Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I made it.  Mary and I drove to Chautauqua today.  It was a five hour drive and I was pretty wiped out but I'm so glad to be here.  This is  where we met John.  He was in one of these "practice shacks."  They're these little cottage like structures and each one has a Steinway grand piano in it.  They're air conditioned and sound proofed.

And here was John, practicing away in one of these "shacks."  He's been practicing about 7 hours a day.  Then he also has several master classes and lectures a week, as well as three individual lessons.  It's so good to see him.  He played us all his competition pieces and they were so fabulous.  I'm really happy he's been able to learn so much.

Weight Loss Wednesday

Heyyyyy!  I'm down a pound from last week.

OK.  So I was not allowed to eat or drink for twelve hours yesterday (in case I needed a heart cath).

But I AM down a down a pound, regardless of the reason.

I have sincerely been trying to eat less and always (usually) stop when I'm full.  So I'm happy to be down a pound.

Thanks for indulging me in this weekly accountability.  It does help.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm OK. I'm OK!

I'm OK. I'm OK!

No heart attack.

I did better than average on my treadmill test.

God is good!  Thanks be to God.

What happened was that I woke up at 2:30 am with pressure all around my chest (back and front) that felt as strong as a labor contraction.  I'm not kidding.  It was that strong.  I was hot, sweating, out of breath.  It only lasted a few minutes but there remained a mild aching or burning.  I called my daughter the new cardiac nurse who said I should go to the hospital to be sure I hadn't had a heart attack.  With some reluctance, I agreed.

Turns out with all the tests they did today that they're 99% sure it was NOT my heart.  The most likely probability?  An esophageal spasm.  Too weird.

Anyway, thanks for the prayers and I am OUT OF HERE as soon as I get the discharge papers.  Yup, I'm still blogging in the ER.  Too funny.  Does that make me a certified addict?

Prayer Request

I'm sitting in the ER at our local hospital.

This is better than the Wendy's parking lot, don't you think Suzanne?  This hospital has WiFi!!!  Do I get the prize for blogging in the oddest place?

I came in here with chest pains last night and I'm waiting for them to decide whether or not I had a heart attack.

I kid you not.  I was supposed to go to Chautauqua today, but that is postponed.

Happily, my daughter is here with me right now, my own personal cardiac nurse.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Road Trip!

For FIVE weeks now we have not witnessed this scene in our living room.  The Steinway is eerily silent and gathering dust.

John is not here.  He is at Chautauqua Summer Institute for a seven week piano program.  We miss him sooo much.  

Once in while someone will go up to the piano and play "Chopsticks," to which I respond.

"STOP IT!!!!!"

No one would try that if John were home.  Because he would flip.

So today some of us are going to visit him.  It's going to be fun.  I can't wait to see it.  I can't wait to hear what he's playing!  He says he's learned a LOT.

Family Moment Monday-- Getting Teens to Talk....

Motherhood for Dummies hosts "Family Moment Monday"  Check out her blog for lots of other great family ideas.
These are some of my teens.
(Actually, all of these kids are mine.  Three of them are teens.)

(I hope I haven't written about this before....oh dear, please tell me if I have.)

A wise friend of mine who has many children once gave me this advice.

To get teens to talk you need to hang out in the same room with them.  If they're reading a book you sit in the same room and do the same.  Don't say anything.  Just do what they're doing.  If they're watching TV you sit and do the same.  If they're having a snack, you have one at the same table.  A cup of tea?  You have one too.  Don't try to push them to talk.  Just kind of be there and act like you have all the time in the world.

  It can take a little while.  You might have to sit there mostly in silence for 15 or 20 or more minutes.  The longer you sit the more comfortable they start to feel.  Eventually, a lot of teens (not all) will start to talk.  They might tell you about what's going on in their life.  Or they might talk about what's going on in a friend's life, which often provides even more opportunities to talk about life, values, good judgement, etc.  They may even talk about their faith life which can be the best discussions of all.

I have found this to be very good advice and I have listened to a lot of teens as a result of this suggestion. Unfortunately, especially for older moms, these discussions often happen at night, sometimes even late at night.  I remember once sitting at our dining room table waiting for one of my teens to talk.  I was SO tired.  I thought I'm giving him 15 minutes.  Then I'm going to bed.  Sure enough.  He started talking before that and I gained a lot of very good parenting information regarding some family dynamics.

As I'm sure all my mommy-blogging friends know, parenting takes time.  In some ways teenagers require less care.  But in others ways they take lots of time, like time spent just sitting there and sitting there, waiting for them to talk.  My experience has been that it's well worth the wait.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An honest and good mechanic-- what a blessing!!

The other day my husband took his car in to our favorite local mechanic. His business is called Select Auto and it's on Platt Rd., for those of you who live around here.

My husband's car needed brake work done. Walt told him, after inspecting the brakes, that the front ones really needed to be replaced. The back ones were worn but could maybe wait a while. Mike said, "What would you do, Walt?" You know what he said? He said, "I'd probably just do the front."

Now this honest admission is from a man who stood to profit from having the back brakes done too. We had no idea what their actual condition was.

What a blessing to have a mechanic who just honestly and openly tells the truth. He's also reasonable and does good work. We recommend him. May God bless him and his business.

She's licensed!!!

My daughter has passed her N-Klex exam, the nursing licensing exam!!!!

As she put it, this was the most important exam of her life!

It's the exam that officially makes her an R.N.

And she did it!!!!!

Oh my word!  We were all praying so hard for her because she was quite nervous about it.

And the exam sounds really mind-boggling.  It's done on computers.  When the computer has enough information to determine if you're going to pass or fail the screen goes off and you're finished.  But you don't know if it's because you have done so well or so poorly!!!  I said, "What's with the mind games?  If the computer knows why can't it just tell you?"  Must be something they have to double check or something.  I believe she did say that some of the grading is actually done by hand because the exam is so important.

The screen went blank after she had completed 112 questions out of 265.  You should have heard her agonizingly analyzing if she could have actually failed at that point.  For $10.00 you can get your results in 48 hours.

I said, "I'll pay the ten dollars!!!!!"

And she passed!!  Glory to God.  We're all so thrilled and proud of her!!!!  (Thanks for letting me brag.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We bought a Wii!!!

Last night my husband and I went out to dinner for our anniversary.  I suggested we buy something for ourselves as an anniversary present.  We're both kind of fascinated with the Wii and we knew the kids would love it.  We also thought it could be a fun family activity.  So...

We went to Circuit City and asked if they had them-- only to find out that they get a shipment every other week or so, and they sell out in the first hour with people waiting in line before the store even opens.  Hmmmm.  Then I remembered when the last Harry Potter book came out and hundreds of people were waiting in line at the bookstores, my son walked right in to a Krogers, found a small rack of them, and bought it without even waiting in line!

So we went to Target and guess what?  They had five of them!!!!

So we bought it!!

I called my 13 year old daughter, all the while relishing the delight I knew was coming.

"So...(she was home alone)  Everything OK?"

"Dad and I decided to buy something for ourselves for our anniversary.

Mary:  "What did you buy?"

Me:  "Well....(short dramatic pause)  We bought a Wii."

Mary:  "Are you serious?!?!"  Then she screams.  

I told the same story to Jim and Liz whom I was picking up from a drama practice.

Jim:  "So what did you buy?"

Me:  "We bought  Wii."

Jim:  "Are you serious?!?!" he yells.
                         (apparently the expletive of the day.  Teehee)

Me:  "Yeah.  We did."

He jumped right out of the car and ran back in the school to tell his friend Tom who said he'd be over the next night to play it. (Even though Jim would not be home.)  LOL

So our anniversary present has made a big hit!!!!  Hopefully, my husband and I will get a chance to play it.  LOL

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

OK.  Another little tiny piece of good news in my efforts to lose weight.  

Are you ready??

I've lost another half pound!!!

OK.  That's not very much.  Particularly when you consider that that makes only one and a half pounds in a month.  Not much.


One half pound a week would make 12 1/2 pounds in a year!  That would do it.  I might want to lose a little more, but I would be really happy with that.  OK.  It's a very slow rate but at least I'm going in the right direction!!!

Thank you, Lord, for this small favor.  I know that without you I can do nothing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Look at this beautiful flower growing right up between the post and the boardwalk in Florida.  Now that's determination.  Perhaps a life lesson here?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Moment Monday

Motherhood for Dummies hosts Family Moment Monday.  Today she writes about family genealogy and what a gift it is for families to know their ancestry, family stories, etc.

I also think family history is important, which is why whenever we go to Florida to visit my m-i-l, we try to also get across the state to visit my relatives.  The drive is about four hours and we just meet them for dinner usually.  Why do we drive all that distance for a few hours?  Because they are FAMILY and we rarely get to see them since we live on opposite sides of the country.  My children never object, never ask why.  I believe they want to see them too because family is important.  Our blood ties and family historical ties are all about who we are.  These are the people we love unconditionally (to the extent we are able).  These are the people who do the same for us.

This is me with my Uncle Bill.  He is my mother's brother and the only one left of his birth family.  He is also my godfather.  He calls me by a sweet nickname which I won't share.  His face lights up when he sees me and I know he has loved me since the day I was born.  He is of 100% Irish ancestry, a part of my family history which my children know I treasure.  He is a lot of fun, as I imagine you can tell from his picture.

My Uncle Bill and Aunt Marlyce had four sons.  So I was able to see four of my five first cousins!!  They are pictured above.  It was so nice reminiscing about our childhood, the times we visited in New Jersey, the funny stories.  And the awful ones like the time the back door of my dad's car flew open on the freeway and we were all terrified that Larry might have fallen out.  (He was fine.) There were no seat belts then and we had a lot of kids in the back seat.  I was able to turn to my kids and say, "See, that's why I get scared if someone opens a window without telling me when we're on the freeway.  That sound of rushing wind makes me think of that day."

There were lots of laughs and quiet smiles and just the general sense of contentment that one feels around family.  Family ties are important.  Recognizing them and taking the time to maintain them says to my children that they are part of a larger group that loves them.  They are part of a group where everyone is accepted, regardless of what mistakes they may have made, or what differences we might have.  We are family.  These ties that bind are made of love and I do believe they help a child understand that they are loved and valued just for who they are.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Twenty-eight Years

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.

This picture is from the beach in Florida.

I am very grateful for the past 28 years.  I am grateful especially that I am married to a man who was willing to give me the gift of life in our six children.  We have had many happy years together.  God is good.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to my oldest son (pictured on the left, above) who turned twenty-four today!!!!

We hope to celebrate with him tomorrow since he'll be in Michigan and we should arrive home tomorrow evening.

Tonight we're in Tennessee having been in the car (with many stops) for nearly fourteen hours today.  Tomorrow we'll go the rest of the way-- through the rest of Tennessee, then Kentucky, then Ohio, and finally all the way home to Ann Arbor.

Happy Birthday, Mike!!!!  May God richly bless you today and always!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Leaving Florida

Last walk on the beach before returning home...

Last dinner with Grandma.  She took us to a local Italian restaurant.

Today we drove to the other side of Florida to see my aunt and uncle and cousins.  Tomorrow I'll post more pictures of our dinner with them.

In the next two days we'll be driving back to Michigan, some twenty hours of driving.

Home is sounding very good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out at Wendy's again

My family has given me a VERY limited time to check my blog while they eat their frostys.

We're really enjoying the beach.  I'm trying to post pictures but it's just not working.  When I get home you'll see them all.  

Thank you for all your funny and sweet comments on my last post.  I will be catching up on my reading on my return....maybe even tomorrow night since I think we're staying at a hotel with Wi-Fi.

Well, they're getting restless.  g2g  "Talk" to you all soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Snuck out to the Wi-Fi

My son Jim and my daughter Mary have snuck out with me to the local Wendy's where they have complimentary Wi-Fi.  We were so disappointed when we went up to the door only to find that the dining room closed at 10:00 and it was only the drive-thru that was open until 1:00 am.  So we went through the drive-thru and then thought to ask, "Can we access your Wi-Fi from the parking lot?"  Guess what?  You can.  So here I am blogging in the car  The deal is I have 15 min. to blog and then Jim gets 15 min. for Facebook.

Guess what happened at security on the way here?  I was with Jim and the TSA official first asked him who he was.  He answered.  Then she gestured to me and said, "Who is this?  Is she your sister?"

She wanted to know if I was Jim's sister?!?!  I kid you not!!!!

I am thirty-seven years older than Jim!!!  And I was NOT wearing sunglasses.

Now I realize this may say as much about the intelligence of the TSA officials as it does about my youthfulness, but I'm still going to take the compliment.

Hope everyone is doing well.  I'll try to get back here to post again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm off again!

Tomorrow I leave again, this time to meet the rest of the family in Fort Pierce, FL where they are visiting Grandma. (my mil)  Jim and I fly out tomorrow shortly after Mass.  

It will be nice to have more of the family together again.  We will be there until Thursday when we all start to drive back, up I75.

I'm hoping here and there I may be able to write a post.  I hear Wendy's has free wifi?  I'm wondering about the airport.

Anyway, if you don't hear from me this week it's because I can't get my pink MacBook to a place with wifi, not because I've dropped off the face of the Earth.  I will miss reading everybody's posts but promise to catch up when I'm back.
This is Liz, my youngest, with her dog "Lucky."  Lucky is about the sweetest dog in the world.  She is so gentle and so attached to her people.  Her mother was half Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and half Japanese Chin.  Her father was pure Cavalier.  Lucky was a gift from Lizzie's godmother three years ago.  Her dear godmother owned Lucky's mom.

Lucky for Lucky, she is getting more walks lately as I try to exercise more as part of my weight loss efforts.

Lucky used to get a little freaked around other dogs, especially those who would bark at her.  But over time she has gotten much better and now rarely barks back.  She also has come to realize that a dog barking from a window is no threat at all.  At least that's what she thought until yesterday.

A dog who lives in a house near ours ferociously barks from the window every time Lucky comes by.  It would even make me jump.  The dog looks rather pit bullish only even bigger, I think.  Guess what happened yesterday??

The darned thing jumped right through the screen and came after Lucky!!!

I thought I was going to die but instead of screaming "AHHHHHH" at the top of my lungs I managed to only get  out a tiny

"uh oh."

A friend riding by on a bike gave me a millisecond distraction from my impending heart attack and then the owner was right there grabbing him, looking flabbergasted first at her troubling dog, then the screen, then back at the dog.

To be fair, the dog did reach Lucky and in the two seconds available to him had done nothing but look ferocious.

Man.  I have never seen a dog jump right through a screen.  And I think Lucky may have to relearn that  a dog inside a house is not a threat....usually.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I love my APPLE!! AND the Apple employees!!!

I love my MacBook.  I mean I LOVE my Macbook!!!  There it is pictured above where I was blogging with my daughter in a coffee shop.  It has a pink translucent plastic case which makes it look like a little pink computer.  How cute is that?

Last night the screen went completely dark.  I tried everything I could think of.  There I was wanting to blog and thinking, "My Mac breaks down the night before the new iphone comes out!!!???  I'll be out of commission for days and days.  You probably can't even get in the Apple store." (which we are lucky to have one of in our local mall.)

I called Apple.  Over the phone the woman very patiently and kindly walked me through a number of steps, had me press four different keys at the same time like some kind of magical spell and (drum roll please)  Voila!!!  It came back on!!

I have had the greatest experiences with the Apple company.  I don't know how they have found so many computer-savvy people who are able to show not the slightest surprise at what I don't know, not even a hint of disdain or impatience in telling or showing me what to do.  (unlike my own children, you know-- course, it's safe to be honest with mom. teehee)

I think if an Apple computer cost twice as much as a PC I might still think it was worth it for the unbelievable kind service they give.

And now I have just heard that my friend Mary O. who often comments on this blog has received a MacBook from her husband as a birthday present!!!!!  You go, Joe.  Joe gets the husband of the month award!!!!!  Woohoooo!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"I can't believe Mom ate the whole thing!!!"

I was telling my adult daughter (the nurse) about yesterday's post and how I had lost a half pound this week, in spite of having bought five pounds of fudge on Mackinac island.

Her eyebrows raised.  Her jaw dropped.

Anne:  You ate five pounds of fudge and you lost a half pound?!?!?

      (I am sure that as the newly educated nurse she is thinking, boy does Mom have a metabolic          imbalance.)


Me:  Noooo!!!! Noooo!!!  Nooo!!!!  I BOUGHT five pounds of fudge.  I only ate a little bit!

Anne:  OOOH!

She smiles a little.  I think she may be wondering why she didn't get any.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday


After two weeks of vacation during which time I was exposed to many tasty foods and given many opportunities to indulge in the scrumptious Mackinac Island Fudge....are your ready?

I have lost another half pound. I know that only makes a total of one pound lost in the last three weeks but I would have considered just not gaining to be a victory.

Have you ever had Mackinac Island Fudge??? It's to die for. (and it can be ordered online.) I bought 5 pounds to bring home to give to people and for the girls to eat. Guess what? It's all gone and I only had maybe 5 little postage stamp pieces in a week.

Woohoo! Could I actually be gaining control of my eating? I think there's reason to hope!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Scenes of our trip to Northern Michigan

Walking down this quiet road....
I saw this lovely creature and managed to take her picture before she darted away.
I took the girls to Mackinac Island and saw from the ferry this view of the Mackinac  Bridge.  For those of you not familiar with Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge connects the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan and divides Lake Michigan from Lake Huron at the Straits of Mackinac.
We rented bikes and rode the eight miles around the shoreline of the island.  A lovely, lovely bike ride.
The girls swam in beautiful Long Lake in Alpena Michigan.
And I spent a lot of time reading, talking, and feasting my eyes on the glory of God's creation.  

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm baack!

Hey, I'm home from the back-to-back vacations, refreshed and also exhausted.  BOTH.  Is that possible?  Somehow I think it is.  And I have a feeling all the moms out there are going to agree.  (Believe it or not, in a week I'll be gone again.  But in the meantime,  I'll be posting.  Truth is I was home Saturday but it took this long to get the brain sufficiently re-engaged to actually write some sentences.  LOL)

Above photo is where we were-- a very peaceful, relaxing place.  I will be posting more photos.  

Now---I'm off  to read what everyone else has been doing and writing!!!