Monday, November 30, 2009

...missing this face.... : )

A letter to Celia

My dear Celia,

As I sit here at my computer desk this morning I am smiling as I think about our time together this Thanksgiving.

Your adorable face just lights up the room wherever you are. And, those eyes! Those gorgeous eyes of yours just immediately capture our attention and draw us right in.

We had so much fun with you as we watched your every move....and laughed at your cute when you put your hands on your waist or behind your back and swayed back and forth....we are thinking that was dancing. So cute.

Your giggles were contagious as anyone played "peek-a-boo" or "chased" after you! You seemed to love the anticipation of what was to come and then "screamed" in joyous delight that kept all of us laughing right along with you.

It seemed like we could just sit and watch you for are so entertaining!

Even though my mom (your great grandmother) doesn't get to see you very often...she will forever remember her days with you sitting on her lap and laying your head on her chest in such a loving manner. It was almost as if you sensed that this was a very special relationship. She will be talking about "her wonderful Celia" for many days to come.

Toys are fun....but, you seemed to delight in pushing buttons, "talking" on the phone, hitting the keys on the computer, and holding onto keys! You are fascinated with keys! In fact, I noticed last night that you are holding keys in almost all of the pictures that I took of you! I love that you know what you want and will persist until you get it! : )

So, my dear Celia, today I am posting one of my favorite moments with you...watching you eat your Cheerios and milk! You would put the whole bowl in your mouth at once if you could...What a joy you are...

And, this Grammie couldn't love you any more than I do as I find myself missing your presence already...

Be a good girl...and I will see you in a few weeks!

I love you,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surprise, Grammie!

We are staying one more day!!!!!!!

Celia and her mommy and daddy surprised me by changing their flight from today to tomorrow morning!

How wonderful that news was to hear....I was so grateful for the extra day with my precious Celia.

Today was especially nice in that we went to a park where friends and their children and grandchildren gathered as they have for many years. So, I got to show her off a bit!

Then, back home, Celia and I took a walk together...I read to her....I played with her....I giggled with her....I let her taste my homemade banana muffins....(she liked them!)....I squished playdoh with her....I colored with her....I sat on my tush and went down the stairs with her....she chased me....I chased her....we had some great "just the two of us" time together.

I am so grateful for my extra special day.

SIGH. : )

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


Mom and Celia...THANKSGIVING 2009

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart." Massieu

My heart is full this Thanksgiving day.....wishing the same for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Say "cheese"!?!

Day three with Mom and I am loving every minute of it!

When I got out my camera, she mentioned that she never looks good in photos. (I disagree--I think that she is a beautiful 87 yr. old woman!) But, with that being said...yesterday I decided to show her my secrets to looking younger in a photo. (ha ha)

I told her to lean forward so that the neck looks more elongated. Since she felt like her eyes looked like slits in photos, I showed her how to open them to give a more natural, more open appearance.

Well, needless to say, this all made her laugh hysterically as the camera snapped away. You can see in the photos that her eyes were all red from laughter tears!

She couldn't stop, here are the results.... including the last photo when I was emphasizing opening up those eyes.......maybe a little too much!

SUCH FUN!!!!! : )

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In case you are wondering why I am smiling today...

Adorable Celia will be here tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Mom is here!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

(I was trying to do rabbit ears behind her...but only one "ear" is visible!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The bird at my window...

Lately, while sitting at my computer desk, I have observed an absolutely beautiful cardinal who seems to like a certain branch right outside my window. Since I am high up on the second floor of my house, he is perched on a tall branch where he can observe the whole backyard.

I wonder if he is keeping an eye on his "kids" as they dine on my birdfeeder down below? Or, could he be the "lookout" bird who guards the yard from strangers?

Maybe he is just serenely enjoying the view as he takes a break from his flying through the air?

Whatever he is up to, it gives me a calm feeling as I watch him sitting there seemingly content...

It makes me stop and pause from whatever I am busily doing....making for a nice break in my day.

I look forward to these daily visits of quiet reflection and peace.......

A bird's eye view of the feeder below....

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Friday, November 20, 2009

28 pound turkey for 9?

OK. I admit it.

I love Thanksgiving and all of the things that come with it!

And, I tend to go a bit (Dave would say: "A BIT?!?!) overboard when it comes to buying the turkey. I go for BIG.

First of all, truth be told, the stuffing is really my favorite part of the whole deal and I like to have a lot of room for a lot of stuffing. I know that "they" all say that you shouldn't put the stuffing into the turkey (then why did they name it "stuffing"?!??) for health reasons...but, to me, there is nothing like flavorful, juicy stuffing cooked inside of the turkey! I usually make a casserole of stuffing too and mix the two together. Mmmmm. Mmmmm.

Yesterday I did part 1 of my Thanksgiving shopping. It was pretty scary in that I actually went without a list! Unimaginable, eh? Oh yeah, I'll be back for parts 2-9.

Going up and down each aisle I grabbed things off of the shelves that I thought that I would need for our holiday feast. When I came to the meat section I began to inspect the Butterball turkeys for the largest one that I could find. Success! I found a 28+ pounder with my name on it. With the help of a nearby stock boy, we lifted this honker into my already partially-filled cart. I walked away feeling a bit smug as I pictured this gorgeous, golden brown bird adorning my Thanksgiving table receiving great oohs and ahhhs from my 'guests'.

Then, some reality kicked in as I realized that there were only going to be nine of us for dinner and one of the nine was a 16 month old baby with, hopefully, a huge appetite!

What was I thinking? Was there even room in my oven for this? Did I have a roasting pan big enough?

After about ten more minutes of staring at this monstrous bird....lying there... taking up most of my cart, I walked back over to the refrigerator section....put it back in the bin....and picked out a smaller bird.

Had I come to my senses? Not really....the one that I traded it in for turned out to be 24 pounds!

Did I hear someone say: "LEFTOVERS"????? : )

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The ceramic leaves are done!

And, here are some of the finished products from a day with the Girlies!

I love them and can't wait to put mine around the Thanksgiving table!

Saturday, Mom will be landing in Atlanta to spend a day with my sister there and then I will pick her up on Sunday....and then a week from today, I will be picking up Jeffrey, Janet, and Celia for the holiday!!

Grammie Heaven. : )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I should have gone to Costco....

It is ten p.m. and I just finished washing the last bowl from my "day of cooking". (yawn)

I thought that I would get a few things made before Mom comes in this weekend...and, the kids arrive next Wednesday. That way I could just go to the freezer and not have to spend the time cooking instead of visiting.

I had purchased some filo dough a few weeks ago in hopes of making some spanakopita on my own. When I told one of my girlfriends about my idea she said, "Are you crazy? Just go to Costco...they have delicious spanakopita and it is even on sale!"

But, stubborn me, I decided to go ahead and attempt to make these little spinach and feta stuffed delicacies on my own. Well, that was a bad idea...they took forever...and don't really even look like the cute little triangles that they are supposed to...but, they are tasty at least.

Of course, then I had the dilemma of what to do with the rest of the filo dough??? I decided to make an apple strudel. I peeled about 8 apples that I had in the refrigerator...sliced them really thin....tossed them with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon and buttered each thin sheet of dough to hold the apple mixture. The one rolled up strudel did not really make a dent in all of the sliced apples that I had, I ended up making three of them as well as four little individual strudels! I hope that everyone that's coming here for Thanksgiving likes strudel !!

I also made a big pot of lentil soup and several containers of butternut squash soup. They have all been cooled down and placed in the freezer awaiting the company.

So, after washing tons of bowls, spoons, pots and pans, I am finally sitting down to relax. I am exhausted....and quite full from tasting everything. **groan**

Oh, yeah, and did I mention that I decided to head to Costco tomorrow??? : )

Monday, November 16, 2009


..the words come easily.

Other times I find myself sitting at my desk staring at the computer screen not knowing what to write.

Tonight, I have a lot of feelings inside of me...not sure that I can find the right words..but, I will try.

As I sit here I have one close girlfriend who spent part of her day at a beauty salon (opened especially for her) having her head totally shaved. The oncologist had let her know that her hair would start falling out after about two weeks of chemo...and, he was right on target.

She noticed that it was starting to thin out on Saturday and made the decision to have it all shaved off before it began to fall out in larger amounts.

Looking at the pictures that she sent tonight, I have to say that she looks beautiful--hair or no hair. And, the wig that she picked out earlier looked adorable on her.

A moment of comic relief occurred when the hairdresser shaved her remaining hair into a mohawk!

Not to worry, it was eventually all shaved off...leaving a big smile on my friend's face.


Today, time was spent with another close girlfriend who is anxiously awaiting her appointment with her "cancer team" on Thursday.

Until then, she can only guess what the course of action will be taken for her newly diagnosed breast cancer.

She asked me today how it was for me to have two close girlfriends facing cancer at the same time.

It was an interesting question...and, a difficult one to answer.

Certainly, I would prefer that neither of them had to be faced with this life-changing challenge. Oh, how I wish that we could go back to how things were just a short month or so ago...before the cancer diagnoses were made. Of course, I pray for good health for all of the people that I love.

The course of things cannot be changed, so, of course, we must look ahead with positive energy and lots of hope. And, we are....and, will continue to do so until both of them hear that they are cancer free.

While these two beautiful women will be handling their journey in their own way, I am confident that each of them will fight the good fight with grace and determination. And, if the loving support of their family and friends means anything, they will both have very positive results in the months ahead.

So, with that all being said, how do I feel right now as I struggle to answer my friend's question? Honestly, I guess that I would say that I am: a bit scared, very touched, quite vulnerable, proud to be included in their group of close friends, somewhat anxious, filled with good thoughts, and amazed at the incredible power of our sisterhood.

I know today that none of us will ever be the same again....and, in many ways, that is not a bad thing. We are growing closer in the process and learning how very much we mean to each other...and, still believing that with love all things are truly possible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh, what a glorious day it is today....

(...a tree in my neighborhood that I took a picture of on my walk today)

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow." -Mary Jean Iron

Thursday, November 12, 2009

While the leaves were falling outside....

...the girlies and I were inside finishing up our ceramic ones.

(Yes, these are made out of clay....they look real, don't they?!)

Now that they are painted, they will have to dry for a few days and then into the kiln they go! Final step: the glazing process...another visit to the kiln...and the leaves will be done...ready to adorn their Thanksgiving tables.

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with my "non-artist" friends abilities. Of course, I do believe that we all have artistic talent inside....and with a little confidence and a free spirit...that can emerge from each and every one of us.

When I teach my adult pottery classes, I find that the most difficult part is getting the students over their fear of "not being able to do it"! Once they get started...the sky is the limit....and, no one is more surprised than the person creating the piece!

As I watched these beautiful and dear friends of mine sitting and working in my studio, I felt a sense of joy, contentment, and love. Unfortunately,the "news" that one of the girls was anticipating did come...and, it wasn't what we wanted to hear. Her news meant that the second of one of the girlies was going to be faced with the challenge of dealing with cancer.

That being said, here we were, supporting each other with our friendship...hugging each other tightly, chatting and laughing and creating something special together.

Our sisterhood grows closer with each step of our journey matter what life throws our way....and, it is pretty spectacular.

"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."

--Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

The "students" and their teacher...

(Missing from this picture are two very special one dear, dear friend who is courageously challenging her ovarian cancer with her incredible positive energy....and, the other who is dealing with chronic migraine headaches. Life can certainly throw things our way...but, I do believe in the incredible strength of friendships and love. As soon as they are up to it....another pottery party will have to be planned!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you do on a miserably rainy day when one of your friends is anticipating a possibly stressful phone call...?


I taught some of the Girlies how to make some ceramic leaves to adorn their tables for Thanksgiving!

We talked, we laughed, we pressed leaves into the clay, we ate pizza and salads, we opened up some wine, we painted....and, we ended up playing a couple of games of mah jongg!

It was a wonderful day...and, truly what friendship is all about....

How lucky we all are.

Monday, November 09, 2009

There's more than one way to get to your food.....

I love these two pictures of Celia wearing her food all over her face....and reaching into the jar with her hand to get whatever is left! Yum...

What a cutie pie!

I will be seeing her in person in just 2 1/2 weeks when she comes to Bham for Thanksgiving!!!!!

Oh yeah, her mommy and daddy are coming too! : )

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Michael Jackson 'This Is It' Official Movie Trailer

"This Is It!"

It was just a rehearsal for his return to touring. Going back on tour was his dream....a dream that never got realized after his untimely death.

No matter what your feelings are about Michael Jackson, when it comes to his talent, passion, and musical genius...there isn't anyone like him.

Dave and I went to see the movie, "This Is It" today...and, I found it all pretty amazing. The singing and dancing was incredible...and, getting to watch the rehearsal process was quite fascinating. Michael was a perfectionist when it came to his musical performances...and, we get to see that side of him during the film.

I had to keep telling myself that this man was 50 years old while doing all of this.


Go see it if you can...

Saturday, November 07, 2009


"But where's my bag?" Spiderman Owen is both the bad and the good one...but, more importantly is the need to find his trick or treat bag! : )

Friday, November 06, 2009

Drink me!

At 5 p.m. yesterday Dave began to drink 8 ounces every ten minutes from this gallon container of cherry flavored liquid.

For those of you who have already been through this, you will undoubetly recognize this as part of the preparation for the "dreaded" colonoscopy!

Because Dave unfortunately has a strong family history of colon cancer, I put the colonoscopy request on my birthday wish list this year (September). It took some prodding nagging to get him to finally make the appointment...but, eventually, he gave in and made the date for his colonoscopy today.

While the "prep" part is certainly not much fun, the procedure itself isn't that much at, he was totally sedated during it.

And, when all was finished and the doctor came out to give me the results---"Everything looked great...all was clear....we will see him in 5 years"...I realized that I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present!

(Give yourself the best gift of good health...if you are over 50, please go and have a colonoscopy!)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Audrey reads to herself

We might not know what she is saying....but, in "Audrey talk" it is very clear! : )

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dear Audrey and Owen,

I have finally unpacked my suitcases, done the laundry, and settled back into my life before my visit with you last week.

It seems that I miss you all as soon as I set foot on the airplane as my head is filled with such wonderful memories of our time together...

After arriving in MN, I headed to your new daycare to pick you up a little early. I was stopped at the entrance because your mommy and daddy had forgotten to leave my name as a possible "picker-upper". Even though it kept me from seeing you both right away, I was actually pleased with how they handled the whole situation....not allowing me to take you out until permission was granted by your parents. After finally reaching your mommy at work, I headed down the hallway with the head of the school as she showed me to your room, Owen. Thankfully, you saw me at the door and immediately ran into my arms for a welcome hug. (Oh, how good that felt!) It made me smile and sigh with relief that the school head got even more reinforcement that I was, in actuality your Grammie....and, not some stranger. : O

Audrey, you were another story as you stared at me with a confused look on your face. Kind of like...."I think that I know this lady....but, I'm not sure why....but she does look familiar..." After all, you were just one year old when I saw you last-- this past summer....but, after a few minutes you were happily in my arms as we headed to you house.

How the two of you have grown in the past few months! Owen, you speak so eloquently...way beyond your three short years of life. Your mind is always thinking, thinking, thinking! You totally amazed me at the library when you were so adept at the computer in the children's area. Your love of books is still so strong...and, our last night together I must have read you 8-10 books before you fell off to sleep! As I would finish one, you would ask me to read "just one more"...and, you know that Grammies cannot resist a request like that.. : )

And, Audrey, you are something else! You are starting to talk a lot more...mostly one word at a time....but you fill in the rest of the sentence with your own little language...and, the amazing thing is that we can actually figure out what it is that you are saying!

You seem to be taking in all that surrounds you with those big, pensive, blue eyes of yours. You look all "girly, girly"...but, the reality is that you are quite the "pistol" and can hold your own very well. You know what you want and you usually get it. Who can resist your adorableness? Certainly not me!

I especially love watching the two of you at play. Owen, you are such a sweetie as you go up to your little sister....without prompting...and give her hugs. "Audrey, do you want to go and run with me?" you ask. Then, the two of you begin to run and run and run....giggling with delight the whole time. Sometimes you both fall together or jump into the big, beanbag chair in your playroom....all the time laughing hysterically. You are such good playmates and I loved watching you together.

The hardest part of my visits with you and your mommy and daddy is the fact that I eventually have to leave. It looks like I won't be seeing you again for several more months....but, in the meantime I will just have to keep remembering the wonderful times that we had together on this visit.

Stay well and happy and continue to give each other lots of love and hugs....and, above all, remember that your Grammie in Alabama loves you both with all of her heart...

photos from my visit....

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Monday, November 02, 2009

I promised you all a big laugh.....

So, here it is. Grammie as Minnie Mouse....Halloween in MN, 2009.

I'm home.

I'm smiling.

I'm missing the kids already.

I'm exhausted.

More tomorrow. : )

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