Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye to my Friend Maryanne

Sydney and I had a very good morning today. I had some work "work" to do in the office for a while, but she was an angel and entertained my housekeeper until I had finished. She watched me for a few minutes from the wing chair but that quickly became boring (to me, too).

She doesn't like to eat breakfast until she has been up a while, but when she finally decided she was hungry, she requested HOT DOGS, again ! One of the very best parts of being a Mimi who doesn't get to be with her grand children much is that I CAN do that, so yes, Syd had hot dogs for breakfast. I love it!

We spent the remainder of the morning getting her things together and playing a little along the way. We dawdled a lot, went to the post office and before we knew it, it was 2:00 pm. Her favorite place to eat out is O'Charley's and I just happened to have received a nice gift certificate for Christmas so off we went for a late lunch. Fortunately,
O'Charley's does not serve hot dogs, so her lunch consisted of macaroni and cheese with cheetos. The picture shows her with her ice cream dessert! How I have loved spoiling her these past two days!

After our late lunch, we took off for Hodgenville, where visitation was being held at the funeral home for Sydney's babysitter and my bunco friend Maryanne. This is such a sad thing for everyone concerned. (see previous posts) I did get an opportunity to seriously hug her 17 year old daughter Jessi and to speak to her husband, but I walked away with the somber knowledge that I won't see Maryanne again on this earth. Another place, another time, but not here again.

I have such conflicting thoughts, not about my faith, but about death itself. It seems that people expect me to feel different or that it should affect me differently because that's what I do for a living every day. When the day comes that I am hardened to death, that is the day I need to leave it.

I still write about my Dad a lot. He died in May and I am STILL dealing with the loss, almost daily. So friends, I am no different than any of you.

I will miss you, Maryanne, and pray for Jessi and her family.

As a postscript, on the way home I saw the most beautiful crescent moon I have seen in a long time. I used to date a fine man who called them "fingernail" moons, I think. I don't really even remember why, I just thought of that when I saw it and remembered him.

Somber thoughts are filling my head, not a good time to share. Until next time.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sydney's Day

Checking out at Peebles

Ready for the Movie to START

BOLT was a pretty good movie!

Sydney with her Hannah Montana cap

Checking out at Claire's

And how does this purse look?

First Manicure

Blue Nail Polish with Gold Glitter

Blessed is the grandmother who gets to spend an entire day bonding with one of four grandchildren! We had such a "girly" fun day and did everything Syd could think of that she wanted to do. Tonight's menu consisted of 3 pieces of bacon with macaroni and cheese! (and look how thin she is). Great child full of wonder, great day!

Tub time now so I have to RUN ! (literally) :)

Sydney comes to Visit!

Yesterday Mother and I made the drive to Buffalo to get my 5 year old granddaughter Sydney and bring her back to Hopkinsville to my house for her very first overnight with me! It was the first time I had driven that far since back surgery and it really wasn't too bad. I used a pillow on my back and other than being tired, it posed no problems.

We went directly to my son David's house where Sydney was waiting to show me all her wonderful surprises from Santa this year! Apparently she was a very good girl last year!Sydney and her new Horse from Santa

David was outside working on a vehicle but I did at least get to see him for a few minutes. Her mother Barbie was, I could tell, choking back tears as we left but Sydney was in high spirits!

We moved on to my daughter April's house to visit for a few minutes so I could see the things Santa had left at THEIR house! April and Bruce, along with Kristin and Tristin, were all so excited to see us. Lots of hugs and love to spread around there! We did get to see many gifts and also "the missing tooth" from the boy with the big smile.

We didn't tarry long as we had a long way to travel. TRISTIN


Of course, we were all hungry so we stopped at Sydney's favorite place to eat, McDonald's, in Leitchfield on our way back.Sydney at McDonalds

After we dropped Mom off at Chapel House, we made a quick stop at Food Lion for dinner supplies. Dinner consisted of hot dogs and chocolate ice cream! I think I like having a five year old create the menu!

A sad note to an otherwise delightful evening. David, April and others called to tell me that Sydney's babysitter, Maryanne Carpenter, had unexpectedly DIED. My son works with the rescue team there in Larue County and actually made the run. I still don't know what happened exactly, but Maryanne was even a friend to me. I had driven to her house to play bunco several times and knew her relatively well. This is such a tragedy for their family as she was only 45 years old. She has a 20 year old son and a 17 year old daughter.

Things are still up in the air re: that situation but I think David and Barbie want Sydney to come back home for the services. We will know more later. Barbie asked me to talk to Syd about it, and I did, but very gently. She does not fully grasp what has happened, but we talked about it again right before she went to sleep and included Maryanne and her family in our prayers.

She is still asleep this morning but we have a full day planned! More on this later.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reflections on Christmas Past

It has certainly been a quiet Christmas for me, all in all. Of course, as you have read in previous posts, I had lots of company at various times, but not all at once, thank goodness.

There were few, if any, instances out of the ordinary unless you count Tristin losing his first tooth on Christmas Day. He has certainly been fearful of the pain, but was extremely excited about the "tooth fairy" coming the very next night after Santa came! Times certainly have changed since the tooth fairy came and left me a quarter. Tristin found $5.00 under HIS pillow.

My friends Mike and Gail had travelled to Lexington to be with their children on Christmas this year, starting a new tradition for their family. With the advent of a new granddaughter, Jolee, I guess this might have been expected. But all worked out well and they had a magical Christmas. I am glad they are back home safely.

I have been thinking today about how calmly this Christmas passed and how much I have to be thankful for. My back surgery has healed to the point that I know it is time to go back to work. I am scheduled to return a week from today. I hope my body will keep up. I have gained a lot of weight since being at home (hopefully due to the massive doses of steroids I had to take for a while) so will have to work diligently on losing some of this weight. I just feel better all over when I am not so heavy.

Brother Rodney is still here and is at Mother's. I didn't see them today as they had company there for the majority of the day. Spoke to them earlier and they were thinking about dinner. He is planning to take her shopping tomorrow and then maybe we will all go to the movies together. She needs to get out, but hope she is up for it.

I haven't started gathering Christmas decorations for storage yet. That is yet to come. Brenda and Mike Hale are great friends and are coming to help with that one day next week, we still haven't decided when. Maybe I will be able to take a few pictures to post!

My blog seems to have become a diary of sorts and not much is new around here. So, later my friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quiet Christmas Eve

It truly was a quiet Christmas Eve at my house. Had a solitary dinner guest (who cooked for ME) and a gift exchange afterwards.

Thinking of where my family is tonight. It seems they are scattered to the winds, but all with purpose.

My son and his family are celebrating with his in-laws in Magnolia, KY tonight.

My daughter and her husband are battling a serious leak in their kitchen with water, water everywhere. Doesn't matter to Santa, he still knows where they live.

Mother went to my niece's home today and will stay through dinner tomorrow. My brother Rodney is battling the weather and traffic to get there by morning. Hope and pray he travels safely.

My other brother Wayne is at home still recuperating from a "delicate" surgical procedure. I think his son and grandchildren will be there tomorrow.

Now I know where everyone is and peaceful sleep will find me soon. Remembering my Dad tonight on my first Christmas without him in many years. Christmas changes for me from year to year but most important is that we remember what we are celebrating and why. Next comes the children and their joy and awe.

Sleep well, my blogging friends and Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Work Day at Home and About

This was the mess waiting for me in my home "office" this morning when I got up, thanks to lots of wonderful company last night and reading until the wee hours today. So I put a big pot of coffee on and got right to it. I seriously set about to reaching for my organizational skills and it took about 4 or 5 hours of true diligence, but eventually it all got done. The bills are paid and mailed !! I'm so proud of me.

My poor house looked like a cyclone had been through here, but thankfully my housekeeper Teresa shows up on Tuesdays (if the weather's not too bad and if she is not sick). She is heaven-sent..... Teresa even goes to my Mother's apartment every other Monday and helps her out. Sometimes I think if my phone didn't ring every 15 minutes I could actually get into this :) Well, people care about me and need to reassure themselves that I am okay, so I guess that is a good thing.

After Teresa left I made my way to Walgreen's to pick up drugs for Mother. The parking lot was jammed and I had to wait until 3 cars left before I could actually park my car. Going inside the store was ANOTHER event!

I headed directly for the pharmacy and placed myself in a LONG line. I happened to be in line behind a nice young man with whom I naturally, struck up a conversation. He had stepped out of line for a moment and upon returning, got in line BEHIND me. I told him to get right back where he was which was directly in front of me. He said he thought the adage applied "move it and lose it" but I assured him we are in Kentucky and manners rule the day. (I wish that were true for everyone everywhere).

He let me know that he had been in a car with his wife, three children and the dog for more than 3 hours and was very grateful for common courtesy. Hopefully he will pass it on. I love to meet new people and hear bits and pieces of their lives. That young man was so frazzled and tired. But this time in his life will pass all too soon. The children will grow up and these days will be happy memories for him.

Took Mom her medicine. She is all packed and ready to go to Bunny's for a few days. Called me a moment ago to assure me she is picking up her apartment and putting things away tonight. I will miss her but want her to have a happy period. She is so depressed without Dad this year.

Going to eat leftover vegetable soup, my friends. Be safe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Salem Carolers

As a joyous postscript to the day, as I was preparing to set the table for dinner tonight, who should show up but 30-35 members of my church !!

They piled out of Church vans and private vehicles and gathered in my front yard joyously lifting their voices in song (and my Christmas spirits). It was an absolutely breathtaking gathering of angels singing in my front yard. I surely hope my neighbors enjoyed it half as much as I did! I have had the most fabulous unexpected guests these past few days and am oh, so blessed.

Before finding my house, they went to Chapel House where my Mother lives and gathered in the foyer to sing. Many of the residents heard them and came out to join in the fun. I think it took mother an hour or so to stop crying enough to call me.

God is good.

A Christmas Visit

Me and Lynn

Today my friend Lynn and her family came to visit. What makes this visit so special is that I really don't remember the last time I had seen her. She used to live here in Hopkinsville in my neighborhood and actually even worked for me for a short time! We became fast friends even though I am about 10 years older than her.

Then a year or two ago her husband got a much better job and they moved to her home state of Georgia. We communicate almost daily through Facebook, but it is not the same as a hug.

I got an extra added treat in that she brought her husband Tim and two children Josh and Mara along for the visit. Tim's parents live here so they were back for a Christmas visit with them.Mara East

Josh East

After coaxing them into trying my homemade peanut brittle and some cake with coffee, we spent some time catching up on news from around here. They all seem to be doing so well and seem so happy and settled in their new home.

Josh is off at his first year of college and Mara is a very intelligent high school sophomore. She has just turned 16 and is driving.

It was just great for them to be here, even if only for a couple of hours this afternoon.

After they left, I set about to make homemade vegetable soup on this frigid Kentucky day. Will be good tonight (and tomorrow) !

Yes, I got my afternoon call from my April. She shared with me her Christmas "buys" for her husband Bruce, plans for my granddaughter Kristin's slumber birthday party in January (I need to call her as April says she wants me to be there and I CAN'T). I hate to disappoint my family in any way, but I will be back at work and absolutely not able to be away. Wish me luck with that, and that a 13, almost 14 year old can truly understand.

I am smelling the aroma of some wonderful, warming vegetable soup and am on my way after it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas with Mom

What a great day this was! I had planned to have Mother over for lunch today and exchange Christmas gifts with her since she is now planning to be at my niece Bunny's Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. Mom went to church this morning and I told her to call when she got home.

Well, she called and shortly after that my brother Wayne called to tell me that his wife Bridget and her grandson Taylen were almost to Hopkinsville! They live in northern Indiana and were coming to bring Mother her Christmas gift. My brother has had surgery recently and is not able to travel yet. What a grand surprise! I, of course, expanded lunch to include them and we had a great visit. I know Mom was as happy to see them as I was. (Bridget IS my favorite sister-in-law) Of course, she is my ONLY sister-in-law, so that makes it easier :)

Taylen is an absolute wonder of a child! His birthday is on Christmas Eve and he will be 9 then. His manners are just impeccable and he is a loving and precious boy. I was just so glad to see them, even if only for a while. In this picture, he is helping Granny put her new bracelet on!
On to the living room so Granny could open her remaining gifts. She is somewhat child-like in that she thrills at the aspect of opening gifts. It is joyful to watch her. Lately it seems that she always has a scowl on her face, so it was wonderful to see her smile. Of course, Bridget and Taylen's visit alone improved on her attitude.

My daughter April called this evening. She is so conscientious and tries to call me at least once every day. I wish I had always been as thoughtful as she is. She and her husband Bruce were trying the caramel pie recipe I gave them and was calling to report progress. This is that silly recipe where you BOIL three unopened cans of Eagle Brand milk and then just open them and pour into a graham cracker pie crust. Well, THEIR cans tried to explode and got gooey caramel all over their cabinets! Almost hit Tristin (who is 6) as he was very close to the cans when they came out of the boiling water. Also, their 3 cans made WAY too much filling. Alas, I should have written it down for her (meaning I probably forgot some vital fact). Well, the pie was saved and Bruce can take it to his work tomorrow and have stories to tell about his silly mother-in-laws recipe.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Valentino's in Nashville

What a GREAT evening I had tonight! I guess I should back way up and let you all know I did the "daughterly thing" and took my Mother to Wal-Mart today even though I stayed in the car and read a book while she shopped. Good thinking on my part if you ask me. That parking lot was incredible so I can only imagine how crowded it must have been inside! The older my Mother gets, the more she seems to thrive on that crap and the more I find I cannot tolerate it at all.

Finally got home and bathed and dressed for a night out in Nashville. I find I cannot even dress myself without great problems and even tore up two pair of pantyhose trying to get them on. It will get easier with time, I suppose. What a treat, especially after being cooped up for so long with this back thing. Went to Valentino's for dinner and I had not been there before. We actually passed it on the way to my Nashville neurosurgeon's office and looked it up on the computer before making the investment of time and money to go. Wow, it was certainly worth it. Champagne, grouper and bananas foster at the table. Come to find out, our server had worked at Arthur's for 23 years up until they closed a few years ago. If you didn't have the opportunity to go there, they were in the old Union Station and it was a grand place.

So now I have had my Christmas dinner and am ready to get to bed and pass out (literally and figuratively). The weather was perfect, as was the company and the meal!

If you ever get to Nashville, try it. And by the way, ask for Dino.....he's the best!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yikes! December 18 Already!

I can hardly believe it is so deep into December and I am such a poor blogger! My children and grandchildren came last weekend and we had our "Christmas at Mimi's" house. It was great fun, as always. I guess they actually have THREE Christmases. One at my house early, then one at their other grandparents and then the BIG SANTA comes. I, of course, do this early since they live away and I want them ALL here at the same time.

Since my back surgery in November and a slow healing, I hadn't cooked much at all, but made up for it by baking lots of cookies and making candy, even dog treats for my granddogs. The recipe is simple and the dogs LOVE them. If you're interested, here it is.

2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter

Mix well and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter for shapes and bake on well-greased cookie sheet until browning, appox. 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. No, I'm not tasting them but like I said, Copper, Sunny, Sam and Jake love them!

While the kids were here, our town sponsors a "Polar Bear Express" event in downtown Hopkinsville, and they all love it. Santa was there and he read the story of Polar Bear Express. The youngest three, Tristin, Sydney and Hayden were totally involved with him!

So now, the bulk of my Christmas is over, the kids are back home and I focus on Mother and getting her through the first Christmas without Dad. She is severely depressed and not feeling well, so I have a job to do. My brother Rodney will be here and that will be a big help. She may even go to my niece's house for dinner on Christmas and that would be great!

Going to bed but I will try to get into this blogging as a routine............