Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sweet Aunt Mary

The "aunts" in Bob's family have always
been a special part of our lives.
And now that my aunts & uncles are gone,
these sweet ladies mean more to me than ever.
There are only two surviving
and today was Aunt Mary's birthday.

Her sister's always called her "Mary Jo".
She was born Mary Josephine,
down in the hills of southern Indiana.
Like my mother-in-law,
her sister Bonnie,
she too has Alzheimer's.
The Colbert Family
Levi, Amelia, John
Bonnie, Bernice, Donna & Mary 

They were a close knit family,
always remembering each other's birthdays,
celebrating holidays together,
finding any kind of excuse to see each other.

Mary was a farmer's wife.
She had the duty of preparing a full noontime meal
for the farm workers every weekday.  
Some days would even find her helping in the fields.
Her home and family were her world
and she saw that both were well taken care of.
She was a wonderful cook, a gardener, a talented seamstress,
& she was devoted to her church.

  Ralph & Mary had one daughter, Brenda Gayle
and she was the joy of their life.
And what no parent should ever have to face,
they lost their Brenda a few years ago.

 on their 60th wedding anniversary

Life's journey has brought them to our home town.
Within the last two weeks, for health reasons,
they have had to make some major changes
in their lifestyle, at least temporarily.
Ralph fell, broke his hip, had surgery & is having
to go through rehabilitation.
Mary cannot live alone.

   on their 70th anniversary

I've watched them in the last two weeks.
Their love for each other is still evident
after more than 70 years together.
I'm not sure one could survive without the other.
He mumbles words that I can't understand
and she repeats what she thinks he said
and is usually right!

Sweet Aunt Mary

This is Aunt Mary's 90th birthday.
I went to see her & in her state of mind,
she didn't realize what day it was.
We visited for quite a while,
she asking me about things in her past
that I didn't know.
She told me things about the family that I did know...
that her mother was German-
her father was French-
she was the oldest child-
Donna the youngest-
 that she married Ralph when she was 18-
she almost died when Brenda was born-
she knew her Brenda was gone-
and she was the wife of a farmer.

And now she sits in a wheelchair,
close to the beside of her Ralph,
encouraging him to get up & move around,
content to just be there with him.
They think that they will be going back home soon,
as soon as Ralph can get his strength back.
And they are beginning to realize that they can no longer
do it alone.

Ninety years.
Aunt Mary told me that they go by so quickly...
and for me to be sure to enjoy my family while I'm young.
It's only 28 years away!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Dirty Bird! -- or Murder in My Back Yard

I'm a bird feeder.
Well, I suppose I should word that as...I enjoy feeding the birds.
The feeder is right out my kitchen window & I try to keep it filled,
especially on the very cold days.
I have chickadees, finches, cardinals, & way too many sparrows.
During the springtime there are many other varieties that come.
And while Steve was staying here for a while,
we got a book on the birds of Indiana & became
quite the bird watchers.

We have a Norway Spruce pine tree that we planted too close to the
patio many years ago, and it now stretches over 24 feet tall.
The birds love it.
I call it their high rise apartment.
You can watch them come to my feeder,
then scurry back to the safety of their tree.

But one of them got to brave late this afternoon.
Too late, I saw a hawk with something in his talons,
holding it down
& then he had his dinner!
Right there in my back yard, just out my kitchen window,
that dirty bird murdered one of my birds in cold blood!

I almost went to the door to shoo him away,
but I realized that it was too late to save what he had in his clutches,
so let nature take it's course.
I about lost MY appetite
& at one point had to walk away from the window.
I've seen him hanging around here for quite some time
and once saw him swoop down into my gazebo,
thankfully not catching any of my pretty finches.
I'm sure he will be back--
the dirty bird!
You should see the awful mess he made.
At least he could clean up after himself!

I think he is a Cooper's hawk.
Any of you bird watchers feel free to correct me!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is There a Casket in the House?

Snow days, Daddy having to go on a business trip,
& Mommy's 12 hour shift at the hospital
can make for frazzled nerves for the babysitter.
Not that they are bad kids...
it is just a little stressful when big brother is home from school,
it's too cold to go outside,
& you are used to the peace & quiet of your own home.
That is what happened to Uncle Steve yesterday,
the official sitter for the day.
So...I told him to bring them out to Grandma for a while.

Spaghetti is one of their favorite meals
so as they played in the family room
I stirred up the pasta & hurried to finish dinner.
The twins were playing & out of one ear
I heard Paige say to Peyton
"Hey!  Let's play dead."
Next I heard giggles so I thought maybe I should
take a peak at what in the world they were doing.
I wish I would have snapped a picture!

There in my brand new bench that I had just been bragging about,
was Paige!
...with the lid up & her stretched out like she was in a casket!
Of course I hollered at them to get out of my bench right this minute
& never to do that again!
I then realized that just maybe Peyton & Paige have been too a few too
many funeral home visitations recently.
It just goes to show you that little eyes are more observant than we realize
& they do know what is going on.
And it also makes Grandma think that maybe she shouldn't
be quite so worried about her decor.
It only takes a 5 year old to knock the props
out from under you...
or the bottom out of your bench!

(Thankfully no furniture was damaged in this episode!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Do you "putz"?
I have a friend from near Chicago & she is always talking
about "putzing" around.
I doubt that you will find the word in Webster's--
put I think I've been doing some of it myself!

Everything always seems so bare after the Christmas decorations are down.
One day found me in T J Maxx--which just happens to be
one of my very favorite places to pop into every few days--
(you never know what you might find!)
and I saw a display of storage stools.
Well, I'm not sure that is the correct decorators term for them,
but they do have storage & they are a stool!
Maybe bench would be a better word...

I loved the French script
but left the store without one as I wasn't quite sure
it would look right in my traditional home.
But I kept thinking about it-
found myself flopping down the back seats of my car-
grabbing a tape measure to make sure it would fit!
& off I went to bring one home.

I love it!
And I don't have a clue what the script is saying...
so please don't tell me if it is something inappropriate!

And then as I stood back & admired my "bench"
(that does sound better!)
I realized I needed something else to finish off my room.
Pottery Barn to the rescue!

Only when we first moved in our house over 31 years ago,
did we have window treatments at this triple door.
It was a heavy drapery that pulled to the left end
& mostly covered that section of window.
I didn't leave it up very many years.
Later I did have the lace valances that were the rage for a few years,
but they finally came down too.
Last winter I had used these draperies in our living room
& dining room re-do & fell in love with them.
For this room, I only got one panel for each side
as I didn't want to cover up the woodwork.
Now I think the room looks finished.
Finally...after all of these years!

So, no more putzing around for me.
At least not in the family room!

do I need new carpet?

Duponi silk drapery panels in Ivory from Pottery Barn
Cast Iron drapery rod from Pottery Barn
"Restrained Gold" paint from Sherwin Williams
(not as bright as it shows in the photos)

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Beginnings

I've been busy!

Several years ago I quit making New Year's Resolutions
as I would more often than not disappoint myself.
This year was the same...
no resolutions,
but a clean slate to begin a new year.
And I have been working on it!

I have a bad habit...
well, actually I have several bad habits,
but this one--I'm going to work on this year.
It seems that I love to start projects in a big way,
but soon lay them aside & they never get finished.
I've been looking around my home
& there are some loose ends that need to be tied up.

So, for this year my non-New Year's resolution is...
to finish my pile of unfinished projects.
And that should keep me busy for a while.

In the meantime, I have some deep cleaning to do,
dust bunnies to drag out from behind the couch,
closets to clean, clutter to clear,
& Christmas decorations to store away for another year.
(There is a small mountain of them waiting for me in the garage!)

And in between my sprees of clutter clearing & cleaning,
there are birthday's to celebrate,
grandkids to hug,
& my family to take care of.

January is my month of new beginnings.
I enjoy the quiet evenings after all of the hustle & bustle
and don't mind at all getting snowed in a time or two.
I hear a project calling my name...
waiting to be finished.
Wish me luck!