A Perfect Schedule.

September 1, 2007

This past week has been a little different and has gotten us off our normal routine. Race week was interesting with 160,000 NASCAR fans around, but is now over and our little town is getting back to normal.

Then cousins from Richmond came to town, camping in Aunt Carol’s fifth wheel at the lake.  So we made several trips out there to visit and one day to sightsee with them. This morning we went out to say goodbye and witness the “giving of the quilts”.  My sweet mom and her two equally sweet sisters made these fabric works of art especially for the cousins who were duly surprised and grateful. 

 I am back to working on our project rehab house where the wall paper removal continues to challenge me… but I am winning with only a couple of rooms left to do. 

Yesterday Liza got her new chain saw and Paula Bunyan has been happily felling many small trees that were killed by this Spring’s extreme frost.  There are plenty of trees on this property so the dead ones won’t be missed and will be replaced in the Spring.

Yes, I like having a schedule. Liza’s mom had her own retirement schedule: bathing, coffee, dressing, US TODAY cross word puzzle, breakfast, housework, bill paying or letter writing until it was time for her to prepare the lunch sandwich she would enjoy during “The Young and the Restless”, “As the World Turns” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”, followed by a nap. And so it was, every weekday the same. It seemed to serve her well.

My own mom has a daily routine that I think helps keep her grounded: early rising, grooming, breakfast, projects like quilting, gardening, laundry (she still irons everything) and household chores. Then lunch with her soaps, nap, after which she reads until dinnertime. She reads everything: classics, mystery, romance, historical fiction, you name it. The reading is the reward for her busy and productive mornings. It is her schedule.

What would my perfect schedule be? How could I fit it all in a day? Rehabbing on our project house, reading, writing (which has been reduced to blogging too infrequently), cooking and caring for us, real estate and personal clerical duties, spending time with family and friends, studying and learning, gardening, music, oil painting and other art related activities, traveling…. Trying to find my way and set up a routine that makes me feel happy and productive but not stressed and over-booked. I’m probably not alone in this quest.

But I am grateful for good health and many options. Just sometimes caught myself saying, “I want to do so much but I don’t know what to do next!”

Warm wishes to all.


Wallpaper Removal Day!

August 13, 2007




OK. Today is wallpaper removal day! Here is the “before” shot of bedroom # 2 in our rehab house project.

I am having flashbacks to the old Victorian house I grew up in on Olive Street. My amazing mother scraped wallpaper from 10′ walls in room after room, replacing the tired coverings with fresh peach paint in my bedroom. I remember the tall ladder she bravely mounted and the labor required to remove layer after layer of the hideous stuff.

I am lucky. I beleive there is only one layer in this room with standard 8′ ceilings. Still… seems daunting… but here we go!


Hometown Graduation

May 22, 2007



The Stone Castle has played host to the Tennessee High Vikings for over 70 years. With some of my own dear granddad’s labor, the atheletes there still, today, have a terrific stadium, a one-of-a-kind historic sports palace known as the Stone Castle.

Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal, the Stone Castle is currently still in use. This stadium is a reminder of the post-World War II era, another time when high school football received top billing around the state.

Situated on the campus of Tennessee High School in Bristol, the Stone Castle Stadium opened on October 8, 1936. First known as the Bristol Municipal Stadium, the Stone Castle is constructed of coarse rubble limestone from another WPA project at nearby Beaver Creek, the stadium seats approximately 6,000 and features most of the original Medieval Gothic details. Its unique corner towers, arched entries, and crenellated walls clearly make the Stone Castle the most architecturally significant stadium in Tennessee.

Seeing the Stone Castle again makes me remember my own years of high school and MY senior year. Our football team was state champ that year, I ironed my hair to make it straight and my favorite music was soul plus Neil and Eric, Bette and Elton. (Still is.) It was an exciting time. 

My grandad help build it, my brother was a starting football player within it’s stone walls, and now my keeper nephew just graduated. MVP. Soccer. Honor Society. Good Person.

Only nephew, class 2007, is product of his own hard work plus effective and loving parents, caring grandparents, hardworking great grands, and so far back that records are scarce being near the beginning of our very country.  So many generations choosing these very hills and valleys for their home.

So much of which to be proud. Like being hugged by your roots. And now only nephew will be starting over. Starting over as a graduate from a castle in Tennessee where the spirits of generations before him will forever be his support.







PS. Nephew’s graduation presents included (among others) the newest Blackberry and a hand made quilt from his grandmother (my mom). Appropriate mixture of the old and the new technology!

Warm wishes until next post!


Rebel Barn, Pride or Hate?

May 15, 2007


My Liza came home with this disturbing photo today.  What is this rebel flag suppose to be saying to us?  Is it “southern pride” or is it “state’s rights” or is it some kind of backward racial comment made by someone clearly still residing in another time?

As a white female boomer born in the south, I am very proud of most things southern. Love my Mama and my family and my southern musical heritage. Love Tennessee Pride sausage gravy and homemade biscuits almost as much as a nice thick authentic southern accent. I call everyone “Y’all”. I love the climate: the four seasons of the Applalachian mountains, the tropical flavor of South Florida, the historical architecture of Savannah and the diversity of New Orleans and Atlanta. And I like the weather too.

I decided a long time ago that I would travel everywhere, but would not reside west of the Mississippi River nor north of Virginia. I am a southern girl. This doesn’t mean I am proud of every page of my southern history book.

Having said that, I am also a product of the sixties. I beleived Mr. King. Racial bigotry is the same to me as any other hate based thinking involving discrimination. Whether against women, gays, minority races, or religious/secular groups, it is all the same. I have always beleived that a lack of mutal respect for other humans and/or a lack of education must be behind this kind of narrow (if you are not like me then you must be wrong) thinking.

I am a product of Key West’s ONE HUMAN FAMILY philosophy.

So what does this rebel flag emblem suppose to mean to me? Or should it exist at all?


E.C. Rest in Peace

April 25, 2007


EC’s family and friends gave her a terrific send-off. Almost 30 strong, this big Irish Catholic family came together to celebrate EC’s life and to mourn her passing.

There are mental impressions that I will take with me always: the old stone St. Anne’s church; the smell of the incense as Father Tim, in his long white flowing robes, rocked the bronze incense holder to and fro above EC’s wooden casket; looking at all the sad faces of the loved ones seated below as I stood behind Father Tim’s podium to deliver the reading; the sound of the church bells ringing as Father Tim sang and the family marched behind the casket; respectful autos stopped and waiting along the roadway to the cemetary; and the helpless pain of seeing her casket lowered into the earth.

EC’s family gathered at our place after the funeral where love food had been delivered by my mom, my aunt and other friends of the family. And just as EC would have wanted, there was music and drinking and story telling. Photos were passed around while hugs were given and received randomly.

After thinking about this process of letting go and starting over yet one more time, I ask for each family member to examine their hearts and give me a few words to describe their feelings about this family time together. With a wide range of ages (11-73) and personalities present, here is their list of words:

bittersweet
reflective
sad
exciting
birthdays
insightful
mourning
celebration
comfort
laughter
a new beginning
strength
tears
joy
affection
emotional
sadness
thankfulness
scrabble
Oz not word
late nights
thank you
Grandma Ziz
Bear
satisfying
peaceful
rememberance
live life daily
appreciation
yesterdays
gift
heart
love
troublesome
happy
depressed
life
family
continuation
regrets
memorable
partly sad
here, there and everywhere
loving
stressful
mom
Johnny Carson
Camels
Elizabeth
food
smile
Neil is cool
overflowing recycleables
hard to leave
not long enough
Schaffer
grateful
togetherness
good-bye

and here are mine:
rest in peace dear EC

The family has asked me to give special thanks to Aunt Helen and girls for making a long trip to be with us, and to middle daughter’s boyfriend, Jerry, for the nerves calming family boat ride and cook-out. Thanks to the love food providers, the flower senders, the phone callers and e-mail senders, the Hospice workers, the family photographers, the airport transportation givers and the clean-up helpers. It is your support that sustains them now.

What I know is that we are all starting over. Starting over again. Starting over without EC.

Warm wishes. anitamorrell.wordpress.com


Goodbye E.C.

April 21, 2007




Liza usually takes the photos for this blog. But blame me for the less than perfect quality of the one here.

EC passed at 1:58 am today. Peacefully and quietly with all six children and myself attending. Hospice provided a lovely setting with space and understanding services.

Future blogs might include such topics as: “A Week at your Regional Medical Center” and how Dad used to always say he “didn’t care much for hospitals… filled with sick people.” Or maybe one called “Great Nurses” that honors skilled health care providers, then another called “When Good Nurses are Over Worked and Under Trained”.

I’m definitely going to write about dying with dignity and without it. I may blog about the patients we saw without any family or friends by their bedsides. I should blog about how having an advocate in attendance is mandatory in hospitals today. Or a blog about the generally broken health care system and my frustration at not knowing what to do about it.

I could blog and blog and blog about missing EC and Dad. I could blog about the gut wrenching pain of loosing loved ones. But for today… I will not. I will just say Goodbye EC.


More about E.C.

April 20, 2007

Instead of going to rehab, today E.C. is being moved to hospice. The second stroke was devastating to her already frail body. She can not see or speak but she is a fighter and just not quite ready to leave us yet.

All six children are by her side and trying hard to help her passing to be comfortable, preserving her dignity as much as possible.

I will be taking my own mother’s love food to hospice this afternoon. Good southern woman… thanks Mom.

Thanks to all who have called, commented or e-mailed. Wishing Liza and EC peace as they begin their “Starting Over”.