Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

2009 started off with a big move…...
“We’re going back ‘home’, said Lex, “do you approve?”

Patty spent the next months unpacking and then……
Transformation complete - “Money Pit” to “BlessInn”.

Our dream home completed, just one thing to do……
Fill it up with the kiddos and their kiddos, too!!

At Easter the little birds returned to the nest.
Our family time together is always the best!

In May, Jessie came to PA and moved in.
Our nest was less empty, a new chapter begins.

June 10th marked the arrival of our second grandbaby.
Carter Alexander shares his birthday with Auntie Leigh.

The summer was spent with great anticipation.
All the kiddos and grandkiddos came ‘home’ for vacation!

We loved every moment of that time they spent here.
We will cherish those memories year after year.

Before we could blink…...the time flew by too fast……
Cailyn Rose had a birthday - she’s 2!! What a blast!!

She and Carter celebrated the day at Paradise Park,
Then put on Halloween costumes and went with Mommy in the dark!

They had a fun-filled day from morning until night……
Dorothy and the Penguin - oh, what a sight!

Little did we know that the very next day
Would bring a tragedy so great, the words are hard to say.

Our sweet little Carter would be taken from us.
He now rests in the arms of precious Jesus.

We do not know why; we can not understand.
But we trust that somehow this fits into God’s plan.

Our lives are forever changed by this one sad day.
The pain of broken hearts we pray will go away.

But through this all one thing remains the same……
The closeness of our family even with a broken chain.

We are linked together, drawing strength from one another -
Dad, Mom, Cailyn Rose, three sisters and a brother.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that your new year is filled with the love of a precious family, and too many friends to count!
Love,
Lex, Patty, Cailyn Rose, Carrie, Jessie, Leigh and Will,
and baby Carter, forever in our hearts

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Look Who's Stuffed Now!

Well, the little birds and grandlittle bird have all flown away...back to their temporary homes in Minnesota and Missouri. (At least I refer to them as temporary homes...because you can only have one true home...and that is with your mother...and in this case that is in Pennsylvania, right??)

The Thanksgiving decorations are put away...I am slowly replacing them with the Christmas ones, although I am struggling to get "in the mood" this year. The apple and pecan and pumpkin pies have been devoured. The green bean casserole and oyster stuffing enjoyed by just a few...but some traditions you can not stop! Grandma Carrie's strawberry dessert has been successfully mastered by yet another one of her grandchildren. The turkey carcass has once again become the base for a delicious soup. Yum.

So now I am the one stuffed and my refrigerator is bursting at the seams with left-overs. I have delivered containers of food to my parents, my aunt...the sweater maker...and my sister, and I have not put a dent in the supply.

My mom used to tell me I should eat everything on my plate because there were starving children in Africa. Food was not to be wasted. I still suffer from that childhood lesson. That's why I feel guilty about cleaning out the refrigerator and throwing it all away. Instead I just keep eating it...over and over and over. I am stuffed.

Maybe I need to seek professional help.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The best made plans...

I am a planner. I have to have all my "ducks in a row"..."my T's crossed"..."my I's dotted"...you get the idea...before I do anything. I am a master planner, and at least one of my little birds has inherited that trait...and one...not so much!

So, months ago I had this grand plan when purchasing airline tickets for Leigh, Carrie and the kids to come here for Thanksgiving. My plan was to have Leigh meet Carrie on the layover so that they could travel the last leg of the trip together. An extra set of hands always comes in handy!

The last few weeks have been unsettling to say the least...and we are still reeling from the the heartbreaking loss of Carter. None of us is functioning with a clear mind...and may I add restless nights with little sleep. Most days we just don't think clearly.

So Sunday arrived...travel day! I was ecstatic when I went to bed the night before because the next day I would have most of the "flock" back in the nest. Will was not scheduled to arrive until Wednesday...college expectations just get in the way sometimes!

My honey and I awakened to the phone ringing at 6am...this can not be good. Carrie was on her way to the airport...already late as her flight was to leave in an hour...she had gotten off work just a few hours before...had not slept...Cailyn had woken up earlier and had not gone back to sleep. Tension was in the air. But that was not all. Carrie could not find her wallet with her license OR her passport. She was in quite a pickle stressing about not being able to get on the plane.

After finding the phone number for the airline, she called and found out that she could still board the plane...good news for all of us...but it would take a bit longer than normal to check in and process her because of it. This news, however, added more stress as she was already late getting to the airport. Needless to say...she did not make her flight. My stomach was just a mess...none of us needed this wrinkle in my grand plan at this point in time.

She and Cailyn sat on standby for the next available flight which would arrive around the same time that her connection was to leave. We contacted Leigh...putting her on alert...so she could let the nice folks know at the airport the predicament Carrie was in. Maybe by chance they would hold the plane for her. Maybe???

Nope. Leigh's flight out of Minneapolis had been delayed because of a mechanical problem, and she did not know that the nice people at the airline had already put her on another connecting flight because she was going to miss the original one. Are you with me yet? So much for the grand plan.

Leigh arrives at the midpoint and gets on a shuttle bus to head towards the flight she thinks she is still on...time is ticking...only a few minutes to spare. On that bus were Carrie and Cailyn...thank you God for that answered prayer...and they "O.J.'d" it through the airport to the next gate. None of them had slept at this point as Leigh had just gotten off the night shift and went straight to the airport.

They arrived at the gate to find that the nice people at the airline had already closed the door and they would not be able to board. At this point Leigh found out that she was scheduled to leave on another flight which left in a few hours. Carrie on the other hand was flightless. After much conversation and checking best scenarios, the nice people at the airline came up with this one. Carrie and Cailyn would be leaving shortly for a flight to Washington, DC then catching a connecting flight to Allentown, PA from there arriving about an hour after Leigh. So much for my grand plan!

Fast Forward...I arrive at the airport to pick up Leigh, and Nevin (Leigh's honey) who was arriving about the same time...he had been on a different flight than Leigh...and up to this point had a smooth traveling day. Leigh got there first and we headed to baggage claim. Yikees! Her bag was not there...BUT Carrie and Cailyn's were! She went to make a claim for her bag and ran into Nevin, who had just arrived...however his bag had not either!!! What a nightmare!!! This was not part of the grand plan!

Well, they are all here safe and sound...except for Will who I am praying does not have ANY of this nonsense to deal with. They did find Leigh's bag at the airport before we left there...tucked away for safety by the nice people at the airline. We are sitting here awaiting the delivery of Nevin's bag at our door. He may never want to come to PA again after all this!

The one thing I should remember about all of this is...it does not matter how much planning I do...or how many ducks I line up...or T's I cross...or I's I may dot...I AM NOT IN CONTROL!!! The real MASTER PLANNER had another plan than mine...and I must believe that His was better. After all, they are all here safe and sound...bonding...loving...being thankful for time together!

We do have so much to be thankful for, in spite of our cloudy minds...sleepless nights...and broken hearts. Being together makes everything a little more bearable.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your precious families from all of the Wilkinsons!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little Man in a Tuxedo

3:32....
That's how long it took to receive the most devastating news of our lives. That's the length of the cell phone call from our daughter, Carrie, on the morning of November 1...the day our lives changed forever.

October 31...Halloween...a double treat for Cailyn Rose. Not only was it her second birthday, but she got to go "trick or treating" with her brother, Carter, and her Mommy, Carrie. What a fun way to spend your birthday!

The day was filled with fun. Carrie, Chris and our grandlittle birds...along with a few favorite friends...spent the day at Paradise Park. After naps, they got dressed in their Halloween costumes...Cailyn was "Dorothy" and Carter was a penguin. Little man in a tuxedo. They went out with Mommy and some friends to fill up their pumpkins with treats. What a fun day!



That happy day was Carter's last day. He smiled a lot that day. I waited until quite late that night for Carrie to post pictures on Facebook of the two of them in their costumes. Dorothy and the penguin. The cutest penguin I have ever seen.

Penguins...they are all around. Suddenly I am surrounded by penguins.

Is this coincidence? I think not. I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that God is the director of all that happens here. I believe that He takes horrible tragedies, and from them brings about something positive. I believe that He sends us signs to let us know that He is in control. Signs like penguins.

A few days after Carter died, Carrie, Cailyn and I went to the hospital to take care of some paperwork. We got lost in the building and asked a maintenance man for directions to the office. After pointing us in the right direction he asked Carrie if he could give Cailyn a little ball. While we waited in the room Cailyn played with that ball. Carrie and I both rolled it back and forth with her. It landed at a woman's feet, and she picked it up to return it...and said..."oh, look, my favorite thing!" Inside the ball was a penguin. Coincidence?

Two days later we went to the nail salon for a much needed "pick me up"! Cailyn was playing with the very few toys provided there when she climbed up into the chair next to Carrie with a plastic toy in her hand...yep...a penguin! Coincidence?

The next night Carrie's girlfriends came over to watch Grey's Anatomy...a Thursday night tradition for them. One of the girls took Cailyn and another little one into Carrie's room to watch Dora during that hour. She was having difficulty getting the On Demand to work, and kept getting an error message on the TV screen. It would not allow her to change the channel that was on. And, playing on that channel was ..a penguin movie! Coincidence?

After spending 2 weeks with Carrie in Missouri, I arrived home late Saturday night. I mentioned to my honey that I would like to go to our old church the next day. I needed to be around my family and good friends there, who had been praying for us for the past weeks. During the worship service there is a time for the young church where a lesson is geared towards all the little people. The lesson for that day was taken from a story book about...penguins! Coincidence?

I THINK NOT!!!

I hope that God continues to show me these signs that he is taking good care of our precious grandlittle bird. I hope that Carter is still smiling...watching us receive all these signs.

I hope that someday when I go "home", a little man in a tuxedo is waiting for me at the gate.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Will Always Love You



My sweet grandlittle bird Carter,
I just didn't have the chance to get to know your smile,
To hold you in my arms and and rock you a long while.
I just didn't have the chance to see how much you'd grown,
the way you sucked your fingers, and rolled over on your own.
I just didn't have the chance to hear your little "coos",
to see you get your hugs and kisses... from big sister "Boo".
But I did get to be there when you first opened your eyes,
When you took your first breath, and began your too short life.
My sweet and precious grandson, I will carry you in my heart
From now until enternity, we will never be apart.
And I will get the chance to be with you once again
When I come to be with Jesus, your new and special friend.
I love you with all my heart, Grandy

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Boo!



So, today my sweet grandlittle bird, Cailyn, is two years old! I can not believe how fast the last two years have gone. It seems like just yesterday that I was there to witness when she came into this world!

What a special day that was! It was one of those rare moments that you remember every detail for the rest of your life. My little bird Carrie gave me the most perfect gift by allowing me to share Cailyn's birth.

I hope today is filled with lots giggles and fun! Wish I were there to share it with you. I love you with all of my heart! XXOO Grandy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where's my honey???

Well, for months now my honey has been one busy guy. Up at 5 am...off to work...and when he returns home at the end of the day it is "off to the barn!" He has been working on creating the perfect "mancave" inside his barn (Jessie called it the "manhole"...pretty funny, I thought). A place where all of the guys can hang out and feel comfortable. Sounds silly to me when you have a perfectly comfortable couch and TV just a few yards away in the house.

Where I am.

But...I understand all about the "mancave" concept. My honey and his friends used to "check out" in the garage years ago whenever we would have a gathering at our home. The women, on the other hand, were with the kids...in the house.

Where I was.

But the guys always found their way to the garage. Now, it's the barn. My honey has insulated, poured cement, built walls, hung doors and windows, ran electric, plumbing, and of course wire for the TV dish. He built a work bench, shelving, and a bathroom. He bought a wood burning stove...and a kerosene heater with a huge blower. So far, since the summer, he has spent most of his non-working waking hours in the barn...not in the house.

Where I am.

This past weekend my brother-in-law, Andy, came for a visit to lend him a hand. There are just some things that you can not do alone...or at least it goes faster with another set of hands helping. My hands have not been very helpful...mine are in the house.

Where I am.

He plans to build a few bunk beds in the "mancave" so when it is hunting season all the guys can sleep out there. Last year the house was still under construction during hunting season and the guys just hung out in the "money pit" with a roaring fire in the fireplace. This year they will not be building any fires in the fireplace in the house.

Where I am.

I am very proud of my honey. He works hard and deserves a place to hangout and "be a guy". As he says..."a farmer's work is never done!" He has accomplished quite a bit over the last several months. Not only in the barn, but also maintaining the 27 Memory M'Acres and our beautiful BlessInn.

Where I am...

waiting patiently for my honey to join me when he calls it a day. I miss my honey, but I understand his need for a place where he can "check out" after a long day. I guess I will just have to learn to like hanging out in the "mancave".

Where my honey is.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So here's one for ya....

Well...I mentioned maybe posting a poem or parody that I've written so here is my first choice. I originally wrote this parody for one of my Spiegelette friends who was facing a "scary birthday". I have adapted it to celebrate the "double nickle birthdays" shared this year by me and my dear high school friends...The Fab Five!

You must "sing" it to the tune of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to the get the full affect.

Enjoy!!!!!

Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Even though the sound of it can make you feel ferocious.

Plant your feet, and stand up tall, and be a bit precocious.

Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

Tip-toeing through the latter years is frankly quite absurd,
When each day is a gift, you see, and “older’s” just a word.
You need to embrace every day with gusto, joy and cheer…
Before you know it happiness has filled up the whole year!

Oh...Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Even though the sound of it can make you feel ferocious.

Plant your feet, and stand up tall, and be a bit precocious.

Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

When you were just a little tike you must have felt like me
Your Mother seemed a dinosaur, so old and crotchety.
But we live in another time where age means not a thing
So drop your cane, put in your teeth and with me dance and sing.

Oh...Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Even though the sound of it can make you feel ferocious.

Plant your feet, and stand up tall, and be a bit precocious.

Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

You’ve heard it said a million times by those folks “in the know”
That 50 is the new 40 and on and on it goes.
So now that you have been informed, there’s nothing else to say…
Forget your fears, dry up those tears, and have a Happy Day!

Oh...Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!

Even though the sound of it can make you feel ferocious.

Plant your feet, and stand up tall, and be a bit precocious.

Super fifty-five’s fantastic and it’s not atrocious!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

To rhyme or not to rhyme???

My dear friend ML posts a poem on her blog every Tuesday. I kind of like that idea. I used to write poetry...I use that term very loosely here!!...years ago when I was younger. I have whipped up a few in more recent years for special occasions and such. I have even done a few song parodies for my Spiegelette friends.

Maybe I'll post a few here...maybe.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Lesson I Did Not Learn

My parents are in their mid-eighties. They have lived through a lot in their lifetime and managed to survive it all...however, let it be known that their life experiences have formed them into who they are today. Isn't that true of all of us?

My parents try to keep up with the times...actually they do quite well for their age. They can work a TV remote...a VCR machine (I know this is a little dated, but still pretty recent given the 80+ year span)...and a computer. My sisters and I just gave them a cell phone "for emergencies" which, thankfully, they are willing to try to learn to use. They have learned to operate the chair glide just installed on the stairway to their apartment...and are experiencing a new found freedom. They still have not tried to tackle the dishwasher (having never had one growing up...I could not live without mine) and therefore use the racks to store their snacks and plastic containers...given there is very limited cabinet space!!! They are resourceful.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog of thought today.

My mom was telling me yesterday about a pair of shoes that she took to the shoemakers...I really don't think they actually "make" shoes anymore, but the repair part is almost a lost art! Anyway...this particular pair of shoes needed to be dyed. My curiosity got the best of me when I heard this, as the only time I ever dyed shoes was "back in the day" to match a gown...for a prom...or wedding I was in. So...why did she need to dye shoes? Well...Mom said that "the color on the sides of the shoes was beginning to 'rub off' because, they were, imported shoes." IMPORTED SHOES??!! I guess she means from China or Japan. What a character!

See...here's the lesson I never learned. My "imported shoes" would probably end up in the trash if the "color was rubbed off" and I would be off to Payless for a new pair...where Mom takes the thrifty approach and wants to salvage what she has instead of replacing with new. You must remember your mom or grandmother washing out bread bags...reusing foil and wrapping paper... and keeping every plastic cool whip or margarine container for left overs...just to name a few.

I never had to stand in line for hours waiting for bread or cheese. I never had to share a pair of shoes with my sisters...although I did wear all their hand-me-downs! I never had to walk the neighborhood peddling peanuts that my mom spent hours roasting so that we would have money for groceries. I never had to catch eels in the river, skin them and cook them for dinner. Yuck...that thought really creeps me. But my parents did.

So every little thing they have is appreciated. They waste little and "want" for even less. I grew up in a wasteful generation...where there was always "plenty more where that came from." I was not spoiled or rich...just not "needy". Because...my parents were resourceful.

I did not learn how to be resourceful...I just learned how to "have".

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Cheeks Hurt


Have you ever laughed so hard that your cheeks actually hurt? Well, I just returned from a week of belly laughing with 4 of my dear high school friends, Gerrie, Roseann, Connie and Theresa. We all met at Gerrie's home...near San Francisco...to celebrate our "double nickle" birthdays...and the week was filled with both laughter and tears...some tears caused by laughter!

I love my girlfriends...they are good listeners...they have experienced many of the same things that I have as an "adult" (I think we are officially in that category now at 55)...they like to eat...they like to shop...they like to pose for pictures... they like to sing...they like to be goofy...they like to hug...and they like to laugh...A LOT!!!

We shared some leg-crossing...cheek hurting...belly laughter moments. Like the night we bought our matching tee shirts that said "Group Therapy" and posed for pictures wearing big red wax lips! Or in the limo (read on) singing theme songs from old TV shows like Green Acres, Gilligan's Island and Patty Duke. Or at the well-known comedy show "Beach Blanket Babylon" in San Francisco. Or reading the "Pat, the Husband" book (a parody on the "Pat the Bunny" book we all read to our kids), a b'day gift from Connie, I might add. Or posing for pictures and telling Ger's son to "take one without pants". Now...you ask...what is that all about? Really...quite innocent...I assure you. Ger had gotten us matching shirts that said "Old Navy San Francisco" (coral in color)and we all slipped them on right away. None of our pants matched the shirt. So...we wanted Jeff to take the picture from the waist up...the request just came out wrong!!

We also had some memorable moments this past week..."hot tubbing" in Ger's heated pool...bumping into an actual photographer who (using all 5 cameras) "posed" us for pictures at the coast saying he was helping is to look thinner (what was that all about?...we look darn good for a bunch of old ladies!)...riding in a limo (Ger surprised us!) through the wine country and stopping at a few vineyards along the way (meeting a group of women from Wisconsin where - in their words - "the men are men and the women are men")...shopping until our feet, knees and shoulders ached (that could have something to do with the "55 factor")...riding on a cable car (our driver claimed it was his first day)...and touring San Francisco with our guide, Patrick (who can be seen as a fireman in the new show "Trauma"). Creating perfect memories from a perfect week.

I can not wait for the next time we get together. We are thinking about Boston and Vermont...Connie's stomping grounds...maybe two years from now.

I hope by that time my feet, knees, shoulders and cheeks will be rejuvenated!

Friday, September 11, 2009

OK!!!!! I GIVE UP!!!!!

Now, if you really know me well you know that those words rarely come out of my mouth! Just ask my honey...he can attest to many arguments...ahemmmm...slight differences of opinions...that we have had over the years where I just have to have the last word...and the next to the last...and the one before that...and before that...etc....etc...etc. Or, you could go ask Alice...isn't that a song???...who I worked with for 5 years at the best job I ever had...church secretary. Alice can attest to the fact that if we had something go wrong in the office...or couldn't figure out something on the computer...I would dig and dig and dig until I got a resolution. I am not sure if this is a personality trait to brag about or not!!!

Well...I give up! I spent the last 2 hours at my pool battling with leaves. Yes, I know...we do live in the middle of the woods...and yes, I know...it is fall...and yes, I know...no one is even swimming anymore...BUT HEY!!!...what the heck happened to summer???? Where did it go???? Did I miss it???? Instead of a warm sunny...even Indian Summer day...I am out there in a sprinkling rain...with a gusting wind...skimmer in hand...trying to remove all the leaves. Out five...in seven...out three...in two...out four...in nine! You do the math...it is a LOSING BATTLE!!

Even Sebastian is out of breath!!!

Time to call the pool guys and get the cover installed for the winter. I was really trying to keep it open so that my Minnesota friends could enjoy a little dip in the heated pool when they visit in October. Sorry to disappoint, guys. However...the hot tub WILL stay open until the end of October.

I certainly think I can manage the leaves in that!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Quietness of Fall

Unlike my cool cyberfriends Sarah and MaryLisa, I do not seem to blog regularly anymore. I guess my life was a bit more eventful when I was packing, moving, stepping over contractors and unpacking. Now my life is just...quiet.

Quiet is good...quiet is restful...quiet is peaceful...quiet is calming...BUT quiet can be lonely.

I have read more books this past summer than I have read in the past 5 years! Love it...love to read...love to get "lost" in a book. Have lots of quiet time to do it. So what am I complaining about? Sounds like Sarah and MaryLisa would kill to have time to sit and quietly read a book...uninterrupted...but instead their moments are filled with "back to school blues". I remember those days well.

But my little birds have long since dropped out of the nest. Their school years are a distant memory...found only in little books marked "School Days" which I lovingly filled each year with pictures and mementos from K-8th grades. The high school years I chose not to commemorate in this way...except for Will's acting/musical accomplishments and Carrie's basketball. Sorry Leigh and Jessie...but I AM equally as proud of you!!!

So...does fall make me think of bus stops...new teachers...new friends...school shopping...school lunches...PTA?? You betcha! But I would not trade places with my friends who are young mom's for anything in the world!

After all, I have four beautiful little birds that have grown into strong, independent adults, a husband who I adore...and with whom I get to spend some of my quiet time, two of the most precious grandlittle birds in the world, a beautiful home which is truly a BlessInn', and many friends I have collected over the years who are scattered across the country...and even in Australia.

Life is good...and quiet.

Shhhhhhhhhhhh...I can hear the leaves falling to the ground.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Silver and Gold

My cyberfriend, Sarah, blogged a few weeks ago about friends, old and new. She recently moved from her home town...lifetime home town, I might add...to not only a new town, but a new state. I know just how she feels as I moved to MN in August of 2000. It can be traumatic...it can be frustrating...it can be unbearable...and your friends...new and old...help you to get through. It is what you make it!

When I left my hometown area of PA/NJ, I left behind family and lifetime friends also...friends of "gold; my childhood friend, Lisa-I do not have a memory of my childhood that does not include her; my adult friend, Jean-we became friends when our boys were toddlers and we worked through a lot of life crisis together; and all of those dear friends in between...buckets overflowing with "gold". I have been very blessed.

I accessorized with gold jewelry before my move to MN. I did not care much for silver. I had a few pieces that I donned occasionally, but my favorite by far was gold. Very conservative pieces. I would never mix the two...a fashion faux pas for certain!

After my move in 2000 I began to fill my buckets with "silver". Once again I have been very blessed! I made many "new" lifetime friends, those that will be a part of me forever. Those that have touched my life in ways that have helped me to become a better person, a better friend.

And during these years I began to accessorize with silver jewelry. Actually, I became obsessed with silver jewelry and began to purchase some very "funky" and fun pieces. I rarely wore my gold jewelry anymore. It sat in my jewlery box-unused for the most part. And I still would never mix the two.

After 8 1/2 years I moved back to my hometown area. It was a bittersweet event. I was thrilled to be back "home" but broken hearted at leaving all of my dear friends behind, once again. I left with buckets overflowing, but this time with "silver".

Here it is, 8 months later, and I now have the best of two worlds! Not only do I get to travel back to MN quite regularly and visit all my "new" friends, but some of them have begun to be transferred to the PA/NJ area, and I see them on a regular basis. They have been to our home and have met my "old" friends, and the two have blended quite nicely. What could be better than this!!

And now, strange as it may seem, I have learned to blend my silver and gold jewelry. I have found a few pieces that are made from both metals, and I wear them all the time. They really are quite beautiful together...they compliment each other well.

Funny how it took me so long to figure that out. Now, I can not even imagine wearing one without the other. Just gold...or only silver...not anymore!! Two precious metals...many precious friends...complimenting each other...completing me!

Friday, August 7, 2009

GPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!



Our granddaughter, Cailyn, is the smartest little 21 month old I know! I am certain that no other child can match her wit or vocabulary!

We are blessed to have all four of our little birds home visiting, along with our two grandlittle birds, Carter and Cailyn. Carter is just adorable at a mere 8 weeks old. He has grown so much, right along with my love for him. All you grandmas out there understand this concept!

And Cailyn is...well...just perfect! I just can't get enough of her. I can sit for hours and just watch her...learning...wheels turning...absorbing life. She is beyond delightful...she is just heaven on earth!

My honey and I have watched her learning every one's name...all of which she repeats quite clearly...along with her ABC's! I am telling you...smart!!! She can say Leigh, Uncle Will and Grandy (that's me!) if we ask her to "say....". But Jessie and GP (that's my honey!) she says without prompting.

My honey came into the house last evening...after having worked on the farm all day...and Cailyn heard the door and shouted with glee "GPPPPPPPPP!" I must say that the look on his face was of sheer joy! My heart just smiled!

Nothing warms the heart more than hearing your grandchild say your name because they KNOW who you are! Life just keeps getting better and better.

We will continue making memories this week at the "BlessInn" counting all of our "blessin's" along the way!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Say Cheese :)

I love to take pictures. I have gotten much better at it since my honey bought me a new camera.

I never run from a good Kodak moment. I have taken countless pictures...pictures of the "Money Pit"...pre-construction...and during construction...and the now "BlessInn"...the finished (almost) project. I have taken pictures of Cailyn and Carter...many, many pictures! I have taken pictures of the deer in our yard...just like you, ML!

I know that I will be taking many more pictures in the future...like when all the "little birds"...and "grandlittle birds"...are here in just a few short weeks. These pictures will be tucked away...and at some future gathering...pulled out...dusted off...and looked at...and all the memories will come flooding back. That's what pictures are for, right?

I have seen other people taking pictures of many things over the years...things they want a memory of. Things like animals at the zoo...large historical buildings...beautiful sunsets...old cars...new cars...pets in silly outfits...family members...flowers...beaches...mountains...you get the idea.

Today I saw a rather bazaar Kodak moment. I still can not figure out why this event had to be documented...why this person needed to have this memory. Not only was it strange that this person had a camera with her...but even more mind boggling as to why she chose this particular place to use it.

Today I saw a woman taking a picture of her very cute little girl...at the movie theater...in the ladies room!! As I walked in, the little girl was standing by the sink and the mom said "say cheese!"

My brain snapped a picture of that and I am afraid it will be a memory for a long time. Some things you just want to forget.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A "moo moo" here and a "moo moo" there...

As you all know by now, the "BlessInn" (aka Money Pit)...I like this new name a whole lot better!...is nestled in among some trees. Running along the side and behind the house are two roads...not visible through the trees, but there none the less. I sit on my porch each morning (about 5:30am) to have my coffee and devotions, and I hear the traffic from the early morning commuters. It slows down as the sun comes up, and really is not annoying as I have learned to listen "beyond" the man made noise to the sound of God's creatures.

Ahhhhhh...............there are MANY of them around here.

Not only is there a choir of birds celebrating the new day, but other little creatures I have yet to identify. However...there are two sounds that are loud and clear...sounds I learned about a long time ago singing the familiar childhood song "Old MacDonald had a Farm"! There is a cow and a rooster...typical farm animals...and since there is a farm just across the street it is logical that I would hear them each day.

But these two farm animals are anything but typical. Now, I did not grow up on a farm, I am more of a "city" girl, but I have learned about farm animals on TV and in storybooks, etc. so I think I know "typical". Cows are the big black and white smelly animals that make the funny noise "moo moo". They lay down under trees when it is supposed to rain. Roosters are the ones that wake you up in the morning with a "cock-a-doodle-doo". They can also be found on weather vanes high up on the barn roof.

Am I right so far????

Well, my neighbors are not quite like my storybook friends. At around 5:30-6am each morning I can hear...no, not the rooster...but the cow...mooing quite loudly...waking up the rest of his barnyard friends. Some mornings it is REALLY loud...and goes on for a VERY long time. The "typical" alarm clock...the rooster...does not start his morning ritual until around NOON...way after I'm out of bed...and continues through most of the afternoon. Yesterday it was 6PM and he was a "cock-a-doodle-doin'" away!!

Is this weird...or am I way too "citified" to really know the habits of farm animals? OK...all my farm bred cyberfriends...hit me with your wisdom.

Meanwhile, I will just sit back and relax on my porch...and continue to be serenaded by whatever...whenever the mood strikes them!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dem bones...dem bones...dem...dog bones!

OK, so I took another trip to my favorite flea market today. You remember...the one with the beautiful and unique wall art. Well, today it was jam packed with people... many people... lots of people. It was a gorgeous day...sun was shining brightly...sky was a beautiful blue...my sister and I were spending some quality time together...a perfect day. And once again...this trip did not disappoint me. Below is a picture of dog bones that were for sale. Big...huge...smelly dog bones...in every size imaginable (I only captured the biggest ones) but no one was buying dog bones today. Nor were they buying umbrellas...or gutters...even though the nice man with a voice like a circus ringmaster announced that a great rebate...a really nice rebate...a swwwwwwweeeeeeet rebate was available to everyone that bought these gutters. But they were buying things like beautiful purses...and earrings...and funky hand-painted wine glasses...and CDs made especially for little children with names like Cailyn and Carter. And they were having fun just taking it all in...never a dull moment at the flea market. One thing though....they never have any fleas for sale????????????

Whoops! I must not have saved the picture of the dog bones on my phone. But...trust me...they were big...and huge...and smelly!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not this "Groundhog's Day"

So...my honey and I were relaxing by the pool after a hard day's work...well, one of us was working hard while the other was "bored" and complaining quite loudly as she wanted to spend the beautiful day doing something other than working around the house like going for a motorcycle ride or walking in the woods or swimming in the pool, but he says "a farmer's work is never done" which is funny because all we can farm here is rocks and he was so very busy pumping water out of the holes left by the trees knocked down for the pole barn so that the project would not be delayed waiting for it to dry up. WHEW!!

So...we finally made it out to the pool around dinner time. It was actually my honey's first day in the pool. We had been in the spa once before, but he had not been in the pool. We were relaxing...having a cold beverage...enjoying the late afternoon rays...beautiful...life is grand...at least for some of God's creatures.

Suddenly there appeared...at the edge of the fence...a groundhog...going about his business...probably searching for dinner as he left telling the kids "I'll be right back!" Little did he know his plans for the day were to be drastically changed!

My honey spots the creature, and with testosterone surging says "I must shoot him!" I am not sure which male instinct clicked into gear...protector? (although I really was not afraid of this creature)...provider? (I do have a great cookbook called "The White Trash Cookbook" with lots of great recipes for roadkill and things of this nature)...but off he went to retrieve his BB gun.

He emerged from the garage...BB gun in hand...all pumped up and ready to go (the gun, not him, although I am certain that was true of him also)...stood right next to me...aimed...fired...kerplunk! The groundhog fell over instantly. I responded with "good shot" which my honey says was the nicest thing I ever said to him???? I will never understand how the male mind works!

We then shared a private joke about dumping the poor little creature into the septic tank. Why, you ask? When we were first looking at the property the real estate agent...yes, the intoxicated one...told us that all you have to do to keep your septic working properly is to dump a dead animal in it every so often. Wow...who thinks of these things besides sauced-up real estate agents? The Clampets, maybe?? My honey dumped it in the woods.

A good day all around for my honey...not so much for the groundhog.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Pool Boy

My honey and I sat by the side of the pool this morning watching Sebastian methodically clean the pool. I know...that is pretty sad. We could be doing at least a million other "important" things...but there we sat...mesmerized. I am just ecstatic to have Sebastian as my aching 50-something year old shoulders could not have withstood many more days of scrubbing the sides and bottom with the pool brush. While the plaster was curing I had to brush the pool down two times a day...about a 1 1/2 hour process. It seems that either pool cleaning has gotten more difficult to do since our last pool 9 years ago, or I have become weak and helpless in my "old" age.

But, dear Sebastian is just what the doctor ordered! He is thorough...slow...
tedious...making sure that every piece of debris is carefully "swept up". And by the way... he's not bad looking either!! No, we won't go there with the "pool boy" jokes.

I will look forward to his daily cleaning. He not only brightens my pool, but my day! Jessie and I will now take the few extra hours he has freed up for me, and spend it by the pool...relaxing in the sun...reading a few good books...and bonding.

Thanks, Sebastian for for all your hard work!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Grandy's heart is filled with joy!


There are not enough words to describe being a grandparent. I have said this before...it is all about experiencing the joys of parenthood without the day to day pressures of raising a child. It is...as my friend Joyce said...the closest thing to heaven on earth.

Baby Carter Alexander came into this world on June 10...much to Auntie Leigh's dismay who was not so fond of "sharing" her birthday! A beautiful baby boy...truly God's miracle...perfect in every way...innocent...sweet...an angel. Sister Cailyn is not so sure about sharing time with Mom right now...but we are hopeful that it will get better as time goes on.

I have been so blessed by being present for both of their births. I just cry thinking about it. I don't think it is anything that I could tire of...and I hope that I have more opportunities to see the birth of future grandchildren. Thank you, my sweet Carrie, for letting me experience such pure joy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Funny to you, maybe...

My good friend, Laura, has just moved from Minnesota to New Jersey, about one hour from me. I have been so excited...anticipating this move for months now...and yesterday she and her family arrived on our doorstep on the way to their "new" home. You all know how happy I am to be back here...and it is just the "icing on the cake" having some of our friends from Minnesota living nearby. Another good friend is expected to arrive some time this summer. Thanks, Verizon!!!

While here Laura reminded me of a story I had told her a few years back about a funny thing that happened to me in my other Pennsylvania home. I thought it was time to share it with you. It is a most bizarre story!!

I had a neighbor...who shall remain nameless, of course...who once had a squirrel for a pet. Yes...you read that right...a squirrel. Apparently they found an abandoned baby squirrel on their property and decided to "raise" it as a pet.

Now this neighbor loved this silly squirrel...and had been spotted at the township ballfield with "Timmy" nestled in her shirt between her breasts! Oh..."Timmy" was the squirrels name. Weird story, you say??? Gets weirder!!

One day I was out in my green minivan depositing the children at their four separate destinations for their four separate sports activities which I would some how try to be present for an equal amount of time. Whew! Those were the days!! I saw a lot of two-inning games back then.

On this particularly warm and sunny day I had to return home because one of the kids had forgotten their glove...or ballcap...or cleats...or something of great importance. Mom had to "save the day".

I parked in the back of my house...ran and got the item...and hurried back and got into the van. Every moment was crucial here. As I turned the key...suddenly...out of no where...there appeared...IN MY LAP...a squirrel!! I screamed...opened the car door...started running frantically up the street...with the creature clinging to my pant leg for dear life!!!

There, at the edge of her yard, stood my favorite neighbor...with her two adorable children...laughing hysterical...saying it's only "Timmy"!
I am not exactly sure what happened after that...shock set in I am certain...but I do know that "Timmy" lived there for a while before he was finally released to search for his squirrel mom.

So...there you have it...my bizarre squirrel "tale". Thanks, Laura, for reminding me!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's my Mother's fault!

This morning I was thinking about fruit during my workout...

yes, cyberfriends, I finally got around to starting a daily workout routine. I must say it took me so long to get motivated because I was crushed with the response to my polka aerobics idea...("Roll Out the Barrel" blog, March 16th)...with only one interested party!

...anyway...back to the fruit. I wasn't really thinking about fruit...but rather making a comparison. My honey has never understood my reluctance to workout...and my frustration with the results once I do. He has found an exercise routine that all around "works for him". He can lose...maintain...fit it into his busy schedule...and still eat whatever he likes!! He has also only ever had, at the most, 10-15 lbs. to lose at any given time. And...as all you female readers know...guys shed it more quickly.

I...on the other hand have...let's say for the sake of this blog...30-40 lbs. to lose. A far cry from 10-15 lbs!! I may do good for a while...but then hit that plateau...and get discouraged....which causes stress...and I am a stress eater...you get the idea.

It also has a lot to do with genes...here's where the fruit comes in. My honey comes from a banana family...tall and lean men on both sides of his family. I come from a pear family...where the women on both sides of my family are a bit rounder about the middle.

Although a banana and a pear are both yellow, sweet fruit...the similarities end there. Yes, my honey and I are both adorable, sweet people...but I will never weigh my "20-something" weight. Don't get me wrong...I know I can lose weight with some really hard work and a focused...dedicated mind. I know that I could be healthier carrying a little less baggage around...and definitely would enjoy my reflection just a tad more. But most days I would rather not break a sweat or pull a muscle for the sake of vanity.

We all know that a bruised piece of fruit is not as tasty!!

P.S. My friend, Gerrie, just sent me this in an email...and I thought it was the perfect ending punctuation...

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on
nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those
conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine
and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and
fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dreams or reality?

I had the most bizarre thing happen to me this morning...and I just had to share it right away.

We have all experienced those weird dream moments right before waking up...like when in our dream the phone is ringing and then we realize it really is....you know those moments. It is a surreal feeling to experience our subconscious working at that level. I have never studied the mind...I guess that is why I am, at times, mindless...but I am certain it would be a fascinating study!

This morning I was deep in dreamland...I was working in the front of my house planting my new shrubs...one with nature. Cailyn was there just playing and laughing. It was a glorious moment and I was enjoying two of my favorite "pass times"...gardening and watching my granddaughter just do the things she does!

Suddenly a thought came to me in my dream. "It must be time for the alarm to go off right....(my thoughts paused)...and then I thought...NOW"...and the alarm went off!!!

I hit the snooze button...gradually coming back to reality...understanding that I was not in my flower bed...but my warm and snugly bed with my honey right beside me and no Cailyn in sight.

But how did I know when the alarm would go off???? And even better...why was that thought even in my head while I was gardening??? That is the ONE time that I rarely think about time...I mostly just get lost in my thoughts...mindless.

I will ponder this a bit more I am sure. Tick....tock...tick...tock...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spreading the "Word"

We have many trees on our property. Remember the Chainsaw Party a few blogs ago? My honey and his "buds" were clearing the property of a few trees so that we could put in a pool. It was quite the event!

Today I discovered a tree I had never seen before. One that is really quite beautiful...with pretty yellow flowers. After surfing the web I found out it is called a yellow poplar...or tulip tree. I will try my best to make sure that this tree is never a victim of the chainsaw gang!

About 3 weeks ago there was a knock a the door. The local electric company had hired a tree service to trim all of the trees that touch the power lines. The man standing at my door worked for the tree service and was there to inform me that they would be cutting back some trees on our property. "Was I interested in keeping the wood that they cut, or should he haul it away?" Well, since there are countless things that I now know can be made out of logs I told him we would like to keep the wood.

The next day my honey was riding by where they had trimmed our trees. There lying on the ground next to one of the trees, was a piece of freshly cut wood...and carved into the wood was the Christian "fish symbol". It was really quite beautiful to see...a simple carving by some one's chainsaw...a refreshing reminder that we Christians are not alone out there.

We've kept the piece of wood and gave it a resting spot at the entrance to the bridge. Here we can see it everyday as we enter our property. It is a great way to remind us just how blessed we are. Thank you, Jesus!...and thank you our anonymous Christian friend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sweater Maker

Some of us have been blessed with a creative relative who likes to share their talent with other members of the family. I have one of those relatives...my dear Aunt Jean.

My Aunt Jean...now an octogenarian...used to make her own clothes...sing in in the church choir...bowl every week and very well, I might add...and work outside the home as a corporate secretary. She loved to travel by car, and has visited all of the states in our country (of course she did not drive to a couple!)...but has lived in only two of those states, New Jersey and Nevada.

She also has been knitting for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have received countless items hand knit by her: sweaters...my Christmas stocking...sweaters...hat/scarfs...sweaters...Barbie clothes...sweaters...a shawl...sweaters...an afghan...and sweaters...just to name a few.

My all time favorite was knit in the 70s when I was in high school. She made me a burnt orange jumpsuit!! It had stripes of tan and brown around the collar and cuffs. It was made with HUGE bellbottom pant legs. WOW!!!...what a flashback I just had!! LOL!! I was quite stunning in it!! The thing is, though, it weighed more than me at the time!!!

She has knit my children their baptismal gown...sweaters...baby clothes...sweaters...their Christmas stockings...sweaters... hats/scarfs...sweaters...afghans...and sweaters.

She knits for EVERY family member...her sisters and spouses...nieces/nephews and spouses...great nieces/nephews and their spouses and children...and so on and so on. She knits for about 50 people that I know of, and probably a bunch that I don't!!

Every year...without fail...for as far back as the beginning of time...she has knit everyone a sweater for Christmas...a different style each year...in a multitude of colors. It was no surprise what was inside her package!

This past Christmas we did not receive sweaters. This year she retired her knitting needles and is giving her tired hands a rest. It was strange not to receive her sweaters. A family tradition has ended.

Someone will have to learn how to knit. "Knit one...pearl two"! That is all that I remember from the one time she tried to teach me. But the thing is...I remember the words...just not what they mean!

Someone will have to continue the tradition of the Christmas stockings. Every family member has one! The new grandbaby will need one!

Leigh???...Carrie???...Jessie???...Will???...which one of you will it be? I am certain Aunt Jean would love to teach one or all of you!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A one of kind "treasure"

My friend, Jean, and I spent her birthday browsing at a flea market near us. I love flea markets. You can find some real "treasures" at flea markets.

I have been to this particular Tuesday flea market many times...and it has always been packed full of vendors and shoppers. But because they were open on Memorial Day, only a handful of vendors set-up their tables today....apparently only the desperate to move their goods vendors.

Now...if you have ever been to a flea market you know that some of the vendors are just pedaling knock-offs of someone else's hard work...I have been known to purchase these items in the past. Some of the vendors are selling food items, or flowers, or perfumes. Some of the vendors deal only in antiques.

Well...apparently these vendors were home resting up after a long and busy holiday weekend where sales were good so therefore a much needed break was warranted. Very few of them were set-up today.

The majority of the vendors there today were selling the miracle creams and lotions...the velvet paintings...the CDs of artists who have been dead and gone a long time...and the 2008 calendars. And then there were the "creative" type vendors that were displaying the goods they "created" with their own hands. You know...license plates made into birdhouses and purses...jewelry made out of broken pieces of china or bottle caps...garden decorations made from old garden tools decorated with things like door knobs and keys and old silverware and coffeepots. These are the fun things to see...things that you may or may not say..."wow...I never would have thought of that!"

Occasionally at these vendor tables you will find a real "treasure"...a true conversation piece...an unbelievable one-of-a-kind gem!!

Today I found that treasure! I walked past it...almost missing it completely...then slowly realized what I was seeing. I quickly brought Jean's attention to it. She squinted...focused...giggled and then just turned and walked away. I, on the other hand, could not move.

I was frozen to the spot...my eyes filling with tears...the laughter rising from deep inside me! I could not believe what I was seeing. I think it must have been created by a husband/wife team. They discovered a way to bring their two worlds together...working side by side to create the perfect piece.

You must have just the right decor to display this work of art. I knew immediately I did not have it. But some where out there one of you may. I guess it would be a cross between a yurt and a ladies bathroom.

I can give you directions to the flea market if you are interested. Something tells me it will still be there next week!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Adjusting to Mother Nature

I love it here...the woods...the creek...but mostly the serenity. It's a good thing, because being surrounded by Mother Nature has brought me into close contact with things I really tried to steer clear of in the past.

I have never really been the "outdoorsy" type. Although I did a little camping (church camp) when I was in grade school...I was always happy to get back home to my own bed and bathroom. I am not a fan of bugs and critters.

Now the deer that I see from my window...and the geese I chase down the lane...and the ducks I see swimming in the creek...and the blue heron that circles our property...these are all beautiful sights...great examples of the sheer wonder of God's creation. And they are all far enough away from me that I do not worry whether or not they will come close enough to me to actually touch me. But...there are some of God's creatures that are too bold for me.

Let's take for instance bugs...yikees! From carpenter ants...to spiders...to Pennsylvania's version of a "stink bug"...to centipedes...to silverfish...I have experienced them all. I hate bugs...they really make me feel all crrrreeeeppppy...and crrrraaaawwwwlllly. And critters???...that's another whole level of creepy crawly yuckiness!

I think that all critters such as rodents and snakes should be banned from the earth! Mice...rats...snakes...are totally gross creatures that just give me the "heebiejeebies". All of these have reared their ugly heads here at the Money Pit...but thank goodness I have not crossed paths with any of them personally.

I know that they are all a part of Mother Nature...I just wish they were silent partners and/or nocturnal so that I would never have a chance to cross their paths. My honey does his best to shelter me from them...however...the fact remains they are here...and actually were here before us...so they do have some claim to the property.

I know I must learn to adapt to them...since this is hopefully our last stopping place before I reach the pearly gates. I will try hard to be brave. But, maybe they could all become extinct...like the dinosaurs. No one misses the dinosaurs, right?

But...here's a thought...do you think there are bugs and critters in Heaven? I sure hope not.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reservations at the Inn


Well...the Money Pit has truly become our dream home. We have lots to do yet, but even if we don't do another thing...it is definitely a dream come true.

Today as we were leaving to get Sunday breakfast at the local diner...gotta love the east coast diners...and we saw the first baby geese of the season. We have had a flock of geese here on the property for the last couple months, and we knew they had laid their eggs close by. Sure enough...the first "family" was out for a Sunday stroll.

Cailyn's daddy, Chris, was visiting over Easter. He took a walk through the woods and saw a herd of deer..."15 whitetails"...as he described them...watering at a pond that borders our property.

And today I looked out the back window and saw a bunch of daffodils blooming in the middle of the woods. Not sure who planted them...but I sure am enjoying the sight!

It is so peaceful and beautiful here. We are in the process of building a screened porch and pool with hot tub. All we need now to complete the dream is for our friends to travel here and enjoy it with us! We would love to have you all come for a visit soon!!

The "Inn" is open...so book your reservation!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Icing on the Cake

It has been a wonderful Easter!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed having all my "little" birds here in our new nest (AKA the Money Pit). Leigh surprised us by arriving Wednesday night...we had not expected her to come at all. Jessie arrived Thursday...Will Friday...and Carrie, Cailyn and Chris on Saturday. I was in Heaven! Who could ask for anything more??

We visited our old church in NJ, where my Mom was "saving" seats for us. We come from an old Presbyterian church where years ago you actually purchased your seats in the pews. They no longer follow that practice, but we sit in the same pew location as my great grandmother's family did some hundreds of years ago. The church celebrated it's 250th "birthday" in 1990....so that makes it...269 years old now!

Wait, I was not supposed to be blogging about my old church, but my wonderful Easter. They are, however, greatly connected thanks to our risen Lord!!

So...back to my Easter week...I am so in love with my grandbaby Cailyn! She is nothing but joy...even when she is throwing a tantrum typical of her age. And the "soon to be here" grandbaby boy has been very active in his mommy's tummy!! He will arrive around June 11th...can't wait!!

I love my "little birds" with all of my heart, and cherish every moment I am with them, but a grandchild is totally different. It is all of the rewards, and none of the pain that goes with parenting. It is the icing on the cake that...as you learned how to master it...you undercooked it...overcooked it...forgot ingredients...mismeasured ingredients...added ingredients that you thought would help the recipe, only to find out differently...and definitely ate way too much of, but loved every bite!

I am so looking forward to this summer when I know the "little birds" will all "fly back" and spend time with us again. And included in that trip will be our new grandbaby boy!!!

More icing...different flavor...all the sweetest part of the cake!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A computer by any other name...

Depending on who you talk to my honey and I are either young or old.

My parents, and anyone over 40 refer to us as young...this is a good thing...as I do not feel old...and "they" (who are "they", anyway?) say you are as young as you feel. Therefore...on a daily basis...I range in age anywhere from 30-60! It is a mental thing...but is usually determined by an ache or pain...or lack there of.

Our kids...on the other hand...have been known to say on occasion..."you and Dad are so old!" This comment, at times, has been painful to hear...but mostly is just shrugged off as part of the circle of life. At times I look at them and can not figure out how I can have children so close to my own age. Mental...or better known as "off your rocker"???

My honey and I are pretty much "in the times" with all the new gadgets and stuff. I, on occasion, have had to ask assistance of my children on how to work a certain feature on a gadget...let's say my cellphone for instance...but I learn quickly. There is NO truth to the "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" theory.

So...we know about the gadgets...we can work them with enough knowledge to get by in this world...and look like we know what we are doing. But...sometimes the "empty nest age" clicks into gear...we have a brief moment of senility...forgetfullness...and just stumble along. My honey and I have reached the point where we try to assist each other when this happens before anyone else realizes we have had a brain "bump".

My honey had just such a moment the other day. I did not correct him...because it really was quite comical...and made for a good laugh...which "they" say is the best medicine and helps you to live longer! What did he do??? This man...a very intelligent corporate executive...was talking about his computer...but forgot what the word was for computer...just a momentary brain "bump"...so he called it the first thing that came to his mind....................

the "EMAIL MACHINE". I know....it is funny...you can laugh.

One thing good about getting older is that you can laugh at your own mistakes...and really don't care if others laugh at you!!

After all...as "they" say...a computer by any other name...is still a computer!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Easter Bunny

I am so excited!! Three of my four "little" birds are returning to the nest for Easter! The fourth one can not make this trip....and she will be greatly missed.

We have always been a family that celebrates each holiday with lots of fun and insane amounts of food. Many of the traditions we started when my kiddos were little are still carried on today. Santa still comes at Christmas and the Easter Bunny arrives every Easter morning!

Sometimes the Easter Bunny hides the baskets and leaves fun clues for the kiddos to go on a scavenger hunt. The clues always make reference to something that is known and familiar to the kiddos, or an event that happened somewhere in the house...and they just know where to start searching. And, sometimes he just leaves the baskets on the dining table where each one sits.

So...this year the Easter Bunny is in a quandary. None of the kiddos know this house or where any of the familiar things may have been placed. No one has a regular seat at the dining table. Oh...what is he to do???

Family traditions should not be broken...I found this out the hard way. One time a few years ago I began a discussion with the kiddos about stopping the tradition of the Santa sacks that are filled by Santa. I was stopped abruptly by my honey who said..."you will not continue with this course of conduct!" There is a kid in each of us, and the thought of stopping this tradition was just too much for him to take! :) I must admit, I would miss this tradition, too, if it were no more. I have even passed it on to the next generation by making Cailyn...and our "almost" second grandbaby...their own version of a Santa sack!!

But sometimes traditions need to be "tweaked" a bit to fit a new circumstance. So...here I am...trying to figure out how to "tweak" the Easter basket tradition.

I am certain I will come up with something. After all, the Easter Bunny will arrive...just as he always has...hippity hopping down the bunny trail...whether or not I am ready!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chainsaw Party




Sunday my honey hosted his first Chainsaw Party. What is a Chainsaw Party, you ask? It is when a group of guys gather together for the purpose of cutting down as many trees as is allowed by the host. There are no rules...except of course safety first...and you must BYOC...bring your own chainsaw.

The excitement level was "off the wall"! It was actually funny to watch the "boys"...in full grown men disguise...put on their goggles and gloves...and pull the cords to start the saws. It was like a "start gun" had been fired and they were in a race to see who could cut the most pieces of wood in the least amount of time!

When friend D arrived with coffee and doughnuts...wait a tic...I thought my honey was hosting???...a strategy for the day was discussed...and D was assigned "in charge of safety/project manager". The discussion continued until friend W arrived...who did not want to "burn daylight" and was ready to go. So the race began...however, friend D and my honey did not quite have their chainsaws prepped for a quick start.

Tree victim #1 was identified, and friend W began the cuts. Friend D and my honey were at the truck struggling just a little with their chainsaws...friend D's would not start at all...and my honey's was a little rough (the chain was apparently not moving and the saw was smoking just a tad!) I observed all of this from a safe distance inside the house with camera in hand!! Tree victim # 1....down!

The next 5 tree victims were cut down by friend D, and quickly cut into bite-sized pieces by friend W, my honey, and friend J and his son who arrived during the tree victim #4 massacre. All in all the day went quite smoothly...except for the last tree...which I thought sure was going to be in my dining room. There was no panicking...there was no running around grabbing chains and connecting them to the tree and friend D's truck...there was no yelling...there were no wheels spinning spewing stones everywhere. Just 5 guys bonding at the first Chainsaw Party. I am certain my honey will host several more!

By the way...a huge thanks to friend D who kept everyone on their toes when it came to safety first! T...I...M...B...E...R!!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Roll Out the Barrel

When I was a little girl we used to spend some time in the summers at Mountain Lake in NJ...yes my Minnesota friends...there are lakes in NJ...and even PA!! There was a combination restaurant/bar at the lake that we went to...on occasion...for dinner. My parents did not have a lot of money back in those days so it was a real treat to go the lake...sometimes staying overnight...and sometimes enjoying dinner at the restaurant/bar instead of cooking on the charcoal grill...which always seemed to take FOREVER to get hot enough to cook on...then glowed on and on for hours long after dinner was over!...Strange?...I think that is why marshmallows were invented!!

Anyway...back to the restaurant/bar...they had a jukebox and my Aunt Jean...the sweater maker (another future blog)...would fill it with coins and play all of the polkas. It was here that I learned to polka, and here that I was introduced to one of the great polka songs...Roll Out the Barrel. I think I was too young at the time to know what was in the barrel they sang about...but I did have a barrel of fun learning to dance to it!

So...today I realized that spring IS just around the corner...actually in some places here in PA the daffodils are beginning to pop up!! There is not much time to get ready for the warm weather...ie. the wearing of shorts, sandals, sleeveless shirts...and it struck me that I would have to get cracking soon with a diet exercise/routine or I will give "roll out the barrel" a whole new meaning!

Therefore...I am thinking...with my experience and all...I should start a polka dancing/exercise class...it is surprising that no one has ever come up with that idea before??!!

You may sign up for the class by leaving me a note below! Come on, friends, wouldn't it just be a barrel of fun??!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Missing Pieces

I love puzzles. When I was a little girl my next door neighbor always had a puzzle table set up by her dining room window. I would spend hours there finding pieces that fit just right.

I used to set up a puzzle table in the winter. My last house in MN did not have a good place to set up a puzzle table. I have high hopes for this house, but have not yet had the time to set up the table, let alone put together a puzzle. Maybe next winter.

It used to drive me crazy when I would finish a puzzle only to find that there were one or two missing pieces. This happened a lot when the kids were little and the house was full of dogs with wagging tails that sent pieces flying...never to be seen again.

The problem with the missing pieces is that a puzzle can not be complete until all the pieces are in place, right? And being the personality type that I am, I had to search until I found the missing pieces. This sometimes made me a bit crazy...uh, crazier??...and the puzzle often ended up in the trash!

As you know, the unpacking process continues. Every time another project is completed I get to empty more boxes. I have now emptied every box in the house. The only ones left to empty are in the garage or shed. This is a scary thought.

Scary because I have 3 pieces of my stemware missing. I know I had 12...or at least 11...water glasses when I left MN. That means that the 2 Guys from Texas must have packed them with something in the garage?????....outrageous thought! Not unbelievable...just outrageous.

My honey and I will be on a search for those missing pieces very soon. My set of water glasses must be complete for me to get any sleep. One thing I know for sure, however...I will not throw out the rest of the set because of a few missing pieces.

I wonder who the cowboys are moving this week?? Maybe I should send up a smoke signal to warn the unknowing settlers of things to come!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In other words...

Goodbye...Farewell...See ya...Buhbye...Later...Solong...Toodles...Tata for now...Bye...Catch ya later...See ya later alligator...Hasta la vista...Ciao...Sayonara...Cheerio...Good riddance.

The contractors are gone!

In other words...my house can now begin to become my home! Yippee!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An "Aha! Moment"

I am thankful...even for the small things.

I have discovered that my "empty nest" age bracket has brought both patience and thankfulness at levels I never experienced before. Not that I don't ever "lose it" anymore...or that I always remember to give thanks for all that I have...but I have found that I look at things through different eyes...and prioritize the importance of these things...or lack there of...in a new way.

Yesterday was an example of this...what one may call an "aha! moment" (thanks to Oprah we all know what an "aha! moment" is).

You know that I have been a bit stressed since the beginning of December with...holidays...graduation...decluttering...moving...unpacking...the "Money Pit"...contractors...you have heard it all! I have been a bit distracted...disgruntled...overwhelmed...by just about everything in my life. Thank goodness for my honey...he remains the one constant in my life...a calming influence...at times I am not sure how he puts up with me!

So yesterday I am putting away the groceries. I walk to the refrigerator with my arms loaded with strawberries and blueberries...which were on sale "buy one-get one". As I am placing them on the shelf I drop a box of blueberries. Now...do you have a visual??? The box flies open when it hits the ground and blueberries scatter everywhere...rolling under the refrigerator...into the hall...even under the door of the broom closet.

There was a time...not so long ago...that this mere happenstance would have put me into a tailspin complete with stomping feet and words I would not think to say today. But yesterday I merely dropped to my hands and knees and began to pick them up...not an easy task I might add...slippery little suckers!

I am just about done...just a few more to go...when I hit the container and....BAM!!!...they scatter all over the floor once more! Now, in my younger years I would have probably gone ballistic at this point...and along with the expletives and stomping of the feet...I would have killed each blueberry...only to cause myself more stress trying to clean it up later.

But yesterday I realized with clarity that it was my stupidity that caused me to be in this predicament. Wow!!...wisdom...maturity...this getting old thing isn't that bad.

So...I sat back on my heels...paused for a moment...and thanked the Lord that I was healthy and able to be on my hands and knees. In His plan for my life...this little task...as menial as it was...reassured me that I am growing in wisdom and maturity...and with His help will make it another 50+ years!

My "aha! moment". I hope that I experience many, many more!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keeping on Task

I think I suffer from a disease...not really sure what it is called but I can describe the symptoms to you precisely. I have suffered from this disease for years...but my honey found out only recently that I was afflicted. Honestly, I think that many women suffer from this same disease...and may or may not realize it.

I find it extremely difficult to "keep on task". Now I have mentioned before that I am a very organized person. So when I see something out of place I have to fix it right then...not later...not when I have finished what I am currently doing...but immediately. "Middle age memory loss" coupled with the failure to "keep on task" disease makes for one very crazy day!!

I will begin by describing a typical day for me.

I wake at 5 am...that's probably part of the problem...make my honey some coffee for his commute, then sit down in the "Oprah chair", drink my coffee, and plan my day...usually with a mental list of what I want to accomplish.

Yesterday's #1 item was scrub the wood floors AGAIN. Now that the cardboard floors are gone I have been trying to keep the wood floors as clean as possible, but they have yet to look like the sample I saw in the flooring store OR the pretty colorful brochure that was handed to me. The never-ending construction dust has played a huge part in this...AND the muddy boots of the construction workers.

So I go to the nearly completed laundry room to retrieve a bucket and a terry cloth rag...then off to the kitchen sink cabinet for the floor cleaner...then back to the nearly completed laundry room for a towel to kneel on (I have no idea where my gardening kneepads are but they sure would have come in handy!). I begin to run water in the bucket...but alas the phone rings. I answer the phone, and after a few minute conversation I hang up. While I was on the phone I see some dust bunnies by the baseboard. I think...hmmmmm...better vacuum them up first. So I go to the closet in the kitchen to get the vacuum and I hear the water running into the bucket in the kitchen sink. I turn off the water and return to get out the vacuum. While vacuuming the floor I move the pictures of the kids that I have been meaning to hang on the wall...so when I finish the vacuuming, I get the nails and hammer, measuring tape and level, and begin to hang them. When finished I put the tools away and see the bucket waiting patiently in the sink. Oh, yeah...scrub the floor.

So I get on my hands and knees and begin the task of scrubbing. Now I have a large living room bordered with wood, a smaller living room, dining room, kitchen, hall and 1/2 bath all with wood floors. Not a small task I might add.

I complete the large living room floor and am half-way through the smaller living room when I get the idea to switch the rugs in the dining room and living room. So I begin to move the furniture off the rugs...I move the rugs...I see that there is more dirt to vacuum...I begin the vacuuming...I put the rugs back in there new rooms...I move the furniture back on to the rugs...I hang a picture in the dining room that was in my way...I move a small desk from the dining room into the smaller living room...I rearrange the furniture to see how it will look in the future after I purchase some bookshelves and a grand piano...I put the furniture back to how it will be until I purchase the bookshelves and grand piano. Oh, yeah...scrub the floor.

This scenario took place in just a fraction of my day. I continued with the "course of conduct" for several more hours before I FINALLY completed the floor scrubbing task. Exhausted, and with painful knees, I sat down in the "Oprah chair" to examine the result of my hard work. I get a really good reflection of light on the floor visible from the "Oprah chair"!

One positive side affect of the disease....I did manage to accomplish much more than I planned for at 5 am!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ziploc Bags

Way back in one of my earlier blogs I mentioned the fact that I LOVE ziploc bags! They are the best invention ever! I use them for everything!! I have ziplocs filled with nails...screws...rubber bands...odds and ends that I found on the floor after the 2 Guys from Texas were done moving us (I still haven't found out what all those things belong to!)...thumb tacks (does anyone even use them anymore??)...those little round felt things for the legs of chairs to protect your floors...picture hangers...and food items like nuts...tea bags...flour...sugar (all types)...you get the idea! I don't think I could live without these little bags...being the organizational "freak" that I am!

Ok...so let's go back to the search for the safe key. You remember...I put it someplace where my logical brain would find it when I was ready to open the safe. But everywhere I logically looked...NO KEY! It had been missing for 4 weeks...until just the other night!

My honey and I were discussing the lost key and how bazaar it was that I could not find it. He said "I'm missing the key to the motorcycle trailer, too" and I said "I packed them together with the safe key in the box that I carried with us in the car and have since emptied." Hmmmmmm. Clue....now where would I have put those keys?...someplace logical...someplace safe...someplace I would remember...hmmmmmm.

I had checked the big basket full of Lex's stuff to sort through (since before the move)...I checked the little basket full of Lex's stuff to sort through (since we moved...I'm running out of baskets...he better get sorting!!) Both of these places were logical places...both of these places I have searched several times before...but neither had produced the keys.

After my honey and I dug through some little boxes on the closet shelf, I sat down and began to sort through the big basket of Lex's stuff...once again. This time I took each item out and laid it on the bed. One by one...orderly... meticulously...one by one...it's a big basket! I had been looking for keys just tossed in the basket loose. But what is this?...a ziploc bag...I see something silver...KEYS!!! And to top it all off, there is a note inside the bag with the keys that says "Key for motorcycle trailer...Key for safe". My logical organized brain at work!

Now if I could just get the memory part of my brain to work life would be so much easier!!

So before I forget...I better write a note to buy some more ziploc bags at the store!! I just hope I don't misplace the note! My logical brain tells me to put it by my purse...which I will grab last before I go out the door.

Hmmmmm...where's my purse??!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Progesterone vs. Testosterone

I was with my honey on our weekly "Sunday after church shopping spree" at Walmart. We started this tradition in Alexandria, and seem to have continued it here in Bath. Some things never change.

This particular Sunday I was on a mission to buy a product that I needed badly. I wasn't sure if I could find it in Walmart, but it was worth a try. Nope, not here.

Just before we went to Walmart, we went to Sam's Club...located in the same complex...to return a book. My honey searched for the product for me while I stood in line. Nope, not here.

As we were leaving I scoped out the other stores in the complex looking for a health food store. The only store I saw that resembled a health food store was a GNC and wondered "aloud" if they might possibly have this product. I really doubted it, but it crossed my mind as a possibility to check out at another time.

Our next stop was Wegman's...a huge grocery store with tons of really cool stuff just across the street from Walmart. After walking up and down the aisles...it is really fun to do this here...really...Nope, not here.

I mentioned...maybe mumbled..."guess I'll have to go to the health food store". My honey heard "I want to go to GNC". So back across the street we headed and he pulled up and parked in front of GNC. Ladies, you know that women and men speak different languages, right??...coupled with hearing loss that comes from "tuning out" your wife (but, my honey does not have that trait anymore!) or being of the "emptynest" age...it is often difficult to communicate with your spouse. I was appreciative of the fact that he made the extra stop for me.

I entered the store and in my best female I need help voice I asked "do you carry progesterone cream?"

Standing behind the counter were two teenage males. They both looked at me oddly, and the one said "gesterone cream??" Clearly they had never been to a health class in school...do they still teach health?...if not here is an example of why they should!

So....already knowing the answer...I threw out my sweetest smile and repeated the question. "Nope, not here," came the answer from their cute little testosterone filled bodies. The reasons I needed the cream were beginning to show their signs.

So I will be on a continued search for a real health food store in hopes that I may find the cream...before my hot flashes come back with a vengeance!!...and certainly because I am surrounded on a daily basis by a house FULL of testosterone...the contractors...who have not learned the art of "hearing" when I speak. They "listen" to my voice and make eye contact (sometimes!) but they NEVER "hear" what I'm saying. Familiar?????

AND, IF I DON'T FIND THE CREAM THERE IS ALWAYS MY BRIDGE!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Honest Statements

"I have to be honest. I love Jesus, but I drink a little".

Gladys, the octogenarian from Ellen DeGeneres' show, has gotten a lot of attention since her phone call aired. My son, Will, posted the clip on his Facebook page, and I could not stop laughing!! She seems to have a great sense of humor and a zest for life!

I love seniors...not only are they are filled with wisdom...but they say exactly what is on their minds because they have earned the freedom to do so! They are honest, and really do not care what others think about what they may have to say.

I want to be more like that...so...here are some honest statements about me.

I love dogs, but don't like the dog hair, smell, dirt, etc. They are fine in other people's houses, just not mine. I found out after years of loving many pets...breeding german shepherds...and owning a pet food/grooming shop...that I am alergic to them!

I love to get acrylic nails, but hate to have them taken off. I love the look of them, especially a good french manicure...if only they would last forever! I am jealous of women that always look freshly manicured...how do they endure the pain!

I love to eat well prepared food, but don't know when to stop. When I was younger I had great metabolism...but that soon left me...about the same time as the elasticity of my skin!

I love going to the beach, but don't particulary like the sand or the water. The sun...yes...the heat...yes...the smells...yes...the sounds...yes...the overall sense of tranquility...yes. The sand and water...not so much. Maybe I should just take a conch shell into a tanning bed and be done with it!

I love to shop, but get tired too quickly. Especially when it is with my kids. I now sit in one of those chairs...not the massage type... and wait patiently...or not...until it is time for the money.

I love to play golf, but don't give a hoot about the score. Golf is all about the outfits and social time with friends, right??? I own a full set of clubs, and about "fore" fabulous outfits! "Tee" time anyone?

I love to ride with my honey on the Harley, but my butt gets sore if the ride is too long. Have you ever heard of "Monkey Butt"? It does the trick...keeps your pants dry...and stops the "sticking to the seat" issue! Try it...it works!

I love flowers, but don't care to receive them "just because". I like a reason...an occasion...that way there is no question as to why I might be getting the flowers...like ...was I extra good???...or was he extra bad??? Of course, there is always an exception to every rule...I also love a good surprise!

And...in the words of Gladys...

I love Jesus, but I drink a little!!! You could on any occasion see me with a nice glass of wine...a rich dark beer...or a Grey Goose martini...DIRTY! And, I know that Jesus still loves me!

It is true that there are a few more out there just like Gladys and me.

Let's hear your honest statements.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

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Wanna Come to my Party?

This morning I thought I would change my signature on my email, so I began looking at some of my favorite quotes that I've collected over the years. I have a group of quotes that I kept from Joyce Meyer's book "100 Ways to Simplify Your Life". I have read this book, and felt really good when I finished reading it, confident in the fact that I could accomplish "simplicity" using her guidelines! Ha!!!

I can work on clearing my mind of unwanted thoughts, changing behaviors that may cause stress, taking all my worries, concerns and fears and laying them at the Lord's feet. I CAN do all of that. But sometimes I choose to wallow in my worries, commiserate with my concerns and fret about my fears. I am in one of those times. What can I say...I am not perfected yet.

I am truly thankful for all the blessings in my life...my loving husband of 32 years, my great kids, my adorable grandbaby, a wonderful caring family, a group of friends that stretches across the country and an "almost" beautiful home. Here lies the core of my anxiety.

I know that in life's grand scheme of things my issue is of little significance. But here's the thing...my issue is in my face 24/7...so to me it is of huge significance!

I dislike CLUTTER. I am an orderly person by nature. I have spent the last 3 (almost 4!) weeks trying to organize a very cluttered and dusty home. The 2 Guys from Texas did what they were told and literally wheeled the hundreds of boxes in and dropped them in the center of every room. I have been shuffling these same boxes around for weeks now...and can not dig us out of the mess! At least not until the contractors move on, and I am not sure when that will be. I have been hearing "2 weeks" since we arrived. Wait...that's another similarity with the movie "Money Pit". LOL!!

Here is the quote that started all of this whining...
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish". John Quincy Adams (James 1:4)

I have been patient and persevered for what I think is a fair amount of time, but my obstacles have certainly not vanished. Where's the magical part?

So....now that I have organized a "Pity Party", I feel much better! I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to join me. I will keep on keepin' on until I have an organized home, a cleared mind, and a simplified life.

However, can anyone suggest a good vacation spot...someplace warm...someplace relaxing...and FREE...just in case I need to "run away" for a bit? Maybe I'll try one of those cyber vacations my friends Mary Lisa and Sarah go on!