Thursday, April 24, 2008

Heavy Heart - Fond Memories

I got an email from my mother this evening that has promped this post. The email was to inform me that her sister, my Aunt Jessie Mae, probably won't be with us much longer. Seems she has congestive heart failure and hospice has been called in to ease the pain she is in. Aunt Jessie Mae will be 90 on May 16. My heart is heavy for Mom as she faces losing another sister.
The childhood memories I have of Aunt Jessie Mae are fun memories. We only saw them about once a year if that often and I can't say that we were close, but I alway liked her and only saw her as a happy person. She was the mother of four boys and to me that made her life seem very different and in some ways a little awesome. I couldn't then and still can't imagine being the only female in a house full of men.

We didn't visit them at their home often -- I actually only have one memorie of such a visit. They lived in Oklahoma City (I'm not sure it was actually in Oklahoma City, but in one of the towns in Oklahoma City). Their house to me was a house right out of a movie or book. It was on a street with curbs and gutters, it had a sidewalk in front of it and the lawn sloped. It was a dark red brick house that had steps leading up to a front porch that had a brick half wall around it. To me it was a very fancy house. I thought that front porch was the best place in the world and could imagine all kinds of things passing by as you sat there.

Aunt Jesse Mae and Uncle Marion also had a dog named Patsy. I thought was the funniest thing. Who named a dog Patsy? On this visit to see them it seems that Patsy, the dog, and Patsy, the little girl, were both in the kitchen with Aunt Jessie Mae and probably were both underfoot. The command, "Patsy, get out of the kitchen and stay. Get!" was given and you got it the dog and I both left. I don't think the dog was upset, but I was found in the backyard crying. I really don't remember any more than that, but I'm sure there were lots of laughs and hugs and me being brought back into the house.

Frances, Henry, Dale and Lloyd I don't know how you are feeling to be losing you mother. My day is yet to come for such feelings. But do know that your mother will be remembered in the heart of a little girl that thought she was a special person because she was the only *girl* in a house full of *boys*.

This is a picture of Mother (back right) taken before Aunt Leona (bottom left) passed away. Aunt Jessie Mae is in the center front. Beside her is Aunt Elsie and beside Mom is Aunt Ruth. I think the picture was taken in 2005.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Beautiful Place to Visit with God

I started this blog last Monday, but got way layed by a viciouse sinus infection and allergies. I think this trip to a "Beautiful Place" full of oak trees was part of the problem, but well worth the fever, head-ache, sorness, and general *wish I could die* feeling I had on Tuesday. Of course the trip to the doctor on Wednesday cured all of that with a shot, two prescriptions, and two different doctor samples of allergy medication. Below is pictorial guide of the Women's Retreat to Broken Triangle Ranch and the Glass House.

This the glass house that we stayed in. Yes, all the outside walls are glass, with a great view of the grounds. There are full length drapes that can be pulled for privacy.
Here are Sheila and Carolyn, two of my BFFs as we walked around the grounds on Friday evening enjoying being in nature. It was a great time for talking.The beds we *bunked in* on Friday night. It was a bit of a challenge to make those beds. You can tell that they are oversized in height - lots of head room for the person on bottom. That is the first time I had slept on a bunk bed in a long time. I was glad to see the railing around the top. This is the view that greeted up Saturday morning when Carolyn opened the drapes in the bedroom . We lazily lay in bed injoying watching the ducks swim by, a turtle blowing bubbles as it fed and the squirrils play among the trees and on the grounds.

The young girls Saturday morning. These were the only two young mothers that spent the night. We really enjoyed them. They offered a whole different perspective to things. Two very fine, fun-loving, Christian women. And Saturday early afternoon was time to say good-bye, climb back in our cars and leave. I think everyone had had *their cup filled* and *a closer walk with God*. It was a truly uplifing experience that I hope we can do again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Rockin Good Party

Tonight Robert and I went to a retirement party for Jesse Shindler, the husband of my good friend. We, meaning me and lots of other people at the party but not Robert, ate crayfish with all the trimmings, fried fish and lots of cake.

Then the party really began. There was an open bar and music from the 50s, 60s and country from the 80s and up. Stuff I like and know at least the melody to. I was tonight's DD so I watched as Robert had a good time making friends with everyone we didn't already know and best friends with a bottle of 40 Creek. (He paid for that on the way home. We almost made it to the house before he lost much of his stomach contents down the side of the pick-up.)

As the party began to wind down Sherri and Sharon and I got the microphones and began to sing karaoke. I learned I'm a horrible karaoke singer -- I just know one line to each song and I sing way off key to all songs. But I have a good time the entire time I'm holding the mircrophone and I do a cool back-up singer dance.

This is a picture of some crayfish we caught in the ditch in front of the house in Danavang using bacon for bait. The tails are really pretty good, but I wouldn't eat any of these --- I only want to eat them if I don't think about were they come from.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'll Take One of Everything -- It's All Good

I just got home from one of those product parties. I really enjoy going to them and usually end up buying more than I intended to. Be it Pampered Chef, Premier Jewelry or Home and Garden Party I always find lots of things I want and I always have a good time.

Tonight's party was a new one for me -- Taste of Home. The products were interesting, pretty and not too overpriced. I actually bought only one item, but gladly would have gotten much more had I not been feeling a little poor tonight. I would put in a web link, but couldn't find one.

The gathering was fun. Most of the ladies I only know casually and from Chamber of Commerce type functions which makes them on a different level of "friendship". In other words they aren't the people I work with who know one Patsy or the people who I church with who know another Patsy. (Hummm is it bad to be three different people???) Just read the first sentence of this paragraph and it sounds like this group of people are more fun then the others; not necessarily so, just a different group.

The hostess for the party is a young girl (mid to late 20s) who thinks I'm just wonderful. We bonded one evening on a cruise that we were on together and I went bar hopping with her and her brother and his girl friend at the time. I must say I did feel young that night and a little *foot-loose*. Since then Heidi has always made it a point to have me around for a party or to seek me out at any function we attend for the C of C.

This is Heidi. You don't have to do anything to have fun with her. Just go along and enjoy the ride. And she says I'm the crazy one. Not so ---- not so.

Monday, April 7, 2008

At Least I Didn't Loose Any Luggage

I found flying home last night a very frustrating experience. To get from Amarillo to Houston Hobby one must stop in Dallas if flying Southwest, and since I nearly always fly Southwest I stop in Dallas quite often. If at all possible I try to book on one of the through flights which means you still have to land in Dallas, but you just don't have to change planes.

When the plane landed in Dallas yesterday evening at 7:55. I gathered my one small carry-on and looked around for the board with flight informations on departures. Just as I found Dallas to Houston the gate changed from 12 to 6. Ok that wasn't bad because the McDonalds was right there by it. Now I didn't need to eat, but I seldom pass up a chance to eat. Two things you should never do when traveling is pass up a chance to go to the restroom or pass up a chance to eat. I have learned the hard way about both.

At Gate 6 people where mumbling and grumbling. I didn't understand why until one girl told me that we wouldn't be going anywhere at 8:30 and that the gate had been changed 3 times already.

Since there was no official from the airline at the check-in counter and no flight number or time displayed I had to believe her and hope for the best. I also hoped we would find something official out soon, because I had friends coming from Bay City to pick me up. Then came the offical word over the loud speaker --- still not human in sight. The 8:30 flight to Houston would be delayed until 10:30.

Now began the phone calls first to Sheila, "Sorry you're going to have to wait around an extra couple of hours because I'm still in Dallas and won't be leaving for two hours."

What a wonderful friend to just say, "No problem. We'll see you when land. Give us a call we'll be waiting in the cell phone parking lot." They were already more than half way to Houston.

Then a call to Robert and of course to Donna Jo. She and I like to commiserate over the inefficiencies of airlines. It helped to have them to talk to and I was glad I had gotten a puzzle book in Amarillo to work. Now it was a puzzle book to work on while I waited and waited and waited.

When our flight crew landed and changed to the plane waiting at our gate, we boarded very quickly with only a few grumbling remarks from passengers around me. Most people were like me. A little put out at being so late, knew that today was going to be a long day for them at work, but quietly accepting what we could not control.

The flight was very crowded, as a matter of fact, full. I was seated between two gentlemen who were not chatty or large. On an airplane size matters. I worked several puzzles and enjoyed the smooth, fast flight. We made it to Houston in 35 minutes; the usual time being 45.

Sheila and Paul were there with trunk ajar by the time I made it from the last gate of the terminal to baggage claim and out the door. They wore smiles and had greeting of cheer for me. I swear tha girl is always a bright spot in my day. I was safely home in my bed by 1:00 am and today wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. But I do think I will turn in a little earlier tonight.
Here Robert and I are on a trip to Tucson in 2002.

Friday, April 4, 2008

With Heavy Heart

For the second time Robert and I are faced with the possibility of losing a parent. The first time was about a year and a half ago when my daddy was very ill. I had to face the fact that not only was I getting older but so were my parents. I have felt nothing but joy since I have seen daddy get better and back to himself even if himself is a bit slower. I praise God that Daddy is here and pray that he will be for a long time yet.

Now we are facing the imminent passing of Robert's mother. She was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday because she was having pain when she swallowed and yesterday she was diagnosed with an aneurysm on the aorta near her esophagus. Because of the location of the aneurysm and her frail condition brought on by COPD the heart surgeon said he would not do surgery. She is now at home with Hospis tending her.

Robert is in Amarillo with his dad and siblings taking care of all the things that have to be tended to. Just from talking to him on the phone I can tell it has been very hard on him. He has never been what I call a nurturing person. Sitting in a hospital or visiting the sick is something he does pretty much only when forced to. In our conversations he is very subdued. He has been forced to accept the fact that his mother is not going to live much longer. As a matter of fact, we will all be surprised is she lives much past next week.

Helen is very tired. She is tired of fighting for every breath she takes and is ready to be in a body that doesn't have to fight for air all the time. The home health nurse told them that she would probably go from the COPD before the aneurysm. She also told them not the push her to do anything she didn't want to do. Why force her to take pills that are not going to help her? Why deprive her of the things she likes? Their (the kids' and Gene's) job now is to keep her comfortable and be happy to be with her. I'm sure that is easier said than done, but I think Robert is really trying to do just that. In our phone exchange, he said instead of talking about all the things that have been done wrong in the past they are just trying to think about the things they are going to do now.

The grandchildren who live close have all gone to see her. Amy has taken the great-grand babies to visit. These are the ones Helen has requested to see. Her sisters are all coming in this week-end and Monday. That is why I think she will not last long. My heart is sad, but I know she will be at peace when her time comes, and because of that I am at peace.

I don't know when this picture was taken. It is one Carolyn shared with me a while back and all it said with the picture was A Young Helen. It seemed appropriate to share it here tonight.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Morning Read

I love getting catalogs. Around Christmas the mailbox is flooded with them and they probably don't get the attention they deserve because of that influx, but this time of year there aren't as many and I can devote more time to them.
This morning while drinking my morning breakfast shake, which I have because I don't drink coffee or eat breakfast, I had time to look through one that come yesterday. It is the Bas Blue catalog; a catalog I get because I ordered a Christmas present from it for Carrie had my attention. I'm so glad she pointed this catalog out because things in it make me smile.
Take this item for instance. Who wouldn't want a book about killing adjectives?
Or this one about diagramming sentences which just sounds like fun! Of course the title may have been what caught my attentions but diagramming sentences was always fun for me. :)
This set of books is one I could really use. I do have trouble with using words correctly at times.
Then there are fun items like these that could end up in Christmas stockings this year. And note cards like these or these for Donna, or some like these for Carrie and I like some like this for Amy. Not that I ever write notes, but I wouldn't mind having these. If I had them I might be inspired to write to someone.
Another fun item just for me would be this pair of "Weeding Glasses".
See the list just goes on and on. And as I posted these items I had dog-eared this morning to share with you, I came across several other interesting titles that just make me want to pick them up and browse through them.
The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown-ups by A.A. Milne
Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days by Jane Mallison
1001 Books You Must Read before You Die edited by Peter Boxall
And the list could go on. If you've never been to their web site before now, you might want to spend some time there, or better yet get on their mailing list. It is a delightful little catalog.
(Oh, by the way, I won't get any residual for this endorsment.)

Now for that totally random picture :)

Wouldn't you love to hang out with these two people? I'm not sure I would!