Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mr. Mom

As Mommy Jenny reluctantly headed back to work this week, she knew that she was leaving Owen in some very capable hands.

Dad Adam decided to take his two week paternity leave from his job to spend some 24/7 time with his son during this transition. (How wonderful that General Mills makes this provision for new daddies!)

This should prove to be an interesting adventure as Adam takes over the main parental duties during the day.

He was probably in the minority as he attended the "Jungle Jamboree Playtime Group" with Owen. While Jenny was quite used to this dance and was a first for Adam. Other than the fact that Owen decided to 'spit up' a couple of times during the class (Lesson #1: Do not feed baby right beofre the dancing class!) all went well.

Then yesterday I received a call from a bit 'harried' Adam as he explained that he finally got everything together to leave the house with partly to his destination....and realized that he had to go back for a forgotten item. Add to that the 19 degree weather that Minneapolis was having yesterday and......well, you can imagine. (Lesson # 2 Stay home when it is 19 degrees outside) Posted by Picasa : 0

If nothing else, this should give Adam a brand new appreciation for all of the stay-at-home parents out there!

Stay's another day...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go...."

As Adam attempts to go on a swing with Owen, he seems to be saying, "Don't let go of me Daddy"! He apparently wasn't thrilled with the sensation of swinging back and forth...maybe he will like this more as he gets older and less fearful.

As I watch the two of them learning about each other my mind wanders back to when Adam was a little boy. Through all of the stages I was always there to hold him tight and keep him secure. Step by step he slowly learned more and more about this big world... always knowing that his Dad and I were nearby to catch him if he faltered.

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Through those early years he amazed us with each step he took...the more independent he became, the more we applauded his new skills with parental pride. This is what parenting is all about, right? We teach, we support, we cheer, and we love....all the while holding on tight.

As the years passed by, and he grew more and more secure as he began to ready himself to leave this little nest where he had grown up.

Watching him go off to college in another town was gut-wrenching at the time....but, this is what we had worked so hard at, right? As difficult as it was, this was the natural order of things.

From college he moved on to a job, marriage, more schooling, a new job in Minnesota...and, now, a son of his own.

I am confident that he and Jenny will encourage little Owen to grow and thrive on his own as they continue to hold him tight...until one day, when they, too, will have to let him go.

As they watch Owen go off on his own to pursue his dreams...they will put a smile on their faces to hide their heavy hearts... but, inside they will feel the satisfaction and pride knowing that they have done their job as good and loving parents.

And so, the cycle of life continues.

Hook 'em Horns?

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While still in St. Louis, tension was in the air as my diehard Texas fan, Adam, prepared for "The Big Game" between Texas and Texas A & M. Owen was all decked out in his Longhorns game day shirt....and, Dave, who will watch any football game anytime (!!), joined them on the couch. As they discussed "team strategy" Owen must have decided that this would be a good time to take a nap. So, he fell asleep between them.....(smart kid!)

Posted by Picasa "Hey, Owen, this is serious can you sleep during this important game?"

The Longhorns go down in defeat.....12 to 7

Posted by Picasa You woke me up to tell me that?!?

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Giggle Moment

"When a baby laughs for the first time, the laugh breaks into a thousand pieces and they all go skipping about, and that is the beginning of fairies..." James Matthew Barrie

Mimi (the other grandma) and I had a magical moment with Owen one night when he actually went beyond the smiling and cooing that we had grown accustomed to.

While Adam and Jenny went out to a movie, the "Screaming Greemies" (as we became affectionately known ---Grammie + Mimi = Greemie)and Poppy were left with the baby.

I was holding him in the kitchen when one of the dogs barked pretty loudly. While this normally would startle him, for some crazy reason on this night, he let out a belly laugh and giggle that stunned us and warmed our hearts at the same time. We couldn't believe it....

Well, after we got over our delight with his newest 'talent', we headed up to his little room for a new diaper. Lying on the changing table with his belly exposed, Owen again let out a wonderfully uncontrolled giggle. I kissed his little belly and he just continued to laugh and laugh. Mimi and I could not believe our good fortune at experiencing this enchanting moment together with our first grandson!

As the giggling continued, we yelled up for his grandpa (Poppy) to grab the video camera so that we could document this moment. Unfortunately, by the time he got there, Owen was so over-stimulated that he burst into tears. So, the 'proof' of this event could not be recorded.

We tried to get this reaction from him again the next day while we had a video camera recording....but, as you can see from the clip was just not to be. Despite our tickling, belly 'blowing' and high pitched (!) encouragement-turned-begging, he just looked at us with an occasional grin wondering what these crazy people were up to....

The memory of this "first" will just have to remain in our hearts for now. He smiled throughout the weekend, but never burst into a side-splitting giggle again.

Now that he is back home in Minnesota, I am sure that there will be so many moments of giggles and belly laughs ahead for Adam and Jenny to experience...but for right now, he only showed this wondrous delight to us....

*sigh* (again)

: )

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Hey, hair's growing back!" Posted by Picasa
"Let us give's 'pacifier time' " : ) Posted by Picasa
Chloe, Jasper, and Rocky line up for a treat... (Two of the three dogs traveled in from Chicago to be with the family!)Posted by Picasa

Where to start?

Thanksgiving weekend...three dogs, eight grown people, an adorable 3 month old baby, and one unsuspecting turkey stayed together in a warm and inviting home in St. Louis.

A wonderful time was had by all....well, maybe with the exception of the turkey. : (

It was so great holding little Owen in my arms again. Of course he was continuously passed around to the other grandma, a grandpa, the great-grandma, the uncles, the aunts....and a variety friends who stopped by.

We all had to share our moments of joy. But, if we weren't holding the baby, we were probably taking pictures of the baby! I realized that little Owen probably thinks that grandparents are merely clicking sounds followed by flashes of light.

Besides the delicious turkey dinner, we spent most of our time doing what most American families do for Thanksgiving.....eating!! eating!! eating!!

We did fit in a little time for some football games, a family walk, and, of course, lots of talking and laughing. The new parents even got a chance to get out on their own a couple of times to take in a movie and visit the local hangout. We told them to take advantage of the fact that there were so many other loving arms available to take care of Owen. So, they did and there were no complaints from us!

While Owen certainly has grown some, the most striking difference to me was his exuberant animation when exposed to other people and/or objects and sounds.

He would smile with abandon when talked to and kick his legs and flail his arms enthusiastically when placed on his little colorful mat on the floor. I felt so fortunate to be experiencing all of this firsthand...and, I found myself totally content just being an observer in my new grandson's world.

I'm sure that three-month old babies all over the world are doing this very same thing...but, in this Grammie's eyes, he was the first one ever to do this incredibly brilliant activity !!!


...more tomorrow. : )

Three months old! Posted by Picasa

Thanksgiving 2006

So much to little time.

I have really missed posting while away...and, I have returned "filled" with so many thoughts and experiences. I have also missed reading all of your, I have a lot of catching up to do.

Needless to say, Thanksgiving was wonderful....but since we returned late last night I have much to, after laundry is done, mail is read, and groceries are purchased.....I will begin to write again.

I promise.

: ) Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

I think that my mind is on overload.

Last night could have fit the words of an oldie, but goodie song from my generation: "Tossin' and a turnin' all night!" I'm not sure what the problem was, but I just couldn't get to sleep....and then when I did, I kept waking up.


I need to get energized as I have a full day ahead of me because tomorrow morning at 7:40 a.m. (yawn) I will by flying to St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving with my son, Adam, his wife, Jenny....Jenny's family and......OWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

As you can imagine, I cannot wait to get that little grandson of mine in my arms again. I know that he has changed so much in the past few weeks and has become quite animated and much more aware of his surroundings. The last video that I saw of him showed him laughing and cooing as well as flailing his arms and legs in joy!

I am counting the minutes until tomorrow....but for now I have so much to do to get ready to leave...including a ton of laundry and, of course, packing. Half of my packing involves little gifts for everyone....I hope that I don't go over the weight allowance!!! Dave will be joining me up there on Thursday morning, so I told him to be prepared to squeeze some of my things into his suitcase. As you can imagine, he was thrilled by that. He always makes fun of how much I travel with anyway.... : )

Before I end, I did want to wish all of my special blogging friends a wonderfully joyous Thanksgiving. I hope that you are all surrounded by loved ones this week as you count your blessings....I know that I will be counting mine.

Have fun and don't eat too much!

: 0 (I will be back late Saturday night...)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

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"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." Victor Borge
"After God created the world, He made man and woman. Then to keep the whole thing from collapsing, He invented humor." Guillermo Mordillo
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...a good laugh with some of my old friends at the reunion... Posted by Picasa

Missing them (and the laughter) already....

In going through some of the pictures from the reunion, I can't help but break out in a smile thinking about the great time we all had. One of my high school friends put it best when she said that it was "...a few days of non-stop laughter".

Sometimes I think that we all take life way too seriously and there is nothing like bursting out in side-splitting laughter to change the course of things.

I know that there have been many studies about the benefits of merriment in our lives. I truly believe them to be valid as I know that anything that feels that good has to be beneficial.

Ironically, while in Florida eating Chinese food with the family one night, I had the following in my fortune cookie. "Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors."

Go and have a good laugh on me today!

: )

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Not only was the reunion wonderful, but spending time with my family afterwards was an added bonus.

As I sat and visited with my mom and dad, I couldn't help but feel so grateful and blessed. Their health is pretty good, their minds are sharp (at 84 and 88) and they have each other for companionship.

Dad still drives (just had his license renewed for 6 more years!) and mom still, they make a good combination!

One of my favorite things to do with them is go back in time and talk about how life was when all three of my sisters and I lived at home.

Apparently (so they say!), I was the "rebel" of the family. I always seemed to be getting in trouble and spent a great deal of my early years "grounded". The more that I complained about my punishment, the longer the "grounding period" became. It was a miracle that I ever got out of the house! I was a sociable creature (still am!) and going out with my friends was a high priority in my life. It's nice to be able to laugh about it all now, so many years later.

After dinner at my sister's house during this visit, the television was turned on so that we could watch one of my mom's favorite shows: "Deal or No Deal?".

At one exciting point in the game, mom got up, went over to the tv, and looked like she was trying to tell Howie, I grabbed my camera and took this wonderful picture!

You go girl! : )

Deal or No Deal?????

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

The "not-so-friendly skies"?!?!

Leaving Palm Beach International airport, I took these pictures from my seat on the plane.

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As I left the beautiful blue skies of South Florida yesterday, my plane made a smooth path to Tampa where I had a four hour (!) layover.

I spent those hours reading, eating, and visiting with others who were unfortunate enough to be stuck in the airport awaiting connecting flights.

Conversation centered around the severe storms that were moving into the Southeast. I, unfortunately, already knew that this turbulent weather system was heading straight for Birmingham. I had spoken with some of the girlies back home by now and knew that our area was under a tornado watch for most of the day.

My nervous laughter couldn't hide the fact that I was concerned about what lie ahead. I kept myself calm by saying that the pilots were smart people and they wouldn't fly into anything that they couldn't handle, right?

Of course, some of my old fears were trying to play with my mind as I sat waiting for my flight to leave.

About an hour out of Birmingham the pilot got on the intercom and had the flight attendants take their seats and told us to buckle up as we prepared to head into this massive storm system.

We "rocked and rolled" quite a bit as we faced the oncoming winds....but it wasn't anything that I couldn't handle.

As we came through the dark clouds on our approach to Birmingham, the plane made a smooth landing and I let out a huge sigh of relief.

I really felt fine and realized that I had truly conquered my past fear of flying. A smile came over me as I thought about flying to St. Louis next Tuesday to spend Thanksgiving with some of my family....

Of course, I AM hopeful that Tuesday will be a nice sunny day..... : )

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

and more reunion musings....

By the Saturday evening final event, I noticed a more relaxed atmosphere in the room. The reconnecting had already occurred and there was a feeling of comfortable familiarity.

The initial hugs of "wow, is it you?!" changed to "I'm so glad to see you again tonight". We were genuinely enjoying each other's company as if the years hadn't ever been an issue.

For me, it was a pretty incredible feeling. I realized that there was a strong bond that those friends from our high school days had together....and even time couldn't dilute the intensity of those feelings. As the dinner plates were removed and the music began...again we found ourselves dancing the night away. The laughter felt so good. A group of my old girlfriends felt such a strong bond and had such a good time together that we have vowed to reunite for a girlies week by June of next year. I can't wait.

Many of the earlier casual conversations gave way to more intimate one- on- one conversations. Together we mourned the loss of so many of our classmates. This had an especially profound affect on me as I continued to scan the list of members who had passed away since graduation... trying to make sense of these premature deaths. That was a very difficult part of the weekend for me.

As our past histories were discussed, I came to realize the unique and varied journeys that we had all been on. Many of my friends went the route that I would have imagined for them, but there were also quite a few surprises. I found myself wondering how I was perceived back then compared to the person I had grown up to be. Talking this over with my old friends led me to the realization that I was basically the same person. I had weathered the years of getting an education, marriage, motherhood and divorce with a mixture of feelings....and my heart was still the same. The outer trappings may have changed, and my life experiences certainly had molded me a bit....but I was still me....crazily joyous, passionate, fun-loving, deep thinking me. I felt authentic and accepting of myself for the first time in many years. It felt good....and I left that night feeling content and at peace.

Maybe that's what reunions are really all about...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Reunion continued....

The Friday night event was filled with strolls down memory lane as the first step in reconnecting began.

Forty years seems like an eternity...but, within a few hours (as well as a few glasses of wine!) we were all right back in high school.

Laughter filled the room that night and it felt so good. We could now talk openly about old boyfriends, insecurities, teachers, proms, and all the other rites of passage that occur in every person's high school years. Of course, the conversations covered marriages, divorces, remarriages, children, and, last but not least, grandchildren. We ahhed and oohed as pictures were shown of our families, pets, etc. How wonderful to be able to talk about "our lives" to this group of very interested onlookers.

It was interesting to see how quickly old groups of friends (I guess that cliques would be a better word?!) began to find each other and hang out again. I felt an instant bond to so many of the girls that I had been close to....and it amazed me how quickly the closeness was felt. The music in the background was from the 60's and groups of us found ourselves out on the dance floor "twisting" away to the old sounds. While men aren't comfortable doing this, women will go out in a group and just dance with each other. Such fun! A few of the braver guys even joined in. Temporarily forgetting the aches and pains of getting older, we all found ourselves transformed into crazy teenagers once again. Of course, we would pay for all of this in the morning as we tried to get out of bed...but, for the moment, it felt great.

As Friday night came to an end, one of my girlfriends invited us all over to her house the next day for lunch and a continuance of what we had started.

...more to come. : )

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The High School Reunion-Part One

Waiting in line during a layover in Tampa, I found myself gazing at a woman's face across from me. There was something familiar in that face. Staring, I thought that I recognized her as one of my friends from high school. I was a bit unsure in that I had not seen any of my high school friends for 40 years. After several minutes of pondering the situation, I finally got up the nerve to approach her.

"Gerry?" I queried.

She stared back at me for a few seconds, seemingly confused, as she tried to figure out who this strange woman was and, more importantly, how did she know her name? I finally identified she burst into a smile and a scream while opening her arms to me. We hugged for several seconds and then just stared at each other as the years melted away and we were two 58 year old women looking at each other as teenagers again.

Thus began my 40th high school reunion.

The two of us sat together on the plane for the remainder of the trip back to West Palm Beach and talked non-stop as we tried to condense all those many years into a 50 minute plane ride.

It was an incredible start for what would turn out to be two pretty amazing days of reuniting with old classmates.

I won't be back to Birmingham until Wednesday...but thought that I would at least get started writing down some of what I experienced while here in Florida.

Friday night was a "welcome get-together" and as I walked down the hallway into the hotel conference room I was feeling a mixture of emotions. Prior to the event, I had a drink with Tony and John, a couple of guys that I had been good friends with in high school. We sat and laughed as we talked a bit about "old times" mixed in with what we were up to now. As the time approached for the reunion to begin, Tony and I walked into the event together. As we heard the chatter coming from the room and got ready to enter, we laughed, looked at each other and said, "Well, here we go!" Looking around, I saw that people were milling about, chatting away and, of course, wearing name tags with our old high school yearbook pictures on them.

At first I did not recognize anyone and thought that all of my initial fears were coming true. However, slowly the faces started to become familiar and were greeted with screams of recognition and delight. Of course, I found myself needing to look down at the nametags for many of the people there....after all, we had all gone through a multitude of changes since our high school years.

What I found most interesting were the faces. While many were balding, heavier, grayer, and a little crinkled after all of this time, I found that if I looked into my classmates eyes I could see that youthful look again....I could find them again through a grin or a tone of a voice....Even though the years had passed, our inner 'being' was still the same and we smiled with recognition as we remembered the time in our lives that we shared with each other 40 years ago.

I am still trying to sort out some of the feelings that this reunion weekend brought out in me....But, after two very late nights, I am finding myself too tired to write any more tonight. After a good night's sleep I will continue my thoughts tomorrow. : )

Thursday, November 09, 2006

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Heading SOUTH...

"The perfect journey is circular-the joy of departure and the joy of return." Dino Basili

I am off tomorrow morning for sunny Florida. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and getting to spend some time with my family down there.

After I stuff everything into my suitcase, sit on it to compress the contents and, finally, zip it up...maybe then I can relax.

I don't know why I always have such a hard time packing. If I could just zip up my house and take it with me, I would be much happier. I have such a hard time deciding what to I always end up taking twice as much as I will need. Oh well. Let's just cross our fingers that the luggage ends up at the same place that I do.

Gizmo can always sense that I am leaving and she begins her pouting as soon as the suitcases come out. For that reason I try not to get them out until the very last, for now everything is just piled up on the bed in one of my guestrooms.

I feel so guilty leaving her here alone. I sometimes wonder what she does when I am not here? I imagine her frolicking about doing all kinds of naughty things that I don't allow her to getting up on all of the counters....scratching everything in sight ....joyfully playing with the little cat toys scattered around. Reality is, that at her ripe old age (100+), she probably finds a sunny spot and settles in for some good napping.

Sounds good to me. : )

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

another day...

Well, the election is over.

Alabama has re-elected Bob Riley as its Governor, and in my opinion, that is good news for the state. He has done a good job so far in moving us in a positive direction. Now, with four more years ahead of him, I wish him continued success.

We also elected our first female Supreme Court Justice...another sign of progress in a state that still has to fight many 'perception' issues from the past...

On the national front, our discontent with how things are right now definitely influenced voters as they headed to the polls yesterday. It was called, " election that swept Democrats into power in the House and delivered a rebuke of GOP scandal, the Iraq war and the course of a nation." Let's just hope that the message is heard by our leaders...

On a less serious note, I have a full day ahead as my high school reunion trip looms ahead. I am really getting excited as more and more of my old buddies have started reconnecting via email. Plans are being made to get together and now my only concern (besides what I should wear!) is making sure that I can recognize my old classmates. I will have to search their faces for how I remembered them 40 long year's ago. I have been looking over pictures from my old yearbook and studying our young, eager faces in hopes of this helping jog my memory at the reunion.

Maybe after a few glasses of wine together, we won't really care who we were back then! : )

Have a nice day....I'm off to get mine started!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

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...and I hope that you did, too!

Make your voice heard today and cast your vote for the candidates of your choice. Even though it is a soggy day here in Birmingham, the polls were quite crowded this morning.... so that is a good sign that people are exercising their right to vote.

I don't know about you, but I feel like it is such a privilege to be able to cast my vote.

But, in all honesty, I am also really happy that all of the pre-election 'junk' (that's putting it mildly) will be over after today!!! No more signs littering the area, no more phone calls, no more fliers in the mail.......ah! : )

Monday, November 06, 2006

Like an artist with paintbrush in hand looking at a blank canvas, I am sitting here this morning staring at my computer screen wondering what words will soon fill it's vacant whiteness.

I have several things on my mind as I ready myself for the day ahead.

I will be leaving first thing on Friday for my previously mentioned high school reunion so I have plenty of sorting through clothing and eventual packing to do. While the temperatures here in Birmingham are hovering around the low 50's right now....the story is totally different in S. Florida where one will most likely find high to mid 80's and up! So, I will need to go through some of my spring and summer clothing and see what I can dig up to take with me. aagh My body is already in the fall and winter mode as far as shoes and clothing. Men don't seem to understand this difficulty in changing our wardrobe to fit the climate. They just change from a long sleeved shirt to a short sleeved shirt and they are fine!

Secondly I have pottery that needs to be worked on before I head out of town. I am so behind this season...but it is because of a good sweet Owen's arrival most of all....and all of the trips that I have been taking...and, then there is my blog. I have now added "writing in my blog" as a daily priority and I am not ready to give that up as it gives me so much pleasure. I also love to visit the other blogs that I enjoy and this takes some time. It does seem as if there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done that I need to!

Tonight I will be celebrating one of my best girlfriend's birthdays by going out to dinner with some of the Girlies. She turned 59 (gulp) yesterday(same day as my mom....see yesterday's post!). I can't believe it as we have been friends for 30+ years. Looking back, we have certainly been through a multitude of life changes through those years! The good, the 'notsogood' name it....we have had a taste of them all! The nice part about friendship is that we all seem to manage to be the soft place to land for each other. So, Happy Birthday, my dear friend, Sharon, and thanks for helping me get through my journey of life.

Well, it is now 8:03 and time for me to get on my walking shoes and get my day started. My list of "things to do" is growing longer and longer the more that I sit here.... so I am off!

Have a lovely and productive day fellow bloggers and visitors! : )

Sunday, November 05, 2006

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"I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree..."

Apologies to the loyal few who have already seen some of my neighborhood trees....but, I had to take my camera with me again on my walk and here are some more of the magnificent trees that I saw along the way.

The colors are changing so brilliantly-- it is breathtaking.

Advice from a Tree

Ilan Shamir


Tall and Proud

Sink your roots deeply into the Earth

Reflect the light of a greater source

Think long term

Go out on a limb

Remember your place among all living beings

Embrace with joy the changing seasons

For each yields its own abundance

The Energy and Birth of Spring

The Growth and Contentment of Summer

The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall

The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter-

Ah, AUTUMN.... Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa A tree is our most intimate contact with nature.- George Nakashima
Posted by Picasa It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. - Robert Louis Stevenson
Posted by Picasa I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree."

- Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918, Trees