Day Nine

Of the ten-day countdown before our daughter, Shantel, moves into her own apartment started out nice and slow. Shantel didn’t have classes today so I didn’t have to make that drive to Phoenix. Instead, I decided I would get the grocery shopping done and go visit my mother. I have been eating, drinking and sleeping talk of “the move” for so long now that I just decided since Shantel would be home today watching her TV shows, I would give myself a little break from even thinking about “the move…” or so I thought!

On my way to visit my mother at the Care Center, I stopped by McDonald’s to get a caramel frappe, her absolute favorite treat.


I bought a small one today because the last time I bought her a large, she drank the whole thing then wouldn’t eat any of her lunch. Well, apparently it doesn’t matter what size frappe she gets, once she has it, all thoughts of getting her to eat her lunch go out the window… All I could manage to get her to eat was a very small bowl of chicken with rice soup. However, as soon as she ate that she immediately wanted to go find the duty nurse, Judy, to let her know she ate soup WITH her lunch, and asked her if she thought that was enough… Judy, not knowing that was all mom ate, and had no idea mom wouldn’t eat her lunch because she drank the frappe before lunch… said “oh yeah, that’s fine.” After I pushed mom back to her room she said to me “that’s how you get in the back door to keep them off your back about eating…”

Visiting with my mother is somewhat of a challenge now because she has lost the ability to follow along with conversations for any length of time. After the initial hello, and hugs, mom will tell me a few things about what she thinks is going on in the care center. However, some of the stories she tells me are really far-fetched… and when I ask the duty nurse about some of the things mom tells me, they tell me most of what mom is talking about didn’t really happen or it is only bits and pieces of an actual event.

Even on the rare occasion when my mother asks me what is going with my husband, Bill or Shantel, when I start telling her she is so easily distracted she will just turn and leave mid-sentence. Today mom asked me about Shantel and what is going on with her. She remembered she is moving out and asked if she is in her new place yet. I tried to explain in simple, short-terms, about Shantel moving, but before I even got to the date of the move, mom turned and started towards the door.


So, because of my mother’s lack of attention span,  I spend most of the time during our visits looking for things to talk about with her.  Today, I happened to notice this little handmade Easter decoration. How adorable is this little chicken egg cover, complete with a real feather for its tail?


See, you flip it over and it is hiding a plastic egg filled with little candies. I LOVE that!


I was able to get enough information out of mom to understand that the woman who oversee the Catholic Church Service every week, and bring Holy Communion to the residents, made these adorable little chick egg covers for all the residents. So CUTE!

Before long my mother said she was tired and wanted to take a nap. I hugged her and said I would see her again soon.

On my way home I thought about my visit with my mother and thought it went well, and in fact, it was a nice distraction from all talk at home about “the move…”

When I arrived home I saw two large garbage bags full of shoes on the kitchen counter. Of course I immediately asked Shantel what was going on and why were all those shoes on the kitchen counter? She said “I just washed them all and now they are ready to put in your car to take to my apartment.” I said “Shantel, first of all who washes all their shoes to move…? And you don’t even get the keys until May 5th, why would you think I want to drive around from now until then with all these shoes in my car? And, why aren’t they in moving boxes?” Shantel smiled and said “I’m not putting all my clean shoes in boxes, it will be fine mom, we will just carry them into my apartment in these nice clean bags…” I said “I’m not going to haul all your belongings into your apartment in “nice clean” garbage bags like some kind of backwoods hillbilly’s.” Her response was ” oh, mom, it will be fine… you worry too much about how things look, relax and it will all be just fine.”

At this point, all I want to do is get through this with what little sanity I have left…. so I conceded to what I have no doubt will be many, many more “nice clean garbage bags full of Shantel’s stuff…


However, in my own defense… I know I am a planner, and I try to have things manageable in my life… Raising a totally blind child for me, required everything in its place, consistency, and not only having a plan, but a back-up plan as well… That’s how I got through it… Shantel is just not like that. She plans nothing, and has no problem just throwing things together on the fly at the last-minute… etc. So, all I can do at this point is respect her wishes, and keep reminding myself that even though she is moving into a one bedroom apartment alone, without roommates to help her along…,  She will be fine. She does things differently than I do… but she is not me, and in reality, I am proud that she is about to dance to the beat of her own  music

I love you Shantel,


Stay Tuned!







Count Down

Ten days from today our beautiful daughter, Shantel, will move out of our home and into her own apartment. Today is day ten of the ten-day countdown. We are all full of emotions. Shantel says she is both excited and a little nervous. My husband, Bill, says it is what it is and that he will miss her but knows it’s time for her to “leave the nest” and make a home of her own. I’m still processing a wide range of emotions. I’m excited because I know this is what Shantel wants and needs. I’m nervous because she has never even spent one night in our home alone. I’m a little fearful because of the unknown. I’m happy because I know Shantel has been well prepared for this day. And, I’m sad because it is the closing of a chapter in our lives as a family unit within our home… and I am so going to miss her presence in this home…

Today Shantel didn’t have to start her first class until 11:00 so she asked me if I would take her to get her hair cut at 9:00, then stop by Fry’s grocery store, the donut shop, and then McDonald’s for lunch all before her first class… Shantel never has just one errand to do it’s always three or more… Always!

As I was driving back home, I started thinking about our family life together over the years… Then, when I arrived home, I started looking through some family photos. This is the very first Christmas dress I bought Shantel and had her first baby picture taken in. I LOVE this photo more than any others because those are Shantel’s natural eyes before she lost them both to cancer..


I also found this picture of her going to receive her First Holy Communion. She looked so beautiful in her dress.


I donated that dress to the church for another child to wear who may not have otherwise be able to afford one.

As time went on, Shantel became very interested in basketball. She LOVED the Phoenix Suns.


She would have us print out the game schedule and listen to every game on her radio in her room. She understood every play and knew all about every player… Bill took her to several Sun’s games. At one game as they were waiting in line for autographs, one of the players, Channing Frye, actually took off his game shoes, signed them, and gave them to Shantel. She also has a basketball signed by all the Phoenix Sun’s players…. Shantel was over the moon excited about all that!

After many, many, hard battles with the school system from grade school all the way up and through High School, fighting for Shantel to have the accommodations she needed. Accommodations such as braille books and assignments from the teachers brailled, so she could read them independently and do her work without the need to have someone read handouts or books to her…, High School graduation day finally arrived. This is Shantel’s High School graduation picture. I’m not so good at taking pictures of pictures and sorry for the flash light on the picture….but you get the picture right?


Our hearts were bursting with pride as Shantel walked across the stage to get her diploma.

Now, our beautiful daughter is graduating college and moving out… and our hearts are bursting with pride again…

We love you so much Shantel. Papa and I know you will do well no matter what path you take in life. You are smart, and strong, and we are so very, very, proud of you.

After I took the walk down memory lane, I realized if I didn’t put the pictures away, I was never going to get through this without becoming an emotional mess… but hey, I’m her mom so it’s OK… So, I ordered the cake for her moving out party on Saturday, and started doing what I always do when I need to take my mind off things… I started cooking. Chicken with olives and capers over long grain black rice for dinner… YUM! 🙂

Stay Tuned!





My husband Bill and I went to Costco this morning and picked up the usual supplies for the week with one exception. Bill saw a Cedar Plank Salmon and thought the price was $14.99 so he decided we should give it a try…


I was ahead of him in the aisle so I didn’t see the price but agreed I thought it would be something different we could have for dinner… I reminded him that Shantel most likely won’t want to try it, but Bill said that didn’t matter because she doesn’t like a lot of things we like… (she is a very picky eater and I bet when she moves into her own apartment, in two weeks, she will survive on hamburgers, fries, and chinese food unless I make something she likes and bring it over to her).

Anyway, I usually sit at the tables at the front of Costco watching people while Bill goes through the check-out line. As he was walking up to me he had a strange look on his face so I asked him what was wrong? As he was looking at the receipt, he said “OMG, I didn’t know that salmon  cost that much!” I said “how much did it cost?” He showed me the receipt and I almost passed out when I saw it cost a whopping $30.02!!! I said “wow Bill, that is a lot of money for a piece of salmon…” That is when he said I thought the sign said the salmon was $14.99. Obviously he misread the sign or looked at the wrong sign altogether! I said “well why don’t you take it back while we are still here and tell them you misread the sign?” He said “no, it will be OK, we will try it.” Then he laughed and said “But I hope it isn’t too good.” I said “yeah, because we don’t want to fall in love with something we can’t afford to keep buying, especially now that we will be trying to help Shantel too…” Ha!

When we got home I told Bill I was going to do a blog post about this little OOPS! As I was preparing to write this blog post I was still thinking about how much money that salmon really cost. Then I remembered my birthday is this coming Monday, so I said to Bill “hey, we can just count that salmon as a nice birthday dinner.” He picked up the salmon, laughed, and said “I don’t think it would be too good by December!”


Funny boy… his birthday is in December!

But all is well that ends well… and our little salmon oops gave us a real good laugh… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!



Delayed Easter Dinner

I went to visit my mother at the care center today. I arrived just as she was getting ready to go to lunch. I pushed her into the dinning room where a “new” resident was sitting at the table my mother and her tablemate Joan claim to be “their table.” What an issue ensued as a result of that.

Immediately my mother wanted to know who she was and who told her she could sit at “her” table. The new lady said her name as Mary and she was lost. She said she needed to find her brother-in-law who must be walking up and down the halls looking for her. One of the dinning room workers came over and asked Mary is she would like some potato soup. She said “no, I just need to know where I am and where my brother-in-law went. She said she needed to go to a phone and call all the 800 numbers so she could find him. About that time my mother’s tablemate Joan arrived and wanted to know who this new woman was and who told her she could sit at “her” table… Mary said she didn’t know who brought her here but she just wanted to find her brother-in-law.

My heart went out to this new resident as it was very clear she was confused and afraid. That didn’t matter to my mother or Joan… No, they were both relentless in firing questions at Mary and even insisting one of the dinning room workers get a nurse or aid to get this woman away from “their” table. Joan said she wouldn’t have enough room to sit at her side of the table if a third person was sitting at “their” table. Never mind that every other table in the dinning room has four residents per table… my mother and Joan have a pecking order set up at their table and no one is going to go against the rules they have established. Joan is number one at the table because she has been at the care center longer than my mother and they laid claim to table number one right by the door. They made such a fuss about this new woman being allowed to sit at “their” table that finally one of the office workers, a Social Worker, came in and took Mary back to her room along with her lunch… Oh my, I swear, if you closed your eyes and just listened to the commotion in that dinning room about who belongs to what table… you would think you were sitting in a prison dining room…

After Mary was removed from the dinning room, Joan proceeded to tell me that the center is having a delayed Easter dinner today for lunch because apparently someone forgot to order the ham that was supposed to be served on Easter Sunday. I said “so you are all going to celebrate Easter together right now? Joan and my mother said “yes” we are celebrating Easter today and after lunch we are having a church service and a choir come to sing Easter songs to us. I just shook my head and thought to my self… “you might want to use that time to go repent for how both of you just treated the new resident, Mary..

However, I keep my thoughts to myself and sat through lunch with my mother and Joan. On the menu was ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and a roll.


I helped my mother cut up her ham and she started eating saying how good everything tasted. However, her tablemate Joan took a couple bites of the ham and said “this ham is too thick, fatty and it’s tough… I couldn’t believe my mother when she said “oh, yes it is, and I can’t even eat it..”

I said “mom, are you kidding me, a minute ago you were diving in with both hands and saying how good everything was… she didn’t say anything but this is the look I got…


Then she put her fork down and said “I’m not going to eat that, I will just wait for desert. Lucky for her it was strawberry shortcake which is one of her favorites.


Both my mother and Joan said the desert was delicious! I was just glad to see that at least one thing good came out of that whole delayed Easter dinner that seemed to make both mom and Joan happy…

After lunch I pushed mom back to her room where she showed me her Easter stash.


I said “oh wow mom you have so much candy perhaps you can share some with the new resident, Mary…” She didn’t respond so I just smiled and said “OR NOT…!”

I decided a change of subject was in order so I asked mom if she would like to talk to her sister, my Aunt Ellen. She said she would so I called Aunt Ellen and mom had a nice chat with her  until mom got distracted about something going on in the hall and handed me the phone back. I chatted with Aunt Ellen for a few minutes and she thanked me for making the call.

This was one of those visits that reminds me that while I am frustrated with the behavior I witnessed from both my mother and Joan in their treatment of Mary, I must not judge them. I’m not in the position they are in now… and I hope I never have to be.

All I know is I’m still thinking about and feeling bad for Mary…!

Stay Tuned!




Easter 2014

Happy Easter!

Bill and I started our Easter Sunday by attending a 6:00 a.m. sunrise service at our church. Then we came home and had a light breakfast because we knew we were going to have lunch/dinner out.

Since our Arizona family has dwindled down to the precious few, with most of our adult children and grandchildren living in Colorado, last year my husband Bill, daughter Shantel, and I decided we would go to Joe’s Crab Shack for Easter lunch/dinner. Shantel said she wanted to try crab legs so off to Joe’s we went. Well, she LOVED those crab legs so much, she asked if we could go there again this Easter, and in fact, wanted to know if we could make that our “new” Easter family tradition, (wait a minute… what “new” family tradition…your moving out in 3 weeks.. just saying…)

Another Easter tradition in our family has been that the Easter Bunny always puts Shantel’s Easter treats in her very first Easter Basket, saved for 21 years and counting… A cute little basket with a bunny face on the front,


and bunny tail on the back, with the basket in between…And true to tradition, the Easter Bunny filled her basket again this year with all her Easter favorites.


When it came time for our Easter lunch/dinner, we headed over to Joe’s Crab Shack. Bill had a Southern bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp plate, complete with one of my all time favorites…., hush puppies!


I went for the East Coast sampler platter. It had fish & chips, crab stuffed shrimp, and a delicious crab cake.


Shantel said nothing but King Crab Legs was going to hit the spot for her. She went after those crab legs with a vengeance!


However, when Shantel heard that Bill had bacon wrapped shrimp on his plate, well of course she asked if she could try one… She loved it. Then when she found out I had fries on my plate, she asked if she could have some of them… (not like she hasn’t ever had fries…) But hey, I was happy to share as it was more than enough for me… 🙂

I asked Shantel if she was enjoying her Easter meal. She said ” yes, I’m just so overwhelmed with food right now I don’t know where to start.” Trust me, she had no problem working her way through all that food.


That girl can EAT!!!

When the waitress came by to ask if anyone saved room for desert… both Bill and I said we couldn’t eat another bite… But not our girl… no, she asked what her choices were and decided on an apple cobbler type desert topped with cinnamon ice cream..


OMG… where does she put it all and stay so slim…?

Hoping each and every one of you enjoyed a Happy Easter!

Stay tuned!









Our New Furniture

Look what the Easter Bunny brought us! Our brand new La-Z-Boy power reclining sofa. Just push a button on either end and they recline. So, so, comfortable. I may never get Bill out of the house again… Ha!


And, the matching reclining rocking chair. I love, love, love, to rock and this chair has my name written all over it… 🙂


The color is called silt. The fabric is a micro fiber that is made to look like leather and this particular color looks like an old bomber jacket. Very  rustic, and fits into our decor perfectly!

Our other sofa and chair were over 18 years old so it was time to bite the bullet and get new. So happy we did because we just LOVE “our new furniture!”

Happy Easter. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Mustgo Pasta Salad

Every week we have a dish made from small amounts of left overs from other meals during the week. This past week we had B-B-Q chicken, tacos, a goulash pasta dish, and smoked pulled pork sandwiches. And like always, we had some leftovers… So today, I made what I call “mustgo pasta salad.


I had a half of bag of pasta left over from the goulash dish so I cooked that. While the pasta was cooking, I chopped up a half of a green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and green olives that were left over from a salad earlier in the week. I also had some black olives, and green onions left over from taco night, so I chopped them up as well. I put everything into a large mixing bowl and added some left over smoked pulled pork and a left over B-B-Q chicken breast that I pulled off the bone and cubed.  I added some frozen corn, and two Weight Watcher smoked string cheese sticks that I cubed. I mixed in some light Mayo and some fat-free Italian dressing (just enough to coat all the ingredients). Seasoned with coarse black pepper to taste, covered with plastic wrap, and set it in the refrigerator to allow all the flavors to blend and the smoke from the pulled pork and smoked cheese to seep into the dish lending that smoke flavor to all the other ingredients.

When it’s dinner time, I will simply add some crusty bread and call it good… The best part about this, is dinner has been ready and in the refrigerator since 10:30 this morning, leaving me plenty of time to get the laundry done, make this post, and we don’t have any more left overs! Sounds like a win/win deal to me… 🙂

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 in

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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