Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's Derby time again!

I've got my hat made for this year's Kentucky Derby.....and, I will be wearing it for the Fillies race (The Oaks) on Friday where they honor the breast cancer survivors and encourage everyone to wear some pink.

Dave and I leave first thing tomorrow morning as we head to Louisville for our traditional trip. He has been going for many, many years...for me, it has been about 5-6.

As usual, we will stay with his good friends in their historic home in Lexington....always crazy and fun!

Unfortunately, the weathermen aren't giving us very good news for the weekend there...but, I am hoping that their forecasts will be "off" this time and the rain and storms will pass us by!

In the meantime, I must go pack....and, you can bet that I will be including my umbrella!

: )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

44 hours with Celia

I just spent a day and a half with my granddaughter, Celia.

My body is tired, but my heart is full.

She is such a joy...and when she and Mommy headed back to the airport early this morning the house felt very empty and way too quiet.

The day was filled with hugs and laughter as well as a few missteps along the way. My "mommy skills" are a bit rusty and I have forgotten several things. But, as we all say; "What happens at Grammie's, stays at Grammie's"! ha ha

The first outing that we took was to a local park filled with great climbing, swinging, etc. etc. I also had a bottle of bubble blowing magic solution handy, too.

After a few minutes I realized that she wasn't really into it....and when a girlfriend arrived to visit with us....she pretty much spent the next few minutes clinging to me. Not that I minded the was quite nice....but, I wanted her to be having a good time and she obviously wasn't. Even the bubble blowing excitement wore off after a minute or two. The crankiness continued when I finally had an "ah hah moment"....she was tired and quite ready for a nap. I forgot that she was still on Eastern time here in the Central time zone. So, I carried her back to the car, took her back home, gently put her in the crib and, within seconds....she was out like a light! Two and a half hours later (when she finally awoke) I realized that his child had been plain exhausted!

After the nap, in a much better mood, we had lunch together (she's loving the watermelon in the picture above) and then headed off to get some new shoes. I sang all of the old nursery rhyme songs that I could think of as we drove...she seemed to get a kick out of that...and kept saying "more, more" when each song was finished. Be still my heart.

At the shoe store she charmed everyone with that adorable grin, big eyes and full head of curls, curls, curls! She picked out a pair of bright red patent leather Mary Jane shoes from one of the shelves...but, I didn't think that her parents would be too thrilled if I sent her home in those (!!), we ended up with a more conservative pair of cute, cute sneakers and a little "cupcake" barrette for her hair. As we walked out of the store, she waved good-bye to all and began to blow kisses. Oh, oh, oh. : )

Back to the park we went with her new shoes on and she had a great time. We went down the slide together (note to myself: you are getting a bit too old to go down those long, winding sliding boards, Grammie!), I pushed her on the toddler swing and the hanging tire, she climbed and explored and ran and visited with some doggies and on and on.....

I watched this precious angel just being a "kid" and sighed as I remembered my own boys at this free spirited and full of life.

We picked up Mommy Janet at 4 p.m. and from that point out everything was about the "mommy"....Grammie wasn't the top banana anymore.

But, I was so grateful for the time that I had with her that I really didn't mind the change in my popularity....I had had my special moments and lots of great memories....

And, that is the way that it should be.....Mommy deserves to be the safe and loving arms for her to be in....and, truthfully, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

(Thanks, Mommy Janet, for my wonderful 44 hours with your precious daughter....and Daddy Jeffrey, I am sending her back to you reluctantly..but, thanks for "loaning" them both to me for a few sweet days!)

...until next time....xoxo

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The plus side of my recent fall....

While my mildly fractured (?) nose has caused some swelling....I have begun to realize that there is a positive side to this state of wrinkles are plumped up a bit--- making them less obvious!

How's that for a good attitude?

: )

Monday, April 26, 2010

I 'nose' it will be okay!

I went to the plastic surgeon this morning as suggested by the doctor on Sunday. The bad news was that he pinched, squeezed, and manipulated my nose into all kinds of positions to see what the story was. Then to add insult to injury, all sizes of Q-tips were placed in and about the inside of my nose as he searched for heaven knows what....while wearing what could best be described as a miner's hat with the bright light attached to the top. The whole thing was quite uncomfortable...but, I guess, necessary.

The good news was that the fracture is minor and he did not feel that anything more needed to be done....except being careful and letting it heal. He put a couple of strips of some sterile bandage across the cut on the bridge of the nose and told me to leave that there for the week. It should also help to keep the swelling down.

But, the very best news of the day was Celia and Janet's arrival!!!!! Celia was all smiles as I greeted them at the, from that point on she "had" me! She is so adorable...and such fun. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I get to 'babysit' her the whole day while her mom takes part in a seminar downtown.

A good night's sleep and a couple of extra vitamins in the morning...and I will be ready to go!

Guess who's coming?????

I woke up this morning achy from my head down to my toes....especially my nose....BUT, then I remembered who was coming today.... and I jumped out of bed with a huge smile on my face, broken nose and all!!!!!!!!!!

I can't wait until noon today when Celia and her mommy arrive for two days at Grammies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

(Packing up for a flight to Grammie's house!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh nose!

Once I started to fall, there wasn't anything else that I could do but let it happen...

I'll start from the beginning.....

While enjoying a lovely dinner out with friends last night, I excused myself to go to the restroom. As I stepped off of the carpeting and on to the tiled floor I stepped on something slick and began to fall. Fortunately, I caught part of my fall with my hands....unfortunately, I caught the rest of the fall with my face---actually my nose!

As I slowly stood up and touched my face, I realized that I was bleeding from a gash on the bridge of my nose.

At this point people, waiters, and the restaurant manager began to gather around me handing me napkins etc. to stop the copious bleeding.

Neither my friends nor Dave had any idea of what was going on as I was out of their sight.

The waiter handed me a disinfecting wipe and then put a large bandaid over the cut. I made my way back to the table and as I approached Dave and my friends I could tell initially that they thought that I was kidding. It wasn't until I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that I realized why. The waiter had put a very large navy blue bandaid across my nose and it was very strange looking!

Waking up the next morning, I was quite uncomfortable and decided to go to a "Doc in the Box" and check it all out. After three xrays were taken, the doctor came in and announced that I had fractured my nose! She suggested that I see a plastic surgeon to get his opinion on whether surgery would be necessary.

Ironically, since my teen years, I have always disliked the shape of my nose and wished for a nose job. However, at this point in my life I have grown accustomed to it and would rather not change it....nor have surgery.

I guess that the adage really is true: Be careful what you wish for....!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Junk Food Heaven

There was a great art show in downtown Birmingham today. The weather was perfect and the art was interesting, eclectic, and fun...but, nothing could top the food that was available from the vendors that lined the streets.

There was everything from fresh squeezed lemonade to bar b que sandwiches to ice cream cones to Greek chicken wrapped up in pita with salad inside...etc. , etc.

As I ate lunch with the Girlies, I couldn't resist snapping this photo of two of them enjoying the finer delicacies available today: a.) the fried funnel cake with powdered sugar on top and b.) sweet potato curly fries.

Who needs salad when you can eat this stuff? : )

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I do my best thinking when I.....

...take my morning walk.

However, today I found my mind racing as I stepped outside on this cool, sunny day.

Speeding through my mind were: grocery lists, to-do lists, Janet and Celia's visit Monday-Wednesday(yay!!), yard work, pottery making, pottery inventory for May Show, getting in touch with the insurance company about still-unfinished work on my house, Mah Jongg hands, how to hide my too short haircut, what hors d'eurve to make for Saturday night, paper work, bills, bills, bills, dinner tonight, weeds flourishing in my yard, Tim Urban handling getting kicked off of Idol (puleeze!), how to curb my sweet tooth, getting packed for the upcoming trip to the Kentucky Derby, finishing my hat for that event, keeping up with my bird feeder demands, etc. etc. etc.

Suddenly I came upon several political signs posted on neighbor's lawns. One in particular caught my eye. It was a "get out and vote" sign for a Jacqueline Still, who is running for a Circuit Court Judge position.

Her last name: "STILL" was a great reminder for me to quiet the voices in my head, take a deep breath, enjoy the surrounding beauty of nature...and, just be "still".

And, so I did... : )

"Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen - that stillness becomes a radiance. " Morgan Freeman

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

View from the top.....

This is what one sees while looking out the massive windows at one of my "Girlie-friends" home. In the distance is a view of our fair city, Birmingham. This awe-inspiring sight was enjoyed last Saturday night as a group of us gave an anniversary party for some close friends.

It was a fun night celebrating friendship and love as we honored this couple's 40 years together. It has been a marriage filled with many, many, wonderful joys while peppered with some difficult all married couples experience. What is worth celebrating is the commitment and love that have survived these dips in the road...coming out on the other side as an inspiration and tribute to the power of working on a relationship and staying together.

I sometimes think that young couples do not put this same amount of "work" into their relationships these days. Divorcing is the easy way out when things get a little tough. Young, fractured families are becoming more of a norm than ever before.

Having gone through my own divorce 9 years ago (after 31 years of marriage) at the ripe old age of 53, I can understand that sometimes separation and divorce may be the only option....but, I do feel that this decision should not ever be made lightly...especially in a young marriage. Breaking up a family can be extremely painful for all involved....and, the effects are so far-reaching.

So, I see this beautiful view, from my friend's home, as a bit symbolic of a marriage and relationships. Keep looking out at what lies ahead of you.... with all of it's incredible promise, hopes and dreams. Appreciate the history that you are making with your partner now as you build your future together. If you are looking in the same direction together through life's ups and, inevitable, downs...the view can be amazingly breathtaking.....even when the sun goes down...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm in love all over again....

I am revisiting an old love that takes me back to when I was a child....and then as a mom to my own children...

It's easy. It's fast. It's a bit crunchy but also kind of soft inside....and, oh, so sweet! It is a perfect companion on those days when I am craving a little sugar.

Here's my new love and addiction these days....

Watch out chocolate.....there's a new kid in town....the Rice Krispy treat!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have a rockin' birthday, Adam!

My first born is 36 years old today!! (Boy, was I a young mother!!!) : )

You are so special to me and everyone who is lucky enough to know you. Your spirit and optimism are are pure joy!

Wishing you the very best day, Adam....and sending tons of love and long distance hugs your way!!!

I love you,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Please don't rub me the wrong way....!

I had a massage today.

I have only had two others in my lifetime...and this one was part of the Valentine's "package" that sweet Dave got me at a local day spa.

In anticipation of the massage, I got up early.... took a very long shower and shaved my legs like I was planning on meeting a "lover"! What was I thinking? It was just a massage...but, I guess that I was a little anxious (!)...

The place was so serene and lovely...the fragrances from the candles greeted me first... and then the peaceful music that was piped in everywhere. I just needed to relax and enjoy...

Kevin called me into the room, told me to disrobe and then to lay down under the sheet on the table with my head down into the little padded "head holder". Then he left me alone. When he returned, I was all ready to begin.

Or, so I thought.

As he started to knead my back, he kept telling me to "relax". I guess that he could feel my stress in the knotted back and neck muscles. I couldn't seem to get "in the moment" as I found my mind wandering in a million different directions.

"I haven't had many massages," I said, lifting my head up from the contraption that was holding it up.

"I could tell," he said...(probably smirking at this point).

In my nervousness, I began to chat with him about muscles, staying in shape, and aging. He probably never gave a massage to someone who talked so much...but, he was very nice and continued to do his thing while we talked.

When he got to my feet I thought that I was going to laugh out loud as I am very ticklish...but, I tried to focus and not embarrass myself anymore than I already had.

When he rubbed my neck he also went up into my hair leaving it quite greasy from the oil that he had on his hands. I kept wondering what I would look like when he finished with me.

"Relax" he said, again.

I tried, I really tried. I began concentrating on the soothing music and the warm oils that he was using. I took several deep breaths and thought to, this is getting kind of nice. Ahhhh.

"OK, we're done," he said.

My hour was up....

....just as I was starting to finally relax...


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paying respects...

I have a funeral to go to at 2 pm today for the passing of an aunt of a very close friend...and, tonight I am going over to another friend's home to pay my respects as the husband just lost his father.

These are difficult, but necessary, parts of life.

After my dad died two years ago, I so appreciated the visits from friends and family. Hearing people speak of my father with such tender and loving words really lifted me up. The stories from "way back when" made me smile as I realized more and more what a beloved man he was to so many people. In his own quiet way he had made an impact on the world.

Looking around the cemetery at the funeral service, I felt surrounded by love and support as I scanned the faces there to pay their respects to my dad.

Today, I will do that for my two friends and their families so that they too will know that they are not alone...

...again, a difficult, but necessary, part of life...and love.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mah Jongg Mondays

The card table is set up with a cloth covering the top. The four brightly colored racks are placed in a if front of each player. The snacks are put out...the water bottles are chilling. The Girlies arrive. Excited hugs and kisses are part of the greeting as we are all truly happy to see each other.

The 152 tiles are placed face down in the center of the table. The person hosting the game gets the pair of dice at their place setting. The "walls" are built.

It's Mah Jongg Monday!

Oh, how I love it!

There is always this bit of anticipation as a new game begins each week. "Will I get a good hand?"" Will I Mah Jongg (win)?"

If we get to chatting, we always sometimes forget whose turn it was. Laughter ensues until we finally trace our steps backwards to find out who is next. We sometimes get into mild hysterics as we try to hold it together...but usually end up "losing it". We talk to ourselves....we say a few cuss words now and then...we sigh as we look at our hands and realize that we really don't have anything to work with. We tease each other when tiles are sent around during the Charleston (not the dance....don't ask!) that nobody needs....(usually the winds)...and, we always say that everyone must be trying for the same hand. But, we always end up amazed at our brilliance as we see the hands that everyone was going for.

We have named the incredibly magnificent Jokers...."Jay Jays"...and we gloat when one is randomly picked. We cheer when another player is able to replace a tile and receive a joker from another's hand....all the while thinking: "Oh, I wish that had been me!".

The good news is that we are improving. The other good news is that we have all learned together so we are pretty much all in the same boat.

The not-so-good news is that we sometimes absent-mindedly look at our hands without a clue. Or, we throw something away that we might have needed. Or, we forget to "call" a tile when it would help our hand. Do we pick tiles clockwise or counter-clockwise? These things happen more often than we dare to admit...but, we are kind to each other as we share our missteps together.

Mondays are more than just a game to all of us.

It is a chance to be together with the people that we love.

It is a chance to let loose and laugh at ourselves.

It is a time to work our "aging" minds and exercise those brain muscles.

Most of all, it is about friendship....

.....and, I wouldn't trade it for the world.... : )

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Run, Audrey, Run!"

I love this short little video of Audrey holding the kite string while Mommy and Daddy encourage her to "run"....Instead, she just stands there....probably a bit bewildered by the whole thing....and, miraculously, the kite goes up on its own....

...ending with Owen proudly "catching" it!

Such joy...

Oh, how I miss them all !!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Getting (re)potted!

I have two identical plants in two huge pots at my front door. One is more than thriving...and, the other is, well, dead.

So, today, I decided to "get out my green thumb" and replant something new in the two pots and transfer the healthy plant somewhere else in my garden. Sounds easy enough, right?


Surrounding the little shrubs were copious amounts of variegated ivy. Through the years these have grown and spread with now "woody" stems and roots. So, the first thing I attempted was to get these out of the pots. Not so easy...but, I finally managed to get these out of the one pot with the dead shrub.

Taking out the dead plant was a simple procedure since it was dry and crispy and it lifted right out. Getting the healthy one out intact was another story altogether. I fought with the ivy that surrounded it...all to no avail...(the ivy won) so, I finally just got the entire contents of the pot out--shrub, ivy, roots, dirt, etc. I refilled the pot with some fresh soil and voila! the new shrub went right in. I sprinkled a bit of fertilizer around it and began to water feeling a bit smug at my accomplishment.

My smugness was short-lived....I still had the other shrub to plant. The dirt seemed fine in that pot, so I just added a bit of fresh soil at the top, put the shrub in and began to water it. Unfortunately, I noticed that the water wasn't draining and that the soil and the plant were floating around the top of the pot.

Remembering that the guy at the garden shop had asked me about the drainage, I decided that maybe this was the issue. So, I tried to tilt this very heavy, water-filled planter to make sure that the drainage hole at the bottom wasn't stopped up. It was.

I decided to remove all of the dirt and check out the situation at the bottom. Well, this thing holds a ton of dirt...and, the dirt was really more like MUD at this, as you can imagine....I began to get covered in mud as I tried to empty it into another large container. There was mud everywhere including in my shoes that were now sloshing around as I walked.

When I got deeper into the pot, I realized that the dirt in the bottom half was pure thick mud and that was keeping the water from draining. So, I cracked an old clay pot and layered the shards at the bottom of the pot. Then I began to transfer the muddy dirt back into the bottom of the pot. At this point it was pretty much all over me...even splashing up into my face. I began to laugh hysterically...

Once the new dirt was back in place, I added some fresh aerated dirt and began to water. Again, it did not drain!

I decided to elevate the pots on some old tiles....tipped it a bit....and, as mud overflowed all over the porch....I finally got them in place.

I tried hosing down the whole mess that I had made and saw that the planter was trying to drain a little water at a time....and, it was mixed with mud. I decided to head back to the garden shop and purchase several more bags of good airy dirt and re-pot the whole thing....

...another day.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective..."

The above quote is the subtitle of Andy Andrews' wonderful little fiction book, The Noticer.

One of my "Girlies" was given this book during her recent radiation treatments...and loved it so much...that she purchased 20 of them to pass on to the people she cared about.

I was one of those lucky recipients...and, it has turned out to be an amazingly "life-changing" gift for me.

While it tackles many of life's biggest challenges, it is a simple read. Simplistic, yet profound, in so many ways. It is the kind of book that is hard to put down once you start it...and, when you finish want to go back through it and highlight parts of it.

The book centers around an old drifter named "Jones" who says about himself: "I am a noticer,".....I notice things that other people overlook. And you know, most of them are in plain sight.....I notice things about situations and people that produce perspective. That's what most folks lack-perspective-a broader view. So I give them that broader view...and it allows them to regroup, take a breath and begin their lives again."

After all of the "Girlies" finish reading their copies, we are going to get together and have a discussion about this interesting, thought-provoking book.

I can't wait to hear other's perspectives on what the book teaches.

It seems that the older I get, the more I have to learn... : )

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Once again, my hanging planter at the front door has become a nesting site for some neighborhood birds...I have removed the nest in the past so that I could fill my planter with spring flowers....but, this year I am going to let it be.

I'm hoping that the bird family will have its babies and then leave the nest as they fly off in search of new adventures...

The "flying off in search of new adventures" part sounded pretty good, didn't it???

Oh, to be a bird.....


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

They're back!

After a full year without them, the hummingbirds are back! I put a fresh batch of red sugar water out for them on Sunday....and, today I had my first sighting. I watched one little hummingbird sipping away at the nectar...and, got so excited that I scared him/her away before I was able to snap a photo!

Maybe next time....

Welcome back, my little friends! : )

Monday, April 05, 2010

Some "bunny" loves you!

Cutie Patootie, Audrey....xoxo Grammie

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

The test we all dread....but need to have!

After a "fun" filled day AND night (!!!) , I went to have my colonoscopy this morning.

The last one that I had was ten years ago...and, because all was clear then, I didn't have to go through it again until now.

For those of you who have been through this miserable experience, it is the prep for the test that is really the difficult part. We are forced to take pills and drink ginormous amounts of liquids (doctored up with laxatives) the night before...while cutting out any food the entire day.

So, I found myself up most of the night while the prep "did its magic"!!! **groan**

The test itself is a piece of cake in that you are totally sedated and don't know a thing that is going on until it is over and you wake up to see the nurse above you, hopefully, smiling.

I did find out that they had to remove a polyp from my intestines this time. The majority of colon polyps aren't cancerous....but, they can become cancerous if not detected and removed. Mine was small and easily removed. The only thing that changes now is that I will have to be retested in 5 years instead of 10. I also found out that colon polyps occur in about 50% of the population over 50 and can be caused by many factors....including genetics.

So, as I sit here today, I am so very grateful that the colonoscopy provided my doctor with the ability to remove something benign...something that could have been cancerous further down the road.

And, in my opinion, that makes the inconvenience of the prep and the sleepless night well worth it...and, another little perk with this test is that your stomach will temporarily be flatter than ever before! Nice... : )

(If you are over 50, please consider having this life-saving test done!)

Thursday, April 01, 2010