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!

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

Twin Angels

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending five hours visiting with two beautiful, twin Angels when my friend, Megs, asked me if I could help out with her grandchildren for a few hours. Oh, my, my, my, what a fun-filled time we had!

Meet Lily, in the brown top, and her twin sister, Kaley, in the pink top.

Lily took to me straight away just like a duck takes to water, chatting it up about everything and anything from the minute I arrived at their house. Kaley, on the other hand, was lovingly cautious, reserving her friendship to earned trust…It took a little while, but sure enough, I was able to earn Kaley’s trust and then…it was time to let the fun begin!!

These two beautiful girls are all about anything to do with Princess…So the first order of business of course had to be to make a Princess tent using the little table in their room and covering it with their Princess blankets…Then we, mostly they, do to lack of room, got inside the tent and we discussed everything Princess… Here is a picture of the Princess tent with Kaley showing me how there will not be any room for me once her sister Lily gets in. But, she did say I was welcome to lay beside the Princess tent and talk to them…adorable!

Lily even read Kaley and I a story and we were very polite and didn’t talk while she was reading…

Once we had the Princess tent house rules all down pat, we moved on to making hand turkeys using my “magic” pencil I brought just for the occasion…I told them my “magic” pencil can make turkeys out of their hands but they had to show me they could share the “magic” pencil or it wouldn’t work at all… See how nice they share.

And, since they did share so nicely, they were able to make the “magic” pencil work and here are the hand turkeys they made. These are Lily’s hand turkey’s.

And these are Kaley’s hand turkey’s.

Of course you can’t have hand turkey’s without learning the TURKEY song so you can sing it on Thanksgiving for your family…So of course I had to teach them how to sing the TURKEY song while they strum their little purple guitar…Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, what fine TURKEY’s are we. We’ll be for Thanksgiving as sure as we’re living. So Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, what fine TURKEY’s are we!!! I reminded them that when they get finished singing, everyone will clap and say YEAH…so they need to remember to bow and say “thank-you very much:)

After the singing lessons, we moved on to make some dirt pudding for desert complete with gummy worms that we hid in the pudding and crumbled Oreo cookies for the dirt…it was GREAT fun and here is the final product.

While we had the pudding all over us anyway…might as well finger paint using pudding and sugar glitter. The girls were so happy to make these beautiful works of art for their Nana…we even decided we could put some worms in the art because we know Nana will love that…:) Just look how beautiful this art work is. I’m sure Nana will want to frame these!

This is Lily’s with the orange/red worm.

And this is Kaley’s with the green/yellow worm.

After a very busy morning, we decided we needed to get outside in the fresh air and take an adventure walk. We all held hands and looked for adventures things…we were very excited to find lady bugs and even a piece of sidewalk chalk someone left out on the sidewalk for us to draw with. We made a quick picture on the sidewalk then put the chalk back and went along our way. We didn’t even have time to get a picture of our sidewalk artwork…but we did capture our shadows.

We also made mini-pizzas that the girls decorated themselves…but Virginia got overly excited and forgot to take a picture of that…just know that they were precious and delicious!!!

After lunch, it was time for me to go. The girls were really tired and ready to take their nap. I’m sure they had sweet dreams of the fun-filled day we had…I know I did:)

What better way to spend the day than visiting with twin angels?

Stay Tuned

Not My Kind Of Day

I’m sure you have all see the little message written on the side mirrors of most cars and trucks that says “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” right? Well, I found out that the exact opposite is true for objects in your pool!

Yesterday, after I finished cleaning my whole house just like every other Tuesday, I decided I better go out and sweep down the pool and skim out any leaves etc. that might be floating around in there. There really weren’t that many leaves in the pool and the three that were in there were at the bottom and were not bothering anyone….but me…Why can’t I just leave well enough alone?

This is the tool my wonderful husband, Bill, bought me to get debris out of our pool.

I will have to use this tool until we can afford to buy the really high-tech aqua vacuum thing that will crawl around the bottom of the pool and suck up anything in its path…trust me, I’m counting every penny until we can buy that baby. But, in the meantime, I clean the pool, along with everything else in this house, at least I do and will continue to do so until Bill can retire and join me in all this maintenance fun around our beautiful home…

You can see in the picture below that the handle on this pool tool extends WAY out so you can reach down to the very bottom of the pool. This is especially important if you have an eight foot deep pool. And, the pool girl should always remember to extend the handle out ALL the way when trying to scoop up three little leaves on the bottom of the eight foot pool that were not bothering anyone but her…

This is what the pool tool looks like when the pool girl forgets to extend the handle out ALL the way and tries to reach the three little leaves on the bottom of the pool that would have been better off left alone…

This picture shows how things, like three little leaves in pool water can “appear” to be closer than they really are…Now tell the truth, doesn’t that pool tool look like it is really close…no, it was all the way down on the bottom of the eight foot pool…

This is a picture of the pool thermometer we keep in the pool to tell us that dam water is REALLY, REALLY COLD!!! Enough said…now, let’s just keep moving along people, no one is still in that really, really, COLD water, and we all know that wouldn’t happen to me because I don’t like to be cold…no, I HATE being COLD… and I’m way smart enough to know to extend the pool tool out ALL the way…so nothing more to see here at all…:)

But…just to make a bad day worse…I went to bed that night, tired and really, really, cold…we really need to turn our heater on now I guess…and my sweet little kitty, Carmen, aka “the beast” according to my daughter, Shantel, wanted me to pet her as she laid in my bed. I did pet her until I finally got so tired I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew Carmen full-out bit me sinking all four of her front, really sharp teeth right into my forearm drawing so much blood I had to get up and wash the wounds out, put antibiotic ointment on the wound and I almost cried because it hurt so bad…I ran that sweet beast kitty, Carmen, out of my room and closed the door and didn’t allow her back in for the rest of the night. I didn’t even care that she cried all night at my door…

The next morning I woke up to a really swollen arm that hurt like hell…I looked up cat bites on the internet and saw that they can be really serious and can even cause cat fever which can be really bad and cause you to have to be in the hospital…oh, great, just what I need…then who would clean the pool??? But, I also hate going to the doctor so I just kept doctoring myself and it looks much better now so I guess it’s true that “all is well that ends well” right?

One more thing: All the cilantro votes from my previous post have been counted (thanks to everyone who participated) and “winner, winner, chicken dinner… cilantro lovers win!! I knew there were more cilantro lovers out there than cilantro haters…now that made my day!!

Stay Tuned!

A Family Divided

By Cilantro!

I’ve come to believe that cilantro is one of those herbs you either love or hate. I haven’t found anyone who says it’s just O.K. In our family my daughter, Shantel, and I love cilantro, but my husband, Bill, aka Bro, hates it. However, Bill/Bro loves mexican food just as much as Shantel and I do and there in lies the problem…I say you can’t have really “good” mexican food without using cilantro.  Bill completely disagrees.

Yesterday, I made Anaheim peppers stuffed with rice pilaf, cheese and spicy chicken sausage.

I wanted to add chopped cilantro to the peppers stuffing mixture, but no, because if I did, Bill wouldn’t eat them at all. So, being the good wife and considerate cook I am, who spoils my family rotten… (Trust me, I would eat shit on the shingles if someone were cooking for me, you all know that is a legitimate dish right?)  Anyway, I left the cilantro out of the stuffing and baked the peppers. It was like leaving the zip out of my do da.. but I did it anyway:)

When the peppers were almost done baking, I covered them with queso sauce. At least that would put a little ying back in my yang:)

And, I made a black bean salad with mango/peach salsa dressing (but no cilantro) No zip here either!

Then, when everything was ready, I served up our dishes (yes, I do spoil my family like that too:) This was Bill’s plate.

And, this was mine, below, complete with chopped cilantro all over it:) Now, I’m taking a poll…which would you rather eat? Are you a cilantro lover like Shantel and I are, or a cilantro hater, like Bill? I told Bill I believe I will get more cilantro lover responses…be honest now, and only vote once. I promise you EVERY VOTE WILL BE COUNTED!

But, the most important thing to me is, no matter if you are a cilantro lover or hater in our house, at the end of the meal, on the weekends (only), Bill and I always agree on coming together to help clean the kitchen.

Don’t forget to cast your vote…cilantro lover or cilantro hater?

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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