As these pictures show...he enjoyed every single bit of this sweet delicacy.
I hope that these pictures bring a smile to your face as they did mine!
As these pictures show...he enjoyed every single bit of this sweet delicacy.
I hope that these pictures bring a smile to your face as they did mine!
Doesn't he look like he is saying: "Can I call Grammie?" : )
"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." Henry David Thoreau
"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes out for a walk." Raymond Inman
As I headed out for my morning walk today, I took my camera along hoping to capture some interesting sights along the way.
After a while I realized that I hadn't taken the first picture and my walk was almost over. So, I got the great idea to videotape a little bit of where I walk so that you could experience it with me.
My plan was that you could see how relaxing it is to go walking in the early morning. I pictured everyone taking deep meaningful breaths as they observed nature with me. Ahhhhhh....
Unfortunately, because I walk briskly, the video is pretty choppy and not relaxing to watch at all.
Sorry about that...but, all is not lost in that you get to see my dainty size 10 New Balance shoes as I get started!
The show highlighted two young children's emotions as they experienced having had their mother leave the family and then divorce their father. The raw emotions expressed by these kids was so heartbreaking to watch. They were filled with so much confusion, anger, hurt, and, most especially, sadness.
Before the credits rolled at the end of the show, I was in tears.
Even though almost six years have gone by since my divorce, I still worry about the its long-term affects on my two boys...and this show brought up a lot of those fears.They were both in their 20's when their dad and I had to give them the devastating news about our split. And, devastating, it was...especially after our having been married for 31 years.
I can still remember the feelings of despair that followed our telling them. My oldest son and his wife lived in Atlanta at the time, so we drove over there to talk to them in person. It wasn't as easy getting the news to my youngest son as he and his then girlfriend (and now wife!) had been trekking in Nepal. Those moments will be forever ingrained in my memory...as I am sure it will be in theirs.
The important thing to remember was that we did deal with all of this as a family. "Family" was the one thing that we would always be no matter what the cirmcumstances. The fact that their dad and I brought them into this world through our love for each other will remain a constant always.And, it still is to this day.
Life goes on and we have each found our own way through this maze of emotions that come with a divorce...and, we have survived. That is not to say that it has been an easy journey. It is not, but it has also been a time of closeness and discovery about, not only each other, but ourselves.
Communication to me is the key. I am grateful that my children and I can talk openly about our feelings and we do quite often. We have all gone through a lot of growing up and unearthing of our authentic selves through this process. I have stated before that allowing yourself to be real around your children is so freeing. Letting them see some of your frailities and weaknesses as well as your strengths is important. We sometimes put our parents high up on a pedestal and it can be so frightening to find out that they are not that ideal of perfection that we once thought.
To me, one of the most important gifts that I can give to my children is the fact that, just like them, I am merely human with fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments, joys, flaws, and needs inside. To be accepted in this way leads the way to strength, great understanding and growth; and makes room for love to flourish.
And, when you think about it, isn't our LOVE what we really want our children to feel from us most of all?
I am a college graduate, after all.
I have lived and experienced 59 years of life and collected bits of wisdom along the way...
But, I am transposed into a blathering idiot when it comes to some things pertaining to my television.
Backing up a bit....
My wonderful children decided to give me 6 months of DVR service through Charter cable for my birthday this year.
They know that when I am down in the
dungeon studio working on my clay I enjoy having the television on. I am always taping a millions shows on my VCR to watch and this new DVR should make all of that so simple and easy.
As I sat down to read through the 42 page guide, I found myself totally confused from page one on.
The first thing was trying to figure out exactly how to set up this, seemingly innocuous, box. Those instructions were somehow left out of the "guide" so I had to go online to find these separately. But, this wasn't any help to me at all so I figured that I would wait for Dave to return from his business trip and
beg let him set it up.
I then turned my attention to all of the miraculous things that this new little toy could do. I was amazed that I would now be able to watch two live programs at once....pause a live program for up to an hour and then view it when I am ready....or rewind it and watch it again.....do slow motion if I wanted....record and playback programs....set a program guide to continue to record the same programs every day for future viewing...record up to 77 hours of programming, etc. etc.
I doubt that I will ever be able to actually do all of these wonderful things that it promises to perform....
but, it is nice to know that it can.
I have met the competition and I can tell you with all sincerity, I don't stand a chance.
As the leaves begin to change and their is a slight coolness in the air....(well, not sure about the "coolness" part quite yet--it is going up to the 90's again today!)...all of the "armchair athletes" get in shape for the season.
Remote control batteries are checked, calendars are marked with game days and times...social events are generally spent situated in front of televisions...as numerous chips and dips are readied for consumption.
Living in the heart of "football country", most Alabamians are geared up for the Alabama and Auburn games for the next few months. This is serious stuff here as weddings are planned so as to avoid big-game weekends. People walk around with their team colors ablaze...homes are adorned with wooden cut-out mascots on the front yards...and team flags fly from car windows!
I have learned that the very best time to go to the Mall and get some shopping done is during one of the games. The stores are literally empty...with the exception of the other "football widows" who have escaped from the cheering crowds in their homes.
I remember hearing about a woman who couldn't get some much-needed attention from her hubby during gametime. She had tried everything...including nudity....all to no avail. Before giving up, she decided to put on a football uniform as she strutted in front of the tv. This actually temporarily got his eyes away from the screen and she was able to talk to him once he stopped laughing.
One thing that really cracks me up about Dave and his sports addiction is this:
On game day he will read about the upcoming games in the newspaper as well as his Sport's Illustrated.
Prior to the game he will check out the stats on his computer and get up-to-date predictions.
The game starts and goes until half-time where a group of ex-football players will be televised going over the game that was just played.
As the games end, another group will discuss the events of the competition play by play including showing highlites of the action.
And, finally, he will read about it all over again in the next day's newspaper!
Well, the way I see it I will have to try and get my conversations in during commercials....or sometime between football season and the start of basketball season....of course that is followed by baseball season.......and, when that ends the new football season begins again....
That was about all of the excitement for today.
Dave took a morning walk with me.
When we got home, he assumed his position on the couch.
I made omelets with tomatoes, feta and Greek seasoning.
He read the Sunday paper.
He cleaned up the morning dishes (he's so good about that!).
I did some pottery.
He began to watch his typical 5 sporting events at once.
Later I made dinner (chicken, squash and sweet potato fries).
He cleaned up the dinner dishes (the cook is exempt from cleaning duty again).
He found his spot back on the couch.
I began writing in my blog for the day.
All of this excitement is more than I can handle...
What else can I say?
Time for bed.
G'nite. : )
"A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called old for the first time..." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Sitting in the waiting room at the tire place a couple of days ago, I was joined by three gentleman also awaiting their cars.
The television was on and a new report was being aired about cell phone use affecting our hearing.
I glanced over at the man sitting next to me who looked to be a bit older than me and said, "Great, one more thing to worry about!".
As he smiled at my comment, he then laughingly said, "Well, at our age our hearing is probably already going!".
Did he think that I was "old"????
And, how old exactly did he think that I was?
Then I started thinking....now that I have turned the ripe old age of 59, is that considered "old"?
Am I still in the middle-age range or have I jumped to another level?
And what are the levels actually? Young, adolescent, teen, young adult, middle aged, and then....old?
I want more levels than that!
How about middle-aged, older middle-aged, really old middle-aged, ridiculously old middle-aged, old enough to know better, old and cranky, old-fashioned, antiquated, older than dirt, elderly, old enough to remember the good old days, out-dated, oldie but goodie, old enough to get away with things, older and wiser, vintage, archaic, ancient.... and then what....?
Is the final classification "obsolete"?
It was a compassionate time of hugs and love as everyone gathered together to pay their final respects.
Old pictures were brought out and stories from the past were revisited. We carefully placed these photos inside of streams of ribbons that were placed on tag board and bordered with greenery. These were exhibited on easels in the church's lobby for sharing with all who's lives had been touched by Kaye.
I was speechless as several hundred people stood in line for several hours for the viewing. This was my first experience with an open casket... and, it was pretty overwhelming. She did look calmly beautiful and peaceful as the family surrounded her with their love..
Kaye taught signing at a school for the deaf for 23 years, so many of her students were in attendance at her funeral. It was mesmerizing to me as I watched many of them signing to each other...almost like watching a graceful dance as they expressed themselves with hand gestures and signals. Communication can take many forms...and, to me, signing is a beautiful form of relating.
Many times when "hearing-abled" people talk with each other we allow distractions to affect our attention to each other. However, when a person is signing, they are completely focused on the other person and as they give them full respect and concentration. We could learn a lot from that...
At the funeral service Dave decided to represent the family as he went to the church podium to speak. As he spoke eloquently about his sister I felt such pride in being a part of his life. At the end of his talk, he quoted the words from a Beatle's song that I found so appropriate in describing Kaye's life: "...and, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make..."
Gazing around at the variety of faces in the packed church; family, friends, teachers, students, the cafeteria ladies as well as the school janitor.... it was obvious to me that she had given a lot of love in her shortened lifetime...
Rest in Peace, Kaye.
The deep emotions from that experience itself will be a future post when I am able to get my thoughts together....but, first I must write about last night.
I flew back to Birmingham in the late afternoon, while Dave decided to take a later flight last night. That afforded him a little more private time to say his good-byes before heading home.
Around nine o'clock that night I headed to the airport to pick him up. Driving along the very busy highway, I heard a loud noise like something had hit the back of my car. Moments later, as the car began to make a loud vibrating noise, I surmised that I had a flat tire and better get off to the side of the road as quickly as possible.
I pulled off to the small area along a guard rail and tried to catch my breath as the cars were whizzing by my at high speeds. They seemed so close to the car that it shook every time a car or truck went by... It was frightening!
Realizing that I was pretty helpless just sitting in my car, I called Dave on my cell phone as he was awaiting my arrival at the airport. I know that he was more than ready to be picked up after his long, emotional trip home.The cars were coming so close to me on the driver's side and the passenger side was as close to the guard rail as I could get it...so I was pretty much trapped in the car alone on the side of the dark highway.
As Dave and I spoke, I suddenly spotted yellow flashing lights on a big truck in my rear view mirror. I could see a figure sitting in the driver's seat but couldn't make out a face.
My mind suddenly thought about the shows where a seemingly good Samaritan looks like they are going to help you and then end up abducting you.
(I know, I know, I am watching way too much television!) : O
After a few minutes (that felt like hours), I got up the nerve to try and get out of my car to see if he could be of some help. When there was a temporary lull in the rushing traffic, I quickly opened the door, got out on the road, and tapped on his window on the passenger side of the truck.
He was sitting there jotting down information on a clipboard and stopped to roll down the window as I pathetically said, "I have a flat tire and I don't know what to do...".
This big, brawny man gave me a toothy smile and said not to worry...that was why he was there.
This "angel" of a man was with the Alabama Service Assistance Patrol...an emergency response unit within the Alabama Department of Public Safety. He was actually on his way home when he spotted me along the road.
Putting himself in danger, he calmly pulled off my old tire as the cars were so close by that his bright colored vest rippled each time they went by. The tire had a huge gash in it, probably from a stray piece of metal that must have been on the road. He put my spare tire on for me, all the while trying to gently talk to me over the loud commotion of the cars going by.
As he tightened the last bolt on the spare, I began to ask him how I should pay him. He said that there wasn't any charge; that this was a free service. I said then at least let me give you a tip for your time...but, he said that he was not allowed to take that either.
Exasperated, and so full of gratitude, I said, "Are you allowed to get a big hug?".
He laughed and said, "That I can collect..."
As I hugged this big, gentle giant of a man, I tried to see if I could feel any wings under that vest...
...Later on that evening as I was retelling the story to Dave and how incredible it was that this wonderful man arrived to help me, he looked at me and said in a soft voice, "Maybe my sister, Kaye had something to do with it..."
Thank you all for your heartfelt prayers throughout this difficult time.
Kaye showed such strength and determination as she fought this courageous battle . She was an inspiration to so many in her 57 years of life. Her presence will be sorely missed by all those who loved her.
It is my hope that she has now, at last, found peace.....
"True wisdom lies in gathering precious moments out of each day..."I am 59 year's old today.
One more year of being in my 50's before celebrating the big 6-0 !
How can that be?
As I appreciatively open each birthday card that I have received, I laugh at the similar theme that seems to run through each and every one of them: "getting older" and all that comes with it. This is where having a good sense of humor comes in very handy... : )
In the meantime, my birthday this year falls on Rosh Hashonah, which marks the beginning of the High Holidays... a period of reflection and introspection in the Jewish faith.It is the Jewish New Year and will end on the 21st as we observe Yom Kippur, the holiest of days. It is a time of soul searching as we ask forgiveness for our sins of the past year.
Between that and the sad situation with Dave's sister fight to stay alive, it is a bit difficult for me to feel very celebratory today.
However, since it is a day commemorating the date of my birth, I have decided to take the time to count my many blessings and to celebrate the gifts that I have been given in my life.
With all of its ups and downs (!!), I have had a very good 59 years filled with incredible family, friends, and joys too much to measure.
For that and so much more, I am extremely grateful and thankful...
Since his family is Presbyterian, Dave suggested that I make it with the Presbyterian Cross. After looking up the details of this cross, I began to form the box.
My idea was to fill the box with positive "thoughts" that might be a source of inspiration for her as she battled her cancer so I painted strips of clay with various words such as: harmony, healing, clarity, serenity, acceptance, courage, strength, spirit, prayer, laughter, hope, faith, etc.
As she continues her struggle to get through each day, I am hopeful that some of these affirmations are a source of strength, not only to Kaye, but to the family members that are at her side...
Here is what I received back from them via email:
Thank you for your interest in our Smart Balance product(s).We understand your concern and are happy to be able to advise you that we do not use diacetyl in our Smart Balance Popcorns.Joan Dippolito, Consumer RelationsSmart Balance Inc.
So, looks like it's back to the microwave for me...
Yum. : )
Being a sports weekend, I knew that he could relax while watching his favorite game.
Little did I know that he would find a way to watch 5 games (4 football and one baseball) while he was instant messaging with his niece in Delaware...AND reading the Sunday paper!
He had the television on with "picture in picture" in the lower right hand corner...and then he had three different games on his computer.
Now, that's talent! : )
"In the darkest hour the soul is replenished and given strength to continue and endure." Heart Warrior Chosa
This has been an extremely difficult time for Dave as he waits for the latest update on his sister's condition.
She continues to courageously fight the cancer that has spread throughout her body now. Even though it now seems as if the cancer is winning, she still hangs on.
The family has "given her permission" to "let go" if she needs to as the quality of her life has so diminished. Much of her day is spent in a deep sleep and, at the times when she is awake, she is not always lucid.
It takes an agonizing toll on her loved ones, too. One does not know exactly what to pray for at this point....what prayers would be best for this daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher,and friend to so many? When all is said and done, I imagine that most of the prayers are for her not to suffer anymore...and to be at peace.
While I was in Minnesota with my family, Dave spent Labor Day weekend with his sister and the rest of his family up in Delaware, but had to return late Monday night to go back to work and reality Tuesday morning. He had three wonderful days with her as she was awake more than asleep during that time. But, now, he sits here in Birmingham, many miles away.... awaiting reports from family members as they update her condition to him. It is so hard.
We are both packed and ready to go at a moment's notice...but, in the meantime the roller coaster of Life seems to have the same meaning of the roller coaster of terminal illness. Everything is from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. Nothing is for sure.
The helplessness of living so far away is so all-consuming... and the waiting, arduous, as we try to go about our normal activities, all the while jumping at the sound of a phone ringing...eager, yet fearful, of the news...
Adam and Jenny have been very careful about introducing Owen to very nutritional foods. He loves his vegetables and I credit this to the two of them!
But, on this special day, Owen, of course, got to eat his cake as well as some ice cream....
...and things will never be the same.
It is certainly a screaming match as Owen mimics everything he hears....
The background laughter is brought to you by Grammie and Mimi...
First I am told to limit my diet soda drinking...now the very popcorn that I consume may be detrimental to my health!?!?!
I am an admitted popcorn fanatic.
Most of the time when Dave comes over he can smell the telltale aroma of freshly popped microwave popcorn in my house. He laughs at me and my popcorn addiction.
But, I can't help it. I love the crunchy, buttery taste of each puffed kernel! I'm not even sure that I can enjoy a movie without it. (Although since "they" found out that theater popcorn was equal to eating several Big Mac's- I have had to sneak in my own Smart Balance popcorn in a large purse for healthier snacking!)
Now, I switched to Smart Balance microwave popcorn because it touted that it was without any of those demon trans fats. So, now I was resting assured that my lovable snack could be healthily consumed.
It seems as if researchers have now found a condition called "popcorn lung" (such a silly name for a serious condition!) that has shown up in popcorn factory workers to be linked to "diacetyl". This chemical is used in the butter flavoring found in microwave popcorn as well as other flavored foods.
There has also been one case of this life-threatening disease occurring in a homeowner who consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years.
Being the savvy consumer that I am (!!), I tried to get in touch with the Smart Balance consumer relations department today, but received a recorded message telling me that no one could take my call at the moment. (They are all probably hiding somewhere and avoiding all calls today!) So, I emailed them through a consumer form that I found on their website. I want to know if they use diacetyl in their microwave popcorn...and, if they do, will they be changing the formulation.
Stay tuned. I will report more when I hopefully hear back from them.
In the meantime I am going to go eat some organic carrots.... : )
They're safe, aren't they?
One day when you are old enough, I hope that you will have a chance to read through some of the letters that I have written to you in my blog. Since your birth was the inspiration for my starting this blog, it only seems fitting that I should save these posts for you.
Spending the weekend up in Minnesota with you was almost beyond words.(...but, you know your Grammie....I always seem to be able to come up with some words to express my joy and delight! : ) ha! )
The love that surrounded you last weekend was so palpable. There wasn't a thing that you did that didn't give us all a tremendous amount of pleasure.
I am quite sure that your mommy and daddy are having to undo some of the spoiling that we did...but, I guess that is what grandparent's are for, right?
If you put the spoon of food in your mouth by yourself we were amazed at this grand feat...even your hiccups were enchanting....and when you threw that ball to us...OH! that was an achievement of Olympic proportions. If you fit the square toy into the correct hole, you were an absolute genius deserving of a hearty round of applause!! (We have your application for MENSA ready to go!)
I watched as all of us drifted back to a time when getting on our hands and knees crawling around after you was a possibility without the moans and groans that normally accompany such tasks at our age. We began to interact with you while taking on your language of indistinguishable sounds because it caused you to happily react back to us. And, no matter how many times you dropped that sippy cup on the floor, we were there to retrieve it and put it back on the high chair tray.
Taking you to the playground at the park we playfully climbed up the equipment, went down slide and joined you on the swings as we shared your joy of adventure. (Thankfully, a couple of Advil would help our joint pain later on that evening!)
We recalled a time when blowing bubbles and trying to pop them was magical....when a simple blade of grass could hold our interest for a while....and when watching someone's tongue move about in their mouth was captivating.
We saw a reflection of our own youth in your sweet eyes and heartwarming smile. You allowed us to be young again...and it was incredible.
So, my dear Owen, thank you for bringing out the kid in all of us again.
Watching you grow is a miraculous pleasure that renews itself every time that I am with you.
Until the next visit...
I love you so very much and miss you already,
Where do I start?
Spending time with my now one year old grandson was pure heaven...
I shared this joy with Adam and Jenny, Jenny's parents, Adam's father and his wife. As a group we became known as the "Grandparent Paparazzi" as we were constantly documenting Owen's every move on our cameras.
Together we sighed as he made his cute noises- always hoping to hear a "Grammie", "Mimi", "Poppie", "Grandpa", or "Tita" come out of that sweet mouth! We joyously melted as he reached out to be in our arms....or laughed as he giggled at our silliness and feeble attempts to amuse him...we applauded his every move as he climbed over everything in his way, crawled on hands and toes....and even tried to stand up and take a step or two with our help...
One afternoon we burst into laughter as we sat around his monitor intently listening to every sound that he was making while he was resting in his crib. It was like a time before television when people gathered around their radios for entertainment.
The first evening together both sets of grandparents got out old pictures and videos of Adam and Jenny as they turned one many years ago. What fun as we saw bits of Owen in each of them...or, should I say that Owen had parts of the two of them in his darling face?
I am posting a picture below of Adam around Owen's age. Isn't it amazing? That big-eyed "look" is unmistakably "Owen"!
I will try not to get too carried away with pictures and stories....
...it was an incredible first birthday weekend with my family and Owen and I have tons of pictures and stories....(What a surprise, eh?).
It had only been a month since last seeing him....and, yet, the changes were already so obvious. He is starting to look more like a little boy as he loses some of his "baby" features.
So, let me begin....As soon as I landed on Thursday, I took a cab from the airport to the Hilton to pick up Owen's other grandmother, Mimi, (who flew in from St. Louis with Poppie)...and then the two of us headed to General Mill's Day Care to pick up Owen!
Unfortunately, the cab driver didn't really know his way around (!!)...didn't speak much English (!!).... and, so this five mile drive to the Airport Hilton took a lot longer than it should have as we pretty much drove in circles....The hotel was in sight, but he couldn't seem to find the road that would take us there. By the time we got there, the meter was already over $17.
By the time the driver got us to General Mill's we were over $50 in cab fare.
But, knowing what was ahead, we had to laugh as we quickly paid him and made our way inside.
Security is very tight at General Mills so we had to wait until my son came down and got us....we presented our id's and got our badges...and walked as quickly as we could to the Day Care area and the birthday boy.
Of course there was some trepidation as he caught site of the two crazy grandma's (we are called "The Screaming Greemies" as you combine "Grammie" and "Mimi"!) coming toward him.
"Do you think that he remembers us?", we both queried as we approached this precious child.