Monday, June 30, 2008

Mother Always Knows Best!

Gosh, guess I got off easy! (She must have been going 4.5 mph!) Treadmills can be hazardous to your health if you are trying to multitask ....thankfully these are not my legs, but I guess treadmill accidents aren't really funny...unless you just look really dumb like I did and don't have any physical evidence later.... (I am never gonna hear the end of this one!)




I was just fine...talking to my Mom and reading Better Homes and Gardens while walking on the treadmill at the fitness center. I saw a dessert with blueberries, cream cheese, and coconut picked up the magazine to show her and I guess I stopped or miss stepped or something and the next thing I knew I fell on the stupid thing and went sailing off the back. WOOOOSHHH...Bam! Oh my gosh. hahaha...there were about five people in there so it wasn't so bad, but it was embarrassing. I get laughing so hard every time I start thinking about it though.....my parents keep making cracks. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I was scrambling to stand back up and get back on and it wasn't working. I think I was on auto pilot and when you fall you just get right back up... well, you can't do that on a treadmill. My mom can't even talk about it without laughing hysterically. I just wish I could see it on rewind. Where is Big Brother when you need a good laugh.

You reap what you sow....when best friend and I were in 9th grade we went to the county fair fun house and we had to walk through this huge barrel....while it was spinning at a pretty good clip. Well, I figured it out and walked like my hamster in his wheel and just moved sideways across the barrel and made it safely to the other side without any trouble, but then Joni got in the barrel and was spinning around like a tee shirt in a dryer...sorta riding up the side and rolling down to the middle...over and over. Well, I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. (Well! It looked hysterical!) Anyway, I think she was always mad at me for laughing at her and letting her flail around before I got in to try and do something......so what goes around, comes around and now I am feeling her pain.

So at least my day was educational! I have learned that you need to be careful trying to read a magazine, drool over dessert pictures, talk to your mom, and walk 3.5 miles per hour. Mom kept saying, "You better becareful, Debbie!" I didn't listen any better than I did when I was a teen... and again I paid dearly. Whether you like it or not, Mother always knows best!


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday in the mountains....

Jim and I started this morning out at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church. (as seen in above painting). This is my second Sunday at an Episcopal Church. It was a great homilee this am by Father John (John Wesley...cool name huh!?) He was talking about the collect (call ect ) the foundation of the church being the apostles and the prophets with Jesus being the cornerstone. He explained it in a way I had not thought about the weaving together the strength of prophecy coupled with the proclaimations of the apostles. What a firm foundation indeed!
We had communion.....I also had communion two Sundays in a row. That is rare for me as communion is fairly infrequent for me.

This the church I grew in....when I took this picture I noticed the vacancy in the second pew. Mrs. Binder who occupied that pew for over 50 years passed away two weeks ago. My whole life she was there...such a lovely lady. She made me clothes when my father died and it was so sad to me this am not to see Marie there. Time is marching on and it is painful as we see the inevitable result of the passing of time.
Below....This is Cassie and Jake and their darlin' Laurel. They have been married three years now. I remember when Cassie was born and it was such an exciting event. Cassie was the cutest baby...who looked just like her Mama, Lorna a good friend. Lorna and I are the same age. We graduated the same year from neighboring high schools. Lorna was a super star in our area.....lead vocalist of a singing group, The Swinging 70's. She lives in Atlanta and Cassie and her family are in California. Laurel will be three about Christmas time. She is just precious and it was great to finally meet her....and her daddy.


Chuck, Mom, Lorna's son, Justin, (he has gotten so handsome), Lorna, Deb, Sophie and long time frined, Marlene.....
who was Cassie's first baby sitter many moons ago. Cassie was too little to remember Marlene, but was happy to meet her....finally. Cassie and Laurel are in the front. Jake was taking our pics. I had never met him before and he was just great...an attentive Daddy who changes dieapers and everything!





Lorna laughing.....I love to hear Lorna laugh. She has a contagious laugh. It was wonderful to see her again.




Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back in the mountains....

We are here in William Penns's Woods...aka Nama's Woods or Pennsylvania!  Just trying out Mom's Mac lap top and I am just about as lost as she is with this whole thing.  It is just gonna take some time.  I will write a "real post" later.  Just wanted to say, "Howdy" and hope everyone is well.  

OOOOOOOH OOOOH...thunder!!! Here comes Bailey the lab....terrified at the old age of nearly 84....about 12 in dog years.  I guess he never has gotten past the terrified puppy stage.  He has always hated LOUD noises especially thunder and gun shots.... which he rarely hears the later, but we do get hunters up on the mountain at times.

Poor dog is terrified....ahhhhh!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Yearly Ritual

We are getting ready for a yearly jaunt back to our home town in PA. We have a smaller trunk this year and more STUFF than ever....due to the addition of Sophie. We were thinking of getting her a suitcase. She has her toys and her ear solution and her food and the spray stuff in case of an accident...her leash....dishes (we want her to have familiar dishes to eat from..haha). The list goes on and on. Jim has to take his keyboard as several have mentioned they want to get together for a jam....he always enjoys having others to play with. I am trying to narrow my list down. I didn't take much to NJ and found myself in a pickle when I found out I was going to church. I won't have sister Lori's closet to raid so I better take clothes for different occasions. You never know what will come up. Thankfully we won't have to worry about Halloween parties or Ice Skating attire this trip.

I will have to take some grubs because I always join the fitness center when I am there. It used to be the hospital where sister Lori was born....I will never forget that day. I was in third grade and nearly killed myself on my bike. I was just 8 and not allowed to ride on the road so was tearing down the heaved sidewalks of Mill Street and I went over one that shot me up in the air and I came down and hard and had a mini wreck...but that didn't stop me.... but whenever I go to the fitness center that crosses my mind. I pulled my bike up in front of Mom's window and she held the new sister up for me to see and she was sooooo cute. But now that very spot is where people work out. There are weight machines in front of that very window. Walls have been removed to make a huge room.

I like the fitness center because they have all the different weight machines and the ellipticals, bikes, rowing, skiing, tread mills.....stretching stuff...it is just great. I go with my parents and sometimes alone. Once you join you can go whenever you want and it is about two blocks from Jim's Dad's...where we stay. Well, everything is about two or three blocks away...haha. There is a lot to be said for small town life....especially with the gas prices soaring.

Better get busy sorting, sifting, scrubbing...all the stuff I scurry around doing before we leave. We like to come home to clean sheets and a clean fridg. We will pack the car tonight ...roll out early and hit it. Please pray for our safe travel. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ye Old Journalist Joins the Blogging Bonanza!!

Check out my Dad's blog on:

www.ramblinsredux.blogspot.com

Please encourage him as we miss hearing that unique voice of his. We all think he has some wisdom yet to impart to the world and are exciting to hear some of his observations.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ooooo I thought you was a ghostie!


Susan, Joe and Lori's good friend and fellow band member, picked me up promptly at 5:10 AM to get to the airport by 6:00 AM. She was bright eyed and bushy tailed and I was sort of groggy. I woke up about 3:00 AM and couldn't go back to sleep....guess I was afraid I was going to sleep through the alarm. THANK YOU, SUSAN! Joe thanks you as well!!!

Susan works for Scholastic, one of my favorite companies, (they do my book fair), in New York. It great to talk to her about the wonderful products they offer. We have a Read 180 lab at the Jr. High and that is a Scholastic product that is fantastic for raising the reading level of our 7th graders. My good friends, Jeananne and Vivian, were the grant writers for this program which is spreading throughout our Parish schools....they've gone above and beyond.

Anyway, Susan and I chatted all the way to the airport.....she is a former Sweet Adaline's singer and has quite a vocal range and will be a great addition to Peter's Rock. She has been a member of St. Peter's Episcopal chuch longer than anyone who is a member there now. She was baptised in that church and she said she has been in that same church her entire life.

When I got to Newark Airport the lines were LONG. One guy who flies from there all the time said he had never seen the lines that long....and there were three lines. I thought I had all kinds of time and got some coffee, but then suddenly the line was moving fast and I ended up having to throw out half of my coffee. Jim said he has done that many a time.

After that everything went like clockwork. The gate change was easy....had to change terminals, but that was no biggie....they make it so easy. If I would have had less than an hour it could have been a bit hairy, but thankfully there was plenty of time.

Once in the magical flying machine....(can you believe something that heavy flies through the air?!!!!) I felt like I was in a sardine in a can.....or a germ tube, as sister Lori calls planes.....and for some reason it just seemed to take forever to get back to Louisiana. I kept looking at my watch and that was probably why it went to so slowly.....I tried to sleep, but I kept getting seats in the back and they don't recline. I guess if you are using sky miles they will make you suffer....but we came in 15 minutes early so I don't really have reason to complain....and the smoothest landing ever when we came into Monroe. Smooth like budder (butter).... some NJ/NY lingo.

Jim and I stopped at Ross Dress for Less....no that wasn't in his agenda but he did find some nice dress pants and I found a couple colored tees and a jacket and then we split a reuben at McAllisters. We didn't want to stay too long as we were anxious to see what Sophie was going to do when her long lost Mama showed up.

We drove into the car port and I ducked down and hid. Jim took her into the back yard and I took my stuff into the house. They were walking back to the house and I started towards them and she FROZE and squinted....I wonder if she is hard of seeing.....she was frozen for about five seconds and then she freaked. She almost looked scared. I wonder if she had convinced herself I had departed this life and she was gonna have one owner from now on and that was just fine with her and when she saw me she literally felt as if she had seen a ghost. I was really tired and sorta felt like a ghost, too.

We came in the house and she jumped all over my head and licked my face and ran around like a maniac....blitzing like mad. I was blitzing too only on the inside....it wasn't wholly obvious as I was spralled on the floor as she ran across my stomach. Heck there isn't room for both of us to blitz.....I am always afraid she is going to run into table leg and mess up her neck like Duke did. (Duke was a cute, but tenatious little pug who was crippled.) Needless to say I was sooooo tired, but alas every time I started to doze off (I had moved to my bed by this time) Sophie gave me another kiss on my cheek. Mom was home and all was well. :-) Lil' Sis, Lori, says that dogs make for a kinder and gentler Lori. I think they just do that to everyone.

Jim just asked me if dogs have a problem with cholesterol. Hahaha....now that is one kind and gentle guy.

Here is shout out to "The Church Chicks"....thanks so much for everything!!!! You all are/were such a blessing. Lori is so blessed to have you all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just a taste.....

Here is a picture of their church....which as I mentioned before is from Revolutionary War days and has Minute Men buried under the bricks out front. Revolutionary War history comes to life in this neck of the woods. Joe has some interesting facts and even family members who were involved. (Jim does, too.) I guess Hannah can join the (DAR) Daughters of the American Revolution some day!! That is too cool!
This is Laura...she picked me up and took me to church. She has a music studio and teaches piano. She is a transplanted Bama girl....along with Gabriella. Her mom played in Peter's Rock. What a darling girl!

This is Deb, another inspiration to Lori and her daughter, Amanda.
Drummer, Joe and Singer, Lori
Peter's Rock
Gail, another of Lori's friends who sings with her in Peter's Rock, came by today with her two lovely daughters. Like all of the women I have met on this trip she was nice, funny, and loves my sister. It is so good to know she has such great friends here. Getting involved with this music ministry has been a blessing to those in the group and also those who get to hear them. I am hoping to hear them sometime. Hopefully Lori will be able to sing better than ever. Her doctor sure took pains to preserve her voice. She will have to invite him to a concert.

If you click on the video below....remember to go turn off the music on the side of my blog so you can hear them.

Gail brought some Italian Ice and I am looking forward to just a taste of some of that after dinner tonight. Joe is going to make Broccoli Raab. I have been hearing about that forever. I have never found it in a grocery store in Louisiana.
Gail is the singer in the lime green. This video is over a year old and her hair is totally different. It is straight and shoulder length. Anna, the girl who is going away to Vasser is in the pink.
video
















Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yum!

Big sis, Marcia brought dinner today! It was great to see them and taste their delicious food. Marsh really outdid herself with the salad today. YUM! Lori is enjoying the dinner and the clean up crews. We just want her to rest and GET WELL!


Lori models her new sun glasses for us. Cool girl, don't ja think? We do for sure!


The dinner table expands in a perfect square. What is there not to like about that!? It is just awesome. I love the tall chairs.....such a cool idea.


Sean, Marsh and Lori




Marsh, Lori, Debbie and Donna. Paulie calls Donna his
second Mommie. Lori is blessed with wonderful buds like
Donna and her husband, Andy. Donna decided Lori needed
ice on her swollen neck. She should be a nurse!


NJ is a so pretty...

Check out their hosta by their mail box! WOW! It is just beautiful!
Here is a pic of the new sun room from the outside. The patio at the bottom is outside the "basement". It has a stone fire place that is so pretty......and a oak bar with ten stools.... an alcove perfect for a band. This house is a great place to entertain and Lori and Joe both love doing that.

Aunt Debbie saying goodbye to the kids.



Anna and Susan from "Peter's Rock", the Praise Band Lori and Joe belong to. They missed Lori's singing with them this AM. I am praying she will be singing again in a couple months.

I think when people think about NJ they think Camden or Newark. Yes, there is the grimy aspect, but for the most part there are a lot of neat little towns, farmlands, and horse farms. It is very pretty here and I wouldn't mind living here. The ocean is close by....mountains are not too far off....and then there is always New York City which is fairly close.

I remember being surprise how quickly we got to the city when Lori and Joe took me there in 2003. I didn't expect to like it there, but enjoyed it very much. It is not something you want to do every day, but being close to a city like that definitely has its advantages. In 2003 we went to see Chicago on Broadway and it was great.....went to the Rainbow Room in the NBC building and wondered around the city looking at all the landmarks. Central Park is just gorgeous and Time Square is also very cool. One of the things I remember about New York was walking by the Pizzerias and smelling the garlic....yum! No wonder I loved being in New York!

This morning we all had to wake up early. As I have mentioned Paulie and Hannah were flying out this am to go to FL. I told them to make sure they got me some recipes from Culinary Camp. I just think that sounds like too much fun!!!! Paulie said he wasn't going to cook like "Bam"....that is what he calls Emerald. I knew immediately who he was referring. He and I seem to speak the same language. I sure wish I lived nearer to these kids.... although they are sooooo busy all the time I probably wouldn't see them all that much more than I do now.

Laura, Lori's good friend....who was born in Montgomery, AL and graduated from the University of Alabama....came and got me for church. It is such and old church....there are Minute Men buried under the bricks in front of the church. There is a lot of history around here. Yesterday we drove through Princeton which served as the Capital of the Colonies before moving it to Philadelphia. They had banners with info about that on the light posts. What a beautiful town! The Library there is AMAZING.....built from stone....like a castle. You can see it in the movie, A Beautiful Mind.

Anyway, we made a quick trip to Starbucks and then on to church. Lori's went to a going away party for Anna last night. Anna did the Baccalaureate speech in church today...there were several graduates honored at church today. Anna gave the most amazing speech telling the congregation what the church has meant to her over the years and thanked them for their mentoring and their love. It was very touching and so well written. She is going to Vasser. I was not surprised. Lori and Joe were right....she sings like an angel. I don't know how they will be replacing her!!

Lori just called they are coming home from the airport and the kids are safely on their way to FL. I know Gramma and Grampa are anxiously awaiting them at the Jacksonville airport. Paulie was getting cold feet last night but after Lori prayed with him and he calmed right down. He has flown many times before, but parents. He was hoping an older person would sit right next to him on the plane...he said someone like a grandma or something. He's a sweetie pie. They will both have great time I am sure.
Here comes Lori and Joe...all for now. Marcia and Sean are coming and bringing dinner at 3:30 PM. It will be great to see them, too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Back to normal....well, almost

Lori took the first layer of bandages off this afternoon...she waited until the doc said....72 hrs. She said it aches still, but she looks FABULOUS, Darling and it is good to see her up and dressed up. What a difference 72 hours make! She is anxious to feel normal again I know. She is a tough cookie and you can't keep a good woman down that is for sure.
Hannah has gone to a pool party.....she and Paulie are flying out tomorrow morn. to go to FL. I am being picked up by Laura (a friend of Lori and Joe's ) to go to church while Lori and Joe go to the airport. I will take my camera. Their Episcopal Church goes back to the Revolutionary War. Today Joe showed me the grave of his great, great, great, great, great, great, great Grandfather ....who signed the Declaration of Independence. This is on Joe's Mom's side of the family....pretty sure as don't think there are any Cuffaris on the Declaration of Independence!

This is Joe and Lori off to a going away party for a girl who sings in their praise band.... she is off to college and they are really sad to see her go.

Paulie had a BUSY day playing Allstars. He and his team mates won BOTH games. He is HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! He is such a good little player. He is all business out there.




I he is a great little pitcher....kids had trouble hitting off Paulie. I will sign off for now. I will tell you about Lori's church tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it. She is lending me a dress to wear....an old one. I asked her if it was a maternity dress and she said it wasn't. I am not sure I believe her....












Friday, June 20, 2008

Auntie Deb says....

I drove Paulie and Hannah to see Kung Fu Panda....it was cute. Lots of action. We got to the theatre in short order, but got a tad bit lost on the way home, but it was nothing but a miniature disaster....mostly because Paul had baseball practice....he had to eat his dinner in one gulp, but he was not too late!

Paulie playing "Smoke on the Water" for his Auntie Deb. He is a regular Renaissance man.

Hannah in the mudroom/office making her list of items she wants to take to Florida. She and Paulie are going to their grandparents and going to spend a week at Culinary Camp. How fun is that?! Paulie just wants to know how to make pancakes so he can eat them whenever he wants to.

I have been spending time here in NJ getting reacquainted with my niece and nephew. They are growing into very interesting people and they amaze me. Paul plays guitar and Hannah is a regular Van Cliburn on the piano. They also got their report cards and I am happy to say these guys are both A students. Hannah reads, reads, reads.....Paulie doesn't read as much, but then that is typical for boys. He loves to read about WW II in bed at night. You can tell they are readers by their command of the language. I am very proud of these young critters.
I have met a lot of Lori's friends who are popping in to see how she is. They are warm and caring and I feel like I know them already after hearing Lori talk about them so much.

Sister Lori is having a tough time not talking....she is not suppose to talk, but I can relate......really..... I know it is hard for you to believe that. I have been down stairs and Lori and I are talking on the computer to each other. It is the perfect solution!!! She gets tired and her throat is sore and her neck aches. She is anxious to get this bandage off....all the tape is driving her nuts. She can't turn her head so she walks around looking like a real stiff....

Joe is having a boys night out tonight. His buddies firmly told him they were coming to get him. I think after the week he has had will be good for him to get out for a couple hours. He works three jobs and keeps this house spotless....plus sitting in hospital waiting rooms almost all week. He is pacing around here saying he really needs to be going to bed instead. I bet he will not be gone too awfully long. We are all trying to stay away from Lori so she will have nobody she can talk to. She does it without thinking. She is in sales....communication is her business so this is so hard.

Guess I will sign off for now. Tomorrow ought to be a good day. I think Paulie has a baseball game. I am not sure if I am going. I don't think Lori is up for that...also I think she may be tempted to scream out....so she had better not go.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some pics....

Sleeping beauty resting up post op while sister Deb photographs her in secret. She is feeling better all the time. Aunt Deb is waiting for Paulie and Hannah to get home. I have not seen them in a whole year!!!
I love this sectional couch...it is so soft and comfortable to sit on.
And this putty color is cool.

Sunroom


I love these chairs.....but I love squares....sun room is just through the doors.










"Home" finally....

I am sitting on the bed in Lori and Joe's lovely guest room....aka the grandparents' room.... and the window is open ....tweety birds are outside the window and a breeze is blowing DRY cool air in the window. It smells heavenly out, too. I forget how much I miss this every time I come north. We have about ten days when we can do this at my house, but even that is usually a bit damp.

I love the home improvements they have done since my last visit in 2003. The sun room off of the kitchen is gorgeous and today is just lovely to be out there....all the windows open (with screens in) letting the breeze blow through! Can it get any better than that? The new mud room/office is wonderful as well. It is just what they needed for sure. I remember when they refinished their basement several years ago...I thought this house was perfect then, but I am wondering what I was thinking. The sun room is the icing on the cake!! The living room /formal dining room looks great as well with a new paint job and black and white photos and a piano. I also love the new kitchen table and chairs...they are those high chairs and a high table and they are really nice. I will put a pic on the next blog post.

Anyway....we got home from the hospital around noon and I promptly got a bath and put on some loose fitting pjs! Heaven! Lori got her blankey and got on the comfy leather sofa in the family room to watch All My Children....her one soap and guilty pleasure. I used to watch it 20 years ago and it is strange, but there are many of the same folks playing the same characters....if only I could age as gracefully as Erica Kane!!!

Joe made omelletts and now we are done for our nap before the kids get home from friends' homes.

I am feeling very thankful at this moment. Thankful for a great doc who took his time AGAIN with her surgery trying to preserve her singing voice and also thankful for good reports on all the test to date. We are believing the best and trusting the Lord to keep these ugly cells from being found turning up in any other spot. We know early detection is on our side with all of this. When you hear you have the "big C" time stops and it takes a while to get your bearings, but knowing so many survivors is an encouragement and also knowing the doc is doing everything possible and all precautions are being taken is also a HUGE plus. I met her doc and the man is so intense and I now know why she loves him so....he just follows up on every detail and knows his field so well. He left late yesterday and was back early. A doctor's work is never done....especially if you are an oncologist in the USA these days.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane.....


I don't care for this pic of the plane...it is going the wrong direction...but it was the best Delta pic I could fine. I am going east not west unlike friend Julie who made her first trip to California this week. (hope you are having a great time, Julie!)

After MUCH angst and arguing with the Delta people for probably 10 hours I FINALLY got a ticket about 5:00 pm yesterday. Long story short we didn't know our PIN number for our sky miles. Jim hasn't used it in years because the travel lady at Saint Gobain always had to make his reservations. Well, Jim always uses the same password whenever he needs one....so we were flumexed to say the least and I was so upset because I wanted to go be with sister, Lori, when she has the other half of her thyroid out....mostly for some moral support as she goes through testing (so far the tests she has done shows there are no cancer cells elsewhere!) and to watch the kids (Hannah and Paulie) so Joe can go back to work Thurs. and Friday.

Anyway, come to find out Jim did know the PIN and there was something wrong with the system on Sunday!!!!!! Can you believe that!!????? They kept telling us that when you use the wrong pin it will shut you out and then they send you a new one in 14 days or some dumb thing. Well, that was not going to work obviously. My parents could have driven out there for a few days, but they just had their whole backyard graded and seeded so they sorta need to be there to water the grass ....also the people who board Baily the lab were full.
We will always be thankful for the young man who got us through yesterday afternoon. We just kept calling until we found someone who understood "the system". Jim wondered if it was a ploy to keep people from using sky miles due to the cost of gas. We are always looking for a conspiracy...hahaha...but you never know these days.

Joe and Lori were relieved last night when they received a letter from her wonderful doctor. He has really been good to her taking over twice the time to do the surgery so as not to damage her vocal chords. She told him she didn't garden, knit, and she barely read but she what she does is sing in a praise band. Joe is the drummer and they are busy all the time with practice and traveling to this and that "gig". (They have a coffee house they play at called the "Holy Grounds"....don't ja just love that!?) I kept thinking of their years in college when they were playing rock music and wouldn't the devil just love messing up their new found passion.... Please pray there is no nerve damage during this second surgery!


I have not been there since 2003 and they have done some renovations.... added a couple rooms and I a excited to see these changes also. I know Paulie will have some new computer games to TRY and teach his auntie Deb. (sounds like that woman on the tv show The Nanny.) Hannah will be 13 in a week and I am anxious to see this teenager! She is the age of "my people" at school and it will be interesting to see if NJ Junior High Students act like LA Junior High Students.
Well, I need to get busy.....I won't need to take much, but I have a lot of stuff to do to get ready for the PA trip. I will get home on Tues. and need to get ready for that! I will be taking some stuff to the safety deposit box at that bank today and refilling perscriptions....picking up some gifts and cleaning. Jim and Sophie will be holding down the fort and hopefully not miss me too much. I am going to sure miss them. Since Jim has been home non stop since Jan. I think it will be strange not to see him every day....and I will miss my fuzzy puppy who loves to snuggle. She is a lot of fun and I wish I could take her along to see the kids. They would crack up when she blitzes! We do! Next post will be from the beautiful garden state.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day .... a bit late.

The new kids on the block....summer of 1969. (Wasn't I a cutie? I needed some bangs!!...check out Lori the ham and the white yarn in Julie's hair! We were trendy for sure.)



Daddy and Debbie 1955.

Happy Father's Day to all the those uncommon fathers who do the right thing and put their families first and live out their faith as a witness to those who are following behind them. We know that it is difficult to be that position of leader and to be a model of our heavenly father. I am glad I am not a man.

I have been blessed to have several uncommon fathers in my life.
My own father, Chuck Wells, was not perfect, but he was man who worked very hard for his family, wanted the best for us, was a seeker of truth, and was a man of his word. He read all the time and made me want to find out what was so interesting in books. He also challenged me to watch TV that would help me. He made me watch PBS when I was little. I didn't like it at first, but finally decided it was much more interesting than anything on the big three networks. He was snatched from my life when I was 11 and I didn't know him very well, but I have had people tell me how they respected him and what a talented mason he was. I remember he was the one they called to do brick walls with a curve. He was the best at what he did. I also thought he had hair just like Elvis when I was about four and five....yes! I can remember that far back!!

The father who had the most impact on me ....who had been my father for almost 40 years....is my Dad, Chuck Boller. He married a widow with three young daughters and he has always treated us as his own daughters and acted lovingly toward all three of us. When I was not always nice, he loved me anyway. Going through the teenage years with an angry young woman was not fun I know and he could have decided I was not worth the time, but he chose to show me love and respect in spite of my behavior. He has been proof to me of God's unconditional love. God gave me a new, wonderful father when I desperately needed someone to show me how God loves us and also how people are suppose to love each other. He was always open about his emotions and truthful. This ability to have heart to heart talks and to be transparent will never be forgotten.

Rudy Anderson, my father-in-law, is another wonderful example of a father. He worked hard during his working years to provide for his wife and children and was a faithful member of his Lutheran church. Rudy could always be counted on when they needed repairs, a new building, or just some good yard work. His sacrifices are there for generations coming behind to see. Rudy is known for his commitment to excellence in his work and his friendliness and good humor. He has always been so kind and welcoming me to us those two weeks each summer for nearly 30 summers! I am thankful for his example of his faith in God and also for the example of his work ethic to his children and grands, great grands, and GREAT great grands!! I know many of Jim's gifts and talents are due to his Dad's faithfulness and leadership and I am thankful for his influence.

When I moved to Louisiana I met Dr. Dale Boersma. Dr. Dale is not my Dad or any relation for that matter, but he has treated me with love and respect and because he the same age as my Mom I guess I have thought of him in a fatherly way at times. He was my doctor and always felt like he cared well for me and for my family. I will never forget he and wife, Helen, coming to hear me tell about my trip to Cuba. They were there for support and I appreciated the fatherly way Dale complimented me on my feeble attempt to communicate what I had learned on that trip. I have watched Dale for twenty years and I am thankful for his Godly example in my life...his wit, and his diligent study of God's Holy Scriptures. It is heart breaking for me to see such a wonderful man suffering with ALS, but as with the rest of his life he is demonstrating grace and dignity.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

So Many Books and Too Little TIME!


Well, I have brought home a BOATLOAD of book...most YA (Young Adult) books to read over the summer. I read a small one tonight and I really enjoyed it. It is Things Hoped For a sorta sequel to Things Not Seen. Both of these books have to do with becoming invisable and the possibilities and the inconvenience of this delimma. Anyway, they are nothing heavy, but I enjoyed both of them. What book to choose for tomorrow....hmmmm...we shall see.

It is my unfortunate experience to find out most students at the Jr. High think I have read all the books in the library and there are even a few teachers who seem to believe this as well. There are about 13,000 books....hahaha . Well, I hate to say it, but I could read ALL the time and never even come close. Especially with all the books that come in sets....there is this series and that series. I wish that were not such a trend because I can't keep them all straight in my mind...."Miss Anderson which number is such in such in the such and such series?" The Series of Unfortunate Events has about 14 books....thankfully these are numbered, but keeping the numbers lined up with the titles in my mind is another thing.....and frankly they were not my favorite thing to read. They are good and I love the tongue in cheek mood, but they are just not my favorite books. Also for some of these series books it takes a whole bookshelf or more to house them. The Redwall Series books are large and they take up two shelves. Crazy. Also, most of these books are of the fantasy genre and they are just not my thing.

There are thirteen of the Bluford Series and these are realistic fiction and don't have to be read in any particular order and they are small. That is my kind of series! I prefer the real life applications. They are SOOOOO popular. With titles like, The Gun, Blood is Thicker, Someone to Love Me, and The Bully it is easy to see why. Students who NEVER read will snap these up and read them lickity split and want the next one. It is something they can relate to and the problems they find in the books are the same problems they are facing in their lives. These books do end on an up note and they challenge the reader to make good choices and not to always follow the crowd. They are also easy to read and for those students who struggle with reading these are so helpful. I was worried about these books at first because I didn't want to expose them to negativity and defeat, but once I saw how the students love them and I also read a couple and knew they were stearing them in the right direction I was on board. I am not one of these "just so they are reading" people because I know reading is just another gateway...just like the ears and just like we need to gaurd what goes into our ears...we also need to guard what we read and see in movies. Garbage in makes for garbage out.

Do I personally always do a good job of this for myself? Not always, but when it comes to being an influence in the lives of young people I do take that seriously and don't want anything which could harm them to come by way of me. I am not into hanging millstones around my neck or anyone elses for that matter!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ant Eaters, Blogging, & Sisters in Recovery


Good news....little sister Lori is doing well after her thyroid surgery. She was out for 6 1/2 hours for her surgery. It normally takes about 3 hours. Why? Well, she was worried about preserving her singing ability and thankfully so was her Doc, so he took a lot of extra time being very careful. When someone asked why it took so long, he said, "I had a singer on the table." I talked to her today...just briefly because she isn't suppose to talk much for a while. She sounded all scratchy cuz of the tube that was down her throat. It is not a reflection of anything being done to the nerve that effects her vocal chords. She feels pretty confident it will be alright. Now we are waiting the pathology report for the part of the thyroid that was removed....but the doc said he feels pretty confident that will be alright. So why did she have it removed at all.....well there were abnormal cells and it was to prevent it from eventually being cancerous. Will she have to take synthroid? We don't know yet.

On to the subject of blogging. Why do I blog? Well, I am not exactly sure, but it seems to keep me from going nuts. I like the act of putting thoughts on "paper". It is not to entertain anyone or to make a statement of opinion (although I do that at times)....but mostly just to "hear" myself think. It is like it validates me somehow....lets me know there is somebody home in here, which sometimes is opposite of popular opinion.

The unexpected benefit of my blog is my far off family members and friends are able to know what is happening with me....or at the very least know some of the crazy stuff that floats around inside my head. Also, folks can keep tabs on me and stear me right when I get too far out there. It always amazes me when someone I know says they have been reading my blog. You just never know who is reading.

My new mission is to get my Dad to start blogging. Now that they have a lap top it is a great idea. He wrote a newspaper column for years called, Ye Ramblins.....in Elizabethan Hillbilly vernacular. I would like for him to do something like that again. He has such a way with words. I would be interested to "hear" his public voice again. A lot of things have changed in these United States since he quit writing his column over 20 years ago and there is a lot of foder for ye ol Republican Committee Member these days.

Now here is something I haven't told anyone....well accept the Boersmas. I was talking to students at the school where I am the librarian and they told me they had nick names for the teachers. I asked them if there was one for me and these girls started to giggle. After some prodding they blurted out that some of the students call me Ant Eater. Hahaha Jr. High kids! What's not to love about these little darlings. I am wondering if it is my nose or the close set eyes...or maybe the combination. Last night this came up in conversation with David Boersma when he was trying to figure out why this baseball team from University of California at Irvin....the one playing LSU, said "Eaters" on their shirts....LSU said "Tigers" naturally. Well, come to find out they are the Ant Eaters! It jogged my memory and I remembered it was my nickname, too. I think I need to be their mascot! Maybe I should call them; a baseball team named after ME! How cool is that! Hey, Lauren, Paulie, Ross, Maura, Hannah....that is Aunt Ant Eater to you guys!

Monday, June 9, 2008

WAITING for the phone to ring!

This morning, little sister Lori went under the knife for a problem with her thyroid. It was suppose to start at 8 am and last approximately three hours. It is now five hours and none of us...Julie, Mom, or I have heard a thing from Joe. Joeeee! Please call!!! I know everything is probably fine, but we sure would like to know 100%. I may have to break down and call his cell phone.

Another friend of mine had surgery and I know she got through it just fine and is doing ok. It will take time to recover, but she will be fine.

I was going to go to school today, but I am thinking I may skip today. I just want to hear the words that she is doing fine....

Lori's biggest concern was her voice. She knew there was a chance her vocal chord nerves could get messed with and she loves to sing...always has and now she is singing in a praise band and she loves that. She kept saying she didn't want to sound like Suzanne Plashette (of Bob Newhart fame) who smoked for years and had a gravely sounding voice.

Mom just called and said Joe called a couple minutes ago and Lori is out of surgery and that is all he knows. He doesn't know if they took part of her thyroid or all of it....he will call back later. That is a relief! I just wondered what was taking so long. Lori will be spending the night in the hospital....that is a miracle to me as I didn't think you could stay in a hospital over night anymore as insurance won't allow it. Jim was so out of it after his eye surgery he could hardly walk but Josh, Randi and I had to get him to a hotel room. It is a crazy world we live in isn't it?!

Well, now that I know she is alive I feel better. Now I want to know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey always says. I am praying they found no cancer and she was ahle to keep half of her thyroid.....and also that she is still able to sing praises to her Lord!

It is hard to be soooo far away.....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nama and Papa enter the 21st Century

Sister, Marsh and Dad a couple of years ago.



(A pic of "the Rents" with oldest grandchild and faithful dog, Drake...almost 20 years ago!)



As I bat out this post, older sibling, Marcia...aka Marsh....is setting up a cable email acct. for "the rents" and giving them a MAC laptop....and a WiFi!!! How fun is that!? THANK YOU, MARCIA!!!

I am so excited for them because now I can send them videos. Web TV wouldn't accomodate those. They can also view things on the Internet they couldn't view before....like the "Laminin Clip" I sent out. For the last 6 years (or longer) they have had a web TV. Web TV is great, but it just can't do what a computer does. The key boards were always having to be replaced and we could never send videos. They also couldn't save pictures on a hard drive or just have the ease of using the Internet like you can on a computer. I have no doubt that if they can figure out that darn WebTv thingie they will be able to use this lap top. I do suggest they start out slowly and master one skill at a time. I know what it is like to be overwhelmed with info and instructions so one step at a time and before you know it they will be able to do pretty much what we all do with our puters. I know there will be frustrating moments and I am praying neighbor, Squeek, will be able to help with any real emergencies....although it is a MAC and I am not sure they are quite the same as a PC. We shall see....so anyway I am praying this all goes smoothly. I love having a lap top with WiFi so you can go any place in the house and use the puter and also even watch TV at the same time. Yes, WiFi is a dream come true for all multitaskers. I can be looking for info on the net, playing cards, and watching a movie at all the same time!


And now for something totally unrelated....Hillary Clinton is getting ready to step down. It is hard for me to believe it....and I am sure it is for her, too. The Clintons can't remember the last time they lost so I imagine she is in shock. I am not a big Hillary fan although through the years her stamina has been inspirational. There is no doubt we have not seen the last of Hillary when it comes to vieing for the presidency. I do think she was probably the better choice for the Dems as she has far more experience just because she was co-pres. with Billie-Jeff. I am not sure about all this "change" Obama talks about all the time. While there are things that need to be changed, I am not sure change for change sake is a good thing....plus what change is he talking about?! I think he is mainly just saying he wants whatever the opposite of what Bush or the Republicans want. He sure is not real specific that is for sure! Hang on folks.....it is going to get crazy.


I am on the phone with sister, Julie. She is telling me about painting some furniture for her daughter, Maura to take back to college. A friend of hers was throwing them out for the garbage man to take. She and I are cut out of the same cloth. I don't like to think of us as cheap skates, but thrifty and ready to recycle when ever we get the chance!

Here is the link to the "Laminin video"...please check it out:

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=152b5103d741aca61093

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth , visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. " Colossians 1:15-17

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guapa. the Thankful Pug



We need to average out these guys. Guapa could use some of those extra pounds Jake has packed on. There has to be a happy medium between these two! Jake was very happy to see another pug. Jake is not so friendly to white fuzzy wuzzy doggies. He is very particular to his own kind. People say that is the same way Bichons are. I don't know if this a common behavior in dogs of all breeds; I never knew about species particular preferences in pups until I got a Bichon and read about it. Birds of a feather......
A couple months ago I wrote about things I hate and things I love. Well, there is something else I hate....cruelty. Neighbor and friend, Helen called today and told me about a little dog....a Pug...who was found in the woods tied to a tree without food or water. This poor dog is very thin....eaten up with bugs and appears to have had a litter not too long ago. The man who found her took her to a vet who gave her water and food. She was washed, shaved, spayed, and given her shots. They called Helen because they know she and Dale have a pug and love pugs. Helen told me Joanna, (hers and Dale's younger daughter who lives in Jackson, MS) was going to give her a good home. Joanna and her husband, Donnie, both love dogs and I am so thrilled this little one will have a good home. Joanna teaches Spanish so this little girl's name is Guapa....beautiful. She really isn't physically beautiful yet, but I am sure with a little weight and once all her bug bites are gone she will be very beautiful. She has a very sweet personality and doesn't seem to be damaged like some dogs are who have suffered ....she wasn't afraid of people and was going around the room looking for someone to pet her....all the while wagging her little cinnimon roll like tail.
I kept looking at her and wondering if she realized how fortuante she was. She went from starving in the humid LA heat to being well fed in an climate controlled enviornment while resting her weary head on a thick comfy pillow belonging to a Pug buddie. She must have thought she died and went to pug heaven.
I remember when Jim's brother in law, Jim B. found a poodle in a similar situation....only I believe it was very, very cold. He took that puppy home and it was the sweetest pet....so thankful. I always thought Peppy realized (not like we would realize exactly) how fortuante he was and made sure he was a joy to own. Then there is Winslow, Karen and Jim's dog. (No, not everyone I know is named "Jim"!) Winslow is a scotty/wired hair terrier mix who was a recue dog and he was very skiddish for the first few weeks, but they hung in and he is delightful now. I am glad they perservered, because it did take him quite a while to "come around". He finally figured out that these people who were trying so hard were on his side.

Monday, June 2, 2008

June, FINALLY!!

This is the library last year at this same time!!!!! Wow, what a year!!!! It is loaded up full again and I can't believe we actually took everything out and put it all back....and I lived to tell it!!!!


School is out...well technically. I am still going there, but the good thing is that I am NOT going at 7:30! Yippeeeee.. I went about 9 am this morning and came home about four. I am ordering magazines for next year, and ordering some books, weeding...that is hard for a pack rat like me to do....and just checking the shelves and trying to figure out what areas are weak and need to be pumped up.

I am also trying to figure out what color accoustic tiles would look best in the there. I don't think it really matters what I think cuz the principal will order what he wants. It will probably end up camo colored....you watch!

So for now I have not been doing anything too blog worthy..unlike blog bud, Lora who has been traveling the north east....although did visit with the Boersams on Sat. and also attended two wedding showers this weekend and next Sat. we will travel to Pineville, LA for a wedding. It is that time of the year and I do love seeing people I have not talked to in a long time. Randi's cousin, Anna, will sing at the wedding in Pineville and that will be a treat. She is an "old" married lady now, too. She has been married just over a year.

As for Samoftikins...(the O is long)...aka Sophie....I am sad she will be locked in the bathroom for the whole day. It will be alright, but it hurts my heart that she will think we have left her. They are like little babies and to just shut her up for 7-8 hours...well, it seems heartless. She lived through it before and suspect she will again. I keep thinking of the dogs tied outside on short ropes in the hot sun and thinking....she has it made in the shade...but it isn't helping. Every night when we go to bed we shut her in her carrier and that is hard, too. We just think it is the best plan, but when we take her outside around 3:00 to do her thing we sometimes let her on the bed after cuz we know she is "safe" for several hours. When I wake up she is usually in the crook of my knees or next to me....with both ears turned inside out. She looks like a baby polar bear without her ears...which usually look like little pig tails. She sure is fun to have around. It is hard to imagine her not here. Jim is just as smitten ....although he acts like this nusance of a critter is driving him nuts. I see him when he doesn't think I am looking and he likes her just as much as I do.

I will write a real post soon...hahaha...just not in the mood to "compose" I guess. It summer time and I am gonna take it a bit easy.....I want to READ the books that look so alluring all year. A couple books stayed checked out all the time and now it is my turn to see what all the hub bub is about!