Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh my goodness, I am not as young as I used to be....Very tired from Christmas preparations. My oldest arrived in town tonight. So great so see him and have him home, even though he isn't feeling well. We finally got the tree all decorated today.

Below is a photo from the Christmas play at my daughters' high school. Liz, my youngest, is in the red sweater.

And here is an arrangement we purchased at the Farmers Market before Thanksgiving.....accept that it was a Thanksgiving arrangement then. Liz took out the leaves and orange and yellow colors and replaced them with red bows, silk poinsettia and small Christmas balls. I thought she did a nice job.
More photos to come....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Woohoo. They are in Michigan, within a few hours of home. What a long trip. The GPS did spontaneously start working again.

I will be happy to have them both safely home again soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When is THE WORST TIME for your GPS (garmin nuvi) to die? How about when your youngest son and second youngest daughter, whose combined ages do not equal four decades, are driving back to Ann Arbor from Dallas, Texas.

I called them back after figuring out their route with the help of Google Maps, only to find out that they had just left a gas station. "Did you pick up a map?" I asked. "Oh! No, that would have been a good idea." It's so funny how the younger generation does not think much about paper maps. They're not really very familiar with them. I understand, although I have not witnessed this myself, that there are some who do not know how to read maps. Very curious. Not very long ago paper maps were the only navigation tools we had! I remember my dad having them folded just so in order to glance at them while driving us on a family vacation. And they must be refolded in exactly the same way. That was important. You didn't mess with the folds. They needed to be refolded along the same lines....which did make sense because then they would lie very flatly and neatly.

It's been raining here most of the day. It was raining in Oklahoma as my two drove through. In fact, it was such a severe thunderstorm that they got off the highway thinking to pull into a parking lot and wait for the worst of it to blow over. But off that exit there were no parking lots, no driveways, no nothing. Now if I had not driven along that route before myself I would think they were exaggerating. But I had had the exact same experience, also in a bad thunderstorm. I got off the highway to find absolutely nothing. NOTHING! Just a divided road with very little shoulder. No place to stop. It really makes you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere.

Don't get me wrong, though. When not in a thunderstorm I found Oklahoma to be a most beautiful state. My friend Patti and I agreed that we had never seen the sky look so big. Gorgeous, enormous blue sky.

Tomorrow night Jim and Mary will arrive home. I will be much relieved. May their guardian angels protect them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This morning....

Well, sitting here predawn having a cup of coffee and thinking of taking Lucky for an early morning walk. I love the color of the predawn sky. That breathtakingly beautiful blue that slowly gets brighter and brighter. Well....actually not that slowly. Sometimes it happens quite fast. Usually I do not like to go out walking in the dark. When I had a Labrador Retriever I didn't mind. 90 pounds ready to die for me, you know. But Lucky is 20 pounds and no threat to anyone. But a friend of mine once pointed out that by 6 or 7 in the morning the drunks have pretty much passed out. It's an unlikely time for trouble. I thought that made sense.....I'll be back.

Lovely walk. It was brisk but not freezing cold. Well, it was freezing. 24 degrees. But it did not feel bitter cold. My blood must be getting thicker again in order to survive another Michigan winter. I took a picture of the sky just before I left but now I can't find the cord to load it on here. Maybe I'll get it up later.

My knee has been slowly improving. Biking really helped, but I can't do too much of that now. Over the summer I would not have been able to take Lucky for as long a walk as I just did. This is good.

Coffee has been microwaved. I'm happy.

Everyone is coming home for Christmas!!! So excited.

I'm trying to get to writing in this blog more often. (with Suzanne's encouragement:-)

Hope all is well with you and yours!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mistaken Identity?

OK. These are my guys.

Front row: Son-in-law Zach and oldest son Mike

Back Row: John on the left, Jim and the right..

John and Jim are two years apart. John is 22. Jim is 20. Having two sons who were always together and each with a name that starts with "J" showed some lack of foresight on my part. Doesn't matter. I love the saints they're named after and I would name them the same names again. John Paul and James Anthony.

However.... I often open my mouth and the wrong "J" name comes out. They know this. And all their lives they have answered to either name, pretty much, if it's obvious which son I'm talking to. Personally, I don't think they look that much alike. But I know they do resemble each other because so many people confuse them. John is the pianist. Jim studies Philosophy. But Jim has been complimented so many times on his piano playing that he no longer asks people if they're thinking of his brother. He just says "thank you, " and passes the compliment on to his brother when he sees him.

Over Thanksgiving, because of everyone at home, we had a lot of reshuffling of sleeping arrangements. John had been out with friends one evening and I had not remembered hearing him come home. So at about 7:00AM I woke up and thought I'd just check to see if John was home. I went into his room and saw that at least someone was sleeping in his bed.

"John?" I asked softly. No answer. I went up to the bed. Mind you, the room was dark. "John?" I asked again. "No, I'm Jim." At this point he had himself up on his elbow. It did not sound like Jim. It sounded like John. He did not look like Jim. He looked like John. I said again, "You're Jim??" "Yeah, I'm Jim," came the answer. "You're Jim, not John?" I asked again, feeling kind of silly. Puzzled, I said, "You're Jim in John's bed?" The answer was "No, I'm Jim in Jim's bed." I thought, OK. Whatever. The room was quite dark. Still, I thought what is wrong with me. Even in the dark I ought to know which son I'm talking to.

Shortly after that I went into the basement for something. There was Jim asleep on the single bed we have down there!!! I said, "You didn't just come down here, did you?" Nope.

When John came down for breakfast I asked if he remembered talking to me at about 7:00 in the morning. He had no recollection of our conversation. I told him what he had said. "You repeatedly told me that you were Jim, not John!!!" He claimed I must have had the names mixed up. Nope. It was not me. I know that because I was very purposefully trying to determine which guy it was.

I think I get a pass now for any future occasions when the wrong "J" name may come out of my mouth. Too funny. Yeah, I get the pass.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Above: My entire family! Back row: John, Mary, Anne, Liz, Jim, Mike Front row: Hubby Mike, Me, and favorite son-in-law Zach

Thanksgiving was wonderful here. I hope it was for you and yours too!

We had everyone home! Zach and Anne came in from Atlanta on Wednesday, a surprise to most of the family!! Mike and I knew. And Jim was filled in at the last minute so he could help with airport trips.

Mike, Jr. had only been home about 15 minutes when I had to ask him if he minded if I went out on an errand with Jim to pick up something special for dinner. I said that Jim knew what it was and that he could just run in and get it. Mike said "Sure, no problem," and Jim and I were off for the airport.

The airport was very crowded and it took longer than usual. On the way back, as planned with Mike, Sr., I called and asked if we could all meet at Potbelly's for dinner. (For those of you who don't have Potbelly's where you live.....this is a very tasty, reasonably priced sandwich place that Zach likes a lot. They don't have any in Atlanta.)

Zach, Anne, Jim, and I arrived before everyone else and came up with a plan. Zach and Anne would sit at a high-backed booth so they would not be seen from the door. Jim would start videotaping as soon as the family came in the door. They would notice, of course, but they would also know soon enough why he was videotaping. When the family came in we expected they would go to the order counter and we would just wait for one of them to turn around and notice Zach and Anne.

That is not what happened. Liz walked in, came straight across the restaurant for some reason and sat herself down right next to Jim. This put her directly across the table from Zach and Anne. She looked up. There were her sister and brother-in-law who were supposed to be in Atlanta. I was watching this from the side, actually feeling a little bad that Liz was going to get a shock of this magnitude. All the blood drained from her face as she looked at her sister two feet in front of her. I thought she was going to faint. She had no expression on her face for a couple seconds. Then, Anne, smiling, gave her a little wave. By that point Mary had already spotted Anne and screamed, "Anne!!" Liz then realized that this was not a dream or her imagination and all pandemonium broke loose.

Fun times.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh my goodness. I haven't written in SO long. I'm sitting here in my pajamas feeling very comfortable, so looking forward to Thanksgiving, happy that I got quite a bit done today....

VERY happy that my knee is hardly bothering me at all, most of the time, thanks I think to frequent bike riding....

I've been really enjoying the republican presidential debates. Those who have read this blog for a while know that I really enjoy politics. Wish Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann could move up a little in the polls. But I think the other candidates are all good and I'm looking forward to a rousing campaign.

My kids are about to make popcorn. I must resist eating it.

Well, how's that for some random thoughts making for a pretty lame blog post. I'll try to do better.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's been raining for days now. Pretty dreary.

I picked what will probably be my last tomato for this year from the garden.

And I picked this green? red? pepper as well. Isn't it a scream? My goodness. A gene mix up? Some kind of cross-something or other? A pepper with an identity crisis? Remember when we used to use that term? Was that a 70s thing or do people still say that? Reminds me of the "going out west to find myself" kind of rhetoric. LOL

Well, I will take Lucky for a walk today even if it's raining. The poor thing's needs are being neglected. Rain, snow....these little challenges in life help us build endurance. God is good. All the time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The other day I was helping in one of my daughter's classrooms.

That evening my daughter said to me, "Oh Mom, my friends thought you were so cute!"

"Cute?" I said, wondering what the catch was. "You mean because I'm short and chubby?" I asked with a smile.

"No!" she said laughing. "Because you're old. You know how we all think old people are cute."

Uh huh. Yeah. The joys of having a child late in life. Well, at least I'm a cute old mom.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs--May he rest in peace...

Lord have mercy on the soul of Steve Jobs.

Surely his creativity and industriousness made you smile, Lord. How he changed technology. How he combined artistic flair and technology. How he reached out in his products to people like me, intimidated by technology yet wanting to use it.

I love my Macbook Pro. I love the Apple products. I love how attractive they all are. I love how easy they are to use. Example? I love how when I start to type in an email address the rest of the address pops up, if I've entered it before. That way I know I have the address remembered correctly. I don't have to look it up. I could give so many more examples. Because of Steve Jobs, I do not regularly face the temptation (as I used to) of throwing my computer out the window.

I don't know anything about his personal life except that he leaves behind a wife and four children. May they be consoled.

Oh Lord, his work blessed so many people. I pray that you will bring him home.

Lord, please rest his soul. Have mercy on him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Homecoming was this past weekend.

We managed to find acceptable dresses, with a little bit of compromise, and some alterations. I hate the current styles. I mean I HATE them. The sexualizing of young teenage girls I find despicable. But this is the world we live in and we have to do what we explain limitations to the girls, still allow them to feel that they fit in, as much as possible....It's a very difficult task. Every year.

My niece Monique drove several hours round trip to do the girls' hair for them. She is so sweet.

Mary went with a group of girlfriends.

Liz went with a good friend with a large group of people.

Here is Monique at work. She has always been so creative, so clever.

People thought Mary and Liz had had their hair done professionally.

Can you tell I compromised on the shoes?? LOL

Monique sending off her cousins. She's a doll.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Biking!! My new, fun knee therapy..

I think I may have mentioned here that I have been having trouble with my knee. I went to physical therapy for a number of weeks and it improved quite a bit. Since then, I've been doing my home exercises, but for a while it just really seemed to be getting worse again.

Then I started riding my daughter's bike. In physical therapy they always had me ride the stationary bike for ten minutes before doing anything else. They said that was to get the joint very lubricated.

So... I thought maybe I should try it at home too. (Or perhaps the Lord was nudging me to do something that would help.)

Anyway, I've started riding the bike everyday. I'm really enjoying it! Mind you, if the truth be told, I really don't like to exercise. Generally, I think it's boring. I like to read and to write. My favorite place to read? In bed! While it is very uncool to say so these days, I must admit I am rather sedentary by nature, I think.

Each day I think I've ridden a little further than the day before. We have a lot of bike paths in Ann Arbor and I'm discovering where they are. It's been a lot of fun. The time just flies.

AND I THINK IT'S REALLY HELPING MY KNEE!!!!!! That's the very exciting thing.

Yesterday I rode from my house to Gallop Park, a beautiful large park surrounding a pond, with a bike path that goes all the way around the pond. It's about 3-3.5 miles from my house. Well, I made it there, rode all the way around the pond--an absolutely lovely ride. It was heaven. Then I started back home. I did have to stop and rest on one of the hills, but only for about five minutes. When I arrived home I pretty much hurt all over. :-) But I stretched, took Lucky for a little walk to cool down, and went to bed early.

Today, I have NO PAIN IN MY KNEE! I'm feeling good. I guess that means (to be said sarcastically and as part of a moan..) that what people say about exercise really is true-- that it makes you feel better and cures practically everything. I'm going to keep it up. I have to keep it up. I want to be able to walk. I need to be able to move freely without pain. Unfortunately, soon there will be snow here and it will be too cold to bike. I may have to join a gym or buy a stationary bike. Me? Join a gym? May wonders never cease. LOL

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kale Slaw Recipe....

At Mimi's request, here is the recipe for kale slaw. I believe I found it in the magazine Cooking Light although now I am not seeing it in their online index.

2 large bunches of kale (about 10 cups) (I use a little less.)

1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper

2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup salted peanuts, divided

2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Slice kale crosswise thinly. (so it looks like that crinkly green packing material :-)

Thinly slice pepper lengthwise. Then toss with the carrots and kale.

Puree 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup salted peanuts, 2T brown sugar, and the salt.

Pour dressing over vegetable just before serving. (Actually I do it right away because we like it wilted a little and it seems like the flavors blend a little better.)

Coarsely chop remaining 1/4 cup nuts and sprinkle on top.

It's delicious. But even if it were not, you might want to eat it for the incredible nutritional benefits. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not Homecoming Outfits...

LOL. OK. These are NOT the homecoming outfits. It's homecoming week and each day has a theme. Today the theme was the eighties. I don't quite remember dressing like this in the 80s, although some of it is vaguely familiar. I remember the bright colors and the leg warmers....also side pony tails.

Anyway, they were pretty fired up and even let me take this picture. You know they were having fun when they pose for a picture WHILE getting ready for school. Too funny.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Very rainy day today. Overcast and pretty much rainy all day.

Managed to mail three packages today--one to daughter Anne in Atlanta, one to Jim in Dallas, and one to my sister in St. Louis. Great to get that stuff off...even if I did have to walk through the rain.

Yesterday I went for a 40 minute bike ride. It was nice. Beautiful day. Made me feel young. And it takes a LOT to make me feel young these days...:-) Today, my knee is feeling pretty good. I'm thinking that biking really helps it. All that moving, lubricating the joint. Today I couldn't ride it again though because I wasn't quite up to riding in the rain. It doesn't make me feel THAT young.

Since I haven't been writing as often as I should there are things I really want to write about!

----like about the new camera I now have :-)

----posting some of the pictures I have taken with the new camera!

---the beautiful kale plant in my garden and the kale slaw recipe that we've been trying in our family. Some of us love it. Some....not so much. But kale is SO NUTRITIOUS I keep trying to get my family to eat it.

----my annual frustration with trying to find decent homecoming dresses for my two teen daughters. And when I say decent I mean literally decent. This story, this year, has a happy resolution!

So....that's my preview of upcoming posts, and the nudge to me to write, because I do indeed have some things to write about.

The beginning of the school year always feels so busy, settling in to schedules, figuring out what I can do and what I can't do, etc.

God bless!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11--10th anniversary

It doesn't seem like ten years.

Seeing the images again on the doesn't seem like it's been ten years.

It was such a shock. Such a horror. I feared for my cousin's life. He worked just a few blocks from ground zero and made frequent trips to the World Trade Center. He was OK. He had to walk a number of miles back to his apartment. But he was OK. And when he was finally able to contact my aunt by cell phone she was able to stop hysterically pacing the floors of her small apartment, praying for his safety while clutching her crucifix and statue of the Blessed Mother.

I found out when my sister called me, practically shouting into the phone, "DO YOU HAVE THE TV ON?!?!"

Seeing the collapse of the towers over and over again on the television as we watched for more details about the rescues, the terrorists, etc, I had not realized how traumatic the scenes were for my young daughter. Mary was six at the time.

Several weeks after the attack I was sitting in a doctor's office at the University of Michigan Medical Center. I don't even remember why we were there. The news came on that a plane had crashed in New York City-- a private plane, I believe it was, terrorism was not suspected, you know, the usual lines.

The fireball of the wreckage was being broadcast over the news. Mary was watching, quietly crying, asking an occasional question, a look of great anguish on her face.

Apparently someone at the reception desk spotted Mary's face. By this time a number of people were gathered around the television, maybe 20 or 30. The waiting areas in this medical center are adjacent to the main hallways so everyone going by was stopping to watch the TV for news of what had happened.

This receptionist, God bless her, came out from behind her desk, looked right at Mary and said, "Would you like to watch Sesame Street?" Mary, all teary-eyed nodded yes. The receptionist walked right up to the TV, switched it to Sesame Street, and walked right back to her desk without so much as a glance at the stunned faces of all the adults who were waiting for more information about the crash. I glanced up at the woman as she walked by and mouthed the words, "Thank you." She just gave me a quiet, gentle smile.

God bless her. A child was upset. There was no one in that group who needed to know immediately what had happened. She cared more for the child, my Mary. She was one of those people who just understands that the needs of children come first.

God bless her. It was a simple, small act of gentle kindness. It was also an act of courage. How many of us would ignore the desires of a room full of adults in favor of the needs of one small child. God bless. her.

I think I've written about this incident before. Sorry for the replay if you remember my previous post. :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tired tonight. Did all my knee exercises from physical therapy. Even lifted some free weights.

Can't believe the summer is almost over. But it's not over YET! I have to stop thinking like that because we actually have more than one more week before school starts. Then, for the first time in about 15 years, I will not be driving anyone to school every day. Mary has her license. We have an extra car. And for the second year now both of my minor children are in the same school. Mary will drive Liz. I guess I may be doing some picking up, when their after school schedules are different. Still, it's going to open up more time for me.

Hope to do something fun with the family this weekend since Jim will be leaving the following Saturday. Maybe Greenfield Village. Maybe the Ford Museum. Maybe some sand dunes. We'll see what Jim feels like.

Well, prayers for all the intentions of my online friends! God bless.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trip to Notre Dame and Back

Had the distinct pleasure today of driving my oldest son Mike back to South Bend. Above is a photo of the Basilica at Notre Dame, which was looking especially beautiful.

We went right to the Grotto, one of my favorite places, said the rosary, and then promptly ran into old friend Joe O. It was one of those "coincidences" that make the world seem small.

Then we had dinner at Reckers, a place we often visited when Mike was a student there. He mentioned that next year there will be a five year reunion of his graduating class. FIVE YEARS?!?! I'm sorry. I just don't believe that.

Then I took Mike home. He gave me a tour of his new living situation and I headed back home.

It's about a three hour drive. But it was very peaceful. Good times.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Republican Presidential Debate

Just finished watching the Republican debate. As you probably know, for some reason, I really enjoy politics. Here is my reaction:

Rick Santorum-- Wow. Great prolife candidate. He has very strong moral values. Sometimes seems a little defensive and I think that makes him look weak. I wish he'd talk less about his credentials (which are impressive) and more about the country. He's so articulate and intelligent. He looks the best when he's talking about his ideas.

Herman Cain-- I like his common sense ideas, his good natured manner, and his business experience. Seems like a good man.

Michelle Bachmann-- I think she really demonstrated how intelligent, principled, and charming she is. I like her. I think she could actually win this.

Ron Paul-- I like a lot of his ideas. His extreme anti-military positions are troubling.

Pawlenty-- Unimpressive. Seemed to be picking on Bachmann.

Romney-- Was impressive in the specificity of his ideas. He's OK. For some reason, I find him kind of bland.

Newt Gingrich-- This guy is nothing if not brilliant. He has such impressive experience. I just wish he could stop appearing as though he finds the general public tiresome in their stupidity. He doesn't really seem to want the Presidency much-- more like he's doing us a favor by running. I think he could really take off as a candidate if he could demonstrate some humility and affection for ordinary, non-elitist Americans.

OK. Thanks for indulging me. I needed to talk about this :-) Any opinions any of you would like to share? I include in that invitation those who might be thinking, "I'm not going to vote for any of them." :-)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Their One Year Anniversary!

A year ago today my daughter Anne married Zach! Zach is a fine man and a great son-in-law. He came into the Catholic Church a few years before the wedding, not because of any pressure from Anne, but because he loves the Lord and took the time to find out what the Catholic Church is all about. It was a courageous move on his part. He comes from an evangelical Protestant family and community that was not at all pleased with his decision. Zach recognizes the truth when he sees it. And you know what? The family and friends from his former church all came to the wedding.

It was a very, very fun day and we were pleased to welcome Zach into our family.
He loves my daughter a lot.

And these sunflowers by our church were in full bloom the day of the wedding making a perfect setting for photos....

Zach is very funny. I love how he can make my daughter laugh. Actually, Zach can make anybody laugh. He has a very almost quirky sense of humor that can take you completely off guard. And while you're howling about what he just said he'll throw in another line that magnifies the humor of the first. Then-- he'll add another joke and pretty soon you can't even breathe. He is very fun to have at family gatherings.
And since he's a proud Catholic convert, ardently pro-life, and generous and kind to all....well, you can see why I call him my favorite son-in-law. (OK. He's my only son-in-law. But he will always be among the favorites :-)
Happy Anniversary, Zach and Anne!!!!!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I am so, so tired. but if I never write when I'm tired I'm apt to never write because I'm tired quite a bit, to be honest.

Went to a beautiful wedding today. Sarah and David-- two great Catholics. It was lovely. I love Sarah. She helped me drive out to New York once to pick up Mike. She was great company and I so enjoyed spending all that time talking and getting to know her. She's one smart, good woman and I'm happy she has married a very good man.

Liz has left for camp for a week. Monday is her birthday but we celebrated it on Friday.

Tomorrow is Zach and Anne's first wedding anniversary. We were having so much fun one year ago!!!! They went away for the weekend to celebrate.

My kitchen table is a mess. I'm sitting here looking at it and wondering why I don't just CLEAR THIS STUFF OFF. But I'm too tired.

Off to bed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

People Talking!

The other night, for no apparent reason, our power went out. There was no storm, no wind. We still don't know what was the reason.

My husband Mike and I started to take the dog out for a walk. Our neighbor, who is a bus driver, came home just as we were leaving. He told us that all the lights on this side of town were out. Even told us the intersection where the outage began.

We continued on our walk. Every neighbor we passed made eye contact and then started to talk. "Do you have power?" And then the conversation would continue, each person sharing what information they had.

We went to Meijer to buy some dry ice for the freezer. Sure enough, there were a few people approaching the ice boxes. We all looked at each other questioningly. Yup. Each one had no power. As Mike and another man pulled out bagged blocks of dry ice someone noticed that the price was per pound....and the bag felt a lot heavier than a pound. As we went through the you-scan line Mike turned around and confirmed for the other man. "Yup. It's fifteen dollars." The man smiled and nodded. Just as he had thought.

I said to Mike, "People are talking to each other." It was so pleasant. There was a feeling of camaraderie. We were all in this together. We were verbally linking arms. Neighbors talking to neighbors. Customers talking to customers. This is valuable. This is good. Talking to those we don't know well, or maybe even don't know at all, is a way of expressing Christian charity. It's a little thing perhaps. A smile. A kind word. It's a way of providing just a little bit of heart warmth to another. A way of recognizing Jesus in another.

With pillar candles left over from Anne's wedding lit in all the rooms on the main floor, the power came back on at about 11:00 PM. It was a relief. And it was a blessing to have had the gears of normal life shifted just a little bit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today is my sister's birthday. She is pictured below on the left. I'm on the right

This photo was taken waiting for the ferry to take us to Mackinac Island just a few weeks ago.

Maryanne was born when I was 8 years old. I've been crazy about her ever since.

The week we spent up north together with our families (and also my brother and his family) was really fun. We laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. As one of my children once said, (I think it was Anne) "We almost laughed off our heads."

No one can make me laugh the way my brother and sister can.

Anyway, more about our trip later. Just wanted to say....

Happy Birthday, Maryanne!!!
May the Lord bless you and keep you now and forever!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

As I'm a little rusty from lack of blogging I'm just going to write here and there about what has been happening this summer until I can get a little more creative juice flowing :-)

Here we are, the whole family, celebrating John's graduation.... Above-- Mary and John.

Below-- Husband Mike and I....

Mike with his girlfriend...
Anne with my favorite son-in-law Zach...
Liz, Jim, and Mary....
Jim, Mary, and John the graduate...
This was a special day. It was special because of what we were celebrating....And it was special because everyone was there--- all my children. Anne and Zach were here from Atlanta. Mike came to town from Indiana.

There is just something very special for a mother when all her children are at the same table. At such times I can only smile with sweet contentment and think. "No one is missing. We are all here." Just love it. I know all you mothers, and mothers-at-heart, understand.

Friday, July 22, 2011

OK. I really want to get back to blogging. I have let this slip way too long. I like blogging. I think it's good for me. Forces me to put words together in a complete sentence. (Never mind the one I just wrote.) Teehee. All right. It forces me to put words together in a way that people can understand. Below is a photo of my oldest son's birthday celebrations. He turned 27. TWENTY-SEVEN!! Can you believe it.

Hubby Mike is on the far left, then Mike's girlfriend, followed by the birthday boy. On Mike's left is an old friend from grade school and high school who was able to join us. After that-- all siblings. Only my daughter and son-in-law were not there. (Since they live in the Atlanta area.)
Mike does not really like cake so I made him his favorite Dutch Apple Pie.

Where does the time go? I know it's a trite question but every year it takes on a deeper meaning.

Happy Birthday, Mike! You are a son who has brought his parents nothing but joy. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May you continue to live the life that the God who infinitely loves you has planned. God is good. All the time. :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chris Wallace asked Michele Bachman: "Are you a flake?"

There seems to be a pattern developing in presidential politics.

When an attractive woman starts to yield some power even men who agree with her policies seem to feel the need to put her down in some way. There are numerous examples of this problem with the way Sarah Palin is treated in the media.

On Sunday Chris Wallace, after mentioning a few things Michele Bachman has said that perhaps should not have been said, actually asked, "Are you a flake?"

I'm sorry. I've watched Fox News Sunday for a long time and I don't think Chris Wallace would have asked a male candidate such a condescending and disrespectful question. After her excellent answer he fumbled to try to explain why he would ask such a thing and finally said,

"Do you -- do you -- and I think it's important to say that. But do you recognize that now that you're in the spotlight, in a way that you weren't before, that you have to be careful and not say what some regard as flaky things?"

Read more:

Oh please. Chris. You are not speaking to a child. Please keep the sexism a little more under wraps. I know that as a Christian I should not be assigning motives to people. I'm sure that Chris Wallace did not say to himself let me see how I can belittle Michele Bachman. No. I think it was more the unconscious drive that some men feel to put down an attractive powerful woman.

I do not consider myself a feminist because of the gross distortions feminism has promoted in regard to the role of woman in our society and, needless to say, in regard to the sanctity of human life. But when a respected journalist on FOX treats a woman in a manner that he surely would never treat a man, something is wrong. Whatever his intent was, this is sexism.

I was appalled. I can't imagine what he was thinking. He should send her a hand written apology followed up by a phone call with no excuses about this being what some people are saying.

Just my opinion.

P.S. I guess Mr. Wallace did apologize by phone to Michele Bachman yesterday and she accepted his apology. Still, it raises the question of why there is this unequal treatment of candidates.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Algebra Memories

I'm sitting in the library catching up on some things while Liz meets with an algebra tutor :-). I'm still teaching her, but we meet with the tutor about once a week to further answer questions, teach her things a different way, and to clean up explanations of mine that just aren't working.

I used to be good at algebra, although I do remember quite a few times grabbing my friend Susan Andrews the genius (May she rest in peace.) and asking her to PLEASE explain this concept to me again. She was a brilliant woman and she could explain things better than any of the math teachers. Besides that, she was patient and kind and didn't mind my frequent requests for additional explanation. Of course, she was so good at boiling it all down it only took her about five minutes to sum up what the teacher had been confusing me with for an entire period. OK. Let me restate that. I had good teachers. It only took Susan about five minutes to figure out where my glitch was and to clarify. In my teachers' defense, it also would have helped if I had paid a little more attention during class and spent less time talking to my friends. The fact that I knew I could always fall back on Susan's laser explanations probably gave me permission to focus a little less in class.

Susan died a few years ago of breast cancer. She had become a doctor which was no surprise to me. She had also been my lab partner in biology. While I squeezed my eyes shut during dissections and moaned and groaned, Susan would just laugh and gently encourage me along.

May she rest in peace, my math friend and biology lab partner. Oh Lord, please remember the kindness she showed me and others. May she even now be seeing you face to face, praising the Author of all math and science.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Algebra Headache

I am helping my daughter with algebra this summer.

As a result, I have discovered that there is such a thing as an algebra headache.

It starts with a feeling that the brain is being overworked. Then concepts start to get a little foggy. The forehead starts to feel kind of full. Then there is a mild feeling of panic that seems to ascend from somewhere around the base of the skull. I know it's an emotion but it seems to accompany this physical sensation. Then you are distracted from the topic the grey matter is working on because the entire head starts to feel pressured.

Then... the actual ache starts. It's time for caffeine and motrin, and maybe even a little break. A funny or lighthearted activity is recommended.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I like to watch news shows in the evenings.

But I am tired of hearing about Casey Anthony's murder trial and Congressman Anthony Weiner.

What on earth is the fascination the press seems to have with these two very, very sad news stories.

Is it that this "news" is easy to come by? Maybe. But I think people must also be enjoying hearing about it. Maybe "enjoying" is not the right word.

Casey Anthony. OK. Pretty clear she killed her toddler. This is such a tragic case. So very tragic for everyone. It's a heart breaker. I don't need to hear about the latest thing Casey did in the courtroom. I don't want to know if she has cried, if she has gotten sick from looking at the remains of her daughter. You know? Is it morbid curiosity that causes people to want to hear the details? I have to admit it sometimes gets my attention. Then I think--is it good for me to watch this? Is this important for me to know? And the answer is NO!

Congressman Weiner. I am not in any way defending or making light of what he has done. In fact, I would put it in the category of perversion. Clearly the man is very broken. I thought his apology was well done. Now I think he should be left alone. We have the details. We know he has only been married for a year. Yeah. Another tragedy. The man's marriage and public service career is ruined. He is probably suffering from an addiction and now it appears he is getting treatment. Why not leave him alone now!!??!!

As most of my readers know, I am a very conservative republican. But I find the ongoing news coverage of this man offensive. Let him and his constituents decide if he should resign. Is it anybody else's business really? I find the endless badgering of Weiner to almost be in the category of bullying. He has apologized. He's been publicly humiliated. He has cried in public. Can't we give this fascination a rest?

Sorry. I just had to vent a little.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sitting in the mall waiting for Mary's haircut to be finished....

Feeling happy that I have a new MacBook Pro to play with. Finally. I was really missing my MacBook (which was stolen...Lord have mercy.)

Going out to dinner tonight with three of my children to the restaurant where another son is working.

Hoping my husband's trip to Florida to see to things for my mother-in-law will go well. Hoping and, of course, praying.

Loving the grace from my hour of Adoration today. I love Adoration hours.....

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Meeting Suzanne

There is just something very special about meeting a blogging friend in person. A few years ago I met Denise from A Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church . We were at the March for Life. In person, Denise was just as kind, gracious, intelligent, and well-informed as she is in her blog.

My experience meeting Suzanne from Suzanne's Shorelines was the same. Suzanne is just as dear, sweet, kind, warm and genuine as she is on her blog. And her smile is just as sincere and sparkly in person as in her pictures. Yup. That's really Suzanne. What a blessing from God that we were able to meet.

May we meet again. And all the rest of our blogging friends too. In the meantime, we still have these blogs and Facebook to keep in touch with. For all the dangers and hazards associated with the internet, this technology also enriches our lives, doesn't it.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Finally we meet!

For nearly five years Suzanne of Suzanne's Shorelines and I have been reading each other's blogs.

We've come to know quite a bit about each other. We have an awful lot in common. Truly, we are sisters in the Lord.

Today we finally got to meet each other in person. It was so strange, surreal as she put it, to be meeting for the first time someone I already know so well and consider a friend.

Suzanne was coming through Ann Arbor on her way back from a trip to Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. Her sweet friends, Lynn and Karen, generously agreed to take the time to stop so we could meet and have lunch.

It was such fun. We just couldn't stop smiling. I was able to show Suzanne the little chapel at Dominos Farms where I often go for daily Mass. And she saw the outside of my parish church, Christ the King.
Finally. We were able to meet. We talked about our mutual blogging friends and the circle of great Catholic mothers who have become our e-circle of friends. What fun it would be if we could all get together sometime and actually talk and share in person! Something to think about. I would love it.

I'm meeting Suzanne!!

Suzanne of Suzanne's Shorelines is here in town and we will be meeting in less than an hour.

This is so totally cool. And so strange. I am meeting someone with whom I have communicated on a regular basis for some 4 or 5 years. Yet until just a little while ago, I had never even heard her voice. Reading each other's blogs, we know quite a bit about each other, our families, prayer requests, background, beliefs, etc. Suzanne and I have always been amazed at how much we have in common. She is definitely a spiritual sister. And now I get to meet her!!!

Later I will post the pictures. This is going to be fun.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Still picking the glass out...

I'm still picking the bits of glass out of the inside of my car.

John drove with me to Irving, Texas (from Ann Arbor, Michigan) to pick up Jim and bring him home for the summer. We had Jim all packed up and ready to head home. Our last stop before hitting the highway was the Cistercian Abbey where Jim's choir was giving a concert. We were in there for a little over an hour. The concert was just beautiful. They sang gorgeous liturgical pieces and Gregorian chants. It was inspiring. Quite a contrast to the feelings we would have when we arrived back at the car.

I said, "Is that glass on the pavement there?" Yup. It was glass all right. The driver's window was completely smashed in and the lock also pushed out.
They stole THREE laptop computers, a digital camera, a small suitcase, John's backpack full of his music, and a number of other items.

We were so stunned. I wasn't quite sure what to do next. After calling the police we called an auto glass place out of the yellow pages. Would you believe they arrived before the police? The police arrived a few minutes later. The window was repaired in about 20 minutes and we were on our way....minus several thousand dollars worth of cargo.

I had prayed we would have a safe trip. We did. What we lost was just stuff. Just stuff.

Lord have mercy on the people who did this.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Liz in her play...

Please bear with me as I post more pictures of my family so other family members can see them.

Liz played Lucinda, Cinderella's stepsister, in the play Into the Woods this weekend. If only my mother, the drama queen, could have been there to see her youngest granddaughter, who is her spitting image, playing this role. Somehow, I'm sure she did see it.....

Liz is in the light pink.

It was a very, very busy and fun weekend.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Graduation Pictures

The graduates entering "The Big House," (Michigan Stadium).

No, we did not start out wearing matching Michigan hoodies. We were dressed up. But it was so awfully cold on the metal seats. And the sun was not shining as had been predicted. So my husband very chivalrously went into the MDen and bought the three of us these sweatshirts.
The graduate with the pleased parents....

Here he is in front of Alumni Plaza, himself now an alumni :-)

Yup....a dream come true. Blessed be God!!

Congratulations, John!!! I can almost feel Grandpa's joy.....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh Happy Day!!

Some of you may remember when I posted the photo of this folder some two and a half years ago. I wrote of my joy that my son John had been accepted into the University of Michigan Music School. It was his dream to attend U of M and it was finally being realized....

Today he will graduate from the music school with a degree in piano performance. I couldn't be more pleased or proud. He has worked so very hard. I will write more later. I need to get to a meeting. But just had to post this very important news for our family :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Florida Fun...

Turns out all ages can enjoy building a sand castle. My twenty-five year old initiated this architecture project.

Here it was in all its glory. By evening it had all washed away. A life lesson.
I find the Florida vegetation very interesting. This tree, which looked like a group of trees that had grown together (is that possible?) had an enormous diameter. My three girls could just barely hold hands around it.

What fun it was to be able to spend an entire week with Anne. We picked her up in Atlanta, went to Florida for three days, came back to Atlanta, and spent a few more days with her and Zach. Great fun.

You may be wondering what on Earth this picture is. It's my husband Mike's travel mug on our way home. And, no, he was not popping pills. But he was popping Good and Plenty candies. teehee. I thought it looked so funny I had to take a picture. It was a long way home. What can I say.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Beach Photos

Our family really enjoys the beach. There's just something about the salt water, the waves, the whitecaps. It's so dripping with the glory of God that His peace just feels all over it.

So we mostly spend our time in Florida on the beach.

Because my oldest daughter was able to rearrange her work schedule we were able to pick her up in Georgia and bring her with us! Such a joy because we all miss her so much. And my younger daughters have so much fun with her. I think the three of them spend probably half their time together laughing. I can't even keep up with the jokes.

We stopped at this little restaurant right across from the beach. Delicious food. Nice people.

And you can sit outside! Just where we want to be in Florida.
More photos soon.....:-)