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!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter will Arrive Shortly after Midnight and No Snow Forecast for Christmas!

The shortest day of the year is this evening. The days have been shorter and nights longer.
Now with winter upon us the days will slowly get longer but we will not really notice this for some time.
The cold weather of old man winter is about to embark upon us.

Here in Virginia there will be no white Christmas. This is OK with me but I have always felt if it's going to be cold I want snow on the ground to justify it, LOL

Icy Bridge
If you love winter, Finland is the place to be, as Finns experience three to seven months of wintertime, depending on which part of the country they live in.

I do miss the beauty of the fresh fallen snow. The pristine crispness that graces the ground. The heavy laden tree limbs.

Years ago I lived on a rather large piece of land on Maryland's Eastern Shore. In 1995 Father Winter decided to pay a rare visit there. The weather forecast was for a FEW flurries. 18 inches later the entire area was shut down. The lane that led to my house was lined with Norfolk Pines. The  trees with their snow covered boughs created a covered bridge effect.
 Despite that this picture is not the lane but rather a picture taken in Michigan's northern lower peninsula. You can get the general idea of the wonderful sights we saw each day.
Not being accustomed to receive the gift of a large snowstorm left us stranded. Well, sort of stranded. We had enough sense to move our limping car down to the main road .. a half mile trek from the house.

We were able to get out on the roads but in order to do so we had to traipse through the snow covered lane. Groceries were needed. My daughter's father decided that the best way to get groceries to the house was to make a sled. He used an old card table turned upside down with clothesline tied to the legs.

Between the girls, he and I we would pull this make-shift sled through the snow up to our house. This occurred several times before the snow had melted enough to drive the car back home. 

I believe the only thing that saved my sanity was the beauty of walking through the covered bridge made from snow covered trees.

Ahhh, covered bridges .. that will have to be another blog!

For now I'll sign-off with No Snow for Christmas this year but the true beauty of Christmas is the reason for the season and that is the birth of Jesus!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas has approached too quickly!

This is my first attempt at blogging.

This year Christmas has truly sneaked up on me rather quickly.

I am usually more prepared than I was this year. A lot was going on for me as I completed a training course for a career change.

Returning to school at 46 brought about new challenges for me. I had to re-learn math that 30 years ago I saw no use in learning. After a week of stressing over how to do this formulation of algebra I discovered that no matter how I did the formula as long as the answer was right that is all that mattered.

Why didn't I make this discovery 30 years ago, LOL

I completed my classes the Friday before Thanksgiving. Bruce had decided that since it was just the 2 of us for Thanksgiving we would go out to dinner.

That meant no leftover turkey, stuffing and other goodies.

While not having to cook was nice I doubt I will entertain the thought of going out to dinner again. I missed the aroma of turkey roasting and pies in the oven.

This dinner out threw off my normal routine of getting the Christmas boxes out of the shed.
For nearly all of my life I have had our Christmas tree up by the latest my birthday.
This did not happen this year. It was not until a week later that I was able to get out to the shed and start some Christmas decorating.
Yes this is last years picture but other than ornament placement our tree and accents remain the same. I just haven't gotten this years tree picture uploaded yet.

Despite having my tree up I began to get the Holiday blues. Normally things do not get me down but this year was different. A series or unnamed events brought on this blah feeling. I had sleepless nights and a heavy heart. What was wrong with me?

I became a grandmother 11 months ago and have this wonderful grandson who is at a great age for his 1st Christmas. While shopping for a boy is a new challenge for me I must admit I enjoyed the old familiar toy shopping concept, LOL
Shopping for Rocket was definitely a highlight for me.I just wanted to open every box and play with these new toys. Yes, I am a big kid at heart. Aren't we all?

Rocket learning Pat-A-Cake!
So, this Saturday December 24th I will be traveling down to North Carolina to share a very special Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson.
I have a huge Santa Sack filled with presents, a small live potted Dwarf Douglass Fir tree that will grow with Rocket. His first Christmas is really going to be awesome!

So, this blogging thing hopefully will progress. As I said in the beginning this is a first for me.
I have always wanted to do something like this so with the New Year approaching I will be making this part of the fresh new year and fresh new starts!