We just got back from a week's vacation in Florida. We have friends we love dearly who visit us on the way to and from Vermont every year and they invited us to stay with them. When they came by last year she was on oxygen and when we got to Florida she was very fragile. Her husband is doing all the cooking and cleaning and her doctor told her while we were there that there is nothing more he can do to improve her breathing. We, and her other friends, encouraged her to get another opinion but the truth is the new doctor will probably say the same. Next spring's trip may have to be postponed indefinitely or might be made by only one.
I am very sad about this but also very happy that we took time when we did to visit them. We laughed, we ate , we watched TV - all things that she could do. She has a laptop but struggles with more than the basics so I helped her download pictures from her camera and view a video her sister sent. We helped her husband cook and run errands. She wanted a new skirt so I took pictures of some at a local store and brought them home so she could chose without depleting every bit of energy. No matter what happens we got the chance to really be there for them, even if it was just for a week.
You might think it would be too sad to spend that much time in that situation but it wasn't the case. It was a privilege to be there and it made me feel good to be able to help. I watched them together. They fussed at each other like always but every once in a while he would look at her so lovingly like he was saving up for later. In the end I think I got more than I gave.
If you see me on Facebook this will be a repeat, but I thought since I took all this time to do it I would post it here too.
1. Having a cockatiel is like having a toddler and I've been a cockatiel owner for more than 18 years.
2. I love to say "my daughter lives in Queens". She is one of the lights of my life.
3. I am a "basics" person. I don't wear makeup or nail polish because I can't remember to check my face or fix my chips. I do wear lipstick lately because they make that stuff that stays on forever.
4. My mother is 84 and still sounds like she's 25 on the phone. I love to call her and get the weekly analysis on her friends and what's going on in town.
5. My husband built a new half bath in our house. It's mine and I have all my stuff in it. I love it and him for building it.
6. Marvin and I were married in 1991 and I am still wildly crazy about him.
7. I love to take pictures. Thank goodness for digital because I have thousands of them.
8. I have a blog which I don't write on very often, but I love to read other people's blogs. I have 12 or so I read daily.
9. I love cows.
10. I once rented an apartment that I never lived in.
11. When I was fourteen I was a 34D.
12. I can't stand to be around negative people for long. Their vibes literally make me ill.
13. I have been called a Pollyanna.
14. I have been on TV and radio.
15. I have a life of serenity and stability now but it was once so drama filled my sister told me I should write a book about it.
16. I love detective shows and mystery novels.
17. When I moved to Florida in 1998, I called my family at Thanksgiving and cried like a baby on the phone because I missed them so much. They just kept passing me from person to person while I wept.
18. My son melts my heart every time I think about him.
19. My idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon is a tall iced tea and a good book on the patio. My realty is a mountain of wash and "shall I or shall I not dust".
20. I did not realize how much being in a category four hurricane had frightened me until I moved to Tennessee and began to feel safe.
21. One of my favorite things to do is the slide presentation for my church. I spend hours looking for backgrounds and Christian graphics to make each week's songs and scripture as beautiful as possible on the screen.
22. I love purses and tote bags. If my husband loses me in a department store, that's the first place he looks.
23. If I had to live for the rest of my life on an island, I would bring Peanut M & M's, Coca Cola, Sensual Amber body butter, all the Lawrence Block mysteries and my One Year Bible.
24. Marvin and I have date night every Friday night. We "take a nap", have leftovers and make sure we catch up on the week. We do not accept outside invitations on Friday night.
We went to Maryland for Christmas this year. My husband Marvin told his daughter Sherry, that it would 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve before we got there. The truth was that we left home early and would get there before 9:00. Every time Sherry called to see how we were doing on the road he would whisper to me “now don’t laugh” and tell her we would see her about 10:30. When we pulled up in the drive at 8:45, the kids said to Sherry, “Grampa’s here” and she said “no he isn’t, it’s too early”. To which they responded, “if that’s not Grampa’s van, why is Gramma in the front seat”?
After she kissed him and smacked him in the head for playing a trick on her, we brought in the luggage and sat down to open one present from Santa. We all got Christmas lounging pants, which we put on to stay up and eat cookies until the kids went to sleep. We slept in Beth’s room, which she willingly gave up for us. Her sister Melissa turned the closet in her room into a bedroom for Beth. She made up a little bed on the floor, moved in a tiny nightstand with a clock and a book, and even put a picture on the wall for her.
Before we went to bed we met Le-Le, the new dog. She’s a coal black Pomeranian, including her eyes, with the sweetest disposition you could ask for. The two cats are not impressed with her though. Kitty ignores her but Sunshine sneaks around behind and bats Le-Le in the head at every opportunity. The poor dog won’t use the pet door to go out because she is afraid Sunshine is on the other side waiting to give her a smack.
The next morning we got up to three kids wriggling on the couch waiting for all adults to get in the living room so the fun could begin. We started with stockings. I got Hello Kitty pencils and pencil case in mine. I told everyone how happy I was that Santa knew all about my love of Hello Kitty. That made Melissa extremely happy, as she had been Santa’s helper for that gift. Sherry had told me (in confidence the night before) how proud she was to buy those with her own money for Gramma.
After stockings, the kids got to open their presents and I had as much fun watching as they did opening. In the middle of it all Sherry got three gifts from Phil, which he tried to pretend weren't from him by putting the kid’s names on the tags. She grumbled a bit since they had agreed not to give each other gifts – just spend the money on the kids, but it was only half-hearted. She got a beautiful bath and body set with lots of body butter, a 40 piece Rubbermaid set and a box of gourmet teas, all things she loves. Her husband Phil has not always been a deep thinker when it comes to gifts so it was really sweet.
I've decided to write about my Christmas every day until I run out of things to say. This is enough for today so stop by tomorrow for “What the Kids Got for Christmas”.
I miss my kids desperately this Christmas – more than I have in some time. Stef has moved to a wonderful new life in New York and I saw her at Thanksgiving but I can feel a wave of longing sweep over me just writing this.
I called my daughter-in-law Tracy on Saturday. It was a Secret Santa call so I just talked to her. Before we hung up she said “we miss you” and I practically broke down over the phone. I wanted to jump in the car right then and go see them all.
I wonder if this is how my mother feels about me.
Oh, and the “gifts just for the grand kids” idea we (my husband and I) tried to start 3 years ago after he retired and money got tighter, has gone by completely by the wayside for me this year. It started with giving gifts to my daughter’s cats that they could “share” with her and her sweetie. Then it exploded when I made the Secret Santa call for sizes and finished the order I had saved on my laptop for Wayne and his family.
I love the holidays. I like the cards, the lights, the food, the church pageants, the gifts, the movies, all of it. I also love giving gifts so I think that 3 year old idea is so dead for me.
We will be going to my stepdaughter’s for Christmas. I will see people I love and I will have a wonderful time. It’s just that every once in a while I wish I could beam my children and grandchildren into my living room and we could have a big group hug.
Sunday afternoon we went to a cookie party. Our hostess spent a week making cookies and the rest of us were supposed to make one kind to share. I made chocolate, cherry, coconut cookies which proved very popular. You were supposed to eat some there and take some home; but after 2 hours of eating, most of us didn't want to see another cookie. We did have a wonderful afternoon visiting with our friends and checking out what everybody brought.
Sunday night we went to the children's play at our church. It was hilarious and touching all at the same time. It's stuff like this that makes me love the holidays.
Guess what I'm doing this weekend? Sheetrocking!! Marvin just called me from Lowe's to ask if I had any plans for this weekend because he wants me to be his construction helper on Saturday. He's wiring today and we will close in the walls tomorrow. This bathroom is moving right along. Do I already have any plans for the weekend? Let's see: a meeting Saturday morning, prep to teach Sunday School, proof the visual presentation for church, make cookies, take cookies to cookie party- no, I'm fine.
A writer, photographer, wife to Marvin, mom to Wayne and Stef, step mom to Ray, Debbie, Karen and Sherry, grandmother to Ron, Tania, A.J., Mika, Cassie, Drew, Corey, Ashley, Adam, Alexis, Melissa, Beth and Bradley (and the Kittie girls on the 4th floor).