Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sitting in the Orlando airport with 1.5 hours before our flight and free wifi!!! Wooohoooo!!! God is good.

We had a really nice visit with Grandma. I sure wish she'd move back to Michigan where we could see her more often, help her when she needs it, and be sure she stays safe. She falls with some frequency. Fortunately, she does wear an alarm button thing. Still, what if she hit her head or fell on her arm and couldn't hit the button? Not to mention that the fall itself is dangerous. She hasn't broken anything yet. But her mind is sharp and she wants to stay where she is. I guess it is her right to live with that risk. God bless her and keep her safe.

Four of our guys stayed at a local hotel on the beach, and the rest of us stayed with Mom. (the girls, Mike and me). The hotel pool was very warm and was a great and welcome relief to the daredevils who swam and frolicked in the very cold ocean. The girls always wear goggles at home when they swim but did not bring them on this trip. Liz's eyes were apparently very sensitive to chlorine.

Her eyes were so irritated one night she was in tears. Someone had already left to buy her some drops. Liz is often a little dramatic about physical pain. "My eyes hurt!!!" She moaned as if in agony. (I'm sure they did hurt a lot.) "Honey, the drops will be here soon. Do you want a wet paper towel to put over them while you keep them closed?" "That won't help!"

"OK," I said. Well there's nothing else I can do.

"I can't see!!!!" she exclaims. "Everything is all blurry!!!"

"Sweetie, that's because you're eyes are all teary and the tears are blurring your vision."

"I'm going blind!!!

I'm chuckling. "You're not going blind."

Nurse Anne arrives with the drops. "Anne, I'm going blind!" Liz pronounces.

With all the authority of her one year of nursing experience Anne says definitively, "You're not going blind." Thankfully, this prognosis was believed.

Within minutes of getting the drops and 5 or 10 minutes of ribbing by a brother, she was fine. Vision restored!!!

We could not resist an occasional "little blind girl" joke for the rest of the evening. Liz thought they were funny too, now that she could recognize she may have overreacted just a little.

May the Lord keep safe all those who are traveling this Christmastime, especially those dealing with the blizzard conditions.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We made it! Florida!

Well, we made it. After waiting for takeoff for an hour on the runway in Detroit, we made our connecting flight in Atlanta with only five minutes to spare. It was a little tense but happily we boarded just in time.

I finished all my Christmas shopping before we left and have wrapped all but a couple presents.

My three sons, who came on a flight a few hours later than ours, successfully organized the thirty some items from the giving tree we hosted at our church and delivered them all to the needy family along with everything they'll need for Christmas dinner. A woman is blessed to have sons like these.

Florida is so beautiful. Grandma is doing OK. She was very happy to see us all. We will celebrate our Christmas with her tomorrow. It's good to see her.
She is a few miles from the beach and that's where we spend quite a bit of our time. This year, because of numbers, the young guys (18-25 year olds) are in a hotel and the rest of us with Grandma.
Anne's fiance Zach was able to come along and that makes the ENTIRE family down here. I absolutely love it. For four days we are all together!!
Walking the beach is one of our favorite activities....
And there are always a few adventurers who will brave the ocean regardless of the outside temperature. I think it was about 65 here. No complaints about the weather here!

A congratulatory high five!
Then my rugby playing future son-in-law wowed us with this awesome cannonball in the hotel pool
Here they are--my six, and the seventh-to-be, Zach, on the left.

I have a few minutes now on the hotel wifi to catch up on my blog reading.

God bless you all in these last few days before the great celebration of our Savior's Birth!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Busy, busy

Oh boy. It's not going to all get done. It's OK. I'm tired.

I'm looking at a pile of Christmas cards. I have not finished one of them. And it's a photo card. Liz has put all the return addresses on and stamped them all. But I have yet to write even one.

However, I am ALMOST finished with all the Christmas shopping and the wrapping is about 2/3 complete.

Tomorrow I need to call all those who signed up for the giving tree we're hosting and ask them to please bring their gifts in on the 20th so we can deliver them on that day, before we all leave. I'm trying not to think too much about what to do if they aren't all there. I guess I should have a contingency plan. After all, those kids need to get their presents.

The tree is up and there are lights on it, but no ornaments. Most of the other decorations are also not up yet. Oh dear.

Liz has a music ministry rehearsal tomorrow. She and I have just finished writing in a cello line of music on several of the songs.

Two of my children are in the Christmas play at their high school. Jim has a main part. Three performances. God bless my husband for running to Meijers at 10:00 PM to get the two liter bottles of pop they need for the cast meal.

But I am relatively calm. God is giving me peace (relative to the stress, if you know what I mean.) Lord, may I finish what you want me to finish. May I not neglect my time with you. May I let go of what simply won't get done. And remember to love. (And ask for help from my family---which I have been doing :-)

I am preparing for the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. May I never forget that. Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's SOOO cold

Oh my goodness. It is so cold here. It snuck up on us. It was so mild up till now we were unprepared for the blast.

It's 14 degrees on my porch. The local mall says 7.

It's your breath freezing in your nose kind of cold. Chilled to the bone kind of cold-- even in the arctic parka. LOL

It's so cold I actually RAN from my car into Meijers. Weather that can make me run? Now that is REALLY COLD.

Stay Warm!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The pressure's on...

We worked for hours online yesterday trying to get reservations for 9! to fly to Florida for a few days to see Grandma over the holidays. You can only book 6 at a time so we tried to coordinate it on 2 computers. The reservation for 3 went through and the one for 6 did not!!

It took 3 hours to get flights for the six! Finally we got it several hours apart and different airlines. Fortunately, we booked the three boys together, including Mike who has a lot of traveling experience.

I guess we'll meet there!

Then, while trying to calm down from the stress of wondering if only a couple members of the family would make it to visit Grandma, I suddenly realized how little time I have to get everything else done. Yikes, I was up for another couple hours thinking of how I was going to make this happen, how things could be simplified, etc.

Somehow it will work. Not everything will be done. It's OK. Preparing our hearts for the Lord, loving Him and loving each other is what it's all about, right? Yup. I'm OK.

Friday, December 04, 2009

His mercy is new every morning.

I love the color of twilight and predawn skies. This window is in my living room and I was so enjoying the hue of the sky the other morning. (The "Michigan" tapestry is over the piano. We had to get one of these when John started at U of M. And the piano did need some warmth.)


This is the view from my bedroom window. I know it's not much of a view. but I don't see the rooftops. I see the sky. Sometimes I am reminded of the Canticle of Zechariah.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.


His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. (Not sure where the Scripture reference is :-)
Have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sam's Club Shopping

Yesterday, in spite of my feeling rotten, I had a pleasant trip to Sam's Club.

First, the Lord blessed me with a great parking spot right nest to the cart corral.

I did not forget my list, thanks be to God.

I found everything I was looking for. I noticed the lemon juice which I needed but did not have on the list.

John called right while I was there and so I was able to get him a few things he needed. Lots of mom satisfaction there.

And when I had emptied the car and put everything away I didn't feel a lot worse than when I started. Good day. Good shopping trip, especially considering the headache, the fatigue, etc. God is good.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The President's speech at West Point

I just finished watching the President's speech while blogging. OK. I was mostly blogging and the President was speaking in the background.

I don't understand the dog and pony show of speaking at West Point. Well, I think I do understand. He wanted to capitalize on the image of the military clapping for him, which of course they would do out of respect, regardless of what he said. Do you think?

Why didn't he speak from his desk in the Oval Office like a serious commander in chief. Instead, he wasted the taxpayers money by flying to West point for what looks like nothing more than political grandstanding. We shouldn't have to pay for that.

It's very transparent and almost embarrassing.

Thanksgiving Pix

We had a really fun Thanksgiving this year. We had 20 people for dinner (including us) and everyone was looking forward to it.

All my children were home. Doesn't get any better than that.

Below: A family game of Settlers of Catan. Fun game!!


Our kitchen/dining area could stand a little more room! It did work though. And the Cousinos and Simkins didn't mind a bit. It's so pleasant to celebrate with easy-going people.

Anne with fiance Zach whose family joined us.

Dear friend Patti came with some of her kids.

Zach's parents on the far left....I love great conversation with strong pro-life Christians.

And what was really amazing and delightful about this group was the predominance of young people. Fifteen of the twenty here were under about twenty-five. That made for lots of energy, lots of laughter, and lots of fun.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you all did too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

On this eve of Thanksgiving I am thinking of all that I am grateful for.

There are, of course, the big things-- for my life and those of my loved ones, for my country, my faith, for the wonder of creation, for the EUCHARIST, for this day.....

And then there are the handful of random little things I'm thinking of right now.

I'm grateful....
that we will have a house full of people for Thanksgiving dinner-- maybe as many as 23, actually,

that all of my children will be here and Anne's fiance Zach and his family too, as well as one of my best friends and some of her children,

that I have quite a few things done already,

that my husband has a job and that we will have a nice dinner,

that my oldest son will be here pretty soon,

that I can listen to my son John playing the piano right now, and for how often I am able to hear his music,

that everyone is excited about tomorrow and that it will be so much fun,

that none of the people coming are fussy so I don't have to worry about how my house looks or if everything is perfect. They're just good company type people, you know?

that I have blogging friends who haven't given up on me, even though I've been writing rather irregularly lately,

that my bed is comfortable and warm and soon I will be in it :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!! God is good. Always!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Was Major Hasan a terrorist? Someone who commits an act of terror is a terrorist.

Oh dear, it's Friday already and I haven't posted since Tuesday. OK. Here's a quick thought.

In regard to the question of whether or not the attack at Fort Hood was terrorism, I am reminded of an incident that happened many years ago. My oldest son was about 4 or 5, his brother was a toddler. I was in the other room.

Suddenly, John started crying. I ran in to the living room to see John picking himself up off the ground. Mike was standing nearby looking guilty. I turned to Mike and asked firmly, "Why is he crying?" Mike's response, "I don't know." I turned to John. "What's wrong?" John says through his tears, "Mike pushed me down." I turned back to Mike, "Why are telling me you don't know why he's crying. You know exactly why he's crying."

Mike replied without missing a beat, "I didn't know if he was crying because I pushed him, or if it was because he got hurt when he fell." He said this with a completely straight face.

I was so taken aback I burst out laughing and told him he should be a lawyer.

Now, back to the horrible tragedy at Fort Hood. Major Hasan called on the name of Allah before he started shooting. He had ties to a radical imam. And he killed thirteen people and injured many others.

Is he a terrorist? I'd say. To those who say, well, maybe he was mentally ill I would say that clearly all terrorists have broken with a normal sense of reality. He was upset about his impending deployment? Yeah? How does that explain an act of violence?

He was a terrorist!!! I don't care if he had overseas ties or not. So what?

You can take whatever angle you want. He was a radical Muslim and he was a terrorist. I don't see any other way to look at it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Amelia Earhart in Fort Wayne, IN

My new e-friend, Susan from Fort Wayne, IN, continues to investigate Amelia Earhart's visit to Fort Wayne. Since her discovery of the 1935 letter written by my father to "Miss Earhart," I continue to be fascinated by the details of her speaking engagement in Fort Wayne and how my father must have experienced it.

I hope Susan will not mind my copying here the results of her latest research at the Fort Wayne Public Library. Susan edited these texts herself and has compiled a very interesting set of paragraphs that allows one to really visualize what this visit from the famous aviator was like. For me, it is especially intriguing because it allows me to visualize the evening when my father, no doubt with great excitement, hoped he would be able to obtain Amelia Earhart's autograph.

MARCH 20th, 1935

Published in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel and the Fort Wayne Journal AMELIA EARHART’S VISIT TO FORT WAYNE, INDIANA
Gazette…


From March 14th, 1935…

“…Arrangements for Miss Amelia Earhart’s visit to Fort Wayne on Wednesday were completed as a meeting of Pi Chapter of the Psi Iota Xi Sorority Monday evening…the world-famous aviatrix will speak at the Shrine Auditorium here Wednesday evening under the auspices of the sorority on the subject ‘Adventures in the Air’.

…Tickets may be obtained from members of the sorority today and Wednesday, and will also be on sale in downtown stores and in the offices of the three public high schools and of Central Catholic High School….the box office will be opened at 7 o’clock, and the doors to the auditorium will be opened at 7:45 o’clock. Because of the large number of persons desiring to attend Lenten services in the Lutheran and Catholic churches in the city on Wednesday evening, the lecture will not begin until 8:45 o’clock. A 10-piece orchestra under the direction of Gaston Bailhe will present an hour’s program of music preceding the talk. An amplifying system has been installed in the theatre.

…Miss Earhart will be the honored guest at a banquet to be given at the Town House preceding the lecture, at which 50 members of the sorority will be guests…”



***************************************************************



From the Journal-Gazette, March 20, 1935—morning edition—

“ ‘The stratosphere is the new frontier in aviation”, Amelia Earhart, world-famous aviatrix, declared here today in an interview in which she talked modestly, intelligently and cleverly on subjects ranging from the Far North to hot dogs, and from books to rocket planes.
Miss Earhart will speak at the Shrine Auditorium tonight at 8:45 o’clock under the auspices of Pi Chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority on ‘Adventures in the Air’.
‘Yes, I’ve read all the books husband (George Palmer Putnam, of the famous publishing family in New York) has written, but I wouldn’t admit it to him,’ she said, laughing. ‘I’m fond of books, and he’s an aviation fan, and we have lots of plans for our future together.’
Miss Earhart, tall and lanky, even as Lindbergh, but trimly attired in a three-piece tailored brown suit, with dark brown and white polka-dot blouse, and brown strap slippers, ran her fingers through her slightly-tousled, short-cut hair as she answered—rapid-fire—the questions put to her.
‘Have I ever thought of interstellar and interplanetary flying?’ she repeated. ‘Well, I do know there is a group of persons now working on a rocket-type plane, and I feel sure that something will be accomplished in that direction, too.
Miss Earhart’s eyes sparkled when it was mentioned that her husband has proved an excellent expeditionist of no small importance, and has written numerous articles and books on his trips into Greenland and to Baffin Island.
‘He went in a whaleboat, and he charted an island that had not been known to be in existence before,’ she declared proudly. A soft smile emerged. ‘Do you know something we still hope to do together sometime? We have it down on our calendar for something very pleasant in the future. We would like to take an expedition North together and take a plane along.’
When something was mentioned about her attending a supper party at a downtown night club tonight after the lecture, she asked, ‘Would there be spotlights and all that sort of thing? Then, instead, let’s go to a hot dog stand or someplace where we can get a soda or hot chocolate. I’ll treat you all to hot dogs.’
Miss Earhart believes in woman’s rights. ‘I don’t believe in saying that women can’t do a certain thing or take up a certain line of work, until they have tried it,’ Miss Earhart said. ‘On the other hand, I wouldn’t say that women could do everything until experiments have been made and results studied. In another hundred years, I think we’ll know whether a woman is able to carry on the same pursuits as a man, for she will have tried and the results will have been studied.’
‘And, by the way, she called, as we left her room in the hotel. ‘Please refer to me as Amelia Earhart, not as Mrs. Putnam. I don’t believe even my husband ever introduced me as Mrs. Putnam.’


**********************************************************


From the News-Sentinel, March 21st, 1935:


(headline) AIRPLANES SAFER THAN MOTORCARS, SAYS MISS EARHART
IN LECTURE HERE

…With the disarming simplicity which is great art, Miss Amelia Earhart, America’s first lady of the air, spoke at the Shrine Auditorium Wednesday night. Her talk, a detailed and fascinating description of her recent solo flight across the Pacific, was sponsored by Pi chapter of the Psi Iota Xi sorority.
First, Miss Earhart made friends with her audience. Then she took them with her on what is the most spectacular flight ever made by a woman. With her, they set clocks at zero, drank tomato juice from a tin can, watched the instrument board through the long night hours, and touched stars.


Gamin-like, Miss Earhart good-naturedly poked fun at over-anxious counselors, emotional radio announcers and picnic lunches. But she never poked fun at flying.

…the two-thirds of a transoceanic flight which is preparation, according to Miss Earhart, developed into a novel, often humorous narrative….during the talk, the speaker quieted some of the rumors which had arisen concerning her Pacific flights. She was never off course, she was never lost in the fog, and she did not say she was growing tired. These reports she attributed to bad reception of her broadcasts and an emotional radio announcer.
‘I did not make the flight because I was bored with my husband, as some news stories reported. I cannot feel that 18 hours alone over the Pacific would be a remedy in such a case but I give you the suggestion for what it is worth.’
‘I have been asked what I thought about, what my reactions were, as I made the take-off on my last flight,’ she continued. ‘No pilot sits and takes his pulse. He has too much work to do to bother much about his ‘insides’—mental or physical.’
Movingly the flyer described the beauty of the moonlit clouds, the stars seemingly hung outside the cockpit window, and the terrible brilliance of sunrise from a high altitude. ‘The lure of flying is the lure of beauty,’ she said.
In the give-and-take of an informal question –and-answer period following her talk, Miss Earhart delighted her hearers with her ready and witty answers. The large audience which attended the talk gave her a heartwarming ovation at the close.


***************************************************************

From a pre-lecture interview at the Keenan Hotel:

‘Preparatory to going to a formal dinner preceding her talk at the Shrine Auditorium Wednesday night, she wore a formal gown of dark brown net, with a …flare below the knees and a long sheath-like skirt. Her dinner jacket was of matching brown taffeta, and with an…ascot of beige silk.
…Her graciousness included autograph seekers, photographers and two young men who wished to interview her for high school papers. She answered her telephone herself, made her own appointments. She replied to oft-asked questions patiently and fully and with a sense of humor.
She will…accept the invitation of the Mexican government to fly to Mexico, and will probably make the flight solo. She enjoys the present series of speaking engagements because, in spite of her reputation of going it alone, she likes people. She much prefers traveling by plane and would have flown her ship here had it not been kept in the east for installation of a compass.
She poses for photographs easily and well, and when complimented, replies that she comes from those parts where leaning seems easier than standing. Those parts, it seems, are Kansas
.


Thank you, Susan, for sharing your work with me and the readers of this blog. I love it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I am too tired to write. Still here. Everything's OK. I just need some sleep. I'll write tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Earhart Letter

In reference to Wednesday's post....

Susan, from Fort Wayne Indiana, has discovered that Amelia Earhart did visit Fort Wayne on March 20, 1935, the very day my father wrote to "Miss Earhart" asking for her autograph. If you want to see the original letter you can find it here.

My father was fascinated with aviation. I remember he had an old photograph, framed mind you, of the first plane he had ever flown in. And the tone of his voice when he would tell us that this was his first airplane ride made it very clear that this was an earthshaking event in his life. He absolutely loved to fly!!

When he was about to turn 50 he told our family that he wanted to do something new and adventurous. He was trying to decide if he should buy a motorcycle or take flying lessons. We told him to take flying lessons!!! (Although the motorcycle idea sounded fun too.) He did take the flying lessons. He earned his private pilot's license and was an excellent pilot. (Soon I will write about my first experience in a plane with my dad as the pilot.)

OK. Back to Amelia Earhart. Here is the text of my father's letter, dated March 20, 1935, and hand written.

Dear Miss Aerhart,

I hope you will sign the page of my autograph book that I am enclosing in this letter, for you did not the night I met you. I have red hair, glasses, a tan suit, and black shoes. I hope you will remember me with this
description.

Yours truly,

Richard Bailhe

Did you notice he misspelled Earhart? Clearly he wrote this on his own.

Susan has told me that when Amelia Earhart visited Fort Wayne on March 20, 1935, my grandfather, who was a violinist and a conductor, gave a concert with a 10 piece orchestra. I'm wondering if it was because of my grandfather's involvement in the event that my father had hoped he could obtain Amelia Earhart's autograph. He does say in his letter that he met her. Maybe he asked for her autograph and she was too busy talking to people to notice? Can you see the little redhead, all dressed up in his tan suit and eyes sparkling with excitement, reaching up to her with his autograph book?

Maybe this little boy, already fascinating with airplanes, was utterly crushed that he had not gotten her autograph the one time in his life when he would have had the opportunity. Had he been looking forward to the day of her visit with eager anticipation, knowing he might be able to get her autograph? Did he even assume, as innocent children do, that he would get her autograph? Was the letter written in tears of disappointment? It was pretty direct and to the point. (Is there even a very mild and veiled tone of chastisement that she didn't sign it the night he asked? teehee)

Since he wrote the letter the day of her visit and he says he met her, he must have at least shaken her hand. My dad had flaming red hair. I bet she remembered that little red-headed boy. Maybe she even remembered the autograph request. Maybe she felt bad that with all the people, etc. she had not been able to stop and sign his book. She did save the letter. It was with her things donated to Purdue University and now in their archives. Or....she might have had lots of piles of papers and this letter just happened to be in the pile.

In any event, my family is left with the question of whether or not she sent back the autograph. If she did, do any of us have it? Is it in a book somewhere? Could such a treasured signature have been lost over the years? Sure. Anything can get lost. If we should find it, you will certainly hear about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letter to Amelia Aerhart?

I have been having the most fascinating correspondence with a woman from Fort Wayne Indiana, Susan. Susan contacted me because she was doing some research on Amelia Earhart and happened to discover in the Purdue University Archives a letter from a little boy asking "Miss Earhart" for her autograph. The little boy's name was Richard Bailhe.

Curious about this child, Susan googled his name and my blog came up. Those of you who have been friends with me for a while will remember that I wrote quite a bit about my father as he was dying almost three years ago now. So Susan emailed me to ask if the little boy was my father.

Well, he is!! I had never heard about this letter and I don't believe my father ever mentioned it. Course, he was only ten at the time. Maybe he didn't remember having written it either. I want to write more about this later. It's like a piece of history just jumped out of time for me to see. Many thanks to Susan for contacting me.

The letter is here. More on this later....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Everybody OK, so far...

OK. We're all better, even Liz. She was sick 3-4 days, starting with a fever and a little bit of a cough with some congestion. A friend of mine who is a doctor said that they're calling those symptoms swine flu because every time they culture for it it's coming back positive.

So. We were lucky. I'm assuming everyone in the the family has been exposed now to a touch of it. May be we'll have some immunity now? Dr. Lisa says not necessarily. Still, I'm hoping.

I'm keeping Coldeeze in a dish on the table like dinner mints. No one eats them like candy. They're not that good. But I do feel like I've warded off a number of sore throats by sucking on those babies when my throat first gets a little scratchy. The kids do it too. Actually I think it's been documented that the zinc in Coldeeze can prevent microorganisms from reproducing in your throat. Isn't that it? Anyway, a few disappear a day and we're doing OK.

Our grade school opened again yesterday. I'm so glad everyone had a chance to go home and get well. After all, their health is a lot more important than the academics. I think it was a good call.

Hope you're all well!! Thank you all so much for the prayers.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Well, my children's school is shut down for the week because of "widespread flu-like symptoms." Thirty percent of the school was out. Some classes only had 50 % attendance. Looked like Liz was going to have a fun week until, the very next day, she came down with the symptoms too. So far so good, though. We're taking Airborne (including Liz). Fever is down this morning and so far no one else is sick, although I feel like I might be fighting it. Go immune system go.

I'm glad the school made this decision, even though it's the last week of the quarter. For heaven's sakes, the health of the kids is more important than keeping to the schedule. I applaud their priorities.

My oldest two children (adults) are in France!! My grandfather was a French immigrant and they have long wanted to visit France. I'm so excited for them. We have distant relatives there and they hope to visit them along with Lourdes, Paris, and a number of other places. Ten days in France!

Well, hope you all are healthy or trying to stay so. Winter approaches here. We could get snow today. It's the beginning of the sniffles (and worse) season. Take care.

Monday, November 02, 2009

All Souls' Day

May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

And may we never presume that our departed loved ones are no longer in need of prayer.

Best Costume

One of my adult children's friends has a Halloween party every year. All good Catholic adult kids (if you know what I mean), they all loved this costume of Mike's pictured below.

Do you know what he is? A Confessional. It's a box covered with brown fabric. The square opening is covered with several layers of regular window screen. On the side he had wired a red and green light. When he was talking to someone he would turn on the red light. If he was free "to talk" he'd turn on the green light. When he was dancing he'd alternate the red and green lights to the rhythm of the music.
He won first prize. I thought it was hilarious. LOL

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dinner for 25.....uh.oh.



My brother told me the other day that he had volunteered to bring drinks to the cast of his daughter's play. In fact, he'd bring several days' supply of drinks. It turned out to be 22 two-liter bottles of pop. Now my brother is a widower and I told him how impressed I was that he, a single parent, had volunteered to do so much.

Then I thought about the fact that I had volunteered to bring a meal to the cast of my children's play--- the whole meal. They will eat after their last run-through and before the opening night.

I don't know what I was thinking.

But, the good news is that I made sure I had a commitment from Jim and Mary to help me. They didn't have school today and the three of us worked a good four hours this morning (including some shopping). We made two big pans of lasagna. We bought some pre-made salad and will add some cucumbers and croutons to it. I made a batch of brownies last night and they made another today. And we bought a big bag of rolls at Sam's Club. Mary and Jim were a huge help and the whole thing was really fun for me. (I guess that's what I was thinking. I love doing this kind of thing.)

The play is The Crucible. Jim is a judge and Mary is one of the young people who engaged in witchcraft. The shows are this weekend so there will be no trick-or-treating for these two. But Mary will be a witch for Halloween. teehee

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Those Prolific Snapdragons!!! The volunteers!!


Some of you are probably thinking, "Oh no, she's going to go on and on about those snapdragons again." Well.....you're right. Consider yourself warned.

I love these things!!! From the time they started growing out of the rock (pictured above) until they reseeded themselves the next year and started growing again around the rock....(pictured below) I have loved these little snapdragons.


Here they are, hanging on in the freezing cold of last year.....


And here they are again this year, after a couple of light frosts, still going strong and even having migrated to several parts of the garden.

On the far right there is another bunch growing against the wall, about three feet away from the first bunch. There is another one seemingly randomly having placed itself next to the sidewalk.



Here is another in the middle of the alyssum.

Here and there, on both sides of the walkway these little flowers continue to flourish, all on a "volunteer basis." My friend Patti used that expression the other day for flowers that have reseeded themselves and delight us without any work on our part. I like it.

They are the little volunteers. After all, this is how most of nature reproduces itself. I should not be surprised how it happens in my garden too.

Not surprised, but delighted nonetheless. God is good. Always.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Birthday Pix



Below: Mike, my oldest, after hearing that John is twenty. "No Way. You can't be twenty!!!" I think he really meant it.

At 25 He's just getting the first taste of years flying by.



Aren't these guys just too cool? One thirty-six years older than the other.


He had to have Michigan jacket now that John is a student there. (present from John, of course:-)



Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Buddies

We celebrated two birthdays this weekend. My third born and my husband Mike share the same birthday.

Creative Liz agreed to decorate the cake. She had never done one all by herself before and I gave her free reign. She worked really hard on it.

John has been a die hard Michigan fan since he found out what football was. So a block "M" design was sure to be a winner.

She did a great job, I thought.
And I had that rare pleasure now of having all my children at the dinner table at the same time. Only three still live at home and Mike lives in Indiana so it was a special treat. I can't believe I have only three teenagers now and three children in their twenties.

And here are the birthday boys, Dad wearing his new Michigan jacket given to him by his birthday-mate.

We had a fun time. I'm going to post more pictures later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's with President Obama's inability to make a decision?

I don't understand why President Obama does not seem to be able to make a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Now I'm not a military person. I have never studied military science......but I have played Risk, OK? It seems to me that numbers are important. If General McChrystal says he need more troops what on Earth is Obama waiting for? Why is he leaving our troops currently there vulnerable? If you think the war in Afghanistan is important, send them what they need, for heaven's sakes!!!! If you don't want to win that war (which I think would be a mistake) then bring them all home!! The worst thing to do is to leave them over there without the numbers they need.
I have heard the administration say that there are other ways to look at the situation. Really. Other opinions held by generals on the ground in the middle of the conflict?

Here's what former vice president Cheney said about this yesterday as reported in CBSnews.com:
"The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger," the former vice president said. "It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity."
Amen. I would love to hear the opinions of you military families out there.
May the Lord protect our troops everywhere and especially in Afghanistan.

Update on Zach

Yesterday I received the following text message from Zach (who will become my son-in-law next August).

Text: No surgery. Ligaments are rebounding quite nicely actually. Still got a cast on but it's semi-removable. Praise God.

My reply: Woohoo!! God is good.

Zach's reply to me: All the time

Amen!!!

Thank you all for your prayers!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Substitute Teaching

Today I substitute taught the fifth grade.

These are the same kids who were second graders three years ago when I was the second grade teacher's aide.

I love this class. They are the cutest, sweetest kids and I know them pretty well.

It really helps to know all the kids' names when you're substituting.

So the day went pretty well. As always, I leave the school with a renewed admiration for the teachers who do this every day. I am totally exhausted. I don't know how they do it.

Now I'm sitting in the kitchen trying to be invisible while John teaches piano in the living room. Fortunately I have my laptop here :-)

Hope all is well with all of you out there.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stadium Cleanup---brrrrrr


Yup, we cleaned the Michigan Stadium again this past week.

This time we did it with only 216 people or so. Usually we have between 300 and 400.

Fortunately, there was not as much garbage. The game was not one of the high profile games and I guess attendance was down. Or maybe it was so obvious Michigan was going to win that people left before they had finished eating. Also, it was so cold that there were fewer cold drink cups and water bottles.

Perhaps you're wondering why you are seeing pictures of a sauna in this post about cleaning the stadium. We have a sauna in our basement. My husband built it some time ago and it's great when you're feeling cold. (It's great anytime, really.)

And we were SO COLD when we got home. It was about 35 degrees out which was OK while you're working hard in the sun.

But after that....it was really cold.

I usually where a swim suit or towel wrap in the sauna. But today? Today Liz and I were so chilled we called home to ask that it be turned on in advance. When we got home we went directly in there.

Nice! I love that heat, especially when I'm feeling really chilled. It's still early in the winter season. We're getting cold more easily than we will later in the year.

Anyway, we were able to warm up nicely. Then we took HOT showers. (We never shower before stadium clean-up. You have to get that garbage feel off you when you get home.)


Can you tell that cleaning the stadium is not something that comes naturally to me? Teehee. A little recovery time helps a lot.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Zach is Hurt.

I know. I disappeared for a week. I just. didn't. feel. like. writing. You know? I was busy. It was hard to get to it. And I really didn't feel like making it a priority.

But. I'm back. And I'm in a better mood.

This past weekend I went to see my future son-in-law play rugby.

Zach is somewhere in this pileup.


Zach is an awesome rugby player. And, like most rugby players, he's strong as an ox.

We went to watch him play this past weekend. Rugby is a very interesting game. It's very rough, very much a guys-game, if you know what I mean. And because Zach is a skilled player it's fun to watch him play because he makes good plays and does a lot for the team. And....,I understand...., he does not mind hearing me scream, "Go Zach!!!! Yeah!" I can't keep my mouth shut at sports events where family members (or soon to be family members) are playing.

Zach was home schooled through high school and started playing with this team when he was just 17. Therefore, he has long been referred to by his team members as "Homeskool." (That's how they spell it. ) They don't call him Zach. So Zach's mom said, "Call him 'homeskool.'" That's how eveybody knows him. LOL

Well, at one point in the game we saw Zach off to the sidelines on his knees clutching his arm. Now this is such a rough sport that pain must just be expected. So at first I didn't think much of it. Then I noticed his face. He was grimacing, looking up, leaning his head back, looking down, obviously in a lot of pain. I said to myself. Something must be broken. Zach barely feels pain he's so tough. It seemed like he was like that for maybe a minute before the trainer came over. As he walked off the field my daughter went over to see what was up. Seconds later Zach walks over to his mom and me with a look that showed he was obviously in excruciating pain.

The base of his thumb was indented into his hand and the top was curved in an unnatural direction looking like an "S." Colette just said, "Oh boy. We're going to the hospital." I followed with Mary and Liz and Zach's younger brother and sister.

Turned out it was a severe dislocation, possibly with tendon or other soft tissue damage. Before they were able to get it back in place we were given the ominous news that an artery was occluded and that they HAD to get it freed up. After more than one attempt it was finally put back in place and the artery freed by the orthopedist. What a relief!!! Especially for him!!

So.... here's my prayer request. The hand and arm is now in a splint and he's to keep it immobile for a week. Then he will see the doctor again. Zach really does not want to have surgery on his hand. Will you pray that there is no damage that can't heal on its own? That he can recover from this without surgery?

Thank you!!!