Sunday, August 26, 2007

A kid at Heart

The big kid in the picture is James, my husband. The little kid in the picture is James, my oldest grandson. James the husband is usually called Bing by family and friends. Today was his sixty fifth birthday and James the lesser is soon to become nine years old. One of the biggest surprises in my life, which I suppose an awful lot of people have known before me, is that even though we age in body, the mind retains its youthfulness. Suddenly you are the elders of the tribe and you still feel like one of the young ones. I think it's just fine but sometimes I notice a snicker or two coming from younger people when they see us being silly. Maybe that's why grandparenting is so much fun - the grandkids don't really have expectations about what someone your age should or should not do - they just want to have fun - and if these old codgers can provide it - they're AOK. Most people accept the Happy Birthday Song sung to them once at a birthday and they are grateful for it. But not Bing, he demanded it be sung again with much more gusto and he conducted it like it was a concerto. He also made sure he blew out all those candles in one blast so he could have his wish of a new fishing boat. I love him and always will.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Get Thee to a Nunnery

Hi everybody. I've decided I like blogging. I'm not quite sure why but I think it's because it makes me feel like I have something to say as me. It's kind of foreign to me to speak from an I or me point of view. When I was eighteen and full of ideals, I thought that God was calling me to be a nun so at midterm of my freshman year at Mount Mary College, I transferred to the candidature for the Notre Dame nuns at their convent in Mequon, Wi. on Lake Michigan. The weekend I was to report for duty happened to be when my parents had to go to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for my brother, Mark's graduation from B52 Navigation school, so our parish priest drove me to the convent. I only stayed that one semester but it was such a meaningful time in my life. I wore the long black habit and a black veil attached to a headband and lived the very organized life of a candidate for the sisterhood. There was morning prayer and classes and recreation time and prayer and every evening before evening prayer, the Mistress of Novices would give about a half hour lecture. You've probably heard of retreats where you go away for a few days to reflect on your life, your goals or your aspirations. Well, this was like a six month retreat and the first lesson to be learned and not forgotten was that we were no longer, "I". We were a community and everything was "we" or "ours". There was no place for individuality. That lesson came in handy throughout life as Bing and I became one and then our family added to the team spirit. But I've always written from the point of view of both Bing and me because before e-mail, I don't think Bing ever wrote a letter to anyone, ( except, of course, a few love letters to me when he had to go away for National Guard duty every summer for five years.) So, now I must retrain my brain to speak from a personal point of view and try not to think of it as too self centered. One of my main reasons for doing so is to let my sons and their families know a little bit more about their mom. My mom died when I was 24, so I never really matured enough before she died to wonder about her story. Each of us has a story and if we take the time to know each other's stories, more understanding can flow and with understanding comes love. The more love there is in the world, the less room there is for hate.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Special Days" are oh so Special

Today was a "special day". That's the name we gave to the one day a week that we've been hosting our grandchildren here at our house since Michaela and her mom and dad moved here in 1996. As each of the next four grandchildren were born, they were added to the fun. It has been a wonderful way to get to know each of the five and for them to get to know us. What a privilege to have the trust of their parents and to help mold these little characters. And what characters they are, each a unique and precious soul, with such loving hearts and talents up the wazoo. Grandparenting is such a bonus of having a family and as so many things in life have surprised this clueless one, it was a most wonderful surprise.

Today's fun included, blackberry picking (Jamie and Grandpa), they got two thirds of an ice cream bucket, making stamped greeting cards, (Kayla and Grandma), volleyball serving practice for Michaela, ping pong games, grilled cheese sandwiches and strawberry lemonade,

tubing behind the pontoon boat, washing our red truck and lots of laughing and talking. We always talk about missing Courtney and Alexa and Eli but we know they'll be coming here next summer on vacation and we'll have some very special days then.

We forgot to take pictures today so I've added the flower pictures for a little color. The sunflowers are "volunteers - ie, they sprung up from sunflower seeds that fell from the bird feeder.
I'm not sure where that map came from but I think I'll leave that in since it may take me a while to get rid of it and replace it with the flowers. I'm still a rookie!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Arbor Day

Bing finished this new grape arbor today. Thanks to Tony and Carmen for the wood to help make it.

Practical tip for today: This is a tip from a cheapskate column from our Daily News. If you use Bounce dryer sheets, cut them in fourths and just use one fourth of a sheet per load of laundry. I've been doing this and there's no static cling, things are nice and soft and a box of forty lasts for one hundred and sixty loads.

Summer Heaven/Haven

The nation is having a really hot summer and we are no exception. I can't remember a summer up here with so many days in the eighties and nineties. This picture shows a particular blessing that we have. Almost every day we've been hopping onto the pontoon boat and toodling over to a public swimming area on the lake. The water is eighty degrees and we spend about an hour in the heavenly fluid. I do water exercises and Bing floats on a toboggan turned floating lounge. It's great.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

To blog or not to blog

Whether it be nobler to suffer the guilt of never having communicated enough to satisfy one's cohorts or to blog and bore them to death. This was the question meandering through my mind for the last couple of months. Bernie offered to teach Bing and/or me to create a blog site. I think all of our sons would have bet that Bing would be the one to try it because he has always been the main communicater in our family. I'm more of a blurter - many times I say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But here I go. I decided that it's probably better to offer a glimpse into our life to those who care and the beauty of the blog is that you don't really find out if they care or not. They, ie the recipients, can either read it or not read it and no hard feelings if they don't. The two most compelling reasons for me trying this is that I have very much enjoyed reading Bernie's and Carmen's blogs. I especially like the pictures and I tried to include one with this posting, ( that's a blog term!) I guess I already need a refresher course from Bernie on how to call up the pictures from our computer. My mind must have been meandering when he was showing me that.

The thought for today, in case you have any time to ponder something. What if there had been blogging in Shakespeare's time? Would we have his works of art? Will blogging do away with new classics?

Friday, August 10, 2007


Bernie's helping me start my own blog.