Posts filed under ‘Grandma Turnock’

Hopefully She Knew I *Meant* Well : )

I was exceedingly lucky to born into circumstances that gave me not one, but two very admirable, loving women as grandmothers. When I was growing up I was particularly close to my maternal grandmother, Grandma Turnock. She lived right across the street. She cooked us dinner on the weeknights. During middle school she used to pick up my sister and I at the bus stop each afternoon and take us to the Garden Kitchen for milk and cookies.

Last week, Ryan, my brother Jay and I had the arduous task of cleaning the attic of my childhood home. There were 30 years of accumulated possessions up there. At times it was a demoralizing job. You would go through boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff only to look up and see you were still surrounded with more work. But then there were gems. I found love letters from my parents (!!!!), letters my paternal grandparents wrote to my father when he was in college and I found this– An essay I wrote in Elementary School about my Grandma Turnock (who passed away February 2000).

I started reading and it was so sweet.

Elementary School - Lib Turnock is my Grandma Page 1
Essay on Grandma – Page 1

Lib Turnock
My Grandma!

I love my Grandma very much. She loves me very much too. She babysits us whenever my Mom and Dad go out. Sometimes we sleep at my house, and sometimes at Grandma’s.

My Grandma’s first name is Elizabeth, her nick name is Lib, and her last name is Turnock, but we call her Grandma.

Her favorite animal is a beagle dog. Her favorite color is blue. Her hobby is going out for lunch. We like Grandma’s favorite things.

I turned the page and was greeted by another sweet line:

I drew a picture of my Grandma, She is pretty.

But then I caught a glimpse of said picture!

Elementary School - Lib Turnock is my Grandma - Close Up of Picture
My Grandma By Elementary School Vicky

And I know for a fact she saw that picture! How? Right below it I have a sentence about her signature and then Grandma signed the essay.

Elementary School - Lib Turnock is my Grandma Page 2
Page 2

Grandma is nice to us. All those reasons add up to be 100%, I think she is the best Grandma in the world.

Grandma’s signature

[Mrs. James H. Turnock, Jr.]

Sometimes our talents have absolutely no hope of doing justice to the love we feel. : )

November 9, 2010 at 10:04 am 4 comments

Mount Vernon

On Sunday, I met Stacy and his family at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It was far from my first trip to the grounds. But, it does seem every time I visit, my perspective is just a little bit different and I pick up on different things. In past years, I definitely focused on the mansion or the farm animals. This time around, it was the trees and gardens that caught most of my attention.
Turning leaves

Spider web

The grounds had a lot of old, large trees

From One Generation to Another
My maternal grandmother used to volunteer at Mount Vernon, so she brought my siblings and I to the property pretty often. She taught me quite a bit. I, of course, learned about the Washington family and life during that era. But there were little unrelated lessons as well. I still remember my grandmother pointing out and telling me about sycamore trees. I learned what the color “Navy Blue” looked like thanks to her uniform. And Mount Vernon was the very first time (but not the last!) I got shocked by an electric fence. ūüôā

Me, Grandma and Carolyn at Mount Vernon (Photo from ClintJCL)

This year, I got to witness the process starting over! I got to see cute little Addie enjoy Mount Vernon with her own grandparents. How can you NOT smile?

Addie walks with her Grandpa at Mount Vernon

Addie and Grandpa enjoy the gardens

This wasn’t a new discovery about Mount Vernon by any means, but I did want to share one of my favorite parts about the mansion. The outside of the mansion looks like stone and it feels like stone as well. But it is made of pine boards! What Washington did was have the boards beveled to look like masonry. Then when they painted it, they threw sand on the wet paint to add texture. Pretty sneaky! I just love the thriftiness and the creativity with that trick.

NOT stone!

It may have been a brief trip, but it was a great one! More pictures of our Mount Vernon outing can be found on my Flickr site.

August 20, 2008 at 11:26 am 5 comments

Five Things in my Yard [that Belonged to my Grandmother]

Here are five more things from my yard. This time, I’m highlighting items that belonged to my maternal grandmother. She passed away more than eight years ago, but thanks to souvenirs scattered in and out of my house, her memory remains strong.


A couple years ago, my mother dug up some irises from my grandmother’s yard. I drove them 250 miles south and planted them in my yard. This year, they bloomed for the first time in their new home!

Garden Gnome

This guy is well traveled. Originally from my grandmother’s yard in Occoquan, Virginia, my brother gave it to my Great Uncle Chuck in northwest Pennsylvania. One year I was visiting Great Uncle Chuck and he gave it to me. It now resides in Blacksburg, Virginia in my front yard near daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths.

Flower Pot

This flower pot used to be in my grandmother’s front yard. Now it is on my front stoop. Whenever I cut up vegetables (like Brussel Sprouts), I put the clippings and scraps in the pot. I typically cover up the debris with dried leafs and pine needles. Every now and then when it rains I throw a worm in there. There is no evidence that this “mini compost pile” is actually doing anything. I’m probably sentencing those poor earth worms to death.

Tatertot Casserole

Heh. Well I’m cheating on this one. Here are all the ingredients of my grandmother’s Tatertot Casserole. She used to make it for dinner and I follow suit. In fact, it was my supper tonight!


Last but far from least– Henry! My grandmother got him the summer of 1999. He was still a puppy when she had to be hospitalized. Sean and I took him in and when my grandmother passed away, he became an official member of our household. Henry may have his faults, but he also has a permanent place in my heart.

May 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm 6 comments

Remember Grandma. Pick A Horse.

When I was little, my grandmother would have a Kentucky Derby party each year.¬† Everyone, including us¬†little grandchildren,¬†would pick a horse and bet a dollar.¬† Grandma passed away in 2000 and I always thought I would like to keep her tradition going.¬† Each year I failed pretty miserably.¬† Remembering the Derby a few minutes before post or after the race is complete doesn’t quite give you enough organization time.¬† Last year, I had forgotten again, but Sean text messaged me from Charlotte with his pick and I had just enough time to scramble and pick a horse before the race.¬† But this year, this year is different.¬† I’ve actually gotten a few people to pick a horse!¬† Amazing how effective “starting ahead of time” is.¬† The selections so far are below.

Silks Horse Person
Sedgefield Ann
Curlin Larry
Storm In May Mark
Cowtown Cat Carolyn
Street Sense Penn
Hard Spun Mike
Bwana Bull
Nobiz Like Shobiz
Sam P.
Scat Daddy Mom
Circular Quay Vicky
Any Given Saturday
Dominican Sean
Great Hunter

If you would like to join in– just comment with your pick.¬† When I was a little girl I didn’t pay much note to the logistics, particularly what happens if we all pick duds.¬† Larry suggests that if no one’s horse wins, we put all the dollars towards charity.¬† As luck would have it, I happen to be trying to raise money for the Relay for Life¬†and I am still a ways from my fundraising goal.¬† ūüėČ Objections?¬†

May 4, 2007 at 10:23 pm 3 comments

Sentimental Text Messages

I need to clean out the Inbox of my cell phone.¬† While I was at it, I thought I would highlight some of the messages that have stood the test of time and, to provide a little glimpse into my soul, why they’ve been saved for so long.

Henry’s Poor Navigation (or Jimmie’s Good Aim)

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Jul 20 [2005], 9:53 AM

Jimmie peed on Henry’s head

This message has the honor of being the oldest one¬†saved on my phone.¬† I’m not sure why I’ve¬†kept it¬†so long.¬† I¬†think I like the story potential.¬†¬†Say a girlfriend comments on a romantic gesture of her spouse.¬† I can compete with that.¬†

“Oh my husband’s romantic too,” I can claim, “Take a look at some of the messages he leaves me!”

This particular message’s story potential¬†went¬†up immensely last summer when I received a very similiar text message:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Jun 16 [2006], 5:48 PM

Jimmie peed right on henry’s head

I’ve spoken before about Henry’s inability to learn.¬† Navigating around a urine stream seems to be another lesson that alludes him.

Andy and the Naked Fat Man

From: Andy B
Sent: Oct 20 [2005] 5:24 PM

I picked up your CD – I will have it at larrys if you dont make it ill give it to sean

I saved this because it reminds me how sweet Andy is.¬† The CD he is referring to is Bloodhound Gang’s Hefty Fine CD.¬† Typically when a CD I covet comes out, I’ll tell Sean and he’ll pick it up for me the next time he goes to the CD store.¬† I’ve secured many a NOFX CD that way.¬† Well this time the plan backfired.¬† When I submitted my seemingly innocent request to Sean, he balked.

“No!¬† Are you kidding me?!?¬† Have you seen the cover?¬† It’s disgusting– I don’t want to be seen buying that!”

He pulled up the cover on the Internet and sure enough, it’s not the most pleasing image to the¬†eye.¬†¬† Basically it is a large naked man sitting in a cardboard box (Click here to see for yourself).

The afternoon of the Virginia Tech-Miami game, work was sparsely populated and filled with people leaving early (as is typical for Thursday night games).  Andy was about to leave work and talking about last minute preparations for our tailgate and he mentioned he was stopping by Target.

“Oh you’re stopping by Target?” I said, “There’s a CD I want, do you mind picking it up for me?”

Now, I would rank Andy as more religious than I.¬† I would rank Andy as more conservative than I.¬† I would certainly peg Andy as an individual who would prefer to not look at naked fat men.¬† So in my mind, as I telling him the album title, I was¬†already finding amusement imagining Andy innocently walking down to the music section of Target with the usual spring in his stride.¬† I can see him¬†navigating down the inventory to “B’s” and suddenly spotting the CD he committed to buy.¬†¬†It was going to be hilarious.

But there was a kink in the plan.

“Sure,” Andy said, “Let me pull it up real quick so I know what I’m looking for.”

Before I could think of a means to distract him, the album covered was displaying on his screen.

“OH, NO WAY IN HELL!!!!” Andy exclaimed.

I accepted my defeat… and then suddenly about an hour later I got that text message.¬† It turns out Andy went ahead and picked up the CD anyway– even though he found the cover so distasteful.¬† I¬†still find that purchase touching.¬† ¬†

Andy’s followup message is also saved and explains how he managed such a feat:

Fr: Andy B
Sent: Oct 25 [2005] 5:26 PM

I held the cover down and set it on the cashier counter like it was ledmans

Sean Remembers Grandma Turnock

From: ICE Sean
Sent:  May 6 [2006] 5:45 PM

I bet you a dollar on sinister minister winning 

Sean was in Charlotte visiting the Vandervorts while I was still in Blacksburg.  It was right before the Kentucky Derby when I got that message and my heart still melts to read it. 

When I was younger, my grandmother would have a Kentucky Derby party at her house.¬† A number of her lady friends, including Rebecca Randolph, would come over and everyone, regardless of generation, would pick a horse and bet a dollar.¬† Every year I talk about how I want to get something similiar going as an hommage and every year I never quite make it happen.¬† This particular day, I had forgotten the Derby was even on, until Sean sent his text message already betting me a dollar.¬† I quickly pulled up the Internet and picked a horse of my own and sent my bet to Sean through text message as well.¬† Both of our horses lost, but that didn’t matter, for that day even though Sean was in a totally different state, he kept my grandmother’s memory alive and well.

Sean Needs Help (Cleaning Up Diarrhea)
I was at the beach in 2005 and Sean was still in Blacksburg when I received this gem:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 4 [2005] 12:37 AM

Henry spray pooped all over the computer room. 

I laughed and I’m sure I expressed my condolences to poor Sean.¬† And I filed this away as another romantic message I could taunt my girlfriends with.¬† What woman wouldn’t envy such sentiment?

Little did I know this message was going to get better.  I was driving home from Delaware and was nearing home.  My arrival was imminent when I got this message:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 6 [2005] 11:22 AM

Henry’s diarrhea is still on the floor.¬† I did not leave it for you to clean up but I do need help with how to clean it.

I can laugh now at this one.¬† Check the timestamps– he left diarrhea on the floor for two days!¬† A lot of questions come to mind.¬† Did he keep on using the computer room?¬† What did Henry think of his work being preserved?¬† I certainly wasn’t laughing, however, when I got home and I was having to saturate dried diarrhea with¬†Resolve in order to seperate it from the carpet fibers.

Jay Dupes Vicky From Hawaii
Earlier this year, Sean and I traveled to Boston.¬† It was cold and rainy when we arrived.¬† I sent a text message to my brother saying something along the lines of “Greetings from Boston.¬† It is cold and rainy here.”¬† A¬†little¬†while¬†later, my brother responded:

From: Jay
Sent: Oct 11 [2006] 9:10 PM

Salutations from hawaii its  rainy and cold here too 

“Wow!” I thought and was about to tell the others that Hawaii was no different.¬† Suddenly my phone vibrated again.

From: Jay
Sent: Oct 11 [2006] 9:11 PM


Sean Breaks 90
Got this one this past summer:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Aug 19 [2006] 6:02 PM

I shot my best score ever today!  Broke 90 for the first time.  89!  I am so excited! 

Sean’s referring to his golf game.¬† I kept this because I can relate to his happiness.¬† When I finished my RATC patch and when I got up my very first 14er, I commemorated the event via a text message to Sean.¬† I know how excited I am at those moments when I key the news in and I bet Sean was even more excited when he wrote that message to me.¬† And that makes me happy.

Sean and Vicky Think Alike
Finally, a message from Sean when I told him my favorite part of one of his websites:

From: ICE Sean
Sent: Sep 20 [2006] 7:26 PM

THANK YOU!  You are the first to recognize it.  I was so disappointed until you said that!

Sean and I do have seperate interests, seperate hobbies¬†and a lot of evenings we go our own ways.¬† But, every now and then I get a reminder that despite our differences, our minds still work similiarly.¬†¬† Humor can fall in that category too.¬† There are some things that are downright hilarious to Sean and I that¬†barely solicit a giggle from others.¬† If any of you have heard either of us try to relay the ill-fated “Dumping Turds” story, you’ll know what I’m talking about.¬†

Anyway, I’ve kept this message because even though he golfs and I hike, or I’m in¬†Delaware and he’s home or I’m at¬†home and he’s in Charlotte or even¬†though¬†we have differing opinions on dog diarrhea disposal…. we still see, appreciate and talk about a lot of the same things.¬† We still have a common ground.¬†

Heck at the very least, we’ll always have text messaging.¬† ūüôā

January 31, 2007 at 1:31 am 5 comments

Memories of Scattergories

My brother-in-law, Clint, posted this picture on his Flickr site with the caption, “Werewolves fucking jump!”


The heated title¬†is in response to a¬†Scattergories ruling that’s actually 14 years old now!¬† For the letter “W” and the category “Things that Jump/Bounce”, Clint put down “Werewolf”.¬† However, the other six players argued and denied Clint the¬†credit the picture proves he deserved.

Clint’s posting brought me a lot of amusement and it reminded me of a few of my own Scattergories memories.¬† Some snippets:

Nobody Likes A Know-It-All
My Grandmother Turnock always had an answer for “Birds”, regardless of letter.¬† Similiarly, Rich Parrish¬†always had an answer for “Medicine/Drugs” and “Diseases”.¬†

Taking On the Elderly
It was very difficult to deny my grandmother credit for anything.¬† She’d like to use her age as justification, saying stuff like, “I didn’t have to learn it, I lived it!” or “I know because I’m old!”¬†

One time in particular, Brian Nenninger and I heavily disputed my grandmother’s claim that “Radius” was a “Unit of Measurement.”¬† The battle of wits went on for some time, but finally Brian and I backed down and let my grandmother take the point.¬† It turns out, she was right!¬† A quote from Brian:

i gave her full credit posthumously after discovering that nasa measures asteroid near-misses in earth radii

Unlikely Lubricants
For Jodi Vandervort’s Bacherlotte Party, we featured two rounds of Scattergories with custom lists we created for the occassion– one focused on the Wedding/Reception and¬†the other on the¬†Honeymoon. ¬†One of the categories for the Honeymoon list was “Unlikely Lubricants.”¬† I expected the answers to be amusing, but one young lady’s response took me offguard.¬† She capitalized on the¬†extra points for alliteration.¬† The letter was “J”.¬† Her answer?

Jalape√Īo Jelly

December 1, 2006 at 9:46 pm 7 comments

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