Saturday, July 31, 2010


It has been a long week and I am worn to a frazzle. Though I desperately needed a nap this afternoon, sleep did not come. I hope that means I will sleep well tonight.

There was a day many years ago when I was worn beyond frazzled. Just before I fell "over the edge," my darling bought me a plane ticket and sent me on a vacation to visit his sister in Texas. She took me to Glamor Shots. That's where they erase the face you were born with and draw on a new one... Right now I'm not looking for new face, just a good night's sleep.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Week's End

We are closing in on the weekend. It has been an interesting week, to say the least. Sunday evening we noticed white smoke billowing from the back of our minivan. It was slightly embarrassing and disconcerting too. My husband, quite certain this was a very bad sign, went in search of a replacement vehicle.

Monday evening our computer came down with a nasty virus that infected seemingly every file we opened in our quest to cure the illness. Tuesday morning it was packed up and hauled off to the computer doctor. I was prematurely grateful that my telephone still worked... Later I was thankful that we were only without service for a few hours. I don't know what the problem was there, likely something with the provider as it resolved on its own.

Wednesday and Thursday my dear little grandsons came to play. Lucas decided not to take a nap on Wednesday afternoon and Simon wasn't too keen on the idea either. Lucky for me they both slept on Thursday, because last night Hannah and I stayed overnight at the Sleep Center. I think they could do with some more comfortable mattresses there...

Today Hannah and I went out shopping. I looked for skirts and dresses at Goodwill but did not have much success. I have been informed that the teacher I am helping in VBS next week would like us to wear skirts... I only own one.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

100 Delicious

For several years I have had a second blog. It began as a place to connect with family, but Facebook does a pretty good job of that, and so I decided to do an overhaul and turn it into something else instead.

I am starting the gluten-free journey once again. 100 Delicious seems the perfect place to post recipes and, hopefully, find some encouragement in the quest. Though I have not been diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I do notice the impact it has on my tummy. It tends to be round and bulgy and always has been. Since it doesn't normally hurt, giving up gluten is somewhat of a challenge. I keep vacillating...

I am blessed with a local grocery store that marks its own gluten-free products and also has a small gluten-free section in its natural foods section. I like cereals like Chex and Cream of Rice, and have found that Nature Valley has some rather tasty gluten-free Nut Crunch Bars. Of course, there are always salads and vegetables too. Here I go again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jazz-a-ma-tazz, A Broken Butterfly, and Baby Boys

For some strange and unknown reason my dog has decided to stick around home this week. She has been eating here, sleeping here, and hanging out in the yard and on the back porch during the day. Maybe she knows this is home after all.

I had a butterfly visitor to my goose-neck loo-strife this morning. It was battered and bruised, but happy just the same. (Kind of like Jasmine.) Later I spotted a monarch butterfly flitting about, but I didn't have my camera within close proximity.

My little grandsons came to play for the day. I don't know how their mommy keeps up with them. Lucas did not go to sleep at nap time ( I waited at least an hour and a half) and Simon thinks that sleeping on my lap is the way to go. Needless to say, I did not accomplish much in the way of housework. I did, however, have some good snuggle time with Simon and played a nice game of "Beanie Baby Toss" with Lucas who loves to throw things.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ABC Wednesday- Letter B

B is for Big Brothers. (I've written about them before...)

Every little girl should have a big brother or two. My brothers were both several years older than me. Dan was adopted by my parents six and a half years before my birth, and Tim came along a year after Dan.

Dan was special because of his adoption. Mom and Dad always made it sound so exciting, I thought being adopted must be a wonderful thing!

Tim was special because he was "brain damaged." Today he would be diagnosed as "severely autistic."

Though my brothers weren't quite what the average little girl might have had, I am grateful for their presence in my life. They are part of what makes me who I am today and I love them both. (Visit the links to learn more about my brothers.)

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sundae Sunday

No more ice cream posts after this, but I have to say that National Hot Fudge Sundae Day was perfect for today. It made a wonderful excuse to visit Mom on her anniversary (not that we needed one) and make her a special treat. I want so much for her to know that she is loved and treasured, and I really needed to do something special today too. It's been an emotional couple of days.

My sisters were both busy with previous commitments today, some things can't be changed, but Dave and Leta were there to share the sundaes and Lucas found it quite possible to get a little taste of ice cream from whoever was willing to share, like his grandmas. Little Simon slept through the ice cream party but had plenty of time to smile and snuggle afterward just the same.

It was a nice day. Perfect weather, the kind for opening up the windows and letting the breeze blow through.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Loving Mom

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22

I can only imagine what is must be like to observe that first wedding anniversary alone. If the day is on my mind and my heart is hurting, my mom must ache deep within also. She does not vocalize her grief except to say, "It went so fast."

She called this morning to thank me for the flowers. My phone was dead, but the answering machine picked up and I heard her voice on the other end of the line. I felt helpless when I picked up the receiver and found it silent. Good thing I was headed to Webster anyway.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fair Warning

Consider yourself warned. If you miss this holiday, it will be no fault of mine! July 25 just so happens to be National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. Think I'm kidding? Here's proof. Still not convinced? Go ahead and google it yourself.

The 25th of July also happens to be my parents wedding anniversary and the birthday of my niece, Renee. Some people have all the luck! Me? My birthday falls on National Water Day. Where's the fun in that?

If I have a favorite kind of ice cream sundae, it is most definitely hot fudge and I happen to love vanilla ice cream best too. A little whipped cream and some chopped peanuts on top, please. Does anybody want my maraschino cherry?

I think I may have just found my favorite holiday...

PS. National Cheesecake Day is coming up on July 30.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Hundred and Counting

This morning I took my mom to visit her Uncle Louie in a nearby nursing home. Uncle Louie celebrated his 100th birthday last October. He is the only remaining uncle of either of my parents. (My father's 96 year old Aunt Margaret died last December.)

Uncle Louie did most of the talking during our visit and we did a lot of listening. He told us of a recent gathering of centenarians, there were three men and thirty women in the group, and he was asked for an interview by a local newswoman. She asked him his formula for living so long. He answered that he didn't have any formula. The Lord had just blessed him with long life. She asked what the highlight of his life was. He answered that it was the day he gave his life to Christ and the Lord began a transformation in him. She asked many questions and portions of the interview were later broadcast on TV.

Uncle Louie was distressed to learn that the interview had been edited and the answers to his questions rearranged. The newscaster asked what the highlight of his life was and, rather than Uncle Louie telling of his conversion, he told of getting his driver's license at the age of 17 and keeping it for the next 72 years. I guess the media is not looking to promote religion in any way, shape, or form...

I have heard the story of Uncle Louie's salvation many times. He was dating Aunt Francie and asked her to marry him. She told him she could not marry him because he was not a Christian, and then she went home, threw herself on her bed, and cried. She really did love him. I believe this happened a few times and one day when Aunt France said, "No, Louis, you are not a Christian," he told her that he had given his heart and life to Christ. Of course, she thought he was lying at first, but then she saw his life begin to change. She noticed that he stopped smoking cigarettes. When she asked him about it, he said, "Remember when I gave my heart to Christ? Well, he just took that all away."

Aunt France and Uncle Louie were married for over sixty years. Her pictures sits on the bookcase in his room and he still misses her. I heard him say so.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peace and Quiet vs Busy Days

Yesterday, Tuesday, was a quiet kind of day. We slept a little later, went to Ladies' Prayer at church, and spent the afternoon at a friend's house. This friend lives in Webster, not far from Irondequoit Bay. I took a little ride past her house to where they have built some bigger, fancier homes and couldn't resist taking a picture of the bay and Lake Ontario from the top of the bluff. Back at Barb's house Ben and Hannah went swimming with their friends while the rest of us sat and talked. It really was a relaxing kind of day. It's nice to have those once in a while.

Today was a busy kind of day. I babysat, cleaned, did laundry, and somehow even caught a very short nap while the little ones took their rest. My refrigerator has been cleaned, the dog had a bath, and my family ate a hot supper. Not too bad.

Tape Fixes Everything

Maybe you have heard of Duck Tape's "Stuck at the Prom" contest? Okay, so maybe you haven't... Each year Duck Tape holds a contest where students are encouraged to create their own prom outfit out of Duck Tape. There are ten finalists in the overall contest and these are voted on by the general public. The voting has been going on for several weeks and now there are only two couples left in the running. One of these couples is from right here in our tiny town of Williamson, NY. (I remember when Rowan was just a toddler at the local library...) Top prize is a $3000 scholarship for each of the winners!!! Want to help Brit and Rowan? You can vote once a day per email address. Please vote here.

I thank you. Black Coffee With a Scoop of Cocoa thanks you. Brit and Rowan thank you... All of Williamson (Deborah appears to have several web sites...) thanks you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ABC Wednesday- The Letter "A"

I've decided to join the Wednesday fun and do the Wednesday ABC challenge.

"A" is for "Al and Arlene" my adorable parents. Mom was just one month short of nineteen and Dad was twenty-one on their wedding day. They celebrated fifty-six years of marriage last July and I think that is amazing.

This Sunday mom will be observing the day alone, well, without Dad anyway. She is very much on my heart as this milestone day approaches. Maybe I'll buy her a pretty bouquet to let her know I love her and remember.

To see the other participants in the new round of ABC Wednesday, click here!

Raffle for Haiti

Please help my sister raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti. The information is on her blog site. Check it out here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simon Says... Smile!

Nothing quite like a smiley baby. Simon was feeling very smiley yesterday afternoon. Don't you just want to kiss his little cheeks? I did, in fact I found him impossible to resist.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

National Ice Cream Day

It was a great day to celebrate a birthday and today was Hannah's. She turned fifteen on National Ice Cream Day! To commemorate the occasion, we served brownie sundaes. As I have mentioned before, my children rarely opt to eat cake on their birthdays. We are more likely to enjoy pie, strawberry shortcake, cherry cheesecake, or brownie sundaes instead.

It was a beautiful afternoon; cool breeze, bright sunshine, and comfortable temperatures. We ate out on the back porch and swatted at the flies who insisted on joining the festivities. The picnic table was covered with a brightly colored tablecloth. We set up extra chairs and enjoyed the great outdoors. Josh likes the little wicker rocking chair I picked up at the Pultneyville Homecoming Days yesterday afternoon.

Dave and Leta brought my mom along and, after taking a short nap with her head on the picnic table, she was ready to join in the fun. She hasn't been out to our house in quite a while so it was especially nice to have her here.

Nathan brought Sabrina along. (If you enlarge the photo you might be able to see the pretty little ring she's wearing on her finger...) I must say, I did enjoy my afternoon. Maybe I'll even plan another family gathering or two before the summer is over.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I slept a little later than usual this morning,... or was it that I stayed in the tub a little longer? Either way I left the house later than I had intended. Hannah and I checked a few stores for clothing but came out empty handed. We went to the bank and made a deposit for Ben, and then decided to use my Panera Bread gift card and had some lunch together. It was much too early to go grocery shopping, even if we were out of milk, so we headed over to Grandma's house.

It was a two-fold visit. Leta was planning to go clean a house and needed a babysitter, and I didn't want my mom to sit alone in her house another day. Mom and I sat at the dining room table. We read the newspaper, we repeated some her childhood stories, we did a crossword puzzle. We listened to CD's with Dad's music. I held Simon. He fell asleep on my lap and melted my heart. Hannah took a nap on the couch. Mom checked the mailbox. At three thirty I asked Mom if she had eaten any lunch. I made her some soup and brought her some crackers and peanut butter. Lucas woke up from his nap and I fed him some peaches. He played hide and seek with Hannah and I went out to look in the garage. I found my grandpa's old Bible in a box. Leta returned around five o'clock and Hannah and I headed for the store again. Upon my return home I found myself extremely tired after a day of inactivity. I'm pretty sure I'm most tired on the days where I sit all day rather than those where I am up and about.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Ought to Be Caned!

As if I didn't have enough on my mind, last Saturday I brought home five chairs with broken seats. When I had first heard about them, I thought they were woven cane seats, but these are the type where the woven seat comes all in one piece. They call it pressed cane. While they are generally easier to repair, and faster to do than the other, I have never fixed a chair of this sort. I'm afraid I am rather good at finding projects for my husband to do... This morning I set about attempting to remove the seat and spline that my husband put into these chairs for my Aunt Barb over twenty years ago. My efforts were successful and I have a nice blister in the center of my right palm to show for the work. A small price to pay, I'm sure.

While I struggled with my aunt's chairs, Hannah got into a little mischief with Lucas... His mommy laughed at the pictures, but I'm not sure his daddy would be quite so amused.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Full Plate

I'm pretty sure my plate is full. Though keeping up with everything is a challenge, I'm fairly certain there is a way even if I haven't quite discovered it yet. I suppose the best way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time. (I learned that from Priscilla...)

It's not Thursday yet, but I think it's close enough. Want to know what's on my plate? Probably not but maybe it will make me feel better anyway.

1. Tending my "flowers." (Emma is here this week.)
2. My mom and all that is involved in taking care of her (This is filling up a good portion of my plate.)
3. homeschooling (Yup, we still do that. I must send in Hannah's year end papers...)
4. My grandkids (Can't leave them out, they're yummy! And, it's important for Grammies to have some time set aside to love their little people.)
5. The yard and gardens (They are quickly getting out of control. I did some weeding Tuesday and cut some grass this afternoon.)
6. Blueberries (It's that time again. I did a little picking but I'm considering letting the birds have most of them this year.)
7. Sofie (She needs to be fed, pottied, bathed, and groomed.)
8. Groceries (We have to eat, even if it's just cereal.)
9. My house (Do you know houses do NOT clean themselves?)
10. Going places like church, Ladies' Prayer, and the nursing home (I need these things to help keep me going. It's like pouring more fuel in the gas tank.)
11. Having my dad's ashes buried (Until that is done, it still on my plate. Soon it will be accomplished.)
12. My kids (Yes, they are growing up, but they still require some love, help, and attention here and there.)
13. My husband (Sometimes he must think he's last on the list, but that really isn't so. I love having time to spend with him. I just wish there was more of it. Maybe one day soon we can escape together.)

So, today my darling daughter in law cleaned my van for me! That was her way of saying "thank you" and giving back a little bit because I babysit for her. She sure is sweet. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Little Bit of Nothing

I have nothing to say. Nothing exciting to report, Nothing new to wear.
Maybe you will like this instead...

Perhaps tomorrow I will find something wonderful to tell you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thinking Thoughts

All people have their very own unique way of thinking.

Several weeks back I decided to stop at a local monument company and order a stone for my parents' grave. This is something very important to my sisters and I, but something my parents wouldn't necessarily want. When my own grandfather passed away eleven years ago, I believed that his body had been cremated. We had a memorial service at the church, but as far as I knew there had been no burial. I didn't ask questions. Maybe I was afraid of what the answer might be.

Last week, after a discussion with my sister, I got curious and called the cemetery where my uncle is buried. I asked if my grandfather was also buried there. I was surprised to hear he was and found myself unexpectedly smiling. It seems my aunt (the deceased uncle's wife) and my parents had a bit of a disagreement at the time of Grandpa's death. Apparently there was a burial after all and Grandpa's body was not cremated. He is buried next to my grandmother and has a marker to show where his body lies. This was contrary to my father's wishes and so my sisters and I never knew and did not attend the burial. We have never been to visit his grave.

As of this day, my father's ashes remain unburied. One day soon we will make a trip to the cemetery to have them properly buried. It may not have been what my father wanted, but it somehow seems terribly important to me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boys and Their Toys

We did not get to visit Uncle Chuck yesterday. Aunt Mary caught us at Mom's house and said he wasn't feeling well. She was taking him back to the doctor again with the hope of avoiding a third hospital stay. I'm afraid his will be a long and arduous recovery.

Bethany had been called in to work at the "cute little diner" and so I had Josh with me. He and Lucas ventured out into Grandma's backyard with Uncle Jim and found Lukie's little pool full of water. It was still hot and muggy and the boys found the water irresistible. They either climbed in fully clothed or did enough splashing to soak themselves. Even Josh's sandals were wet.

Lucas also has a very cool tractor that was given him by one of the neighbors. The boys had fun playing with it and Lucas even gave Josh a ride. What a great toy! It's almost as much fun a a grown up tractor!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thirteen Things I Did Today

I already posted today, but it is Thursday... It was a productive day, I think. I bet I can come up with thirteen things to prove it.

1. I took a shower.
2. I made my bed. (These two things are important as once in a great while I actually don't get them done.)
3. I washed laundry and hung it out to dry. (I'm doing my part to save energy during this heat wave. Who knows, maybe we all still have power because I didn't run my dryer. I know that's why we now have crunchy socks and underwear.)
4. I made coffee, decaf of course. I drank the morning cup in my snowman mug and the afternoon cup with ice cubes.
5. I posted a blog this morning. This is also important. It helps me keep track of and sort out the things in my life.
6. I took the paperwork for my kid's health insurance to the post office and mailed it off. I also bought stamps while I was there, regular and Forever stamps. I'm stocking up.
7. I made an appointment to get my oil changed and brakes checked. It's been three months since my oil was changed and since I can't read my odometer, it's time. My brakes feel like they're grinding...
8. I stopped at the library for some books and found a few to read to Emma while she's here next week.
9. I visited with my sister, Priscilla, when she came over. I shared some ice cream sandwiches with her and Alicia and offered them iced tea. We also played a game of Chinese checkers together. I won. :)
10. I returned to the library this afternoon to pick up a movie I ordered. It's called "Haven" and is supposed to be about the refugee camp that used to be in Oswego, NY during WWII.
11. I sewed myself a new clothespin bag and found out I have forgotten most of the little that I ever knew about sewing. Oh well, it's functional and who's checking anyway? Hopefully no one.
12. Oh! I almost forgot! I gave the dog a bath this morning. She hates baths and usually runs when she knows one is coming. With some encouragement from Priscilla, I also cut the hair on her face. Now she can see again!
13. This is pushing it but, if I have my way, I will get that photo album together tonight so I can give it to my uncle tomorrow afternoon. I made a date to go visit him.

The day isn't over yet, maybe I'll even make supper!

Taking Courage

"... Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Time keeps marching on. There is no way to stop it or even slow it down. We are on the boat for the duration of the voyage and there is work to be done.

I brought an old book home from Mom's house the other day, "All Sail Set." It is a book my father mentioned in his first journal. Though I had intended to sit down and read the book, it was my husband who picked it up first and began to read. I think what struck him most in the story was how hard the characters in the book worked and were expected to work. It was their way of life. They worked together as one unit for good of everyone on the ship. They had to. We, on the other hand, have had it so easy that when difficulties come, not only do we often not know what to do, but we are unsure of how to implement what we know should be done. Sometimes we actually know how to implement it, but lack the courage to follow through. My prayer today is for courage, courage to follow through even when the opposition is strong.

Yesterday afternoon my sister and I met with some Senior Consultants. We talked of Mom's needs, our responsibilities in the situation, and some steps to take toward resolving some of these problems. I must admit that I am cowardly and I am thankful for my youngest sister who is there to not only encourage me, but to sit down and talk with Mom too. We are starting out with a changed mailing address and an unlisted phone number. This will cut off the pleas and solicitations for money that come in by the scores each week. (Now my mailbox will be full instead.) Next comes the search for a possible new home for Mom. These are difficult days for us, but we are not alone. There are others who work alongside, lend support, and lead the way. For this I am grateful.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Family Picnic

It did not feel quite like the Fourth of July, but we had a wonderful day with family just the same. We gathered at Rachel and Dave's so the kids could swim. There were no crazy bicycles, no pogo sticks, and no volley ball games, but there was plenty of food and family, lots of splashing in the pool, and a good game of Ladder Ball. I didn't count how many people were there, but my guess is about thirty. Maybe I'll count later and see how close I am.

There was a bit of excitement when Lucas was "pushed" into the pool. I wasn't there to witness it, but heard that Uncle Adam jumped in to fish him out. Jim had a chance to get acquainted with his new nephew, Simon, and Nathan brought Sabrina along too. It was a nice day, but I did miss my Uncle Chuck, who I hear spent the day in the hospital.

James and I left the festivities around 6 pm to take Ben and Hannah to camp for the week. They arrived late but settled in quickly. We are childless for a few days and not quite sure what to make of it. Sure is quiet around here!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Inside the Fort

It is difficult to imagine what our forefathers endured in the fight for independence. I tried to imagine life inside a fort but find myself with only a romanticized vision. Yesterday was nothing short of peaceful; blue skies, warm temperatures, and smiling faces.

We climbed the ramparts and walked along the top of the fort. We descended the stone steps into the cool, dark chambers of the casements. There were no guns or cannons firing and the floors had been swept clean. Some areas of the cavern were pitch black making us wish we had brought a flashlight along, but there were no wounded men, no shivering cold, no spider webs, and no rats hiding in the shadows.

My favorite part was the top of the rampart. I think I could spend a bit of time just sitting up there in the grass, soaking up the sunshine and looking over the lake. I've seen a tall ship sailing in and now I need to find a good book on the War of 1812.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Fort Ontario

Ben spent the past week at camp for work week and today we drove to Oswego to retrieve him for the weekend. Beth and Josh came along. Before heading home we grabbed some lunch at Wendy's, had a picnic in the grass, toured a museum (Check it out here. I had never heard this story.), and checked out Fort Ontario again, this time we went inside.

In an effort to cut spending, the governor of NY decided to close several state parks and historic places. Fort Ontario was one of them. Fortunately, people rallied and it is now open again. It was pretty cool to look around inside and go down into the tunnels where the artillery was once used. Very dark and a little spooky. It was also cool to walk around on top of the walls, or ramparts. Reminds me of a song...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thirteen Questions for Thursday Thirteen

There are times when life seems overwhelming. If it's not one thing keeping me awake at night, it's my mother. I had a call from the dermatologist's office this morning. My mother's claim for services is being denied. It is no surprise to us, only a frustration, the result of those who prey on widow's houses. Not the doctor's office, the insurance company. The kind woman on the other end of the line took the time to talk and listen to my woes. She suggested I call Jane which I did. Maybe one day all of this will be settled. For now I have a load of questions running through my brain. Here's a sampling... (and a photo of "the Stalker.")

1. Why can't I just work through these issues one at a time and set them aside as finished? (My brain is tired.)
2. Will they ever BE finished? No sooner do we wrap up one thing than another pops up.
3. Who will help us sort through everything? Maybe Jane will...
4. What kind of care does Mom really need?
5. Will her short term memory ever improve?
6. Can she really manage her own oxygen?
7. How do we fix her health insurance?
8. How do we catch up and keep up with all the different aspects of her finances? It can make my head spin!
9. Will she ever agree to moving out of her home? She can't stay there alone.
10. Where will she move to?
11. What will we do with the house?
12. Will I ever learn how to manage in this "foreign country"?
13. Where is the brake lever?

As I drove about running errands the other day I wished for a brake lever on life. Wouldn't it be nice to bring things to a screeching halt just for a moment or two?

PS. The kind woman on the other end of the phone is a childhood friend. Her call today may have been an answer to the prayers lifted last evening. I am grateful.