Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weekend Wrapup or pick

Still cold around here, very cold in fact. Friday we had dinner at Olive Garden with the more freebie birthday coupon used up, one to go.  Any excuse, right?  But it's always great fun to be with Pam and Ken.

Now I get to Saturday...just so am not sure how I feel about this portion altho I will say, waiting and letting the steam dissipate helped.  I have this new calling...bizarro in my opinion.  I am now the Stake Employment Specialist.  That term, 'Specialist' give me the heebie jeebies.  PLUS I am not fond of stake callings.  These callings  all seem so inflated and hoity toity.  When to me all they seem to be is busy work.  So anyway...I got this calling which only means I am to make sure the WARD specialists are doing their duties, or are trained, or are working with the ward councils.  And honestly, it's only on the ward level that changes actually are seen.  The President told me that I got the calling because no one else has done the calling in the past so apparently I will.

I started immediately by sending out emails to get updated info...and of course, only 2 of the 7 units even have a ward specialist.  This past Saturday I sent out emails to bishops/specialists with info on the webinar and the training conference in March.  I also encouraged them all to be safe, keep warm and if they were shoveling, to be sure and clearn out the fire hydrants around their home, suggesting it might save some lives as well maybe produce some job leads by grateful neighbors.  I even included a picture with a message (to make it girlie) but truly because it's what we all need to learn, to do, and to encourage others. ME IN PARTICULAR!

A few hours later I get an email that proves these men have no clue what email ettiquette is.  My email was forwarded up with chain of command with this comment:  Not sure Susan sends you her emails, but as you can see she is in attack mode,  (make note of the comment).  And I only knew this because the President forwarded all of this to the bishops with a note encouraging them to work on getting ward specialists called.  What bothered me was that ATTACK MODE comment.  I had no clue what it mean. The man who wrote it is a kind man but obviously has a different set of language skills.  I fussed because if it was a negative comment then all the bishops now think I have an attack mode.

And for my family who these blog posts are intended, you know that if I'm attacking THE WORLD WILL KNOW IT AND "THERE WILL BE BLOOD TONIGHT" (reference Princess Bride).  It took me a good 2 days to get over this.  Finally I just decided I didn't care and it wasn't worth the angst.

I had about a 3 hours chat by phone with  Diane Pepin on the east coast.  it was the best 3 hours I've spent in a long time.  We laughed and remembered and shared info.  She was a bit sad at one point and I tried to get her mind off the topic by telling her about the stake calling/incident mentioned above.  Suddenly she's laughing through her tears and says, "Susan, Everyone needs a Bitch..and that's you."  Then I started laughing.  I wrote it down next to my desk to remind myself.  If the soul purpose of me having this calling is to be a thorn in the sides of each bishop so they get a ward specialist than that's what I will do.  Bitch or not.  I'm going with Bitch!

Sunday dawned bright and frigid.  Crazy winter!  I was still fussing inside my head but by the time Nila Eddington presented an amazing lesson in RS I had overcome myself and the world!  Here's Nilasari who is from Indonesia, married to a  Blackfood, ID man/Harvard lawyer.  She homeschooled her kids 'forever' til she herself got ill so now only does it til 3rd or 4th grade.  I have given 4 of her 5 children piano lessons for what seems like years. They are gifted kids in their own ways.  Hyrum is finishing up his first year at BYU and will then leave for a mission (he had skipped a grade or two of school so he could attend college while he aged to 18.  Next comes Sam who along with Tiara are my favorites. Then there's James who hates to play the piano and knows it all and then young Jonathan who dislikes Primary so he stays with Nila.  What we get out of sweet Nila is enough to feed me for days.

I am sure that at least one of the sisters in the room freaked out when she saw me snap this picture and I don't care.  Truthfully she's all about rules and laws but certainly excuses herself from most of them.  Me? I don't care.  This was not Sacrament Mtg.  It was not the chapel and Nila said she was ok with my blogging about her and her lesson.

So getting to the lesson, which was "Lord, Is It I?" from October's General Conference...Nila put up a piece of paper that said:
And she spent a second or two wondering about the wording but promised us she'd get back to this and she did.  Toward the end of the lesson, she reminded us how English was a second language for her and she worked so hard at learning the grammar.  "I" is a subjective pronoun, she said.  "ME" is an objective pronoun. And as she pondered on this (truly who ponders over pronouns...not me but thankfully Nila did) she said she realized that as a subject, "I", becomes personal, a person...and I can only change myself.  We cannot ever change an object.  It is what is it. Period. But we can change ourselves. We can make certain that we are doing all we can to follow Christ. (how cool was this thought?)

Then she put up another piece of paper that said:
She said she learned this from Rebecca Stay..that Hineni meant, either when young Samuel heard his call or when Abraham, about to sacrifice Isaac, answers the Lord...I am ready to do what you want.

I decided to look up more information on this word because Nila's lesson's end was meant only for me on Sunday.  I was struggling and mad.  I look too much for perfection and strive too hard for it myself.  But here was this humble and wonderful woman who learned English as a 2nd language and there she stood speaking the words the Lord wanted me to hear.  I needed to read more.

From Shir  Heharim    In Judaism, big ideas often come in small words. Many of us might be familiar with the word Shalom. It means, among other things, hello, goodbye, and peace. In the Torah reading tomorrow, another word stands out. We encounter it when God first turns to Abraham and asks him to take his son Isaac to the top of the Mountain. We encounter it when Isaac turns to his father and asks him where the sacrificial offering is. And we encounter it at the top of the mountain, when the angel of God stops Abraham and tells him not to strike his son. The word is Hineni. …Here I Am.

Every time Abraham says Hineni, here I am, he is confronted with the the challenges and temptations--each of us faces. Each Hineni is like an arrow, pointing upward to God and inward to ourselves.
As I studied this word, "hineni ," I discovered that is repeated twenty-two times in the Hebrew Bible. It reflects our ancestor's readiness to do God's work, to take up whatever task was theirs. The word "hineni" appears four times in the story of the Binding of Isaac and five more times in the stories of Jacob, Esau and Joseph. In each instance the word connotes something more than mere physical presence. "Hineni" means that "I am here with all of my being, physically and spiritually, ready to do what I need to do and fully present in the moment."

According to biblical scholars, child sacrifice was practiced by other ancient near eastern religions of the time. By asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and then stopping him, God may have been teaching that this new religion, Judaism, would not follow this practice.

Be that as it may, our focus in modern times is different. We are not focusing on what Abraham was asked to do. We are looking at how he responded. We are looking at Abraham’s development, not the legitimacy of the test he was asked to undertake. That development begins with Abraham’s answer to God's opening question “Ayekah--where are you? God asks. "Hineni," Abraham answers. Here I am. God was not asking a mere geographical question. God knew Abraham’s physical location. Rather, God was asking a spiritual question. Ayekah, "Where are you on your life's journey? Are you ready for a new and extraordinary challenge?” Abraham could have answered differently. Isaac was the fulfillment of his dream, the son he had prayed for. The question God asked likely filled him with fear. Yet, despite his fear, Abraham answered, "Hineni. Here I am.”  

At some point in our lives, we have all been Abraham. We have faced tremendous challenges and difficult choices. Perhaps we had gotten comfortable with life. Perhaps we had achieved something we longed for. In the case of Abraham, he had finally gotten the son he prayed for. Yet, for Abraham, as for all of us, something happens. Our plans are changed. Our path takes an unexpected turn. We face challenges we could not have imagined.  

Saying Hineni for ourselves is the first step. As Rabbi Hillel famously said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" Yet, another question follows: "If I am only for myself, what am I?" Life gains meaning only when we begin living for something larger than ourselves. Reaching this state takes time. Some people may never get there. Yet, we must try. Abraham does. On their journey up the mountain Isaac turns to his father and says, "Abah, Father,” and Abraham answers “Hineni Beni, here I am my son.” I am with you. Things may not seem right. I am frustrated and afraid. Our future looks uncertain. But Hineni, I am here with you.

Following this road, we arrive at our final scene. Abraham and Isaac have reached the peak of the mountain. Isaac is bound to two pieces of wood. Abraham has his knife raised. Suddenly, an angel cries, “Abraham, Abraham.”  The angel said Abraham's name twice out of a sense of urgency. The angel needed to get Abraham's attention before he let the knife fall. Abraham, Abraham, stop. Listen. Pause. You have become so bound up in your task that you cannot listen or hear anything or anyone else. Step back.
It worked. “Hineni,” Abraham answers, I am here. I am aware. I am fully present. This Hineni is one of intense feeling and recognition. It is as if Abraham awakens from a stupor and comes to a new appreciation of the fragility of life.

This awakening can also happen to us. When we go through times of pain, of trauma--in our work, in our family, in our mental or physical health--we can lose touch with reality. We can fall into an emotional stupor. In fact, an angel can be an ordinary individual who, without even realizing it, brings a divine scheme to fruition.

This is who Nila was for my on Sunday and I am ever so grateful for her. What she taught me calmed my anguish and lead me to a better understanding of myself.  I went home so much more happier than I had the whole weekend!

Sunday came and we enjoyed a dinner at Marissa's home with the boys.  I'm still bothered that she has no working stove.  We said we'd locate her a working used stove like we bought for 809 but apparently Hank and his mom, who gave them this old stove whose parts aren't available anymore, are emotionally attached to it and Marissa won't consider even a used one.

JK Simmons won an Oscar for his film Whiplash and in his speech he encouraged to everyone if they can, to call their moms...not text, not pick up the phones and call.  I think it's great advice.  I am grateful when my kids call.  I don't even mind the skyping/face times.  I just so love my kids..I just so want to keep in contact with them one way or another.

It's Monday now and I have Skyped with Dawn as she tried to walk me through installing the double sided tape into the ATG700 gun...finally I figured out that the whole new roll was wound backwards.  Plus we chatted on and off. Then I got a text from Hillary who needs help with her sewing machine. So we facetimed and hopefully we will correct the problem.  It's been lovely.  Last night I got a text from Jocelyn, updating her floor rehab problem. It was all wonderful.  Now if only I could Skype with my mom!

But life is good....altho I've decided I am not good at piecing a quilt top together. I've been working on this one square all morning and it's still not right and the first square is not correct sizewise.  Oh joy...that means I'll have to take it all apart.  But my bestie, the Petite Frite Diane Pepin told me to plow on and just do it and so I shall.  Well, that's my blog post today.  Life is wonderful.  Everything is AWESOME...socks, ants, bugs, wind chill, friends, crazy ol' men, sewing machines, tissues, TP, Evan who knows how to unclog a toilet, that's enough for now.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Minus 12 degrees actual

Yes, this is us this morning...which equates to about -20 windchill.  I lay in the bed listening for the normal sounds of morning and hearing very few.  What actually awoke me was a stream of emergency vehicles careening down Lake Road, siren and lights blaring, reverberating around our bedroom.  At first I thought it might be coming to our house and I worried (cuz I am such a great worrier).  But they sped past and then...............SILENCE.  Truly an eerie silence.  Not often heard on Lake Road. Then these words came from my brain.

-12 degrees actual

Silence!  It is so silent outside
Occasionally a car goes by,
slower than usual
And not nearly as many.

It's as if the air is fragile--
So fragile that everything knows
That any movement or noise 
Will cause it to shatter.

I am so NOT a poet altho Lin is always encouraging her readers to give it a try.  But this morning, this is what came out of lying in bed and just listening.

Perhaps this is the message I need for just lie or sit and LISTEN.  

Christmas 2013 M2T2 gave both Robert and me a memory book, small and fat. Each date had a question we were to answer.  I just finished mine last week...I think it took so long because of all the memories and emotions those questions stirred in me. It took so long because sometimes I would have to sit and listen to my heart and head remind me of details, some of which I could write down...others just had to be relived.   After a bit, I realized I should have typed up the Q/As for myself, or for the other kids. It is a powerful bit of family history.  I didn't because I wanted M2T2 to have this book to share with their kids before moving to San they will be able to always connect the book/memories to their Granny in Ohio...not just read from afar.

Sunday an amazing friend returned a book to me with this sticky attached to the cover.  I've scanned it because Linda Bruderer has a distinctive handwriting style I want to remember.

And she told me this was meant specifically for Marissa's move.  And very true each time I have to say good bye to all my kids.

Back to the is so cold, breaking records as far south as Ohio's Lower Peninsula (as Jordan has just called Florida).  Up here we are fortunate.  Our bodies get us ready gradually for the temperature changes...either cold/freezing or hot/sweltering.  But our poor New Hatch Batch have no time to adjust.  

Jordan bought Hillary this as a surprise gift:
They added the wood pegs to represent where they were both from and where they began their own eternal family.  I think despite the fact they live in a sort of wonderland in Florida, their hearts will always belong in Ohio.  I miss them...terribly.  As I miss all my kids, and will especially miss Marissa and her family.  Having them so close, eating every Sunday together was such a blessing.  Having them buy a home gave me the false sense that they'd be here forever even tho I knew that was not going to be true.  

It needs to be that lying/sitting and listening is what will get me through whatever separations may come..and oh how happy I would be if any of my kids move any bit closer to us.  Nah..not going to happen but I often live in a fairy tale world.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Birthday Tea

66 this year.  Amazing.  But sad if I think I might only have 20 years left on this earth.

This was also the weekend for the Women's Association (Lorain County Historical) Hickories Tea so it wasn't much of a birthday.  How I love working with these amazing woman.  I probably write about this every February but I cannot help myself.

This year's theme was Bullets, Broads, and Bathtub you know the era.  The program handed out contained a lot of information to read but there was also a presentation that preceded the high tea.

 This exquisite piece rested on the box piano and was on display throughout the weekend. So wish this belonged to me.


Dutch Schultz, born Arthur Flegenheimer, took over the wholesale trade in beer in New York.  His wars with Jack "Legs" Diamond and Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll spilled much blood in the city at the end of the decade.  Within the next 7 years all 3 men would be dead, killed by their enemies' family, friends or paid assassins.

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was just an apprentice mobster in the 20s, but in later years he  worked his way nearly to the top.  He had Las Vegas marked out as his spot u ntiil an unfriendly but quite accurate bulled marked Bugsy's spot.

Owney Madden came to NYC from Liverpool, England, and ruled the theft-ridden West Side docks.  He rang up 44 arrests but served no jail time until Little Patsy Doyle got killed shortly after  Doyle had put 5 bullets in Madden during a dancehall quarrel.  After serving his time in Sing Sing, Madden became a principal player in the "big Seven" or the "sundicate" that controlled all vice, gambling and crime in the East. He 'retired' to Hot Springs, Arkansas at the age of 40.

  This is the Moose at the midpoint landings.  The moose this weekend was sporting Arthur Garford's own hat!

In NYC Police Commissioner Whalen's men counted the speakeasies and come up with 32.000 just in the city and that was thought to be a low number.  One of the "speaks" sported an exterior that looked like a synagogue; others were set up as a restaurant or tea rooms. All you needed to know to get the hard stuff was the rigth word or maybe the right wink.  A Treasury Department report showed that between 1920 an 1928 the  Government had fired 706 prohibition agents and prosecuted 257 others for taking bribes.

Robert manned the bathtub gin speak easy.  Here he is putting the finishing touches on the bathtub gin.  He's adding Juniper berries to the 'tub' which is why (we learned) gin has a pine taste to it.

 I think he really enjoyed himself this year.  The ladies all swooned after they left him and I could hear the comments.  Such a handsome man up in the speakeasy is a rare treat.  In order to get a shot glass of gin (sparkling Apple Cider), they had to give him the password that their luncheon servers would tell them if they asked.  It was NOODLE JUICE which was a 20s slang term for 'tea'.

Here is just one table setting.  Each place had a string of beads for ladies to wear, draped over the bishop's hat folded napkins. 

Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas"  Guinan, a garish blonde with a brassy voice, had a name for the customers who frequented her nightclubs in NYC.   She greeted them all with "Hello, Sucker!"  She originated the slogan "Never give a sucker an even break."  She owed her fame to her brushes with the 18th Amendment -- she was arrested numerous times - but she didn't care.  Miss Guiana made a pretty good living out of her troubles--up to $4000 a week.
  Me playing nonstop Scott Joplin.

Helen Morgan ran a few nightclubs in NYC but she added music to go with the happy juice.  She was known for her torch songs, especially "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Showboat. Her clubs illustrated the pattern that persisted around the country: speakeasies that featured women torch singers and piano players.  In this decade the night-life public was no longer predominately male. Women wanted their fun too, their share of "whoopee."

I just have to repeat...I so enjoy working with these broads!

The woman on the right in the above picture is Earleen Helman.  She is amazing! And I am blessed to have gotten to be friends with  her.  She bakes like a professional  bakery.  Every piece is exactly the same in size. The texture is amazing. Shares her recipes but shares so much than that. On top of that, she made her own dress for the weekend.  Apparently she just had this piece of fabric lying around, bought for her granddaughter who, of course, only wants black everything.  So she decided to sew up this snazzy outfit. She looked so lovely and yet spent most of her time in the basement, making up the sandwiches and staying where it was sane.  She does sit for one of the 4 high teas with friends.  Where she gets all this energy is beyond me.  But I so wish to be like her.  
She even made desserts for the Downstairs servers and I've asked for one of those recipes that I don't think I have yet.  There were these very small cookies, perhaps the size of a quarter.  Lemon in flavor with just a brush of a lemon icing on top.  Easy to pop in your mouth and continue on serving.



Monday, February 02, 2015

February 1, 2015 snowstorm

A wonderful snowstorm hit throughout the day and into the night.  It was easy to watch without fearing anything.  Marissa and the boys came for dinner and stayed through the night...and we had a super food party before bed.

 Oskar was coughing a lot and sadly choked on the phlegm just as we got his bed made and you know what happened next.  So there was a bath and a laundry done.

 Henry is eating some chicken wings so we can be part of the day that all America eats wings. Why in the world anyone eats wings ever is beyond me...and no these are not raw wings.  Just lightly sauced.

This morning Robert bundled up and went out and worked the driveway and sidewalks with the snowblower.  He also directed it around the backyard so Niko could have have 'run' area, and some privacy in the garden section for privacy.  When I let Niko out at about 4:30am, I checked the front yard and it was just snowy but  by the time we awoke for real, the wind must have picked up and drifted the snow into mounds.  SO lovely.

All schools everywhere were cancelled Sunday night.  Perfect!

Shortly before M2T2s left, I had decorated for Valentines.  I love my decorations and I wanted to share them with the boys.  Marissa went out to warm the car and pack it up and here is Oskar, enjoying a music box.  He's a sweet Valentines every day!


This afternoon Robert went out and asked me to snap a photo as he measured what we got...Yup! he said, we got a foot of the snow.  Niko had to see what Robert was doing.
Christmas 2013, M2T2 gave us each a book to write in...Grandma tell me your memories and Grandpa tell me your memories. Robert has completed his and I am almost done.  Yes it took a long time but there were so many memories to remember and to think through.  One question asked something I had seen that was beautiful.  I had to think about that but when we were young, Debi and I had to travel to Campton, Wolf County, KY, to visit Daddy Center's mom. This was truly Appalachia. Poor didn't even describe the people there.  But once we visited some natural bridge in the midst of a huge area of woodland, trees so thick you couldn't even see the ground.  Daddy told us there were areas beneath us that no man had ever walked on (unless it was the Indians).  I remember thinking at that moment...what an amazing sight I was beholding.  It was beautiful and awe-inspiring. As I wrote about this I realized this is why I cannot live in a land with no season, no snow, no beautiful mountains, covered with plantlife.  It's why I had so much dislike for Kennewick and the desert city, the ugly mountains in Provo/SLC.  I know everyone gets their preferences and their loves/likes. And altho I am not a fan of being housebound altho I am most comfortable in my home any given day, I happen to really love the wild blizzard like days of this weekend.  The perfect whiteness that greets me from the windows, the huge snowplows and the men driving them in an effort to keep the roads clear and safe for us.  I love the dripping of the snow this afternoon as the sun shines its power on the the world around me and melting the cold.  Even tho it is a bit cold, it's not sub-zero...and I know that Spring will come...with other glories.  And then summer with its heat and blooms. Then fall with the produce and colored leaves and wonderful smells. And then we will be back to a day like today.  It's all such a wonder cycle.  I was made for this land.  THE better place for me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Darkness vs. Light

I find it interesting how one image can spark a remembrance and a lesson....and then sometimes, sadness.

Years ago, for whatever reason, Stake Conferences were not held in the Stake Center but were moved to various venues...Lakewood  Civic Auditorium, Fairview Park High School Auditorium, etc.  There was more room, plenty of parking, more time for meeting up with friends without feeling we were being too gabby.

But there was this pivotal moment one year.  As we had arrived and chatted and settled down for the opening, the house lights dimmed, leaving only the lights on the stage lit as usual..  Suddenly the visiting authority (who I remember as being Elder Nelson) got up before even the first song and asked that the lights be turned back on.

Then he delivered the best instruction we would ever get, and all this before the first song.  We are to be directed by the Spirit in all things and the Spirit is Light and Truth. At no time are we to be swayed by darkness or incense or perfumes or candles or what have you.  We are not to be distracted nor distract from that Spirit.  Yes, the lights were turned up and never were lowered again for a conference. We had all been taught and had all learned a lesson.

I noticed this picture over the weekend, tagged to someone in my FB friends list (which is never a list that goes up to 100....I am pretty choosy but I also do not depend on FB for my friends nor socialization).  This is a bunch of men gathering for their standard party.  You can see what's going on.

I think I'm pretty savvy when it comes to internet games but truthfully I have no clue.  I now wonder why in the world would a bunch of men gather for a PARTY, sit in the dark, with earphones, and play games, on their own computers?  I understand the counsel given by church leaders as well as the counsellors who try and get kids/adults off this activity.  I NOW understand the spouses' worry and concern and anger and fear and tears.  They know far better than I what this does to homes and more importantly to individual spirits. It's such a horrible battle to fight as you attempt to teach your kids why this is not a party.ESPECIALLY WHEN 'EVERYONE' IS DOING IT!   You cannot dabble in things like this and not think it effects your whole being.

This picture kept me awake throughout the night til finally I had to get out of bed and post this.  I have no other words.


Sunday, January 18, 2015


Death's continue among friends I have or family of those friends.

Just last   Friday morning (Jan 16) this beautiful lady passed away.  Dana posted this pix of her grandmother in healthier days.  This woman is my friend Jan Wolf's mom.  Jan has been out in Utah to be with her mom in these last days and then the grandkids arrived.  Dana posted some amazing picture of her and Meghan snuggling with their grandmother.  Today I saw this picture of the grands, in the grandma car, drinking cups of Postum and remembering and laughing and being silly.
  I am sure the grandma was in that car with these kids, enjoying their laughter and stories.  I had responded with a promise to drink a cup of Postum in her honor and so I did.

I set my breakfast table as my grandmother always did...with the little sugar cubes and the 'canned' milk (evaporated milk if you've never heard that term...canned)...but this is not a rare thing.  I always do use little sugar cubes and canned milk.  NEVER would the Postum jar be on the table but this was for Dana and Meghan and Jan.  The cup/saucer are from my childhood and I hope the girls can each take a tea cup of their grandma home with them.  Mine is from the same company that now produces FiestaWare, Homer Laughlin.  I love Fiestaware but prefer the daintiness of this line.

On January 12, our Bishop's dad died.Walter Nelson Falke Good looking man, beautiful wife.  People have commented that Rob looks like his dad. I guess in a way he does but there's a great combo of genes for Rob of both his parents.  AND the bishop's wife, Robin, lost her cousin the day before.  It's going to be a week filled with memories for this family as well, and I also hope it's filled with laughter.

But for me, a death came my way again...way too soon after Uncle Johnny.
This is Carole Jasonne Morgan.  Carole and her husband Chuck were the stalwarts in our ward.  Amazing couple  Chuck died a couple of years ago on Jan 13...Carole passed on Jan 9.  Even on the previous Sunday Carole was in church, on her walker, lugging around the O2.  Last year she came in with a piece of jewelry on and I complimented her on it.  It was ladybugs and cute and spunky.  A few weeks later she told me to hold out my hand and when I did she placed that piece in it.  She assured me it was just some costume jewelry she picked up at a garage sale.  Carole was always doing this.  She was RS president, Primary President, Seminary teacher who a bunch of other callings.She loved the little children in church and each Sunday she had a piece of candy for one of the boys in church,Gavin.  I must remember to take a piece to give him today, in honor of Carole. She was often the one who quietly served others in her healthier days. Never demanding any thing in her not so healthy last days.  It was an honor to dress her and to participate in her funeral.  Carole always had an opinion about everything, not that we always agreed.  But at least I knew where she stood.

And today Carole and these other folks now stand in a different sphere, not mortality.  I find myself filled with a lot of melancholy.  I do love The Plan...just not when I'm the one left without those I love.  I missed my mom and grandmother a lot this week.  I can almost hear Bonpapa when I studied the lesson for RS last night.  Just like Ezra Taft Benson, he usually thanked more than he asked.  I long to see my other fathers...Henry, John, Richard ,Johnny.  I think of my friends who died in Vietnam or through illnesses that took them too early, or car accidents.  And I it fun in heaven?  Besides the work they are doing or the studies they have, are they having fun?  I am going to believe they do.  But I still miss them.  One and All.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Uncle Johnny's Funeral-January 5

On December 31 I picked up Patsy and took her to the funeral home and the cemetery, both on Crown Hill Cemetery in Twinsburg.  It took about 4 hours but luckily Patsy and Johnny had preplanned and prepaid..  It made it all so much easier but when dealing with death, it's always a long and sad process.  In the end Patsy only had to pay an additional $214 which is amazing.

Monday morning dawned cold and blustery but no snow.  Robert and I left at 7:30 to pick up Patsy so we could have her to the funeral home by 9:30, a half hour before the start of the viewing.  As it was there were already people present.  Robert told the one woman there that she would need to set up more chairs..and set up chairs she did...nonstop. The room was filled and people stood at the back.  It was quite a tribute to a man for his service to humanity.  At 94 most of his own age friends had already passed on.  The Lake County Society for Rehabilitation, where he and Patsy volunteered/served for so many decades, was closed in his honor as well as to allow the workers to attend.

The little card you always get at funerals did not have the standard Psalm or Prayer on it.  When it was discussed I told Patsy to put something on the card that would remind people of Johnny.  We agreed a joke would be perfect.  Johnny always asked children, "What's your name?"  They'd tell him and he's say (and this is what was written), "That's not your name...It's Toe (pointing to the toe), Knee (pointing to the knee), Chest (pointing to the chest), and then Nut (pointing to the head).  Tony Chestnut!  Everyone did remember that joke, especially my grandkids who had most recently heard it.

The funeral was lead by a priest but not Johnny's own priest who was very ill.  It was Catholic but not warm and inviting.  We filed out to the cemetery and it was SO COLD!  We had a buffet lunch at D'Angelos in Twinsburg and it was excellent.  Patsy had planned for 60 but there were a lot more than 60 who came and Patsy enjoyed seeing her friends and family.

Christensens returned home after the buffet.  Trefethens went home and then came back to our house for another evening with Cara.

 We were happy to have a picture taken with Patsy and then one with just us.
After the last guest left the restaurant we took Patsy home, took down the Christmas decorations that Johnny had put up high.  For Patsy to take down, she would have had to get up on a stool which would have been disastrous.  We left her to face her new life.  It's not going to be happy and certainly lonely times.  I've called many of her friends and people who I met at the funeral to check on her and they've done a good job doing this in the past week.

I cannot imagine a life without Robert.  So I just fear that Patsy will rile herself up and lead to her death!  She's so ready to get all this stuff done in a hurry and none of these things can be done in a hurry.  It all takes time.

The next morning, the world was filled with ice and snow.  I went with Dawn when she drove Cara and the boys to the airport.  The going was slow but I was grateful that Dawn drove with her heavier car.  Then we came home and napped for another 3 hours and then Dawn returned home to Michigan.

It is such an odd feeling to know that Johnny is no longer on this earth, where I can get to him.  I know we are going to die.  It's just odd.  That's all I can say.  I feel happy that he is reunited with Jeffrey but........  It's the one part of the Plan of Happiness that does not make me happy.  I just wish to email my loved ones.  Is that not just the most stupid feeling?  I know it is but it's how I feel.

THE weekend...January 3-4

Soon the family started to arrive, those that could.    I had spent Dec 31 with Patsy for hours, making the arrangements for Johnny's funeral which couldn't be held til Monday, Jan 5, due to the holiday.

Saturday, Jan 3, was when they said they would be coming in but had no idea the time.  Saturday afternoon we had planned and arranged for a celebratory luncheon for Ken Bruderer at Olive Garden. I actually was grateful the funeral wasn't til Monday for several reason, including this party.

In addition to helping Linda with her MS needs, Ken has been laid off from the steel mill several times but still went back to college to slowly complete a degree in electrical engineering.  When this was done, I felt we needed to party his efforts. we didn't tell him what was up but just left him to think it was just 4 couples (them, us, Staffords, Warrens) going out to eat.  We then included Jill and Mary Beth and the 2 Hansens and David Bruderer and his family. Both Ken and Linda were surprised.  It was a lovely afternoon.  While there I got a text that Jocelyn's crew had arrived.

So we went home to find them baking some cookies.  Soon Dawn arrived and after midnight, Dawn and Robert drove to the airport to pick up Cara, Kipp and Cody. I tried to fall asleep but know my kids were coming in I just couldn't sleep...and it was so good to see them.  I worried cuz initally Cara was going to drive up for the funeral but Jacob bought airline tickets for them.  As sad an occasion as a funeral is, the upside is that I got to have Cara here for her 40th birthday.  Jacob is so generous all the time but this was even more generous of him.

I think we had a pretty good lunch for her birthday.  It was a bit crazy at times.    We had 2 beef roasts and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and I had made brioche rolls.  Then came the cakes and the gifts.
 I think Cody was very happy to see the DQ cake even tho Cara had asked for brownies (which she also got).

 Socks from Kipp and Cody as well as a scarf.

A pretty bracelet from us.  Cara had also asked for a picture of her as a baby with me.  That was a little hard to find but I did manage it.  This one was on her blessing day.

 This was Pioneer Day, 1975

Oh her first birthday 1976

Back when the kids were born there was no such thing as a selfie and I was usually the one behind the camera.  Cara was sweet enough to say that I was alway selfless.  I actually found 3 pictures and sent them to a Walgreens in her area to print off so she could get them and I would not have to worry about them being ruined in the mail or getting there late.

 A lovely handmade book from Scarlett.
 A lovely green scarf/wrap from Christensens.

 Cara collects hot wheel cars so Marissa/family and Dawn presented her with 40 new hot wheel cars!  And check out the green wrap/scarf from  Christensens.

 Dawn also gave her a lovely necklace that will arrive at her home.
 And who doesn't like DQ ice cream cake?  Oskar sure does!

January 1, 2015

Marissa and Hank brought the boys for New Years Day dinner.  It seems I need to feel family around me while I grieve the loss of Uncle Johnny.  We had a very scrumptious dinner.  Marissa had recently told me every New Year's Day was spoiled by my mom's dinner which was a pork roast cooked in saurkraut.  Again, poor Marissa.

So altho I had to serve saurkraut because it's tradition even tho I don't care for it much either but Robert and Hank love it.  I used Rita Kistner's German recipe which included smoked sausage and cooked in a slow cooker for hours.  I also made a pork roast that was encrusted with seasoned panko bread crumbs.  Good potatoes and applesauce and rolls and everything else.

The fun moment?  getting to put Simon in a high chair for the first time. I do think he enjoys being up high and having a tray to pound on.  Putting the little spoon in his mouth didn't seem to be pleasurable but here is that cute little boy.  I could eat him up.  He always smiles....ALWAYS.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Despite the fact I was tired and emotionally wrung out, we decided to follow through with our plans to go to Daphne's home for a celebration.  And we are so glad we did.  It was just comfortable being with nice people.  Daphne and her daughter, Karla.  Daphne's brother Karl and his wife Karen, and two friend, Scott and Brenda.  We ate and I got a great dip recipe from Karla.  We talked. We placed pictionary and my team I'll never know since we started out so far behind.

We greeted in the new year with toasts and good wishes.  What was only going to be a 'stop-in' turned out to be the whole evening.

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