Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Minding My Busy-ness

Staying busy. I thought perhaps I would take some time to relax this week... ha ha! Not happening.

We're doing a summer cleanup over at Mom's house. I've been pulling weeds from the brick sidewalk. My fingers are worn out, poked by prickers, dry, and sore, but the bricks are looking better.

Tomorrow I am meeting my second cousin Kim for lunch. I know we've crossed paths in the past but this will be our first real meeting. She is an artist and the granddaughter of my grandma's sister. Her blog, "Coffee Makes Me Happy" is on my sidebar, but she doesn't take comments. :(

I missed my walk with the ladies' from church this afternoon, choosing instead to take my daughter out to lunch and pick up some things for her birthday party/bonfire this Saturday. I hope it turns out to be a good day for her, but I think I'll have a hard time beating a busload of kids in Grenada singing "Happy Birthday".

Monday, July 21, 2014


For years now I have wished to go kayaking. Today my wish came true when Rachel and I headed down to the Baycreek Paddling Center. We opted for two single kayaks and headed out on Irondequoit creek and into the Ellison Wetlands. It was a beautiful morning.

At one point Rachel asked me if I'd seen any alligators... I didn't see any and we paddled on. We saw dragonflies, water lilies, ducks, and... wait! what was that? It wasn't an alligator, it was a crock. (ha ha!)

I loved our trip up the creek and back. We didn't travel too far, but were out for an hour and had a great time together.

Dragonflies were abundant. They're one of my favorites. I credit that to my mom who always made a big deal about how pretty they are.

Apparently ducks love the swamp. There were several pairs wondering what in the world we were doing.

 We paddled as far as this little "island" in the middle of the creek, and doubled back around it. In some ways I felt like I could stay out there for hours, but my shoulders and wrists were getting tired, and my back, not used to sitting on my butt with my feet straight out in front of me, was starting to ache, so we headed back toward the bay.

Rachel and I enjoyed lunch together at Panera Bread. I filled my soda cup with brewed tea. I didn't taste it until I had already eaten most of my soup and salad. I remarked to Rachel at how dark it looked, and she replied that it must be very strong. One taste told me it wasn't tea at all, but cold, black coffee. Oops. Wonder who messed that one up? I opted to make it into iced coffee and fixed it up with some half and half and several packets of sugar.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Staycation, of Sorts

It's been a nice "stay- cation". We stayed home while Hannah was away. While I was dreading the thought of missing our daughter, My Darling was looking at it in a different way. He had to work, and I had to babysit, but we took
advantage of our weekends and evenings together, and I made pretty good use of my daytime hours too. We went out to eat, stopped down at the lake, walked in the orchard, visited friends, made some scrumptious dinners at home, and generally enjoyed each other's company. All we were missing was a bottle or two of wine... It's been a nice week after all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful youngest daughter, Hannah You are a treasure. I am blessed by you each and every day and am proud of the person you have become. I hope you know how much love you!

Vacation Bible School is over and the Grenada team will be heading home tomorrow. Hannah's not quite ready to come  home, even though she can't stay. It's never fun leaving friends behind, especially when you don't know when or if you'll ever see them again. She posted this on Facebook tonight...

"Today on the bus a little boy happened to ask me when my birthday was. I smiled and told him that it's today and the next thing I know the entire bus full of kids is singing me Happy Birthday. I'm going to miss them so much. Best birthday ever!"

I'm so glad she had a special birthday with memories she'll treasure for many years to come.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oreo Cookie

It's been a good week so far. I am feeling more relaxed than I have in a very long time. I have a plan or two in the works, one of which involves a getaway in August with my sister Priscilla. I also have a plan with Rachel that involves a local waterway and a couple of kayaks. And, in September a trip that includes and airplane ride or two. So exciting!

So anyway, back to Oreo... I took the skinny old boy to the vet yesterday. I was relieved to have him see the "old fashioned male veterinarian" who was tactfully truthful and didn't treat my cat like he was an ailing child instead of a pet. (see my past rant here) The hard truth is that Oreo is an old cat. He is in pretty good shape for 15 and still happy. He is
 likely suffering from gradual kidney failure but is not in any pain or distress. We could run blood tests to verify this fact, but whatever the tests show, there is little to nothing that can be done and no point in spending extra money when that will not change the prognosis. So, I thanked the kind vet and took my irritated to be at the vet cat home again. I have peace of mind and something to tell those who are concerned about my cat's lack of bulk and muscle tone. He can still enjoy his bit of milk each morning, his drink out of the fish bowl whenever he chooses, and there is no need to change his diet. He can even keep up with hunting if he so chooses. All he needs from me is love and I think I can do that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hannah in Grenada

I'm sorry for those who don't like computers because I love the ability to connect across the world in no time at all at very little cost. Look at what showed up on my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon, my daughter and few friends in Grenada. I think that's pretty cool.
Hannah is wearing the yellow shirt. Aw, isn't she cute?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Weekend Gazette

I've been really bad at fostering friendships the past few years, so if you're one of the few people whose blog I actually post on, I'm not sure whether that makes you lucky or not. (ha ha)

My days have slowed down dramatically. I should have my house spotless by now, but I don't. Somewhere between raising seven children and caring for my mother, I lost track of how to keep a clutter-free home. Truthfully, part of me doesn't really care, and since I hoard only the "normal" stuff, I'm not too worried about whether or not it will eventually be clutter-free or not.  We can still sit on furniture, the floors are visible, I can usually find what I'm looking for, and we still take the trash to the curb on a regular weekly basis, unless we forget. Yes, we do have counter tops and they are visible... Today I made Avocado Gazpacho (recipe here), mowed a good section of lawn, and did the dishes. I don't feel terribly accomplished, but there have been a few accomplishments none the less. Maybe I can do something else wonderful before My Darling arrives home.

We had a very nice weekend together. We stopped at the Original Candy Kitchen for a fish fry Friday evening, took a walk around the block in town, and stopped to visit some friends on the way home. I failed at my attempt to find someone who wanted to go to the Cornhill Arts Festival in Rochester on Saturday morning, but I did find a husband willing to spend time with me after a half day of work. We went to Homearama but found ourselves unimpressed. I guess high-end expensive homes just don't have the allure they might have possessed 20 years ago. Toward evening we took a ride down to Sodus Point and then got a burger at Orbakers before a quick stop at Yia Yia's for a baby sized cone. Sunday morning we visited Calvary Chapel in Webster, went out for breakfast, and spent the afternoon at Dave and Leta's for Aubrey's birthday dinner.

I guess it's been a pretty productive weekend over all. I even squeezed in a little grocery shopping Saturday morning and every day I try to send a Facebook note or two to Hannah. I don't want her to forget about me or anything. :0)

Saturday, July 12, 2014


It finally feels like summer. Bring on the iced tea! We can sit out on the back porch and watch the  barn swallows and their crazy aerial antics.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kid Day!

Today I had grandkids and I had them all by myself and I survived! First I took them up to the school playground and then we went to a park in the next town over. After lunch we braved the "wampoween" in my own backyard. Do you know that bouncing on a trampoline is hard work? My poor butt muscles were hurting. Maybe I've found a new exercise program...

I fed three small children and one pudgy grandma ice cream sandwiches. (They're my favorite.)

While Bethany took Jakie to visit the doctor, the kids did some more bouncing and played in the little house called "Hannah's Place". Poor Jakie has an ear infection but he still felt good enough to enjoy a cookie and a ride in a Cozy Coupe car.

It was a fun day filled with sunshine and silliness.

This evening My Darling and I enjoy dinner at the Original Candy Kitchen, a walk around the block in town, and a visit with a couple of friends. And tonight I have an email telling me the group has arrived safely in Grenada and made it through customs with no problems.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

There She Goes!

Hannah has been transported to a friend's house for the night. In the wee hours of the morning, like 3am, a few of them will rise and meet up with the rest of the group at church. Tomorrow morning they will take off for Miami and from there they will fly to Grenada. I can't remember how I felt about all this last year, but this year I miss her already. She'll be back in a week. In the meantime, I will plan her a birthday party. She'll be 19 when she returns.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

It's Thursday. It's Thursday Thirteen. A little randomness for today...

1. It's not Thursday after all. It's Wednesday. *blush*

It was a longish kind of day. Maybe that's why I'm feeling like it ought to be Thursday. It isn't because yesterday felt like Wednesday, because yesterday was definitely a Tuesday kind of day. Maybe it's because Hannah is all packed up and ready to go. The group leaves Friday morning in the wee hours. She's going to stay "overnight", at least what little night there will be, at the home of another group member. I'm not going to know how to behave without her around...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Happy Birthday!

My sweet granddaughter turned 3 years old today!

Happy Birthday, Aubrey!

Monday, July 07, 2014

"Mom's Room"

We used to call it the dining room, but from now until the time we move out of this house, it will likely be referred to as "Mom's room".

I finally have it put back together, this room... Once my mother's place of refuge, it is now a mix of memories and possessions, both hers and mine. The hospital bed, months ago donated, has been replaced by a futon. It will be a good overnight resting place for out of town guests should they ever chance to arrive. Great Great Grandpa Shafer's portrait, the one that looks so much like my dad, has been moved from its resting place on the floor behind a chair, and hung on the wall.

The china cabinet full of glass will remain in the corner, holding its treasure, my grandma Plotzker's china set along with some of my mother's glassware, and the antique glass bookcase, whose shelves I've slowly rearranged, will also stay. Mom's cut glass cruet collection fit perfectly in the top case. Aunt Harriet's painting of the mill in Ashantee, NY still hangs on the wall. Treasures, earthly treasures, reminders of those we love who've now passed on.

The secretary's desk that was a wedding gift to my mother's parents has been moved upstairs. Shelves have been emptied and refilled with my own things in an attempt to make the room mine once again... There are still a few boxes to be sorted and disposed of. The table will stay, a gathering place for friends and family who come to share dessert and a cup of coffee. And maybe in the winter a puzzle will grace the table and, if I use my imagination, Mom and I will sit and work a puzzle together once again

Saturday, July 05, 2014

A Little Detour

After a relatively (because it was pretty much relatives) small picnic gathering yesterday, several of us decided to go watch the fireworks down at Canandaigua Lake. We set off in three different cars with the intent to possibly meet up upon our arrival, but thanks to some extenuating circumstances, my carload did not arrive until after the show had already begun.

We took a detour to grab an ice cream on the way out of town (I owed Josiah a cone from a few visits back...) and took a slightly different route than usual to Canandaigua which put us directly behind a vehicle that blew a tire in front of us. BOOM! Thankfully, that vehicle was just pulling up to or away from a 4-way stop when the blowout occurred. There was no hideous accident and we are all grateful. As they pulled off the road and into the grass, we pulled over beside them to see if everything was alright and if they had a phone.

They had a phone, but their spare tire was back at the woman's apartment another town over.When the state police pulled up, we offered to take the woman, who spoke limited English, and one of her companions to get the spare tire. To make a long story short, the "spare" was probably the original and had already encountered some trouble of its own. When we took it to get air, it only leaked back out with a loud hiss. Fix-a-flat wouldn't have helped.

To make more of the long story short, we found the woman, and her daughter, who was now accompanying us as a translator, were from El Salvador, which excited Bethany greatly. (She was there five years ago.) We ended up taking the woman and her daughter to meet the rest of their group at their church as the pastor had gone to the vehicle to retrieve the others and they were no longer stranded. The woman tried to pay me for my "trouble" but we took hugs and a "gracias" or two instead, and assured them they could pay us in pupusas at some point in the future. So, anyway, we did get to Canandaigua, just in time to catch of bit of the show, just not in time to find the rest of our group.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

A Surprise Blessing

Yesterday after lunch at Panera Bread, my sisters and I decided to do a little shopping and walked down the sidewalk to Target and then Dress Barn. We were about to leave Dress Barn when another group of women came in. I immediately recognized them as two sisters and a mom from my church. For some reason, unknown even to me, I looked at them, put my finger up to my lips, and said, "Shhhhh...." The mother of the group, who is a bit older than me, got a big smile on her face and did it right back. We all laughed, I called her by name, and hugged this woman who really doesn't know me at all.

At one time MJ home schooled her ten children and sometimes I saw her when we visited her church for Vacation Bible School one week out of the summer. She may have known my name back then, perhaps she would have recognized me, or known that we also have a carload of children and were home schooling, but today she is a different woman from those days. Alzheimer's disease has stolen MJ's memory away. Sometimes she isn't even sure who her own children are, but for a brief moment, there at the door of the Dress Barn, she and I made a connection and I was blessed. I hope that she and her girls were too.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Cemetery

A soft rain fell as I closed the door and headed toward my car. It wasn't quite the morning I had envisioned, but appropriate just the same. Dark, cloudy, and a light drizzle. Just the kind of weather the movies always show when a family gathers at the cemetery, but somehow I had dreamed that it would be bright and sunny instead. I found myself accepting of the rain, in spite of my misconceptions, and was thankful for the umbrellas in my glove compartment.

It was just my sisters and I at the cemetery. We gathered in the drizzle and listened to Dad sing "Count Your Blessings" on my car stereo. Rachel read a scripture. I said a prayer. I thanked God for our parents and the examples they were to us, for my grandpa who in his own grief over the loss of a child bought this spot in the little cemetery so long ago, and for my two sisters beside me.

It suddenly struck me how my parents had given me the gift of two sisters. They are both younger than me. I had two older brothers who both came with challenges, one a hyperactive, patience-testing boy, and the other a nonverbal mentally challenged child. I came along when my brother Tim was 5½ years old. With the task of raising my two brothers and now a little girl, my parents easily could have decided they had all they could handle. No one would have blamed them, and I might have stood in the cemetery alone today. (Not really, of course, but hopefully you know what I mean.)

I'm not sure if it was still raining or not by the time we pulled away from the grave site. We met for lunch and were able to eat outside on the patio without being afraid of getting wet and by the time we finished eating, chatting, and finding a friend or two, the sun had come out and it was the kind of day I had originally anticipated.

Rachel, was feeling mischievous by the time we sat down and that is why she is smiling in that top picture. I sneaked a picture of Priscilla (my favorite mom in law taught me that trick...) as she is not sure why in the world we should have our cameras out at lunch. She also showed me her "mad" face so I could let you know how she felt about it. My salad looked and tasted yummy, and I am very bad at taking selfies, but I did try. (Look! I have glasses growing out of the top of my head! And apparently a lamp post too.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

They Come In Threes

They say things happen in threes. Last week I sat down and penned a letter to the cemetery where we will bury my mother's remains. I had to choose a date and a time. After checking with my sisters I informed the director that we would arrive at 11 am on Wednesday, July 2. I mailed the letter on Tuesday or Wednesday
 of last week. On Friday a friend from church lost her 97 year old mother. The service is at 10 am Wednesday, July 2. On Saturday my daughter in law's grandma passed away. The service is at 11 am Wednesday, July 2. There is obviously no way I can attend either of the other two services. In spite of the fact that I haven't been to a funeral service other than my mother's in what seems like a long time, I now have three all on the same day, at roughly the same time. I'm not sure why God worked it out that way, but He did.

Ours will be a simple gathering, just me and my sisters, and one daughter. We'll probably remember a few things about Mom and say a prayer or two. Perhaps we'll play some of Dad's music on the car stereo or have him sing a song. Perhaps there will be a few laughs and a tear or two, and then we'll go out to lunch. It's always bittersweet closing these chapters in our lives, but I think it's time.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fishing and Minigolf

Blog traffic appears slow lately, but life goes on...

Since all NY state residents could fish NY state waters without a fishing license this past weekend, Hannah found some friends and they took off on a fishing trip. She caught the most fish, ten, and poor Ben caught nothing, but I think they all had a fun day. I only saw one photo from the excursion and subsequently stole it from Noah's Facebook account. (Ain't that a beauty?)

While the young'uns were off fishing, James and I took to the golf course. I didn't take my camera out of the van, but Parkside Whispering Pines is apparently the oldest miniature golf course in the USA. (This is where I encountered the carnivorous squirrel... )We had so much fun with the first game, in spite of the squirrel, that we played a second round. I won't tell you who won because I don't like to gloat.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking Pictures

There was a wedding at church this afternoon and the bride asked me if I would be willing to take pictures at the reception. There was a regular paid photographer to take all the formal and "important" pictures which freed me up to take random photos. Since I had been given the "job" of taking photos, I did, and I had fun. I got some nice people pictures, some of the children in attendance, which I don't feel free to show. Too bad. But I have some good "foody photos" and guess what? The only thing I ate was fruit. Aren't I a good girl? Well, I was today anyway.

It was really, really hard to resist that cake. I should get a prize for not eating any. Maybe an ice cream cone or something. :0)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Throwing Rocks

It was a bright and sunny morning, the perfect kind of morning for rock tossing. We popped three small children into the vehicle and headed off down the road and around the corner to the park. The little ones were excited to do something different and very happy to throw rocks into the water. I was very happy to watch, so long as the rocks went into the water and not in the space of sky directly above their heads. So far, so good.

One of the added benefits today was the fact that they were actually sleepy after lunch. Aunt Hannah told the boys there was a prize for whoever was the quietest when she had them rest on the couches. They were out cold in no time. And the girl got a reward for staying dry all during her nap. When they woke up, everyone was happy.

It was a good day.