Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Rabbi" Dave : )

A multi-denominational Seder

Last night was the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Passover....and plans were made to have a Seder (service) here at my home.

I spent several days preparing some of the traditional foods for the Seder: Matzoh ball soup, charoses (apples, nuts, and wine mixture), a beef brisket, a roasted chicken, matzoh stuffing...as well as a jello mold, sauteed asparagus and fresh tomatoes and basil. For dessert I had chocolate covered matzoh, flourless honey cake, and macaroons. Everything eaten during the Passover holiday must be unleavened which can be challenging....but definitely do-able.

My dear friends, Sharon and Gary attended, as well as my nephew (who is currently a student at U. of Alabama) and his girlfriend.

Out of the six of us, four were Jewish and two were not....the girlfriend (Lutheran) and Dave (Presbyterian).

With this in mind, I decided to copy and paste excerpts from the Haggadah (prayer book that is used during the Seder) to make it more understandable for the two of them.

I boldly asked Dave if he would like to be the leader of the service and he shocked me by saying "yes". I was thrilled....and, he did an amazing job...especially for not being Jewish.

It was really a lovely night as we went through the pages that I had printed out and took turns reading the different passages. At times the conversation turned toward some of our different religious beliefs and I loved that. Religion can be such a divisive topic...and, it was nice to see some of the commonalities.

On the Passover "plate" there are several items that are meaningful to the holiday: Charoses-to represent the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses in Egypt;Maror, or horseradish-to symbolize the bitterness and harshness of the slavery; Roasted shankbone-symbolizing the lamb that was offered in the Temple of Jerusalem; parsley (or another green)-that is dipped into salt water to represent the tears felt by the Jewish slaves in Egypt; and, finally, a hard-boiled egg-symbolizing the festival sacrifice that was offered in the Temple as well as representing springtime when Passover occurs.

As I set the roasted egg on one of the Passover plates, I decided to dye the other egg in a bright color with a heart and a peace symbol painted on. I explained to my guests that in honor of the different religions being there, I wanted to have an Easter egg there to represent the love and peaceful understanding that all of us of varied religious backgrounds had that night.

I'm still smiling about that part... : )

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In memory of Eva Markvoort

....a poem by Eva ....written 3/11/10


i need to dwell there awhile tonight

i need hope

it is the only thing i live on and i am dancing in it tonight

i am rejoicing in hope





trippingly toppling in hope tonight

every day is one day closer

closer to breathing

to living

to starting my life anew

to waking up

breathing in ease

i am happy tonight

knowing i am hopeful

love love love

i have spoken my word earlier

poetry played pattering across my keyboard

but now too much energy

simpler words

so much meaning

full of love and hope

and the colour red

your girl,


My blogging world is full of so much joy, friendship, and love.......along with occasional sadnesses.

Today's post is about an incredibly brave young woman named Eva Markvoort who has been in the fight of her life as she has battled the cystic fibrosis that she was born with....but struggled the most with in the last four years.

I found out about Eva through another blog that I frequently visit...and, I began to follow her story. She amazed me with her huge heart and inner (and outer) beauty. Her fire red hair framed this gorgeous 26 year old's pale ivory face and one couldn't help but notice the brightly adorned red lipstick on those smiling lips.

After a double lung transplant, she was okay for a while...until she found herself back in the hospital as her body rejected the new lungs and she was in need of another transplant. Waiting and waiting...getting weaker and weaker....but, always finding time to write on her blog...whether it was her incredible poetry, fun videos, or happy photos with the people she loved....(and, who loved her dearly)...Because she was too weak to finish going to class to get her college degree, she was awarded an honorary degree from the school...in her hospital room.

Her hospital room walls were covered with hundreds of messages from people all over the world...people whose lives she had touched. She gave encouragement to others with cystic fibrosis and crusaded for a cure...as well as organ donations.

I stayed on Eva's journey with her and, even though we hadn't ever met, I felt a closeness to her. Her optimism and hopefulness kept me feeling reassured that she would ultimately win this very tough battle. Adding to this faith were her words of appreciation and "love, love, love" (her words) for life and the people around her from family to friends to caretakers....

Though in tremendous pain and barely able to breathe, she always dreamt of better things and a couple of days before her death she wrote the following on her blog -http://65redroses.livejournal.com/#home:

"...waves of nausea lulling out into

hours of sleepiness once the meds have hit

leaving me daydreaming about stepping out of this room

just getting up

free of tubes and plugs

and walking out the door

pushing open doorways

skipping down the street

breathing free


Unfortunately, Eva's love and determination were not enough to give her the strength needed to survive.... and at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, she passed away.

I will so miss the inspirational posts of this wonderful young woman who leaves behind such an incredible legacy. I have learned so many lessons from her loving spirit.

Eva, may you be breathing freely now as you rest in peace...

Eva Markvoort (March 31, 1984-March 27, 2010)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The many (adorable) looks of Celia!

I am counting the days until she will be here in Bham for a quick visit and lots of hugging----April 26! : )

Friday, March 26, 2010


Putting my downstairs room back together has been quite exhausting.

I have never seen so much dust everywhere!!!! Between the new sheet rock dust and the floor dust and the sanding dust and the vacuuming dust and the general "dust" dust...I am going dust crazy.

Then there is the job of replacing all of the "stuff" that I had down there on shelves and in cabinets, and dusting it all off. I told myself that this would be a great opportunity to clear out some of this stuff...but, that would take too much thought and energy right now...neither of which I presently have.

I finally finished cleaning up the exercise area and was able to get back on my treadmill today to get in some much-needed aerobic work. I am even able to do laundry in my nice, clean laundry area. Fun, eh?

The millions of vhs tapes of my kids growing up are back on the shelves...dusted off, but still needing to be copied to cd disks that I promise to get taken care of never someday very soon.....hopefully, before tape players become obsolete!

Break time is over.

I am heading back downstairs to tackle my pottery studio and try to get it back to "normal" and to clean up the rest of the (yep, you guessed it) DUST.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

(Exciting, eh?)

My carpet's down! My carpet's down!

Yay. My flood damaged basement is finally starting to take shape!

Of course, I had 4 gentlemen working in my home today....none of whom spoke a word of English.

Wait, that's wrong. Several of them asked me if they could use my restroom in perfectly enunciated English...I guess that they have had to perfect that question in times of need. : )

Of course, I tried to use a little (very little) of my Spanish knowledge from high school (a million years ago!) to talk with them....It was mostly "hola", "gracias", "por favor" and "muy bueno"...that's about it for my Spanish vocabulary. They seemed to get a kick out of my feeble attempts.

All in all they did a great job...it feels so nice to walk on carpeted softness instead of dusty, dirty, cold concrete.

Unfortunately, they ran out of the flooring for the bathroom after doing the laundry area....so, they will have to come back next week to finish up.

But, for now I am happy to see progress finally being made down there...so, no complaints from me!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mixed marriage?

I took the liberty of editing this section of the Funky Winkerbean comic strip from Monday's paper to use in my blog today.

I loved the play on the words "mixed marriage" in talking about men and women....and, as I shared it with my girlfriends the other day, they all laughed "knowingly".

The sentiment expressed above is so very true. Could men and women be any more different??!?! I don't think so!

I guess that one could say that it keeps relationships interesting...and/or frustrating.... at times.

The whole "Mars and Venus" thing has been discussed over and over, so, I won't elaborate here....

BUT, why can't men be more like women?

Is that too much to ask?

: )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Little bits of Life.

Update: The good news is that my recently flooded basement (new) carpeting will be arriving tomorrow and put down this Thursday! I am so looking forward to not having to work down there with the cold concrete floor.

Maybe now the commode will be put back in the bathroom where it belongs....one can only hope.


Well, we went from a touch of springtime weather to very cold temperatures in a matter of a day or two. I'm glad that I enjoyed the warmth while we had it.


My Mah Jongg game on Monday's is back in full swing now. My two friends are finished with their chemo/radiation treatments and the friend with the foot surgery can now drive! We are on the mend.

We are slowly getting better at the game...but still find ourselves laughing hysterically at our little confusions and such. Such fun. I like that we aren't taking it TOO seriously...and I love that I am having to use my (aging) brain at least once a week!


I made Dave a delicious birthday dinner last night: crabcakes, polenta, and salad with some red wine and birthday cake for dessert.

He is leaving town to visit with his mom for several days....so, it looks like I will be eating the leftovers! Mmmmmmmm. : )


So, Dancing with the Stars has started again. It is quite a varied group again with everyone from Kate Gosselin to Buzz Aldrin. Unfortunately, 80 year old Buzz dances like he still has his moon boots on....but, I have to give him credit for getting out there and doing it.

The Show is a great piece of fluff to keep my mind off of some of the stuff going on all around the world right now...


And, speaking about what is going on right now, I am so troubled by the state of affairs right here in our own country. During the Health Care debate....the anger and, even, rage, that was coming out of our leader's mouths was (and continues to be) quite distressing. We have become so divided with each side vehemently feeling that they are right. It is not only divisive and a bit frightening, but quite embarrassing, too.

From what I have read so far...I do not agree with everything that is in the new bill....but, I am thrilled that all people will be able to be taken care of with insurance whether there is a pre-existing condition or not. It is going to close the gap as far as taking care of our elderly and poorer segments of the population...and, I think that is a right and a necessity.

I am anxious for the healing to begin....soon.


I am heading down to the (dungeon) studio to get my hands in clay before the day gets by me...xoxo

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dave's Day

Today is Dave's birthday and in his honor I made him a "golf-themed" cake. It says: "Fore....!? No-----62!" Get it? : )

My dear 62 year old partner is now older than me for a few months...and, I like that!

For all that you do and are, "Happy, happy birthday, Dave!

Have a great day...XOXO

Saturday, March 20, 2010


With the temperatures in the high 60's (maybe even reaching 70?) yesterday, I am realizing that spring is really going to happen this year! With our unusually cold winter that seemed to linger, I was a getting a bit concerned.

So, to celebrate the warm weather.....at the end of the day, I took myself outside to my patio, got comfy in a lounge chair, poured myself a glass of wine and watched the birds joyously enjoying my feeder...I noticed that many of my shrubs were now sporting a new coat of brand new buds...soon to be filling my yard with flowers...

Dave arrived shortly thereafter and another glass of wine was poured as we talked and took in nature together. The multitude of birds that dine on my feeder was quite entertaining....the sky was as blue as it could get at that time of day....not a cloud in site....and, all was quiet.... with the exception of the bird's sweet songs. It was so nice and relaxing that it was quite difficult to eventually get up and go in and fix dinner...

Welcome spring....and, thanks for the "Ahhhhhh".... : )

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Life is too short to be taken seriously." Oscar Wilde

Memo to myself....no matter how difficult it is to finally get to sleep...do not take a Tylenol PM at midnight!

Result of doing this: I finally dragged my groggy self out of bed this morning at 8:45!

That makes it feel like the day is already half gone.



Ah...the NCAA basketball tournament has started....and, you know what that means....Dave will be glued to the television all day and night.

I must admit that I actually enjoy watching these games....but, mostly the last quarter. That's when all of the excitement happens. Overtime is even better!


Well, the basement is still there....unfinished and uncarpeted and dusty. The outside walkway is still a pile of dirt with chunks of broken concrete piled high. The destoyed landscaping is still that...destroyed.

Like I told a friend this morning, the insurance companies are quick to take your money....but,

s-l-o-w to cover your damages.

I'm trying to cope with it all....thus the saying at the title of this post! : )


Today is my middle sister's birthday. Happy, happy day, Sherri! I hope that the sun is shining down there in Florida and that you have a nice luncheon this afternoon.

It still blows me away that you are getting older....especially since you will always be younger than me!


Today the reupholsterer (sp?) should be returning my couch cushions. The stuffing had gotten a bit flat and they were going to plump them up a bit.

I am crossing my fingers that they arrive because the large couch is pretty much the only place to sit in my great room...and, I am having dinner company tomorrow night.


While in Target yesterday shopping for birthday cards, I noted that the cards in the "specific age" category ranged from 1 year old to 100 years old! I commented to the saleslady that it was so wonderful that people were living long enough these days to warrant a card celebrating birthdays in the 90's and on up.

She agreed while I was thinking that I would, hopefully, merit one of those cards one day... : )


Well, it is a beautiful day here in Alabama...so, I am off to take my morning walk.

Don't take things too seriously today...and have a good one!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Owen and Audrey in Scottsdale, AZ!

Adam and Jenny just got back from several days of fun with Jenny's family in Arizona...Out of all of the photos from the trip....these three were among my favorites!! I love seeing the two of them playing together.

The only problem that I am having with these two is that they are growing up waaaay too fast!!

Oh, how I miss them!

May 12th cannot get here soon enough....XOXO

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm not going to bed until is is done.....

Taxes, that is!

Once again, I am faced with the daunting task of getting all of my tax information collected and totalled so that it can be sent to the accountant....which makes one wonder exactly why I pay him when I basically do all of the work?

Nevertheless, it is March 16th and I have made a pact with myself to get through this all today....and I will not go to sleep until it is done.


WISH ME LUCK!!!! (I will need it....)

Tax Update.....4 p.m.

Three glasses of green tea, two bags of popcorn, and a watermelon flavored Tootsie Roll pop later....and, as you can see, I have made a little progress.

Onward and upward....!

7:35 p.m.

Tea was replaced with a glass of wine....but, I am DONE!

Now, it is off to the accountant!

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

A joyous five year old bundle of high energy named Maya...

I have been lucky enough to spend some quality time with this adorable, whirling, twirling, non-stop moving delight named Maya! She and her grandpa and aunt came over this morning for a nice long visit!

Maya is the granddaughter of my dear friends, Sharon and Gary, and she is here visiting with her mom, dad, and cutie patootie baby sister, Samantha. They live in San Jose, Costa Rica and don't get here as often as I would like...so, this was a real treat.

I can still remember when her dad was an energetic five year old and seeing his beautiful children brings back so many happy memories for me.

Maya is one of those special kids who just exudes love. She is totally animated as she sings and dances. I put on the Mama Mia cd (which is her very favorite) and we laughed and danced together this morning. This was after playing in clay for a while....and, then making some M & M cookies together.

I think that her favorite part of playing in my clay was getting her hands into the "slip" which is basically dried clay that has been remoistened with water and is used to "glue" clay pieces together. It is kind of like mud and she loved how it felt on her hands. (I got her to the sink before she decided to use the mud on her face!)

The favorite part of making the cookies seemed to be the eating some of the delicious raw dough as well as the M & M's! (Shhhhh....don't tell her mommy!)

When they left to meet up with the rest of the family for lunch, I plopped down on the couch for a minute feeling quite exhausted....but with a full heart and a huge smile on my face...

Me-Oh-Maya's joy is quite contagious! : )

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why do I do this?

I had to laugh at myself this morning as I began to read through the obituaries in today's paper. I remembered George Burns saying that he looked for his name every day in the obits just to make sure that he was still alive.

I not only look through them, but, I check out the ages and/or why the person died.

Why do I do this?


Also, in today's paper there was a listing of all of the people in my county who were delinquent in paying their property taxes. Even though I knew that I had paid my taxes several weeks earlier than they were due....I went searching for my name...AND, as if that weren't bad enough....friend's names!

Why did I do this?


My "Why?" list could go on and on.........reading blogs and Facebook updates several times a day when I have so many other things that I need to be doing..........buying M and M's to use in cookies but opening the bag for "just a couple".........and then eating the entire contents by the end of the week.........looking up any symptoms that I (or a friend) might have on the many online medical sites...and getting concerned that it might be something serious....or, even worse, starting to get some of the other symptoms that are listed..........getting so wrapped up in my reality shows that I am sometimes fuzzy on where their lives end and mine begins..........slathering my face with "age-defying" creams in hopes of eventually looking like the young (very young) models hawking the products........making lists, but forgetting to look at them....etc. etc.


Why do I do all of these things? Why?! And, I the only one ???

C'mon, fess up! : )

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Idol Chatter

One of my dear readers, Beverly, asked for my thoughts on American Idol this season...so, here goes....

I thought that the first two weeks of the top 24 were quite underwhelming and a bit disappointing....but, then I thought about the fact that this show has produced some really big names through the years....and the pressures on these kids must be overwhelming as they realize how really important this show can be to their careers!

That being said, there are four standouts in my opinion:

Siobhan Magnus...I love this quirky (!) girl's voice. She is unique and extremely talented and doesn't seem to take herself too seriously.

Lilly Scott...I think that she is another unique singer who truly has her own style. I look forward to hearing more from her in the weeks ahead.

Lee Dewyze...he has a soulful quality to his voice that appeals to me and I get the feeling that he has no idea how incredibly talented he is...which is kind of nice to see.

Andrew Garcia...I think that he has made some bad song choices so far...but, I loved his voice during the auditions week. I am hoping that he gets a chance to show what he really can do.

The judges this year have been a little contradictory, leaving the contestants (and viewers)somewhat confused as far as what they are wanting. Ellen took a little time to grow on me as a judge, Cara seems to be making more sense than any of them (which is a bit frightening), and Simon continues to be full of his usual brusqueness. Randy is....just "Randy".

All in all, I continue to tune in each week as I, once again, become an "Idol Groupie".


(oops...I forgot about Crystal Bowersox....she's pretty amazing....so, add her to my list!)

Monday, March 08, 2010


Today is an amazingly beautiful day in Birmingham! The sky couldn't be any more blue and with the temps hovering in the high 60's it is pretty much perfection. I have so much 'inside the house' work to do today, but you can be sure that I am going to find some excuse to spend a little part of my day outside!


None of the workers have called or shown up yet today. Hmmmm....maybe I need to bake some more cookies to lure them here?!?


Well, the Oscar's have come and gone for another year. The women looked gorgeous, the men, handsome...but, other than that, it wasn't that memorable of a show this year.

I must say that I am always shocked when they do the tribute to those in the business who have passed away this year...seeing all of that incredible talent gone was very sad. Farrah Fawcett was overlooked somehow and wasn't part of the tribute. Someone will be in trouble for that oversight, I'm sure.


Now that I have managed to clear away a spot in the mess downstairs, I am again working on my pottery. It feels good to get my hands in that clay and begin creating again.


I skyped with my daughter-in-law Jenny and grandaughter, Audrey this weekend. With prompting, Audrey said, "I love you, Grammie!".....

Be still my heart.

Audrey and Owen will be here in May when their mommy and daddy leave them for a few days while they attend a wedding a few hours away.

Yes, I am counting the days!!!!!!

Of course....!


I also got a wonderful phone message from my son, Jeffrey, and my other granddaughter, Celia. He said that she was going to sing a song for me over the phone. Once he started to sing, she didn't....but, it was still fun to hear her chatter in the background while Jeffrey sang the song in its entirety! Good job, Jeffrey... : )


Off to play in clay....

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Today I learned how to respectfully dispose of a worn American flag....

Dave surprised me the other night with a brand new American flag for my front porch.

The old one was totally faded and had even torn in a few places. It needed to be replaced.

But, what do you do to dispose of an old flag and still show respect for it? We went online to find out...

Step One: You fold the old flag up into a triangle, tucking the edges in....and then....

Step Two: You put it in a blazing fire!

So, here's Dave trying to make a "blazing" fire with yesterday's newspaper..

After several minutes....the blaze really got going...

...and going....and the (toxic) fumes began to rise up to where we were standing. For the sake of my blog today, I remained on the scene to take these pictures (cough cough) : O

Oh, and in the background I was playing "Ring of Fire" from my Johnny Cash CD.

I thought that it was an appropos song for this event.

Step Three: When the ashes have cooled down...you must bury them.

Dave didn't really wait for the total "cooling down" part....so, when he wasn't looking....I poured several containers of water on the spot...just to be safe!

So, that, my blogging friends, is how one is to properly dispose of an aging American flag.

And, who said that blogs weren't educational??? : )

Saturday, March 06, 2010


My friend had it right.

My general feeling of being "out of sorts" these last few days is a direct result of the mess that I am having to live with since the downstairs "Flood of 2010" (!).

I'm the kind of person who needs order in my surroundings to feel comfortable within myself. And, my house right now is anything but in order!

Paint cans are all over the place, items are piled high on anything that will hold them to keep them off of the ripped-away floor, a commode is still sitting in the middle of my studio, my pottery supplies are stuck in places where I may never find them again, the workmen's empty cups here and there, window treatments are down, dust everywhere....and, the strong smell of newly painted walls all throughout the house.

My downstairs is my workplace. It is the area of the house where I explore my creative spirit. It is my sanctuary of sorts where I keep everything having to do with my pottery business....and, it is all in disarray at the moment. Thus, I am in disarray. : O

So, as I sit here writing in my blog this morning....I am feeling quite discombobulated (love that word!)...and, I am thinking that a nice long walk in the fresh air outside might be just what I need....so I will end here and do just that! : )

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Remembering my dad....

May 17, 1918----March 4, 2008

"Any man can be a father...it takes someone special to be a dad." Author Unknown

Missing you, Dad, today and always...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Home Sweet MESS?

The floors are stripped bare...the sheet rock mud is drying.

The shelves have been emptied of my pottery----finished and unfinished.

Everything has been consolidated into one messy spot that almost takes up the whole room.

The painters finally arrived yesterday ready to go to work.

I picked out all of the paint colors.

The paint fumes are a bit overwhelming....

So, I baked the painters some chocolate chip cookies to keep them happy....and to make the house smell a little better. : )

Today I go and pick out some carpeting...

The flooded basement repair work is finally underway....

Let the games begin!

(Isn't the commode in the middle of the room a nice touch?!)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Happy Birthday to my baby sister, Karen!

50 today!!!! Hard to believe....she still looks 30!...beautiful inside and out!

xoxo Karen!!

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

(Jeffrey, then...)

(and, now!)

Thirty-three years ago today my "baby" son, Jeffrey entered the world!

He was the sweetest baby who rarely fussed and smiled all the time.

He hasn't changed at all!

Happy, happy birthday to you, my dear Jeffrey!!!!

I love you,


"My best creation is my children." Diane von Furstenberg