Monday, September 30, 2013

Farewell Another September

Another September slips away...

I have the hardest time letting go of September. I want to keep it here, to savor its sunny days and blue, cloud-dotted skies. I want to breathe deep September mornings, to soak in its fresh, autumn flavored afternoons, and stare into its star-studded midnight skies. I want to stretch Septembers days another two or three weeks longer. Is that okay?

When I was a little girl, September marked the end of summer. It meant new school clothes, a bag of fresh school supplies, and an appointment with the bus stop each morning. Late September of 1981 brought someone brand new into my life. A tiny, little boy made his way into our world and changed our names to "Mom" and "Dad". He brought love, laughter, and a new perspective on life. Four years ago, as September slipped away, so did the greatest man in my life, and we said farewell to Dad. And then, last year, September once again brought us someone new, a "not-so-tiny" little boy named Jacob who brought our then grandchild total to five.

Of all the months throughout the year, if I was to pick a favorite, it would have to be September. It is a month of starts and finishes, hellos and goodbyes. It comes with falling temperatures, changing colors, and layered clothing. I've traded my summer footwear for shoes and socks, pulled sweatshirts out of hiding, and tossed an extra blanket over myself at night. Chili cook-offs are gearing up, apples are making their way into pies, and pumpkins are showing up on front porches. How could I not love September?

I tried a new recipe tonight. Made that Pecan Pie Bread Pudding. My family says it's yummy. I'm sticking to my gluten free-ness  though. I'm two weeks in. I had one of my gluten free Snickerdoodles piled high with whipped cream instead and it was pretty yummy too.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trailing Along

Hannah and I took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and went for a walk at the Whiting Road Nature Preserve in Webster. (I never knew there were so many great trails in my hometown.) Enjoy the pictures. When you get to the bottom pictures, you'll find a map of the Nature Preserve. We followed the Orange Trail yesterday, but I think we'll have to go back and walk the other trails too.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nose Bleeds and Doctor's Appointments

Mom has been struggling lately with nose bleeds. She goes through more tissues than usual, drips onto the floor and her clothing, and often makes a mess of her sheets and pillow cases. Whether the bleeding is anterior or posterior, I do not know, I only know that they are becoming a nuisance to both of us, and therefore I have finally called the doctor and made an appointment. I'm not thrilled to be headed to the doctor on my only real day off, but what can I do? I keep trying to remember the words I read in "It's Not About Me" (Max Lucado) while I was visiting my son in Minnesota; "The brevity of life grants power to abide, not an excuse to bail. Fleeting days don’t justify fleeing problems. Fleeting days strengthen us to endure problems." 

"This too shall pass..." Didn't that used to be my life motto? When I woke up to wet sheets or a bed full of puke, when my kids fought nonstop, when my head was throbbing and the baby was sick... Somewhere along the way I have forgotten that no test or trial lasts forever. I no longer wash wet sheets, my children have grown, and there is no crying child when headaches throb; and even headaches are fleeting in the bigger picture.

Rocky has employed Grandma as resident storybook reader. As Grandma read "Curious George" or "Chrysanthemum", Rocky watches for nosebleeds and runs to get some tissues if need be. Reading is good for Grandma, and so are the company and questions of a small child...

On Monday we will see Mom's general practitioner about the nosebleeds. On Tuesday she has a different appointment, one that will hopefully help me gain a better understanding of what is happening in her mind. *sigh*

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Sleepy Day

Every so often I have a day where I just feel yucky and out of sorts. Today was one of those days. I woke up with a headache and "flashy" eyes. It felt like a caffeine headache but I knew it really wasn't. I pushed through the morning and took my opportunity to occupy the couch once my friend Rocky had been given her lunch. Hannah set her up with a movie and she curled up by my feet while I curled up with my pillow and a heating pad. In my sleepy state I heard my mother's sister arrive and half slept/half listened to their funny conversation.

This morning my cousin sent me an email. She once again expressed concern for my thyroid and the possibility that it is the thing causing me grief. I did a little research. I found this article especially interesting because of the list that goes along with it. The first five are a given, but puffy face? Intolerance to cold, especially in extremities such as fingers and toes? Isn't my skin dry and itchy just because I don't drink enough?

Well, I've known for a long time that gluten is not my friend and it is one of the "bad guys" on the list of thyroid offenders. I'm already almost two weeks into an almost gluten free diet (I say "almost" because I have consumed some tea and a soda that perhaps contained caramel coloring...) and this gives me incentive to keep up with the diet change (again). Not really sure I want to give up my morning coffee, but perhaps I could cut back on my intake just a little.

On another note, I have my van back. It turned out to be a beautiful day, a nice day to go out and "do" something, but I know I would have ended up on the couch anyway. Without my van, I didn't even have to consider if we should go on a field trip. It simply wasn't possible. Maybe tomorrow.

It is Thursday, Yes?

My friend Kristina posts Questions each Thursday (or sometimes Friday). I think it's a fun game. I looked up some random questions. Anyone up for answering a few?

1. Do you keep a diary/journal?

2. Do you prefer straight or bendy straws?

3. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

4. Can you play the harmonica?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

K is for Key

K is for Key.

I was just beginning to think I would have to skip this week's ABC Wednesday entry when a post fell right into my lap. (Really all the credit goes to My Darling because he made this story possible. Thanks, Honey.)

Tonight we went to a party. You probably don't remember my posts from last September (one here and another here), but one year ago today our fifth grandchild (and fourth grandson) was just coming home from the hospital for the very first time after two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This evening we celebrated not only his birthday, but his homecoming.

My Darling, tired after a long day at work, opted to leave the party before me and took a ride home with our son. Hannah and I would follow soon after. As I stood warming myself by the campfire in the backyard, I slipped my hands into my pockets and suddenly realized my van key was not there. I hoped but wasn't surprised to find I had no extra key in my purse.

My husband was all apologies for leaving me without a key, but I wasn't mad. I was just thankful that my beautiful daughter in law has a vehicle large enough to fit three children in car seats and four adults comfortably. I was also grateful that she was going my direction on the way home.

Hey, did you know that fried cakes make very nice little birthday treats? And they have their very own candle holders in the middle. Pretty cool!

Happy Birthday, Jakie!

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Don't forget!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Repeat, Because It's Worth Repeating

Today my firstborn celebrates his 32nd birthday. It doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed since his arrival in this world.

Happy Birthday, Jim. You changed my life for the best!

During my junior year in high school I took a ceramics class. One of the assignments that spring was to make a slab box and fill it with things that told something about oneself. This is my box, this is what was inside, and this is my story.
In some ways it is a complicated story, and in other ways it is quite simple. During the summer of 1979, my neighbor's cousin came to visit him. The cousin and I became friends. We played Frisbee under the street lamps, hide and seek in the cornfield, and one summer night in late August he gave me my first kiss. I was fifteen. Young romances seldom pass the test of time and soon we were no longer a couple. We did, however, remain friends. During the course of time this friend of mine needed a place to live and my parents agreed to become his legal guardians. (Complicated part.) Sometime between my parents becoming legal guardians and my junior year of high school, this friend again became more than just a friend.
By the time my art teacher gave this assignment, we were "in trouble" and my heart and mind were in turmoil. The heavy hearted couple on the lid of my box is us, and inside are bits and pieces of Martha; my class pin, a lock of my hair, a small magnetic stone bearing my nickname... a flower, some seashells, a bookworm bookmark my mother once made me... an Apache tear from my brother, a poem I wrote, and a small metallic cross. The slab box with the couple on it's lid is also a music box which plays the "Skater's Waltz". (I originally asked for "Music Box Dancer" but the craft store didn't have it.) Each item inside says something about me or something I treasured but only hinted at the crisis inside my soul.
Much of the spring of 1981 is still a blur. I know I cried a lot and worried about what would happen to me, to us, and to our baby. I was certain I could not abort my child, I had seen pictures of what happened to tiny unborn babies, but when someone I trusted asked me if I wanted to do that, I momentarily wondered if that was really a solution... It is a frightening thought because I realized how easily a young girl could be convinced that aborting her child is the answer. I thank God that He had given me an answer to that question years before. I considered adoption. There was even a couple at our church who told my father they would take our baby. The tears flowed and my heart broke every time I even tried to consider it. In the end, my father ended up signing for both of us to get married. James' sister took us to New Mexico about a week or so later and in late September we became the parents of a beautiful baby boy. We were both seventeen. There have been hard times, yes, but being together and having our family together is something I wouldn't trade for all the world. I'm so glad we were given the chance. Sometimes it's hard to believe the two little people on the lid of the music box are really us, they look so sad. But we aren't there anymore. God has taken us beyond and given us life and hope and for this I thank and praise Him.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I took Hannah out to riding lessons today and brought my camera along. On the way we bought two one dollar bags of Starlight Peppermints. The horses were excited to have a treat, and even the sheep and calf who were sharing a stall with the miniature horse were eager for the sweets. At one point all three animals had their noses to the bars, hopeful looks in their eyes. It was a Kodak moment. I flipped my camera on and took aim but when I pressed the button, nothing happened. My camera card was home in the printer.

Best Friends

Most of us, at some point in our childhood or teenage years, had a best friend. Mine best friend was Ruth. During our junior high school years, we were inseparable, especially during the summer. Ruth's parents both worked and her older siblings were seldom at home. We spent so much time together that the new neighbors thought we were sisters. Ruth's parents actually had to call my house and tell her to come home. Of course, I went along...

Ruth and I spent many after school hours playing Yahtzee at her parents' kitchen table. We baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies, and watched TV in her living room. We rode bikes, played jump rope and four-square, and Hide and Go Seek with the neighbors on dark summer nights. She went camping with us and I went to the Catskill mountains with her family. She called my parents "Mom" and "Dad", and I did the same with hers, but somewhere along the way we drifted apart.

A few years ago on Memorial Day an article appeared in the local newspaper. A story of two brothers who'd found each other far away in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The second brother in the story was my other "dad". Yesterday I found his death notice in the local newspaper. In a few weeks there will be a Memorial Service, and though I haven't seen my friend in several years, I will be there, after all, for a space in time we were family.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I've taken down my Fancy Schmancy Summertime To-do List and am getting ready to put up a list for fall. I haven't quite decided exactly how long fall will last, but I do know it will take me at least to the end of November.

It was a rainy day here today, the kind where after you set your feet on the floor and haul yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee, it gets increasingly darker outside rather than lighter. When that happens I drink two cups of coffee. :0)

It wasn't the greatest day for the community garage sales. Kudos to those who put their wares out yesterday! I bought a "Monkey House". (It's actually a CD tower, but it makes a great Monkey Condo.) ... (It is okay to amuse myself this way, isn't it? I mean, I do have kids in the house four or five days a week.) Rocky and I found a small collection of dolls at one sale. She came home with a large baby and I came home with two smaller ones marked "Effanbee". I paid a total of $3.00 for all them.

Hannah and I ran errands this morning and I went on a search for a pair of shoes with good foot support. I found a pair of hiking shoes in Dick's Sporting Goods. Hopefully they will help with my painful metatarsal and middle toes. I can't wear my Teva Mush flip flops all winter... sad, but true. The plan is to try the new shoes out around the house for a day or two. If my feet like them, they stay, if they don't, they get returned to the store. I hope they get to stay.

My nephew came to visit tonight. He found that one of his new college friends is also friends with Ben and Hannah and he thought it would be fun to get together. I made an apple pie for the occasion and they spent the time talking, laughing an playing Apples to Apples. My sister Priscilla would be pleased to know her son spent a decent amount of time in Grandma's room talking to her and listening to her stories. He and his friends are welcome anytime. I'll even make more pie.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Something Not Minnesota

I am working on a small afghan, a lap-sized afghan. I am not a big crocheter, in fact I have only done two projects previous to this one. This particular yarn has been hiding in my closet for close to ten years. It's cilantro and a very pretty shade indeed. I'm pretty sure this little blanket is full of "mistakes" but I've torn out rows to fix the ones I saw in time, and I think it's coming along nice. A blanket's job is to keep one warm and this one will do the task just fine.

I've started bringing my porch plants inside for the winter. Although the days have been beautiful, the nights are getting cold. I heard a frost advisory a few days ago and decided not to chance my houseplants' fate. My topless teapot is looking fine and my Moses in the Cradle plant looks quite happy too. My spider plant has been returned to the upstairs hallway, and  there are "a  million" jade plants crowded around my back door.

I'm ready to take My Fancy Schmancy Summertime list down now and put up something new. Perhaps a few of my undone to-do's will end up in a fall list...

PS. Please forgive my long list of posts today. I think I'm about done with my Minnesota trip, except of course, for a post on the pottery guy.

Minnesota 3

On Thursday Kim came to get us and we went to Mill Ruins Park down by the Mississ- ippi River. (Kim kept a blog years ago but doesn't anymore. She is now a Facebook friend instead, but I still count her as a blog friend.)

We walked across the Stone Arch Bridge to the park on the other side and down SE Main Street looking for a place to eat.

 The three of us had lunch outside at Tugg's Tavern. Hannah chose the Cowboy Bob Burger with hash browns and bacon, and I had a chili dog. Kim had the Prince Street Chicken sandwich (I think). For dessert we all enjoyed a Banana Popsicle Split.

After lunch we walked back across the bridge and over to the Guthrie Theater where we were permitted to take the escalator to the observation deck overlooking the city.

We took the escalator to the fourth floor and then went up to the fifth floor where we looked out tinted windows that felt as though they might suck you outside if you got too close.

It was a beautiful day and I really liked meeting Kim and spending a little time with her. 

Minnesota 2

There were lots of fun things in Minne- sota, and one of them was catching up with blog friends. There is nothing quite like spending a little bit of time with "virtual" friends and making them "real".

On Tuesday Hannah and I went out with Kristina. She picked us up and we went to lunch at Psycho Suzi's. We sat out on the patio overlooking the river and talked over burgers and tater tots. Nothing crazy was going on that afternoon. They hadn't even lit the Tiki torches and everything was calm. We evidently missed Psycho Suzi. I didn't see her anywhere.

Kristina took us on a tour of downtown Minneapolis, skyways and all, and we took a walk through the sculpture park too. Since Hannah had been curious about the inside of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, we took a drive down there and walked around inside. What an incredible structure! It has to be the biggest church I've ever seen and is full of what I think are called "stations" with statues of various saints.

We'd hoped to tour the old Schmidt Bottling Company which is being converted into artisan's lofts, but unknown to us they'd changed the tour days to Mondays. So we snapped some outside pictures and went to McDonald's for a coffee instead. Back at Jim's we walked around the corner and found the door to the Casket Arts Community open and so we sneaked inside for a look around. Too bad I'd left my camera back at the apartment.

Minnesota 1

It's been almost a week since I came home and I'm feeling as though I've missed my best opportunity to write about my adventures. In spite of that, I am going to make an effort today because I don't want all of the fun to be lost in the sands of time.

The baby. My newest grandson was really the biggest incentive for getting me back to Minneapolis and we were not disappointed. He is absolutely beautiful. At five weeks old he was big enough to stare into our eyes and make faces at us, and small enough to snuggle close for a nap or two. His favorite spot is in the arms of someone who loves him and I can see recognition in his eyes when he looks at his mommy or daddy.

This small child has hair. My other grandchildren have been either bald or close to it. His eyes are dark blue, like most newborns. It will be interesting to see if this is our first brown-eyed grandbaby. All our "kids in law" have brown or brownish eyes, but our own have either blue or green. It already looks as though Michele has passed some pretty strong genes on to this little one so I'm thinking brown eyes are a great possibility.

The night before last I was sitting with James and heard a sound in the other room. For a split second I thought it was a baby crying... How quickly those little ones condition us to hear their cries, even when they are nowhere near. Maybe it's really all those years of being a mommy myself... or maybe I really miss that little guy and it's wishful thinking.

The next time we see this little guy he will be so different. He'll be much bigger and more alert. Smiles will be not only more purposeful, but likely much more prolific, and he will have learned to babble.  Hopefully so much time won't have elapsed that he will be walking... Nah! We couldn't let that happen.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Too Busy?

Guess I was so busy doing something today that I ran out of time to blog. It's Kristina's fault. I was playing her game and had to have an answer for the first question... (You should stop by Kristina's place and play the game too.)

And then this afternoon I got a visit from some of my favorite cookie monsters. I caught a picture of one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A little Bit of Nothing and a Minnesota Post Too

Today I wrote a card to Martin's sister and left it in her door along with a few photos of Jazz. I picked up some medicine for my cat at the vet, and bought a bag of apples, a few peaches, and a small box of prunes on the way home. I keep thinking I might make some cookies, but so far none have materialized. It's nice outside, but we are inside instead. I'm not sure why.

The other night My Darling heard a noise coming from the dishes stacked in my dish drainer. It was a tapping, fluttering kind of sound, almost like a mouse in the wall, except it wasn't coming from the wall. James slowly started unstacking dishes while I watched with trepidation. I thoroughly expected to find a rodent hiding in there, but instead we found a shiny, green dragonfly. Surprise!


While in Minnesota we had a chance to attend the Ren- aissance Festival in Shakopee. Believe it or not, I had never experienced a Renaissance Festival. Even though there is a festival each summer just an hour from home, it was a new adventure. There were plenty of sights and sounds to make one blush, yet I still found it to be a magical land of whimsy and imagination, almost like a life-size fairy garden.

When given the oppor- tunity to be sprinkled with Fairy Dust, along with two small friends, I said "yes!" The result was a glittering grin and several days of finding sparkles on everyone I touched. Even the baby ended up glittering and he didn't go to the festival.

We perused the shops, feasted on turkey legs, and watched a half naked man do pottery. Hannah rode a camel, we tested the Sky Chairs, and tasted some honey sticks. Here and there one of our party was taken in by a vendor and we all went away smiling. It was a fun afternoon and I think I just might have to make myself a real fairy garden next spring.

I learned a few things about Ren- aissance Festivals. Turkey legs are too big to eat in one sitting. A large Ziploc bag should be kept handy for storing the remains, unless you care to share with a friend. In fact several Ziploc bags might come in handy for taking home tasty treats. Number two, if you take a child along, she should be dressed in bright colors so as to make her easily visible should she chance to get lost int he crowd. Thankfully our lost child was dressed in bright colors. (Having cell phone numbers for everyone in the party might also be wise...) And finally, the festival grounds are dirty! Don't wear good shoes and have something handy for cleaning the dust off your feet before climbing back into the car, in fact, an entire set of clean clothes might not be asking too much.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

J is for Jasmine

J is for Jasmine, or Jazzy as we usually called her.

Years ago while mourning the loss of my son's puppy, I stopped into the local animal shelter. With a hurting heart I wandered the cages of dogs and puppies ruffling fur and scratching ears. I hadn't come to adopt, just to try and fill the void I felt inside. In one cage was a seven or eight week old puppy desperate for a little bit of love. When I slid my hand into the cage she immediately did a doggy somersault into it. Later that evening I told my husband about the silly little puppy who would surely capture someone's heart. Little did I know that he would go back to the shelter and return with a new family member.

We almost lost our new friend to a car on a dark winter night one January when she was a year old. I hadn't even realized she was outside, but there was a knock on the door and a man asked if we had a brown dog. We called her name and she came limping home, one front leg dangling. The surgical option to pin her broken leg was terribly expensive and offered no guarantees, so we made the decision to have her leg amputated instead. "We're going to love her just as much with three legs," I told my husband.

Having three legs didn't slow Jazz down much. Once she was feeling better and saw her chance, she dashed out the door and off into the orchard, her shoulder still full of staples. In days to come she would run circles around us, leap over couches in excitement, and accompany us on long orchard walks.

Being a "people person" Jazz got lonely when we weren't home. Our children began to grow up and orchard walks grew fewer, and the lonely dog learned to wander. She wandered up the hill next door to visit Mike, and one day she wandered across Martin's path. She started disappearing for days at a time. We searched snow covered orchards, relentlessly called her name, and took out an ad in the local PennySaver, but in the end she wandered home on her own, unable, and probably unwilling, to tell us where she had been.

For five years our dog split her time between our house and the little gray tenant house down the road and over the hill. (See how bad she wants to go to her friend's house? How could I tell her no?) By the time we found out where she was going, she was set in her way and I had already come to the conclusion that my dog was on a mission. Last week I found out how true that was.

We don't know Martin well. We've stopped at his house a handful of times, sometimes to pick up our dog, once to drop off some Christmas cookies, and another time to see if Martin would keep an eye on Jazz while we went out of town. In June we lost her to an incurable liver disease. Although my heart ached for our dog, the hurt was multiplied by the realization that someone else was going to be hurting too, maybe even more than us.

While I was gone to Minnesota last week a card arrived in the mail. It was a note from Martin's sister telling us how Jasmine (Tripod, Stumpy...) had saved Martin's life and his family is once again concerned for their brother. I don't know any details, only that my dog loved my neighbor. I think that's pretty incredible. I pray that he would find a new friend, maybe one he doesn't have to share, and that he would be encouraged. And, I think maybe I should bake a pie or a batch of cookies. Jazz would have liked that. :)

PS. I is for Incredible, because she was. 

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