Friday, June 29, 2012

Angels of Mercy!

First off, let me say that it is definitely, really, really (Kurtis would want to throw in a few more "really"s there) hot tonight. Kurt and I just got home from taking Sammy for a little walk and this evening's stroll was very interesting -to say the least!

Initially, he had told me he expected we should take "a walk around the block" but by the time we were ready to roll, the sky had gotten fairly dark and I thought not only did it look like it was brewing to storm but I thought I heard the distant rumble of thunder too. So I said I thought it would be best if we walked down the road instead of trekking around the town -a round trip distance of almost 2 miles as compared to a walk down the road and back which is a much more doable distance of a little better than a mile.

In this heat, I really wasn't all that keen on walking next door, much less almost a mile but Sam was pulling hard on his leash, raring to roll, ya know. (And water every blade of grass along the way too!)

But anyway, off we went -heading east and Kurtis doing lots and lots of chit chat with me along the route.

We got down the street in front of our neighbors' (Daryl and June's) and they were both sitting out on their big front porch, fanning themselves, trying to cool down. Their granddaughter, Megan (who is about 6 months older than Maya) was parading around in her swimsuit -obviously letting her swimsuit do a quick-dry with her wearing it and as usually happens then, June called out a cherry "Hello" to us and followed that up with as question whether or not I'd heard the rumblings from above.

I stopped to chat briefly about the storm last night -which was actually one of the most ferocious I'd seen in a long, long time with respect to the way the lightning was not just flashing but staying on, totally lighting the sky in a really spectacular display.

Kurtis, as he often does, broke into the conversation between June and I by asking her and Daryl "Do you guys have kids?"

Before June realized what he'd said, he followed that question with a comment that it looks like you do. (I am assuming he was referring to their granddaughter, Megan, being there.)

And right on top of that he stated, "We do. We have two kids!"

Curious as to exactly who he meant I asked him who the two kids were that we have and he announced to us that it was "Me and Maya."

Mark my words though, as friendly and talkative as he was tonight to them, you can bet your bottom dollar come Sunday morning at church, he won't even consider acknowledging Daryl and June or any of their family or any other members of our church who also live on our street too. He and Maya both generally refrain from extending a hand in friendship and sharing the peace, even with my closest friends, Shirley and Kate!

So we continued on down to where the road turns to dirt and as we did, I saw a vehicle down a little piece, getting ready to pull out on the road and come towards us. It was a couple on a really snazzy little four-wheeler and they weren't whizzing up the road but rather just putt-putting along, keeping the noise level then way down.

As they got near to us, I could see who it was in the vehicle and here it was the young lady who just so happens to be the Behavior Specialist for both Maya and Kurt and her boyfriend.

They pulled up beside us and stopped and I asked Kurtis if he knew who that was in the dune buggy. He looked, kind of strained a bit at first, then proclaimed "YES! It's Miss Renee!"

Renee introduced us to Ron, her boyfriend and we shared a little conversation then and then, Ron and Renee each jumped out of the cart and moving to the rear, pulled open a cooler, and offered me a "Cold one!"

They sure didn't have to repeat that for me as my old ears picked up on that immediately!

Sure is nice to take a hot, late evening walk with the only thing in your hand as you start out being a dog on a leash and return home with a nice chilled bottle of Bud LIght in the other hand as you make your way back to the house.

Now, that empty is sitting in the middle of the dining room table to pique Mandy's curiosity when she gets home from grocery shopping as to where the heck the empty beer bottle came from.

I'll just tell her I encountered an "angel of mercy" tonight on the road down towards Peale and see if she can guess who my generous benefactor was.

By the way, Renee and Ron, that cold brew really tasted great going down. Hope I run into you again some evening along that road too.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

And When It Rains....

Remember that ad for Morton's Salt - "When it rains, it pours?" And  how many of us use that phrase to signify that there's a stream of bad luck or nasty karma seeming to be surrounding you?

I know I've said that more times than I would even dare to recollect on so many occasions when things just seemed to be going from bad to worse and right now, it has been pretty much pouring in around here.

I made mention in my last post about the man who -with his wife -had owned the local restaurant where Mandy had worked for about 5 years or so and that he had been diagnosed a week ago with cancer -mesoletheoma, they said (feel free to correct my spelling there). Well, we got the news yesterday that he had passed away Wednesday morning. To say it leaves a whole lot of people in this small town in a bit of a state of shock would definitely be an understatement if ever there was one!

The other upheavals in Mandy's life as well as in mine are still ongoing issues too. She had hoped that her friend, with whom the misunderstanding (let's call it that) involves still has not responded to any messages Mandy has tried to send her and I find that very disconcerting -especially where the grandkids are concerned because both Maya and Kurt absolutely adore this person and her entire family. So now, we're debating how to handle this situation with the kids.

When the subject that caused this distress was had honesty at the root of the issue, how can you then explain even a tiny bit of the issue to these kids without then lying to them? And, when a simple discussion about the issue between the two formerly best of friends might bring about a solution, or at least a better understanding and hopefully reinstate the friendship too but one party won't even communicate at all, do you just throw away a friendship that has been as close as a friendship could possibly be for well over 20 years into the garbage?

And the issues involving my relationships with some members of the women's group at our church center on communication -or miscommunication -and how when it breaks down, it disrupts the entire group then, how to repair that too?

Since I am the President of that group and it appears to some -probably by now to all the other members I would imagine too -that I am to blame ultimately for the confusion and breakdown in the line of communication, I have seriously been considering stepping down from that position. Apparently there are still several in the group who are still upset over another event we had in early May and now, something else has gone haywire and one lady has said she thinks she will stop being a member of the group because things are getting so confused of late. My opinion -and it is that, MY OPINION, is that this is not so much confusion but rather bad vibes because a few people didn't get what they wanted and they view it as me getting my way. However, although I wasn't in favor of what they wanted with the event back in May, I would have worked with them to try to make it a success. But it was these select individuals who then decided they would go back to our first plan (which was the ones I had supported) and I didn't overrule or override them in any way or fashion as they backed down of their own volition. (And in doing that, whoever of that group made the decision to revert back to Plan A didn't even bother to inform others in the group that they had done that! So guess who was left looking like she had taken over and changed things -me -and I didn't have a finger in the pie!)

And then some people wonder why I stay in a state of confusion much of the time!

So hopefully things for Mandy, things for me will get worked out and in a good way.

For my part, because apparently several in our women's group are of the opinion that I am the one fully to blame here, I have been giving serious consideration to resigning the office of President and would be perfectly happy and content to let someone else move up and partake of all the fun I've been having with all this power this office affords -which trust me, means there is none! If it weren't for the fact that were I to do that, it would seem to me that I would be doing something I've always disliked immensely about things like this which is that I would be regarded as not having had my way so therefore, it would be akin to a spoiled child who says "if I don't get what I want, I'll take my toys and go home." But is it really like that if I would step down or is it just my own feelings that people would think that was why I was resigning when in essence, it is to try to bring about a peaceful resolution?

Sheez, never in all my days did I ever think someday I would be facing a dilemma like this and now I guess I can understand what Richard Nixon must have gone through when he decided to resign. (Although there were no tapes involved in this issue here and no break-ins either of any important headquarters. No, nothing like that! Just me again trying to play out Rodney King's statement of "Can't we all just get along!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Does The Garden Grow?

I think I've mentioned a time or two before that this year, as in the past 4-5 years now, I have planted a little vegetable garden in a plot in my back yard. I don't think I've posted any photos thus far this year of that garden though, have I?

So today, I decided I better get on the stick and give you a peek as to what's growing out there!

There's the stuff growing in my garden right now. I was amazed at how high the squash plants seem to be this year. Looking really nice and so far, no signs of those stinking Squash Bugs that decimated my summer squash last summer either!  I thought I added a photo here of my lettuce and onions but apparently it got zapped out in the transition. Darned computers, darned Blogger too at times, ya know.

Although either the deer or perhaps some rabbits have been coming in and feasting on the tops of my tomato plants as well as the green beans, it still hasn't stopped the tomatoes from beginning to sprout little flowers now too and the beans are starting to get traces of buds. Same thing with the peppers, as I've seen some blossoms on them too lately. We've been eating lettuce fresh from the garden for two weeks now and I really do love that fresh stuff!

It's been a bit hairy around here of late with lots of not so great things happening within the family, within some friends of ours around the area and from church but I'm not going to go into detail about any of that stuff today in the hopes that people will soon come to their senses and see the errors of their thoughts processes! Well, I can dream, can't I?

Mandy's going down to Harrisburg after work today to attend a concert someplace down there tonight with her best friend since Kindergarten along with the former girlfriend of my son (Miss Amie) and a special friend of Mandy's too. Hope all goes well for here driving down and back home tomorrow morning.

Daughter Carrie is coming up again this afternoon, going to take Miss Maya to her play practice tonight from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and I'm gonna be cooking marinara sauce to be used with tortellini that the kids said they wanted for supper tonight. So, if we're going to eat by 4 p.m. guess I better get on the stick, don't 'cha think?

Got word yesterday too that was very distressing to both Mandy and myself. Seems the guy who was her boss at the restaurant here where she worked for about 5 years was recently diagnosed with Mesothemolina -can't spell that worth a tinker's damn -but it's the cancer the lawyers are always advertising for people who have had that or a family member had it -caused by the asbestos stuff, ya know. The prognosis there is not good, not at all as hospice has already been called and he was just diagnosed a week ago today. Seems like every time we turn around here of late, someone else has just received a really bad diagnosis for cancer or some other dreaded illness and I sure would appreciate if news like this could someday be stopped. Just call and end to it all, ya know. Oh, would that I could make that happen!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fanny Draggin' and In Memoriam.

Boy, what a week this has been! I am still exhausted even after two days now of trying to get my joints limbered up again, they're still aching like toothache.

This past Wednesday the agency that provides services for the grandkids has CenClear Day over at DelGrosso's Amusement Park. Since Mandy had to work, Gram was nominated to take Maya and Kurtis as well as older grandson, Alex, over there so they could have a day of fun in the sun and all that good stuff.

We left here around 11 a.m. and when we arrived at the park, stopped at Austin's Hot Dog place to grab something to eat first. Kurt's TSS, Miss Dawn, had him with her on the ride to Tipton so that way, she could kind of prep him a little bit to alleviate any of his little fears and such once we got into the park. We met up with Maya's TSS, Miss Britt, at the Hot Dog place to try to plan our attack, so to speak.

Five hot dogs, five beverages and almost $15.00 later for that small amount of refreshments and away we went to climb that seemingly never ending ramp to the overpass across Route 220 and into the park. We found the CenClear Pavilion and got registered and then, started down towards the rides and the "fun" of taking kids who think just a tad off-center at times began.

Kurtis was walking with me as we headed towards the rides when he suddenly stopped walking, began pulling hard on my arm, jumping around and screaming "No, No. No talk to Cat in the Hat! No talk to Winnie the Pooh!" and I was trying to figure out what the heck he was so upset about. I glanced around and then saw someone dressed as the lovely Cat In the Hat as well as someone else dressed as Winnie the Pooh and both were stopping to chat with children, giving hugs and such -things Kurtis was insisting then that he wanted to avoid. I asked him why he didn't want to see Cat in the Hat but initially, all I got from him was a repeat of the very adamant "NO, NO, No see Cat in the Hat!" Finally, after asking him why not, several times, he gave me his answer -"Because I Kurtis!" And I realized then he was repeating what we often say when he goes off on a tangent and refuses to participate in some things for no good reason and we usually just shake our heads and say "Go figure, it's just Kurtis being Kurtis, ya know!"

So, we moved off in a slightly different direction then and made darned sure we didn't encounter either of those characters at any time then in the park that day.

The kids did go on a few rides here and there with Kurtis starting off agreeing to go on the Wild Mouse with Miss Dawn and cousin, Alex. As they were getting into the car for that ride, Kurt had a bit of a panic-stricken look on his face and then, was holding his hands to his ears as there was apparently some noise that was emanating from something on the ride that annoyed him but by the time their car got moving along, I saw a smile coming across his face and when they arrived back at the starting point, he was all smiles, and very excited and happy.

So, one ride down and some of his fears alleviated. Also the fact that he didn't get sick on the ride was definitely a bonus too! (I'm always a bit concerned that might happen, ya know!)

Most of the next three hours then consisted of us slowly moving from one ride to another, surveying the kind of ride it was and discussing then with each of the kids as to whether or not they wanted to go on this ride or that one or some other one. I'm not sure what took up the most time though -discussing the potential ride, standing in line or actually getting on one and enjoying it! Overall, I think the slow moving between rides of our little group took up the bulk of our time.

Mandy had decided that on this trip to the park the kids could go into the Water Slide/Pool area before we left to come home. So, after they decided they'd had their fill of the rides, we headed to the "Castle" (a ticket stand) to purchase wristbands that would then allow them entrance into the Water Slide/Pool area.

The way the park operates, if you want to go into the Pool area, you have to first purchase a wristband for the park rides, which for each person attending from the CenClear group meant shelling out $5.00 per person and that band gave you unlimited access to the rides and was necessary too, whether you went on any rides or just walked along with the kids all day the way I did! So when we went to get the wristbands for the Pool area and had to purchase another wristband for each person just going into the pool area whether or not each person was actually going to go into the pool, I drew the line there and decided I wasn't going to purchase a wristband pass for myself to just go into the pool area and sit in the very hot, bright sunshine and bake myself to a crisp for at least an hour or so!

I felt guilty as sin though sitting well away from the pool area at a picnic table under a big canopy tent trying to rest my back and legs a little bit while poor Miss Dawn was stuck in the pool area trying to keep track of where those two younger kids were and what they were doing!

As I said above, we had wandered around the park and the kids were doing various rides then for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours when we decided to go to the water area. To get there, one has to then also go up that lovely (NOT) ramp to the overpass and down to the Water area which is located basically beside the parking area, so it was along the way out then for us.

And, as we were walking up that ramp, my legs and back were throbbing more and more in acute pain to the extent that I was beginning to think the only way I was going to get out of the park at all would require that I get down on my hands and knees and crawl up that damned ramp! Every. Single. Step. up that ramp had me in absolute misery!

Eventually, we decided the kids had had more than enough fun and games and both Miss Dawn and I were pretty well wrung out well before the kids ran out of steam and we left then around 4 p.m., arrived back at the house then around 5 p.m. where I pretty much collapsed in my comfy recliner and propped my legs up and fell asleep!

Miss Dawn and I both agreed that never again were we going to do the CenClear Day at DelGrossos' -especially on an extremely hot, hot, hot day such as it was this past Wednesday! (Never again for the water park area under any circumstances either!)

I semi-returned to life around 6:30 or so, but the legs and back were still aching something fierce when the phone rang and Mandy handed me the cordless phone then so I could talk to the caller without leaving my chair.

That was a call I never expected to receive at that  point in time, for sure, as it was the younger sister of one of the members of our monthly lunch group.

She was calling to tell me that her sister, a very dear friend of mine since childhood, had passed away that morning -succumbing to the ravages of cancer that had only been diagnosed a little over a month earlier!

Now, I have to say that the others in our lunch group were totally knocked for that proverbial loop when our friend had called to tell us that she had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of the colon AND liver so we did know the prognosis for her was poor, very poor. She had begun getting chemo treatments about two weeks ago and I knew too that the chemo was really slamming her very hard but still, none of ever expected the end to come that quickly!

It just totally amplified the physical pain I was experiencing from having spent the afternoon trying to walk all over that park area by adding the emotional pain of losing a very close, very dear friend. I made phone calls to some other friends -former classmates from our high school class -to deliver the news to them of this loss to our group and this news was every bit as shocking to them as it had been to me.

Knowing though how difficult the ordeal had become to her, in talking to her sister,we both agreed that we knew it was ultimately for the best that she had lost her fight when she did and therefore would not have to endure anymore suffering. Wrapping one's mind around that thought -difficult as it is to consider -is really the only way that the loss of someone such as she had always been -sweet, considerate, friendly to everyone, accepting a person as she had been even as a child and a teenager can be dealt with.

I know as a group our class will truly miss not having her among us any more and I'm sure too that each of us at the very least is grateful that we had the opportunity to have known her and counted her as a friend in each of our little circles or cliques from our school days.

Rest in peace, Linda and know that you will be sorely missed by each of us in our Lunch Group as well as within our entire class, as you were truly a friend to one and all of us.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fun Happenings!

I suppose those of you who follow my meanderings on this blog are gonna be sick to death by mid-September of hearing things about my upcoming 50th Class Reunion but it's something I am really excited about and getting even more so every day. So the best I can say here about that is to offer my apologies about this topic that's gonna come up pretty frequently over the next three months!

But today was really a bonus day for me!

I decided I'm going to make the phone rounds again with my classmates and try to reach out to as many of 'em as I can get to answer their phones and talk to them about things concerning our reunion.

Today (that would be Friday even though I'm now writing this after midnight, Saturday a.m. time) I decided it was time to start making some calls. I ended up calling three numbers that netted me two conversations with females from our class and the third call, I got to speak with the wife of a classmate who gets along so well with all the rest of our class, it's almost as if she was one of us, ya know! Good people, all of 'em that I reached today.

But the second call I made was a bonus for sure!

When that classmate answered the phone and she knew who was calling -thanks to her caller ID -the first thing she said to me was "I've been thinking about you all day today and wanting to call you but couldn't find your number!"

Seems that her granddaughter had, just this morning, set up a Facebook account for her grandmother -one of my close old friends from school -but her grandmother couldn't remember how to spell my married name so she couldn't "Find" me on Facebook! How opportune is it that I called her and then, since she now had a Facebook account set up and working, I "friended" her as we talked -and boy, did we ever talk too! Had at least a 90-minute conversation with her!

And so, that way I added another friend to my count on Facebook!

In the course of our conversation she mentioned to me how upset she was to learn -via her mother-in-law -that a guy from our class and his wife had divorced and I was pretty shocked to hear this news, especially since I knew for a fact that this wasn't true though. I told her that I was pretty sure that couple was still together and she says no, her mother-in-law said that they've been divorced for quite a few years now. Well, I explained to the friend on the phone that I was really sure that they were still married because they have attended every class reunion we've ever had and furthermore, I'd seen that guy's wife (who wasn't in our class) a year ago at a big amusement park that Mandy, the kids and I were at a picnic there, sponsored by the agency that provides therapy services to the grandchildren and one of my fellow classmates who is also involved in putting this reunion together had just told me about a week or two ago, that she had heard from this guy and his wife and that they are planning to attend our reunion. Finally got my friend on the phone to figure then that her mother-in-law must have been referring to this guy's older brother who had divorced probably 15-20 years ago -maybe more -but that this other couple are still together. So it made her happy then to realize she'd been on the receiving end of some incorrect information.

Then, early this a.m. I had posted on Facebook that I was looking for the words to our school's Alma mater and also, that I wanted to get my hands on the music for that number too! I didn't want the sheet music for the song but rather, was hoping someone might have a recording our the school band playing the alma mater.

Early this evening, Maya and I went over to Clearfield so I could pick up a prescription waiting for me to come get it at Walmart after which we stopped at Long John Silvers to grab some supper and when we got back home, I saw there was something stuffed inside my front door -in between the screeen/storm door and the big house door.

When I picked that paper up, lo and behold, there inside the paper was this CD and on it, was our high school band playing the Alma Mater and the paper -well, that was a copy of the words -all four verses -of the Alma Mater too!

That really made my day! Just such a great feeling -to sit here and listen to the band play that, ya know and it took me back in time to the many, many times over the years in school and yes, a few times even since then, that I have been some place and heard our school band play it and could join my voice with many others then and be able to sing the words to it too!

Yes, after 50 years since my own graduation, I'm proud to say that I still remember almost all the words -those four verses -to that song!

But then too, considering the teacher we all had for Algebra I back in the good old days had a policy too in that every single student of his, in the kid's Freshman year, HAD to write the Alma Mater every day -so many times, whatever number the math teacher tossed out as required on any given day, throughout our entire freshman year! Sometimes it was "Copy the Alma Mater 25 times, other times the number might be anywhere between 25 and 100 times you would have to copy the alma mater! It was his requirement and to make sure we were actually learning the words, during Monday morning assemblies, when -of course -it was required that we sing the Alma Mater (along with the National Anthem too) that teacher -good old Mr. Lucas -would scan the faces of his Algebra I students at Assembly and boy, you better hope and pray that when his eyes landed on each kid, that you were caught trying to sing that and not just pretending or else, you got another number of copies required to be turned in -along with all the regular Algebra assignments he gave out too!

And yet, you wonder, don't you, how I can look back on things like that from 50-54 years back and still say that "Those really were the best days of my life!"

Because, really, they were that!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Entrepreneurs, Fruitatarians and Gennelmans?

Some of the things that go on in this house with these two grandchildren sure do make my life really interesting!

Food and which ones the grandkids will actually eat are often a subject of discussion here. Sometimes, the discussion comes via the kids themselves though -not always from me or from their mother.

Take the other day when we had been trying to talk Maya and Kurt into just taking a little taste of some kind of fruits. They were both really adamant about being unwilling to do that. Seated around the dining room table, they were sort of discussing what they will or won't eat with little Ryan, Clate's girlfriend's little guy, who is quite the opposite of Maya and Kurt where fruit is concerned.

Ryan, you see, LOVES just about any kind of fresh fruit! As a matter of fact, for his birthday, his Mom made him a "cake" of different kinds of fruits (mostly tropical types) on spears and arranged that like a big centerpiece of freshly cut-up fruits and he had a field day with those things.

Upon learning from Ryan that he really likes almost all fruits, Maya decided that if people who just eat vegetables are called Vegetarians, then Ryam must be a "Fruititarian". Makes darned good sense to me!

Then last evening Maya decided she wants to have a sleepover or slumber party so she made up her own invitation to give out to those she wants to attend. Check this out for a new way to fund one's activities!

Pretty slick way to acquire money, don't 'cha think?

Wednesday evening, Maya had play practice and Mandy had been called in to work for four hours this evening so that left just Kurtis and me to fix supper for and I decided the heck with cooking. We made a little trip up to Brothers' Shop and had our evening meal there -a great Cheese Steak Hoagie for me and chicken tenders and french fries for him.

As we pulled away from home enroute to the restaurant, he wanted to know where we were going, so I told him, and he announced then and there to me what he wanted to have to eat tonight. Then he began to question me as to what we would do after we ate and got back home. I told him we could watch tv, read, he could play in his room, get ready for bed and maybe even play a bit on the computer too.

The mention of letting him play on the computer was something that really appealed to him but then I told him that would happen ONLY if he ate his food and if he behaved at the restaurant.

Upon hearing there might be qualifiers he had to do in order to get and keep some computer time, he then asked me if he "Has a be a gennelman?" (Translation: I have to be a gentleman?")

Needless to say, I really loved that comment from him and when I finally quit laughing about that, I told him "Yes, if you are a gentleman, you can play on the computer!"

All in all, it's been a lot of laughs here lately -just the kind of thing I really do enjoy!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Mementos from the Past!

I've mentioned this, I'm sure, a few times before that this year marks 50 years since I graduated from high school, haven't I? And, I've said too that several of the other members of my class and I are in the midst of trying to plan our 50th Class Reunion now too.

First off, let me begin by saying I am one of the biggest fans ever of class reunions and as such, I have been at every reunion thus far that our class has had -and loved every one of 'em too!

Five years ago, at our 45th reunion, I bugged everyone I could get in touch with for any old photos they could cough up of kids from our class and I put together a photo board with the senior pictures of every classmate (from the yearbook) in the center and then, fanned out and around that with all these many old photos so many people brought or sent to me to scan and use. Not to pat myself on the back as I mention this but I will have to say that it definitely went over quite well at that reunion as everyone was interested in looking at those old photos.

This year now, we have to come up with another way to bring back some old memories of our school days but what to do since we've already had that big picture board on display. I think I still have it -stashed away behind the organ maybe here in the living room, against the wall. So I suppose for those who weren't here at the last reunion, I could drag it out and set that up again, couldn't I?

But we still want something different from that too so we're trying to get our classmates to dig around at home and see how many "relics" they can find from 50 years ago to bring and put on a little display table I hope to be able to set up.

One thing that I'm pretty sure one of my friends is going to bring is a special hat that many of us got to wear for our senior class trip. It was a nice shade of red, with the person's name embroidered on it in gold lettering and had the school's name across the top too so when we went to Washington, D.C. for our class trip, there were a whole lot of teenagers running around D.C. for 2-3 days wearing these Fedoras Hats in those colors that identified us!

I had one of them back then -one of the few concessions besides getting a class ring -that my Mom allowed me to spend what little money she had available on in those days but be darned if I know what happened to mine. Like my class ring, it somehow disappeared over the years.

Another thing I'm hoping to do too is to put together a little question sheet and give my classmates a little quiz to see how much they actually remember that happened to us, to our class, to our school those many years ago too. Now I just need to get a few local classmates together some day for a little lunch meeting and discuss these things with them because I sure don't remember EVERYTHING that happened way back then!

Wish me luck in that venture and if you know anything that might be a universal type thing for high school seniors from back in the days of yore, please feel free to give me a reminder or two or ten or more!

I'm gonna need all the help I can get!

Summertime Woes

Well, today will be the last day of school here and that means from then on till late August, it will be fun and games and many different variations of that too with Maya and Kurt here all day long, every day!

Most likely that will mean a lot of feuds that will have to be intercepted too and that part, I'm definitely not looking forward to them happening. But thankfully, both Kurt's TSS (Miss Dawn) and Maya's TSS, Miss Britt, will both be here and working with the kids to try to keep them relatively stabilized.

One area though where we're going to have to be more than vigilant though is with respect to them being outdoors and getting over-exposure to the sunlight. Maya isn't quite as fair-complected as Kurt is and he, thankfully, isn't as fair as Mandy is -and was -when she was growing up. But Mandy does burn easily, that's for certain and she needs to watch and figure out what are the best skin care brands one can use to avoid getting sunburned!

I'm supposed to avoid excess exposure to the sun now too mainly because of having had chemo -not once, but twice -and apparently that changes something in one's system that makes too much sun more dangerous then.

Unfortunately though for Mandy, it doesn't really matter how much sun she gets, the reaction is almost always the same -in that she burns and blisters over just a little bit of sun.

I remember when she was about 5 years old and happened to have gotten a bit of an over-exposure to sun up at the babysitter's house one day. She came inside and showed the sitter she had some great big blisters already forming on her shoulders and she had no clue what caused that. She told the sitter, as she pointed to these water-filled places, "I'm leaking!"

Needless to say, the sitter and I both got a big chuckle out of her interpretation of things. What was a bit alarming though was that she actually hadn't been out in the sun all that long but just that as light-complected as she is, she freckles really quickly and burns then too.

And, we all know that as much as we love the sunshine, it's really easy to get a bit too much of the good stuff too.

A New Title?

Well, the news is now out to the general public as I saw it "announced" on Facebook so guess it's safe now for me to mention it here too.

The post I did the other day about the young friend of ours who is single and pregnant just so happens to be my step-granddaughter! So I guess that means that I'm finally catching up with a couple of my high school friends and will be a Great-Grandma oh, in about 7-8 months from now!

I guess it's also safe to say that as some things will being to expand over the next several months, there will be no call to look into getting myoripped, will there?

And, come to think of it, Katie has a pretty good grip on the weight/diet stuff anyway from back when she was in majorettes. She did very well then on watching her food intake, not eating a bunch of junk foods and also, with safe and sane exercising too. If she follows the same methodology now and after too, she'd do just fine and dandy!

Judging by a post she put up on Facebook, it sounds like some of her acquaintances -I won't say friends because friends will walk beside you and be there for moral support through thick and thin -must have made some disparaging comments about Kate's being pregnant and not married being the ruination of her life. And, thankfully, she knows that isn't necessarily the truth of the matter! And, I know that for a fact too!

It could be that if she allows it to be that way. But, with just a bit of planning here and there, it can also be something that will definitely make her stronger, more determined and learn to seek out the help she will need to get out in front of the negatives and push them back at each and every turn along the way.

I didn't say it will be easy because, regardless of one's circumstances,becoming a parent is NOT easy! It is one of the most difficult tasks the world has to offer but it can also be one of the most gratifying things and also, loads and loads of fun along the way!

So, just a reminder to Miss Kate that if she needs something and if she thinks Mandy or I can help, all she needs to do is ask. That doesn't automatically mean we'll be able to help with everything and anything, but just that if we can, we'll be there!

And happy to do so too!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Oh, The Drama!

After the way my morning started, I can definitely understand why some species kill their young!

I should have recognized the signs when I woke up to the sounds of Mandy and Maya arguing but being in a partial fog, I got up and tried not to hear their fight.

Enroute from my room to the bathroom, I glanced over at Kurtis, sitting on the sofa, and when he turned his head away, muttering "NO look at me!" I thought maybe his bad humor of the morning might have been what stirred up the issues between the mother and daughter, but I discovered shortly thereafter, his mood was really good compared to his sister's!

And what exactly was the root cause of the strife between Mandy and Maya?

Why it was shoes. What else could possibly cause such difficulty in an almost 9-year-old's life?

Seems Miss Maya was having a full-fledged snit, about to erupt into one massive meltdown all because she couldn't locate one particular pair of shoes that, of course, she absolutely HAD to wear to school today all because these particular shoes fasten with velcro -not ties!

The child only has a huge box full of nothing but her shoes sitting out in the sunporch and some how or other, the Sketchers she needed, that she wanted, were not sitting on the tippy-top of that big pile of footwear. After pulling out each and every shoe from that box -all 1,500 of 'em (or so it seemed) - those particular Sketchers were not in the middle section of the box nor were they found to be at the bottom of that barrel either!

And of that massive mess of shoes, not one other pair could possibly be acceptable to her because, for openers, they all tied with laces, ya know! (And that was just for openers!)

A lot more words were exchanged between Miss Maya and me after her mother left for work and most of them didn't have exactly a friendly edge to them either. Of course, in between my searching and yelling at her to put her eyes to work and look too, and my muttering a lot of not-so-nice words under my breath and even expressing a few of  them audibly too, the whimpering and whining from her came forth then and all the "poor me" things any one child could ever possibly think of were being said to the tune of the whining as well.

I tried several different tactics to get her to see, to realize, how ridiculous her arguments were and all fell on very deaf ears there.

Me: "Well, if you can't find the shoes you want, you'll have to settle and wear something different."

Maya: "I can't do that because people will laugh at me."

Me: "Tough s**t!"

Maya: "Why does Kurtis get to wear shoes with velcro and mine all tie up?"

Me: "I don't know -just the breaks of the game I guess."

Me: "What's wrong with these Sketchers? (Holding up a pair of blue, lace-up, high-top Sketchers)

Maya: "Those are blue and I can't wear them with these shorts." (Her shorts she has on today -blue!)

Me: "Maya, do you realize there are lots and lots of children across this country and in many other countries who have just one pair of nasty looking, very beat-up shoes, to wear for dress-up, school as well as for play and they wear those same shoes everywhere they go, every single day? And here you have upteen pairs to pick from and can't wear this pair or these simply because they have to be tied? This is just plain ridiculous!"

Maya: (In that really obnoxious whining voice, with traces of tears in her eyes) "No, no! I have to have those Sketchers to wear today! And I can't find them and you won't even help me look for them either!" (More of the wa-wa-wa-wails come forth at that comment.)

Me: (IN a very loud, very frustrated tone of voice and threatening then to beat her within an inch of her life too if she didn't soon stop this nonsense and make a different selection.) "I didn't HELP you look? Give me a break? What, exactly, was I doing when I went through the entire box of shoes out in the porch anyway?"

Maya: "You were taking the shoes out and putting them back in the box but you weren't looking for me!"

Me: "Oh Lord, Please save me from almost nine-year-olds who are obsessed with shoes and fashion!"

Maya: "I just don't understand why Kurtis gets to wear shoes with Velcro and I don't!"

Me: Well, if I put a pair of lace-up shoes on Kurtis will you be happy then and make a selection from the available footwear?"

Maya: "Yes."

Me: "Then go for it. Kurtis, take those sneakers off and put these shoes on.

(And I produce a pair of heavy oxfords, in a dark brown color that he normally would wear with most anything EXCEPT the shorts he had on.) As I held those shoes up for him to put on, Maya then informed me that he couldn't wear those shoes because those were his dress-up shoes or for church or for when he wants to look "handsome.")

At that point, with a pair of Puma sneakers on (that still needed to be tied) Maya went out and retrieved a pair of sneakers of Kurt's that were lace-up and I got them on him just in time for the van to pull up and get him out and on that conveyance.

As I got him on the van, I asked the driver if perhaps she -or someone else she knows -might be interested in a nine-year-old female, free for the taking. Actually, I was about ready to pay someone to get her off my hands this morning!

And that, my friends, accounts for at least 15 minutes, if not more, of my life, wasted in an argument about shoes, styles and colors, with a very bullheaded grandchild of mine!

She has no idea how lucky she is that I didn't get REALLY angry with her this morning.

I really could use a drink about now. Time to fix a fresh pot of coffee and chill down a bit more before I have to start cleaning the dining room and kitchen floors.

Actually, I'm rather looking forward now to doing that because I know I'll get no back talk from either floor in the process.

Oh, and Kurtis -who was actually the one being the cranky little crab this morning? He got on the van, fastened himself in, announced he had done that and all smiles, blew Gram a kiss and away he went!

Apparently watching -and hearing the drama with his sister unfold had a good affect on his demeanor.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rude Awakening!

Let me explain something here -I am sort of cheap but I prefer to think of myself as actually trying to think and spend in a way that is frugal. I've learned a few things the hard way that buying on the cheap doesn't always pay off in the rewards we think it will if/when the item falls apart or breaks down shortly after purchase.

However, there are times too when I question prices of things and wonder if they aren't perhaps made of gold or even platinum based on their costs!

Earlier I wrote a bit about a friend who is expecting and is unmarried and in it, I referenced a clothing site she might find useful.

Well, get this now -the prices on the bridal dresses on the other site were less -way less, as a matter of fact -expensive compared to if one were to purchase a Lela Rose bridesmaid dress!

Now, I find that to be more than a bit ridiculous as well as off limits too. However, I must confess that I really liked a lot of the dresses I saw there though! I know, can't please everyone can ya?

So now, off and running -surfing some more and who knows what other things I might find!

The Shadow Knows! And that's the truth, too, ya know!


I know I've mentioned this before -on lots and lots of previous occasions -but I live in an old house!

My house was built by my grandparents back in 1903 at a cost of around $1,000 -give or take a bit (I think that was the figure I saw on the original deed but I may be wrong there too!). But at any rate, the amount of money it cost them was tantamount to being not a small, but actually a very large fortune in those days!

And don't get me wrong as I write now and then about this old house, because I do love the place. Really and truly, I do! But that love is based on sentimentality issues, not things that endear the place to me for decorating ideas, or comfort or feasibility, etc., of features of the house.

One of those "features" just happens to be the fireplace in the living room and this, believe it or not, is not one of my favorite things here!

Knowing what I do about the original layout of the house, I'm thinking the fireplace must have been an added feature several years after it was built because right now it is situated roughly in the middle of the west wall of the living room. But, if it had been put in there from the get-go, it would have been a bit of an odd location then as it would have been almost at the end of what was then the living room wall! (The living room, as it is today, is long -about 22 foot in length actually -but when the house was built, this room was actually two rooms then -living room and dining room. Where the dining room is now, used to be the kitchen back then!

But anyway, what's to complain about a house that has what is really a beautiful fireplace in the living room anyway? Well, it is a beautiful piece of work, I'll give it that much credit. But as far as being a useful entity in the house, it definitely is not that because you see, about 75-80 years ago, it was discovered that this item is indeed, very much a fire hazard as the tinder box rests on one of the main timbers of the house and apparently back in the days when it was being used for a form of heat, that tinder box charred that main timber of the house! Lovely news, huh? One of my uncles discovered this tidbit of information sometime back in the early 20s and advised my grandparents and others in the family to discontinue use of the fireplace, immediately! (That it was realized during that decade the fireplace was a hazard leads me to believe that it was built during that decade sometime because it was about then too that the coal furnace was put in the basement, so that kind of stands to reason there then, doesn't it?)

Anyway, there are times I wish it didn't exist simply because of the size and amount of valuable wall space it eats up -space that could be used to be able to better position furniture and such. For my part, I'd much rather have a corner fireplace and I'd really appreciate it too if it were one that would work safely too! But things being as they are today -decorating, remodeling money and the like -is low on the totem pole of priority things here so I doubt very seriously that a revamp along those lines will ever take place, at least not in my lifetime I suppose.

So, guess we'll just have to make do with what we have and Mandy can save up till she retires if she wants to change the positioning of a fireplace in this old barn of a place!

Transporting Goods

Okay, let's get realistic here.

Recently -like yesterday's "recently" -we learned a very close friend, unmarried, is in the family way and we all know, don't we, that means getting all kinds of equipment plus clothes (and tons of diapers too) and such, to have for the arrival of that blessed event. (And yes, it is -regardless of the circumstances -a very blessed event or at least the birth of all babies should be considered to be that in my mind anyway!)

So, trust me when I tell you this, Mandy and I will both be doing a lot of surfing lots and lots of websites looking for things one needs to have for a new baby.

Here's something I found today -just what every mother should have for sure -an UppAbaby stroller. This item looks pretty doggone nice, for sure -sturdy, convenient, comfy-cozy -all those things.

However -and isn't there always a "however" to life though -with a price tag such as this one carries, I don't see it in the cards to be a mode of transportation for this little one that will be coming along in the near future!

Unless of course, Mandy -with her prowess in shopping at all the used furniture/clothing/Goodwill Stores in a three-county area and combing yard sales galore this summer -who knows but she might just come across one of these after all!

It could happen, ya know!

Adding On

Yesterday, things got off to a heck of a start, for sure!

Mandy woke me up by asking me for a hug, because of a text message she'd received bright and early yesterday morning. Seems that a person very close to both of us got some news that could have lots and lots of different interpretations as to how things will ultimately play out but right now, one could say I suppose that if that person is considering getting married, she probably could best be looking for maternity wedding dresses.

Mandy -I think -is taking this news a lot different from the way the prospective mother is viewing things -since the mother really hasn't said much about the situation other than just saying this is where things stand right now.

I, stopped regarding being single and pregnant as being the end of the world as we know it though a long, long time ago! Been there, did that and gee, I survived and so will just about everyone else who finds herself in this type of situation.

I can honestly say that being a single mother doesn't make parenthood a lovely walk in the park or anything like that as it does amplify the issues we all face as parents -very much -and often the biggest issue there is how to support one's self plus a child. It can be a very daunting task, for sure, but with a little extra legwork, planning and such, things can usually be worked out or around or some such.

I was fortunate in that my Mom came to live with me -closed up the family home in PA and she moved down to Maryland (I was working in D.C. at the time) and she stayed with me for 5 1/2 years then, until I got married. It wasn't always the greatest arrangement as Mom and I often had a not-so-great relationship but for my daughter, it was fantastic because she received the best and most loving care possible from Grandma. Financially, it was good for me too in that with my Mom living with us, I could work virtually any hours I could find for employment and not have to worry then about child care.

I share Mandy's concern for this young woman in this status now though simply because we had both wanted to see her be able to go on to school, to actually make something better for her life than what she's seen in her 20 years on the planet. But who's to say that it can't or won't still happen? Certainly not me, that's for sure!

I know for myself it served as a wake-up call, a hard landing in the world of reality, for sure! And considering that this young lady had begun to mature a good bit over the way she was a year or two ago, perhaps this is what she needs to bring her down to earth and understand a bit about the differences between wants and needs -priorities, ya know.

But whatever path she takes from here on out, as far as we're concerned, just so she knows that Mandy and I will try to be there for her whenever possible, to give emotional and moral support and hopefully, we can find ways to help her in other aspects as needed too!

Favorite Son

"Favorite Son" is the nickname my son acquired almost 20 years ago now while he was serving in the Army in Germany.

He gave it to himself, as a matter of fact, and I liked it,so adopted it as my pet name for him under almost any kind of circumstances. My daughters tend to remind me about calling him this nickname though -usually when he's done something that is a bit on the bone-headed side -and yes, he does do those kind of things from time to time.

But back when he was stationed in Germany, he started putting that in the return address section of the envelope containing what few letters he sent home during his time there. And early on, he had even written in a letter, inquiring as to whether or not he still held "Favorite Son" status or had I already given away the "Keys to the Castle" to his best friend, Kevin, also often referred to as "Mom's other Favorite Son!"

Well, in case you're wondering, no -the "Keys to the Castle" (wherever they are, because as the moment I have no clue as to the location of those little buggers) are still within family ownership at any rate. That, plus "Favorite Son" now has his own castle atop the hill here in the village so he has no need, no desire, to have a set to this place.

But anyway, I have to tell you now what "Favorite Son" did last night!

He and his sisters as well as the eldest Grandson (Alex) are a bit psyched up right now because the word on the street is that "Poppy" -AKA Dad to my girls and their brother, but "Poppy" to Alex, Maya and Kurtis -will be coming east for a short visit in the beginning of August.

It's been probably 4, maybe 5 years -don't recollect exactly when it was now -since the last time their Dad and my ex-husband made the trip from Las Vegas to central Pennsylvania for a visit so naturally, the kids are happy about this. And I'm fine with his coming to town too as we actually can communicate on a fairly civilized level now so it's not a big issue or problem as far as I'm concerned.

Dad does have a bit of an agenda though with this visit and "Favorite Son" along with Mandy and the two little grandkids and Alex plus, who knows who else, are all planning to attend some big shindig in Carlisle, PA -some big Car Show -and that's really the main reason that Dad is coming to town. The fact he can go to this Car Show with his offspring is just icing on his cake and his cake is cars, cars and more cars and a few trucks thrown in for good measure too!

Well, the kids -the big ones that is -have been chattering a good bit about what they are gonna do at the Car Show, and how much fun it's going to be and how they are getting a couple of hotel rooms there but Mandy and her two kids are going to share a room with Dad -or "Poppy" -take your pick which name you want to use. (Or, you can just call him Frank too since he does also answer to that name as well.

Anyway, last night, Poppy had called me to ask for "Favorite Son's" phone number as he seemed to have misplaced it, so I gave it to him. Before he rushed off to call Sonny Boy, he informed me that he had just made this really great purchase yesterday in Nevada in the form of a 1973 GMC pickup truck with only 73,000 original miles on it, great running condition and not a dent on it and he is now planning to drive out here in that truck, offer it up for sale at the car show and then, fly back to Vegas!

Okay, that's fine. After having been married to this man and having lived with him for 8 years, the purchasing of really great old vehicles is nothing new, nothing unusual even after being divorced for 32 years this summer now. I still hear these car/truck/swap/purchase stories from time to time from him and more often than not these days, I hear a lot of those kind of episodes from Favorite Son now too. Yeah -the apple doesn't fall far from the tree especially where cars, trucks and engines are concerned, that's for sure.

But after having talked to Poppy for a few minutes about a half hour or so later, there came another phone call. This time it was Favorite Son calling and he wanted -needed -to talk to me..

The first thing he asked me was if maybe I might be interested in going to Carlisle to the Car Show too with his sisters, him, the grandkids and Poppy. I told him although it does sound like it would be a lot of fun, I figured my back and legs would not be very appreciative of me if I were to go along for the ride and the tour of all those cars so, no, I'd be much happier to stay at home!

Then my son began talking to me and apologizing for how it must seem to me that he and his sisters are acting these days now, so full of excitement and happy over going to the Car Show and being there with Dad, to top it all off. He explained that it doesn't mean he -or the girls -are deserting Mom, that they don't still love me, that they -all three of them -know and remember very well who it was who put the food on the table for them, bought their clothes, put up with all their shenanigans and tended to them when they were sick or just playing hookie now and again too from school.

He wanted to make sure that because they were so happy and excited, that I wasn't feeling a tad on the left out side of things.

Made me smile and did my heart a whole lot of good, don't 'cha just know, to hear him offering his explanations about this and making sure I was seeing both sides of the picture, the same way he and his sisters were certainly doing too!

I do understand fully how much the kids are anticipating seeing their Dad once again and I hold no grudges there whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I am probably almost as excited over his coming for this visit as are our kids but for me, it is to see his reaction this time to the grandkids as he will have to work at getting next to them at first but once they feel secure around him, they are absolutely going to drive him completely NUTS!

But that aspect aside, I explained to my son -our son -that I'm just relieved and happy for them that their Dad is doing this, making a point of coming to visit them now because a few years back,it pretty much looked like the odds were in favor of his never seeing the kids again and not by force but by his own choice.

Thankfully, he turned things around and did some good things, some very right things. That's not to say that the transition between the kids and their Dad the way he is now was an easy one for them to make because for the older daughter and for Favorite Son, they were old enough when we divorced that they remembered some good things but more than likely their memories of their Dad from that time of their lives were not very good, definitely not nice.My younger daughter on the other hand remembers nothing from those days so anything their Dad does that remotely improves the relationship between him and her or him and her siblings, why that's just super-fantastic in her book!

(On a little side note here too -the older kids were both very afraid of their Dad whereas the younger child never feared him at all and never had any qualms either about showing she was just as stubborn and bull-headed as her dad and could stare him down in a heartbeat even before she was a year old!)

So anyway, that's the big event that's going to take place around August 2nd and 3rd and that's the reason why all three of my grown children are walking just a tad like they are on Cloud Nine these days now too!

And you know what? I'm really, honest-to-goodness very happy to see them acting this way, feeling the way they do and I can hear it, sense it, in their Dad's voice on the phone too just how much he's looking forward to this visit now too!

I'm also really proud of my son though for extending the invitation to me to join them with their plans for lots and lots of fun and frivolity though. It's something he didn't have to do, didn't have to explain to me how and why he and his sisters feel the way they do -kind of like handling a double-edged sword is how he put it to me in that on one hand, this is gonna be so cool to spend time with Dad and on the other, well gee, Mom's being totally left out and sure to feel like we've all gone off and abandoned her.

And it's so like Favorite Son to see things that way and to want to make sure that no one feels like they've been left out in a hard, cold rain!

And I'm looking forward to seeing the sunshine flowing into their lives over the next two month span!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Shocking Scare!

The other day I had a bit of fear instilled in me when I was getting dressed. No, it didn't involve looking in the mirror either -although that's something that gives me a bit of a shock every time I do that.

Nope. I couldn't see!

And why was that?

Well, because for some odd reason or other I couldn't find my prescription eyeglasses!

Actually, I could find one pair but not the ones I normally wear. The last time I got new eyeglasses -two years ago this coming December -instead of purchasing just one pair, I signed up for the big sales deal ya know -buy one pair and get the second pair at half price. It sounded like a good deal to me and that way, if anything ever happened to one pair of glasses, I would then have a reserve pair to use. I really do need that type of insurance for myself because I am darned near blind as a bat without them and definitely would eliminate my ability to drive, for sure, if I didn't have the glasses!

Well, I hunted and I hunted -and I knew I had taken them off and put them on the dresser beside my bed when I had turned in the night before, but somehow or other, they must have grown legs and decided to go on vacation and travel around the house -or who knows where.

The hunt went on here for my glasses for a good two days though and then I finally found 'em!

Thank goodness!

They were where I had thought I had put them -on the dresser, all right -except that Miss Maya had accidentally put something over them  which hid them from me completely! It wasn't anything she did as a deliberate move -just that she moved a little book of hers that was also sharing dresser space with my stuff and the way it was positioned, the glasses were underneath a page and completely out-of-sight.

And with my vision, putting things out-of-sight is not exactly a difficult task to start!

Trial and Error

It will be two years the end of July (next month) since my last surgery -a hysterectomy -which led to the discovery then that I had cancer again. That time it was uterine cancer -something which came as a bit of a surprise to my surgeon since that wasn't the reason for the hysterectomy to begin with!

But, be that as it may, it also led to my having to have chemotherapy again too.

The chemo I had both times actually -by chemo standards -was relatively easy to deal with for me. I was fortunate in that neither time the medications didn't make me deathly ill as it so often does to others dealing with this disease and for that, I am eternally grateful too, believe you me!

However, this last go-round with the chemo did leave me with some other problems -one of which is a blood sugar count that went rather radical while I was getting the chemo treatments and this then caused the oncologist and my primarily care physician to prescribe metformin -a drug normally administered to diabetics -and thus began my saga -and problems -of trying to deal with these darned blood sugar tests daily and getting that count down to a number that is acceptable to my primary care doctor!

She wants my counts to average around 95-100 and for well over a year, it was running pretty much in that range most of the time. But lately -well, at least since January of this year -my counts have been all over the place from a few lows in the high 80s to a couple of times -only maybe 3 or 4 times -that they went over 150!

My doctor also wants me to get my cholesterol levels lowered too so I've also now been taking some pill for that and I'm supposed to be watching my food intake -cutting back on the fatty-type items.

Oh yeah! Well, good luck with that!

In addition to the blood sugar meds and the cholesterol meds, and the high blood pressure meds too -can't forget that, can we -I'm also supposed to be trying to lose weight and exercising as well!

The blood sugar thing drives me a bit bonkers with the erratic numbers that yields to me. The diet thing -well, the main thrust of that is for me to cut back, really, really, cut back on the amount of carbohydrates I consume. And that's a task that is darned near impossible here without my cooking two separate meals -one for just me and something else -high carbohydrate type stuff -for the rest of the family. That just isn't going to happen though as I don't mind cooking -usually -but to fix two separate meals? No way!

I may just have to resort to looking at some apidextra reviews in an effort to at least get the weight down a little bit -or get it started to drop some at any rate. I had lost, as of two years ago, a little over 30 pounds but now, I've gained close to twenty of those pounds back and all this irregularity with the blood sugar, trying to eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of carb intake, and exercising, just isn't cutting it to lose weight or to even maintain the weight I was at with the lost 30 pounds!

There are a couple of words that register in the "dirty word" department of my vocabulary. One is snow and another is diet!

I tend to dislike both of them immensely -but more so the diet thing.

If the weather ever decides what season it's going to be here -winter, spring and now, hopefully some day soon, summer -maybe that will entice me to walking the mutt longer distances and more frequently, which is the only way I can foresee my introducing a little more exercise -and one which helped me to lose the weight 2 years ago too -of walking!

We shall see which way the wind blows on this stuff I suppose!


It's become a bit of a family joke here to tease and harass daughter, Mandy, about her cooking prowess.

For a long time -like at least since she first married and even after Maya was born -Mandy held no interest whatsoever in much of anything pertaining to the kitchen. Once in a blue moon -a VERY blue moon at that -she might get a hankering for the "no-bake" peanut butter fudge cookies but for a long time, that was usually the extent of her venturing forth to fix something edible.

Then she discovered the ease and joy of making tacos and that became her main staple item if pushed into a corner and having to fix supper. Not that I don't like tacos or anything like that but to me, they don't constitute a meal. I'm not exactly a "meat and potatoes" kind of person but I generally prefer a bit more than a flimsy little taco to tide me over from dusk to dawn (or noon) the next day.

I've been known to joke that the main reason I recovered from two go-rounds with cancer in the past 9 years is because I had to get well to make sure the grandchildren here got fed!

But lately now -well for the past year now anyway -Mandy has taken to doing a tad more cooking -chile, lasagna, tacos yes and also this special meal of roast beef, gravy and noodles cooked in with the meat and gravy. It's a dish my late Aunt Mike used to fix and one which the kids and I tried to get her to be sure to invite us up for dinner on the occasions when she did cook that because all of us really loved that particular meal! And my Aunt did a bang-up job on it too when she fixed it. Oh Baby -talk about some good food, that was it!

Granted, Mandy doesn't have a lot of things she likes to cook as yet but any movement of hers into the kitchen area is something to be heralded, ya know. I was thinking for a while (after she made her first batch ever of Chile that we might need to refer to the kitchen area as holding the lab ovens but that was really the only thing so far that was a bit on the experimental side for the family to have to chow down. (She did get a little heavy handed in that with the chile powder!)

And it makes me feel really good too when she does offer to cook now. Not only does it give me a nice break and rest from having to fix a big meal but it also gives my brain a break too in that I don't have to come up with a new idea now every single day for our supper meal!

And the latter there is actually, I think, the part I like best!

Oh, What A Treat!

The other day when I was out walking Sammy, I happened to notice that my neighbor down at the end of our road had a row of plants with big, big leaves growing up in his backyard. I recognized those plants instantly - RHUBARB!

Now, how to drop a hint or make a request of him to see if he would maybe share a bit of that stuff -delicacy that it is.

So, I stopped and inquired of his son about the stuff and the son told me his Dad does use the Rhubarb, often cooks up a batch of it into some kind of sauce. But he also said his Dad definitely doesn't use it all up so he told me he would talk to his Dad about this and sometime, in the future, he would bring some up to me.

OH BABY! I could almost taste the rhubarb sauce I would be cooking up if he did bequeath a few stalks on me!

Yesterday, Mandy was preparing dinner (Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, kluski noodles cooked in with the meat and gravy, some fresh cauliflower and coleslaw -along with pineapple upside down cake for our dessert -yeah, once in a while when Mandy cooks she pulls out all the stops, although I fixed the cauliflower and coleslaw) and things were in my hands for a while, she took a kitchen break to walk the mutt. When she returned home, she handed me a big plastic grocery bag and said it was a present for me.

One peek into the bag and I knew who she'd seen on their stroll! Yep, it was a big, big bag full of rhubarb!

And so it came to be that I cut up about 2/3 of the rhubarb in the bag -reserved what I hope will be enough for me to get really ambitious and try to make rhubarb pie perhaps today -and got the cut pieces to cooking then on low while we ate our supper.

Then, instead of enjoying a slab of pineapple upside-down cake for dessert, I had myself a little dish of some yummy rhubarb sauce instead.

As I was eating that tart delight, I even got Miss Maya to live dangerously and take a tiny taste of it, fully expecting her to wrinkle up her nose and run to the sink or garbage can to spit it out. But, much to my surprise, she took that little dabble, rolled it around on her tongue, in her mouth (looked like she was participating in a wine tasting event) and announced to me, with a huge smile on her face, "That's really good, Gram!"

Child, your Great-Grandma and your Great-great-grandma would both be so proud of you!

I got to thinking too as I was putting the sauce in a container to stash in the refrigerator that my having cooked up this rhubarb sauce yesterday marked what was probably the first time in about 33 years since rhubarb has been cooked into sauce in this house! I know I haven't had any rhubarb available to me to make sauce (or pie) with and it will be 33 years come December since my kids and I moved in her, after my Mom died. Mom, on the other hand, and my Grandma, always, ALWAYS, had rhubarb growing in the back yard as long as I could remember and every summer, it would be such a treat when either of them cleaned a big bunch of those stalks and cooked it down into a really delicious -as well as very healthful -sauce.

And now, who knows, but maybe I can rekindle that tradition.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Finding Time and Money

We all know that well-wore old saying "When it rains, it pours!" Don't we? And it's the darned truth too, isn't it? Heaven knows this week we've had more than our fair share of pouring rain, that much I do know, first hand!

How so? Well, apparently the roof over our bathroom has done sprung a leak or maybe a shingle or two or twenty were blown awry from the storm we had here today. Anyway you cut it, this is not exactly an opportune time to have to consider the expense of repairing a roof, even one as small as the one over our bathroom.

Mainly because Mandy is also having some car issues with "Little Bluebell" -her current mode of transportation. A friend of hers from the restaurant where she works told her he can hook her up with a sweet deal on an older model Buick and she's giving that consideration.

However, between the roof problems now and the idea of a "new-to-her" vehicle, if we're gonna swing a deal to get both taken care of I think she'll have to swing something else too, like a visit to title loans Dallas!

I know darned well what extra I might have this month and what extra she might have sure as heck won't cover both those things. For all I know, it might not even come close to touching one of 'em.

Anyone wanna do a roof repair? Cheaply?