Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today is my Grandmother's birthday. 02-02-1900!

Today is my grandmother's birthday. 02-02-1900!
Florence Corry DeBlieck 1900-1986
She was an awesome lady who raised my father her only child as a single mother. This was by her choice since she kicked my grandfather out of the house.
Back then and even today my family does NOT divorce. Annul yes but never divorce. There have been 3 annulments the last being my own. Right now my family has  combined total more than 300 years of marriage since 1925. 

When we were young she would drag us here and there to all her senior events. We did not realize it at that time but she was instilling in each of us her love of the fine arts and history. Later after we got our driver's license we became her travel buddies. {she never drove but was always on the go}.
How many children today can say they have heard bagpipe players, been to a stage play, gone to NYC to see a performances at Radio City Music Center, Madison Square Garden for Ringling Brothers Circus, the World's Fair, countless museums,  observatories, historic wonders. Left to go to her favorite shore destination but ended up in another state. Oh that was an adventure all in itself. The list goes on and on. 
Then there was the weekly Bingo games. She would buy and if you won she got half. After the game she would always want to go and have her little Bud nipper at the local watering hole, LOL
As a tribute the night before her funeral after all 9 of us plus several grandkids were together we went to the race track followed by her favorite bar. We toasted her life!

That was the very last time all of us would be together. Leaving the funeral home we embraced into one huge hug and allowed our tears to flow. 
I doubt that many of us realized that this was the first and last time that we allowed our true emotions to show and be felt.
Her passing was also the beginning of the end of the family. Not something readily realized or accepted but it was indeed what it was.

I describe grandmother's passing as the loosening of the thread that holds a quilt together.

She was the backbone and thread so to speak that kept us all as one. 
Her passing also marked many changes that would begin to occur in my own life. 
Whether good or bad those changes would lead me to where I am today. 
Doors would open, doors would close and even more would open and close over and over.

I can't help to think about the lost opportunities but I find it hard to dwell there because of where I ended up going afterwards.

To my Grandmother Florence Corry DeBlieck I raise my glass and say Thank You for all you gave to me!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Farewell 2011 Welcome 2012

Between yesterday and today I have read several interesting status' on my family and friends Facebook.
I would like to share several of them here.

"Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be. BUT it is these losses that make us stronger & eventually move us toward future opportunities."

This was one post I read on my niece's friends FB page. I feel that it speaks volumes and needs no further explanation.

Moving onto another niece's FB status ....

"Stop being ungrateful. No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing. "

Once again no explanation is needed but I will add that this very quote will be mentioned in a future blog of mine. You see I have been there done that and took the long road to get where I am today.... leaving this topic alone for now to keep you wondering, LOL

And now for a quote from yet another niece's status .....

"‎2011 basically sucked for me and a lot of people I know. Here's to hoping we all have a better 2012!! Hope everyone has a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ♥"

How very true to some degree not just for her but myself and others as well.

2011 started out with awaited joy as my 1st grandchild was due to be born in late January. I was scheduled to have minor surgery on my hand.

My 'plans' were to have the surgery and already be off of work recuperating all within the time frame of his expected arrival.

That came to a screeching halt on the morning of January 7th. {Ironically, my niece who posted this last quote now shares her birthday with my grandson. They are the very first to do so in our rather large family of 60+ members.}

On January 7th I was awakened to the phone ringing at 5:30am from Alex. She said her plug had come out. OK you will be fine went the conversation. 3 or 4 phone calls later she was leaving for the hospital. By 12 noon I was a new grandma-ma!

I was at work but was off that weekend so off to North Carolina I went to meet my grandson.

Rocket may have been 3 weeks early but he was not lacking in his weight. 7lbs. 6oz. He needed some extra time for his lungs to finish developing but soon he would be home with his mom and dad. Both of them handled the situation for very well for 1st time parents.

Onto my hand surgery. What started as a routine small skin cancer removal that would keep me out of work for 3 weeks turned into my taking a trip with the passengers and crew of the SS Minnow.

If you recall they left for a 3 hour tour and ended up ship wrecked. Yes that is exactly what happened to me. I became ship wrecked in my hand recovery.

The pain after my surgery never went away and only seemed to get worse. 2 doctors and a nerve block later it was determined that I had un-repairable nerve damage.

Well, I certainly did not want to live with this pain 24/7 so the doctor felt the only way to relieve it was to remove to main sensory nerves. With the end result leaving the backside of my hand with permanent numbness. That I could live with pain not so much.

The top faded upside down 'U' shaped scar is from the 1st surgery and the longer scars is from the second.

After 20+ years in the restaurant industry I had become a liability. Time to consider career change!
I had actually been toying with the idea for sometime but just never really explored it seriously.
After much exploration and consulting with Bruce I found a suitable career that was easy enough to transition into and affordable.

I found a 1 semester class in Richmond that would be starting in September to become a Pharmacy Technician.
The schedule allowed me to finish my therapy for my hand and still participate in my studies.
The only drawback was that I would miss my 1st class.


On that day I would be on a Dune Buggy Safari Adventure in Grand Turk!

Oh yes, mud slinging water spraying adventure in Grand Turk

Can you imagine any better excuse to miss a class??

Yes we took our 1st Cruise in August 2011. Getting to our cruise was in itself a challenge.

You see Hurricane Irene had just left the Eastern Caribbean and was knocking on Virginia's door along with weird threats against the North East sea board.

As we boarded our plane in Richmond the airport was shutting down behind us. YIKES!

Sail away from Port of Miami

Once we were off the ground we were met with a slightly bumpy flight for an hour than everything was smooth. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed ourselves beyond words.

Each island had its own uniqueness and left us convinced that more cruising will be in our future.

Old San Juan, PR

So wrapping up 2011 is filled with a new beginning but not forgetting what happened to get me there.

It's that what happens when you are reading a book?

You finish one chapter and move onto the next.

So, to is ending one year and moving into the next.

My wish to everyone is this .....

Enjoy the newness of the forthcoming year and be not forgetful of the ending year!
New Beginning are always welcome and only reinforce the brightness of our future.

Rainbow that enlightened our cruise. Somewhere over the southern Atlantic.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Busy December Coming To An End

The month started off with my ....ummm errrrrr .... 29th birthday. Yes that's it 29th. I can say that for another 5 years then I'll have to come up with another number since my oldest will be caught up to me, LOL

My birthday led to Christmas followed by our anniversary and Alex and Lee's anniversary.

Alexandria and Lee on their wedding day. 
Yes you are seeing the dates correctly. The 4 of us had a double ceremony. Nothing fancy just the four of us and Maria was our shared witness.
Yes this month has been busy, busy, busy to say the least.

I was filled with the holiday blues and now have a sadness as my youngest has not yet called. I've grown use to this but in the end I know she is safe and living life. It still does not remove the emptiness from within me.

Maria and Alexandria 
Bruce and I on our wedding day. 

In the forthcoming days I will share a side of me that may shock some and hopefully encourage others.

For now I'll simply focus on tomorrow as Bruce and I share our anniversary together. 
Our 1st year married was filled with sadness.
Several months after we got married Bruce's father .. Dad - as I referred to him. I never felt right calling him Earl and to be honest I think he enjoyed my calling him, Dad ... took a terrible fall. 
At first we were not sure what was going to happen.
Prior to the fall he was fairly active for an 85 year old man. He had stopped driving due to cornea transplants and not being able to have full peripheral vision. Even that did not stop him from doing his woodworking projects.
After a series of events we had to make a heart wrenching decisions based on his sudden poor money management. We consulted a lawyer and started court procedures. 
It was after this that the phone rang. It was Dad's cell phone calling but I did not answer the call. A few minutes after my sister-in-law called to say Dad's cell phone called her; she did not answer as well.

We were both miffed but chatted when she got another call from the home cleaning service saying that Dad did not answer the door when they went there.
Hmmm now we were miffed even more. I went ahead and called Dad's phone. A friend of his answered and said the ambulance was on the way. 
Dad had apparently fallen the night before and could not get up or call for help.

May ran into June and June ran into July. In total Dad hung in there for 6 weeks. 
His mind would come and go. He was sent from our local hospital to a specialty unit some 30 miles away. After 4 weeks it seemed like he was going to pull through. He was transferred to a rehab center to re-learn how to walk and eat. That lasted for 1 day. 
We arrived to find his face sloped and Dad was unresponsive. The nurses were not yet accustomed to how he was prior to his arrival and quite quickly sent him back to the specialty unit.

That night was one we shall never forget. Dad had a multi brain aneurysm that could not be fixed.  His advance directive was then activated. Not a pleasant night is an understatement to say the least.
The 4 of us were helpless and left with great sadness.

A few days later Dad was placed in a hospice with very loving and caring nurses. Less than 2 weeks passed we celebrated Dad's 86th birthday and shared every moment we could by his side. I would take the morning to afternoon leave for work. Bruce would go after work until after his brother would get there from work.
His brother and wife would sleep in the room with Dad until morning then leave from there for work.
This became our routine on a daily basis. We never knew when Dad might know us or not. 
In early July Dad just drifted off to join Mom and Leslie. Leslie is Bruce's sister who passed away as an infant.

So that was partially our 1st year. This past year was filled with Bruce settling Dad's estate. Not an easy task even though Dad .. or I should say Bruce's Mom had everything in place. Thankfully the estate was not as large as some but it was sizable nonetheless.  Everything became settled in mid October. I know that the heaviness on Bruce's shoulders has been lifted.

These past 2 years have been filled with emotions both good and bad, happiness and sadness and joy and uncertainty. 
Overall these past two years have been filled with love and support.

Tomorrow morning I will cook Bruce's breakfast with the same love that I do for every meal.
 The day will be a reminder of the love that we share.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rocket's 1st Christmas, Disgruntled Travelers and Facebook Status'

Rocket was not quite certain what was expected of him this morning.

It did not take him long to get in the groove and entertain us, LOL

Such a happy baby and such a happy day. I think I was more excited than Rocket was. Rekindling those moments when my girls were that small.

Those many firsts that can only be captured in ones mind and heart.
Those many firsts now are passed onto Rocket's mom and dad and they too one day will pass them onto Rocket.
He is a happy and joyful baby and yet at the same time you just know that he is and will be a handful. I just know that each day brings newness and wonderment to my daughter and son-in-law.
I saw it in their eyes in my short visit there.

Disgruntled travelers ... Of course there always has to be some.  After leaving to travel back home I stopped for gas and traveling soft drinks. The only cashier working said she didn't mind working on Christmas Day but what she did mind was not having the opportunity to run to the bathroom. With non-stop customers this simple task can be hard to accomplish.
I was next in line with 2 others behind me. I turned and asked if they would mind waiting while the cashier ran to the bathroom.
The woman understood but the taxi-driver said in not so nice words, "Yeah, I f*&%#' mind !!!!"
I passed a snarled glare and said, "Well Merry Christmas you can jump ahead of us!"

The seasoned woman patted my back in agreement.

Both her and I chatted for a few minutes while the cashier ran .. quite literally to the rest room.
Within that short minute or two several more customers came to the store. Followed by the not so merry taxi driver who ended up behind every last one of the 15 or so others. What brought him back?
He pre-paid for $10 in gas and only used $9.50. Of course he stood there moaning and groaning how he had to wait for $0.50.
For me personally, I wold have simply left the $0.50 and went on my way.
However, given his disposition it was expected. Then again as many have said and many more will continue to say, "God does not like ugly!"

Facebook Status'  After returning home and spending some missed hugs with Bruce I signed unto my Facebook page. It wasn't long before I started seeing the disgruntlement on there.
Oh my boy/girl friend broke up with me, today was just an ordinary day, I'm not loved, this Christmas was the worst since .. fill in the blank.
To be honest I have been there myself and not too many years ago.
I have since learned to  .....
Thank Him for Your Thorns!
 "Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first." It read: My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant." Praise Him for your roses, thank Him for your thorns.
 If more people learned that hard lesson I have learned the world would most likely be filled with a few less disgruntled people. And more that are grateful!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa is On His Way

With just an hour to go before Santa arrives the house is all quiet.
The 11 1/2 month old new parents and Rocket are all snug in their beds.
I'm not so sure if visions of sugar plums are dancing in their heads.

The little tree is all trimmed and Santa's sack rests near by.
The only thing left is for morning to draw nigh.

My travels today were uneventful. No heavy traffic as I had anticipated.
I had left home within a decent time frame so as to avoid the outlet mall closing time.
Having lived in North Jersey for most of my life I know from experience what 'REAL' traffic is all about.

I do not miss this type of scenery but I do and always will remember driving stop and go in it.
I do miss the malls and all their Christmas Festivities .. Yes Christmas, you see there was no such thing as 'PC' Holidays. It was and always will be Christmas Season.
There was no 'Winter' break from schools it was Christmas vacation.

I read an article not too long ago where a student was sent home from school for wearing a 'Merry Christmas'
What has this country come to?
Why are the educators acting the way they do?
 Now this is just my honest opinion .... If the pen toting board of education folks do not care to have 'Christmas' included in this time of year then they need to work during the Christmas Season.
It seems they want their cake and eat it too!
They want off to celebrate Christmas with their families but yet they have voted to refuse to let the children call it Christmas. {This might be old news to some but I was only made aware of these extremes this year.)

So, with the above cartoon how close is this actually happening today?

OK Enough ramblings for now as Santa is due to arrive soon and I have to get my mistletoe ready.
Maybe Rocket will catch not Mommy but Grandmama kissing Santa under the mistletoe!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight!

Santa's Sleigh aka My Car is Packed!

Sometime late this morning I discovered I had lost a day this week. Bruce had asked me if I was ready for my drive tomorrow. I quite seriously replied, "What do you mean, I'm not leaving until Christmas Eve?"

He looked at me like I had lost my mind, LOL No, I did not lose my mind but I did lose a day!

It seems rather ironic how I had written earlier this week how Christmas had sneaked up on me too quickly this year as it had. I suppose having Bruce home from work a few days earlier this year did not help with my plight.

This afternoon I loaded up Santa's sleigh aka my car for my 3 1/2hr trek southwards to my daughter's home.
The huge 2'X3' blue velvet bag with the golden ribbon is placed very carefully in the hatchback, another large box filled with a few other presents and decorations has taken it's place across the back seat.
There is only one thing left to be put in at the last possible moment!
OK well it's not that big; YET; but it will be in 35 years, LOL

For Rocket's 1st Christmas and with his naturalist parents permission I found a potted dwarf Douglas Fir tree.
Pictures to follow in the forthcoming days.

One of my brother's friends cuts a tree down each year from his own property in it's place another is planted.
I think that is really an awesome idea and had wished it was something I could have started with my daughters. Perhaps this little potted Douglas Fir for Rocket will become the first of many.
Unfortunately, life doesn't always play out the way we dream it could have or should have. It just is what it is sometimes.
However, we can always start fresh anytime we wish. All we have to do is do it!

As it is now after midnight I'll leave you with this ....
Merry Christmas Eve to All and To All a Goodnight!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

No not whiskers on kittens or warm woolen mittens.
BUT ......
Growing up in small town USA at Christmastime was wonderful. The Borough park would be tuned into Santa's Wonderland.

This was ~ yes was as today this bridge no longer exists ~ the bridge leading the way to Santa's Wonderland.
It was always a treat to travel through the candy cane lanes, especially at night when everything was brightly lit. Every tree and bush was adorned with lights.

Santa would be available to hear children's wish lists. Hoping to get that special toy.

Butler still lights up the park and has the annual parade. The old firehouse/ borough hall and court building now houses the police department. The fire engine bays are still used to host Santa's arrival.

So even though time has passed and the town has changed some traditions still remain untouched.

Not to long ago a group was formed by someone from my hometown. We currently have 654 members. I think that is an impressive number coming from a small town with a population of under 8000.
When I grew up there in the 60's and 70's the population was just around 7000.
So through the years Butler still remains the hidden 1 traffic light small town USA.

If you are ever driving along Route 23 Northbound above Interstate 287 take a side trip down Bartholdi or Boonton Ave and you will see a true small town USA.

Oh did I forget to mention that one of the first gas station in the town still exists?

Enjoy your day and share you favorite things with those you love!
I know I just did!