Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beach Week

Last week we went to Ocean Isle Beach, NC.  Daughter two and her husband rented a house and we were all joined by various family members, including my son-in-law's parents. Not everyone was able to stay the entire time, but it was nice to get together for at least a while. 

I think I have gained 5 lbs. We have had pizza, spaghetti and home-made meatballs, hamburgers, seafood (in a restaurant) and tonight, my specialty pork tenderloin, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, salad and rolls, topped off with German chocolate cake. 

I've learned to make omelets in plastic bags, too, which is a definite boon if you have a crowd to feed. Thanks to Linda (SIL's mom) I now know how to make them, and they are fool-proof!  The best taste-tester was my older grandson, who gave a thumbs up! 

We met grandson's pretty friend from college....heretofore known only in photographs. She is lovely, thoughtful and well-mannered;  traits which are guaranteed to please even the touchiest of grandparents. 

All in all we had a really nice time. The weather was gorgeous, the house clean and on the beach, the deck partially covered and stocked with nice rocking chairs, and the beds were astonishingly comfortable for a rental house. very own bed and bath will be heavenly tonight and before that, my recliner will get a workout. I have really missed it!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another Classmate Gone....

An email I received this morning notified me of the death of another classmate; one which I was very sad to see. Pat and I knew each other in school, but were not buddies outside of classes and clubs at school. 

In 2003, when we had our 45th reunion, I was in my home town, shopping at a local mall when I saw a woman who looked familiar. She glanced at me and then looked back with recognition in her eyes, so we spoke. A name and a voice took me back to 1958 instantly, and I remembered the young woman that Pat had been. We managed to spend a good bit of time together over the next 2-3 days; very enjoyable times. 

She had lived for a long time in Myrtle Beach, SC, and when I told her that our family sometimes vacationed there, she made me promise to let her know when I was coming, so we could get together. 

A year or so later, I contacted her and we made arrangements for her to visit with us at our beach resort. Being a top-notch real estate agent in that area, she knew our location and found me easily. We had lunch and a wonderful, long conversation, and she met most of my family. We promised to see each other again in 2013 for our 50th reunion, but it was not to be. Pat had become ill and was unable to drive. Had I known she could travel (even though not under her own steam) I would have gone to get her and taken her back to Charleston, WV with me. Alas, we didn't find it out until there was no time for me to do that. I really missed seeing her then, and was looking forward to going back to Myrtle Beach so that I could plan a visit with her. I had heard that she was in a nursing facility, but that didn't matter. 

Well, we have not made it back to that area, and now Pat has gone on to her reward (one hopes.) I am so sorry that we didn't get another opportunity to see one another, and I hope she rests-in-peace, pain-free and in serenity. Goodbye, Pat, I'm glad I knew you.

The longer we live, the more we see our old friends and classmates pass away. My dad lived to be 91, and when he was in his 70's and 80's, he spent a good bit of his time visiting friends and former co-workers in hospitals, nursing homes and attending funerals. He said he thought no one would be alive to mourn his passing......and though he was wrong.....I do get where he was coming from. We all hate to see our long-term friends go, but it is part of life and must be borne. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You Just Never Know...

In 2008, I was going back to my hometown for a school reunion and I made arrangements to meet with a few women bloggers, whose blogs I'd been reading for 2-3-4 years. Most of us had become acquainted on another website through our comments there. We met in a local restaurant and chatted for hours. Only two of them had met before, and I was pleased to see two others getting along so well and pleased that I'd had a hand in their meeting each other. 

After returning home, I continued to read their blogs and see their comments on others, and eventually, on another trip home, I met with one of those women again. At that visit, no one else could make it. We chatted and although she is very different from me, we do have things in common and I liked her. When I joined Facebook, we all became "friends" there too.

About three months ago, she wrote me (in a private message) that her husband was going to send me a friend request on Facebook, because "he knew that we were good friends there, and because he always enjoyed reading what I have posted or my comments on her posts. "  I thought that was fine, so I accepted the request. 

This morning, I read a post about her that made me think I couldn't believe what my eyes were reading, and I asked the person who posted it if he were serious. He assured me he was. 

She was arrested for beating her husband with a baseball bat. I have known a few women who might have wanted to do that - but no one who would actually be capable of it, and especially not one who would do it with her children present in the home. I am appalled lately at all human behavior, but especially this. 

I will not go into details of why she supposedly did it, but I simply cannot let this pass without comment. Alcoholism has reared its ugly head again. This woman drank too much for a time, and during the last year, she went off all alcohol  (or reported that she had) and she changed before my (reading) eyes - for much the better. I applauded and encouraged her to continue in sobriety, but it didn't last; she started drinking again and now it has led to the activities that preceded the beating, and the arrest. Her family has been through hell this year for other reasons, and now this has further devastated them all. Two children and as far as I know, a good, loyal husband have been trashed for all time. One of the children witnessed the attack. Can you imagine being so drunk that you would be capable of that - either alone or in front of a child? The child was the one who called 911 and saved his father's life. 

My family has always cautioned me about meeting with bloggers I have "met" only on the internet. So far, I have found (a number of times) some wonderful people. I am always told they could be "ax-murderers" and the like. I pooh-poohed it and most of the time I have been right - but this is one time when I was almost completely snowed by someone. I will be more careful in the future and not take people at face value any more. I really hate having to do that. 

I am done with this woman - except to pray for her and her family. I hope you will join me. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

From the "Small World" Department

For about three weeks now, we have seen yellow jackets coming and going from an expansion joint between bricks, right beside our front door. I briefly considered spraying them myself, but after reading about them on the spray can and on the web, I decided it was best left to professionals. Yellow jackets, it seems, can get very angry when you disturb their nests. Since this one is up off the ground about 10 feet and requires a person to go down 12 steps to the ground, it would be nearly impossible for a person my age to get out of the way fast enough to dodge a stream of angry insects. 

We called the same pest control company we'd had experience with in our old home, and the guy came out this morning. Mr. K wished to speak to him, so I invited him in. After a few minutes conversation, we discovered that he is from NY, in a place not far from where Mr. K grew up and they have had some similar experiences. Both sang in school choirs, both sang at St. Patrick's Cathedral and the pest control guy went on to sing in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera House, as well as singing for a Pope in Rome. He gave us a little example; singing a small part in Italian that he remembered.  How fun is that???  He has a beautiful baritone singing voice. 

Another interesting coincidence is that he also services a woman with our last name, and he asked if we were related to her. We are not, but her son and daughter-in-law live in our former neighborhood, and we met her about 3 years ago. He is scheduled to go to her home later today.  

He told us that he has been in Raleigh about 28-9 years, and I wanted to ask how (and why) he got into the pest control business, but there wasn't time. It made me think, however, of how judging a person by what they do (or how they look) makes one lose sight of the real person inside - and how interesting they can be, if you only take the time to look beyond first appearances. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Daughter's Birthday

From the time I was about 15, I knew what I would name a daughter. Shannon was my grandmother's maiden name, and I always thought it was lovely.  So when my first daughter was born on July 15, 1969, she became Shannon. She was a happy child, except for that one time when her great Aunt Lily pinched her cheeks once too often and Shannon stuck a fork in her hand.....LOL   She was a pretty baby; a very charming child and has grown into a beautiful woman, of whom we are most proud. The mother of four went to nursing school (while taking care of her four, a husband, his three, three dogs and two cats) and is now a cardiac nurse,  still in school and on her way to a grad degree.

Meanwhile, she has just bought a new home for herself and moved. We are proud of that, but we don't like that she is 70 miles away. Come August, three of her children will be in college, and only one remains home with her mom. We know it isn't easy, but we have faith in you!

Have a wonderful birthday, our darling daughter; it has always been and remains a pleasure to have you in our family!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Was Poking Around....

WalMart today and I always look at kitchen gadgets and implements, hoping to find something I can't live without that will make daily life easier. 

I saw some attractive bowls, and the advertising said it was a new Rachel Ray creation - a "garbage" bowl to sit on the counter top while you are chopping veggies, to hold the unwanted parts. Understand?  A bowl to hold the discarded parts of your veggies, so that "you won't have to make so many trips to the trash can." 

Whaaaaaat?  You need a special bowl for that??? One that costs $19.95 at WalMart and probably more at other stores?  I don't care how pretty it is, or that it has a non-slip base........can't you use just any old bowl? Or do what I do and drop them into the sink with the garbage disposal? Or move the trash can closer to the sink/counter where you chop???

Somebody please explain this?? 'Cause I sure don't get it. I searched for an image of the bowls so I could show you....and I came up with this. Check it out. 

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Last Four Days.....

were spent at my daughter and son-in-law's home; dog-sitting, while they trek north with 2 sons and a niece. They toured Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City and today they are in Hershey Park, PA. Our son was staying there too, and we enjoyed having his company, and that of his two beautiful daughters for a night.

We lounged (there was little else to do) and went to the pool and recreation complex  (a veritable Disney World) and enjoyed fabulous weather. The temperatures were in the 85-90 range, but with low, low humidity. (Too bad that didn't last, as today was a sauna/steam bath again.) But while it was low, the screened porch saw a lot of use, and the new wicker couch is the perfect place to read and doze under the gentle breezes from the ceiling fan. (If only the dog next door hadn't barked incessantly. )

I was very pleased to be able to come to the aid of our son; not once, but twice during our stay there. First, he needed to get as quickly as possible, a copy of his passport and driver's license, and email them to his daughter.  That is not usually a hard thing to do, but it was late Saturday, and a holiday weekend to boot. We had to drive back to our townhouse to do it, but my scanner/copier/printer came through like a champ and within 30 minutes, we did what was needed. I shudder to think how long that might have taken had I not had a scanner. 

Last night, our son drove up to the pool area to work out, and when he got back to his car, it wouldn't start. He has one of those automatic keys; it allowed him to open the car, but he couldn't drive it, and had to walk back home.  So, this morning, he went to the nearest dealership in my car, only to find that there is an extended warranty/recall on that problem and it would be repaired at no charge. Lucky guy!! He also found out that there is another recall on his car, having to do with the emissions system. They will repair that as well, and possibly save him some grief at his next auto inspection. The only trouble was that his car needed to be towed to the dealer. Now mama comes to the rescue - thanks to my yearly renewal of the AAA membership in April. I called, the tow truck came and there were no problems with it. Our son has been under a lot of stress lately, and I was very happy to be able to deal with some of his problems in a way that relieved stress for both of us. Thank Heaven for small favors!

We came home mid-afternoon and our grandson, who is staying with us for 6 weeks, was home from his trip to the beach for the long weekend. He helped me get everything off our deck and front stoop, as the power washers are coming tomorrow. I'm sitting in my den with 8 extra chairs and a table that seats 6, cushions, flower pots, umbrella and stand and metal fish and lizard. It is fairly crowded and I cannot wait until we can put it all back onto the deck!!