Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Memorial - 2010

We meet tonight at the KH for the Memorial - it would have been my 43rd, however, I missed my 39th when I broke my arm. I was walking into the facility we had rented when I tripped on a piece of jagged concrete. Since I never made it through the door - officially, this is my 42nd Memorial. We finished our invitation campaign today except for a few we are personally following up with to make sure they are coming. It has been a gorgeous day - cool breeze, bright sunny skies and warm sun. I can't wait to see the huge full moon tonight. It is the only religious celebration we observe as we were commanded to do by Jesus. I miss my children all the time especially when we have special meetings, assemblies and/or conventions. But I miss them so much more during this season. I have them on my mind constantly throughout the whole day into the night. Knowing how much I have always loved my children, it brings home so much clearer how much Jehovah and his son love the world of mankind - even in it's sinful condition. Knowing that Jesus was the very first creation, the only "thing" or "person" created directly by his Father thereby making him the "only-begotten" son - it brings home the depth of the sacrifice - to watch his beloved Son be beaten, spit upon and reviled and then having huge nails tear through his hands and feet and hung up with two criminals to be humilated and tortured and all because of how much the Son and the Father love us - unworthy, ungrateful, sinful mankind. I pray my children will reflect upon the sacrifice during this time also. To know that for the first time since the beginning of all creation, Jehovah did not have his Son in existence for part of three days -- And that my dear loved ones is what you call - unselfish love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Memories of a life ended too soon....

I feel a need to remember this young woman who was taken from her loving family on March 20th a year ago. She was 16 years old at the time and well loved by everyone who knew her. All reports on the news have described in detail how her teachers, neighbors, classmates and friends all describe a happy, well-adjusted young woman who has never been in trouble. She spent a large amount of time with her extended family - especially her mother's parents who have been close friends since the early 70's. Her grandmother worked closely with me in several jobs including the last one I held full time. 'Lin's mother grew up with my kids and used to spend weeks at a time with us during the summer. She has started a foundation in 'Lin's name to help other young girls. I see her mother on FB and it is apparent that she is still living her life one day, one hour, one minute at a time. She and her son who adored his older sister are closer than ever and have been surrounded by not only her family but the community as a whole. It appears that a lot of 'Lin's friends stay in touch with her mom as they try to encourage and console each other while always keeping 'Lin close in their memories.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” ― Alice Walker I love trees - all kinds of trees - all shapes of trees. I'm constantly noticing trees while we are out and am sure the friends get so tired of me saying, "look at that tree - isn't it beautiful?" Yesterday was a gorgeous day - hot sun, cool breeze - what a joy to be outside. I had to take a picture of this pretty tree. I took tons of them Sunday on the way home - they lined the exit I took to get a cup coffee and the ramp to get back on the highway. They are one of the first trees to blossom in our area and are used a lot for new housing developments because they take root quickly and look pretty. The downsides to them are if you have a lot of them together all blooming at the same time, you get a very sweet odor that almost smells like rotting flesh. I know - nice picture isn't it? They also are prone to attacks by insects and disease and will split for no visible reason. We had them at our offices in Durham and Raleigh and lost one of them in Durham. The worst part about the ones in Raleigh was there were so many of them which meant the odor became hard to get through for about a week AND the birds ate berries from them and then you know what happened to our cars - oh yeah - stuff would eat the paint off your car. Today started out pretty cool and windy but the sun came out for a very nice afternoon. A dear friend had all of us over for lunch and it was delicious. It was also a nice treat to all be together for a home-cooked meal. I took a picture of a Crepe Myrtle that had been pruned with an old bird nest still in it. This was one of my Mom's favorite trees which automatically makes it one of mine. I know this is going to be pretty when it blooms which should be soon now. We were working in a new development and I noticed this old building right on top of a small creek. I also love old buildings lost in the woods. Who built this building and what was it used for? Since they are building another huge development where they cut down all the trees except for the few around water or marshlands, you have to assume this was one of the outbuildings used by the farmers who used to work this land. It is too little to cure tobacco in but could have been used to store equipment in I guess. Then you look at the huge houses that are popping up all around it - most of them in this area on slab foundations with a few little Bradford Pear trees planted in the tiny little front yards. It wouldn't make your heart twinge if you thought new history was being made in these houses but so many of them are lived in only a short period of time before the owners find out they can't really afford to own after all or they live there long enough to build up equity so they can "trade up" as they call it. This building could very well still be standing when the newer houses start showing their poor workmanship and shoddy building materials. Everyone wants new, new, new.

Beautiful friends, artwork and sunsets......

I promised more about the trip and pictures. First I want to show you the vase I made in our glass making class.I was very pleased with the results. We were allowed to actually blow some but the master and his apprentice stayed in control most of the time which was good. We also used paddles and huge tweezers to shape and open the mouth of the pieces. The next piece is an example of some of their more expensive works - they call them "whimsical" pieces. It is usually very heavy and truly amazing when you watch what it takes to make one small vase. We were very impressed with what we saw and can see why these people love their work. When we went back to pick up our pieces, there were two young people working there - they work under the arrangement that if they serve as apprentices, they can have free time to practice themselves. Fran really wants to be an apprentice but where do we find the time for those things we really love? I can't express how special this trip became to me. It had so many of the characteristics that make me happy - meeting old friends to get caught up, meeting new friends, working with different congregations, re-visiting old places and seeing what changes have taken place, not having to make many decisions except what to do next with someone who makes everything feel special, sleep, being on the water, feeling the sun and cool air at the same time and of course - a beautiful sunset over water.

Good friends, good food, ocean air and sleep.......

What a wonderful time I had with my dear friend down East this past week. Had a nice drive down Tuesday and we met at a very nice mall. We had lunch in a quaint little place then met with an old friend from home who moved down some years ago. After a little shopping at Williams-Sonoma, we all went to Starbucks for coffee to get caught up. We were having such a good time laughing the manager asked if she could join us.
After a trip to the grocery store, I followed Fran home to the Island (about 35 minutes) and we cooked dinner – Sockeye Salmon, roasted veggies, and a spinach, pear, fresh goat cheese, walnut salad with Raspberry Walnut dressing. We finished with fresh key lime pie (we also bought some dark chocolate covered peanut butter centered pretzels - Yum). They have their meeting on Tuesday night and we got there a few second late. I was just getting straight in my seat when someone came up behind me and hugged me from the back - it was SG who moved down to the area with his wife several years ago. It was nice to see them. It was also nice that they announced him being assigned an elder while we were there. I'm sure it was special to have someone from home there for that special moment.
On Wednesday we met for a very early study with a pioneer then met the group for invitation work ending with a 5pm study with the same sister resulting in 9 hours total for that day. It seems like we drank a lot of coffee during the week. This is just one of the little coffee shops we took breaks in. We picked up a rotisserie chicken, had the left over veggies, a spinach salad with strawberries and nuts and of course more key lime pie.
Thursday we went to town for our glass-blowing class. I made a red vase with fluted edges tipped with eggplant and she made a narrow royal blue vase with fluted edges tipped with emerald green. They put them in the oven for us to come back and get the next day. After our class, we met Fran’s daughter and granddaughter for lunch at Elisha's on the waterfront. We did a little shopping but the main shop she wanted me to see was closed. Then I had my two studies over the phone in the car while she had a meeting with the woman who is drawing plans for a new house for their lot. We stopped to pick up laundry and decided to go see Alice in Wonderland in 3-D. After purchasing tickets, we walked across the lot to Brixx Pizza where we killed a bottle of wine and ate a really nice pizza. The movie was cool.
Friday morning we met with the group, did invitation work and had lunch with two of the sisters. This time we worked a lot of rural and then a small community. This place had dogs, ducks, and lots of other animals. I also took a picture of what someone called "weather-proofing"
their home. We then went back to town to pick up our vases and bought a few more items. The shop she wanted me to go to was open and I bought a sewing basked that had been hand made in Zimbabwe. We walked around a little, bought some coffee, and went into a shop she wanted to check out for yarn on sale. Her dear hubby came home Friday and I took them to dinner at Dwight's favorite restaurant down there - pricey but worth it. We also rented and watched several movies while I was there which was nice also.
Saturday was gorgeous so we went for a long boat ride that was exactly what the doctor ordered. We had spaghetti for dinner Saturday and just relaxed. The most challenging part of Saturday was determining the best ways to get me in and out of the boat. We finally "engineered" some cushions that I could step up on to step up further on the seat and on the deck! Woo Hoo! :-)
On Sunday we loaded the car and drove into town for breakfast at iHops after which they went back for their meeting and I had a peaceful drive home.
While there, I slept in the small room that has one of those nice wooden bunk beds that the bottom bed is a full bed. It had an ergonomic pillow and between that, it being so dark and feeling like I was in a cave - I slept great every night in spite of my coughing. It was also nice having their pretty cat – Zizzle – let me cuddle her at night like I do my Miya at home.
So that was my trip - just what I needed. Page called Big D and said - "it seems strange to talk to you at home with Mama at the beach". He said "yeah - and I plan to fix that". I'm sure he will - it was truly a wonderful trip and I could literally feel myself relaxing and totally enjoying myself. How can you go wrong with great friends, great food, ocean air and sleep?????????? I'll add more and pictures later - sleepy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Austin Texas - here we come....

Kurt and Leah flew to Texas this month to attend the wedding of a close friend and have a little vacation. They said they had fun and of course Kurt had to get into "character". Leah called this one "the eyes of the rangers are upon you". Cute.. The pictures she took of the wedding are nice. It was outside under a tent and looked semi-casual for a wedding. The bride walked in with "both" of her Dad's which Leah thought spoke volumes about her and them. I really liked this picture of Kurt "feeding" the house on the wall. Apparently it was colder in Texas than it was in VA while they were there. They took some cool pictures of the groom coming off his job to meet them - it seems he cleans window on very, very tall buildings. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. Sadly, they missed the surprise 10th Anniversary party for their close friends who live down East during the same weekend. They had already purchased their airline tickets and rented a car before they found out about the anniversary surprise. I did pull a few pictures from the anniversary party to share here. I can't believe how big their little girl is getting - she is two years younger than Page2 but much taller. It looks like her hair is much longer than it was this past summer when she spent some time with Page2 while we were at the coast. I didn't see one of her little brother but he is a cutie also. Both Kurt and Leah were sorry they missed being with them but there will be other anniversaries. They have so many activities to look forward to over the next 10-15 years - teenager years with parties, graduations, bridal showers, weddings and life goes on and on and on.......

Monday, March 15, 2010

No Sleep, more stuff and great company.....

Got absolutely no more than 2 hours sleep last night!!! What in the world. I finally dozed off around 4:30 but kept waking up every few minutes and honestly felt like I never went into the deep sleep. Needless to say - no service this morning as planned but I did get some things done for Big D and I ran a few errands. I did something I hate - I went shopping! I made a deal with myself - I would go to the one store and if I found something - good - if not, come home. I started humming the Hot Flash song from the musical yesterday while I was in the dressing room but actually walked away with a few things. One thing I bought was a French Memo board - I liked it because it isn't as big as most of them are. I was going to put it in my office but decided I would use it for photos and put in right as you walk into my kitchen from the back porch. I'm not sure how I like it to be honest. I'll live with it awhile and decide. Big Al and Wayne came over later this evening for me to type up Wayne's talk for this coming Sunday. Of course Big A kept changing things and I was almost ready to "send her to the moon". Only people of a certain age will understand that comment from the show on TV called The Honeymooners.
Big Al called Kurt so he and Wayne could sing their German song together. These two people were a very important part of our children's lives as they were growing up. How do you not love someone who loves your children? It was nice to be able to spend some time together. My sister who lives in PA thinks we all see each other all the time - sad to say, that isn't the case. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I saw Ruth. Now that is sad. I wish I could have gotten a better shot of Wayne but he was on the phone with Kurt. We were all talking about how Kurt learned the words after hearing Wayne sing it one time. I also showed them the pictures Leah and Kurt took from their trip in TX as well as some of the ones on my Blog. When I got to the one about the poem he wrote for my niece who died awhile back, he asked if I could make him a copy. I feel kind of bad cause I know they will both cry after they read it again. Overall though, it was a great visit. Now I've got to get up from here and pack so I can get away from here early in the morning for my big adventure down East! I know it will be great if all we do is sit around yakking the whole time! I know it will be good for me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Change, Passing ---- Menopause - A Musical....

I had to leave the bridal brunch early today to meet my friend Roseanne at my house. We rushed to the theatre that is located in a neighboring city but were still a tiny bit late. I'll have to say this is my first time sitting on the front row and it was awesome!!! The musical was fast moving and so funny we never stopped moving from smiling and singing along
to laughing so hard we were hurting. Other times we were whooping as loud as we could because these four women were phenomenal! The songs were all very familiar tunes that had been tweaked with words like passing, change, hot flash, sweating --- you get the picture. After the show, we purchased the CD, magnets and a song book with the new words added in. The only reason I got these two pictures is because we were called up to the stage to be a part of their last number - since we were on the front row, by the time a lot of people got up there we were at the back and I started having - you guessed it - a HOT FLASH! How appropriate considering the show we just saw. We were getting our bags and I looked up to see the final two of the four getting ready to leave the stage and they happily waved good-bye to us. Of course I couldn't leave town without stopping by one of the few Krispy Kreme's in our area - oh yeah - ate one on the way out of town. Roseanne was vacillating between laughing and wanting to smack me by the time we got on the road back because I was using my GPS but kept turning too soon! She kept wondering why I bothered with a GPS if I wasn't going to listen to the voice. Roseanne - Mama always said I could be hard-headed at times. All in all - I'll have to say today was a .......good day.

Bridal Brunch for a special young woman......

One of GG's granddaughters is getting married in May and we are all excited! Her wedding will take place on the beach at Jockey's Ridge and will be almost as beautiful as she is. She is the middle child of GG's youngest daughter and the first of her three sisters to wed. The weather cooperated beautifully even though it rained last night. GG's neighbor decided to act as "valet" and help us "not" park on the grass because it was very, very muddy. I think he enjoyed his roll and told me to tell GG he already had the sheriff's number on speed dial because of all the parties she has! So funny - that means she has a really big family and when they all get together it is definitely a party. BigD and I went down last night to be there when the bride, sister of the bride and mother of the bride arrived. I had to take a picture of BigD and GG in one of their familiar positions - sitting in front of the fireplace to smoke so the smoke will go up the chimney - yeah - that helps. I contributed my "famous" fruit salad and tried a different dressing - a nice thick Greek yogurt that already had Honey added to it. It was delicious. Greene asked me to get pictures of other food served so the bride's cousin who lives in Washington State could see. I think I will just send her the pictures I took so as not to take up too much room on this entry. I also took pictures of the people who were there but decided to just add the one of the group. I believe the bride was very, very pleased with everything she received. Everyone is getting excited about the actual wedding and being together as a family in one of our favorite places in the world. Overall it was a very pleasant way to spend a morning with family, friends and a beautiful beaming bride to be.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rambling thoughts about friendships...

Proverbs 18:24 says: There exist companions disposed to break one another to pieces, but there exists a friend sticking closer than a brother and Proverbs 17:17 says: A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.
From the beginning of time, it has been apparent that most people need to be in the company of and/or to feel loved or accepted by other people. Some bond quickly and go on to build on that first burst of friendship by sharing, loving, trusting and hoping it will survive the fires of all imperfect relationships. Others are acquaintances that over time become a constant in our lives. Some fade into history after a period of time that leave you with good memories but for some reason, what was needed from the friendship isn't needed by either party any longer. No hard feelings; just a case of lives moving along different paths.
I'll have to say that I've been blessed with many close friendships over the years. I have "friends" who are not anything "like me" as far as our age, sex, family, history, racial/cultural backgrounds or experiences. Whatever the differences, many times it was exactly those differences that drew us to each other and we "hit it off"! Many people have come in and out of my life and helped me grow in so many ways.
Think about your many friendships - how many times have you felt you gave more to the relationship than the other party? If that happens, you can make a decision to either continue being a good friend because of the benefits you glean from the relationship (which is more than okay) or you let it die under the weight of the other person's lack of interest.
In any case, there are very, very few that we trust completely and they are precious and worth fighting to hold on to. I treasure all my relationships and feel that as a rule, I treat most people the same. I am outspoken and cut up with everyone. If I'm misunderstood and find I have hurt some one's feelings I am sincerely sorry because I would never deliberately make someone feel bad. That is because I am constantly looking for the positive and not the negative. Thankfully I am still surprised by people who are the opposite of that and want to scream to them CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ZZZZZZZZZZZ,,,,that kind of day...

It rained off and on this morning but we were able to finish the street we were assigned to do. Eileen came out and our first call was the home of an elderly couple. The wife was in their little room off the carport looking for a mop. As we got closer, we saw where she had dropped a large bottle of molasses and it was broken. We offered to help and their nurses aide came out and helped also. It was a mess. He couldn't walk good and apologized for his hair because he hadn't been awake long and had not combed his hair yet. He wore thick glasses but could hear well and had a great memory. She was a tiny little thing and her hearing wasn't very good but she did pretty well with her memory also. They moved there in 1969 when they first got married (2nd marriages for both). When we got ready to leave I leaned over and told him I thought his hair looked great - that a lot of young men used a lot of products to get their hair to stand up on end on the top like his did naturally and we all laughed. I didn't get to sleep until after 3:30am this morning so by the afternoon I was pretty tired. At one point, a call was running long so I laid my seat back a little to rest my eyes and noticed when I looked back that the brother in the back seat was asleep. I had the windows open to feel the breeze and every so often, I would hear his breathing change. Then all of a sudden I heard someone snoring and it was ME!!!!! :-)ZZZZZZZ I laughed and asked him if I had snored a lot and he said just as you were waking up. We decided to make a few more calls that were out in the country and on one of them, the brother who was in the back seat and his wife went on the call and I spoke to the sister beside me. When she didn't answer I looked over and before they had reached the door, she had her head back and was gone! ZZZZZZZI couldn't believe how quickly she fell asleep and stayed that way as I fumbled with my phone to get the picture. We let her know she wasn't alone but it was about that time we all decided it was time to call it quits for the day. Yesterday was so sunny and I forgot to put another picture I took with my camera of a chalk drawn hopscotch outline! I can't remember the last time I played hopscotch. We used to draw ours in the dirt with sticks or if we were in town, we would use a rock and scrape it out on the sidewalk. You can just barely make it out but it would work. It reminds me of other games we used top play (before people sat in front of the TV all day or computer or computer games.) Pick up Stix Jacks Jump Rope Hula Hoop Roller Skating Or guess what? In my case, many times we would just go for long walks in the woods, ride the horses, play badmitton over the fence beside my house, climb trees, swing on old grape vines like Tarzan, play games with other kids like cowboy and indians or just sit on the porch in the swing or on a blanket under some trees and daydream. Oh Yeah - those were good times but of course we didn't realize that until we were much older.

10th Tuesday of 2010 and 75 degrees!!!!

Wow - the 10th Tuesday of the year has come and gone if you note the time of this Blog. Yep - another sleepless night. Not sure what triggers these episodes - got a few nights of pretty good rest and did nothing different so still not sure what to look for. It was a gorgeous day today - the sun was shining brightly and we even had to roll the windows in the car down in the afternoon. We had a nice group for service.
For some reason, I was in a "frisky" mood today. Sometimes I worry about that because I can get a little too rough with my joking around. These are some of my closest friends in that I spend a lot of time with them, however, I would never want to take that for granted. You would think at my age I would have mastered my quick tongue by now but I'm afraid some things will take the new system. It is amazing how talkative I can get in a group while at home I'm very quiet. This used to throw the people who worked with me off. They found that when I am working, I concentrate on several things at once and if interrupted, I'm not ill but my face looks stern. I've been cursed with a countenance that looks unhappy unless I am talking and animated. As I've mentioned before, being quiet works well at home since Big D isn't that talkative at home either. We talk in spurts but for the most part are quiet. I wonder if that is because he watches TV the whole time he is home and I've gotten used to not talking during the programs? That definitely could be part of it now that I think about it. I can remember when I would be trying to talk about something pretty serious and he would say, hold on a minute, I want to hear what the Fonz says. Hello? The Fonz? Arrgghhh - not a great memory now that I think about it. Yep, I think the TV being on non-stop may have had quite a bit to do with our being quiet at home. :-) It doesn't matter now - today was so pretty I'm not going to let anything worry me. Kurt and Leah got home safe from TX today, talked to my beautiful Page tonight and everyone seems to be okay. I'll close on that note with a picture of some pretty flowers. It is supposed to be cloudy tomorrow but I'm not going to worry about that because tomorrow is another day.......a gift.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Buttercups or Large Daffodils.........

I was a grown woman before I learned a favorite flower of mine and my Mom's was really called something else. I grew up calling this flower a Buttercup - we would hold it under our chin and if it reflected a yellowish tint, it meant we loved butter - which I do. I learned later in life that this flower isn't a Buttercup after all - it is a Large Daffodil! How could that be? So I looked for Buttercups and thought - Nah - that can't be a Buttercup - but alas, the experts say it is. I still call it a Buttercup amongst those closest to me and have discovered they were also taught it was a Buttercup. I ordered a bouquet of Large Daffodils and Yellow Dwarf Tulips from a Florist I used for my sister last year in the PA city she lives in. They did a great job on the other flowers we sent her and to show you how good they are, they had a nice file on me with all my information so all I had to do was tell them kind of flowers, price range with nice vase and it happened! I love good customer service - it is worth the extra money! My sister's daughter-in-law took this picture so I could see how pretty they are. The day I ordered them I was in the grocery store later and found a small bunch of "Daffodils - ergo - Buttercups" for myself - with some of the bulbs not quite open. I was worried about them holding up but as you can see, mine are beautiful too. This weekend, Big D went to the Coast with a friend to help him with some chores around his house down there, hang out with another friend who went and watch the Duke/Carolina game (Duke won) and for Big D to eat fresh seafood at one of his favorite of all time seafood restaurants. He told me today when he got home that it was everything he had anticipated and more. We had a little drama Friday night when Big D called to say he had heard from a relative we haven't seen in over 16 years and he wanted me to go down and be with his sister because the relative was going to call her too. Big D was a little emotional but when I got down, his sister was doing pretty good. I brought her home with me to eat and help get her mind off everything. I fixed fresh salmon, roasted veggies and tossed a spinach salad with apples, mozzarella cheese, pecans and Paul Newman's Sesame Ginger dressing. YUM. We cracked open a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and I'll have to say, the meal was quite good even if I'm the one who cooked it. I truly love cooking and eating healthy - it is such a challenge with Big D around - if he even feels a "hint" that something is being prepared because it is "good for you", he automatically just doesn't like it. Talk about prejudice! The even funnier thing about that is a meal we had at his sister's last month that his niece prepared that actually was a healthy, "light" meal and he ate every bit of it - including Couscous! I can just see his face right now if I tried to serve him Couscous! Oh man - it makes me laugh just to think about it. We are going to have some re-heated up steak (he fixed at the coast), baked fries and I'm fixing a salad for me to go with it. Such a gorgeous day weather-wise today! Wore a sweater to the meeting and the breeze is cool but great and I stared singing "the hills are alive, with the sound of music in the parking lot "!!! :-) Of course everyone thought someone had run over a cat but Hey - I enjoyed it! Oh - and I finally swept this nasty house - of course, I've seen Miya's hair attached to several dust balls today but at least it was done before Big D got home!