Blue skies & a perfect Summer day…

Blue skies & a perfect Summer day…

If you could paint a picture of the perfect Summer day, today would have been it. 82 degrees. Blue skies – the absolutely perfect shade of blue. Snow white cotton clouds scattered here and about across the blue. Bright sunshine. Vivid green trees and grass. A constant breeze. It was going to be a fun day and I was up at 6:30 a.m. looking forward to it.

I met my daughter and her four children (ages 15 – 4) at the YMCA at 9:00 a.m. They had been there since before 7:00 a.m. for my grandchildren who swim competitively to practice for two hours.  They do this each weekday morning.  They all get up at the crack of dawn!  I got into my daughter’s van and we headed to a small nearby town where she has “rented” a 40′ x 40′ garden space from a nursery there.

I know I have mentioned my daughter’s drive and energy in previous posts, but sometimes I am amazed.  She takes care of their large (5 bedroom – 5 bathroom) home, does laundry for their family of six, cooks totally from scratch and mostly organic (think even grinding her own flour), homeschools my grandchildren (although they have taken a few classes at the local school),  maintains large flower beds all around their home, puts up homemade jams, takes care of a garden in their backyard which includes vegetables, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries AND now has a large garden space she is renting out from a nursery!  She hopes to “feed their family for a year” with all the produce.  She has purchased organic beef and pork for their freezer as well.  (I remember my Mama commenting on my energy when I was about my daughter’s age.  I confess it isn’t there anymore!)

My daughter had spent a few days over the last couple of weeks getting the garden in shape and it looks great!  Some of the surrounding plots belonging to others – not so much!  Today, she harvested some tender ripe squash and fresh spinach to go along with their dinner tonight.

Roses in my daughter’s flower beds…

Flowers in the front yard…just barely past their prime.

Raspberries in the backyard…

Above and below:  at the 40′ x 40′ garden plot.

All the plants were thriving and looked very healthy. 

Part of it is that my daughter grew all of these plants from

HEIRLOOM seeds in the basement under grow lights! 

Part of it is this rich Midwest soil.  

Below:  Come Autumn, there will be PUMPKINS!

 

 

Afterwards, we drove around the small town and dropped by a few garage sales.  My 4 year old grandson scored his first bike – a bright blue and lime green bicycle that looked new for $10!  Then we stopped by the local Fareway grocery where my daughter picked up her order of organic milk. She buys something like 18 half-gallons at the time and they give her a great price!  They drink a lot of milk.  We stopped by the YMCA for me to pick up my car and then I met them at their house for a pizza lunch.

Last stop before heading home – and by that time I was tired – was the library to pick up the books that I had on hold there.  All in all, it was the perfect Summer morning…complete with blue skies.

Anna Maria Island…

Anna Maria Island…

After a wonderful fun-filled-four-days visiting all four theme parks at Disneyworld, we headed to Anna Maria Island, Florida, for another four days of sun, sand and relaxation.  It had been more years than I could remember since I had seen the beautiful Southern waters of the Gulf.  It brought back memories of our family’s vacations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the Atlantic side years ago.

My daughter had found a very nice beach house for us right on a canal and complete with a private pool.  The house was decorated in the sunny and cool colors of the beach:  shades of blue, yellow, lavender and coral.  The white trim throughout the house accented the colors perfectly.  There were several abstract paintings throughout the house that we learned had been purchased in Brazil.  With speakers inside and outside for the pool, we also enjoyed the beach music selections provided by the owner.

I shared a room with my four year old grandson with a twin bed for each of us.  He’s a perfect little roommate and I loved it when he said, “goodnight, Grandmommy”.  Although on a couple of nights, I was actually asleep before he was and he tiptoed in without waking me.  Perfect little gentleman.

After a morning on the beach, we walked the 5 minutes back to the house and had lunch – after rinsing off in the outdoor shower.  Afterwards, we usually watched a video, played or read for a while during the hottest part of the day.  Then it was out to the pool where the fish my grandchildren loved practicing all their strokes and actually playing in the water.  The three older ones swim competitively and have a stack of blue ribbons to prove it.  Consequently, they have little time to actually “play” in the water.  I enjoyed being in the pool some with them, then reading my Karen White book which I’d brought along with me.

I think my daughter had the perfect idea, scheduling the four relaxing days after the four busy ones.  Ten days passed all too quickly and we flew back to Iowa on Tuesday morning…with a bank of memories of a wonderful time together.

Happy Mother’s Day…

Happy Mother’s Day…

This beautiful floral arrangement from my firstborn was delivered yesterday.

I love the colors and all the different flowers in it.

It reminds me of years ago, when all three of my children were young.

Almost every year…

they would plant flowers in the front flower bed for me for Mother’s Day.

I loved it:  the flowers…and the effort.

Somewhere, there is a photo of the three of them…

bent over the flower bed, laughing and planting flowers together.

Sweet Memories…

Camry crisis…

Camry crisis…

I’d love to drive to the nearest Toyota franchise and drive home with a brand new Camry.  That isn’t going to happen.  I’ve joined the ranks of the retired who are “living on Social Security and a very small dwindling nest egg”.  We bought my Camry new in 1999 and have taken very good care of it through the years.  It has needed occasional work from time to time (don’t we all)  but, overall, it has been reliable and “healthy”.

I had noticed over the past few days that Camry (that’s what I call her) had begun to “run rough”.  I didn’t know what was wrong but I had a suspicion that something was.  It was definitely not time for her appointment for her “new oil, fluids & filter checkup” – not even close.

This morning, I drove down to the local post-office-station at Dahl’s grocery store to mail my check & income tax return to the IRS.  That didn’t do much for me but I knew it would make the IRS happy.

I had a few errands that I needed to run after that:  pick up my reserved book at the library, pick up a prescription at the pharmacy and treat myself to a much-needed-haircut.  I pulled out of Dahl’s parking lot and took a right on 50th Street.  I had barely made it into the center lane, when Camry began shaking violently, not picking up any speed at all.  To top it all off, the engine light was flashing and there was a smell!

As a Registered Nurse since 1978, I’ve calmly handled more than my share of medical crises in the hospital but I’m not a mechanic.  All of a sudden, I did not feel safe and the long string of what-ifs started.  I knew I couldn’t afford a new car.

I pulled into a nearby “Kum & Go” (like a 7-11 for my Southern friends).  There was no way I could get Camry on the interstate to drive to Firestone but that’s where I needed to go.  An angel disguised as a young man working at Kum & Go, took a look under the hood and checked the fluids.  He said I was almost out of coolant and something else.  I bought some and he took care of putting it in the right place under the hood (not usually a service they provide at Kum & Go!) but said he didn’t think this was the real problem.  There was no way the fluids should have been low.  This indicated something else was wrong.  He suggested to get help soon.  I was.  I offered him a generous tip but he graciously, absolutely refused it.

By this time, I have my calm, class-act daughter on the cell phone to alert her of the situation and that I might be in need of rescuing.  Also by this time, I’m shedding a few tears…it’s those what-ifs and the uncertain financial future that gets me every time.  In her reassuring way, she tells me we’ll take one problem at the time.  She stays on the phone with me to give me directions to Firestone via the “back way” since I can’t go the only way I know – via interstate.  She stays with me until I get to Firestone.  I love my sweet girl!

Firestone took one look at me and got Camry in right away.   While they went to work diagnosing the problem, I wandered down the strip mall next to where they are located.  I just knew it was going to be expensive.

First, I went to the pet store.  That always cheers me up – except for the fact that I still cannot have a pet.  Not where I live now.  Eventually, I will be living somewhere that I will have a dog.  Next stop:  Michaels craft store.  It would have been more fun if I had known whether or not I would have any money left to spend!  Next stop:  Gordman’s department store where I bought a thank you card.  I was truly tempted to buy the framed Bible verse in the home department – resting front and center on the middle shelf!  It is one of my favorites:  Romans 8:28.  I said “thank you, Lord, for the subtle reminder”.  By this time, they had called with the diagnosis (I was down to 3 cyclinders and a few other things wrong) estimate:  $460.00!  I said yes of course.  I had no choice.

After that, I treated myself to a $12 manicure and met a sweet young Vietnamese woman.  She asked where I worked.  I said I was retired.  She smiled and shook her head “no”.  She said she thought I was 50!  She wanted to be sure I understood her, so she wrote the number 50 on a piece of paper.  She either a.) needs glasses or b.) is another angel – disguised as a manicurist.

An hour or so later, I picked up Camry – who was now feeling her oats and driving like a dream – and headed out to finish my errands.

 

Memories of Bill…

Memories of Bill…

December 1, 1943 –  April 10, 2006

We are souls living in bodies.  Our bodies grow old, but our souls never die.  Seven years ago, you went to Heaven.  While you are no longer on this earth, your spirit lingers on in the lives of our three amazing children.  You would be so proud of them.  They are strong, loving, successful.  They are giving and devoted spouses.   They are loving, remarkable, wonderful parents.

They are happy.

Our grandchildren are treasures.  I tell them about you often.  I tell them “Granddad stories”.   I wish you could have lived long enough to have met the youngest ones.  They will hear Granddad stories too.  I see so much of you in our children and, now, in the grandchildren.  No doubt, they will have your drive and your competitive streak.  They are all athletic like you.  They’re artistic like both of us.  You would love hearing them play the piano and the violin.

Our grandchildren are incredible blessings and bring me such joy.

From time to time, I do see a mischievous grin on their faces and I know just where that came from…

Love always,

Dianne

Matching shirts in the early seventies…

Our two older children…fifteen & a half months apart.  Joyful, busy days for a young Mom and Dad.  Here they are coloring before bedtime in our son’s “cowboy & Indian” room…
 

late eighties at Vanderbilt University…our little cowboy grew up

Glacier National Park and a week of backpacking…

 

Daddy and Daddy’s girl

 

Graduation day…Mississippi College

Wearing her Dad’s Heroes shirt…

 

Our youngest little bundle of forever joy…

 

Taking a break from playing frisbee by the street lights…

Graduation day at Indiana University…

Our firstborn grandchild helping Granddad paint…

Granddad talking to our daughter’s oldest two children…

Granddad and our firstborn grandchild. At Scott and Amy’s wedding in Memphis…

 

Granddad holding our daughter’s daughter…

 

2004…Granddad holding our daughter’s baby girl.

 

Granddad holding our firstborn’s firstborn…

Playing doll clothes with our older son’s firstborn on a visit to Memphis.

 

Granddad and our older son’s baby girl…they had been playing doll clothes and dolls in the floor with Granddad. We celebrated her second birthday that week.

 

GrandDad, Great-Grandmom, our older son and his daughters…

 

My three sisters and Bill on a visit when we lived in Terre Haute, Indiana. Sad to think that three of them are now in Heaven. My sister (second from right) and I remain behind on this earth…

 

(L to R) Penny (Bill’s sister), Bobbie (Bill’s late Mom) and Bill. This was taken on one of their fun visits to Terre Haute.

A fun photo taken at Silver Dollar City in Missouri.

This is actually my favorite pic of the two of us…

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