How It Happened

My cousin asked me the other day if I knew how/why my father’s whole Vezie clan family moved from Washington Pennsylvania to Phoenix Arizona. I told her the story as best I remember it and said I would also confirm it with my mother when I visited her today.

I thought I would document what my mother told me here on my blog in case my daughter, Shantel, or any other family members, want to read it for themselves.

Here is the condensed story according to my mother:

My father was the youngest of 10 children.

My father and mother married in 1949 and had four children.

My mother was an RN, and my father worked on a pipeline in Washington Pennsylvania. While my father was guiding a metal pipe into a ditch, the crane holding the pipe up in the air, hit a high voltage wire, and my father was electrocuted, knocking out his teeth and causing a lot of internal damage. He survived, but was no longer able to tolerate the cold winters of Pennsylvania. Eventually, a doctor told my father he should move to a warmer climate.

Once the decision was made to make the move, my mother and father started out with intentions of moving our immediate family to California. As a registered nurse, my mother knew she could find work anywhere, and my father decided he would land a good job once he arrived in California.

So my parents packed up all their belongings, my brother, Tommy, who was 27 months old, my brother, Danny, who was 16 months old, myself, I was only 6 months old, and my cousin, Patty Dobscha, who was 18 and had just graduated from High School (Patty had severe allergies and thought the warmer climate would help her as well). My brother, Stephen, had not been born yet.

Apparently the road trip from Pennsylvania was very event filled. My mother said my brother’s, Tommy and Danny, had been broke from the bottle before we left Pennsylvania, but on the road they started stealing my bottle and would cry when told to give it back. So, to keep the peace, and their sanity, my mother put my brothers back on the bottle, figuring she would break them from it again when we arrived in California. However, that never happened, because the car broke down just as they pulled into Phoenix, Arizona.

My father found a gas station and tried to get the car fixed, but the gas station didn’t have the part needed for the repair so they had to send away for it. My mother found a motel and we got a room. While waiting for the car part to arrive, my father contacted a long-lost uncle he had, Uncle Leo, who lived in Phoenix. It was my father’s uncle Leo, who helped my father get a job at the Holsum Bakery. My father was hired on the spot and began working 16 hour days, 6 day’s a week. He had to walk a long distance to and from work everyday but he needed the money and did what he had to do.

Eventually, the car was fixed, and we could have been on our way to California. However, by then, my parents decided they liked Phoenix, and decided to stay. My mother got a job at the local hospital as an RN working nights, while my father continued working days, and my cousin, Patty, took care of my brother’s and I… and life was good.

Then, as time went by, my father’s mother missed my father so much that she said she wanted to move to Phoenix to be near him. Apparently, my father was what they called their “rose bud”… I had no idea my father was so close to his family because he told us stories of how he left home at somewhere around of 9-12 years of age to bum around the country hanging out with Hobo’ and the like. Then, he eventually went into the Marines at the age of 17, and went off to fight in WWII. But, as the story goes, according to my mother, after being away from home for so long, when my father finally did go back home, he was given the hero’s welcome by his family, and forever remained in their good graces.

My father contacted his mother and father and told them there was work in Phoenix and plenty of housing if they wanted to come, which they did, and my father helped this brother, Grant, get a job at the Holsum Bakery while his sister, Vonnie, got a job working at Woolworth. His sister, Dee Dee, stayed home to take care of the house and her mother and father as they were beginning to have health problems.

My mother said, as time went on, my father’s other siblings decided to move to Phoenix to be near the family. The only siblings that did not move to Phoenix were his brothers, Earl and Fred, and his sister, Thelma. They all remained in Washington Pennsylvania.

And that’s how it happened…according to my mother. 🙂

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Stay Tuned!

Cabbage Rolls

My mother didn’t do much cooking when I was growing up because she worked nights (3-11 p.m.), and wasn’t home for dinner. My father cooked dinner and is the one who taught me how to cook. My father would read a recipe, then change it to suit his needs, or to what he happened to have on hand if he didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. He didn’t measure anything, and always told me “if you like something put it in, if you really like it put more in, if you don’t like something, leave it out.” That’s how I learned to cook and how I usually cook now. Rarely, do I ever, follow a recipe and it drives my husband and family nuts because if they really like something I made I can make it again but it will not always be exactly the same because I probably didn’t measure the ingredients.

The one thing my mother did teach me how to make was cabbage rolls. She made the best cabbage rolls I ever ate and the amazing thing was I didn’t like cabbage when I was younger. However, the way she made them, using sauerkraut, made them absolutely delicious!!! The sauerkraut gives them a delightful little tang…They are so good, at Christmas time, one of my sister-in-laws family would trade homemade tamales for my mother’s cabbage rolls.

I have to say that I found out while my mother was teaching me how to make her cabbage rolls that she doesn’t measure either…must run in the family.

All of our kids love these cabbage rolls. I always make a big pan of them on Christmas Eve when any of our kids are going to be home. In fact, this year, we are going to Colorado to be with our kids for Christmas and I promised I would make cabbage rolls for Christmas Eve there. I can’t count the times I’ve told our kids how to make these cabbage rolls but they always forget or say they would rather have mine… But now, my daughter, Shantel, wants to know how to make them so I told her I would do a blog post so she will always have the instructions, and I will add step by step pictures in case she happens to have a sighted person helping her make them… 🙂 Also, any of our other kids, family members, or friends, will also be able to use this “recipe” too.

Here is the way I make my mother’s cabbage rolls. Keep in mind, I still don’t measure but you can get the general idea and try them for yourself if you like..

Ingredients:

Head of green cabbage, or more if your making a lot

Any ground meat of your liking and as much as you think you will need to make as many cabbage rolls as you want.

Old fashioned rolled oats

Eggs

Several cans of tomato sauce. Make sure you have enough extra for serving sauce

Spices of your liking. I use chili power, granulated garlic, black pepper. I don’t use salt because the sauerkraut is salty and I don’t want to over salt them. Better to add salt at the table than put too much in while cooking.

Good quality sauerkraut. Make sure you have enough extra for the serving sauce. I don’t use canned because I think it tastes like metal but you can use what you like.

Step 1:  Take the green cabbage and cut the core out of the middle of it. Rinse it off and keep a little of the water inside the middle hole where the core was. Turn the cabbage head upside down so the hole is facing down in a microwave safe bowl. Cover lightly with waxed paper and microwave on high for about 10-12 minutes. You are not cooking the cabbage, just softening it so they leaves will peel away and you can use them to roll around the meat filling.

Step 2: Using whatever kind of ground meat you like, I used ground turkey because that is what Shantel will eat, put the ground meat in a large bowl and mix in one or two eggs depending on how well the meat binds. I used one for the turkey because it is more moist than beef but you can see what works for you. Add in about a cup, or cup and a half of uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats, and any spices you like…I always add a little chili powder, granulated garlic, and black pepper, but you can add anything you like.

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Step 3: Mix all ingredients into the meat well.

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Step 4: Separate each leaf from the head of cabbage and place on a cutting board. Take a handful of the ground meat mixture and place it on the cabbage leaf one at a time.

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Step 5: Pour a little tomato sauce in the bottom of an oven proof pan and line up the cabbage rolls seam side down.

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Step 6: Continue to wrap and line up the cabbage rolls until your pan is full.

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Step 7: Cover cabbage rolls with more tomato sauce.

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Step 8: Cover tomato sauce with a really good brand of sauerkraut. Again, I use Glaussen but you can use any good brand. I prefer not to use sauerkraut in a can because to me it has a metal taste.

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Step 9: Cover the sauerkraut with more tomato sauce.

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Step 10: At this point it is VERY important to put some extra tomato sauce and sauerkraut in a sauce pan on simmer so you have it to pour over the cabbage rolls when you serve them if they need it. Trust me, this is VERY important, as sometimes, depending on how fast the cabbage rolls absorb the tomato sauce as they are baking, you will want this extra sauce when you serve the cabbage roll. I learned this the hard way when I made cabbage rolls for our dear friend, Bob, and I forgot to make the extra sauce until it was much too late so his first experience with my famous cabbage rolls was not all that great although he said they were. I told him I want to have a “do over”  sometime so I can make them right for him…:) The next picture is just tomato sauce and sauerkraut nothing else for the serving sauce if needed.

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Step 11: Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours depending on how many you make. I’ve baked them for 3 hours or more when I make really large amounts for Christmas Eve. I baked these last night until they were 160 degrees. Remove from oven and serve.

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Step 12: I served these with long grain wild rice and cucumber/tomato/onion salad with Greek Yogurt dill dressing… YUM!

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P.S. These cabbage rolls can be made ahead. I’ve made them two days ahead of time for Christmas Eve then just pop them in the oven and your all set. Also, after they are cooked they freeze really well. I always make extra to freeze for another day. I have some in the freezer right now. I will just put them in a large pan on the stove and put a lid on them and bring them up to temperature with a slow simmer. Just be sure you also make more serving sauce to put over them when ready to serve. 🙂

ENJOY!

Stay Tuned

Pancakes

LOVE them!

When we go out to breakfast I always order pancakes. When we go on vacation I eat pancakes everyday. I just love, love, love, pancakes. But, the absolute BEST pancakes I’ve EVER had in my entire life, are the cobble stone trail pancakes I can only get at T. C. Eggington’s in Mesa Arizona.

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Tucked in the corner of a small strip mall, this little gem is not only my favorite place for breakfast, but was also voted best in the New Times, as one of the top places to eat. Our family, and extended family, have been eating there for years.

Tom, the owner, knows us by name, and always welcomes us at the door and seats us himself. He is always there, and oversees the entire operation from kitchen to the cash register. He wants to make sure your experience is pleasant from start to finish so his restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch which allows him to be there during hours of operation.

There is a little open air patio if you care to eat outside.

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You will usually find a bit of a wait on Sunday mornings if you’re not there by 8:30, which is why when we go we leave right after 7:00 a.m. mass. If you do have to wait, Tom has a coffee/tea cart he has his staff bring outside the front door and offers free coffee or tea while you wait. And in the summer he has misters on to help keep you comfortable.

Inside the restaurant is just charming. Immaculately clean and decorated with a farm-house feel.

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Check out the sinks in the restrooms.

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The menu is even covered with chicken wire. How cute is that?

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Speaking of the menu…Tom has a huge selection to choose from making it hard to decide what delicious temptation you want…

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But, I can’t get past my all time favorite, cobble-stone trail pancakes.

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The cobble-stone trail pancakes have a blend of pecans, cashews, real shaved coconut, raisins and silvered almonds, all baked right into the pancake batter… YUMMERS!!!

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But, be careful, they come two huge pancakes to an order which even though they are to die for….is too much for me, so I always order a half order. That, and a side of his delicious, thick cut bacon, that really has a lot of meat, is just perfect for me.

Speaking of bacon, if I’m going to splurge and have bacon, I don’t want something that looks like a Band-Aid…I want the meat, and lots of it. T.C. Eggington’s never fails to deliver. 🙂

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My husband, Bill, almost always orders his favorite which is called “The Crack of Dawn”, It has potatoes, ham, mushrooms, and cheese, topped with eggs any way you like them, and served with fresh English muffins. On the table is a container of fresh apple/cinnamon jam. Oh my!

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When we were walking through the parking lot to go into T.C. Eggington’s this morning, I wasn’t paying attention, because I was trying to take a picture, and got in the way of a car that was trying to park. When I noticed my error, I said to Bill “OMG, don’t let me get killed before I get to have my pancakes!

Because, my guilty pleasure is, Cobble-Stone Trail PANCAKES!!!

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Now, none of this wonderful breakfast food is Weight Watchers friendly… But, hey, I try to keep to the 90/10 theory. Eat right 90% of the time and have what you want 10% of the time, and just keep exercising!

Life’s too short to not have PANCAKES!

Stay Tuned!

The Baby Shower

My 86-year-old mother who lives in a 24/7 skilled nursing center, called me yesterday all out of breath asking me to go to the store and buy a baby shower card, gift bag, tissue paper to match the gift bag, and bring it all up to her ASAP! Now, you have to know I’m wondering what in the world does she need all that for to begin with, so I asked her.

Me:  Mom, why do you need all this?

Mom:  Because, Chili, (one of the male nurses) wife is having their first baby, and he invited me, Sherry, and some other’s to come to the baby shower their having at his house. Sherry already bought two baby gifts, one for me and one for her to give to Chili and his wife but you need to give Sherry $10.00 for my gift.

Me:  When is the baby shower?

Mom :  Sunday at 2:00 P.M.

Me:  Well, since Danny (my brother), comes on Sunday morning, perhaps he can bring you the items you need.

Mom:  O.K. I’ll try to call Danny but I don’t know if I can reach him.

Me:  Do you want me to call Danny?

Mom:  Yes, because I’m really tired, I’ve had a busy day playing bingo and stuff, and I didn’t even get my nap yet.

Me:  O.K. I’ll call Danny now and get back to you later.

I hang up the phone with mom and call my brother, Danny. I ask him if he is going to visit mom on Sunday and he tells me he was going to but mom told him she was going to a baby shower so he didn’t need to come. I said “oh, I was going to ask you  to take her a baby shower card, gift bag and tissue, but if you aren’t going up, don’t worry about it, I’ll go get the things she wants and run it over to her.”

I hang up the phone with Danny and call the nurses station to ask them to have my mother call me back since she can’t hear her phone when it rings. The duty nurse said she would go get my mother and bring her up to the desk phone.

When my mother gets on the phone I told her I would go get the baby shower items she needed and bring them up to her. There was a long pause, then my mother asked me if Danny wasn’t going to come to see her on Sunday. I told her that Danny said she told him not to come because she was going to the baby shower… Mom didn’t say anything so I asked her the following questions:

Me:  Mom, how are you going to get to the baby shower?

Mom:  Danny will take us?

Me:  But, you told Danny not to come up on Sunday.

Mom:  I don’t know why I did that.

Me:  Did he agree to take you and Sherry to the baby shower?

Mom:  Yes, but I’m going to call him to make sure.

Me:  Mom, I’m not sure Chili really meant for you, Sherry, and the other’s to really come to his house for a baby shower because first of all, you are all in wheelchairs and I’m sure he doesn’t have a car big enough to transport all of you. And second, what are you going to do if you have to use the rest room…Chili isn’t going to be able to handle all of you ladies in his home while he and his wife are trying to participate in their baby shower… Why don’t you just take the little gifts you and Sherry bought, put them in the pretty gift bags with the card I’ll bring up, and give the gifts to Chili the next time he is on duty?

Mom:  O.K. that sounds like it will work.

Me:  I’ll being the baby shower items up to you tomorrow.

Mom:  O.K. I’ll see you then but hurry so I don’t have to worry about you getting everything to me on time.

Fast forward to this morning:

My husband, Bill, and I ran out to Fry’s grocery store early this morning and purchased the items my mother requested for the baby shower. When we arrived at the nursing center, my mother was just finishing her breakfast. She was glad to see us and asked us to take her back to her room. When we got to mom’s room I showed her the card and gift bag/tissue paper. Mom asked me to read the card to her because she couldn’t see the words very well.  When I read the card to mom she smiled and said “that will be great.”

Bill and I stayed a while to visit with my mother. We took her to the activity room but the other residents had not come back from breakfast yet so mom asked us to take her back to her room where we visited with her for a while longer. Finally I told her we had to go. When I went to hug my mother good-bye, I said ” now mom, don’t you think it’s a much smarter idea to just keep the baby shower gifts you and Sherry bought for Chili and give them to him the next time he is on duty instead of all of you trying to go to Chili’s house for the baby shower? Mom looked up at Bill and I with wild wide eyes and said “well we’re not too smart around here.” At that we all had a good laugh… 🙂

May God Bless Us All With Our Aging Parents…

Gotta love it!

Stay Tuned!

A Day Maker

I’ve had a very busy week running from one end of town to the other helping my daughter, Shantel, get a new state issued photo ID, bank card, college Id card etc., after she lost her wallet, and taking her to the Audiologist for new hearing aids… While trying to fit all this into my regular schedule of keeping up the house, shopping, cooking, volunteer work, visiting my mother, and trying to carve out some time for myself…, I was beginning to feel a little “put upon”… My entire routine was thrown off schedule since we needed to get all these things done before I start working on the next big project of helping Shantel learn her route to and from her classes which will start in a few weeks.

The last straw for me was when we got home from the Audiologist, and Shantel told me she forgot to let the Audiologist know she needs to have a “vent hole” made in her left ear mold that helps reduce excess background noise…The problem is the Audiologist is an hour drive, one way, from our house and this “after thought” will most likely mean we need to make yet another trip back to the Audiologist so they can include the vent hole in the ear mold before the ear mold is sent out for processing.. So now, I’m starting to think “I’m not having fun…, and there is no happy hour at the Audiologist… 🙂

However, just when I was feeling really low as I waited for Shantel to call the Audiologist and find out if we need to come back in or not…my husband, Bill, aka, Bro, came in with the mail and said there was a package for me from one of my BFF’s, aka Frissy, all the way from her New York City!

I was so excited, and as I ripped the package open, I was enveloped in the most wonderful fragrance of lavender, one of my favorite, favorite, things to smell…and just look at what I found in the package:

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Isn’t that the most adorable, tiny, little thing you ever saw? And, it’s filled with fresh lavender, now how cute is that? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! If you look closely you can see the little lavender seeds both in the front (above), and the back (below).

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I decided I would make a tiny little hanger out of a paper clip and hang it on the lamp shade in the guest room, that is really my “girl’s room” where I go when Bill/Bro snores too loud. This is also the one room in the house that will never be a man cave, because I purposely did not put a TV in that room.:) I think my little lavender gift fits in perfectly with my cowgirl/western theme, don’t you?

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So now, when I’m in that room trying to get some sleep, I can have the wonderful soft scent of lavender to fill my dreams.

If you follow my blog you already know I LOVE getting anything in the mail. I LOVE the anticipation of opening a card or letter and reading a hand written note. But, getting a package like this, is like Christmas, and it made my day.

THANK- YOU Frissy, for being my “Day Maker” this week…:)

Stay tuned!

Expensive Lesson

My daughter, Shantel, has a beautiful purse that she carries with her everywhere, including when we go hiking.

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However, she has taken to carrying her wallet in the front pocket of her pants, even when her beautiful purse is hanging on her arm.

Now, keep in mind, the front pockets of her jeans are very shallow and usually more than half of her wallet would be sticking out like this. By the way, this is a new wallet I just bought for her, read on to find out why. 🙂

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I’ve told Shantel repeatedly to put her wallet in her purse, but she refused. I told her repeatedly that one day she was going to lose her wallet, and everything in it, but still she refused. Hey, who am I to tell my adult daughter what to do…I’m just mom… 🙂

Well, well, well… guess what happened yesterday when I took her to Wal-Mart? Yep, Shantel lost her wallet that had $200.oo cash in it along with her debit card, her state issued photo ID and her college photo ID cards.

As we were standing in line to make her purchase, suddenly Shantel says “mom, I think I lost my wallet”. I said when did you last remember having it? She said I think I just felt it drop and hit my foot as we were standing here in line… Now, all of a sudden, her crisis, has become my emergency!!! I immediately began looking all around the floor area to see if I could see the wallet anywhere. No luck. I got down on my hands and knees (in front of a store full of Wal-Mart shoppers) and crawled all around looking under display racks to see if perhaps the wallet bounced under a display rack when it hit the floor. No luck.  I found a Wal-Mart worker who was standing near by and asked her to help me look. No luck. I took Shantel sighted guide to back trace our steps and see if the wallet was anywhere we had been in… No luck. I took Shantel to Customer Service and stood in a long line there to see if by chance a kind soul found the wallet and turned it in… No luck. I took Shantel back out to the parking lot and all the way back to the car to see if perhaps the wallet dropped in the parking lot or if perhaps it fell out of her pocket while she was still in the car… No luck.

By this time Shantel is starting to get really upset and I could tell she wanted to cry. I was beyond upset with her but kept my thoughts to  myself knowing nothing I could say to her was going to make any more of an impression than what I knew she had to be thinking to herself…

Finally after looking everywhere I could think of, I told Shantel that unfortunately, the wallet is gone, and I don’t hold much hope that anyone is going to turn it in so she would need to call the bank immediately and cancel her debit card before anyone had a chance to use it. I also suggested she call Wal-Mart and ask again if anyone turned in her wallet and ask if she could leave her phone number so if by chance someone does turn he wallet in Wal-Mart will have a number to contact her.

On the way home, Shantel asked me if I would take her to the bank in the morning to get another debit card and to the MVD to get another state issued Id card and to the college to get another student ID card…I told her I would do all of that if she could tell me what she learned from this experience. Shantel tearfully said “not to ever carry my wallet in my pocket but to put it in my purse and keep my purse closed..” That said, guess where I spent my day today? Yep, MVD for 2 hrs, bank for 45 minutes, and we still have to make an appointment at the college for the student Id which will most likely be at least another three hours including the round trip drive time to get there…

In addition, since when Shantel lost her wallet, she also lost all her cash, so she asked me if I would take her to Game Stop because they will buy back your old equipment like Ipods, tablets, etc. Shantel had two Ipods that she sold for about $70.00 which made her day at least a little bit brighter. She also wanted me to take her to a plasma blood bank to see if she could sell some plasma but I drew the line at that and told her if she did that she would need to use dial-a-ride and I didn’t even want to know about it…I told her she didn’t need money that bad and that she just needed to suck it up and chalk it up as an expensive lesion learned!

I thought both Shantel and I managed this whole ordeal the best we could under the stressful circumstances.  I didn’t say “I told you so” but I did make it clear that, as an adult now, if she ever carried her wallet in her pocket again, and lost it, her crisis would NOT become my emergency, and Shantel agreed, and we hugged and moved on…

Stay Tuned!

Expectations

The only meat my daughter, Shantel, will eat is chicken or turkey so we eat a lot of chicken and turkey dishes at our house. Last weekend my husband, Bill, made smoked chicken outside in his smoker, and it was delicious. We all loved it. I always ask him to make extra so I can use it for other meals like smoked chicken pasta salad, smoked chicken burros etc.

This week, my daughter, Shantel,  had been asking me to make chicken tacos for dinner, so last night I did. She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES, homemade chicken tacos…she LOVES them so much, she always asks me to make extra so she can have it for lunches… So, I agreed, and I did a quick scan of the refrigerator to make sure I had everything I needed and found that I was out of lettuce…can’t have tacos without lettuce…at least not at our house…so, I ran out to the store to buy some lettuce. If I’m going to make Shantel her chicken tacos, I want them to be perfect… 🙂

When I got home I cooked the chicken breasts, pulled the meat off the bone, shredded the meat for the tacos, and I mixed it with her favorite, hot and spicy, taco mix. I chopped all the taco toppings, shredded the cheese, and fried the corn tortillas to make the taco shells…However, because I am very frugal, and don’t like to waste anything…, as I was making the chicken meat for the tacos, I remembered I had a little bit of smoked chicken in the refrigerator to use up that was left over from the wonderful smoked chicken dinner we all so enjoyed.. and, being the quick thinker that I am… I thought to myself…self, since we all love the smoked chicken dinners so much…surly we will all love some of the smoked chicken in our chicken tacos too, right. WRONG..!

Immediately upon taking a bite of the chicken taco, I worked so hard to make, Shantel said “what is wrong with this chicken meat?” I said there is nothing wrong with the chicken meat, I just put a little bit of the smoked chicken in with the other chicken meat I cooked for the tacos… I said “I think it is really good and puts a little different spin on the regular old tacos we normally have. Shantel said ” I don’t want to be mean…but I don’t like this at all”. I said “well, I don’t understand why if you like smoked chicken and you like tacos…why wouldn’t you like smoked chicken tacos..?” I said “to me, chicken tacos are chicken tacos… ” Then, my husband, Bill, said “it’s not the same because of the expectation“. He went on to explain to me that if you have certain idea of what you think a chicken taco should be, and someone gives you something that doesn’t match that expectation then you’re not going to like it, and Shantel agreed with Bill. I said “that’s the craziest thing I ever heard.” I said “the smoked chicken didn’t make them any less chicken tacos, if anything, it just made it a bit of a surprise…and a lot of people like nice little surprises… I said I could understand it better if I said I made chicken tacos but gave you meatloaf instead, then you would be correct in your thinking that your expectations had not been met.”

So, the whole dinner conversation ended up with Bill saying he thought the smoked chicken tacos were “OK” and said he would take some for his lunch. Shantel on the other hand,  said she didn’t want any more and in fact only ate one of the two I served her.

Here is what I have to say in conclusion…First, of all I am thankful that my family always tells honestly if they like or don’t like what I cook. I set that up right from the beginning by letting them know if they tell me they like something…I’m going to make it for them again…so if they really don’t like something they need to let me know so I never make it for them again…and Second, I will share some really good advice one of my very dear friends shared with me a long time ago…He said, “expect nothing and you will never be disappointed”. I think I need to make that into a sign in both braille and print and hang it in my kitchen…I would love to hear what you think?

Stay Tuned!

They’re Mine

Every Wednesday, volunteers from a near by Catholic Church, come to the Care Center where my mother lives, and holds a Catholic Church Service for any residents that want to attend. Part of the service includes recital of the rosary. The volunteers bring extra, hand-made rosaries for any residents to use if they don’t have a rosary, or perhaps they can’t find the rosary they have… What usually ends up happening is the residents will “borrow” one of the hand-made rosaries but then forget to give it back after the service. Because of that, it has become necessary to have a group of church volunteers meet every week to make new hand-made rosaries so they always have a ready supply. They are all made out of different colored string and the beads are all hand-knotted. Last week the volunteers laid out several of the beautiful hand-made rosaries on the table for the residents to use.

When my friend, Sharon, the lady in the middle (you may remember her from a previous post she loves TWIX candy bars),

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when Sharon saw these pretty blue rosaries,

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she just had to have them.

In fact, she wanted them so badly, she claimed “they’re mine”. My mother, sitting next to Sharon, told Sharon the rosaries are not yours, they belong to the volunteers from the church and they need them back at the end of the service. By this time Sharon already had the pretty blue rosaries in her hand and was saying “they are mine, I’ve had them for years, my family gave them to me for Christmas years and years ago.” Again, my mother told Sharon the rosaries were not hers and she was not allowed to keep them. Without looking up, Sharon began fingering the beads and telling us how her beloved son, Steven, bought them for her last week ( notice how the story changed) when he brought $50,000 dollars up to put in her account at the Care Center so she could have anything she needed. Sadly, in the five years I’ve been visiting my mother at the care center, I have never seen anyone ever visit Sharon. But, in her mind, Sharon believes her son Steven comes… it breaks my heart, and even now brings tears to my eyes to hear her speak of him.

My mother began to get agitated  with Sharon and said you can’t even buy those rosaries because they are not for sale. They belong to the church volunteers and you can’t keep them.

My mother has her own rosaries that my father bought her many years ago. He said he ordered them from Ireland and they are a beautiful shade of green. My mother treasures them and uses them every week. So I said to my mother, ” you know how much your rosaries that dad bought mean to you…, why don’t you ask the church volunteers if they would mind letting Sharon keep the pretty blue rosaries since it would mean so much to her and then you would both have a beautiful pair of rosaries you treasure… and, don’t you think that would be what the blessed mother would want for both of you?” I said I surly don’t think the blessed mother would want you or Sharon to fuss over a pair of rosaries… My mother thought about that for a moment and decided that might be a good thing to do and she did ask the church volunteer if Sharon could keep the pretty blue rosaries… The church volunteer said “yes, of course, Sharon can keep the blue rosaries thank-you for asking…. Sharon, looked up at the volunteer and said “you mean I can keep these rosaries?” The volunteer smiled and said yes you can keep them consider them a gift…Sharon said ” thank-you, I appreciate it, because “they’re mine…”

Gotta LOVE it!

Stay Tuned

Shantel’s Letter To Katie

If you follow my blog, you may recall on 06/07/2013 a post titled Family Dynamics. In that post, I posted a response my daughter, Katie, sent to me in response to another post titled Love From A Distance. Naturally, since I mainly write my blog as a means to document our lives for my daughter, Shantel, who is blind, and would have no need for photo albums…, Shantel reads my blog although she’s never left a comment, until now.

The response my daughter, Kate sent me which is posted on my blog dated 06/07/2013, titled Family Dynamics, was very upsetting to Shantel and Shantel has been working with our therapist ever since. Our therapist suggested Shantel write a letter to Katie and have me post it on my blog. You see, our therapist believes, as I do, that people should talk about issues until there are no more issues to talk about. And, she has access to and fully supports my blog stating it is well written and a great communication tool. So, after reviewing the letter Shantel wrote to Katie with our therapist for approval, here is the letter Shantel asked me to post. For those of you who may not know my twenty year old daughter, Shantel… here she is in her own words to her biological mother, Katie. The letter is long but necessary:

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Katie,

I have read your response to mom’s blog post and I have some questions and comments about what you said in that response. First off I really don’t understand where you get off thinking that you can tell Mom what she can talk about on her blog. As an American citizen she has the right to talk about anybody she wants to including you. You then went on to say how you didn’t mean to give me up and if you could do it all over again Mom and Dad wouldn’t have me. How selfish could you be? Would you rather have me dead? You know as well as I know that you would not have been there for me when I was fighting cancer and all the other challenges that I have faced. I don’t even think you know all the challenges that I have had to face. You then went on to say that I have been brain washed and Mom has filled my head with lies and told me that you didn’t want me. No, she never told me you didn’t want me, you did a good job of showing me that through your actions over the years. What was I supposed to think when you didn’t show up for my surgeries or birthday parties and never stopped by to see me unless it was on your time. You then went on to say what a horrible person Mom was and how she was mean to you your whole life. If that was true, why would you give me to her? That leads me to my next point. You have always implied that you didn’t know what you were signing and Mom stole me away from you. If that was true, why haven’t you been at the police station and the court-house every day for the last eighteen years fighting to get me back? The answer to this is that you know you signed those adoption papers, nobody quilted you into it or anything. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that you rarely came to see me growing up. And, I can’t even remember how many times you said you would do something and you never did because apparently your boyfriends and your friends were more important. An example that stands out the most to me is why you couldn’t come to my twelfth birthday party. You promised my for weeks that you would. Mom and I were so excited to see you, but on the day of the party you didn’t come or even call. You did call two days later and told me you couldn’t come because you were sick. I found out two weeks later that you were really selling drugs that day and had been pulled over for it. This is exactly why I have always felt that I was never important to you.

You also said in your response that you have proof that Mom was mean to you your whole life. I really want to see this proof. You then brought up Uncle Stephen and how you don’t want Mom talking about her own brother. Since we are on this topic why don’t we talk about what you did at his funeral. I thought it was very inappropriate that you would bring three of your friends to make fun of Mom as she was giving the eulogy. You can have disagreements with her but for you to do this at a funeral just shows how childish and selfish you are.

The last points I wanted to touch on is how you said you don’t want us talking to Marcus. The thing that pissed me off the most over the years is that every time you got mad at Mom, I wasn’t allowed to see my brother even if I had nothing to do with the disagreement between you and Mom. You have kept my brother away from me for so long that I don’t even know him anymore. And, it’s all because you and I have problems, not me and Marcus.

I would like to close this letter by saying that I hope you do change and if you do hopefully we can try once again to mend our relationship. However, if you don’t I would appreciate it if you would stay out of my life. I’m trying to move on and get over all the years of pain you have caused me and I don’t need you to pop up every once in a while and hurt me again. So you have a choice to make, what is more important to you? Your daughter? Or being right? You choose.

Shantel

Crazy Pecker

Woodpecker that is… except I can’t really call it a woodpecker because he doesn’t peck on wood!!!

When I came in from having breakfast on the patio this morning, I was mumbling something to myself when my daughter, Shantel, came through the family room and asked me what I was talking about. I told her there was a crazy woodpecker outside our yard on a light post and he was driving me as crazy as he is. Being blind, Shantel wanted to know what a woodpecker is. I told her she could google it, but the just of it is, it’s a bird that likes to go around drilling holes into wood, like trees. Why would a bird want to do that she asked? I told her that most of the time woodpeckers are looking for bugs in the trees, or they might be creating a nest to raise their little woodpeckers… Oh, she said so why are you upset with the woodpecker that’s out back?

Well, let me explain:

I get up every early every morning and go out for my morning walk. Then I come home and go out and do my water exercises in the pool. Then, as a reward to myself, I enjoy having my breakfast and coffee on the patio where I can meditate while I listen to the little normal birds chirping, and the lovely doves cooing… But now, all of a sudden, we have a mentally crazed woodpecker who likes to peck on metal, like the light post that is just outside our fence in the backyard.

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What difference does it make to you if the woodpecker pecks on a tree or the light post Shantel asked? The difference is when that crazy woodpecker pecks on the metal it sounds like a dam jack hammer that just keeps going, and going, and going… instead of just a much softer pecking sound when they peck on wood… I told her it’s not like there aren’t enough trees around our neighborhood, and in fact, there are some really big nice trees just outside our yard like these…

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So I want that crazy pecker to go learn to peck in the trees again and quit disturbing the peace and serenity of my morning meditations… Shantel said “well, just remember he may be crazy but he’s still one of God’s little creatures…” I told her to remember that the next time she gets pissed off at our precious little kitty, Carmen, who she refers to as the WILD BEAST…

I told her that crazy pecker makes me think of Elmer Fudd with his crazy wabbits! Who is Elmer Fudd she asked…? Google it I said 🙂

Stay tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It: Tales From a Nomadic Life

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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