Sunday, January 19, 2020

Favorite ordinary moments

I'm keeping up with my goal to join Friday Fave Five each week, where a group of us list our favorite blessings from the week. Better late than never, right?

1.  It was a beautiful day today, the sky so blue and the air crisp, but warmed by the sun. I sat on the porch swing with Lilly and just breathed in the cool air, listened to the birds and the sounds of the neighborhood, and petted Lilly's soft ears. It was a lovely time experiencing the sacredness of an ordinary day.

2.  This week, my aunt received a number of phone calls and letters from women she used to teach with years ago. I enjoyed hearing the stories they shared and learning more about that time in her life. After she retired, she moved from the east coast to Colorado to be near my dad (her brother) and the rest of the family. She volunteered at the school that my kids attended, teaching cursive writing. Teaching was her passion and the children loved her.

3.  I've ordered some photo prints on line to update some of our framed family pictures. They arrived in the mail this week. It was nice to get some fun mail. It reminded me of the old days when I would get so excited to get the prints back from a roll of film and see my pictures for the first time.

4.  The sunrise on Friday was spectacular.


5. I baked banana bread last week and we had it with our coffee in the afternoons. It was worth every calorie. I like to sprinkle the top with the big crystal brown sugar before I bake it. It comes out so sweet and crunchy on the top.

I hope you all had a nice weekend.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

On my mind

I made a new recipe for pork chops last night and it turned out kind of meh.  From now on, I'm going to stick to the old method that works every time and quit trying to be fancy. Use thin, bone-in chops, dip them in milk and bread crumbs, and bake in the oven. Serve with applesauce, green beans and mashed potatoes.
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Yesterday at Walmart, I bought yet another rug for George. There was one little section of hardwood that he was avoiding like it was hot lava. Now, he has a complete loop that he can walk all the way around the house from kitchen, to living room, to entryway, to the dining room and out the door.

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Today would have been my mother's 87th birthday. Oh, how I miss her. I can't believe she's been gone 20 years in May.

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Yesterday, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this teeny flash of color among the dry, dead leaves in the garden. Tiny, happy little violas are a treat in the middle of January.


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My bestie Pamela is going to be a grandma <3  I'm over the moon for her, and can't wait to be grandmas together:)

Happy Tuesday.



Friday, January 10, 2020

Gratitude

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. (William Faulkner)

This week has been filled with moments of grace. I'm thankful for Friday Fave Five because it gives me a chance to share some of those moments.

1. A caring hospice staff ~ Hospice staff come to the house several days a week to tend to Aunt Ann. I'm so grateful to these compassionate and warmhearted people who are so devoted to this ministry. I've heard about how wonderful hospice people can be. It is an inspiration to witness firsthand.

2. George ~ I wrote about our granddog George in an earlier post. He's become a faithful companion to Aunt Ann. She enjoys his company and gentle, kind manner, and he in turn relishes her soft voice and rubs behind his hears.  He mostly sleeps on his enormous bed in the living room near her,  leaving only occasionally to go outside.

3. My three amazing nieces ~ Two live in the area, the third lives out of state. They've long been a source of support and encouragement for me. They are each pursuing their dreams and sharing their lives with me. Earlier this week, the three of them sent me a generous gift card to my favorite coffee shop with a note telling me, "take care of yourself!" I felt hugged:)

4. A helping hand -- Yesterday, Aunt Ann was determined to have her hair done. We went to my hairdresser and while walking in to the shop, she got a little off balance. A young man rushed to our aid. He tenderly took my aunt's arm with one hand and gently put his other arm around her, helping her up to the sidewalk. His lanky frame and tousled hair reminded me of my eldest son, and I teared up thanking him.

5. Dawn ~ My hairdresser is Dawn, and she took us for an appointment with just a day's notice. I love it when two people you've shared with one another just through conversation finally get to meet. They adored one another! and had so much to talk about. I left them for an hour to run some errands, and when I returned it was like they were old friends.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

George

George is our granddog.  He is a 14-year-old, brindle-colored, retired greyhound. His dads are Joe and Sam.  When Joe adopted George 11 years ago, I expressed my surprise that he would choose such a large, active breed when he lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment.

"Mom," Joe explained. "Greyhounds are the world's fastest couch potatoes. They run as fast as they can for 15 minutes and then rest for the remainder of the day."

It couldn't be more true.


George has been staying with us since early December. He is the sweetest house guest, one of the very few dogs that Lilly will tolerate, and his kind disposition has made him a favorite among our family and friends.


In October, Joe and Sam made a move to Seattle. Sort of. Joe is living there now, Sam is sorting out some job details and -- fingers crossed -- will be there soon. During one of Sam's trips up north, we took George in to stay with us. With all of Sam's travels, we've found it easier to keep him. Easier being a relative term. His enormous bed sits in our living room, and we have made paths for him around the house using throw rug runners because he tends to slip on our hardwood and tiled floors.


At 14 years of age, he moves rather slowly and we often have to coax him outside with a cookie. But once out there, he is a sight to see as he gallops around the yard, ears perked up and a twinkle in his eye. For all of 15 minutes.


Monday, January 6, 2020

January Daybook

For Today, January 6, 2020


Looking out my window . . . The sky is crystal blue and the wind has been blowing like crazy for two days. There are still patches of snow on the ground and the temperatures have been in the chilly 40s.

I am thinking . . . about how much I enjoy the new beginnings that January provides. New book lists, new goals, a nice bright new planner.

I am thankful . . . that in the Denver area the tradition is to keep holiday lights on through the National Western Stockshow, which is January 11th through the 26th this year. The practice brightens up the otherwise brown, dreary landscape of winter.

One of my favorite things . . . this picture of my grandkids making a "snowball tree." One of their older cousins had the idea and I thought it was so creative of him.






I am creating . . . a few notes with new year's wishes to put in the mail this week.

I am wearing . . . black stretch pants, a lavender blouse and sneakers. 

I am reading . . . The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa


I am hoping . . . the recycling truck arrives soon so that our bin of recyclables doesn't get blown over and take off down the street.

I am learning . . . to be in the moment. (Except for anticipating the arrival that darned recycling truck!)

In my kitchen . . . a pot of white chili heating on the stove is filling the house with the most delicious aroma. My friend Mary brought it over with fresh baked cornbread muffins. 

In my garden . . . I was attempting to winter over some geraniums, but I have run out of patience with how sad and dry and withered they look. I composted them. 😖

Shared Quote . . . 
"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been."
Rainer Maria Rilke

A moment from my day . . .


Closing Notes . . . Thank you for your kind and loving comments on my last post. I feel your good thoughts and prayers. 


For more Daybooks and instructions on how to write your own, visit The Simple Woman's blog here.



Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome 2020!

It's hard jumping back in to my blog after I've been away for so many weeks. But, what better place to start than to look at those weeks and find the blessings within? I'm grateful for Friday Fave Five and the opportunity it always gives me to celebrate moments of gratitude that can easily be overlooked.

Truth be told, it's been a difficult time. The sparkle and shine of Christmas really took a back seat this year, but in cutting back on the celebratory mode we found a peace that was a welcome respite. Shortly after Thanksgiving, my sweet Aunt Ann was experiencing some health issues. I've lost track of the number of doctor appointments and hospital visits we made in the weeks that followed. We were stunned when she was diagnosed with cancer. Dan and I moved her into our home, where she is now in hospice.

So many emotions. Grief. Sadness. Heartsickness.  And yet I also feel fortunate, honored, and blessed to be here with her, just as she has been there for me throughout my life. Especially when my mother passed when I was just a young mom with three little ones. She was there for me every step of the way. She has been my spiritual mentor and my confidante through the years.

In this bittersweet time, there have been blessings to behold and so many opportunities to experience life's sacredness.

We kept the Christmas decorations simple this year, and the house felt so cozy with the glow of the Christmas village on the hutch and the tree decorated with my collection of angel ornaments.  I didn't have the energy to go through boxes of our usual decorations, but it was perfect. We didn't bake, and Dan decided to forego the traditional rum cake. But it made the treats we received from neighbors and family all the sweeter.

We've had family gatherings, the kind where the house is filled to overflowing, and the food and drink are flowing, and everyone is talking and laughing and hugging with hellos and goodbyes. Instead of cooking, we ordered in food and it was tasty and delicious and no one had to spend all their time in the kitchen.

We got to have all five our grandchildren here at Thanksgiving. Luke and Miranda and their three stayed for the week, and I snuggled little Ivy Rose every day.

We listened to soothing, classic instrumental Christmas music which evoked memories of Christmases past.

Auntie Ann and I took turns choosing our favorite Christmas movies to watch. Since You Went Away (her choice). The Family Stone (my choice). We've watched lots of others, too, and have a bunch saved to "my list" on Netflix.

On Christmas Eve, Dan and I went to a show downtown, Escape to Margaritaville. We bought our tickets a couple of months ago, when we realized that for the first time in 30 years none of our children would be home for Christmas! They are all living out-of-state now, and it just didn't work out for any of them to be home. We decided we needed to change things up, so this was our gift to one another.

One of my goals for the new year is to be more consistent in posting on my blog. I've missed reading my favorite blogs -- I'll be by soon to see what's new! -- and it has been so nice hearing from blogging friends who've reached out through email to check up on me.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Hello, again

For Today . . . November 18, 2019


Looking out my window . . . it's a clear, sunny day and the wind is kicking up. A storm is brewing for later in the week, but today the temperatures are quite mild. I have the front door open and Lilly is catching some sunshine.

I am thinking . . . about the Neil Diamond song from The Jazz Singer. "Hello, Again."  I loved that movie! I've been watching lots of movies lately. Mostly the Hallmark holiday movies, but also some oldies on Turner. Including my first Bette Davis movie - Now, Voyager. (That's right, I've never seen a Bette Davis movie. Where have I been?) I've set up the DVR to record several more.
  
I am thankful . . . Just a week ago, my aunt had a little medical situation arise. She is fine:) In ten days we went to five doctor appointments! It's given me plenty of opportunity to observe how different practices operate, and I've picked up some tips for my own workplace where I'm the office manager for a group of family therapists.  Number one: go to W@lmart and get a little fan to put on my desk that recharges on my computer. Isn't that the best? I'm also so appreciative of the people who checked us in and made us feel like we were the best part of their day. I wonder how often I've been on automatic and failed to do that with our patients? Probably more than I'd like to admit.

One of my favorite things . . . having supper around our fire pit in the backyard. It was perfect last week -- a little bit chilly, but nice enough to be out there with a bowl of chili and glasses of wine.

I am creating . . . a home to accommodate the Wisconsin crew when they arrive at the end of the week. They'll be here for the whole week! Luke, Miranda, Siefer, Sawyer and Ivy. It's been a while since I've had a baby crawling on my floors, so I'm cleaning up a storm. 😣

I am wearing . . . jeans, long sleeve tee and slippers. And, some new makeup:) 
 
I just finished reading . . . A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, and Snow in August by Pete Hamill. They were both excellent and I couldn't choose which one was better.

I am watching . . .  a variety of movies on television (see above) and looking forward to watching Season 3 of The Crown now that it's out on Netflix.

I am listening to . . . Christmas music. Already. I'm one of those people.

I am hoping . . . for good news on the job front for someone near and dear; for healing for another person near and dear.

I am learning . . . to hold everything - everything - lightly.

In my kitchen . . . pumpkin bread just came out of the oven, lots of new soup recipes, and a broken dishwasher! :( 

In my garden . . . a new compost bin (how I acquired it is a story for another day).

From the Board room . . . Adding lots of pins to my Christmas Pinterest board. I am so not a baker, but I'm drooling over cupcake ideas like this one:

From iambaker.net (here's the link)

Shared Quote
"It's impossible," said pride. 
"It's risky," said experience. 
"It's pointless," said reason.
"Give it a try," whispered the heart. 

A moment from my day . . . the sunset this evening.


Closing notes . . .  I am thinking about my friend Claudia, who passed away one year ago today. We met when our eldest kids were in kindergarten and we were the room mothers. Through the years our friendship grew strong. We co-chaired a young mother's group at our church together, did numerous Bible studies together over the years, carpooled each other's kids to school, and we were so thrilled to eventually become neighbors when she and her husband moved into a house around the corner from Dan and I. Our eldest kids remained best friends, and our younger ones formed a little gang of their own. Claudia taught me so many things about parenting and life and friendship.
 I miss her.
💓

Hope you all have a good week.

Karen

For more Daybooks and instructions on how to write you own, visit The Simple Woman blogspot here.