Thursday, July 31, 2008

Most Recent Pics.....

This is what people with three teens do for their 25th Anniversary.......go to Universal Studios. I know they wouldn't have it any other way. The James gang had a great time at Universal.....they had varied experiences there. At one point in their wanderings an ailen from outer space spoke to them. They are still wondering what he/she meant when it uttered, "dickly moot moot" to them. At first they thought that had heard him wrong, but alas, that is what was said. Was it a warning, an exhortation, or maybe just a greeting? We will never know. I think it just needs to learn to speak English....
They were having trouble trying to fit this trip into their busy schedules. Julie is teaching summer school this summer and Maura is working at a camp for the mentally handicapped, Ross and Lauren had various camps and Jeff had is a miracle they all got to go. I figured someone would end up having to stay at home. Hope they can do something like this again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy 25th Anniversary, Julie and Jeff!

Middle sis, Julie and her husband, Jeffery, are celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary today. It is crazy that time flies by so fast..... I remember that Sat. like it was a couple years ago. I remember I was still carrying around "baby weight" and I felt like a toad. By the time Lori got married I had gotten rid of it and felt a lot better about walking down the isle.

The wedding took place in St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Smethport, PA....the county seat. I love that church. I was Baptized in that Church as a toddler. The flowers were so pretty at their wedding and the weather was just perfect. It was a day to remember.

25 years is quite a milestone. We wish we could be there to toast you in person!

Picture by Gary Foster Studio
I think this was about four years ago....the whole James Gang.
What a good looking family!
This is when Maura was on the Homecoming Court..... Proud parents

This is a picture from one of our trips to the Outer Banks....I am not sure which year.

They are such a cute couple. Randi was commenting that Julie and Jeff don't look all that different now than they did when they first got married....and she is right. Of all of the couples in our family I do believe they get the prize for "changed the least".

Julie, Jeff, and Josh ....this was their first Christmas. It was four years before they had Maura. Josh basked in a lot of attention while he was the only wee one in the family.

I think this picture is about 10 years a picnic on Music Mountain.

I know wedding dresses are much different these days, but I thought Julie's dress was so pretty and she looked lovely that day! Josh was almost 1 and sis, Elizabeth was almost 13. Elizabeth now has three children of her own and Josh is a grown and married. Time really is out of control! Something should be done about this runaway train called "time"!

I wish I had a picture of Jeff in his "hammer" pants....they were soooooo cute and stylish. Jeff is known for his fashion sense.....or is it scents....hmmm?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Debbie needs....

Ok....I was reading Julie in Texas's blog and she went to Google and typed in, "Julie needs" and she listed the things that came up. (thanks for fun idea, Julie!) Sooooooo when I typed in "Debbie needs" these are the things that came up for me:

1. Debbie needs a saddle. (For my adorable Bichon?)
2. Debbie needs to look behind her. (I won't be able to sleep tonight!)
3. Debbie needs prayer. (Amen to this one!)
4. Debbie needs a man. ( Got one, thanks anyway Google.)
5. Debbie needs a second guitarist. (I wonder who my first one is and why I need another one.)
6. Debbie needs sleep. (I thought everyone did, but obviously I need more!)
7. Debbie needs a good slap. (What did I do now?)
8. Debbie needs cash. (Yep.....tell me something I don't know.)
9. Debbie needs a built in bench for her kitchen. (Hmm...don't know where I will put that.)
10.Debbie needs your vote. (I'm not running for ANYthing....please NO VOTES!)

LOL ....I am laughing at some of these. Just never know what Mr. Google is going to come up with next. He is such a kidder.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Whistling Dixie...

Jim and I are back in the hot, hot, HOT south. I just can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to spend time outside in the northern hills of PA. I walked all around town and would even "run" down to the grocery store for a bag of carrots and and never even break a sweat. Walking at dusk you can hear people on almost every front porch. Kids are out on their bicycles and it is just a whole different feeling there....a trip back in time. I kept reminding myself about the snow they would be having during the winter, but realistically it seems easier to add layers than it is to peal them off.... there is only so much to peal and stay within the boundaries of taste. Also, the winters are not as WET and that wet kind of cold seems almost colder to me than when it is dry and 22 degrees.

Yet, there is no place more beautiful in spring than the south and living on the edge of an interstate has many advantages. The food here is yummy an we are never far from anything while my parents have to go over the river and through the get any place. Although quaint, it can be hazardous. There are always going to be hold ups while driving, but when you are on the interstate it is fairly easy to guesstimate your ETA. When you are driving in the hills of PA you might get behind a huge truck laden with bails of hay or a line painter we did one day .... going about 7 miles an hour! That almost doubled the time to our destination. Crazy.

We are also spoiled with shopping here. Just about anything we need is within 30 minutes. But in PA even the closest shopping mecca, Olean, doesn't have most of my favorite shopping establishments, but then talking to people in my little town, they didn't seem to be suffering too much because they didn't have access to a Dillards or a TJ Maxx. After all if you really need a shopping fix you can take a weekend trip to Buffalo or Erie or even NYC a couple times a year.

So why do we stay here? Well, we have put down roots and this is where we live and I have employment I enjoy. There are a lot of lovely folks down here and don't forget Josh and Randi about two hours down the interstate in Texas. (Yes, they are lovely, too.) I guess after 20 years....this Sept. ....we have put down roots and consider ourselves pseudo southerners. We are not arrogant enough to believe we will ever be anything more than transplanted "Yankees", but we have grown to love the south for its beauty, its hospitality, the food....yes and even the weather at times....but mostly for the wonderful people we have grown to love.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jammin' at Howard's and Sally's

Gramma Jeanie and little Grace....the youngest person at the jam.....she is a little doll all the way from St. Louie.
Rudy and George enjoy listening to the music.

Thanks to Howard and Sally for hosting a great Jam/Picnic last Sat. night. Everyone had a great time. Sally is the hostess with the mostest....she made sure everyone had a seat and a full plate. Thanks....

Lauren looks like she is wondering how come she has never heard music like this before.

Jerry looks like he isn't sure if he likes getting his picture taken.

Uncle Jim and Jer seem to be having a good time.

It was great to have the flute and the trombone.

Great Gramma Cindy and baby Grace are bonding.

Paul and Howard both do a great job singing.

Maura holds baby Grace....who wonders who all these new people are. The yellow house in the background is Jim's Dad's house.

Michael and Katie take a break.......well Michael is anyway.

Jim renews old aquaintances.....these are a couple of people he hadn't seen 40+ years.

Jim and son, Jer on drums and sister, Darlene, who has a pretty voice.....maybe they are the VonTrapp family.

Debbie and her favorite fluff, Sophie and Julie and baby Grace. Sophie liked Grace more than Grace liked Sophie....but Sophie can be a little forward and Grace is used to cats, not crazy little pups.


Next day Julie, Lauren, and Maura went back home and Jim and I started to pack for Louisiana.
This is always the worst part of the sad to leave family for a whole year. We have not missed coming to Port Allegany every summer since we have been married. We even have a few years when we drove more than once. It takes us about 22-23 hours....that is a lot of hours on the road over the past 30 years.
Julie and daughters, Lauren and Maura...and Aunt Debbie

Mom and daughters, Julie and Debbie say goodbye for another year.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Congratulations, Amy!!!

Amy got her diploma from the State of Pennsylvania. I know she and her sisters were very hard working homeschoolers. Amy is such a cute girl and she has such a lovely singing runs in the family for sure!

This cake was a combination chocolate and yellow cake. It was yummy!
Older sister, Carrie looks stunning in her new shorter the highlights, too!

Katie and Josh do some dancing...

Jeannie and Michael do a little dancing, too

Jim and Jerry provided some great music for us.

Check out the wood Jerry has cut. They have some land and he goes and cuts this wood himself. The wood on the porch is about 1/5 of the wood he has cut for next winter.

Aunt Amy with Carrie's Hannah and Katie's Grace.

Hannah playing in the yard.....she and Michael ran around the yard the whole time. Why can't older people have that kind of energy? I think I can vaguely remember this can go a long time before their batteries run down.

Oldest sister, Katie got a workout bringing Michael back into the yard. I think he was trying to escape so he could avoid the long ride in the car back to St. Louis.

Granddaughter, Amy has graduated from High School. She was home schooled her whole life. Each year ALL her work was evaluated by someone from the state and she also had to pass the state tests. Each year when we have gone we are always impressed by the huge notebooks full of reports, projects, math home work, tests and art work. I was always impressed with the quality of work they produced. I am sure their evaluators were also. I remember asking Jeannie how she got her girls to work so hard....sometimes parents are the last ones to be able to motivate their kids, but Jeannie was a tough teacher and she didn't let them cut corners.

Jeannie always took her job as teacher very seriously. She woke up early and the kids got busy. I was always confident in her ability and her dedication. Looking for great curriculums and materials was her past time. Amy is the youngest of three girls and now Jeannie's job is complete! I thought the celebration was probably for her, too! She said she was glad it was all done. I know they both feel a sense of accomplishment.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is a picture of Deb and Mom finishing off lunch. You'll be proud to know I didn't finish my french fries.....(but almost) and we didn't eat any cold stone ice cream...and it was just down the way. What will power...hahaha.

I wonder how many of these sandwiches Chuck has has in his life time.

Another favorite local eating experience is Red's and Trudy's. It was closed last week for their they do every summer. We stopped last week on one of our excursions and we were disappointed when they were closed. Going to pick up the new curtains we decided to stop. Yipeeeee. I love they butter the top of the toasted bun and they put salt on it.

The barbecue beef has little chunks of beef and onions and mustard. It has a unique taste... do I taste vinegar?....and I have not tasted anything quite the same any where else. Mom had the Pork version. Josh and Randi like to eat here as well, but they get hamburgers. Just seems to defeat the purpose of getting the unique taste of the barbecue. Kids! What can you do.

Behind my parents is a dike. Red's and Trudy's was affected by the 1942 flood....(see My Dad's blog) and dikes were built all along the Allegheny River to protect those in the flood plane.

Sophie looks on as her Nama and Papa eat their picnic lunch.

It is just a little diner of sorts which has been in existence since before the 42 flood. My mother said her first visit there was with my Dad's sister, Marie. Mom had never heard of it, but Red, the owner, was from Shinglehouse, my Dad's home town.

It has changed hands since then and is not owned by the same least I don't think so. If I hadn't had Sophie with us I would have gone in and gotten the whole scoop.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Nice Visit

I was a little concerned about taking young Sophie to meet Aunt Vi, but she is a dog lover and thought Sophie was a real cutie. Thankfully, Soph was a good girl on our visit.
This is my grandfather and grandmother Dad's parents. My Aunt Vi looks a bit like Gramma Della.....who passed away when she was 91. My Grampa Irving passed when I was four and I think he was about 76. I think Aunt Esther is the Aunt who looks most Gramma.

They had 8 children, my own father (who passed away at age 39) was the youngest. Aunt Vi was smack in the middle. She was the second oldest girl. Her sisters, Marie and Evie, both have passed away. The boys are all gone. Esther, the youngest girl, lives in another small town in the area. Just these two "girls" are left.

Aunt Vi has been widowed two times. I remember when her husband of nearly 25 years passed away and I wondered how she could bear it, as sad as she was she didn't let it destroy her. They had a wonderful marriage and two bright sons who have always been a blessing. She married again and had another long lasting marriage. She gained a wonderful step family who she loves very much.....and who love her, too. She is a resiliant and positive lady.

Last year they....her family and step family.... gave her a great 90th birthday party/picnic at Cuba(?) Lake. I wasn't able to go, but I would have loved it. She was talking about riding the John Deere Alligators around with her grandkids and great grands. I think if I hadn't seen the pictures I may not have believed her. She looked like she was having a ball. She had a great album with pictures and letters from the kids that was given to her at the party. It really was a celebration.

Aunt Vi still owns a car and drives it, too! I wouldn't be surprised if she told me she had driven those Alligators, but she said the kids drive her around on those.

Now living in a small retirement apt. she said it was a joy for her to give away many of her belongings......"just the joy of giving people things they enjoy". She said she has all she needs. She also said she didn't want to leave a lot for her family to have to clean out after she is gone. I know a lot of people who have had the huge job of cleaning out after the death of a love one and I know her kids will be thankful. I pray Jim and I will be able to take this advice to heart. (I am sure Josh does, too!)

When we walked up Aunt Vi was sitting outside her apartment reading a book about Tim Russert. At 91 she is still interested in many things and that makes her interesting as well. She, like most of us with any sense, is worried about our country and its future. She sees the self centered turn our culture has taken and is concerned about her grandchildren and what all they will face long after we are gone. We talked about what a tough generation hers was. (And is!)These are the people who faced the depression and had to be creative to get along in the world. Things didn't come easily for the majority. They fought the second World War and they didn't do a lot of complaining. They learned to make do when necessities were scarce and they were thankful for having what they had. Sadly I fear my generation doesn't have this grit, nor the generations after me. We are a country of people who NEED a lot to make us "happy". There is just no comparison.

We did some talking about the upcoming presidential race and both decided there is a lot of problems to address and some "tough love" is needed. We need leaders to draw some lines and to also expect people to do their best. It is a hard time to be President and this election is an important one for sure. It is a time to pray.

When I asked her what her secret for a long, happy, and healthy life was she remembered she met the Lord as a young girl and was active in service at her church. She spoke of a Godly woman....a missionary, who had an impact on her as a child. She was never locked into one denomination because she knows God is not. She also knows He is watching over her and has been for a long time.

Aunt Vi said she doesn't go to the doc too much, but if her tooth hurts she gets it taken care of or if she has a problem she goes and sees about it, but visits are rare. She takes one pill plus her vitamin. Wow....I thought maybe there was an exercise program or maybe a secret supplement that has kept her vital. The Lord has blessed her with a clear mind and a strong body. It was wonderful and such an encouragement to see her again. I can't remember the last time I had seen her. I am praying we have many genes in common.

Oh and I forgot to thank her for the Pringles and onion dip.....toooo yummy

Great, Great Grands!

Great Great Grampa Rudy and newest Great Great Granddaughter, Grace.....all the way from Illinois.
Below: Uncle Jim, photographer extraordinaire, gets a fantastic shot of Great Great Grampa Rudy while Aunt Darlene tries to get the Samoftikins in check.

Great Great Grampa Rudy and Great Grampa Jim and Great Gramma Debbie!

Posing for pics is not the favorite pass time of two year olds....but Michael was a trooper and hung in as we got our pictures for posterity.

Josh and Katie are great parents.....they don't give the kids processed foods or sugar. Fruit is the treat of choice. They also have tons of patience. Sophie the puppy running around playing and two little ones who were curious about everything is more excitement than the Anderson house had seen in a while and Josh and Katie smiled all the while. I remember how I used to take Josh visiting relatives who hadn't seen him in a year and it would get hard on the poor little guy. We really appreciated them coming and staying for a couple hours.
What a pretty little girl Grace is! She was friendly to all of us and especially was interested in Sophie. When Sophie licked her face she cried, so Sopie had to do some jail time.

Jim is telling his sis, Darlene, about the time we drove Jeannie, Katie's Mom to Illinois when Katie had her gall bladder removed. Katie was pregnant with Grace and that was our first time to meet Michael.

GG Jim and Grace. We are tying to figure out who she looks like. Darlene said she looks a lot like pictures of her cousin Judy when she was a baby. I will check this out when I see some pictures and let you know.

Great Gramma Debbie is showing Michael how to use the magic slate she and Great Grampa Jim found for him. As we thought back to the long trips we used to make from Illinois we thought this may be something fun to do on the way. I told Katie she needed to learn to pretend to be hedgehogs in the back seat like Josh and I used to.....surely Josh remembers playing the hedgehog game ....hiding under blankets....hahaaa. So silly....what I do best..

Jim and I ran down to Olean for some groceries and also for another "beef on wick" at the Beef and Barrel. We just wanted to get one more before we left. We then stopped at Ice Cream Island where they mix the home made ice cream on a cold stone. Every day they make the ice cream fresh and you pick which flavors you want and they add them. Jim had the peanut butter and chocolate and I had the Pineapple,coconut and vanilla bean. Yummmmmy.

I asked this kid if he wanted to be on my blog.....he said, "Sure!"

The plain ice cream is put on a stone and they mix the ice cream on this cold stone with the different flavors.

The cones are also made new daily....and we though they were different tasting than ones we have had before.

Jim got the chocolate and the peanut butter probably was a little better than mine, but I always do tropical flavors.