Sunday, December 31, 2006

whoopie !Posted by Picasa

Good-bye 2006


a phenomenal year.

My first grandson, Owen, came into the world...

I never realized the overwhelming emotions that this little bundle of joy could bring to my life.

In his sweet face I see the future.

In his bright eyes I see dreams and aspirations.

In his smile I see hope.

In his little shoulders I see an inner strength.

I see optimism in him as he explores and learns more each day.

I am confident that he will see cures for many diseases in his lifetime.

I pray for a peaceful world for him to grow up in.

I am hopeful that the country's resources will still be plentiful for him, his children, and his children's children....

I wish for him clear eyes that can see into other's hearts.

I desire a world for him where prejudice and hatred do not exist.

I yearn for him to always feel that he is loved.

As the clock strikes midnight I will be making a toast to little Owen and all of my innumerable sons, their wives, Mom, Dad, and all of my family, Dave, and my incredibly dear friends.

I can't wait to see what 2007 has in store for us all...

Happy, Healthy, and PEACEFUL New Year,

Grammie : )

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Some updated photos of Owen!

Posted by PicasaCould I be any cuter???? Just ask Grammie.... : )
me and mommy Posted by Picasa
me and daddy at the baby massage class... Posted by Picasa
I'm lovin' this! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 29, 2006

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While walking through Jeffrey and Janet's neighborhood in D.C., the artist in me was struck by the interesting patterns that the rows of homes made. I grabbed my camera and took some pictures of these striking structures...did a little artistic enhancing to augment the vivid colors....and here they are. Posted by Picasa
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Settled in....

Well, the laundry is done (four loads!),

the refrigerator is filled with necessities and goodies once again,(emphasis on the "goodies"!)

the suitcases are empty and back in their spots,

Gizmo is following me around the house and purring without abandon,(love it!)

mail, emails, and my favorite blogs have been read,

bills have been paid,(ugh)

my thirsty plants have been watered (they actually didn't look too bad this time as Dave gave me the great idea to put ice cubes in the dirt in all of my pots so that they would slowly stay watered),

trip photos have been uploaded (reliving all of the great memories!)

old newspapers have been read (yes, I have my neighbor save these for me every time that I leave town so I can catch up on the missed news!),

thank you notes have been written,

I'm blogging again,

and settling back into my routine.

ahhhhh....home sweet home. : )

Thursday, December 28, 2006

From lighting the Chanukah candles.....

 Posted by Picasa seeing beautiful Christmas Poinsettia's.....

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Washington was fun!

Last week, my first stop was to go to D.C. to see Jeffrey and Janet. I arrived on the morning flight and the two of them picked me up at the Baltimore airport. As always, it was a wonderful visit spending time with them!!

We lit the Chanukah candles on the menorah that I had made especially for them. Afterwards, Janet made an incredible lentil/spinach soup for dinner to go with some potato latkes (pancakes) and a delicious salad with a homemade miso dressing that was sooo good. Janet is a wonderful cook (and so is Jeffrey!), and I especially enjoy that she makes such healthy things. When you finish a meal like that you feel satisfied but not stuffed.

Dave's plane was delayed in Birmingham, so he didn't arrive until very late that night...and, by then we were all tired and ready for bed. But, the next day we were reenergized and ready to, we headed out into the city for a day of exploration and fun. Because the weather was pretty cloudy, rainy and cold, we planned indoor activities. The Botanical Gardens were our first stop...the gardens were all decked out for the holidays with miniature train sets going around various structures...There is something so fascinating to me about watching the trains go around on the winding tracks.

The poinsettia plants and the large variety of orchids were especially impressive and colorful in the garden displays. I hadn't ever seen some of the variegated varieties that were there. Beautiful!

From there we headed to the Smithsonian Space Center and viewed some of the always interesting exhibits there. After getting our fill of that, we went to see an afternoon movie, "We Are Marshall". I highly recommend it as it was a real 'feel good' movie about how a town rose from a tragedy to become whole again. It is based on the true story about the Marshall College football team's comeback after a horrific loss. It was very inspiring.

After having dinner out that night, we headed back to Jeffrey and Janet's where we played several rounds of games, including Taboo and even an "oldie but goodie" pick up sticks! I remembered playing that as a child many, many years ago and enjoying it so much then. It was still just as much fun as a grown up!

....more tomorrow... : )

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Home again...

"Where we love is home-----home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."

My day started in Delaware around 5:30 a.m. Eastern time as we headed to the Baltimore airport(several hours away) to catch our flight back to Birmingham.

While it was a wonderful trip, I am glad to be back home and I especially look forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight with Gizmo curled up and purring beside me.

More tomorrow....

But, for now....good night...

: ]

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays

As I get ready to head of town again, I have started to check off all of the items on my list.

My bags are packed.

I've given Gizmo extra love as she is already sulking.

I've delivered all of my holiday 'goodies'.

I've printed my boarding pass.

I'm up to date on my bill paying.

I've reminded my dear neighbor that I am leaving in the morning.

I've checked out the weather at all of my destinations.

I guess that I am ready to go?

The routine of leaving can be exhausting, but it helps me have peace of mind to know that I have taken care of everything here at home.

I am not sure how much computer time I will have while away, so, just in case, I want to use this post to wish all of you a happy, healthy, joyous holiday filled with family, love and warmth.

If you are traveling, be safe as you head to your various destinations.

If you are staying at home, relax and enjoy the simple comforts around you.

Let's all pray for a peaceful 2007...a year that sees an end to war, hatred, intolerance, prejudice and violence...and instead let it be a year filled with hope, understanding, sensitivity, charity, compassion, and love.

It can happen, it just needs to start one person at a time. We can each make a difference...

So, whatever you celebrate this time of year....I am sending best wishes to you all for a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, or Happy Kwanzaa! : )

Love and hugs, Grammie

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some of my favorite thoughts for the day...

Frances Lear said: "I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it." : )

Rita Mae Brown said: "Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself."

and finally,Tallulah Bankhead said: "Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Getting ready to go (again).....

I'm packing (again).

I'll be heading to the airport early Thursday morning as I head up north for a few days....and returning the following Wednesday.

My first stop will be Washington, DC to visit with Jeffrey and Janet. I can't wait to see them! It is always fun to get to spend time with the two of them and catch up on my hugs.

I did put my order in early this year for some snow while I was there....however, in checking out the weather forecasts this morning....I see that it is going to be unseasonably warm there! It seems as if these tepid temperatures are all over the eastern U.S. Oh well, maybe next year! : 0

From D.C. we will head up to Delaware to spend the Christmas holiday with Dave's family. The gifts have been shipped....the goodies have been baked....and, all that is left is getting packed.

My past history with packing is that I always take way too much and I am sure that I will do that again for this trip. One would think that Dave would have gotten used to it by now...but, I am sure that he will take one look at my huge, overstuffed suitcase and say: "So, how many months are you going away for?". Then he will let out a huge grunt as he lifts it into the car while shaking his head with bewilderment.

He is so predictable....and,

I guess that I am too. : )

(Have a nice day!)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Mentos Mania?"

I have come to the realization that all men are just little boys in grown up bodies.

Dave came over yesterday all excited about trying out this "mentos experiment". He wanted to do a practice run before heading to Delaware this coming week. He thought that his niece and nephew would get a kick out of it and wanted to make sure that he could pull it off.

Ideally, you have a tube large enough for the mentos mints to fit into. As you quickly drop them into the 3 liter container of any diet soda, an unbelievable explosion is supposed to occur....sending the soda swirling out and about for several minutes.

There was a video online of some men who did this simple experiment and then went on to make an elaborate display with hundreds of soda bottles. It was quite impressive if you enjoy seeing soda spraying out in a million different directions.

Personally, I would rather drink the soda....

But, nevertheless, Dave set everything up and I was there ready to capture it all on tape.

Click on the video below to see how it all turned out. (I am still laughing about it all)....Enjoy! : ) (for some reason the video will only show sideways so you have to turn your head to view it correctly.....sorry about that!)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

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The Morning Fog Blog

Posted by Picasa "The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on."

Carl Sandburg

Looking out my window this morning into the back yard, I was drawn to the veil of fog that had settled over the woods.

I ran and got my camera to capture it's eerie beauty.

My apologies to the birds that I disturbed when I opened my back door to shoot the scene. They were joyously eating at my bird feeder before I frightened them all away. I'm sure that they will return when they know that the coast is clear.

While I imagine that this heavy, morning fog is an annoyance to the airlines as it delays their flights, for me it is a peaceful greeting that a new day has arrived. In time it will dissipate and reveal a clearer picture of my surroundings...

But, for now, I am going to enjoy it before the sun comes out and slowly burns it all away.

: )

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Festival of Lights

Tonight marks the beginning of Chanukah.......

It is a holiday that commemorates the time in history when a handful of Jewish soldiers defeated a seemingly invincible Syrian army to take back their Temple. A single flask of undefiled olive oil was found in the Temple...enough to burn for a single day.....but, it miraculously burned for eight full days.

So, for the next eight days, candles will be lit in celebration of this miracle. While it is actually a rather minor holiday in the Jewish religion, it has been built up in past years due to the fact that it falls around the same time as Christmas. Decorations and gift-giving have become part of the tradition.

To me, the light that shines from the candles on the menorah holds meaning even beyond the Chanukah story. From the beauty of the birth of a child, I am constantly reminded of the miracles that surround me every day.

The light reflected from those candles is also a sign of hope. This year I hope again, for peace in this troubled world. Just as the small army of soldiers was able to defeat a larger and stronger presence many years ago, I am hopeful that people all over will realize their individual importance in ending the wars and strife that surround us. Hatred and bigotry can be eradicated and replaced with love and hope one person at a time....

In my own naivete', I truly do believe this in my heart.

I hope that you do, too.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - Create custom images
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Since Adam was old enough to appreciate music, the rock band, "The Who" has always been his favorite.

I remember his going with his dad and a group of friends to Atlanta while in high school to see fact, he still has the hand-written play list (in a frame) from that concert along with incredible memories...

When the rock opera, "Tommy" came out, Adam was one of the first in line...seeing it numerous times. (Actually, I always thought that their first child would be named "Tommy"!)

So, it made perfect sense to me that he would be among the first trying to get tickets to see his beloved "Who" when they were set to have a concert in Minnesota. And, he did. His dad flew in and the two of them enjoyed the show together. Before the concert, he and Owen were dressed in their "Who" outfits, as part of the pre-concert 'warm-up'!

While Owen has no idea right now what his t-shirt means, I am sure that one day he will know all about them and more...

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Raisinets and other chocolate cheer

While shopping yesterday, my growling stomach cried out for a midday snack. My eyes immediately went to a shelf where I saw a large box of Raisinets calling out to me. I purchased them as I left the store in anticipation of ripping them open as soon as I got in my car.

Sitting in my car, I tried to open the package before heading on to my next errand. No matter what I did, I could not get the plastic covering off of the box. I began to look for something sharp in the car so that I could pierce this heavy, airtight package to get to the wonderful chocolate delicacies that lie inside. Finding a ball point pen (!) in my purse, I began to 'stab' at the package unmercifully for several seconds before I finally got the plastic wrap to open. In my desperation to get to the Raisinets, I completely destroyed the box which was now a crumpled up mess. Not to worry, this did not stop me from devouring every single piece.

Chocolate is a definite weakness of mine. I love its rich, creamy texture and wonderfully sweet taste. I prefer milk chocolate or white chocolate, although "experts" now say that deep, dark chocolate is actually good for you. Even if this is true, I just can't seem to acquire a taste for it.

I enjoy chocolate in its purest form. Personally, I would prefer a plain, chocolate candy bar to chocolate pudding, ice cream, or any fancy, decadent chocolate dessert.

I also am addicted to chocolate-covered anything...such as nuts, pretzels, marshmallows, cookies, and, of course, raisins. Every December I begin the process of dipping pretzel rods into chocolate and then laying them out on wax paper where I sprinkle them with candy nonpareils, nuts, crushed candy canes, or toffee brickle. I add some homemade cookies to these treats and these are given out to my neighbors, mailman, hairdresser, and doctor's and dentist offices etc. The best part of this preparation is eating all of the dripped chocolate off of the wax paper once the pretzels are removed. Of course, I would hate for any of that chocolate to go to waste!

Oh, and lest I forget, I love M & M' I child I remembered being mesmerized by the "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" commercials. These little morsels come in so many different forms these days...but, there is still nothing like the plain old M & M to make me smile.

One of my most popular homemade cookies is a simple M & M sugar cookie. This is only second to my 'famous' Milky Way cookies. These incredible cookies are so easy to make and people just love them. You take a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough and slice a thin bottom layer. On top of that you put a small chunk of a Milky Way bar. The final step is another thin cookie dough layer...Put this in the all melts together and voila! you have a yummy, and unusual cookie. Sometimes I will drizzle a little white or milk chocolate over the top of the finished cookie. Mmmmmmm.

All of this talk is making me very hungry. I think that I need to have a little tasting to make sure that the sweets I made yesterday are up to my standards.

: )

P.S. I loved my new daycare! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Big Day for Little Owen

It's Monday... and Owen is about to start a new adventure.

With Mommy and Daddy back at work, he will start his sojourn into the world of daycare today.

I am filled with anxieties about this next, I can only imagine how his parent's are feeling.

Fortunately for Adam, the daycare is right there where he is working. They have an incredible daycare program and they were lucky to get Owen in when they did. They, along with so many other employees, get their names on a waiting list as soon as they find out they are expecting. And, of course, Owen has already been there with Adam and Jenny to meet his caretaker and see his new surroundings.

As long as he is kept warm, loved, fed, and changed, Owen will be absolutely fine. In fact, I am sure that he will thrive in this new 8-5 "home"...but the bigger adjustment will be on the part of all of us. In my previous post about life being a balance between holding on and letting go, I personally remembered the difficult feeling of watching my boys growing up and going out on their own. While Owen is only 3 and 1/2 months old, those feelings are just as real...and just as emotionally arduous for his new parents.

My heart goes out to all three of them today.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

A little holiday humor...

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Computer update?!

I was a world traveler yesterday without leaving my computer desk.

After spending most of my morning on the phone with AOLTechACA ("Achilles") as well as "Anshul" (Microsoft) from New Delhi, India....I then got to know all about "Henry"(Dell), from Manila in the Philippines, in the evening! In between, I "visited" with a technician from Kodak Easy Share as well...but, I didn't catch where she was calling from! I'm sure that it was somewhere interesting and probably warmer than it is here today!

I wish that I could tell you that I enjoyed the trip, but it was a slow, frustrating process for us all. I did find it pretty amazing last night when Dell was able to actually work my computer for me (with my permission of course) when I went to the "remote mode". I sat at my front row seat and observed the painstaking process. My computer was soooo slow that at one point I actually got up and poured myself a glass of wine and got a little pre-dinner snack. Such entertainment! Unfortunately, Henry couldn't join me because, although it was 6 pm here in Bham, it was only 8 in the morning in Manila. He had been working all night and was about to get off when my call arrived...So, I really shouldn't complain.

Bottom line is that my printer is now working again...but the error messages and freezing up are still occurring during my very slow shutdown.

Bert, you asked about my anti-virus program---it is Norton....and I have two spyware programs working as well as firewall protection. A virus may have started some of my issues....but, it seems as there are other demons lurking in my computer causing me problems.

I am going to try and be patient today...but it does seem that the more that the techs had me do yesterday, the worse the situation became. Hmmm.

Well, today's another day.

Take care and stay warm if it is chilly where you are.... : )

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I have spent the last 4 hours on the phone with a variety of computer technicians!

As each one helped me with an issue.....something else went wrong.

So, as of right now, I cannot use my printer and my computer is as slow as molasses.

I have a list a mile long of things that I must get to today....sooooooooooooooooo, I am off for now.

Thanks for letting me vent....

I feel better already. : )

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's cold here!

Getting ready to head out to do errands with Daddy isn't easy when you live in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

As Adam winds down his second week of paternity leave from work and is staying home with Owen... he is learning this. Keeping that precious little "bundle" warm and toasty (when the temperatures are in the minus single digits) is of utmost importance... and it can take time to get all of those layers on him.

Owen looks like he is saying, "OK, I'm warm enough....let's get going, Daddy!".

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm wearing this button today!

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There is never enough time...

Am I the only one feeling this?

I sometimes wonder if the days are just passing more quickly because I am older? Well, whatever it is, I just don't seem to have the time to get everything done these days. I blink my eyes and it is late, I tried getting up earlier but it didn't help. I still ran out of time...

And, how did December get here already? Wasn't I just putting away my summer clothes? We are almost into 2007 and I hardly remember experiencing all of 2006! aagh! I remember as a kid thinking that a day was sooo long. It seemed to go on forever. And, waiting for my birthday month (September) to roll around was agonizingly slow. Summer vacation from school seemed like an eternity. It was great!

Maybe as I get older I just want time to go more slowly? Each birthday now gets me closer to turning (gulp) 60....Everyone around me seems to be so young and it makes me feel so old (and grumpy, like today).

Well, instead of moaning and groaning about the lack of time, I should probably stop typing and go and get some of the things on my list done.

So, I am going to put my button on and get started. Good bye.

: )

Monday, December 04, 2006

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To tree or not to tree, that is the question

After several years of dating, I posed a question to Dave this year.

"Would you like it if I set up a tree at my house for you this year?"

He answered, "That would be really nice..."

And, so, the little Jewish girl (me) who is dating the Christian man (Dave) began to learn about Christmas trees...

As much time as Dave spends over here with me, my thought was that he might really appreciate having a little tree here as well as in his home. I know the importance of Christmas in his life and wanted to be open to sharing some of his traditions with him. Even though I hadn't ever had a tree in my house before, I was very willing to do it for him this year.

Saturday morning we headed over to the tree lot to look over the prospects. I looked at the smaller trees while he began to inspect the larger ones for his own house. The smell was wonderful in the lot as all of the trees were stacked several rows deep giving off that freshly-cut tree aroma.

I immediately found a 5 foot tree that I thought had a nice shape at the top and had the gentleman trim off about a foot at the bottom...leaving me with a perfect, little tree.

Dave, on the other hand, took a little longer to pick out "the perfect tree". After opening up several trees from the strings that were holding them tightly closed, he would shake it, twirl it around, and gently push down on its branches. He was trying to see if the gaps would be filled as the branches began to drop. He finally picked out "the tree" that he wanted, but, unfortunately found that the trunk was split at the bottom when it was hoisted up on the platform for trimming. So, back to the untying, shaking, twirling and pushing until he found just the right one...which he eventually did.

The first thing that I had to learn was that the tree needed water....lots and lots and lots of water. Secondly, I realized that I had to have a special place to put the tree where it could fit comfortably in the room as well as being near an electrical outlet. And, finally, I learned that there would be pine needles scattered all around the area where the tree stood.

This was all new information for me. This time every year I will get out my menorah and candles as I get ready for Chanukah. We don't have trees for Chanukah....just candle lighting, gifts and potato pancakes! So, I had a lot to learn.

Gizmo came over curiously and smelled this new item that we were setting up in the house. She really didn't quite know what to think about it. Hopefully she will not jump on it or be afraid of it as we both get used to having a Christmas tree in the house.

We put a string of little tiny white lights on the tree and then filled it with some of my handmade pottery ornaments. I tied a few bows at the top and hung one of my little angels there. The lights were plugged in....and, it magically sparkled and glistened.

I could tell that Dave appreciated what we had done....and that made it all feel right to me.

So, this year will find my Chanukah menorah standing proudly next to a cute, little, wonderfully-smelling Christmas tree as Dave and I share our two holidays together. I think that the joy of sharing our traditions in spite of our different religions is probably what this time of the year is really all about...

Happy "Whatever you celebrate" to all of you! : )

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Friday, December 01, 2006