Saturday, August 27, 2016

Grasshoppers and Zinnias

I haven't written a blog post since February! But, here I am. 

I was in my flower garden the other day and was startled by this giant grasshopper. I ran in the house to get my camera before he leapt away.

Isn't he cute? I feel we made a connection. I know he was looking at me.

 I have a bumper crop of zinnias this year. I love zinnias and plant them every year.

When I was 22, I was living in an apartment that had a little ground floor patio. I remember digging up the hard clay and planting zinnia seeds and being so thrilled when they came up and bloomed.

And all these years later, I'm still a little thrilled about zinnias!

(It's okay to leave a comment. I love comments!)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pony Boy

I have this picture on the wall in my office. I see it every day and it just blends in with my daily life. One day I took a good look at it and tried to remember what I could of that time.

I must have been about 5 years old. It seems like my grandmother had something to do with my tap dance lessons, which I took at Christian Park in the recreation center. Later in life, I took baton lessons there. I don't remember much about the lessons, just the rudimentary first steps you learn in tap dancing, heel-toe, heel-toe, shuffle-kick. I don't remember practicing, but I must have.
My grandmother made my costume. I have a very foggy memory of going to her house on Pleasant Run Parkway and being fitted in the dining room, standing on a chair, her old Singer sewing machine sitting on the table.

Then there was the recital. It was at night in a theater downtown somewhere. Someone applied my lipstick in the car at the last minute. That was a big deal, to wear lipstick. We did a dance routine to the song Pony Boy. I did fine, the girl in the middle did fine, but the blonde on the end kept losing her hat and when she did, the audience laughed. I remember thinking they were laughing at me. 

"Pony boy, pony boy, 
won't you be my pony boy. 
Don't say no, here we go, ride away with me. 
Marry me, carry me, right away with you. 
Giddee-up, giddee-up, whoa! My pony boy!"

Friday, January 8, 2016

2015 in Review

I love to update my pocket calendar, marking events like birthdays and anniversaries. Which brings me to this blog post about last year. I cannot write about every little thing, but here are the top 10, in chronological order:

1.  In January, I went to Florida for two weeks - my first snowbird trip. Joe and I did a total house-swap. He flew up, used my car, stayed at my house, spent a lot of time with the grandkids, while I flew to Florida, used his car and stayed at his condo. As I look back, I remember the wonderful drive to his condo from the airport - the unbelievably blue skies and open water on either side of the highway. The smell of the Gulf sea in the air. The seagulls everywhere, how one snatched a sandwich from my hand on the beach. It was a time of being alone and a lot of soul-searching. I was surrounded by memories of the past while at Joe's condo, things from our life together, things I hadn't thought of for years.

2.  The great job search. I decided I needed to find a part time job to meet my every-growing debt. So I applied for jobs, went to interviews, wrote my thank you letters, only to be turned down again and again. I called it my new hobby - job searching. In October, I finally found a part time job at JoAnn Fabrics. 

3.  In June, after a music festival, I decided it was time to lose weight. I have been very successful this time and have stuck with it. I have lost 30+ pounds. Not only that, I am determined to continue my healthy eating habits.

4.  My 5th grandchild was born on June 22nd. We were all so happy to receive Hudson Reid into our lives. Which brings me to something else I have accomplished this year. I made two baby quilts. A new grandniece, Laine Caroline was born in July, and I made a sweet pink and white quilt for her. I also made a cute quilt for little Hudson.

5.  When I was 18, I went to Ball State for awhile and met what I thought would be lifelong friends. Alas, during marriage and having children and - just life - those friends fell away. I have always wondered what happened to one of those friends who lives in Ohio. Through a visit to a retirement community to see another friend's mother in Ohio, I discovered my old friend's mother living in the same community, which led to a reunion of me and my old friend. It had been 42 years since we had seen each other. It was definitely a highlight of my year. 

6.  On August 4th, we lost my sister's dear husband, Jim. My sister asked me to come to stay with her in California for awhile. I stayed for three weeks at the end of August and beginning of September. During my visit, I helped my sister go through Jim's things, clear out her garage, clean up the yard. Her two daughters came in and we all got to know each other again. It was another soul-searching time, but I met my sister's circle of friends, neighbors and co-workers, and know that she is going to be okay.

Uh-oh, I don't have a top 10, after all! There were lots of family gatherings, lots of music events, lots of pictures taken and projects completed - too many to report, really. And since I have begun working part-time, it seems I try to fit all these things in on my days off. All in all, goals were met in 2015, and life well-lived.
An overnight with Avery, Stella and Dahlia, cousins from Arizona.
Aunt Agnes' 90th birthday party, with Aunt Patty, Aunt Agnes, Helen, Mom and Dad.
Singing Happy Birthday to Mom with Hudson, Beth and John.
Just a picture of me and Beth being silly.

At Christmas dinner, brother Joe, Joe, Hudson and Nathan. Oh, I see Dad peeking in there, too.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Mom's Birthday Party

Our family has always been big on birthdays. Mom always made them a special occasion for us. There was always a family party, and she would make the best birthday cakes, usually with 7-minute icing, which we all loved.

So Mom had her 88th birthday on October 19th, and true to form, we had a party. It wasn't really a fancy party, although the food was fantastic. We all had a good time. I think these pictures capture the mood of the evening.

The Birthday Girl!
(on a beautiful Fall afternoon)

Beth came in town as a very welcome surprise.

John and Beth in the backyard, thumbs up for the beef tenderloin cooking on the grill - yum!

A couple of candid photos of John, my energetic brother, of whom we are all very proud.

Mom thinks John looks the most like her. What do you think?
Brothers Joe and John.
Dad, who turned 91 on August 27th.
I don't know if it was all the candles or the way the cake is being carried, but during the birthday song, the smoke alarm went off!
Happy birthday!
Little Nolan was very excited about his piece of birthday cake!
Little Hudson has the cutest pout you've ever seen!
Mom loved Beth's present.
I like the candid feel of this picture, with all the empty glasses and crumbs on the table.
Can't get enough of this little fellow.
Another candid picture of the way it was.
John and Cecilia - so happy they came in, too!
Dad with baby Hudson.
Everyone wanted to be in this photo.

Happy birthday, Mom!! Love you!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unexpected Trip to California

 On August 4th, my sister lost her husband during a heart procedure. They had been married for 14 years and were crazy about each other. I took this picture of them in my backyard two years ago. Jim was a frequent visitor to our family in Indiana, although they lived in California.
After losing his previous wife to cancer, Jim organized a benefit for lymphoma research every year since 1998. It was always held on the 2nd Saturday of September. Since all of the groundwork for the benefit was completed, my sister decided to go ahead with the benefit and asked me to come to California to be with her during this time.
So, very unexpectedly, I found myself in Folsom, California for three weeks, from August 25th through September 15th. Here we are at my sister's favorite breakfast place, Mary's Goldmine.
I found out very quickly that there is a terrible drought in California. I knew it, of course, but to see it firsthand is something else. This is a picture I took on a drive in the country one day.

My niece, Kelly, came in from Japan. I hadn't seen her for six years. It was very nice to spend some quality time with her.
Kelly's sister, Bonnie, also came in town. She lives in Portland. We also spent some quality time together. This picture was taken of my sister's breezeway. While I was there I helped refresh the flowers and rearrange. Plants do not last very long because of the drought.
One of the things my sister asked me to help with was to clean out her garage. With the help of my nieces, we got it done! We are women, hear us roar! 
On a walk one day I came across some pretty leaves. I came home and made a bouquet.

We enjoyed breakfast out a lot.
Bonnie and Patsy.

Loved this giant pumpkin in front of the candy store on Sutter Street. Signs of Fall were everywhere.
Hello! We took a lot of walks. One day we encountered this fellow in the park. It's not every day you see a peacock in the park!
I do not usually notice cars, but these old cars really caught my eye. I love VW bugs!

And look at this old camper! It just screams the 70's. 
A cool old Chevy.
And another Bug!
And here we are again, enjoying the breezeway, along with Hazel.

A lot happened in the three weeks I was there. We had dinner at their wonderful neighbors', Andrea and Bill. We had Jim's sister Susan and her husband Bob over for dinner one night. And we went to Jim's daughter Kriss's house for dinner. We also went to one of my sister's best friend's house for a cookout and I met all of her work friends. And of course there was the Benefit, which was a grand event at the Moose Club. We had pedicures and a foot massage. We drove to Davis, CA, for a Farmer's Market, which I loved. We drove into gold country in the hills north of Folsom.

And it felt as if Jim was there with us, through it all. He was only 68, way too young to leave us. And we will miss him.