Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of the year ruminations

I've been searching my brain for some profound, thought provoking things to say to bring this year to a close and I'm coming up empty.

I also noticed that my last post was the 26th and I don't like letting that much time pass between entries; I'm afraid y'all will go elsewhere for your reading pleasure.

Ok, that's two paragraphs.  Can I possibly fill up two more with empty drivel?  Hell, yes!

2012 began with time spent with our son, Michael and his, now fiance, Rena.  Oh, yeah, and Peter started it off with a head cold that took on a life of its own.  A month in Destin, FL was good for what ailed us and we'll be returning for another dose in 59 days.

Spring got a head start while we were in FL.  We kept receiving obnoxious messages with pictures attached of blooming trees from our neighbors - thanks, Walt.  And summer was wonderful - no brown grass this year.

Fall brought a return visit from Michael and Rena to help mom celebrate her 90th birthday.  It was a grand time.  

Petey and I worked the fair in September and then took off for a car trip out west.  We checked out national parks, Las Vegas and saw a whole lotta nuthin' in between.

And here we are with two days left in this year and hardly any snow to speak of.  I'm liking that part.

I hope you all begin 2013 (are you saying "two thousand thirteen or twenty thirteen?) in good health (every third person is coughing and sneezing so good luck with that one) and good spirits - non-alcoholic or laden with booze.  Take your pick.   

Did you count the paragraphs?  I far exceeded my goal.  
You're welcome. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Were you in the marching band?

When I was a kid they started you playing an instrument in 4th grade - if you wanted.  I believe it was the same year we started Spanish as well.  I was more successful in band than in Spanish.  After "hola" - I got nuthin'.

I'm not sure if I picked the saxophone or if they needed more woodwinds but that's what I ended up with.

Ah, the tenor sax.  No girly alto for me; I was all about the tenor.  
Well, it turns out it wasn't a tenor after all.  If I remember correctly, it was my band instructor, Larry Frank, that discovered my parents had, instead, purchased a C-melody saxophone.

Now what?  Well, Larry got music written for a C-melody and off we went.  Somewhere along the line, I got a real tenor.

He was an amazing teacher.  If you were having a problem with your part, he'd come over and whip the thing out of your mouth and play your part for you.  And then . . . give it back to you.  I don't remember being totally grossed out by the fact that I now had to play it but what choice did we have back then?  Handi-whipes hadn't been invented yet.

We started practicing for the fair parade (mid Sept.) in the heat of the summer.  He was relentless and we kicked ass.

I didn't play my sax all the way through school.  I think I made it through my sophomore year and then gave it up for cheerleading.  I think a choice had to be made because, at that time anyway, you couldn't cheer and perform with the band during half-time.  That part is a little hazy but the end result is that I didn't graduate with sax hanging from my neck.

What an education, though.  It gave me an appreciation for music, I learned how to read music and learned how to march in a straight line.  That's a skill that has come in handy on more than one occasion.  Don't ask. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Dinner Club brunch

Let me set the scene.  Our dinner group has been together for about 20 years - to the best of everyone's recollection.  It has become increasingly difficult to find a Saturday evening when we're all available to strap on the feedbag so we opted for brunch yesterday - Sunday.  This event took place at Melissa and Richard's knockout house.  

We were supposed to come dressed comfortably.  Some came in festive duds (Paula and Tom) and others (Rian) took casual to a new high (or low?).

The bar was set up on the back porch where the beverages were sure to stay cool.  L to R:  Tom Hunter, Petey, Jim, Tom Richmond and Richard.

Joy was in the kitchen mixing up a "healthy" egg nog.  In case you're wondering, "healthy" means no booze.

Petey is getting his costume ready for later - you'll see.

Time to eat!  This was the Mojito fruit salad I brought.

I didn't eat any of this bread but I believe someone said it was banana nut.

French toast casserole.

Sausage/egg casserole.

Yogurt/granola yumminess topped with pomegranate seeds.

Shrimp and grits, y'all.

Now for the entertainment portion of the morning/afternoon.

I could give you all the time in the world and you'd never guess what we were doing.  Right?

We did the "12 Birds of Christmas."  We each made a bird beak and decorated however we pleased.  The list of of birds was fashioned by Melissa and we picked the ones that "spoke" to us.

Then we all lined up and sang the song and had to demonstrate, by sound, what our "bird" sounded like.

The performance was captured on video but don't look for it on YouTube.  Some people refused to sign the release.

This is our hostess, Melissa.  Her partner in crime, Richard, is three pictures up - looks like a demented unicorn.  They are the epitome of what gracious hosts should be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas thoughts

Here we are - a week away.  Well, actually less than that and my thoughts and emotions surrounding Christmas are all over the place.

For many, many years we made the drive to Bethlehem, PA to spend Christmas with Peter's family.  We squeezed in time with mine as well because my sister, Stacey, lives out east.

When I think back on all the Christmas trips (12 hours) we made to Bethlehem - there were over 30 - they were always wonderful.  We'd arrive in Bethlehem in the evening, after dark, and drive over the Hill-to-Hill bridge.  Huge neon candles sat atop that bridge and the star of Bethlehem greeted us as we drove up and over the hill to my in-laws' home.

We didn't go back last year.  My sister-in-law died in the spring, 2011, and our son came home from Japan that year so we stayed in MI.  It was difficult for all of us because we missed Patty terribly but it was nice to be in our own home with our son and his girlfriend.

This year our son is not coming home; they were just here in Oct. celebrating my mother's 90th birthday.  We won't be driving to PA, though, because the trip has just gotten too scary - for me in particular.  Will it snow?  Is that black ice? etc., etc.  We'll go out in June and spend relaxed quality time with everyone.

My point here (I know, I'm taking a long frigging time getting to it, aren't I?) is that Christmas emotions are bouncing all over everywhere.  Our family is small, no little kids around, it's never the same as when you were a child, the wonderment is replaced with sadness at times - missing family members and friends.

Wow, this is sounding pretty maudlin isn't it?  I don't mean for it to be so . . . . whatever.  My dad died the day after Christmas 7 years ago.  My niece died 2 years ago today.  The sky is cloudy and gray.  Not a good combo.

Don't worry.  I'll pull out of this.  Maybe I'll crank up Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree or find something by the chipmunks.  Yeah, that ought to do it.   

I'll bring this to an end by wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.  Good health and happiness to you in the new year.   

Where's the figgy pudding? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


This will not be a homage to the white stuff.  I am not fond of the flake.

I have said, more than once, that I could live the rest of my life and never see snow again.  Really.

We keep saying that we should do something with it to help us get through the season but we don't.  We used to cross country ski.  We still have our skis; they're up in the rafters of the garage.  They've been up there for at least 10 years.

We talked about getting snow shoes a few years ago.  That hasn't happened either.

I hate driving in it.  I hate how the possibility of it is a part of all of our winter social plans.  Do we buy tickets for that concert out of town?  What if it starts snowing while we're inside clapping our hands and stomping our feet?

I've gone so far over to the dark side that I don't even think it's pretty.  I know - harsh, eh?

The winters here in southwest MI aren't as horrid as they used to be.  Thank you global warming?  So far we've made it more than half way through December without the "you know what."  That only leaves January and February.  Anything that happens in March won't stick and the odd-ball freak event in April is - well, just that.  Freakish.

So, why am I still spending winters here in Michigan?    

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I didn't hear about the school shooting until late yesterday.  Today after watching the news my heart feels much like it did the day President Kennedy was assassinatedI feel the same heaviness that I felt on 9/11.

We don't have a gun in the house - never have.  My dad hunted but I can honestly say I don't remember ever seeing his gun/guns.  

It's hard for me to relate to guns.  I get the whole hunting thing.  I'm totally fine with that.  It's those semi-automatic things I do not get.  Why, besides war, would anyone ever need a weapon like that?

Over the years I have experienced anger.  There have been times I thought my head would explode.  There have been a few people that have crossed my path that I would have gladly seen go up in flames.  Well, maybe not quite to that extreme but you get the idea.

Being so angry at something or someone that I would go into a building and start shooting?  Children?  There isn't a scenario available that would push me in that direction.

I can not imagine the sadness that is being experienced today.  The voids left in hearts.  The voids that will go on for ever.  

Something is broken; damaged beyond repair I'm afraid for something like this to happen.

I'd like to say I'm slightly encouraged  because surely something will be done about the guns . . . but I'm not.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Headaches - what a pain.

I never had headaches as a kid/teenager. They came along with a vengeance, though, when I started taking birth control pills. That was way back in the day when the estrogen was strong.  Every month I'd get a blinder.  Whew!  Thankfully that phase of my life is over.

Then the ocular migraines started.  The only good thing about them is the duration isn't long (maybe 20 min.) and there's no pain; just a very odd feeling.  I can't describe it - kind of a pressure but not exactly.  And weird things in my eyes - visions, if you will.  Not of Jesus or anything although that would be kind of exciting.

A handful of years ago my sister, Lisa, told me about a woman she'd seen at the hospital who told her that she takes a 325mg aspirin daily via her doctor's orders for ocular migraines.

I gave it a whirl and by golly the frequency dropped way off and the severity lessened when one did show up.

I've never been able to identify a trigger for these things - not stress, food or smells.

A few years ago Petey and I were out to dinner with Lisa and I was telling a story.  I was trying to make a point and couldn't seem to finish my sentence.  I backed up and started again - nope.  Couldn't get the word to come out.  By then, naturally, they were making fun of me.  Nice, eh?  Two minutes later I got an ocular migraine.  Boy, did they feel bad.  Serves 'em right.

The other day I was working up at the hospice office and I was stumbling all over my words.  I was talking to one of the nurses and kept screwing my sentences up and having a tough time completing a thought.  I joked about having had a stroke. hehehehe - not funny.

Yup, you guessed it - I started seeing the "wormies."  Sometimes they're black spots or holes in my vision but mostly squiggly things I call "wormies."

It's a creepy feeling and I had to wait until the visual distortion went away before I could go home.  Afterward I just feel like holding down the couch.  That's the period I call "the eye-graine hangover."

Probably more detail than you needed.  Sorry.  Aren't you glad I don't have hemorrhoids?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The overlooked contraction

So, it was around 4:30 this morning that my mind was doing its wandering thing.  Augie had decided he needed to go outside to relieve himself and then didn't want anything to do with his crate when he came back in.  We settled onto the couch and he went to sleep.

It should scare me when these odd-ball random thoughts pop into my head but I've grown used to them and, most of the time, welcome them.

We use the contraction I was thinking about all the time but I don't believe I've ever seen it in print.  Are you ready for the big reveal?


Ex:  when's it going to snow?  when's Alma going to make a damn apple pie?  when's spring going to get here?

I played around with this particular contraction to see if it could be used with past tense questions.  Turns out it can!

Ex:  when's the last time I weighed 120 pounds?    hmmmm, that's the only example I could come up with for past tense.

There are a ton o' contractions; why isn't "when's" one of them?   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

This is where I had dinner the other night

This is the Delano Inn

The carriage house.  The inn keepers live upstairs.

The side of the carriage house.  This is the entrance to a room you can reserve; the only one outside of the main house.
Lovely patio area.

Toss a coin in the fountain.

Cozy gazebo.  Great space for Oreos and milk, eh? 

The front porch.  A great spot to observe Allegan's "rush hour" from.
Dining room.

Living room.
This is the only bedroom on the main floor.

I'm calling this room the parlor.

Foyer.  Now let's go upstairs.

Can't you see yourself making a grand entrance down this staircase?
This beautiful window is at the top of the stairs.  It's a great place to stop and catch your breath.

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2

Bedroom #3

There was a fourth bedroom up there but its light wasn't on and the switch on the wall didn't work and I thought it would be presumptuous of me to stumble around in there so no pic.  Sorry.

Now for a few "arty" shots.

I said a "few."  Three is a "few," right?

There you have it - The Delano Inn.  A treasured jewel right smack dab in the middle of Allegan. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yum, yum and double yum

Many years ago I was asked to join the board of trustees for a local family foundation - the Mignon Sherwood Delano Foundation.  Mr. and Mrs. Delano did not have children but had plenty o' $$$.  While Mrs.Delano was still alive she contacted a legal eagle and some banker types to set up a foundation so her money could be used to help people in our area.

We accept applications from non-profit groups and once a year, after we have sifted through the apps and made our decisions (a very difficult process), we invite 3 grant recipients to come have dinner with us at Mrs.Delano's former home which is now a B&B.

This year's dinner (Tues.night) was catered by:

Lori's Cupcakes | Full Service Catering And Desserts

We had Lori (I have no idea why I'm typing in bold but it will not let me change so . . . enjoy) cater one of our meetings in Kazoo earlier in the grant sifting process and were impressed so we invited her to do her "thang" here in Allegan.


  Here she is waiting in the kitchen patiently while I gab away and snap her pic.  And now, ladies and gentle, I present to you our treats for the evening.


Appetizers (hey! the bold font is gone -  no clue) in the living room.

 Then we moved into the dining room.  Wonderful rolls with two types of butter.  I almost licked that cinnamon butter right off the plate.  I showed restraint - for a change.

 The salad had bits of many different things in it.  I was going to really pay attention to the contents so I could do a bang up job of describing the deliciousness but I simply didn't slow down enough.

The entree was pork with apples, the sweet potato casserole made my heart sing and the veggies riding along were excellent. 

The dessert (back to bold, grrrrr).  I said the sweet potatoes made my heart sing - well, the dessert had me screaming my 63 year old head off.  OMG!  People, I wish you could have joined us for this part.  Amazing!!!

 When all was said and done, Lori, even had baggies and carry-out boxes for us so we could take home the left-overs.  It got a little aggressive during that part of the evening.  One of the other trustees yelled at me because she thought I was heading toward her dessert to put it in my baggie.  I won't name names but you saw the pronoun I used and now I'll show you a picture of the trustees and let you figure out who I'm talking about.



  She looks sweet, doesn't she?  Not when it comes to killer desserts.

Stay tuned because my next blog will be about the Delano Inn with pictures.  Maybe I'll get this damn bold font thing figured out by then.  Or not.