Evan thinks this sofa is just the right size.

Evan: "And for my next trick, watch what
this train does when I tug the string."

Grandma discovers that Hunter does like
bananas, after all!

"But I'll still share," says Hunter. 
(He finished it, every bite)

I had to set the camera speed on "Sport"
to catch Claire dancing without blurring.
She dances to every song she sings, but
they all resemble an Iron Man workout.

Grandpa introduces Claire to a new video,
"Wheels, Wings, and Moving Things."
Claire loves anything that GOES, but
especially airplanes.  School buses, trains,
boats, and trucks are also well-liked.

Evan: "Grandma is SO huggable!"
Grandma: "Evan is SO huggable!"

Grandma: "Evan, I LOVE you!"
Evan: "Gramma, I WUV U 2!"

Evan: "Y'all are so suspicious.  What makes
you think I want to open this cabinet just
because I'm leaning on it?"

"Besides, I haven't cracked the combination yet."

As much fun as it is to play with all these
children, it's also wonderful to watch the
countless ways they entertain themselves.
Play is the work of a child.

"Now if I could just learn to set the
self-timer, I could take a picture of
my own cuteness."

Claire can really cruise on the tricycle she
got for her birthday last July.  When supervised
she's got a nice level road.  Her front walk is
a nice practice area, too.  (Soon-to-be Drag Strip!)

"Who says trains have to have tracks?
Is it just another silly grown-up rule?"

"Hmm . . . . What next?"
The wheels are always turning.

Happy Trails until next time!
And next time may well include 3 or 4
well-chosen videos of these lovable rascals.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It seems like just a short while ago I was
apologizing for not having many recent
pictures of the grandkids.  That was then,
this is now.  Prepare yourself: Here They Come!

Evan: "Besides, I made him an offer
he couldn't refuse . . . ."

We thought Bri and Claire might be old
enough to play with this wooden train set.
And yes, they love it.  But here, it's Evan
building the "train track to nowhere."

Ah, history buffs like Grandpa, Evan and
Hunter debate the qualities of their
favorite presidents.  Thanks to Aunt Caryn
for the quilt-- it's now toddler tested.

Gentlemen, go to your corners.  Hunter
inspects our washing machine box while
Evan figures out how to manipulate our
luggage carrier/toy receptacle.

Sand is a multi-purpose agent for Brianna.
Good for cooking, digging, and pouring.
Can't get too much of that stuff.

We all love watching Claire's curls flutter
as she swings.  The girls are learning to pump
their legs-- less work for Grandma.

Hunter: "It's a fight to the death-- Hunter the Bold
versus the Evil Serpent."

"Hey Evan, could you spare a minute to
help me get my finger unstuck from the
Evil Serpent's mouth?"

Evan's not camera shy.  He's a smile waiting
for a photo op.  But he'd rather be
holding the camera.

Hunter is drawn like a magnet to the
scene of activity.

"Grandpa, did you shave today?"

"Grandpa, will you help me find your muscle?"

"Ugh.  This shirt tastes better than it smells."

Evan and Hunter: "No, we don't worry about
him getting away.  He's totally domesticated."

But when someone needs a bottle, I do slip
away to go hot-rodding with Claire.

This is a one-seater, but Bri ambles along
just in case we need a push.

Believe me, Bri knows her stuff.

My dad and brother often call to check in
during the afternoon, sometimes while the
kids are at our house.  They're accustomed
to hearing me say when the phone rings,
"That must be Grandpa Loyd." They don't mind
me taking the call outdoors as long as it doesn't
put a stop to the fun. Heaven forbid.

Hallmark, make me an offer.
My heart just melts.

As with the wagon, sometimes Bri would
just rather push than be pushed.  And that's
just fine with Claire.

With the girls entertaining themselves for
a while, moms Jennifer and Amanda get a
little extra one-on-one time with their
handsome fellas.   No, not their hubbies, as
handsome as they are.

Claire: "I find it's nearly always worthwhile
when visiting neighbors to check what's in
their compost.  Most instructive and revealing."

Hunter: "Okay, I've got this juggling of two
balls down pat.  Next step is learning to let
go of them.  And then, adding the third ball."

Aunt Amanda knows just where to tickle
Evan to elicit that smile and a giggle.
Doesn't look like he minds, does it?
Yes, it was a full afternoon of child neglect
and abuse at the Loyd house, fully documented.