That’s Why I Blog

Because of the things I see everyday, in the routine pattern of our lives, that my daughter, Shantel can’t see. The things that strike up conversations between Shantel and I as we make our way along our 40 minute route from our house to South Mountain Community College.

Like the high school girl who walks along the same Blvd that Shantel and I travel every morning. This girl has beautiful, waist long hair, wears shorts with an army jacket, and stops by the same Oleander bush to pick a small bunch of white flowers she carries with her along her way. Shantel and I wonder who she is taking the flowers to or if she just picks them for herself?

Like the middle-aged, black man, that lives in the first trailer on the north side of the Blvd, with the old, white, beat-up, pick-up truck parked beside it with teddy bears lined up all across the hood, who stands out in the cold, in shorts and a sweat shirt, waving to the passing traffic. Shantel and I wonder if he has everything he needs and enough to eat.

Like the mother walking her middle school aged daughter to school everyday carrying both her lunch and her daughter’s lunch boxes, and sometimes what looks to be a science project. Shantel and I wonder if she is a single mother raising her daughter alone and if they walk to school in the cold and sometimes dark because they have to or because they just want too?

Like the elderly woman and man I see every morning holding hands as they huddle close together walking as fast as they can to get to wherever they go every morning between 6:30 & 7:00 A.M. They were always together, until last week, when it was just the woman, walking alone, and Shantel and I wondered what happened to the elderly man?

Like the short, thin, man who always wears a blue t-shirt and white cap, and walks very fast down 48th Street. I see him every morning either walking North when I am taking Shantel to school or walking South when I am driving back after I drop Shantel off at school. Shantel and I wonder where that man goes in such a hurry every morning and why he doesn’t drive or take a bus?

Raising a blind child is not ever easy. In fact it is a renewing heartache almost everyday as I realize more and more the things Shantel misses that so many of us take for granted. But, there is also a renewing blessing everyday for me. Her blindness made me slow down and take notice of the everyday things around me. Things I took for granted, things I often walked right by without so much as a passing glance, until I became Shantel’s eyes in our everyday life, and realized I have a powerful role to play in Shantel’s life outside of being her mother and loving her and caring for her and making sure she had a solid foundation on which to build her own life. I also need to make sure she is included in the everyday sameness, routine, and pattern of our lives together, the sameness and routines that my husband, Bill, and I see that she can’t see. Because, to me, it is the everyday sameness and routines, that come together to make a lifetime of memories, memories other’s capture in pictures. Pictures that Shantel can’t see. So I capture our everyday memories in words. Words for my beautiful daughter, Shantel, so she will have them always to read and reread whenever she wants to remember the everyday patterns and routines of our lives.

The added bonus for me in my blogging is if anyone reading my blog finds help or inspiration in their daily lives then hey, I get two joys for the price of one:)

That’s why I blog!

Stay Tuned!

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1+1 Doesn’t Always = 2

At least not where my husband, Bill, and I are concerned! There is funny story behind that statement…imagine that, I have a story to tell:) Here is what happened:

Like many of you, we had plenty of leftovers after our Thanksgiving dinner and we continued to eat them for three days after Thanksgiving. I was getting sick and tired of leftovers, I mean I like turkey, but no matter how many things you put turkey in, IT’s STILL TURKEY right?

Now, Bill and our daughter, Shantel, could eat the same thing everyday, FOREVER…but I finally put my foot down and said we need to have something completely different and that didn’t include TURKEY. Well, lucky me…Shantel asked Bill if he would make my chili recipe that she thinks he makes better than I do. Hey, I don’t care if she thinks he makes my chili better than me, that just means I didn’t have to cook that night. No complaints here:)

So Bill made my chili and we also had homemade cornbread, yummers! Usually, on any given night, whatever we have for dinner, Bill takes in his lunch the next day. However, Bill said he didn’t want to take chili to work for his lunch the next day so I put the left over chili in the freezer with the intentions of making Bill a sandwich for his lunch. Since Bill works outside our home everyday, I manage most of the chores around the house including packing his breakfast and lunch to take to work each day…yes, I know, I’m expecting the wife of the year award any day now…:)

Now, here comes that story I mentioned…Picture this. I did pack Bill’s breakfast, but somehow got distracted (very easily done these days) helping Shantel with some very important research homework, and I forgot to make his sandwich for his lunch. But, I didn’t know I forgot until Bill called me the next day… Oh NO! Oh YES, Bill didn’t realize I was going to make him a sandwich, so when he was getting his breakfast/lunch out of the refrigerator at 3:00 A.M. he saw what he thought was chili and thought I just forgot he said he didn’t want chili for lunch, but not having time to do anything else, he put the container of “chili” in his lunch box and Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, off to work he goes…

Around lunchtime, I got “the” call from Bill. He said “girly, you wont’ believe this…I thought you forgot I didn’t want chili for lunch so when I was getting my breakfast/lunch out of the refrigerator I saw a container of “chili” and I put it in my lunchbox. But when I went to heat my lunch, I found out that container was leftover TURKEY GRAVY from Thanksgiving! He was laughing and said he thought I would find that funny so he just wanted to share”. I said “well, you might find this even funnier… I would never “forget” and  give you chili after you told me you didn’t want it for lunch. No, you are my top priority and making you happy is my life’s goal…blah, blah, blah,,,, I went on to tell him Shantel is my second top priority and I was busy helping her and in the process I got distracted and my first top priority became my second, while my second top priority had my undivided attention and that caused me to forget to fix you a lunch at all”. Ha! Now we are both laughing and I asked him if not making his lunch meant I would get fired from my “job”? He laughed even harder and said “you couldn’t get that lucky girly”. That’s when I told him that sometimes he and I together don’t make one whole.

I guess it’s a good thing we have other redeeming qualities beside our brilliant minds! Right?

Stay Tuned!

The Halls Are Decked

And, it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas around our house, and I LOVE Christmas!

In addition to having my brother, Danny, his beautiful wife Bea, my mom, and many of our friends coming to our house for Christmas Eve, this year, we are even more excited to have all of our out-of-state kids and grandchildren coming home for Christmas too! We haven’t had everyone together like this for Christmas for several years. I can’t hardly wait!

All of our kids love my cabbage rolls, so of course, I will make them for Christmas Eve, along with vegetable lasagna, because our daughter, Shantel, special ordered that. And of course, I must make my seafood jambalaya, because that is what my husband, Bill/Bro and I want. Anything and everything goes on our menu for Christmas Eve at our house…:)

Of course we wish all our family, extended family, and all of our friends could come to our house to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. But since many can’t, I’m bringing our house to you. Here is what our house looks like all decked out for our first Christmas in our new home.

A jingle bell wreath will great you at the door.

Frosty the Snowman will play you one more.

We will countdown to Christmas on our calendar tree. And old Crow Indian won’t scare you or me:)

Snowmen will dance around our candle each night.

And my late brother, Tommy, will wear Santa’s cap. What a sight!

No green garland cover my walls every night…..No, multi-colored shotgun shells are a cowgirls delight:)

The Indian Nativity is a traditional sight.

What speaks to my heart is Santa kneeling in front of the baby Jesus, how sweet.

But without the tree the scene won’t be complete.

Even the bathrooms get decked out.

And none of the Christmas toys will be left out.

So if you can join us you’re welcome to come. All will be welcome, so come, please come!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas Season!

Stay Tuned

What A Wonderful Day It Was

Thanksgiving at our house this year was looking pretty slim in respect to head count. With all our kids and grandchildren living out-of-state, with the exception of my daughter, Katie, and our grandson, Marcus, who for many reasons couldn’t be with us for the holiday. So we planned our Thanksgiving for my husband, Bill/Bro and I, our daughter, Shantel, and we brought my mother home from the Care Center for the day.

As we were visiting and preparing the Thanksgiving dinner, my niece, Chante’ and her daughter, Josie, my nephew, Christopher, and Chante’ and Christopher’s mother Lucia called to ask if they could drop by to visit with us for a while. They were in town from San Diego for Thanksgiving at Chante’ and Christopher’s stepmother’s house. What a wonderful surprise to have them come and visit with us. It just made our Thanksgiving day that much brighter.

Of course I took pictures of the Thanksgiving dinner preparations, and of our special guests for family and friends who couldn’t be here with us to enjoy:

This is Shantel getting the dinner rolls ready.

The table was set as always with one extra place in honor of those who couldn’t be with us except in spirit.

Something to snack on while waiting for dinner.

Turkey roasting.  The house smells so good!

And we can’t have Thanksgiving without Football of course:)

Shantel shows off the pumpkin pie she trusted me to make.

My great-niece, Josie, with her beautiful smile.

Mom (in pink), Chante’ next to her, Christopher in black, and Lucia in blue, and chatting it up:)

Much too soon it was time for our guests to go. Just one last hug for the road.

Dinner was perfect.

Enough food on every plate.

Now on to Christmas! I can’t hardly wait:)

Stay Tuned!

Too Funny

My daughter, Shantel, wanted a homemade dutch apple and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. She say’s store-bought pies are for people who are too lazy to make their own pies. However, since she had a full day of classes today and wouldn’t be home until about 3:00 P.M., she was concerned that she wouldn’t have enough time to get both the pies made before it got too late for me to be up and helping her in the kitchen. So, she took a real leap of faith, and asked me if I would mind making the pumpkin pie for her. ME, who doesn’t even like to bake at all, and who she usually only allows to be her assistant in the kitchen…she wants ME to make the pumpkin pie complete with the homemade crust and all for our Thanksgiving dinner… am I dreaming this?

I was shocked, SHOCKED!!! I said “are you sure you want ME to make the pumpkin pie”? “Aren’t you afraid I might screw it up”? She thought about that for a minute or two, a minute or two too long, then said “I think you can handle it…it’s pretty self-explanatory if you just follow the directions…it’s not as complicated as the dutch apple pie so I’ll make that one when I get home from school”

Are you kidding me? She “thinks” I can handle it if I just follow the directions…I wonder who she “thinks” taught her how to “follow the directions…”? I can follow directions. I can read, and measure, and set the timer on the oven if I want to…I just don’t particularly like to do all that for baking purposes…, but I can when I have too.

See…here is my homemade pumpkin pie

Nothing wrong with that now is there? And, the crust is even really a little browner than it looks in this picture which makes it absolutely perfect looking to me:)

Gotta love it and her!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE, from my home to yours 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

My Man

I’ve always been very proud of the fact that thirty-three years ago I lost over 100 pounds through the Weight Watchers program. I’ve managed to keep that weight off by continuing to follow the Weight Watchers program and by keeping to a very strict exercise program of walking for at least 45 minutes a day at least five days a week. As long as I follow my food and exercise program I haven’t  had any problems maintaining the weight loss…until two years ago, when I started having some health problems that required medications that have a side effect of weight gain. And gain weight I did…20 lbs over the past two years to be exact. My doctor tells me it is due to the medications in part, but some of it is due to the natural aging process. Don’t spare my feelings doctor.. The bottom line for me is it doesn’t make any difference to me what it’s from… I HATE IT!

I still eat the right foods and I’ve even increased my walking to at least one hour a day, even longer on most days…but nothing I do seems to help. I’ll lose three pounds one day and gain two pounds back the next. I just can’t seem to lose the weight I gained, and keep it off for the life of me….and I HATE IT!!! Why aren’t we all told all this crap will happen to us as we start to get older? All I ever heard was if you take good care of yourself…it will all be good! If I wasn’t doing all the right things to manage my weight then I would be the first to say “shame on me”. I am doing all the right things but I think the game has been rigged…I don’t consider myself old at all. Why I hear sixty is the new forty, but with a few more aches and pains. If that’s true why isn’t my body responding like it did when I was forty? What’s up with that?

My husband, Bill, aka Bro, God love his soul, always sings “you are so beautiful to me…” as soon as he sees me everyday. He has done this ever since we have been together, and it always makes me feel so blessed and special to have him not only as my husband, but as my best friend as well.

Even though I’m not at all happy about this uncontrolled weight gain, did I mention I HATE IT…,most days I take it in stride and just keep doing the very best I can do to continue on my food and exercise plan. But, yesterday, it really got the best of me and I was feeling really down. I even increased my walk on Sunday to almost double the time and still no weight lost, in fact I was up two pounds again. Tell me that doesn’t suck!!!

When Bill/Bro came home from work yesterday he could see I was not my usual happy-go-lucky self…so I told him I was very sad that I was having so much trouble getting my weight back down where I want it to be. I said “I knew I was going to gain some weight with my medications but I really thought I could just work harder and it would come back off…but now I feel like I’m just getting fatter and fatter.” Bill said “you look just fine to me”. I didn’t say it but I was thinking “yes, if I was a baby elephant I would look absolutely adorable” At that point, I was starting to cry because I was so frustrated. Bill/Bro come over to me, put his arms around me in a big bear hug, and started singing softly “you are so beautiful to me…” When Bill/Bro doesn’t know what else to say to me he sings that song…and I love him for that. It made me smile and before long we were both laughing and all was well again:) But, I still HATE it!!!

Sorry ladies…he’s all mine:)

Stay Tuned!

My New Best Friend

You may recall my post on 11/14 “Not My Kind Of Day”” about a little mishap having to do with three little leaves in the bottom of our eight foot deep pool that is filled with very cold water…Yes, well Saturday was my LUCKY, LUCKY day!!!

Meet my new best friend, Zodiac Baracuda G3!!!

I know, I was counting every penny until we had enough “extra” money to purchase this beauty that is already making my life so much easier…but along came a coupon in the mail for a deal that we just couldn’t pass up so my ever-loving and considerate husband, Bill, aka Bro, always thinking about my well-being, and wanting to keep me from going on strike against the chores around the house that can be dangerous to my health, or unbefitting to my dignity….,surprised me with this wonderful invention I have been “dying” to have ever since we moved into this house and I became the “pool service girl”. Yes, as soon as our friend, Bob, told us about the Baracuda jewel…I was on a quest to have one for myself. Thanks Bob!

This pool tool hooks up to the suction system of the pool and once in place, it is set on a timer that turns it one at the same time everyday and like magic…it crawls around the bottom of your pool sucking up everything in its path. Why it even crawls up the sides of the pool sucking up any dirt that might be clinging to the pebble tech siding…Just look at how amazing this cool pool tool is. Who knew cleaning the pool could be so easy?

All I have to do is sweep the steps on the shallow end of the pool and the “love bench” on the deep end of the pool….I don’t even have to remember to “extend the pool tool handle out all the way to do that”…how much better can my life get?

So, Merry Christmas ME…I LOVE MY NEW BEST FRIEND!!

Stay Tuned!

Stay Tuned

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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