Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sleeping Angel

Audrey is so incredible.

She just loves to sit in her little bouncy seat and watch the world go by! She takes it all in with those big, blue eyes of hers...and, if you happen to stop by and speak to her...she rewards you with a great smile and a "coo".

Here is a picture of her totally satisfied after her last bottle right before bedtime.

I'm having a wonderful time with the grandkids...

...or did I already mention that???


Saturday, August 30, 2008


Does every grandmother feel this way about their grandbabies?????

I am having a wonderful time just holding them, watching them, hugging them.....well, just being with them...

Owen's birthday party was supposed to be today...but, unfortunately, he began to have a fever yesterday....went to the doctor....and the party was put off until tomorrow. It seems as if his three new teeth that are trying to cut through are making him one miserable puppy. In this photo he is enjoying a popsicle...the cold feels so good on his gums. Poor little guy.

But, since we didn't do the party today, we decided to put together his birthday gift from all of the grandparents....a little play kitchen!

He had a ball "cooking" things on his play stove and serving them to the anxiously awaiting grandparents.

The males in the family thought that it was strange to give a little boy a kitchen (haven't they ever heard of famous male chefs???)...but, they were the first ones sitting on the floor and playing with Owen's newest toy!!!

More pictures to come....


Tired, but happy, Grammie

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taking off today!

...Heading to Minneapolis,






(I will try and blog when I can!) : )

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


"Perception is merely reality filtered through the prism of your soul"-Christopher A. Ray

In preparation for my trip tomorrow morning, I went to get my hair cut and colored yesterday.

This is ritual that I go through every few weeks and it always fills me with a mixture of excitement and dread. Part of this is due to the fact that I have very fine, very thin hair that is hard to do much with. My wonderful hairdresser of the last 15 years or so works her magic on me and tries to make my sparse hair look full and lush.

As she got out her scissors to begin the process yesterday, I mentioned that I was ready to go a little shorter.

"Okay" she said, with a bit of a smirk on her face.

"You know, I am getting ready to turn 60 in a few weeks...and, I am thinking that a little change might be good," I nervously replied.

"Okay" she said again...smiling at me knowing of the angst that I go through with my hair.

Let the cutting begin.

After she did the "first round"...I looked at it and said, "Let's go shorter."

"Okay," she said, and happily got the scissors out again to continue trimming. (She has always thought that my hair would look better, she was quite pleased with me at this point.)

"Oh, I don't know..." I said with a bit of panic in my voice. Maybe I should.... (confusion, trepidation and, even, fear being felt here...)

"Let's do it..." I finally expressed after going back and forth in my mind and making more of this than needed to be made.

For some reason this haircut became 'bigger than life' in my mind.

She continued to trim and snip as I sat there sweating.

Suddenly, my eye caught a reflection in the mirror of a lady across from where I sat. She looked a little older than I was and she had an empty look on her face. I continued to gaze at her as I realized that the hairdresser was using an electric razor on her very thin and straggly hair. He did this until every hair was shaved and she sat there with a completely bald head.

It seems as if this woman has been in three times in the last few years to go through this procedure...each time during her chemotherapy treatments.

My little haircut lost all of its importance at that moment... I began to put things in the right perspective.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So, Grammie....when are you coming to visit?


Two more days and I will be heading to Minnesota!!! I hope that you and Audrey are ready for lots of hugs!!!!!!!

: )

Grammie (I like your new haircut!)

Wake up, Audrey...Grammie's coming!

Monday, August 25, 2008

this, that....and the other things

Monday morning and we have rain (as well as tornado and flash flood watches and warnings!) again as the remnants of Hurricane Fay seem to be lingering around Alabama, including Birmingham. I couldn't help but notice that my surroundings do seem greener and happier with this beneficial rain....but, this does not take away the horrific devastation that Florida is dealing with with the extreme flooding there. My heart is with all of these people who have been affected by Fay.


I was thinking about something really sweet that Dave does for me all the time when he is over here. He empties my dishwasher! I think that he must actually enjoy putting all of the clean things away....(right now he is probably sitting at his office desk rolling his eyes!)...Whatever, I so appreciate it, Sweetie.


Well, I guess that any hopes of my turning 60 quietly and anonymously are gone. It seems as if I am going to be the beneficiary of several celebrations from now until the actual day, the 13th. As I head to Minneapolis this week, it seems as if I will be getting one of Jenny's wonderful birthday cakes. I hope that Owen doesn't mind sharing a bit of his 2nd birthday weekend with his Grammie. Upon my return home, I will find myself at a birthday dinner put on by my incredible well as a more "intimate" luncheon with the "Girlies" two days later. The following week will find me heading to Atlanta to spend 5 days with my three sisters and my Mom! Three of them are flying in for this....and, knowing them, I am sure that it will be full of fun surprises....


While I am off celebrating 'turning old' (!)....unfortunately, Dave will be on a trip of a different kind. On my birthday, one year ago, his sister passed away after her brave battle with cancer. With my blessings, he will be heading home to Delaware to spend the weekend with his family. It is where he should be...I will be 60 all year long...and we will find another time to celebrate together.


In preparation of my first trip out of town, I have made a fresh batch of sugar water for my hummingbirds. I don't want them to think that the "restaurant" is closed just because I am gone! And, of course, the bird feeder will be restocked with seeds and nuts! Once a mother, always a mother....


Have a lovely day....and count your blessings.

I know that I am.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

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My Mom and "The Home" update

Finding your footing again after a great loss in one's life is extremely difficult.

While Mom still has some bad days when she finds herself teary and missing my father's presence so very much, she seems to have found her 'niche' in "The Home" (as we affectionately call her new place at the Independent Living complex).

She has made the very small apartment warm and inviting filling it with her favorite colors of turquoise, aqua and beige.

It has taken a while, but family pictures are slowly finding their way back on to her shelves...including a handsome framed photo of my dad that sits on the dresser in her bedroom.

She has learned some of the ins and outs of "The Home" such as: getting to dinner early enough so that the kitchen doesn't run out of your favorite things; getting to know the handyman so that you can call on him when you are needing his assistance; if you ask nicely enough, you can usually garner a few extra cookies to take up to your room after lunch or dinner; ordering dinner over the phone and taking it back to the room is a great option when you have had a late lunch and can't fathom the idea of eating at 5 o'clock; and, finally, when the fire alarm goes off one really doesn't have to trudge down the six flights of stairs as long as the ninety-seven year old lady across the hall doesn't smell smoke! (true happened the other night!)

Only a few weeks had passed and Mom was immediately recruited to be a member of the Home's infamous "Welcoming Committee"! She had hardly been "welcomed" herself when she had this honor bestowed upon her. : ) Now, she finds herself running to meetings every few days. She mentioned that the group consists of all women and one man. She also told me that the women all talk over one another and that the gentleman doesn't get to say much....I can only imagine. I have a feeling that she will be heading this committee some day in the near future!!

She has befriended the ladies in her knitting club that she joined recently...and they help each other with dropped stitches, etc. I know that she is enjoying this group as she has been knitting a blanket for her newest greatgrandchild-to-be....due in September.

The other day Mom had to go downstairs and pick out and order her new red hat because she was invited to join the "Red Hat Society". Seeing her adorned in a large, red hat is something that I can't wait to see....Of course, she told me yesterday that "red is really not a good color for her."!!! Too funny.

Who knows?

Maybe she can change this to the "Turquoise Hat Society" someday.

You know, it wouldn't surprise me a bit!

You go girl! : )

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hummingbird Heaven

I have a new love in my life and it is all Dave's fault................hummingbird watching..!!!

He has been a hummingbird aficionado for many years as he has a feeder right outside of his kitchen window where he can view their comings and goings as he sits and eats.

He has his "regulars" that come back year after year to enjoy the sweet sugar water nectar.

I started with one "artsy" feeder that I purchased years ago from an art show. It is basically a fancy clear bottle turned upside down with a piece of red glass at the end where the syrup comes out. I think that I spotted one hummingbird on one occasion in all of the years that I had it hanging outside.

He convinced me to puchase an inexpensive plastic feeder at Home Depot....fill it up with the sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar--add sugar to the boiled water---let cool) it at my sunroom window...and wait.

So, I did.

The results have been amazing. I now have three hummingbirds that frequent my feeder all the time. They are so much fun to watch as they hover about with those tiny wings flittering about. I captured one of them at the feeder the other day and took the above video.

I have learned that these tiny, delicate creatures are quite territorial and will fight for their spot on the feeder. When I see them "fighting" with each other, I get upset and want to shout: "Can't we all just get along?!".

Dave says that I should get them to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya, my Lord" and see if that helps....

I think that he was making fun of my peaceful nature...don't you? : )

Friday, August 22, 2008

Can you guess what this is????????

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After some coercing....(along with having to remove a stuck dead battery from their camera!)...I have finally received some new photos of Janet's ever-expanding baby bump!

It brought tears to my eyes as I looked at Janet's beautiful, glowing face carrying my newest grandchild-to-be!!!!!!

With the due date of around September 20th approaching, things are really moving along.

She is, in actuality, larger than this-- in that this morning, mama-to-be told me that these pictures were taken 3 weeks ago!

Now, you have to understand that my dear Janet is not a big girl to start with. She is extremely petite...actually, tiny would be a better word! So, this little (little?) baby is trying to take over any space available.

Hang in there, Janet! Before you know it, you and Jeffrey will be holding that baby in your arms!!!!!

...and, this Grammie can't wait! : )


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The epitome of "Barefoot and Pregnant"!!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Counting down the days!!!!

As I look at this recent picture of Audrey and Jenny I am smiling because I will be there with them in Minnesota in exactly ONE WEEK! More info to come....

: )

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm going to be published!

A few years ago I read a "call for stories" from the Chicken Soup for the Soul book people. They were working on putting out a book on divorce and wanted people to send in their personal stories.

I read this at a time when I was finally moving on from my divorce...and finding a peaceful place in my, I began to write my thoughts down.

The words poured out of me as I told my story of moving from sadness and angst to a place of calmness and joy after the divorce. This was right about the time that my grandson was born...and I had made a decision that eventually allowed my ex and I to reunite as friends. While I may have initially made those decisions for the sake of my kids...these behaviors actually ended up coming back to me in so many positive ways.

The writing was so cathartic for me as I put my feelings into words...It felt so good to be able to express my own personal journey of getting through the sadness of divorce after over 30 years of being married....and landing on the "other side" of all of the pain.

I began to think that my words might actually help others finding themselves in this same

...I decided to send it in to the Chicken Soup people.

Several months later I received a letter telling me that my story was being considered for inclusion in the book. I had to clarify some information....and send it back to them.

I was cautiously excited, but knowing that they received thousands of stories for their books I tried to remain realistic about my chances.

Well, fast forward almost two years later...and I received another letter asking me to proofread my story and sign some releases... in that I was still being considered for publication. I did this....and waited...afraid to get too excited.

Then, yesterday, I received a congratulatory letter from the Chicken Soup editors telling me that the book will be out on October 7, 2008...and that my story will be part of it!!!

Now, I am excited!

Watch out J.K. Rowling!!!!

(P.S. If any of you come upon the book when it does come out, the name of my story is "Breathe". ) : )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more


One of the perks that comes with summertime is the wonderful array of fruits that become available.

I adore a sweet peach, a juicy nectarine, a ripe cantelope, a sugary slice of watermelon and, of course, blueberries. Mmmmmm.

I always took blueberries for granted-until now. I recently found out that these deep blue-purple delicacies are actually the new "brain food".

Who knew that this innocuous little berry could hold so much power?!

Now that I am armed with the information, I have been buying them up as fast as I can eat them! Then I sit and wait for my brain to begin to function at a much higher level.

In all honesty, I haven't really noticed any differences...but, I'm not taking any, I keep on eating my blueberries.

Well, today I found out about one of the studies that was done to bring researchers to this conclusion...and, it has me doubting these "magical powers" that the blueberry supposedly contains.

It seems as if British researchers fed "a group of senior citizen rats (huh?) powdered blueberries and tested them on how well they ran a maze. Before eating the berries, the rats were only 60 percent successful. And after? Eighty-three percent."

OK. First of all....what are "senior citizen" rats (the words used in the study!)? Are these rats wearing reading glasses and using walkers to get through the maze? More importantly, are they members of AARP for rats?


The study goes on to say that "...the effect may be linked to the anthocyanins and flavonols blueberries contain: It's believed that both enhance brain cell communication and growth."

OK. Let's be honest here. Those "senior citizen" rats weren't doing any better in the maze because they ate blueberries.

Truth be told, after being fed the delicious sugar powdered berries, they went through the maze quicker just to look for more of the tasty treats.

Brain food?


Just smart rats.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Owen at the sprinkler park

Such reckless abandon! Such joy! How wonderful..... : )

The swim suit is a little long...and, the orange crocs....well, what can I say!?!?!...but, Owen is having an absolute ball!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My backyard cardinal....

"I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful." Pete Hamill

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." Chinese Proverb

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This beautiful cardinal hangs out in my back yard all of the time. He and the other birds give me so much watching pleasure......

(sorry for the camera...still learning how to use it...!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Owen and Audrey lounging

..not the most exciting video...but, for some reason, I cannot get my photos to transfer to the blog so I'll post this instead today. Audrey just got this brand new hot pink makes Owen's old chair looks so little in comparison. A few more weeks and I will be there!

Off to college....

After a long and arduous drive from S. Florida to Birmingham, my nephew and his dad (my brother-in-law) arrived here late last night.

Armed with a suitcase full of "Alabama Roll Tide" t-shirts and other paraphernalia, Braden is getting ready to be a part of the large freshman class at the University of Alabama. Since I am only a 45 minute drive from Tuscaloosa, Birmingham was a good stopping point and place to get rested for a busy weekend ahead.

I fed them a home-cooked meal...baked some homemade "Grammie" cookies...and they got settled in. Dad Marty fell asleep on the couch almost immediately, while Braden managed to stay up late and watch the Olympics. Ah, youth!

As they got ready to head to the campus early this morning, my thoughts went back to a time when I was first leaving for the University of Florida. I nervously went to Gainesville, Florida, all packed up....and on the train. It is a huge state school and it was quite intimidating facing the large crowds of arriving students on my own.

I do remember meeting a guy that first day waiting in line for my class schedule. It seemed like we were in line, we got acquainted....and later even dated for a while (!). I also recall that waiting in line was something that I pretty much did most of those first few days...whether it was for supplies, student loan money, id cards, etc. etc. Patience was certainly a virtue those first days of being a college freshman.

As Braden left this morning carrying his backpack filled with his i-pod, a hand-held computer, and a cell phone...I had to laugh at how different things are for kids nowadays. Even this big state school that he is going to seems to be less intimidating with these 21st century necessities...and, I bet that with so much of everything computerized these days, the long lines have even become extinct!

So, as I sent them off this morning with a ziplock filled with cookies and a "Roll Tide" hope is that Braden will have a wonderful college experience as he begins this new chapter in his life...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hey you like pancakes???

(I think that the answer is "yes"!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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Todays "Blondie" comic strip says it all!

OK....I am starting to get a little bit of an "Olympics Obsession".

I have found myself staying up waaaay past my bedtime in order to see some of the events. (Of course the sponsors are going to put the most exciting events on at late prime time to increase their viewers!)*yawn*

While Michael Phelps has proved himself to be an athletic phenomenon...I have almost gotten blase' about his gold medal count now that he has surpassed all possible amazing is he? If he gets a silver medal now, it would almost be like a loss for him! Watching him glide through the water so effortlessly is fascinating...and, the way he looks bears no resemblance to the other swimmers during the races. Unbelievable. I'm thinking that instead of checking him for steroids....they should look for gills on his body. (!)

But, what has really captivated me has been the gymnastics.

Watching these kids (some of the Chinese girls look like they are 10-11 years old--which is causing some controversy I have heard) jump and tumble and spin and twist and turn and hang on to those little bars while swinging around and around...etc. etc. Well, I am amazed and worn out all at the same time.

I can hardly jump up in the air these days...and, yet, they are doing triple spins before landing feet first on the ground!

You know, truthfully, I don't think that I could have done that even when I was younger. I find it astounding....

....and exhausting.

Is it naptime yet? : )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Group picture...

Sometimes it is difficult to get everyone's eyes open and looking ahead! These two pictures of my beautiful (growing) family proves that! (Check out Owen and Audrey's eyes in each photo)
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Monday, August 11, 2008

What a difference a few months can make....

Because it is so cold so much of the time in Minneapolis, the malls also serve as indoor playgrounds. There are sections devoted entirely to young children where they can run around and play...go down the slides....climb....sit in the little cars, etc. etc.

One time when Owen was younger, I took him to one of these indoor playgrounds...and, he had a ball.

That is


...I put him in the seat of one of those cars that cost 50 cents a ride.

He seemed happy to be sitting there.....


...I put the quarters in and the car began to move up and down.

At that point, his sweet little face turned into one of total fright!!! He began to cry and reach out to me to get him out of this horrifying situation...which, of course, I immediately did.

OH, I felt terrible for having "traumatized" my grandson in this way...

Well, moving ahead to this past weekend...

Adam and Jenny took him to an amusement park and he loved the rides! The proof is below...

So, maybe I didn't do any permanent "damage" that day in the mall after all....

: )

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crabby Grass?

"If the grass seems greener on the other side, it's probably Astroturf."

I have a lawn service....sort of.

It is more of a mow and blow and go!

Once in a while I have to ask them to do some other things to my recently, when I noticed the crabgrass was beginning to overtake my zoysia grass...

I think that this may have turned out to be a big mistake as noted by the pictures above...

These pictures were taken after two treatments of crab grass killer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What have they done to my nice, green front yard?

It looks like he was haphazardly spraying my yard....killing everything that the poisonous spray hit...while the crabgrass continued to flourish.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

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Being a part of the "blogging world" has brought so much into my life.

Friendships are made with people from all over the world as experiences are shared...and stories are told.

I am especially moved by the bravery and compassion out there as everyday people share their struggles and challenges with such grace and determination.

One very special lady, JeanMac, from A Mountain Too High writes with such love as she watches her husband go through the stages of Alzheimer's.

Her warmth and devotion to this life partner of hers is pretty incredible. I know that it can't be an easy journey for her, but she handles it all with such grace....and, even a bit of gentle humor. She is such an amazing woman...even though if you asked her, she would probably say that she is just doing what anyone would do. I disagree. Reading her blog every day continues to remind me not to sweat the small stuff in life...and to continually count my many that so many people are dealing with some really big stuff....

Another family facing a challenge, can be found in this young woman's journal . Alan Henley, a nationally-known aerobatic pilot, who lives here in Birmingham with is wife and two young children, was recently injured in a freak accident. He was outside playing with his kids on a chin up bar...the bar gave way...and Alan fell back...breaking his neck and cutting his head. He now lies in a hospital bed hooked up to a variety of machines with a 98-99% percent chance of facing a future paralyzed from the chest down with limited mobility in his arms.

The irony of this strapping man, who has delighted folks at air shows with his breathtaking, heart-stopping, aerobatic stunts (his "team" is pictured above)...ending up with a life-changing injury while outside in his own backyard simply playing with his young children.

This story just tugs at my heartstrings as I read his wife's brave and honest daily accounts of dealing with this tragedy and trying to make sense of it all. They are a very religious family, and are using their strong faith to sustain them right now. My prayers go out to them every day.

I could go on and on about the challenges that I read about in "blogland".

They all reconfirm within me the indomitable spirit that most people have deep inside...and, that when you take away all of our outer trappings...and, you stop looking for the "differences" among us.....we are pretty much the same....just going through our lives dealing with our challenges and facing them in the best way that we can.....

...some, just a little more than others...

Thursday, August 07, 2008


"Life begins as a quest of the child for the man and ends as a journey by the man to rediscover the child." Laurens Van Der Post

This quote seemed to really fit the photo that Adam recently sent to me.

Jenny is "guiding" Owen on the path as he joyfully rides on his little tricycle.

It made me think about the "journeys" that we each take as we go through life....So, as I post today I am trying to figure out why I am thinking about all of this...

Maybe it is because the "girlies" (and, my three sisters and Mom!) are beginning to plan for my upcoming 60th birthday which is causing me to focus on my age and how much of my journey has already been lived...and forcing me to look towards the future and all of the adventures still ahead of me...

Maybe it is because I am now a grandmother watching my beautiful grandchildren explore unventured paths as they begin their own journeys...with so many wonderful experiences yet to be lived.

Possibly it is because I lost Dad this year and I am finding myself reminiscing about his personal journey of almost 90 years. I miss his quiet presence in my life every day.

Maybe it is because Mom moved out of her condo and into an "Independent Living" home...where she has been starting on her new journey in life. I am so proud of how well she has adapted....even though I know that this hasn't been easy for her.

Maybe it is because my sons and their wives are dealing with their own personal journeys right moving to a new home and facing those well as happily and excitedly awaiting the birth of their first born....while the others are quickly learning about being parents of a toddler and a newborn.

Maybe it is because I am still dreaming about what I want to be when I grow up...and, all of the things that I still want to accomplish in my life...I have so many passions that I have yet unearthed.

Maybe it is because my divorce continues to be something that I think about...even though several years have passed and I feel so much stronger and more independent as the years go by.

Maybe it is because time seems to be moving so much faster at this point in my life...and, I can't do anything to slow down its progression.

Maybe there isn't just one reason for my thinking about "journeys" right now.

Maybe, I am just in an introspective mood today and this is where my thoughts are taking me...


Wednesday, August 06, 2008