Thursday, August 30, 2012

It Figures!

Just a little grumping here today about something that seems to be the norm in my life -the telephone and when it rings!

It used to be as soon as I would decide to lay down and take a much needed little catnap (well, in my mind, naps are much needed things, ya know), it was inevitable that within 5-10 minutes after I would fall asleep, the phone would ring and it would always seem to be my older daughter calling. I used to think she was a bit of a mind reader or just knew my ways and my schedule all too well -either that or she had impeccable timing. But then, knowing that timing is far from impeccable in that daughter's life, I eventually ruled that out.

However, yesterday, I was pretty much convinced that there must be a secret camera located somewhere in this house that captures me sleeping on the couch and that it has a timer too, to let people know how long I have been asleep -the better then for them to phone me and wake my butt up!

I figure this because try and I did to get a nice little nap under my belt, each time I would fall asleep, within 10 minutes the darned phone would ring and wake me up.

Finally, after the third try for a solid nap was interrupted, I gave up on the idea of resting and proceeded to tire myself out by cleaning the floors downstairs with a good mopping, followed up by baking a cake and getting it iced as a little surprise for one of the therapists who works with the grandkids and who was scheduled to show up here yesterday for a little home visit with the hooligans. I even found some of that canned icing that you can spray on and write a message with it on the item being iced too and so I trimmed the cake with a "hello" to Renee with the word "Trouble" on the cake. (We refer to this therapist as "Trouble" because a few years back, shortly after Kurtis finally began to develop a bit of a vocabulary, one day when Renee was coming in the house, someone made the wisecrack of "Here comes Trouble now!": Kurtis picked up on that and began referring to Renee then as "Trouble" and it's since then stuck as our code name for her.

Well, wouldn't you just know it after I got all that done and Mandy got home from work, I learned then that Renee wasn't coming yesterday after all but rather would be here today instead!

Oh well, at least I have the cake still ready and waiting for "Trouble" to come and have a chunk of it to celebrate her birthday a few days late! It will give Kurtis a big thrill though today to be able to sing his birthday greetings to Renee and present her with this sorry looking cake decorating. (I didn't like the way the icing came rushing out of that little canister as it gave you no control at all when trying to write with it then!)

On another note -a little different direction here -yesterday was the first day of school for this year for our district so both kids were really happy and very excited about that. The day went by quickly too and before we knew it, the van was here dropping Kurtis off so the school bus should have been right behind that. Mandy walked up to the bus stop to meet Maya but ended up standing there for very near to a half-hour as the bus was very late getting the kids home.

The driver informed Mandy and the neighbor up the street (also waiting for her daughter's return) that the reason they were so late was because they had been hunting for a missing student. The student was finally located and had boarded the wrong bus. Thank goodness that's all that was wrong there but boy, when a school bus is that late bringing the kids home, all kinds of thoughts do cross a parent or grandparent's minds.

I later learned that the little boy who had boarded the wrong bus is like my grandkids -autistic -and what had happened, according to his grandmother, is that his TSS at the school had left before ascertaining he was on the correct bus!

It brought back memories to me of a day in March of 1973 -right after my ex-husband, older daughter and I had moved from Philipsburg down to a little neighboring village here and my daughter, who was in kindergarten at that time, had gone that morning on the bus to the school here. When it came time for her to arrive back home, I waited and waited but no daughter got off either the elementary or the high school bus. Before I knew it, almost 40 minutes had passed and no child that belonged to me came home and I was in more than a bit of a panic mode!

I called the school to inquire about her but they said there were no extra children there who might have missed their bus but they would check on daughter's whereabouts as much as possible. I waited -very nervously for an answer and when they called me back, they asked if daughter knew anyone in Grassflat? Well, yes -certainly she does because that's where her grandmother lives. Then they asked if she knew a little girl named "Karen" and they gave Karen's surname -and yes, I said, she does know that girl.

Apparently what happened was that my daughter exited the classroom in Karen's company and boarded the bus with her and got off at Karen's stop too -which was, by the way, about 2 doors from my Mom's house! My mom was a trifle surprised when her granddaughter showed up at her house but didn't give it a second though that she wasn't supposed to be arriving there that day!

Thankfully, in both instances of boarding the wrong bus, both kids were located and were safe and sound. But not after having created a whole lot of panic in the minds of parents and grandparents alike in both instances!

Now -I'm entertaining suggestions for supper tonight so if anyone has some good ideas of what I can fix, feel free to share them with me because my menu planning is currently operating on brain dead!

It figures!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Interesting. Veddy Interesting!

Remember Arte Johnson from the old Laugh-In show and I believe it was Gilda Radner who played opposite him as the old man and the little old lady? Inevitably, their conversations ended with the lines by Johnson of "Interesting. Veddy interesting."

And that is sort of how I would describe the events of my day today!

When I was back-tracking my last couple of days in my post earlier today, I believe I mentioned about some car problems I'm having right now. Mandy took my jeep to a friend's home -said friend who is a pretty decent auto mechanic -and he checked things over and gave a diagnosis. First off, with respect to the tire that has been deflating of late -he changed the tire but informed Mandy to tell me to go on a "Search and Destroy" mission to locate a new tire rim! Okay, I'll get right on that and start combing the junk yards, I guess.

Then he said the Jeep needs a new battery as well as a new (or possibly a rebuilt one would work) starter. He said something is pulling on the juice from the battery and it's his opinion that it's the starter, going bad. So, I made some phone calls, got information on a starter and ordered that. It will be delivered to the parts place overnite so it can be picked up after 7:30 in the morning. Wonderful. Then I called Walmart (ex-brother-in-law said that was the best place around for getting a battery at a decent price) and found out the battery I would need to get for the jeep -well there are two available and one costs $99 and change whereas the other one costs $110. Not so wonderful news on top of the cost of the starter plus labor to have the starter put on too.

Mandy said she will cover the cost of the battery and I figured I can dip into my line of credit  -yet again -and cover the cost that way of the starter and labor. So now, I think I can make it, financially, until this Friday when the September check will arrive! Won't leave room for any extras next month but then again, rarely does my income these days leave room for anything in the "extra" spending department!

So, I followed Mandy to work and ran some errands for her to her bank and such and then, over to Walmart to purchase the battery. The personnel at the Lube and Tire Express at Walmart installed the battery while the kids and I waited in their "showroom." Finally, the attendant came in and rang up my bill. I was really surprised when he gave me the final figure though. With tax, my bill came to $62 and change!

I asked the guy if that was my bill or perhaps it belonged to the family standing adjacent to me, also waiting for work to be completed on their car. The guy said no, that's your bill for the new battery for that jeep out there.

ALRIGHT! I damned near shouted that to the guy! I have no clue how this happened but he said the figure was correct and anyway, the battery I purchased that I'd been told sold for $99 and change, only cost me a total then of $62 and change! Yes, I was a very happy camper for having saved about $40 plus bucks over what I thought I was going to have to pay!

The kids and I got home from the battery installation with just enough time to run in the house, use the bathroom and then, back on the road again to take Maya up to the school where she was to attend the first class tonight for Cheerleader Training for elementary kids -grades 3rd through 6th! We hadn't told her until this evening when I was getting her in the jeep that her Mom was actually signing her up for this activity so when she learned that is where we were going, boy wish you could have seen the happy, very surprised, expression on her face!

As we were getting ready to leave the school, after the session today, this young woman came up to me and started a conversation with me about Mandy, telling me to tell Mandy she was so sorry she couldn't respond to her text messages last night and rattling on and on about that situation of which I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. Actually, I had no clue who this woman was who wanted me to give Mandy this comvoluted message, ya see. Finally, when she slowed down her yacking to me a bit, I asked her then "And who might you be that I can tell Mandy I spoke to you here?"

Imagine my surprise when her answer was the name of Mandy's sometime-to-be ex-husband's ex-wife!  Okay, now I know why you looked somewhat familiar to me! I didn't say that to her but rather said "Gee, you look different every darned time I see you!"  Was that polite enough?

When I told Mandy about that conversation with that woman, she howled laughing and said "Oh, Mom! That is really funny!" Yeah, it was funny alright!

Then, Mandy informed me that we had another jeep related problem and that was when the mechanic friend of hers was going to be available to do the starter job on the jeep! Seems he is attending some kind of training sessions all this week so wouldn't be available to do anything on the jeep until next week sometime. So Mandy said then that she had phoned another guy who just started his own garage out where his late Dad had run a good garage for many years and asked him about installing the starter. He said if we wanted, we could bring the jeep out tonight and he could have his son start on it in the a.m., first thing. Mandy told him we won't have the starter until about 8 a.m. so she is going to go in town early in the a.m. and pick up the starter, come home and get me and follow me to this guy's garage and drop the jeep off -and bring me back home -and then, when the jeep is ready, she'll run me out there to pick it up and bring it back home, all repaired. And the good news there is that it will only cost me $25 for the labor!

Okay -it's still not quite dirt cheap on my budget but all in all, to get a new battery and a new starter -all installed for around $150 (give or take a buck or ten, here and there) as far as I'm concerned, it's a deal made in heaven for me!

Then, this evening when all had finally settled down and arrangements made for the jeep, I went to check my voicemail on my phone. I've only had the voicemail retrieval system on here now for about a week so I'm not entirely familiar with all the passcodes I have to remember to get into it and surprise,surprise, I screwed up and entered an incorrect passcode into the system and ended up getting myself locked out of my voicemail!

So then I had to call the phone/cable system through which we have our connection and had them work with me to get it all reconnected again.

What should have been an easy fix ended up taking me 3 or 4 calls to the main tech service number and finally, they referred me to the next platform up to get it all operational again! I've never seen so damned many codes, passwords and special code numbers in all my life, I don't believe!

But it's working fine and dandy now -or again -and I'm relieved as all get out now too that the jeep will be fixed for less money than I had anticipated.

I still really do need to find some kind of part-time job though to be able to ward off situations like this from happening over and over to me!

And doing that -finding a nice little parttime job? Well taht definitely would be Veddy, Veddy Interesting, to say the least!

And, That's The Truth!

Just a little rambling today (not that "rambling" on my part is anything new, as it's probably what I do the best), but anyway, it is what it is.

Right now, I'm gearing up for a depressing day and probably several days ahead too that are going to suck swampwater. Why? Well, I'm in search of a "reasonably" priced battery for my old jeep and also, have to make another call to a mechanic around here to price out either getting a new starter for the jeep or maybe, a rebuilt one. Either way, gonna put my checkbook right on the brink of bankruptcy or something equally atrocious, ya know.

And regardless of the price of the battery and starter -and I suppose I need to throw in the need for a new tire rim while I'm at it -it's gonna depress the hell out of me for a while. Really is pushing on my mind the need to get some kind of part-time job somewhere, someplace but what?

Now that's the big question there and one for which I have no ideas whatsoever as to what services I would be capable of performing for a couple bucks an hour or so. Any suggestions for anything that doesn't require heavy lifting or other strenuous work that an old, degenerating female could perform, would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking about the only alternative employment for one like me -Walmart Greeter -as long as the shifts don't run longer than a four hour stretch I think I might be able to handle that.

Now, if only I had the physical aptitude of my little grandson, Kurtis. He was just doing one of his normal pacing/jogging routines that he does regularly (or so it seems) between the living room and the kitchen. Then, he parked his little but on the radiator behind my computer chair and announced to me that he "Thinks he has enough energy now to go ride his bike!"

Sheesh! If I had just trotted across the floor the way he did, several times, my energy would be completely and totally already all expended! Must be nice to run like that to GET energy, don't 'cha think?

This morning, the grandson had to go with his Mom, up to the school, so he could meet Mr. McClelland, who will be serving as Kurt's first grade teacher this year. Maya had this man for first grade too and she loved him! (So did Mandy and I for that matter as Maya enjoyed his classes and did very well under his supervision.) Kurtis didn't pelt the guy with oodles of questions of what to expect in his classes the way Maya did two years ago when she first met him. No worry about Kurtis asking the teacher if they would be studying fractions in the math classes (like Maya had done) because fractions are probably the furthest thing from Kurt's mind. Mandy said when she asked Kurt if he had any questions for Mr. McClelland that Kurtis launched into a little story about how his Dad wrecked his truck and broke his nose so you know his mind is anywhere but on school work, don't 'cha? Plus that happened back in April of this year so it isn't like it is a "current event" happening either.

Yesterday, at church, there was a little humor that passed between Mandy and Kurtis. Apparently he wasn't behaving quite the way she expected of him and she reprimanded him a bit. After which, he turned and told her "You are ruining my life!" Boy, I had no idea things were any where near that dire for him!

Saturday morning, he got up and began to "trash" Maya's bedroom. The kids' older sister, Katie, had spent the night here with us and she said the noise he was making as he dumped toys all over the floor in Maya's room is what woke her up. When Kurtis came downstairs, I informed him that he was going to have to go back upstairs and clean up the mess he'd made in Maya's room. He turned tail and headed back upstairs without a word of complaint to me. But about a half-hour to 45 minutes later he returned downstairs, holding his right hand to his forehead and he informed me that "My brain hurts, Gram. It's giving me a headache!"

Now I ask you, how's that for a medical excuse to use to try to get out of cleaning your sister's bedroom, anyway? As excuses go, I thought it was one of the best I'd heard in a long time however, it just wasn't quite good enough to get him out of the clean-up detail. When I informed him that he still had to clean up the mess, it was a very hurt, crying little boy who went back upstairs to finish the job. Katie reported a bit later that he had actually done a pretty decent job of cleaning up his mess -which is way more than we could say about his sister and her work orientedness, which is virtually non-existent!

Friday, I got all the name tags completed -each with a photo of each classmate attending our class reunion! I have a file on my computer with copies of all the graduation pictures of every last one of my classmates that I copied from our yearbook five years ago when I did up a posterboard of a collage of photos of our classmates so I used that file to copy over (using good old Publisher) pictures of those who have made reservations to attend our class reunion next weekend -the 8th of September.
Doesn't seem possible the time has gone by so quickly for this event to now be just around the corner. Seems like it was just yesterday that we began planning this thing.

Oh heck, who am I trying to kid here. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were graduating and not 50 years ago?

Sometimes, it just doesn't seem possible it's been that many years, ya know!

It's just flown by -like a dream -or at times, had a tinge of nightmare to it too though.

And that's the truth!

Better days ahead for the next 50? How's that for optimism anyway?

Friday, August 24, 2012

What to do next?

It's been a bit of a wild and crazy -very hectic -week here!

We had company again over last weekend -with Jeff and his two little girls here. Interesting. Well, maybe, or most of the time but also a bit harried too.

It was the weekend for us to celebrate birthday boys -starting with Alex, who turned 15 on Sunday and Jeff and Clate -who share the 22nd as their birthday but we won't get into talking the number of years for either of them. I'll be nice and let both of them off the hook -this time!

So, Saturday, I cooked!

A big pot of tomato and meat sauce and then lots of ravioli for supper along with tossed salad for the grandson's big day, just had his special meal a day ahead of time. I didn't bake him a cake -nor did I bake any cake for the other two birthday boys either. But I asked Alex what kind of cake or special dessert he might like and he had said anything Lemon is a good deal for me. So, instead of baking him a cake, I made two pans of Lemon Curd Coffee Cake -which isn't really a cake -it's bread -but for some reason or other, it's still called cake. 

 Here's what one of the pans of Lemon Curd Coffee Cake looks like and it really is very good -wonderful, light, lemon filling rolled up into the bread dough and baked so it actually makes sweet  rolls -not even true bread there either. If anyone is interested in trying this, here's the recipe for it at this website. It's not really difficult to make either. (The hardest thing for me when I first wanted to try this recipe was finding the "Lemon Curd" and this spring, I saw some on the shelves at Walmart, in the jelly section -so I was off and running with this then!)

I did some other baking on Saturday too -made 4 regular-type loaves of Swedish Limpa Rye bread as well as one "kaka" loaf of that bread too. ("Kaka" bread is what the Swedes in this region call the big flat loaves of either rye, oatmeal or the sweet white bread they make.) We polished off almost all of the kaka loaf at supper and the next day, at dinner, we went through a half of one of the other rye loaves.

I gave a loaf of the rye bread to the boys for their birthday present -so that took our rye bread supply then by Sunday night down to 1 full loaf and half of another. However, Monday when I was getting supper ready, I went to slice some of the rye bread and could not find any of it -no where to be found -in the kitchen. Mandy had done the dishes Sunday night and Monday, she finished up the last of the Sunday dishes plus the pots and pans and had cleaned off the counter tops as well as the island in the center of the kitchen so I asked her where she had put that other loaf of rye bread.

Her response to that question was "What other loaf of rye bread?" So I explained to her that we should have had 1 full loaf and about 1/2 of a loaf but I couldn't find it so we both went on a bit of a search and destroy type mission hunting for the missing bread. Sad to say, the darned bread never did surface! So now we have a mystery in the house -"The Case of the Missing Rye Bread."

Remember last week I wrote about Kurtis and his little finger slicing accident with the axe? He was supposed to keep that finger bandaged -and DRY too -until today, when he was supposed to return to the Emergency Room to have the stitch removed and the finger inspected and all that.

Well, that big old bandage on his little index finger lasted till Wednesday morning of last week -not quite 48 hours! And the stitch? That made it through until Saturday when he managed to remove that himself. And, to add insult to injury on the medical community and apparently his faith in them too, by Saturday evening, he had also removed the fingernail too! So Mandy called the ER and asked if she had to bring him back in to have the finger checked then and they said no, as long as it stayed clean and didn't get infected, he had taken care of the whole thing then all on his own!

Saturday evening though brought a bit of drama to the household but not from Kurtis and his finger. Nope, this was all of Maya's doing and her issue that surfaces every time we have a birthday celebration in the house. It's then time for another visit from that darned Green-eyed Monster!

Actually, this episode came from two sources. One was that it was Alex's birthday and of course, he got some presents but the other came from the fact that Saturday, Mandy had gone shopping for the boys' presents and had taken Kurtis with her, leaving Maya home with me. Maya had originally been tagged to go with Mommy but because she didn't listen and clean up her bedroom, she had to stay home and shopping, for Maya, is one of the finest gifts you can give that girl! She is her Aunt Carrie upset in many, many ways -looks like a clone of her for openers but clothes, shoes and shopping -there the resemblance to her aunt really hits home.

The shopping for the birthday gifts wouldn't have upset her all that much to miss out on but it was the fact that her Mom had found not one, but two pair of shoes, in Kurt's size no less, that were super fantastic bargains and so, he had returned home with two new pairs of shoes and that was more than Maya could swallow!

When she discovered that, she went immediately into the "Poor me, woe is me" routine followed by "Nobody loves me, guess I'll go eat worms" kind of behavior and ended it by announcing in one really wild and bad hissy fit that she has no "matching shoes" and not a single pair of shoes in a Size 3 either! (Maybe the fact that she only wears a size 2 shoe has something to do with not having any size 3 shoes in her boxes of shoes -note, I said "Boxes" because she has two good sized boxes that are stuffed to overflowing with, you guessed it, SHOES! And the only time there is a pair of shoes that aren't "matching" is when she hasn't bothered to pick up both shoes to a pair and put them in one of those two boxes! So, trust me -the child is definitely not being deprived of shoes, not in any way, shape or form!

After that, she picked a fight with or over Jeff's older daughter and it all bounced back to the shoe meltdown-which by that time, Mandy had had more than her fill of Maya's misery so she got sent to bed. Even that ended badly too as Maya just wouldn't give up the ghost on the whining and crying so Mandy then removed the tv set from her bedroom as punishment for her behavior.

Sunday morning, I was afraid the whole darned scenario was going to go into a rerun when Maya got up -finally -and was sitting on the sofa, still pouting, and made a comment then about how her Mom had taken her tv set out of her bedroom and she'd done that "For no reason at all too!" Uh oh, I thought for sure the crap was going to hit the fans all over again but either Mandy didn't hear that comment or she chose to simply ignore it by considering the source. Wise move, any way you cut that one!

This week I've been working whenever I have a chance on a tabletopper I am embroidering -not sure as yet who or what it will go for but I'm trying to get it done by this Sunday anyway. And between that, trying to cook supper, keep track of what these two hooligans are getting into every day as well and I've been busy! Plus -making more phone calls and such about our upcoming class reunion tossed into that mix and I had more than enough to keep me moving.

Wednesday was my day this month to go over to the cancer clinic for my monthly "port flush" and since Mandy had to work that day, of course, the kids went to my appointment with me.

The morning was moving along fairly smoothly and it was time to hop in the jeep and head out but when I turned the key in the ignition, I got a bit of a fright in that all I heard was a couple little clicking sounds and no engine turning over! Not exactly what I wanted to have to deal with for sure. I tried again and again -several times more -to get the buggy to start, which finally it did start but it stalled out about 2 seconds later. Had a heck of a time to get it to start and to stay running but finally, it did kick in and away we went! I was a nervous wreck then at the cancer clinic worrying that when we went to leave, what if the darned jeep wouldn't start up at all then? But thankfully, it came through and was kind to me so we made it over there and back home with no more problems from the jeep!

Today, I had plans to go to lunch at the home of one of the girls in our monthly lunch group and we were going to spend the afternoon working on getting things in order for our class reunion. I was worried how I was going to manage this lunch today initially because Mandy had work today too and the thought of going to my friend's house to eat and put stuff together while taking the kids along and having to keep track of them and keep them from snooping in everything under the sun there too were taken care of though when the kids TSS aides made arrangements that they would take Maya and Kurtis up to Curwensville Dam for the day and give me some much needed relief by doing that!

We got the copies of the school newspaper all rolled up and tied up like it was a mini-diploma, along with a copy of the last Football game program of our senior year and they are ready to go into the gift bag each classmate will receive at our reunion -along with two cds being made up especially for our classmates featuring favorite old songs from 1961-62. We don't have the cds in our hot little hands as yet but they are expected to arrive any day now. We also had wrappers done up to put around Hershey bars which will be at the table setting of each person attending our reunion and the wrappers have a photo on the front of our old high school with the words on each side of that photo saying "West Branch Area High School and Class of 1962." The candy bar thing was copied from the kids of the Class of 1961 as they had those at their dinner too and they really do look cute as all get out!

I offered, in addition to doing up a small poster board in memory of the nine members of our class who have passed away, I said I would also do up name cards that have the graduation photo of each classmate who is attending the reunion too. So this evening, I sat down at the computer and put to use the little bit I learned a year ago about working with Microsoft's Publisher! It only took me about three hours to put all the pictures of the kids from our class who are going to attend our reunion into a file with their names under each picture and print this out on photo paper. Now all I have to do is cut the photos and clue them to the name tags we got and presto magic, a name tag with a photo of how each of us looked 50 years ago! (I'm not particularly fond of any photos of myself and especially not my graduation picture, but well guess I'll survive the ordeal, won't I?

And now -I do believe I'd best go to bed as my eyes are not cooperating at all and 7:30 a.m. will be here in no time!

More to come,so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Plan Ahead and Buy in Multiples!

So tonight my son, in one of his finer moments of postings on Facebook wrote a comment pertaining to his thoughts on how so many men refer to the woman in their life as "the old lady" and he said he thinks if more men refrained from referring to their special lady as that, perhaps more men would actually then be able to spend a long time with said person until perhaps she actually does become an "old lady."

I had to chuckle when I read his comment there and posted back to him that I wanted to know where or how he had acquired the wisdom to make that statement. Initially, he attributed it to some song -which is where he gets a lot of his sage sayings at times, but anyway, I posted back that I definitely could state where he didn't get that wisdom and that it didn't come to him by way of Nevada. He knew I was referring back to his Dad -who by the way, I have to admit often did refer to me as "the old lady" long before I actually became the "old person" I am today. Imagine that, huh?

So I read the posts to Mandy which then led to us making some wise cracks about that certain male figure of their lives and I made a comment about him not being all that bright about women apparently since he is now on Wife number 5 (and not always really impressed with this particular "old lady" either from things he says.

That then led to someone making a comment that as many times as he's been married now, he should have bought up mens-wedding-bands in multiples and perhaps he could have gotten a discounted price on them that way.

Yes, I know -we are an evil bunch here, aren't we?

Honest, but still, more than a tad on the evil side you could safely say!

A Couple for the Book...

At various times since I started writing this blog, people have suggested to me that I compile the funny things that my grandkids -Maya and Kurt -have said and/or done over time. And yes, as some of you may recall, they have done some pretty comical things now and again.

Well, I meant to put this up here last week right after it happened but then, got busy doing something else I guess and I forgot about it. But then tonight, Mandy told me another crazy, zany thing that was said by Maya today in the waiting room at the kids' therapists' office and I thought no time like the present to post both these things tonight then.

Last Thursday evening, Maya and Kurt were in my bedroom watching TV together. It must have been some program that they both agreed to like it and not pick any fights while watching it together, as they were being well-behaved and nice, also quiet, around each other. (A rare entity here much of the time for that to happen!)

Well anyway, all of a sudden Kurt emerged into the dining room and announced to Mandy -while pulling his little "wife-beater" style undershirt out and away from his body this gem. "Nope. Don't have any chest hairs!"

And after announcing that -totally out of the blue, ya know -he disappeared back into my room and back to watching whatever show they had on my TV at that point in time!

And Mandy and I just looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders and wondered just where in blazes that announcement came from!

But today, this comment by Maya today, really takes the cake, I think.

Mandy and both kids along with their oldest half-sister, Katie, were all together, seated in a very packed waiting room until their Therapist (Miss Randi) was free and ready to see them today.

Maya got up and looked straight at Katie (who is about 3 1/2 months pregnant now) and said to her in her most authoritarian voice too,

"So Katie! Just when is your due date for that baby in your belly that you are going to give birth to gonna be born anyway?"

Don't dare tell me you'd have been able to keep a straight face if a kid her age asked that in a crowded waiting room now too!!!

Gotta love the things they come out with though, don't 'cha?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tell Me Why....

There are a couple burning questions that loom in the back of my mind tonight. I have no answer for them and just was wondering if anyone else can tell me why, exactly, things like this happen.

First off, there is the question about why is it that any time I wear a nice knit shirt, or a blouse or top of some type, most always this happens if the item of clothing is of a light color, one that shows even the very slightest of stains or marks immediately, is also something that it is inevitable if I eat something or take a drink -even from one of the many custom tumblers of which we have a plethora -a tiny dribble will seep out, over my lip and down my front to land right smack dab in the middle of my chest!

It is a never-fail event in my life! And let me tell you this, I am damned sick and tired of it too!

And no matter what it is that drips and lands there, it is also inevitable that it will never, ever come out no matter how many times the item is laundered or dry-cleaned! All of this of course is also dependent too on the occasion to which I have worn this item in public -the more people, the more obvious the stain/mark is going to be!

Murphy's Law? Well, that's what I always blame this on but maybe it is just me and that I am one big clutz.

And here's another little puzzler for you too.

There's my grandson, Kurtis, who is now sporting a big old ace bandage wrapped around his fingers and left hand, clear up to just above his wrist in an effort to keep the little splint thingy in place to protect his finger and the nail that he managed to cut last night with an axe. Yes, an axe in the hands of a 6-year-old -not something I would recommend, for sure, but that's life in the fast lane in this house anyway.

And why is it that this particular bandage, although he has been told, over and over and OVER again all day today to please leave the bandage alone, don't be messing with it, don't be fingering it to death, don't be pushing on it and making it come undone, still he insists on doing all of the above so that it has now been rewrapped on his hand and arm several times now today and this is only day one out of the ten days he must keep this injury wrapped up like this!

I should really be used to these things by now but guess I either have very high expectations or am a really slow learner in the field of reality!

Boo-Boos and Gram's Brave Little Boy!

After today's event's, my daughter Mandy and my niece have decided that Monday the 13th must have replaced Friday the 13th as a day for bad luck.

This afternoon -about 5 p.m. -I was out messing around in my lovely little garden, pulling some weeds and checking to see how many acorn squash we can expect to harvest soon. Maya and Kurtis were also out in the backyard playing. Maya was in the middle of the yard and Kurt was over by the swing set when Maya called out to me saying "Gram, Kurtis has the axe!"

What the heck? Where did the axe come from anyway? The last I heard anything about the axe was last week when Maya had taken it away from the kids after they had inadvertently gotten a hold of it and she had put it in the shed behind the house.

So I yelled over at Kurt to put the darned thing down and before I could get myself out of the garden, here comes Kurtis walking across the yard towards me, crying and holding his hand!

As I got closer to him I could see the blood running down his arm and hurried him into the house, into the kitchen, yelling the whole way in there for Mandy to hurry and come out too.

She took one look at his hand and got him by the sink and started to run cold water over his hand -and we could see that he had a cut on his left index finger then.

How on earth could this have happened and so darned quickly too?

Mandy grabbed a dish cloth and got it wrapped around his finger, all the while telling him to hold that on there tightly, trying to question Maya simultaneously as to what had happened and also, trying to soothe Kurt and get him calmed down a bit.

Within a couple of minutes though Mandy had grabbed her purse and hustled Kurtis out the door and off they went then to the Emergency Room to get the finger checked out.

About four hours later, they finally got back home and Kurtis was sporting a big fat bandage around his left hand -with only the thumb and the tips of his ring finger and pinky barely showing.

Mandy was telling me the events of the emergency room visit and that he only had to have one stitch placed in the finger -right by the nail -and that he is going to loose the fingernail as this heals though.

She also said that he was remarkably calm throughout the whole procedure -from the nurse and doctors poking and prodding him along with getting the finger x-rayed too. She said she thought she was going to pass out when they stuck the needle in around the cut and the nail to inject the novacaine to numb the injury so they could stitch it but Kurtis didn't even flinch!

Just goes to show what a brave little guy he really is, doesn't it?

We still don't know exactly how he managed to get this cut -he keeps saying Maya did it and of course, she denies up one side and down the other that she didn't do anything wrong. And I'll be darned if I can figure out what happened either as it all took place in a matter of about 20-30 seconds!

From where Maya was standing when she told me Kurtis had the axe in his hands till he started walking towards me, holding the hand, I can't see how she could possibly have gotten over to him in that short a time span and hit his finger with the axe so I'm inclined to think perhaps she really is innocent of his accusations.

But then too, Maya also frequently does have a proclivity to blame Kurtis for EVERYTHING imaginable bad thing that happens around here and of course, she is always little miss innocent all the time too.

And here's a little picture to show Kurt['s injury in all its shining glory.

Really makes me very proud of him though for being so brave at the Emergency Room. Sure is a lot different reaction from what some of my kids would have had if they'd had to have stitches at his age.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Handy-Dandy Emergency Help!

Every now and again, things happen around here -between me and my kids -and Mom sometimes just happens to have things that one of my kids has a need for from time to time.

Usually, these are things that I don't even know that they exist, much less that I have something here either, but when stuff comes up and it turns out Mom has something they need, they're really happy to locate it here because -well, of course -because it's free then!

Take my son, for a good example! (Sometimes, some of the things he needs or gets himself involved in, I almost wish someone would take him, not really, I still love him and would want to keep him around as long as possible. So don't take that comment seriously there.)

Anyway, he has a fixation -big time -for cars, old cars and also, old pickup trucks too. Car-wise, his affections generally are for old -very old volkswagons -and he (as well as my younger daughter, Mandy too) can spy an old junked Volkswagon, parked a half mile away from the main highway, in a field of high, very overgrown weeds! Yes, I swear they both are that good at seeing old vehicles that interest them. It's gotta be a genetic trait because their Dad could always spot things like that from a great distance too!

So Sonny boy, in his work travels -he drives a tractor-trailer for a living, ya know -spied this old Volkswagon sitting along the highway someplace out in eastern Pennsylvania a few weeks back and eventually managed to locate the owner of said VW too. Lo and behold the car was for sale. Not only that, but the guy selling it was looking for a decent older pickup truck -body wise, decent, that is -not necessarily ace running condition but one that he would be able to get it fixed up and runable, you see.

So this guy and my son talked things over a bit and reached an agreement whereby they would swap vehicles -Clate would trade a pickup he purchased last fall which was supposed to be his "winter work vehicle" as soon as he did some work to get it runable but, of course, he never had the time or the money to get that job accomplished. But this VW in exchange for that pickup truck -well that was a deal made in heaven as far as Sonny Boy was concerned!

So he and the other guy made arrangements to trade up with Clate getting the VW and the other guy getting Clate's semi-operational pickup truck.

Seemed like a match made in heaven that is until Clate realized he had to figure out a way to take the pickup truck over to eastern Pennsylvania and then, transport the VW back home here.

To do that, he needed a trailer type apparatus that he could load the truck onto and then tow that there, drop of the truck and load the VW on to the trailer and bring it back. But what was he going to use to tow this with?

That's where Mom and her old Jeep came in handy as it just so happened that Clate's old jeep doesn't have one thing my Jeep has!

And what exactly would that be? Well, it's a curt trailer hitch that's what it would be!

Seems whoever had been the previous owner of my old jeep had used it for towing things and lo and behold, there at the back bumper was this handy-dandy little old trailer hitch!

So, the day that was pre-arranged for the big car-truck swap was now scheduled and Sonny Boy borrowed Mom's jeep to go make his little pea-pickin' heart very happy as he then became the owner of a lovely orange Volkswagon beetle. Which of course needs a bit of work done to it but that's okay!

Now all he needs to do is find the money to do the repairs and then, the time needed to make them too!

Yeah, it will be awhile, for sure, before this gem becomes road worthy!


Ever heard of "Kurbits?"

I've been doing some searching online for information about this topic -mainly for a lady from our church who is in the process of renovating an old coal company's office near here and she's planning to turn it into a neat little Swedish pastry/coffee shoppe/cafe type place.

And Kurbits are something that pertains to Swedish art forms and such so I've been trying to find sites that she can check out and that might be useful to her in her decorating her new shop.

In case you are wondering now though about what Kurbits are, here's the explanation about them from Wikipedia.

The kurbits is an invented, fantastical symbol of vegetal fertility based on a gourd or pumpkin of biblical legend, principally used for ornamentation in Swedish folk art and on painted furniture and domestic objects. Very popular between 1720 and 1870, particularly in Dalarna and southern Norrland, the paintings and murals have mostly biblical motifs, such as "The Triumphant Entrance of The Queens of Sheba to Jerusalem", and the people and buildings depicted are as locally fashionable at the time of painting. They were done by itinerant painters, mainly from Dalarna, who specialized in the style and whose signatures are to be found in many localities.
A Dalecarlian horse, from 1950, painted in the kurbits style
Today it is still used for decorating tourist memorabilia from Dalarna.

The picture shown is of course a Dala Horse, also another Swedish traditional form of decoration but the designs painted on the horse are "Kurbits."

I have a plate (dessert plate size) plus two coffee mugs and a small warmer type coffee pot too -all with the Swedish Kurbit designs on them and my daughters and I all love these little things that point back to our Swedish ancestry.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Take This Room

Remember that old song quite a few years back now -"Take this job and shove it?" Right now, I'm thinking I'd like to take that song and make a few revisions to it to make it "Take this room and shove it!"

My bedroom, as this divided area of what used to be for many years here a "sunporch", is -just for starters, very, very small. Too small, really is the problem but it is what it is and not much can be done about that for me.

Unless of course, I should happen to hit the lottery and then I'd have my own private little "Idaho" as it were, built on to the house complete with a small bathroom of my own and a bedroom big enough to allow me the luxury I need in that room.

That luxury would entail enough space to fit in there my most prized possessions along with, of course, the standard prerequisite of my bed.

It would have a big -really, really big as in humungous -closet where I could actually hang all my clothes that should be on hangers -including my jackets and winter coats there too!

It would have enough space for me to have my sewing machine, computer AND my late aunt's Hammond Organ there too. And, be sound proof so that if I wanted and could play the organ, I could do that without disrupting the entire household!

Yeah, that's all a lot of wishful thinking too I know because the odds of my winning the lottery are slim to none -mainly because I do understand the principle there that to win, one needs to invest and play. Right?

So in the meantime, I'm stuck -probably forever I guess -with this really small room and it is filled to the gills with various shelving units, a dresser, two not too large chests and several plastic storage bins containing things of value to me, like lots and lots of pieces of fabric, waiting for me to find a pattern to use to make things from that stuff along with a bin that has nothing but yarn in it, a few that also contain many of the embroidery kits I have too that are waiting, patiently, for me to find the time to work on them and get some tabletoppers or table cloths or pillowcases or whatever else you can think of that involves embroidery work done up!

Actually, I'm thinking my room really has the makings of being featured at some time in the future as the room of a mini-hoarding type residing here!

As long as I keep the stuff fairly well contained in this one little room though and it doesn't spill out too much into the rest of the house, I think I'm safe and won't be on a tv show for a long, long time then!

Wishful Thinking...

During the past two weeks, I discovered a program that was broadcast on the PBS network and which ran from 9 p.m. til around 11 or 11:30 p.m. almost every night. The program was titled simply "The War" and it was a documentary put together about World War II, the fighting in both the Pacific and European theaters. A very compelling piece of television journalism, for sure.

Just wondering -after the fact now though-if anyone else of my readers might also have seen this and what their opinions were of this program too.

I'm not sure exactly how to word this because of the nature of this program. To say I really liked it, or enjoyed it immensely, considering it is a program that uses actual video footage from various sources, and shows the reality of war -the pain, misery, anguish that it entails -so I'm kind of confused and words escape me now to tell about this program.

It is first and foremost, I think, shocking to watch and learn the horrors of war!

Sure, by now, as adults (I'm assuming those reading this post are all adults) we should already have some awareness of war and what transpires then and there. But until you see it, as it is shown in this documentary, I don't think it really does fully hit home as to how truly sickening war is to those who are involved and on the front lines.

Many of us, no doubt, have seen various movies that depict (some more accurately than others -i.e. Saving Private Ryan, or Pearl Harbor, or Platoon and a plethora of other movies about various wars) but watching a movie where you know it is not really happening, even though it may be a story about an event that did happen, you still know it is a fictionalized account in most of these cases.

To watch this documentary though and see what the soldiers actually endured, as well as many scenes about the people affected by the battles too, at least for my part, made me think in terms of "What can be done by the general public to avoid the possibility, the probability, of anything like this continuing to happen again?"

This program also has interviews with men mainly, but a few women, who saw this event unfold before their own eyes, who participated in this or that battle, who trained specifically for certain landings and attacks, and those people all provided even more insight into the necessity then for not just our country, but for all countries, world-wide, to strive for peaceful coexistence.

How anyone can watch something like this, particularly the parts were the soldiers reached the concentration camps and those people imprisoned there who managed to survive were finally freed, if there are still folks who can watch those portions and then turn around and declare that the holocaust never happened, I personally think those individuals must be in severe need of psychiatric care!

The events of World War II are not something I recall because I was born near the end of the war and only learned bits and pieces about it via history books in my educational process. Why it is that I especially do like to read both true accounts of the events of this war and any others too for that matter, or fictionalized stories too about various wars, I really can't say how that happens to be the case for me. I'm far from being a war monger but yet, reading about historical events under either of these circumstances (factual or fictional) has always been a type of reading that was high on my list of "likes."

One would hope that by learning as much as possible about something as terrible and atrocious as war is, would create a longing then to try to work, even in the smallest way, as one person, towards seeing that society stays away from actions that cause millions of people to die.

Probably a bit too simplistic a theory there but as I am only one person who sees things this way, if any others feel the same as I do, perhaps we can make ourselves heard, one voice at a time, if that is what it takes, and if it would help, in any way, to stop the destruction from happening, over and over, again and again.

Peace now. Peace today. Peace tomorrow.

Would that someday it no longer is just wishful thinking is what I pray.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Disappearing Acts

Way back -a long, long time ago -in what now seems almost like it was another dimension- and it was that because this story had its beginnings 49 years ago this summer, I was working in a really delightful place -the old General Cigar Factory that used to be one of the bigger, albeit probably one of the cheapest, employers in this region.

I was what as called a "packer" and in that job, I was supposed to sort cigars, by color, and place them in trunks for packaging.

Did you know cigars have colors to them?I didn't either until I was hired on at that place but it wasn't all that great a match as jobs go for me because I could never gain very much speed since I really couldn't see the color differences.

But that's not really what this is about.

Rather it is about a traveling salesman who happened to stop at my home and showed my Mom and I this wonderful set of cutlery that could cut rope and the edge off a penny (or any other coin too, although you aren't supposed to deface coins made by the U.S. Government, but this sales rep used that as a ploy to show how great this set of knives really were.)

I liked the knives well enough but the salesman wouldn't have had any real problem selling them to me. But my Mom now? That was a horse of a different color!

But this guy put on such a great demonstration of the wonderful qualities of these knives that my Mom was even convinced that although $188 was a lot of money to shell out for a set of knives -plus a set of 12 beautiful steak knives too, that came packaged in a lovely wooden chest-type container-that she actually backed the idea of my buying these wonderful items!

And, so I began building my "hope chest" then with those knives.  (You all do know what a "hope chest is, I assume, don't you? It's often a big old expensive cedar chest in which you place various items you purchase with the intent they will all be attractive and of course, very useful, once you get the opportunity to set up housekeeping.)

It was several years that went by before I actually began using the items that I had purchased for my hope chest -which in my case was not a big old cedar chest at all, but rather an imaginary entity as my items in my hope chest were stashed in various storage places at my Mom's house, just waiting, patiently, for the day I would get marred and begin housekeeping in my own place.

Those knives were nice and yes, did work very much the way the sales rep had promised they would do and they were guaranteed too -for a lifetime. I don't know whose lifetime they were guaranteed to last through but that was part of the great sales pitch anyway.

Over time though some of the knives in this wonderful set of implements began to disappear. Over several years time, the set of 12 steak knives gradually diminished, one by one, until finally there were none of them to be found anyplace in my house!

I'm pretty sure they all went out the door, in the hands of my son, during his youth and were used for all kinds of digging and construction of things in my yard. They are probably very well buried there to this day, come to think of it.

I have often thought that perhaps it would be worthwhile if I were to one of the best metal detectors online to use in my yard and see how many of those once beautiful steak knives, along with the two trimmer knives and paring knife too that all went missing from my set! That surely would put that item to the supreme test, wouldn't it, if it would show me where even some of those good knives are today!

Oh and remember the sales rep also had said about the lifetime guarantee and that any knife that didn't hold up, I could send it back to the company and they would replace it, free of charge. Well, the knife that is supposed to be a large carving knife, beautifully made with serrated blade and all sure doesn't look like it is supposed to look and I wonder though, if I were to send this item back to the manufacturer, if they would send me a brand new replacement or not.

One look at it though and I'm pretty sure they would say that the guarantee on that knife is null and voice especially if I were to explain how it got to the shape it's in today.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't intended to be used to trim the base off a lovely hemlock tree intended to be our Christmas Tree one year but which needed a bit of "shaving" (shall we say?) to make it level in the stand -which is what my son used that poor little knife for instead of looking for a much more appropriate tool.

Ah, boys and what they think of as being appropriate toys for openers and what they also will use to improvise and implement in place of proper tools too sometimes.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Family Gathering

It's an interesting time here since this past Thursday and will continue to be so too until early this coming zTuesday morning when things will revert back to the normal life for Mandy, the kids and for me.

What's making this a special time -at least definitely for the grandkids -is that their Grandpa -or Poppy as they call him arrived here Thursday evening for a brief visit with the grandkids and of course, also with our three adult children too!

He hasn't been here since Kurtis was about 2 years old as he lives in Nevada so visits are far and few between.

We weren't sure how the grandkids would react or respond to him but Mandy said at the airport, when he walked into the waiting area there, Maya actually gave him a big, big hug -which is quite the move coming from her!

Friday morning, Dad took Mandy to work and then picked her up at 2 p.m. when she was finished for the day and away they went! They had to make a stop over in State College to pick up Alex, the older grandson, but once they got him, they were off to driving down by Harrisburg, to Carlisle, PA and to attend the National Car Show there this weekend! My son, Clate, his girlfriend and her three little boys also were going to go down for this event too so it made for a nice getaway for everyone concerned!

So far, both the younger ones have very much been enjoying getting to know their grandfather at least a little bit and for that, I am very thankful.

People -well some people anyway -around us here who remember back when he and I were still married and not exactly on the best of terms most of the time then -are often shocked when they learn that when he does come to visit for a couple of days -to get re-acquainted with our children and now, our grandkids -that I actually welcome him into our home and even cook things that I remember he always enjoyed eating too -like the big crockpot of pork and sauerkraut that is cooking now as I write this!

I don't know if folks think I harbor all kinds of animosity towards him and that maybe I'd be as likely to greet him at the door with a big old dowel pin or a cast iron frying pan or some other blunt instrument and bring it down on his head or something like that because they generally are very surprised when I do mention his infrequent visits and the preparations, the anticipation, of having him around for a few days now and then. Okay -I confess that fora while after we separated, then divorced, things were not usually very pleasant between us but thankfully, that has changed, drastically and especially over the past almost 19 years now as he changed his mode of operation which then in turn, changed very much, the dealings I do have now with him.

And, it's all for the best too!

The kids went through a rough time of being estranged from him -mostly due to his actions towards them for several years but today, all three of our children keep in touch with him by phone frequently and they very much enjoy and appreciate his visits east to spend some time with them now.

And for the grandkids -who will not normally speak to him on the phone -it's been so great to see how they made up to him and are enjoying his presence very much too!

Matter of fact, early this evening after he left to go to the motel where he is staying, Kurtis became upset as his departure, saying he wanted Poppy to stay with him longer. I had to cajole Kurtis and tell him that Poppy left because he was tired from having driven from the car show and all the playing they'd done tonight too so he needed to go get some rest. To which Kurtis still couldn't grasp the need for that and I reminded him that he knows how Grammy sometimes needs to take "catnaps" and sleep and that Poppy needed that too because he's an "old fart." I know, I shouldn't say things like that to the kids but gee whiz, the temptation there is just to strong for me to avoid that. But anyway, when I said that to Kurtis, he looked up at me, with the most sincere look ever on his face and said to me, "Like you, huh Grammy?"

Yes, baby -Poppy is like Grammy -and we're both just a couple of old farts now you see!

Familiar Fragrances

Here it is -3 a.m. and I'm still up and awake! I should be sleeping, that's for sure but I sort of dozed off earlier this evening in the comfort of the recliner and now, I'm not yet sleepy again!

But, there's something else too that is keeping me awake -besides that unscheduled little naptime I had this evening.

I'm cooking something -in the crockpot -for our Sunday dinner and the aroma is wafting over me, making me hungry for one thing and to my olfactory nerve, the smell emanating from the kitchen is one I really love too!

So what it is that's cooking here?

A great big crockpot full of pork and sauerkraut!

Yes indeedy folks, the fragrance of sauerkraut cooking is one that I really relish! I know a lot of folks don't like the taste or the smell of this substance, but not me! I love it!

Actually, when it comes to foods and the aromas put out by many things as they cook or bake, is something I really do enjoy. Nothing better either than the scent of bread baking in the oven, is there?

When I was a kid, my Grandmother always baked homemade breads -several different kinds as a matter of fact and my nose was very well-trained back then too in that as soon as I would walk in the door I could tell if she was in the process of baking bread on any given day simply by the scent of the bread dough rising! Not just in the oven baking, but rather still in the bowl, still rising up till it was ready then for her to put it into pans and then into the oven to get the rest of the smells of fresh bread going then.

As a matter of fact you see, I loved to swipe a blob of that fresh bread dough and pop it into my mouth -something that would send my Grandma into minor hissy fits as she would grumble that she wouldn't have any dough left to bake if I didn't leave it alone! Another line she often used on me too -in a misguided effort to keep me out of the bread dough was to tell me that if I kept eating raw bread dough like that, it was going to cause my stomach to get all clogged up with that stuff in it! Well, 60 years later, I'm living proof I guess, that eating raw bread dough doesn't harm one's digestive system!

As I think about foods, the flavors,the fragrances and such though, there is one dish that comes to mind that I really didn't care for the smell although I did very much like the finished product and that was the traditional dish of Lutfisk that my Grandma always fixed for our Christmas Eve Supper!

Now that stuff does stink -for sure -and big time too! Phew! It's dried,salted codfish and to fix it, one has to soak the fish for a period of time in a pan of water containing, of all things, lye! Can you imagine cooking something that has been soaked in a liquid that is poisonous? Well, to cook Lutfisk, that's exactly what one has to do! And it would make the whole house -not just the back porch where Grandma would put the fish to soak but yes, the entire house would stink to the high heavens from this preparation. And that smell, I wasn't keen on except that I knew as soon as I got the first whiff of it permeating the place that come Christmas Eve when Grandma would cook the fish up -boiling it -fixing plain boiled potatoes and a side dish of creamed peas to serve with that -the objective being that for Christmas Eve supper, one was to have a very bland meal -at least in appearance and lutfisk in a white cream gravy, boiled potatoes and creamed peas sure was very bland, very uncolorful, in appearance but to my tastebuds, it was far from being bland in flavor as I loved that meal too!

Isn't it funny though how certain foods do have quite the distinctive smells and just talking about those things can trip a trigger in your mind, remembering how they taste then too?

Just a little memory jogging about foods tonight and all because I'm smelling the house up with the makings for what will be a big meal for us here for our Sunday Dinner!

Wishing it were time to dig in and eat it already now!

Rings and Things

There's going to be some excitement in the family a few months down the road, it seems. A new addition on the way that will change a lot of things for Maya and Kurtis as they are going to be getting new designations with their names!

Maya will be come "Aunt Maya" and Kurtis, hard to believe, will be "Uncle Kurtis!"

And Mandy will be a young Grandma while I will be an honorary Great-Grandma then too!

Mandy's stepdaughter is going to have a baby so the excitement is already running high with Mandy and yes, I confess I am looking forward to this event too. Maya and Kurtis are happy about this but they don't -neither of them -fully understand what all this entails either though.

No, there's been no wedding and for that matter, there's not even been talk of one as yet.

Heck, there's not even been a ring discussed nor even a little peeking around, window shopping if you will, to look at some kind of rings!

But no matter there as we all know things -and young people -today operate considerably differently from the ways of days long gone by, don't they?

When I was growing up, the old saying then was "All babies take nine months, except the first one and it can come anytime!" Having a baby back then and not being married was still pretty much frowned upon.

Today though -and I am not advocating for this - but I do believe if that is the worst thing that a woman does, then she's not done bad after all!

Let's face it, generally speaking, children are usually better off being born into a two-parent family! Usually, but not always, that is the way that is supposed to work.

And, I'm not looking at this from the stance that whether or not Mandy's stepdaughter marries the father or not, that life will be a piece of cake because raising a child is work and darned difficult much of the time too, especially if one has to go it alone!

But the nice thing -regardless of the marital outcome -is that Mandy and I both like the young man who is the father-to-be as he seems to be a nice guy and treats Kate with care and respect. Just so things stay that way but that too isn't something that is a guaranteed thing either, ya know!

So, for now, I'm gonna start checking out some baby patterns for knitted sweaters and maybe even some booties and probably some crochet patterns to make a baby blanket -or maybe even two or more of those things! Who knows? I like to make things like that and this will afford me a big opportunity as I see that for being in my future too!

So, ring or no ring, she knows that Mandy and I will both help her any way we can and the kids will look forward then to having a niece or nephew around thereafter then too!

A Fun Week!

The past week was a lot of fun -especially for Maya and Kurtis.

For me, it was a challenge to get up early every day from Monday through Friday, get myself ready, the kids dressed and out the door to arrive at church by 9:30 a.m.


Well, so Maya and Kurtis could attend Vacation Bible School at our church! And they did very much enjoy the time spent there from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

For the most part, I enjoyed it too although my presence there during that time period was to manage something I haven't done for a long time now -get a light lunch prepared to give to the kids attending the program ready to be served by 11:30 a.m.

I've worked the VBS program in the past but not as being the person in charge in the kitchen so I was more than a bit nervous about this undertaking. However, the ladies who had designed the lunch program and the menus had done a very good job of planning the menus so that each day, the items to be prepared were quite simple plus, I did have several other women from our parish who showed up each day to help serve the meals too and for that -for their help -I am very, very thankful and grateful to them!

The first day though looked like this program was not going to amount to much as the attendance the first day consisted of my two grandkids, the three grandsons of another lady from our church and the instructor's little two-year-old son! Yeah, we started out with only 6 children attending but the next day, we doubled that number and the rest of the week we fluctuated between 11 or 12 children there then.

Each day, as I said, I had a different menu to follow and each menu was such that the actual preparation wasn't anything complicated. Monday, we served the kids hot dogs, fresh veggies and Ranch dip, with the veggies consisting of broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrot sticks and celery sticks and for dessert, they got rice krispie squares. Tuesday, it was ham and cheese sandwiches with the veggies and brownies. Wednesday, I cooked up two large batches of macaroni and cheese -one was made from "scratch" and the other, using the box mixes as some kids (my granddaughter included in this number) don't like homemade mac'n'cheese. (Yeah, Miss Maya recently decided she no longer wants the homemade mac'n'cheese I've been serving her and Kurtis since they each began to eat table foods and now, out of the blue, she no longer wants that but will only eat it if it is made from a box mix. Go figure that one out, huh?

Thursday's meal was tacos -and again, the same accompaniments with brownies or rice krispy squares for dessert. But Friday's meal was probably the most popular one as the lady with the three grandsons attending the program purchased 4 big pizzas -two with pepperoni and two that were just plain cheese pizzas and she also got 4 dozen cupcakes from the bakery at a local store for their dessert.

Friday was also a special day for the kids too as they got a big treat that the weather was quite cooperative and therefore they could wear their swimsuits and play on the front lawn with a hose, a big beach-ball type apparatus that you hooked the hose up to it and it sprayed water in various directions plus, they also got to play with water-filled balloons too -tossing them at each other and every getting soaked.

Here's a couple videos I managed to get of some of the activities at Vacation Bible School this year.

First off -the opening exercise that the teacher (Danielle) let the class to sing and dance and get all fired up to learn the teachings of this program -titled Operation Overboard.

And then there were the fun-filled water activities -simplistic, yes, but those kids really had a great time with them all the same!

The little boy in the green trunks is my grandson, Kurtis -and trust me, he had an absolute blast getting sprayed by that big old beach ball sprayer contraptions!

While the younger kids seemed to enjoy the water balloons mainly as something to throw onto the sidewalk and watch them break, the older kids -especially the teens who were there to help with the classes -were the ones who really had a blast chasing each other all around and trying to hit one another with those very full balloons!

And, now -after having survived managing the kitchen duties for Vacation Bible School and even getting a lot of compliments too (some came from the kids, no less) if I end up being in charge of the kitchen again next year, I won't be near as nervous about being able to handle that bit of stress!

It's really a great program and gives the kids a little bit of instruction in our faith as well as a chance to do little craft-type items that they can then bring home at the end of the week.

And, I'm really thankful that even though the attendance is not very large these days -unlike when I was a kid and all the protestant churches in our township joined forces and we held Bible School then for two weeks in the high school building and generally had at least 100 kids in attendance there then -that this program is still being presented for the children of our church.

Definitely worth the effort!!!