Wednesday, December 29, 2010

" The First Meeting "

It was the summer of 1989. I was a newly separated young mother of two children. An eleven year old boy and an eight year old girl.

I had just left a marriage that was just not meant to work no matter how good the initial intentions were. Alcohol won out. I had been married for twelve years before I had given up.

It was a rough summer for me. I was working two jobs. One full time secretary job by day and at night I ran a food stand in a traveling carnival. I was unfortunate at the time as my then husband was not helping me financially.Yet fortunately I had three grandmothers to help babysit the children that I was now trying to support on my own.

It was the first time that I had lived on my own. No parents, no husband. Just me and my two beautiful children. And I was scared as hell. I had to go to a large bank to take out a loan for a deposit and first months rent on a small but very cute apartment on the upper floor of a two story house in Chicago.

I had been with the same person since I was fourteen and had absolutely no intentions what so ever of getting involved with anyone that was interested in anything more than friendship. There was no way I was going to fall in love.

Besides, between work and my children there was no room and no time. I just wanted to prove that I could take care of these kids on my own. Oh I had plenty of help from the grandparents with food and clothes. I could not have done it without them. They were our angels. And we needed them. Still I needed to know that I could take care of them without a man. 


  My working hours were crazy. I worked from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. as a secretary at a machine tool shop. It payed very well at that time. Today's minimum wage in 1989.

I had a friend who had bought a food wagon to park at carnivals all summer. You know the kind that sells corn dogs, fries and Fried cheese sticks which were quite new back then. My friend didn't want to run the food stand herself so she thought that I may be interested in running it with the help of her seventeen year old son as my worker.

This sounded perfect for me at the time. I had worked in the food industry for several years and loved the face paced hard work. And on the weekends in the Chicago area, working a carnival was very fast paced and hard!

I would get to the food trailer early on the weekends to open it up and get the grease out and ready for frying. This trailer was the sort where the sides would lift up and lights hung all around the top. Plenty of head clearance for most but apparently not all.

My helper was pretty good but he was only 17. I knew that he would need direction but he handled his end of taking orders and giving change quite well while I cooked and fried the food in the heat of those hot June, July and August Chicago summers! It was hard work but it helped pay the rent and utilities. 

On this particularly busy night in August, my helper kept mentioning to me a man that kept complaining about something. We were so busy that I just told him to apologize and thought at the time, that would be enough.

Earlier that very day, after I had gotten everything set up and ready for the rush of people that evening, I was leaning on the counter just relaxing. Looking out at the carnival rides thinking how fun it would be to walk around and enjoy myself. But alas, I was here to fry! 

It was raining lightly as this man walked by rather quickly, looked up at me and said " You have the most beautiful eyes that I have ever seen.", and kept right on walking. I remember my mouth hanging open, probably very unattractively as I thought to myself "So do you." which he never heard of coarse and that was the last that I saw of him. This time.

Now back to the complaining man. My helper, I do believe, was starting to feel frightened by this man who I came to find out, kept hitting his head on the hanging lights. We were much too busy at this point in the evening to be messing around with this stupid little problem. All I could remember thinking was why the heck would you keep walking underneath a light that you kept hitting your head on? But it was obvious that my young helper was getting nervous so I told him that if it happened again to just remain calm and tell him to please come inside the trailer. 

I figured that I would apologize for the inconvenience of this low hanging bulb and offer him some free fried cheese sticks. We were much too busy at the time to do any repair work!

I was busy hanging over the deep fryer as my young helper ran up to me and said that he had sent the man to the back of the trailer and he would be there any minute. He sounded rather nervous. I was getting rather angry. I was too busy to be dealing with a possible inebriated dim whit!

The next part of my story you may find hard to believe. I STILL to this very day find it difficult to explain. It is in fact, stranger than fiction but is the absolute truth.

As I was busy cooking I felt his presence in the doorway just about a foot away from me. The doorway was rather small as was the trailer. I could see out of the corner of my eye that his arms were resting up high, one on either side of the doorway and that's when I heard the voice.

It wasn't his voice. It wasn't my helpers voice or any other live voice in the near vicinity. This was a voice in my head.

Now I have to say that I have never, ever heard a voice other than my own thoughts, in my head , in my life. Not even to this day over twenty-one years later. Never, ever.

It all happened so quickly, I was working, he came in and than I heard the voice say as clear as can be "TURN AROUND AND KISS HIM."!!

Since this had never happened to me before and quite frankly, freaked me out, I listened to it. I turned around about one foot, got up on my toes and kissed him on the lips. Not a peck and not a long lingering kiss but a KISS. 

A total stranger. 

People were waiting for their food orders so I went back to my cooking, told the man that I was sorry for his inconvenience and handed him some cheese sticks.
On the house of coarse. 

It was also at this time that I had realized that he was the man that gave me the compliment earlier that day as he was walking by. He really was very cute and tall. But as I stated earlier, I had no intentions of any relationships at this time.

He told me his name and I told him mine. He thanked me for the cheese sticks but didn't look surprised by the kiss. Come to think of it, I didn't feel surprised by the kiss.

He asked me for my phone number and I said no. He gave me his. I kept it. I would be lying if I said that I didn't find him attractive. But I just didn't want a relationship, at all. I had two of them waiting for me at home.

He kept coming by every night to talk. I did find him funny. But I didn't call him.
Not for a couple of weeks. I was so nervous picking up the phone to make that first call. Something else that I had never done before. We talked for three hours, I did most of the talking.

We either talked or saw each other everyday since that day twenty-one years ago. Four months after that first kiss we were married. My friends and family kept saying that it was a rebound affair! Maybe it was but we're still rebounding!

As for the voice. Like I said, I have never heard it again since that night. I don't know who it was. I often wondered if it was my deceased father or maybe even God. Somebody was looking out for the both of us. All I know is that sometimes we just never find the answers to things. And sometimes we should just shut up and listen.

" December 29th "

Today is our anniversary.
I wanted to take the time to do something special like tell the story of how we met, which is quite interesting by the way, but and this is a BIG BUTT, I quit smoking three days ago and I feel as though I am going insane as you may or may not have noticed from this extremely long run on sentence!!!!!!
My husband is on his seventh day, I think.
He is doing better at it than me!

Any hoo we have been married for twenty-one years. 
You may congratulate us for that if you like!
But please don't congratulate me on the smoking thing yet.
This is my fifth try in forty years. One of which lasted two years and then I just couldn't take it anymore and started again .
And please, NO health lectures. I am 52 years old and know all the risks. And right now I don't care!
Sorry folks it's called withdrawal!!! 
It may interest you to know that I met my husband on August 29th 1989 and married him on December 29th 1989.
So we knew each other for less than four months before I proposed.
He said yes.

I promise to tell you the story of how we met very soon.
It really was very special. I just need some more time to let my brain adjust. I know that you'll understand.

Until then I just wanted to say Happy Anniversary to the one and only person in my life who has had my back no matter what.

I love ya babe!!
 





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

" A Milestone "

When we woke up yesterday morning all of the snow and ice had finally melted. This was our chance. Katie might actually be able to do her road test at the DMV and get her drivers license!


Remember this photo? If not it was taken last year, Katie's very first drive with her dad in the church parking lot!
The week previous, after her sixteenth birthday, they wouldn't test her. Even though we had one perfect day where the roads were dry.
I was so disappointed for her. Probably more than she was. So when I called them yesterday morning to see if they were doing road tests and they said yes, Katie got ready to go even though she was sick!
I was a nervous wreak. Katie seemed a teeny, tiny bit nervous. She asked if she could do a quick run through of the coarse as they showed her where they would have to drive in drivers ed.
Of course I let her do it and then we went on ahead to the DMV, just a few blocks away. We were well prepared with all of the proper paper work and identification.
I was shaking, Katie told me that I needed to relax. Who's the mother here? We had to sit and wait to what seemed to be an eternity to me, about 10 minutes. Katie told me to calm down.
Then a nice young woman called her name as my stomach did a flip flop. Off Katie went to our car as I wished her good luck.
I made sure that all of the windows and mirrors were cleaned earlier that morning. The woman did a quick check of the car which I had previously warned Katie about so that she would be ready.
Then off they went. It seemed to me that they were gone for an hour but according to my phone, it was only about 15 minutes. 
I sat by the window when I saw the car pull back into the parking lot. 
There goes my stomach again. Flip, flop!
As they walked in, Katie came in first and had a horribly serious look on her face. I got out of my seat and approached her. I said "Well?"
then all of a sudden her horribly serious look on her face turned into a smile! She said "I passed !" .
She has a lot of her dad in her. She was trying to make me think that she failed. She almost had me believing her expression except for the fact that I knew what a good driver she was.
We walked over to where she would get her picture taken for her license. She signed her name and went on to get her photo taken. I leaned over the counter and asked the young woman who tested her "How did she do?". She replied " She got 100% !".
I was so very proud of Katie and happy for her. It took over a week after her birthday to get it but she finally got her drivers license! 

After getting her drivers license, Katie drove the three blocks home. I knew what was coming next and I had been dreading it for the past year. Her best friend was to spend the night here and she wanted to go pick her up.

Well what could I say? Yes I could have said no but I thought it would be best for both of us to just rip the band-aide off quickly so I said she could go.

After all of the motherly warnings and instructions I handed her my keys filled with anxiety! Katie has driven this route many times and it doesn't go through town. That is one thing that I told her. I wouldn't let her drive through town until after the New Year. It's just too crazy right now with holiday shoppers. I also told her to call me when she got to her friends house.



Of coarse I ran to get my camera and took this as she got to the end of the driveway!

And there she goes, all by herself, down the street....
O.K. I will admit that this is where I started to tear up! 

She made it home safely and then asked if she and her friend could run up to the local convenience store to get soda's.

It is just four blocks away so I let her.

Wow, what a day! No wonder I fell asleep at 8:30 last night!
I know for a fact that she will be asking me to drive somewhere again. I wouldn't be surprised if it's today. I must remain calm when the begging starts!
And that's it for me. The last child of mine is driving. No more drivers education lessons for me to give.

Thank God!!! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

" Some Good, Some Bad and Santas Too "

What a day I had today. A little good. A little sad.
Church this morning was a real highlight of the day. The children of our church performed a skit that was just wonderful. They didn't miss a beat that I noticed anyway! 
Our Pastor did a great job with direction, as usual and his wife, well lets just say I didn't realize that she can act!

The little one's brought tears to my eyes. One of the older girls played the piano and it brought back a memory of when Katie played the piano for the Christmas program several years ago.

She was so shy that she only wanted to do it if she could hide behind the Christmas tree! And she did. And she did fine, just as the young girl did today.
Some of my Santa's
My son called me right before the service started. My Daughter in laws purse was stolen last night while they were out. Money was charged on their card. And mementos gone.
Fortunately there are several video's of the thief's spending their  money. The police have an idea of who the culprits are.

I felt horrible for them but haven't given up hope. All of her identification was taken and has to be replaced. Fortunately they will recover the money that was spent. But my granddaughter Sarahs first notes to her mommy cannot be replaced.


One of mom's Santa's
 
Despite this depressing news I did manage to enjoy our service today.

Than I had to pick Katie up from her church. While she is a member of our church she has been going to a church that is geared towards youth. I can understand as our church is lacking in teens.
The church she attends is mostly filled with children and teens.

I hadn't seen her since yesterday when I dropped her at her friends. When I picked her up today she was feeling miserable. Sore throat, nausea, just lousy. Poor kid.
My BIG Santa!
So I have been playing "Mommy" all day. Making tea, soup, ice water, Tylenol. Nurse Mom.

Oh something I forgot to mention. Katie did so good on her grades this semester that she is exempt from semester exams!
The bad news is in order for her to be exempt she must attend school tomorrow. So sick or not she'll just have to go. But that will be her last day and then her Christmas break starts.


I don't know what I was thinking when I bought that crazy looking one on the right in the back! It can be filled with lamp oil. It has a wick on top that you can't see.
 
I am anticipating a call to the doctor tomorrow!

I watched a good movie this evening. "Gran Torino" starring Clint Eastwood. I had seen it when it first came out. I enjoyed it then but did not like the ending. I've been wanting to see it again ever since.

It's strange but this time I understood the ending better and it stirred my emotions to the point of tears. It is not a movie for the faint of heart. It has lots of violence and cursing.

But to me it is Clint Eastwood at his best. It is a story of good verses evil, the strong protecting the weak. I guess you could say that I am a true Clint Eastwood fan. One of my all time favorite movies of his is 
"Play Misty for Me". It's an older movie but another good one.
This Santa is one of my favorites.
Right now I am watching " A Summer Place" 1959. With Dorothy McGuire and Sandra Dee. Yes I am a movie fan!

It's cold out tonight but most of the ice is gone. I was hoping that Katie could try to get her drivers license sometime this week but we'll just have to wait and see how she feels.
I am so hoping that my husband makes it home for Christmas. We are invited to my son's house for Christmas eve dinner. My daughter in law and her family always do it up right and we have a wonderful time together. It's just not the same when my husband isn't with me. And mom won't be there this year so I do hope and pray that he makes it home safely.

I found out today that my older daughter Ginny is going to San Fransisco with her boyfriend ( That sounds strange, he's in his 30's!) for the holidays. How exciting for her. She's been there before for work but this will be all play. I hope they have a wonderful, fun time!

I think that's all of the news for today. Some good some bad. 
I am looking forward to the celebration of our saviors birth. Because of him I am able to enjoy my family and friends who have given me a full life and heart. 

I am  grateful to have my family and all of you my good friends.
I thank the Lord everyday for this precisous life that he has bestowed upon me.

Now you will excuse me while I go back to enjoying this over acted and very dramatic love story, "A Summer Place".
It doesn't get any better than that!!

Have a peaceful night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"An Extrodinary Ordinary Day"

Today was wonderful. Nothing strange happened. It's funny how we complain that we are bored or wish the day would have some extra excitement to it without realizing how extraordinary an ordinary day can be.

If you've read my last few posts you know that the last few days and weeks have been crazy around here. And I will admit that when I awoke this morning I did wonder "What next?".

After my morning coffee I took off for the laundromat. I had washed the laundry the night before so that I could just take off to go dry them. Now while I do miss the convenience of having a working dryer, I have become quite fond of going to the little run down laundromat just a few blocks from my house.
There is a big, fancy, modern one across town that I could go to but this little one is so much closer and is actually cheaper.

It is relaxing to sit there amidst the hum of the machines. The young woman and her husband that run the place are very sweet and friendly. I met another young woman there today who was very nice and we talked the whole time that I was there.
After the laundromat I went home and picked up the girls to take them to Katie's friends house for the night. We were going to run into Walmart for a couple of little things we needed but when we saw the mile long line of traffic waiting to get to Walmarts parking lot, we decided that I would pick up the items before church in the morning.

Believe me, it was not worth trying to get in and out of there. I knew all of that walking would be too much for me today. 
So we passed the store and headed off to Katie's friends house. That's when my phone rang and I got a happy surprise. My friend Jackie from Georgia called! We chatted all of the way to Natasha's house where I dropped off the girls and continued to talk on my way to church. I had a bit of work I needed to get done there today.

Jackie just brightened my day. Thank you my friend, that was a great gift!!
I went into church and started to print the bulletins while trying to play "Winter Wonderland" on the piano!
From there I went home, did a few dishes and have been sitting in my chair being lazy all afternoon and evening!

I will walk the dogs soon and then get ready for bed.
As you can clearly see, they are having a lazy day too. This is Ruby my pug and Roxy my mutt laying next to me in my chair.

Thank you God for this extraordinary, ordinary day !!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

" I Should Have Stayed in Bed ! "



Some Snowmen for you !

You know all through my adult life I have believed that everything happens for a reason. I am comfortable with this belief.
I think that God has a plan for us all, from deciding what house to buy to picking out what brand of toothpaste we want to use, I believe that we make these choices and somehow, someway, they affect some part of our life and that in turn affects another.

Somewhat of a snowball effect.
Many may disagree with me but I DO believe in divine intervention.
Oh yes, I do believe that everything that I do has a good reason.
Whether it be for me or someone else.

So I wonder what God has had in mind for me lately. I am a bit excited as he has been throwing out the challenges lately.
I only hope that I have been making the right choices.

Some of my mother's Christmas Nick Knacks.



I will explain. I usually clean house for a family on Thursdays. Most of you know this and if you've read yesterdays post you will also know that it was a snow (Ice) day so the kids were all out of school.

We changed my cleaning day to today, Friday. There was no school today either so Katie wanted me to pick up her best friend when I was through cleaning to bring her home with us to spend the night.

I asked Katie last night if she would consider coming along to help me clean house. We could get done much quicker and then go get some gas and her friend.

Amazingly she agreed! This is amazing because she is 16 and could have very well chosen to sleep in instead of getting up at 7:00a.m. to help her mother!




I cooked us a small breakfast while Katie showered. At 8:00 a.m. we were almost ready to leave. Katie just had to put her shoes on so I grabbed my spare set of car keys.  

I turned to Kate and said, "I'm going to go start the car, take my keys (hanging on the hook) and lock up. ".  "O.K." she said.

As I walked down the stairs I said to Kate, "Make sure that you lock the top lock." She replied "O.K."
There are two doors. One at the top of the stairs that can only be locked with a key and the bottom door with a twist lock.




 When Katie came out to the car I asked her if she wanted to drive over the ice. She said she wasn't in the mood to drive. Mmm...
That's the first time I've ever heard that!
So off we went over the ice and through the traffic to clean house.
I pulled up into the driveway and shut the car off with the spare key.
I don't know why I asked but I did. "Do you have the house keys?".
"No", she replied calmly as if I were asking her a stupid question.
Than I asked her if she had her keys and she said "NO"!
You guessed it. We were locked out of our house. I had a bit of a meltdown but tried to control my anger, which by the way I did very well.
We went inside and I called my son to see if he still had a set of keys to my house. As it turned out they had many unmarked keys and didn't even know for sure. I didn't feel that the drive out there and back was worth it only to try many keys that may not even fit.

So I decided that we would just have to break into the house. I was going to have my son do it but after giving it thought I knew exactly what I was going to try.

We needed Katie's friend to help in this breaking and entering scheme. She is very small, tiny, a twig!

I had called the locksmiths but it would have been a long wait and I just didn't want to waste what little money I had.

My husband wanted me to kick in the back door. Yea right. Than what? I'm stuck with a busted door till he gets home in a week to fix it? I don't think so. I had a better idea.




As I pulled up the icy driveway I told the girls that we were going to say a prayer.
"Please God, let this crazy idea work. Amen!"

I know my house and I know her weak spot.

You should know yours.
Without getting into detail I will tell you that it took me, Katie and Natasha about five minutes or less to get in. 

No one was hurt, nothing, was broken.
My husband told me that he was very proud of me and I told him that I was very grateful to God that my plan worked.

I was proud at myself for not screaming at Katie which I was really temped to do.

My son came over after work to help me fix the weak spot. I couldn't quite get it back the way it was, I needed the muscle at this point.

So lets see, sick husband, knee shots have worn off completely, disappointing sixteenth birthday, no drivers license for sixteen year old yet, ice storm, flat tire, locked out of the house and now I am getting a cold.

I AM NOT COMPLAINING !!!!

I just wish that God would get to the point already!!
I will tell you this much, I am really on my toes right now.

Amen!!


video


I can't end this post without mentioning the high point of the day.
I had dinner planned but was so tired when it came time to cook. I asked the girls if they would mind waiting awhile as I just didn't have the energy.
Katie piped up and said "We'll cook dinner." .
They made B.B.Q. ribs with sliced fried potatoes and spinach.
It all came out perfectly!

I have never taught her to cook this. So I am assuming that at some point in her life she has been paying attention.
It just wasn't this morning!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

" Hi Dee Ho Everybody "

I'm back again. For now anyway. So grab yourself a cuppa Joe or a cocktail, depending on what time of day it is when you read this.
 
Don't worry, I won't be judgmental.
It's been a rough couple of weeks here in my household, my husbands COPD took a bad turn. He's getting better now. It was tough though.
 
Katie turned sixteen, we did manage to take her out of town to the big mall to shop with her bestest friend in the world.
 
Despite the fact that my husband had to push me around in a wheelchair for several hours, the girls had a good time and my husband held up through it all.
 
Katie was pretty bummed out on her actual birthday as we had to cancel going out to my son's house for a little party due to bad weather. My heart ached for her.
 
She still hasn't been able to get her drivers license as the DMV is not doing road tests due to the ice and snow that we've had here.
 
Last night was the worse. We had an ice storm. Our little town actually made it on to the local t.v. news, whoo, hoo! We were just covered in ice this morning. And of coarse my bad tire decided to go almost completely flat again. I've been putting air in it the last few days but I knew this morning that if I didn't do something about it today, it would be totally flat by tomorrow.
 
So around 11:00 a.m. I spread sand all down my driveway, it's very long by the way, and off Katie and I went over the ice covered roads to get the tire fixed. I was grateful that the tire store was just a few blocks from the house.
 
As it turned out it wasn't repairable but fortunately they had a good used one. Thank you God! And thank you to all of the nice young men that took care of it while oogling my daughter!
 
I told her to smile at them in hopes of a discount! But she ignored my silly request. That's alright though, they were reasonable enough. 
 
As you probably already guessed , the schools were closed today. I was glad to have Katie's company. After we came home she baked chocolate chip cookies. She is such a good baker and cook, I just wished that she'd do it more often.
 
 
 


I just took the above photo from my front porch a few minutes ago. It's a bit fuzzy but all of that SHINE is the ice covered ground. You can see the little incline of my driveway. If I had not put sand down it would have been interesting trying to maneuver up it on our way back home. I can do it but Katie still has not mastered this slippery slide up! And I didn't let her practice today!

I didn't manage to put out all of my Christmas decorations this year. With my husband being home sick it was just too much! But I did get quite a bit done none the less. I gave up when my knees gave up but it still looks pretty good. 


This was taken when we finished the tree. Katie made us milk shakes!

Of all the decorations that I have though, this has to be on the top of my list. I always keep it in my kitchen on a shelf next to the sink. It has a little pot that you can put a scented wax tart in. In the oven you can put a tea light candle.
video


It is just one of those simple little things that I just love.

I haven't really been feeling very well so you will forgive me if I am not sounding my usual happy self. I hit sort of a rough spot on the 5th. This will be my first Christmas without mom. But it's alright. I have a feeling that she's with me anyway. It's just a strange feeling, her not being here.

I'm going to try to get some better (clearer) photos of some of mine and my mom's Christmas decorations. I don't seem to do to well with my camera, I think I just need more practice with the settings.

I am going to make that a project over the next few days so that I can post them. I have also been working on an afghan for my daughter in laws sister who is expecting a baby girl on Valentines Day.

It makes me think of my cousin who lost her daughter on Valentines Day this year. I'm always thinking of you Roxanne.

That's all of the news that I've got for now. Just trying to make it through these past few weeks has been tiring. I promise to do my best to visit all of you and not stay away so long.

Some of my blog friends have been going through some very stressful and trying times lately and I just want you to know that I am praying for you and your loved ones.

Wishing you all a peaceful day or evening!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

" Sung to the Tune of Jingle Bells "

I know I've been away,
there's not much I can say.

My husband's been home sick,
I'm dealing with all sorts of !#$&.

I'm tired and worn out,
I miss visiting about.

I think I'll be back soon,
with no more doom and gloom.

My husband needs to get well 
so I can show and tell.

I am hoping this will be,
before I'm sixty-three.

Oh I miss you
and blogging too
I hope to be back soon!

Until then
enjoy your friends
and I will see you soon!!!!!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

" Katie Made Me Do It !"

So as I said in my previous post, I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the Christmas decorations. They are laying all over the dining room table and floor.
 
That's as far as I got. 
Just about every weekend my daughter Katie spends Friday night at her friend Natasha's house then Natasha spends Saturday night here and I take them to church on Sunday morning than Natasha goes home.
 
 
I decided to wait until Saturday evening and have the girls help me decorate the house and the tree. They both seemed good with this as long as there was homemade hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies involved.
 
 
Every year we buy a real tree. My family had always done this for as long as I can remember. When I met my husband, Jake, he had an artificial one. It was very pretty and we used it for several years until one day when we discovered that one of our cats had been chewing it. 
 
She almost died from it. Our veterinarian saved her. He suggested that we always buy a real tree as artificial ones can be very dangerous to pets that like to chew!
 
So we gave the artificial one to our oldest daughter who needed one at the time. I told Katie that we should go purchase one today and put it up so that it had time to settle by the weekend.
 
Off to our favorite tree farm we went. Most years we have done this together it has been frightfully cold. Today however the sun was shining and it was a cool but not too cool 48 degrees.
 
 
We always have to take into consideration a few things when purchasing our tree. My car for one. It is a station wagon and the back seats fold down but we still have to watch the length of the tree we purchase. Also it has to be of a size that Kate and I can carry ourselves into the house. One of us will hold the tree as straight as we can while the other turns the screws on the tree stand.
Oh and I always saw a few inches off of the trunk for better water absorption. For this I always get a scolding from my husband as he says I always use the wrong saw. So I wonder since I am the one that always does this, why doesn't he purchase me the RIGHT saw so that I don't have to use his?
 
 
We looked through several trees Katie and I. I decided that I would let her make the final decision this year. She will be sixteen in ten days after all. She should, if she passes her test, have her drivers license in twelve days, so the girl should be able to pick out a darn Christmas tree right?
 
 
Well pick one out she did.... 



Things are still scattered all about. With bringing the tree in from the car. Sawing four inches off, getting it tightened in the stand, moving furniture around and getting it into the corner it took Katie and I almost two hours. She was amazing!

We have ten foot ceilings so you can get an idea of how big this baby is!



 
This past year my son and husband finally cut the old radiators out of the living room. This excited me so much because they ran the length of the windows. I would finally be able to put our tree in the front window! 
Wrong. The tree is so big that it completely blocked the two windows! That's when Katie thought that it would look good in this corner!


If my memory serves me correctly, I do believe that this is the largest tree I have ever had! 

I just hope we have enough ornaments and lights for it !!!

Katie made me do it !
   

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Stressmas Time"

I need a break. Thanksgiving was wonderful but as seems to be the norm when my daughter comes home for a holiday, I feel as though time speeds up.
 
Then while talking to my son on the phone yesterday, the same day my daughter headed back to North Carolina, he casually mentioned that he was bringing out all of the Christmas decorations.
That's great. That's all it takes. 
So I went downstairs and started to carry up a few tubs filled with decorations. There are about a dozen of them. I've only gone through three and I am feeling overwhelmed.
This happens every year though. I wonder if anyone else goes through this. You see I decorate differently every year. Maybe if I put things in the same place each year it would be easier. But I like to change things up.
 
Plus there are always the new decorations that I swear every year I am not going to buy. And of coarse I acquired quite a few of my mom's as well and you can bet those will be displayed.
 
I also pack up my regular nick knacks to make room for the Christmas ones. I wonder if anyone else does this? 
 
So I quit for the day. I'm tired but anxious to get them up as well! Katie told me that I should wait for Natasha to come over on the weekend as she loves to decorate. I just may do that.
Once this project is done I will sit back and enjoy the holiday season. Advent services start on Wednesday evening and I so love these services. It really gives one the proper perspective to the Christmas season.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous. We had so much food and desserts. My oldest daughter Ginny out did herself with appetizers. As a matter of fact I do believe that was my favorite part of the meal.
There was too much food to mention, so I won't bore you with it all but it was wonderful. 
 
And one of the best parts of the day was that all of the girls kept sending me out of the kitchen! My Daughter in law just sort of took over all of the cooking. If you know me you know I don't like to cook anymore so this was great!
I love this photo of my DIL chopping potatoes with a very LARGE knife while my husband in his Thanksgiving day garb, tells a story!

I loved my daughter Ginny's face in this photo. She was trying to give Katie and Natasha a thrill while opening a bottle of Champagne. It didn't pop the way she thought it would  :(

It is next to impossible to get a photo of my grandchildren Sarah and Jack. As soon as they see the camera, they run, so I caught this one at my son's house. Squirmy kids!!

Katie and Natasha enjoying Thanksgiving Day dessert.
But this next one is my favorite photo of all.
My four favorite girls together! 
Again, my granddaughter disappeared!


Left to right, Natasha, Amy (DIL), daughter Ginny and daughter Katie.
You can also clearly see in this photo why my husband refers to our kitchen as a "Two Butt Kitchen". That it is!!!
Maybe that's why the girls kept shooing me out of the kitchen,
my derriere is somewhat bigger than theirs!

Whatever the reason, I was blessed and grateful to them for all of the work that they did. I also told Amy that we can go back to having Thanksgiving Dinner at her house next year!!

I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did!
 
 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

" Cranberries After all "



Sometimes plans change.
Actually I've always been a firm believer that we really shouldn't plan.
Maybe "Hope" would be a better word than "Plan".

I was telling one of my favorite Blogger friends, Rebecca,
from "Life and Godliness", that we wouldn't be having cranberries this year for Thanksgiving.

My mother and I were always the only one's that would eat them, fresh cooked not canned. 
This will be our first Thanksgiving without my mom with us. I know we will all miss her smiling, cheerful face at our table this year.

So when my daughter-in-law, Amy, asked if she should pick some up, I said not to bother since I'm the only one that would eat them.
I couldn't eat all of those cranberries myself.

Well as it turned out my daughter Ginny who arrived yesterday from North Carolina, tried some last week for lunch at her work place.

Now she loves them!

So Ginny bought a bag of cranberries today and I went ahead and cooked them. 
And while mom won't be able to be with us this year at our Thanksgiving table, it will be nice to know that I can still enjoy this treat with someone that I love.

Somehow I have a feeling that mom will be there too.
A "Blessed Thanksgiving" to all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

" A Double Anniversary "

On November 14th 2008 I woke up as I did every other morning. Early. I am an early riser. That is if you consider 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. early. I have always woke early to have a bit of time and coffee for myself before I cook breakfast for my children. I have done this for the past 32 years.

Something that I am still doing today only now I do allow myself an occasional Pop Tart morning, something that always went against my grain. But there comes a time when the energy just isn't always available.

I had not been feeling well for several weeks before this particular morning. But it wasn't anything that I could pin point. I didn't want to go to the doctor only to say "I don't feel like myself". Thinking back on this now, I should have.


On this morning I woke with my arm feeling tingly. I went to bed the night before with it feeling tingly too but just thought that my carpel tunnel was acting up again. The more I do, the worse it gets.

I was cooking some bacon for my daughter Kate. She was 13 at the time. She was still asleep. I picked up the tongs to turn the bacon over and I aimed towards the pan. But my arm didn't go where I wanted it to go. It started to do a sort of circular motion and I couldn't get it to the pan. I did manage to put down the tongs and pick up my phone with my left hand to call my husband who was in some other state at the time. I knew that I would be waking him and felt horrible about it but I was scared. I don't get scared easily.

When I got him on the phone and told him what was going on he very FIRMLY told me to go to the hospital now! I remember saying to him, "Don't you think I should wait for the doctors office to open and call the doctor?". I hate going to the hospital but my husband insisted that I go. I woke Katie and told her I was going to the hospital. That's all I said. And I got in my car, numb arm and all to drive the five blocks there.


In the mean time my husband had called my son who was already at work just a couple of miles away. I don't think it took him 15 minutes before he was by my side in the emergency room. I was grateful to see him. And he didn't leave my side until my husband made it back home.

Anyone who's been to the hospital for a possible stroke or heart attack knows that they pretty much attack you with questions and tests. It all happens very quickly. It was determined that I was having a stroke and was admitted to the hospital for three days. My husband made it home that evening and my daughter flew in from North Carolina the next morning. At least I think it was North Carolina, she also lived in South Carolina for a time and I really don't remember!

It was all so odd at the time. I felt very strange and very tired. The doctors never really did figure out why I had the stroke. The neurologist said I had thick blood. Whatever that meant. My doctor thought that I was just too stressed out. So after a few days rest and some new medications I was sent home. My speech was slurred for a while.  But I had perfect use of my arms and legs. I lost a bit of my memory, especially of the time of the stroke. I am pretty sure that I have left some things out because of this. I was also feeling quite depressed. That lasted for several months.

I was lucky and blessed, although I would go on to have a second "Mini" stroke three months later. This past Sunday I passed the two year mark since that first stroke. The more time that passes the luckier and more blessed I feel. Which is why I try to enjoy life as much as I can. I love to laugh and will use many excuses to do so.

At 50 years old, this was a very scary time for me. And my family. Most people think that only older folks have strokes. Not true. It is a fact that the age for strokes has changed considerably over the years.
Even babies can have them.


Today, November 20th, marks two years since I started blogging. And it was all because of the stroke. While I was home recuperating from the stroke, my daughter Ginny stayed about a week with me to help out. I was exhausted.

Ginny is one of those "Computer" people. I wish I knew half of what she does. While she was here she said "You know what you should do mom?". "You should start a blog, I think you would like it and it would give you something to do while you sit." 

I answered her by saying, "Whats a Blog?". Yup, I hadn't a clue! She went on to tell me that it was sort of an online journal in which you could write about whatever you wanted to. This was a bit scary for me as the only thing that I had done on the computer up until this was bookkeeping at church. Really, I never went on the computer. I thought it was sort of silly!

So while she was here she set up a blog for me. And here we are two years later. I hadn't a clue what to write about. And even today when I feel unsure, I just write whats on my mind. Interesting or not, it is my life. The one that I am so grateful for.

Through Blogging I have met so many wonderful, warm, caring, funny, supportive, interesting, helpful and loving people. It just brings to my mind the song title "It's a Small World".


I never dreamed that I could care about people that I haven't met in person, face to face. But I was wrong. Not the first time!

So I am choosing today to celebrate. Celebrate life. Celebrate friends and Celebrate family. Oh, and I suppose that I should Celebrate blogging too!

I know that Ginny was so worried about me back than. I think she was scared. And I really think that she wanted me to just sit and relax so that I wouldn't die. I can't tell you how many calls I received from my son and daughter, for several weeks after that. It was really nice!

I am grateful to Ginny for showing me this form of self expression and communication, Thank you Ginger Peach!

I am also grateful to all of you who take the time to come by and visit my humble little blog. I thank God that I have been given the special privilege to get to know YOU! I will Celebrate all of you as well! 

Thank you for stopping by and may God bless you all!