Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Graduation and Birthday!

So, life carries on.  And on the 12th, Ryan graduated from college.  I am proud of him, and hope he'll continue his education, and set the world on fire; I'm sure that's what we all want for our children.  All but one of his siblings made it home for the event; for me it was bittersweet, because it's the first of a lifetime's of events which will in my mind be incomplete, lacking my dearly beloved.

The following weekend was Ryan's birthday.  Of course, cake was involved.  Despite the appearances of this picture, Thatcher was not involved with the cake.  He was merely hopeful.

I've been working on the PBS Great American Read book list; I've read The Alchemist (very good, fast read), Gone Girl (saw the movie, but the book was still great, even knowing the ending), Their Eyes Were Watching God (this was actually a great book, and I'd recommend it), The Handmaid's Tale (another very good book), and Pilgrim's Progress (I only slogged through 1/4 of this book; it was just too tedious.  I pity Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy for having gotten this book for Christmas; couldn't their Marmee have thought at least of giving them variety, so they'd have more exciting things to read?).  I've started Memoirs of a Geisha today.  I don't sleep much, so I do have to do something...

Happy Wednesday, everyone; I hope your spring is progressing well.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hanging In There

It's been 5 weeks since I lost my dearly beloved, and it still feels like 5 minutes.  If I didn't have the boys to feed, I'd probably be subsisting on frozen dinners, if I even remembered to eat.  My next door neighbor has been a rock, dropping by with a cup of tea to visit every few days.

Yesterday, we had a fierce thunderstorm roll through - in and out in 20 minutes.  Afterward, I looked out the front door, and was amazed at the myriad shades of green, and sunshine, against the dark sky where the storms were still rolling through to the east of us.

And, who's excited about the PBS Great American Read?  OK, maybe "excited" is a little strong.  But I downloaded the list, and was pleased to see that I've read 30 of the books on it, and have at least 5 more in my house.  I might as well read; the insomnia is going to drive me nuts otherwise.

So, tell me, how many of these books have any of you read?  And are you all enjoying the colors of spring after our rather cold April?

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Last Holidays

Like everyone else, we had Christmas.  Unlike everyone else, we had it 3 times.

First Christmas:

What is Nora studying so intently?
 Grandpa's flying shark, of course.  What else would one get a grandfather?

 Bebop wanted to protect Nora from her bear.

And, of course, first Christmas dinner: Turkey.

Real Christmas:

 "Will you share with a poor starving doggie?"

 Filet Mignon and assorted foods.  Small crowd.

Third Christmas:
Yes, I was there.

Shannon's birthday:

And then came the visit by the grandchildren for a week, while their father took a business trip to California, and their mama went to get relief from snow.

The children bought this hat for their father some 10 years ago, and our son's wife found nearly matching hats for our son and his 2 kids.

And my dearly beloved's 75th birthday, for which many made the pilgrimage, and we enjoyed a Lemon Sponge Cake.

But a week before this event, my dearly beloved, who had had pneumonia New Year's week, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  He began treatment within 3 weeks, but it wasn't enough.  To cut short a long and painful story, he was hospitalized twice, the second time because his left leg was paralyzed.  The cancer grew despite treatment, broke his spine, and the week after Easter, they gave him 2 to 4 months to live.  He died 36 hours later, on April 6.

My heart is broken; I don't know how to live without him.  He's been the center of my universe for 39 years.  Now, I have to figure out how to recenter my world, and survive for the sake of Mark, who lost his father when he was only 18, and Ryan, who's not in much better shape at 21.  The world is a cold, harsh place today.

Or, as Jim Croce sang on what I believe was a B side of a 45 back in the early 1970s, "Photographs and memories, Christmas cards you gave to me, all that I have are these..."

I'll be back, some time.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Our Great New Lawn Service

So, last Thursday, our new lawn guy showed up at the back door.  Of course, he wanted to be paid for the fall cleanup work he'd been doing, which is absolutely phenomenal.

How phenomenal, you ask?

Well, Tank was here for 5 days, romping about our 10 acre lawn.  And Mr. Lawn Guy was returning Tank's tags, which he found somewhere on said 10 acres.  That's some phenomenal work.

On that note, I thought you'd all enjoy one of the tags Tank usually wears; I hadn't seen this before.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Christmas preparation is about to get serious!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dog Sewing

Yes, dog sewing.

Jeff went off to Joann's and bought a few pieces of fabric that he could ostensibly fold for festive bandanas for Tank, but then suckered me into sewing them.

First up: I made all the dogs bow ties from a piece of flannel Jeff bought that was just 1/3 yard.  I attached plastic snaps to hold them on their collars, and everyone was instantly festive.

Just look how festive Tank is with his bow tie and jingle bells!

At a later point (like last weekend), I made bibs for Nora and Little V.  I will wrap them for Tank to give to his human cousins.

Jeff bought this stripe for his girlfriend's dog, but he didn't like it, so no stripe for Tank.  Quincy didn't care - something about dogs being colorblind - and he was happy being elevated above the crowd.

Bebop models the turkey bandana.  Only he and Tank got these.

Just finished, and ready to send to Jeff: Merry Christmas and Santa Dog bandanas.  These are relatively small, because I put snaps on the turkey bandanas since that was all the fabric there was, and Jeff liked that a lot better than tying them and giving his dog tails to drool water all over.

 I made 5 of each of these, so Jeff can share them with all of the family dogs.  Lily got a Merry Christmas rosette, with jingle bell hidden inside.  I don't think it came out very well, but for my first attempt to make a fabric flower, it isn't awful.  I might take it apart and remake it, though. sewing.  Silly, but easy and kind of amusing.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Introducing Thatcher Formally

So, I mentioned that Patrick came home for an extended time; he and Thatcher drove from Arizona (and hopefully won't ever go back).  So, this is Thatcher.  He's a cute little guy.

He likes children and larger humans, too.

He would not jump up to take the specks of food Maddie was trying to share; she had to drop them on the floor for him.  I thought that was really polite of him.

The only problem with Thatcher is that he doesn't like other dogs.  Hence, we had him muzzled for Thanksgiving weekend.  It made me sad.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how we can get Thatcher to be nicer to dogs?  He was growling at Tank, which hurt poor Tank's feelings.  By and large he ignored Bebop, maybe because Bebop had a hurt leg and was just laying around or hobbling when he was up.  It's a shame, because he could have lots of friends.  And since I expect people with dogs to start arriving on Thursday the 21st (only 10 days, folks; time to get that Christmas organization into high gear), it's going to be a problem.

Anyway, I just wanted everyone to meet Thatcher!  Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

61 Pounds

I know, I'm 2 weeks late.  Sorry about that.

61.5 pounds.  That's how much turkey I cooked.  And I got Thanksgiving, plus dinner Friday night for 14, plus the following Monday for only 5, plus sandwiches and the usual free-range grazing!  Good deal, I'd say!

Our oldest son wasn't here; he went to South Carolina to visit his in-laws, hence my practice Thanksgiving.  And poor Shannon arrived sick as a dog on Wednesday afternoon, and went to sleep after eating some chicken soup I made for her.  It wasn't a problem, really, because she had an aunt, a grandma and half a dozen uncles eager to steal her baby from her.  When Cass arrived Thursday morning, however, she dragged Shannon off to the ER for a diagnosis of pneumonia. (Who ever said life around here was dull?)  They pumped her full of IV antibiotics (Quoth Shannon, "Miracle of Witchcraft? You decide!") and she made an appearance for dinner.

And she even looked human, holding Nora!

Tank dressed up for the occasion.  Dapper guy, that Tank.

A little preparation fun.  Kellie and Cass came up with a snazzy new napkin fold; kids these days, googling up all kinds of crazy things!

 This is Simon, whose baby shower was in September.

The table, which is really what you all came to see.

 Half of the turkey; we always make sure there's plenty at each end of the table.

And Nora sat next to me.  I fed her my sweet potatoes, while she played with a nice broccoli and an excellent turkey.  She's absolutely certain she's big.  Of course, I forgot to put her turkey bib on her.

And what's Thanksgiving without some dessert?  These aren't all of the desserts, just the ones I cut.  There were backups of the pumpkin and apple pies.
So that was Thanksgiving in our little corner of the world!  Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pre Turkey Day

Our oldest son has to go to South Carolina to visit his in-laws this Thanksgiving (sob, sob).  Yeah, I know: I shouldn't even notice with 15 people and a whole pack of dogs around for the week, but I do.  Anyway, they arrived Saturday morning and are here until tomorrow morning.  Thatcher and Patrick arrived late yesterday afternoon, so we had a practice Thanksgiving dinner last night.

This was after we'd all been stuffing our faces for a while.

Just in case you wondered, cooking a 19.44 pound turkey for 6 adults, an 18-month-old and one small dog is overkill.  Guess what we're having for dinner tonight, too?  Hooray, a night off!

When's the last time you drew a hand turkey?  Well, when your inner kindergartener calls, you channel it on a cake.  It made us laugh.

And how about a couple of gratuitous grandchild photos?  Because, well, they're here....

Happy Monday, everyone!  Get ready for some turkey!