Thursday, October 23, 2014

hand print

There is a window next to our kitchen table which overlooks the patio and backyard.  Usually along the middle sit all my Lego MiniFigures, mostly received from the Barretts (who are so good at smooshing each little package til they find some shape they recognize and then buy me the good ones).  My piano student have enjoyed looking at them.  I should say that originally the little people were placed in the containers with my house plants but there were a couple students who were never taught to respect other people's homes and things and would remove them, take them apart, lose them...so I changed their locations.  They are really a happy addition to our windowscape.

A few weeks ago I noticed a little handprint and knew it belonged to either Henry or Oskar.
Can you just make it out?  I have repeatedly tried to capture a snap of that print and once actually did BUT without paying attention I deleted it.  RATS!  CROUTONS!  I really need to wash that window so I tried again just now. Maybe this is as good as it gets.

Why would I want to record this forever?  Because everytime I see it I think of my grandmother.  she had a son, Junior (Richard James Holman, Jr.) who died at 18 month when he didn't stay on the porch as he was supposed to, waiting for my mom to get changed from school.  He wandered down to the cistern and apparently a bum had wandered through in the night, removed the top perhaps for a bath, a wash, a drink, and didn't return the lid to the locked position.

I know I've told this story before but I tell it again.  My grandmother who had rheumatic fever as a child, never in good health, discovered where Junior was, called out for help and held a burly man by his belt and lowered him down to grab the now deceased son.  That was hard.  Very hard.  To have a child by the man of your dreams and then to lose that child.

BUT the hardest part came after the funeral while sitting grieving in her home and looking out through the window and suddenly seeing Junior's handprint on the glass.  That moment nearly crushed my otherwise strong grandmother.

Tis a sad story and one that always grips my heart when I tell it.  Or think on it.  But Junior so loved his big sister, Giddis!  When we had to disconnect my mom from the life support system, I had the overpowering sense that Junior was there, waiting for her.  I remember pushing the nurse and everyone else aside to whisper to mom, "Junior is here. He's waiting for you."

She didn't die that day but the day she did finally pass was quite a day.  Bells would continually go off in her room, on her bed, with the call button. Each time the hospice nurses would come in and there'd be no change.  In the early evening I told a nurse this story of Junior and how I felt he was here, urging my mom on  and the nurse said that everyone at the desk had said the same thing all the day long. That someone was waiting, rather impatiently, for Gladys.  I can only imagine that reunion.

So I needed that snapshot of the handprint, no matter how hard it is to see.  I'm going to get one of  two women photogs I know to come and snap it again. So the window will remain smudged a little longer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marissa turns 35 at Hogwarts

A month or so ago Hank came to me with his HUGE plan for surprise Marissa for her birthday.  His plan was to not tell her that he was taking her to Hogwarts in Florida until the morning of her birthday when he's wake her up very early and grab the packed backpack and head to the airport.

Initially the plan was for his mom to come and spend some glorious time with the boys.  I would pick Kathy up her up at the airport on Monday and hide her at my house and then we'd be sitting in the driveway when Hank and Marissa came out of the house.  Kathy would watch the boys and I'd drive them to the airport.  BUT then the most awful news came that Hank's dad, Andrew, would need to have heart surgery and so Kathy would need to be with her husband. That meant that the boys would need to stay here...how to make this happen and still keep the surprise.

Saturday, which was Sweetest Day here in Ohio, Robert and I went over the M2T2's home.  I hadn't seen the boys for 2 weeks and decided to exclaim over them and tell them how much I missed them.  I then acted like a thought had just struck me and I said, "Hey Marissa!  What if I take the boys Monday night so you can have an evening and a night and the next morning on your own. You could come get Henry in time for preschool?"  She agreed.  Then I said, "I mean all 3 of them...would you trust me with Simon, too?"  Her response again was yes..that if it had been just Henry as an infant she might have seconds thoughts but after 3 she was open to a peaceful start to her birthday.

Hank played his part as well, taking her aside and asking if she was sure about this.  She was.  So the plans developed...they would come Monday night for dinner and I'd make striped delight for dessert. Marissa always asks for that for her birthday but this year she wanted carrot cake but didn't want to miss striped delight.  So the plan was set.  I would make Monday dinner and Hank would make the birthday dinner and I'd bring carrot cake and pull aparts to their house on Tuesday.  All played out without a hitch.

The boys settled in comfortably here.  Slept well.  Throughout the day and a half that the boys were here, we texted pictures back and forth.  Marissa was awakened early and Hank told her to get up, get dressed and where they were going.  Marissa said she thought he was kidding.  They hurried to get to their plane and almost missed it because Hank had to find a certain hat.  But I don't think it was the sorting hot.  But they made it, all excited, and Marissa texted us that she was here:




And it was as magical for her as any trip to Hogwarts could be. ... .despite the Muggles and lines and....apparently the train ride included dementors flying by them!
 Somewhere along the trip they ate at Hogsmeade...pasties of course.  And Hank was said to have butterbeer every half hour. That doesn't surprise me since he has butterbeer at his home in Lakewood.
 So while Marissa and Hank celebrated her birthday we old folks just attempted to keep up with these 3.  Adorable Simon was a dream.  On a perfect 4 hour schedule, didn't seem to miss his mama, and slept through the nights.
 Altho we did play a few games, Lego seemed to hold a lot of attention time.  I think it really helped Oskar to have his big bro Henry to make being away from mom and dad seem OK.
 I'm telling you, I love all 3 but this Oskar is so sweet and kind.  He's got the cutest way of acknowledging everything with his "OK"!  Reminds me of Jocelyn during her cheerleading days.
 And then there's Simon...there's no explaining the incredible spirit that accompanied this kid to earth.  He loved watching Niko from the safely of Top Dog's lap!  Niko was fine with the kids but mostly he just stayed upstairs sitting on our bed...protected and safe.



 I got out Candy Land game that we got from Aunt Carol or Megan when they were divesting themselves of 'things'. This was a huge hit!  We played it at least 6 times over the short period we had the boys.
 Last night Robert said we needed McDonald's for dinner (altho I decided he and I could have Wendy's).  The boys loved the container and the stickers mostly.  Oskar is the best eater, and is very neat about it too.
 Can you say duct tape?  This was what I discovered after dinner when getting ready to give Simon a bath.  Robert had said he didn't know how the tabs worked these days and obviously fixed that problem with duct tape.  At least it was blue tape...altho I know Marissa doesn't have a color problem, nor a hair length problem (poor Oskar). But I had to text Marissa this photo and she replied...Is this for real?  From a man who had 5 kids?  Oh yes, it was so real.  But bathing Simon was delightful...especially since someone this fall left a little bit of J&J night time bath soap when they were here.  It smells great and promised to help the infants to sleep soundly.  All I know is that it smelled wonderful and then so did Simon.
 And feeding Simon at night is the best!  He eats and then his dear blue eyes close and he's done for the day!
 Top Dog (as the kids are now calling Robert instead of Bubba since we've just learned after 40 years that Robert has never liked being called that ... started by Richard Etzel when he was a little boy)
 This morning it was Oskar who pulled up a chair to help me make a carrot cake for Marissa's birthday dinner tonight.  He loved putting the carrots down the chute.
 always looking back at me to be sure he had added enough
 Plunging the thingy in wasn't really easy but he tried...but power of the Bosch startled him for sure but we got the job done.

 Now...chopping the walnuts was fun for him!  altho he preferred to eat the nuts I think.
 And what did he want while the cake was in the oven?  M&Ms of course!  He deserved a little payment for all the hard work.  He stuck through it til the end.  Henry watched TV.

The cake finished, cooled and the frosting was ready. Both boys this time were happy to come complete the project. 


Marissa and Hank arrived about 1:30 and boy were the kids happy to see their parents.  Oskar grabbed hold of mom's neck and would not let go for the longest time.  So perhaps maybe they weren't so happy to have spent the 2 nights with us but for sure they are happy to be with their parents as it should be.

I loved the time with them but I also know again just how old I am, Robert and I.  And we give so much credit to grandparents who take over the role of parents when their own kids don't/can't/won't.  I only had this treat for 1-1/2 days.  Some people have it every day of their old lives.  They should truly be honored.

For us, we just want to say thanks to M2T2s for trusting us with the surprise and the boys.  Now we head to Florida to have 11 wonderful days with Jordan/Hillary/family.  It's great to be retired!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Merry Christmas to us

Saturday Robert and I decided it was time to stop looking and to actually buy a new refrigerator....

It's so hard to spend money, to be retired and worry about spending money BUT I am tired of having no room in the frig for us let alone if everyone comes home, or when there's a party.  The frig we had is probably close to 20 years old and belonged to my folks/came with the house.  It was small, yes, but the problem was the frig often froze our things.  Sometimes it was because something knocked the thermostat.  The ice cube maker hasn't worked in about 2+ years and yes, it was small.

Robert had gone down to 805 but discovered there was mail from JUNE in the mailbox at 809. Some for the Houx and a couple for me.  One was from STRS...State Teachers' Retirement.  I still had money in that account and since I have no plans to return to teaching, I called to have a check sent to me...but I also learned that both Robert and I have other funds with SERS...State Employees.  This is from years we both served as Faculty Managers for the Athletic Department...and that was money available to us.   I can still hear Roger Osborne say, "See...the Lord will always provide, one way or another."  That always proves to be true.

 So ... due to that blessing, here's what arrived today!
And as I told each one, the reply was...You even have Shrek Water!  And yes we do.  I supposed we have Shrek ice as well.  This is one huge refrigerator and I love it.  So much room. So much light.  Nothing jammed in (yet).  I am happy.....Just saying...and Merry Christmas to us!

Friday, October 10, 2014

We are most blessed

Yesterday was a crazy busy day but we enjoyed ourselves.  I took Robert with me to get our flu shots at the doctor's office.  While talking with the receptionist Robert asked for an appointment....and when the facts were uncovered, it turns out he has another hernia which will require another surgery because this one is a small one.  Apparently small hernias (and just like last time, he has never mentioned it to me til that moment) are of more concern because they can move or get caught or something.  Robert was able to get right in (and isn't that a surprise, not to mention a blessing) and has a referral to the same doctor he had in February.  We dropped off some dry cleaning, stopped in at Lowe's to check out some refrigerators (yes, as odd as this is and something I have always hated doing...this is what we are giving each other for Christmas).  We then had lunch at Arby's...a place I love but Robert does not.  He ended up with a French Dip sandwich and as much as I really wanted a regular Arby sandwich I just went with a salad.  But it was a nice relaxed day.  Mailed 2 packages on the way home and then HOME!  I love our home, grateful to my mom for leaving it to us.

I am guessing even if we had stayed at 809 and everyone came to visit at the same time, we would have lined up the sleeping bags and been fine.  But it is a bit nicer to have a bit more room/bed/floor space for the times the kids and their kids show up.  Robert has made our backyard lovely in so many ways.  It's save and secure and dry.

video


For retirement, Daphne gave Robert what we are now calling the Southern 40.  It is a 900 sq ft area behind her garage which has NEVER EVER been used as a garden, just as a dumping ground.  This so Robert can expand his gardening skills next spring/summer/fall. And all Daphne would like would be a cuke or tomato tossed on her porch every now and again.  Robert's been going down there to work the area and clear it of debris.  He's pulled out the weeds, pulled out the ground cloth, turned over the ground, replanted Daphne's strawberry patch, removed the ornamental grass and cut them in to 4 clumps and replanted them around her bird feeders (Daphne wants to not have to mow back there and is turning the yard into a bird sanctuary).
  Last night Daphne informed me by phone that Robert had cannibalized the 'other' garden space of the wood, tossing it over the fence.  I called to him and asked him about it and his reply was, "Why?  did you see me do it?"  (and of course that lead me to having to tell the Briana Fleming story ...who as a wee one had eaten one of the other kids' chocolate cake after she woke up from nap without me knowing.  When I saw the chocolate all over her face I asked her why. She denied it and when pressed asked, "Why? did you see me do it?"  and it's become the infamous answer ever since).  The wood is not for burning but for walking on between the rows of whatever he plants.

We have been blessed with a very large screen TV that Jacob and Cara gifted us with years ago and it still functions beautifully.  We now have WOW cable as our service provider for phone, internet and cable.  DirecTV was getting too expensivie for as often as we'd lose reception due to wind or snow or rain.  The one bad part about WOW is that it doesn't offer BYUTV.  But then I remembered how to connect the HDMI cable from the TV to the computer and voila...we easily watch Conference as if being right there...better even than being at the Great and Spacious Building as I call it or as Debbie Lee calls it, The Mothership.

This is what I see each morning after breakfast:

Watching General Conference is wonderful, it is...but it's a lot to take in all in 5 or 6 sittings.  So each morning after breakfast is cleared away, we set up my laptop and relisten to one of the talks.  That picture is my view...and it's the best view there is!  And yes, he is still in his white shirt and dress pants from Seminary.  Every morning!

Dawn has friends who teaches seminary in her ward.  This couple does amazing things and has been willing to allow Dawn to share some ideas with Robert.  Robert is ever faithful and altho he said he'd prefer being bishop again over teaching Seminary, teaching Seminary is what he does. He is often at the dining room table (now called the Seminary Room, sadly) studying for the lesson but it has become studying for himself more often than not.  Being retired is a good thing.  Having Dawn connect us with things is super fun!

Getting phone calls often from Jocelyn throughout the day is really neat. Sometimes it's just a phone message from Honor as Honor learns to greet us.  Having Marissa and family so close is a delight which we will enjoy for however long they live here (which I fear won't be long enough but I keep hoping).  It was Hank and Marissa who asked if we could have Sunday dinners together each week.  I was stunned but happy.  Sometimes here, sometimes there.  Skyping with Hillary/Jordan and kids in Florida is always a treat.  Cara is so busy with her kids but there are always quick notes or texts or sometimes even pictures that she shares to keep us connected.  We had hoped to go down to Evansville for their Monster Ears week but that didn't happen this year...maybe next.  It's hard to believe that Cody is a senior and this time next year will probably be serving a mission altho I had hoped he'd get at least a semester of college in, allowing him to be on his own, away from parents, to get him ready for the mission.  Time moves on.

So retirement is good and can only get better. I have learned to adjust my day to having Robert home all the time. It was difficult at first...a bit trying because MY life was disrupted.  But Seminary has blessed that.  He gets up, I watch the shows I recorded from the night before, or snooze.  He teaches the hour,  studies for an hour and then often naps for an hour...which gives me time to get ready and make a breakfast fit for a King.  Robert wants to eat all the time. We are going to be HUGE soon if he doesn't stop this "What's for...Breakfast/Lunch/dinner" or in his best little Evan voice: "I'm STAAAAARRRVING!"


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sweet Memories

Today was a day filled with subbing in church.  I was asked to sub for the chorister in Sacrament Meeting.  Then I offered to sub for Larry in the library since he was attending the inservice meeting. Went to RS and noticed no one at the piano so I subbed there...and I had already agreed to sub for Linda in teaching the class.  I enjoyed it all but there was also this one tender moment.

I was sitting on the stand, next to Jill (organist) and looked out and saw Maria Maynard, wife to Chuckie Maynard (son of dear friend, Carole).  Maria had complained to doctors for 5 years of a pain she felt.  They blew her off every time.  Even suggesting it was menopause and she just had to deal with us.  And of course, trusting her doctors she didn't insist on tests.

About 2 weeks ago, cancer was found...cancer that probably had been there for 5 years.  She went into surgery but nothing could be done.  The cancer was 3B which means the cancer was in the tissues, lymp.

She came to church today with Chuckie and her 2 daughters, sitting right behind the Aaronic Priesthood pew.  I watched Maria lean into Chuckie as if she could disappear into him.  Tears would silently fall from her eyes, wiped away with a tissue, and such sorrow and sadness and pain and fear well expressed on her face.  Often I'd have to breath deeply to silent my own tears for Maria.  I wanted to tell her what I knew, hoped, wanted for her.  Not sure how to do this.  I wanted her to know that there is a life after this life.  That she will never be far from her family, that the Lord would surely allow her to check in on things here on earth, and that they would feel her/sense her.  I just know it because there are moments I sense my mom.  Not a voice, not a scene.  Just a sense that mom is near.

But I doubt I could know how to do this.  At one point, I couldn't look at Maria and Chuckie again.  I reached down and picked up the hymnal to check on the closing hymn for time signatures, fermatas, etc.  I took a deep breath again and looked to see who had donated this book of hymns.

In 1985 a new edition of our hymnal were published.  Our ward didn't have a lot of money so the bishop (Roger Osborne, I believe) suggested that if anyone wanted, money for hymnals could be donated and the ward would enjoy the new books.  Because I had taken calligraphy classes, I was asked to inscribe in calligraphy who had donated the book.  So all the book purchased at that time had this inscription.

So today, I flip to the donation page and there were the names...Roger and Gladys Osborne.  My folks.  I showed it to Jill and we smiled. She patted the book.  And I had the courage after the final Amen, to walk down, wrap my arms around both Chuckie and Marie and say the words I had wanted to say.  And we all cried. Then I could do the same to Regina and Carissa.

Carole called me in the afternoon and we talked about the medical plans.  Maria will undergo radiation in hopes of controlling the cancer or getting rid of it before beginning chemotherapy.  The outcome is grim but I'd like to hope that as grim the road might be there might be a chance Maria will beat this.  Carole's other son, Johnny, beat cancer and is still here.  I want this to be the same for Maria.

Robert also commented this afternoon that he's glad these books were donated and that these names are still there..remembrances of people now gone, or moved, or still sitting with us.  I so wish these things could happen in all different sorts of ways so we always remember those who used to be people we played/served/worked with.  It happens in every pew and is such a delight to open a hymnal on any given Sabbath and see a name...and remember.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

One last retirement celebration

Wonderful Jill, who understands and relates to what it is like to feel a bit lost after retiring (as in Who Am I Now?), so generously volunteered to throw Robert a party.  It was held here since she didn't feel her condo was large enough and also our good friend Linda could manage to get into this house.


Everything was so nice.  I think all my talk about people who throw parties from prepared food from Costco intimidated Jill so she made ALL the food from scratch.  And wow...it was great food!  And so much.  Carol also brought my favorite, 7 layer salad.  Jill even brought Lay's Original Potato Chips...also my favorite.  The above cake was made by Brandy...hand drawn/iced by her.  Life is Good!  and it will only get better for Robert.  For this I am grateful.

I think there were about 31 people here, all come to celebrate this new era in his life.  Lots of good friends, wonderful chit chat, laughter and joy.  Sadly there was just too much to do to get any pictures at all.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30...another weekend. More retirement



Great Fun was in store for Robert and me and almost all the family (we missed Jacob and Cody who had to work and Ella who didn't come).  Saturday was HUGE.  Steve announced it was time to put the fellas to work and cut down that tree by the mail box.  It took some prepping so while the men were out there, we played inside.  This tree, like the one that was removed last year, had begun its decay from the inside.  If you stood underneath it, you could hear it talking to you.  Initially I thought it was a squirrel but it did just what the previous tree did.  Altho it might have lasted another season, every storm meant more branches were on the ground. So it needed to go..as does another tree east of this one as well as one on Warwick side which is half dead. But one thing at a time!




 Of course I got to cuddle with Simon while Dawn helped the kids build a crazy town from a huge set I bought at a garage sale just the week before.





And of course, the stylist, Scarlett, needed to paint Henry's fingernails.  Beauty all around.


the boys played







Niko chillin' or warming..right where the sun comes through the skylight and warms the carpet beneath....

 Finally it was time to down that tree.  Hank faced his fears and shimmied right up into that tree!  Sadly it was a VERY hot day!




Still in the management mode, here's Robert....


Now Steve gets into the instruction mode...


Ken lobs the guidewires...

this was one TALL tree

Dawn came out to check the progress...


It's time...Hank!  get down!









I think Hank likes chain saws!



video




Whew!  it's done and no one died!

The Mighty lumberMEN

A HUGE THANK YOU TO CONNOR FOR REPEATEDLY GOING OUT AND SNAPPING THESE PHOTOS OF THE TREE IN PROGRESS FOR ME...BECAUSE I WENT SHOPPING!

The New Hatch Batch arrived from Florida and everyone had a turn at Marius.  Adorable hat was a gift from someone, can't remember who?

Everyone was able to cool off inside, and lie about for a bit. But soon it was time to head to Fujiyama's for Robert's Family retirement dinner.  Cara, Sam, Peter and Kipp pulled into the parking lot right behind us.  They had drive all the way in from Evansville for a one day event and left Sunday after church because they had responsibilities at home. But it was wonderful that these 4 were able and willing to come.

Time to decide on what to order and have prepared in front of us. Here's Sam...looking happy to have some real food.
Guy, Connor, Evan and Kipp
 Trefethens all ready...and it was  along wait for these wee ones all.  Luckily there was plenty of room for them to wander.
 Steve, Jocelyn with Honor, Adelle, Cara and Sam.
 Henry and Oskar on the floor.
 Jordan and Rob...SO ready!
 Robert, Dawn, Ken and Scarlett
 Sam, Connor, Kipp
 Cara, Peter, Autumn
 Autumn, Guy, Evan
 Rob blowing bubbles in his pop!
 Lily
 Apparently all the girls will be gymnasts!
 Trefethens


 And who in this crew doesn't like fire?
The infamous eggs.....

 Catch it Sam!
 Don't choke Connor!

 One egg toss meant for Kipp landed on Rob who promptly picked it up and lobbed it back at the chef!  Too funny!
 Dawn was game!


 Henry is most interested in whats going to start happening in front of him!
 Rob and Jordan, too

 Egg in the air!  Can you see it?  I can!

 Oskar loved the fire/smoke.


 This one you can even see the egg coming for Marissa!
 Henry opened wide!
 I think sweet Miss Lily was a bit overwhelmed by all the fire and noise. She's such a lady!

 Some gifts.







 Robert will be enjoying archery in Vermilion.


 are we done yet, Honor wonders?

 an attempt to get a pix of all but we missed Steve who had to pay his bill an odd way due to being in Ohio



One final pix at the restaurant..the grands giving Robert a group hug.
 but wait...we weren't done yet.  There were 2 DQ cakes to have for dessert once we got home!








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