Category: High School and College Years

Bringin’ Down da House.

This is the house my parents built.

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It’s where I grew up.

The above picture was taken in the early 70’s, before any landscaping, or tanks (ponds), or fences, etc.

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This one, above, was taken in the 80’s, back when we had a white van that was perfect for driving lots of family members to away Baylor football games.

Do you see all the cracks on the outer surface of the stucco? Shifting ground and a poor foundation made for many cracks and repairs over the years…something my parents never were able to properly remedy.

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Many wonderful memories are held in the walls of that house. It was my home from 2nd grade through high school.

It was where I brought my boys to see their grandparents, to breathe clean air and run with abandonment…to view a lot less concrete.

Fast forward past many years of shifting ground, lots of foundation repairs, and the deaths of both of my parents and what you get is a house that should no longer be standing.

Believe me when I say, it needed to come down.

So, this past Fall, my sister, husband and I had been working, feverishly, for 4-6 weeks, cleaning out 50-plus years of memories, of stuff.

Oh, the stuff.

Example:

My childhood bedroom had not changed in decades! Cheerleader uniforms, camp t-shirts, dried Homecoming mums, scrapbooks, music theory medals, old love letters, college notebooks and projects…all still in my bedroom…all in exactly the same place I had put them, so many years ago. I could walk into that room and be instantly thrown back in time…1970…1982…1989….Hours could pass as I reminisced, sorting through the wonderful memories.

Now, my stuff, along with all of my parents’ stuff and all of my sister’s stuff had to find a new home, whether that meant my house, my sister’s house, the dump, or Caritas (a local donation and distribution center).

(We tried to donate as much as we could, but some things just weren’t good enough to pass off as “gently used.”)

(People who are in need of your used stuff deserve good used stuff, not crappy used stuff, in my opinion.)

By the time we were done purging, we were utterly sick of the house.

We were worn out…emotionally and physically.

We had been making important decisions about where things should go, daily, for weeks on end, and our brains and bodies were exhausted.

So, as the day approached for the demolition to begin, we rejoiced. It was time, by golly!

Good riddance, old, dirty, falling apart house!

Then.

The day arrived.

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It was a nice, cool morning. The sun was shining. I had my camera. Our friends brought kolaches and fried pies.

It was a house demolition PAR-TAY!

My sister and I even posed in front of the house for a picture to commemorate the day. We were smiling and laughing.

Just as the excavator revved its engine, my sister and I moved away from the house and took our appointed positions to get the best videos and photographs.

We were ready.

Surprisingly, though, for me, the first swing and crunch of the claw into the stucco, wood and glass was like a punch in the stomach.

I was not as prepared for this as I thought.

In less than five minutes, my parents’ bedroom was gone from the house.

Gone.

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Surreal is a good word.

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While I know a house does not make a home and a building is only temporary, watching it being destroyed so seemingly carelessly, no, violently! was upsetting.

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I wonder if this is how someone feels when they lose their house to a fire or a hurricane?

Even though we got all our stuff out of the house, it still hurt to watch it disappear before our eyes.

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Isn’t that crazy? There was a whole house there!

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And, the left-over pile consisted of small, relatively tiny parts when it was all said and done.

Eventually, the bulldozer, and skid-steer, began the process of removing the rubble.

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So fast…

It’s amazing to think that something that took months to design and build, years to make and hold memories, took mere minutes to destroy.

 

(There’s a life lesson in that, y’all…how precious the things and people we spend time building up, can so quickly and easily be torn down…and it doesn’t take a bulldozer…just an untamed tongue wielding words and anger…)

 

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Now, the space is cleared and wide open.

Empty.

As if nothing was ever there.

Again, surreal.

Yet, there was something there.

It was a home.

A home full of love, dysfunction, dinners around the table, arguments, important decision making, tears, laughter.

…imperfect people who called themselves family trying as hard as they could to do the very best they could.

…and many good, good memories.

Goodbye big house, with the red roof, on the hill.

You were well loved.

E.

 

 

 

Thrill-Cam

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I often get asked, “Why ThrillCam?”

Okay, not often, but occasionally.

No…

To be perfectly honest, rarely…

Rarely do they ask.

But!

On that rare occasion, I must first ask them for clarification.

The person usually responds, “No, Elizabeth, I understand why you married him. What I mean is, why the NAME ThrillCam?”

I know I’ve explained this before in various blog posts, but it finally dawned on me to add some video footage to back my story.

You see, I’ve called ThrillCam, ThrillCam, since the 1980’s when we met and fell in love in college.

(Baylor University, by the way–Sic ’em!!!)

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IT WAS THE EIGHTIES, PEOPLE!!!!

We were young, skinny, had more hair, and gosh, I want those legs back…

Anyway, during that time, The David Letterman Show was doing an reoccurring segment on his show called, Late Night Thrill-Cam!

(Oh, and my husband’s name is Cameron.)

Scroll forward to the time 7:10 to watch the segment:

The ThrillCam was such a roaring success, the David Letterman Show added new versions of the ThrillCam:

(Audio is not great, sorry.)

If I remember correctly, David Letterman also had the Late Night CowCam. (I’m thinking the whole Late Night ________Cam fizzled out after the CowCam. Can’t imagine why…)

Anyway, my husband’s nickname has stuck, at least, for me. Surely no one else would want to call him ThrillCam, which, I believe I’m safe in saying, he greatly appreciates.

No matter what you call him, he’ll always be my beloved.

E.

Dancing with a limp…

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Nearly 40 years.

That’s how long I’ve known Tammie.

Crazy, huh? That’s a long time.

Boy, have we got stories from our childhood to tell!

Tammie actually stayed in the area where we grew up and I left.

Now, 20 years later, I’ve moved back and, thankfully, we’ve re-connected.

Our first reunion came after my mother died of cancer. Tammie came to her funeral in 2010 and stayed after everyone else left. She just sat with me in the quiet. We were able to catch up a little. Honestly, though, I can’t remember much of what we talked about. I just think it was the familiarity that I remember most. She was someone who knew my mom way back when.

That memory and time together will forever mean the world to me.

A few months after I moved back, we found ourselves together at another funeral.

This time is was her son’s.

Her precious hazel-eyed 18 year old son lost his battle to cancer in December of 2012. I wasn’t able to sit with her, in the quiet, after his funeral–it was a packed house with hundreds of friends and family to honor Cam–but she knew I was there.

Unlike someone who is born with a literal hole in their heart, Tammie can’t have surgeries to repair her hole. She will have to walk with a limp, so to speak, for the rest of her life. And, there will be days when the rain or cold makes the limp worsen and ache.

But…

Enter some sunshine: David.

While David can’t ever completely fill the void that Cam left–he’d never try to–he has proven to be a rock Tammie has leaned into even before Cam got sick. (David and Tammie have known each other since high school–he was a year or two behind us. Crazy how those long-ago relationships can find their way back into our lives.)

The really great news?

THEY’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!

And, guess what?

I’m pretty sure they will be dancing at the wedding …and beyond!!

Limp and all.

The best part, they’ll have each other to hold on to.

God bless you, Tammie and David. I pray our Father blesses and protects your marriage for many, many, many years to come. I pray you grow old, crotchety, and completely inseparable because of your commitment to each other! May your dependence on Jesus bind you together and strengthen you as individuals and as a couple. May you continue to honor God as you love each other, your children, family and friends.

And, may you laugh and dance, often….

E.

It’s all about MEME!

I’d like to thank Lana Rush, from Along Came the Bird, for bestowing the honor of a meme award upon me! (It’s not really an award, but it sure feels like one!)

A meme (rhymes with “team”) is, according to the all-mighty Wikipedia,”an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

The word has, apparently, been altered to include the internet. So, an internet meme is an idea that “may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase.”

About.com says this:

Memes” are cultural symbols and social ideas that spread virally. In the same way that a flu bug travels from person to person, memes travel through social media and email.”

For example, the Star Wars kid. Remember him? (Click on bold words for link.)

He is considered a meme.

Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance video on YouTube is (or was) the number one watched video of all time.  It is a meme.

The Epic Fail website is a meme.

You get the idea.

But, now…

Now, I could be a meme!!!

And, it feels good. Oh, so good.

My friend Lana relates it to standing in the virtual blog gymnasium, wearing your knit shorts, tube socks, and a stinky P.E. shirt, waiting, waiting to be be chosen for a blog team.

Well, my friends, Lana is the Captain of her team and SHE CHOSE ME!!!

They like me! They really, really like me!!!

(Thank you Sally Field.)

So, without further ado, I shall now fulfill the requirements of this very worthy and meaningful award.

In this particular meme, I am to tell you ten things about me that you may not know.

Or want to know, for that matter.

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1. When I was Baylor for college, I traveled to England with one of my theatre professors and a small group of fellow actors. While there, I attended numerous Shakespeare performances.

One afternoon, my professor, Ms. Cook, and I shared a Coke with Dame Judi Dench (she was not a Dame at the time).  If you don’t know who Judi Dench is, please find out now. She’s probably one of the best actresses to ever walk a stage or grace the movie screen.

I don’t think she remembers meeting me.

Also, while on the same trip, I met Sir Anthony Hopkins backstage at his performance of King Lear. He was sick but still performing, non-stop, in two different shows at the time. I had the honor of handing Mr. Hopkins (he was not a Sir at the time) a jar of honey for his throat. He kissed me on the cheek.

Somehow I doubt he remembers me either.

2. When I first started blogging, I had an odd obsession with photographing eyes. I even went so far as to consider creating a coffee table book of people’s eyes. I haven’t let go of the idea, but I’m also not convinced it will sell like hotcakes. (If you look at some of my very first blog posts, you’ll see lots of friends’ eyeballs. Weird, I know.)

3. I’m a nail-biter. Embarrassing to admit. Bad habit. Wish I didn’t. But, I’m too cheap to have my nails done in order to protect them.

4. I can sing just like Ethel Merman. (The Pioneer Woman does NOT have the corner market on Ethel impersonations.)

I’ve been singing Ethel-style since I was in college. Maybe before. (I wanted to have a sing-off with The Pioneer Woman when she was in town signing her cookbooks, but security would not let me close enough. Eventually, they hand-cuffed me and tasered me as they drug me away.  All the while I was screaming, “There’s No Business Like Show Business…”) (I’m really surprised she hasn’t blogged about it.)  (I would have won. I just know it.)

5. Presently, I am hooked on Starbuck’s Protein Bistro Boxes. I can’t believe I’m willing to spend $5 on something I can easily throw together, but I do.

I promise, now that I’ve written this, I will commit to boiling my own eggs and gathering my own grapes and apples and cheese for a homemade protein box. The only thing I know I’ll have trouble duplicating is the yummy raisin scone-like bread thingy.  Anyone have any suggestions?

6. Speaking of food…I love crawfish. I cannot accurately describe my intense love and obsession with mudbugs. Every year about this time, I begin craving the little red buggers. (And, I’m so proud that my oldest son has inherited the same crawfish-craving gene.)

I could eat pounds…POUNDS…of them. Easily.

(One year, I announced to our church of approximately 1,000 that I could out-eat any man at the church’s crawfish boil.

Honestly.

I threw down the gauntlet.

Boasting that I could eat more than anyone there.

It was a proud moment for my husband. Not.)

I didn’t win, by the way.

But, boy did I try.

7. I grew up on a working cattle ranch. Although, my parents wouldn’t necessarily have called it a ranch. They called it “a place.”  (The King Ranch is a ranch. We owned a place.)

I didn’t get highly involved in the workings of the ranch, simply because my daddy didn’t make me. But, I can drive a tractor and plow a hay patch, if needed. I can bottle-feed a baby calf. And, I can eat Mountain Oysters. (Click on the link, if you don’t know what Mountain Oysters are. You will either have a much greater appreciation for me or you will be utterly revolted. Maybe both.)

8. I used be able to burp the alphabet.

I haven’t tried in a number of years, so I’m not sure I have the lung capacity to do it anymore. (I’ve never told my boys this tidbit because I do not want to encourage them.)

9. I’m married to a man of the cloth. Yep. I’m a pastor’s wife.

I do not wing my hair. I do not play the piano (anymore). I do not have extra long mascara-caked eye-lashes. I cannot cry easily. I do not have socials for the women’s Sunday school classes. I never taught Bible drill. And, sadly, I cannot name every book in the Bible in order (something I’m not proud of).

I’m pretty much a failure when it comes to being the pastor’s wife.

But, my husband is no longer the Senior Pastor (he chose to step away and is teaching and worship leading–it’s all good!), so I don’t have to worry if I live up to the expectations (or horrible stereo-types).

10. I’ve met and danced with the drummer for the 80’s mega band Duran-Duran at the oh-so(back in the 80’s)-popular dance club The London Hippodrome.

Let’s just say, the Lord was looking out for me on so many levels. I was young and naive. I was so very out of my league, being a teenaged country bumpkin from a town of 363 (Saaallluttte!) trying to live it up at one of the most popular dance clubs in the world (at the time).

11. And, because it’s all about meme, I’m adding one more thing you didn’t know about me. Before we moved to our present location, we lived closer to Houston. Two houses down from us lived Booker T.

The wrestler.

Here, this will help:

NOW, you can be impressed.

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Al-righty, then.

There you have it.

My Ten Eleven Things.

But, enough about me…

What do YOU think about me?

teehee.

I now must bestow the award on other bloggers (who are supposed to now answer the 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me), whom I read regularly. Check them out! You might find one or two you’d like to follow! (By the way, it was hard to choose who to pick and who to leave out. Maybe I’ll get another chance, like Lana, to choose more bloggers for a meme award.)

1. The Quiet Life  Donna has a beautiful heart to go along with her beautiful blog. She’s an encourager. Her quiet life is contagious and appealing. And, I think you’ll love her daily photographs.

2. The Collective  I started following this blog, written by Andy Bondurant a year or so ago. He discusses a plethora of topics that relate to business and life. (I’ve shared many inspired links and thoughts thanks to him.)

3. Ramblings of a Normal Guy  I’ve known Brad since my Baylor days. I’m not so sure I’d say he’s normal (winky/smiley face), but he’s got a great big heart and a love for people. Check him out!

4.  A Holy Experience  Ann Voskamp’s blog is simply beautiful. She probably won’t play along with this, because she’s a big-time author who has better things to do, but I wanted to link back to her blog. It’s, as I said, beautiful.

5. Kisses from Katie   This is another blogger who is beyond this silliness, but I wanted to share a link to her beautiful, life-saving work/words. Katie is a missionary in Africa and her words and heart are so very big…moving. My little blog is so meaningless and silly compared to all of these blogs… This one truly inspires me.

6. Along Came the Bird  I’ve mentioned Lana both in this post and in previous posts. She entertains while chronicling her family’s life with the addition of Lily, a special needs child.  Lana is funny, realistic, open, and a teacher at heart. (Thanks, Lana, for choosing me for your team!!)

E.

Some Favorites of 2011, Part One

It feels sort of weird tooting my own horn, but I thought I’d list a few links back to some of my favorite posts from last year.

Grab a cup of coffee, or a sweet tea, and kick up your feet.

Read and enjoy.

And, thank you.

Thank you for giving my little alcove of the internet the time of day.

E.

(to read the posts, click on the months above the pictures)

January:

Who did you have hanging on your wall? This post has actually continued to generate quite a bit of traffic.  Weird what folks are searching for on the internet…

February:

February is always filled with stories from our neighborhood’s annual Hunks vs. Punks Game. And, every February I worry my husband and his Hunk friends will land themselves in the E.R.

So far, the old guys have beat the odds.

This particular post is “interactive!”

March:

My mother passed away on the 1st of March.

My father had already passed away in 2008.

Then there were two.

April:

Even though I was still feeling sucker-punched after my mother’s death, there were some joyful times to follow.  Like my youngest’s birthday.

You can’t help but laugh and have fun with HUMONGUS boxing gloves…

May:

There were some fun posts in May.  (At least, I thought they were fun.) In fact, I had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to highlight, but eventually I settled on this one.

I got a lot of feedback from this particular post.

To be continued…

E.

I just can’t help it…

I just can’t help it. Those of us who love Baylor University are still reeling from the upset over Oklahoma last Saturday.

What an amazing game!!

I grew up loving the Bears.

I think I was born with Green & Gold blood coursing through my veins.

You see, my mother, her father, his two brothers, his sister, almost all their children, my uncle, and many other cousins all attended Baylor. In fact, our family has been given the First Families of Baylor Award commemorating the multiple generations in our family that have attended Baylor.
(I even married a Baylor Bear!)

Baylor was my one and only choice, when it came to deciding where to go to college.

(That is me and my Freshman roommate, Marcy, the first day we met.)

To say I love my alma mater is an understatement.

Football has always been a big part of my Baylor history, as well. I attended games during our winning years, back in the 70’s while Grant Teaff was coach.

But, the same could be said of the lean years, after Coach Teaff. Just about every weekend in the Fall, I could be found near the 50 yard line in the alumni section at Baylor’s football stadium.

We’ve even followed the Bears to different locals all over the country.


…to play Army


…UConn
…Georgia, Notre Dame,& UNLV, just to name a few
…bowl games like The Liberty Bowl, The Sun Bowl, The Bluebonnet Bowl, The Alamo Bowl…the list goes on.

And, of course, we attend games right there in Waco, still today, sitting in the very same seats my grandparents purchased when the stadium was built.

Needless to say I have a long history with Baylor. And when they do well, as they’ve done in basketball over the last few years, and now football, I find myself standing a little taller, a little prouder. (Let me say for the record, I am proud of the academic & artistic accomplishments the university has made, as well.)

(Robert Griffin, III for Heisman!!)

Even if you don’t watch much football, you might enjoy this fairly short highlight reel from the BU/Oklahoma game. The commentator (Baylor alumni John Morris) makes it quite exciting! (As if the game itself wasn’t exciting enough on its own.)

Enjoy!

And, Sic ’em Bears!

E.

The 80’s revisited…in my closet

My favorite decade was the 80s, meaning, my high school and college years were in the 80s, therefore, I love so many things about that time period. 

Yes, I still listen to the 80s station on Satellite Radio. 

Yes, I have Madonna, Prince, Journey, Terrence-Trent D’Arby, The Police, U2, Simple Minds, Bananarama, Bon Jovi, Mr. Mister, Boston, The Cars, AC/DC, and even Corey Hart, stations set on Pandora….

Don’t forget: Jefferson Starship, A-ha, Lionel Richie, Poison, Rick Astly, The Go-Gos, Phil Collins, Queen, ZZ Top, Tears for Fears, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Steve Miller Band, Sting, Richard Marx, Kool and the Gang, Cyndi Lauper, Twisted Sister, Level 42, R.E.M., Foreigner, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Loverboy, Robert Palmer, Culture Club, George Michael, Kenny Loggins, Billy Joel, Toto, Howard Jones, Depeche Mode, Sade, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac, and Talking Heads…. Just to name a few.

And, oh, those movies…  Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, She’s Having a Baby,(okay, any John Hughes film), St. Elmo’s Fire, A Fish Called Wanda, E.T., Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Lost Boys, Lean on Me, The Princess Bride, TAPS, Stand By Me, Top Gun, Ruthless People, The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Howard the Duck, Airplane, Back to the Future, Natl Lampoon’s Vacation, Tootsie, Amadeus, Ladyhawke, Beverly Hills Cop(s), the first three Indiana Jones movies, An Officer and a Gentleman, Empire Strikes Back, Ordinary People, Return of the Jedi, The Big Chill, Ghostbusters, 9 1/2 Weeks, Born on the 4th of July, Mystic Pizza, A View to a Kill, Aliens, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

I have very, very fond memories of the 80s.

But, there are some things that weren’t so fabulous about the 80s.

Like the hair….

Mercy, it was big.  At least, it was big on my head.  Marcy, my college room-mate had manageable, lovely, tame hair. 

I, on the other hand, had the towering inferno.

Then there were the clothes.

Not so hot, either.

This is just a sampling of a couple of outfits that were still hanging in my closet back home.  I threw out a lot of the clothing from the 80s, but I wanted to highlight a few of my very favorite items that were still in my closet.

I lived in that geometric shape-covered dress that was from, I think, United Colors of Benetton.  Remember that store?  Is it still around anywhere?  It’s certainly not in my college-town mall anymore. 

Oh, how hip I thought I was to be able to shop in a store like that.  So European for this small town country girl.

The dress was shapeless and sack-like.  All the no-no’s that Stacy and Clinton would bust me on if I were caught on an episode of, “What Not to Wear.”  What’s so sad about it is, back then, I had a figure to show off, and I didn’t!  Nowadays, I would like to live in that dress!! (Although, I’d add long, flowy sleeves.)

And, look at the item in the middle.

What in the world is that?

Well, it was basically a knockoff of an aviator’s jumpsuit.  Fortunately, at the time, I did not own a pair of Ray Ban aviator sunglasses.  Had I owned a pair, I really might have looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  Instead, I’m sure I topped the jumpsuit off with a pair of funky colored plastic sunglasses and a huge Swatch watch to match.

I think the jumpsuit was from Banana Republic.  It’s been awhile since I’ve shopped there…

And, really?  The canary yellow cropped…thing?

Why?  What was I thinking?? I could have stopped traffic in that thing, but not in a good way.

Oh, then there were the dresses:

I can tell you exactly where I wore each of these frocks.

The first, the flapper thing?  I got that at some resale shop and wore it to a theatre banquet my freshman year at college.  The dress is not really from the 80s, but I wore it in the 80s, so I thought I’d show it to you.  I had a great time in that little frock. 

The cute little polka-dot smock?  Wore it to ThrillCam’s fraternity formal my junior year.  I loved that dress.  Still do.  One day, I’m going to wear it again.  And, when I do, I’ll post a picture, here.

Don’t hold your breath.  It might be awhile.

And, the last little strapless dress?  I never wore it.  Still has the tag on it.  I bought it to wear to either a bridal shower or my rehearsal dinner.  I, or my mother, must have felt it was inappropriate for such an occasion, being strapless and all.  Who knows? 

I was into bows, wasn’t I?  Maybe I loved them because I actually had a waist that I could highlight…  Can you imagine the size of the bow I’d have to have these days?  Oh my.

So, do you still have clothing items hanging in your closet that are over 20 years old?  

And, what is your all-time favorite 80s band or movie? 

Or, are you too young to even remember the 80s?

Walk down memory lane with me and leave a comment,

E.