Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Birthday wonderful. Robert

Today is Robert's 67th birthday.  For years and years and years he has always said he wanted a 50style beaded cowboy belt.  For periodically for those same years I would check out stores for such an item.  Suddenly a few months back, I smacked my forehead and said..."Internet"  People can get things of all kinds by looking on the internet.  Me, who is always looking for something never thought about looking for the belt.  And within a few minutes I found one, ordered it.  It arrived and I loved it, hid it and couldn't wait for today.

As Robert was dressing for Seminary, I stopped him at the old belt and said...NOW!  Open your tray present.  He did and it fit and he loved it.

Here is how we always start each morning...and for Robert, it's several times each day for personal study as well as Seminary.
 And he insisted on completing out morning studies before he opened his other gifts...after breakfast...not waiting for dinner which we always made our kids wait for.
 Jocelyn and family sent this adorable tree 'face'. . .all the way from England, no less.
 Dawn and family sent his this great plexiglass bird feeder which means we can attach it to the window and be able to see the birds up close.
 And Cara and her family sent Robert a super gnome/fairy set up for the garden which includes a campfire...perfect for the weekend of the Aaronic Priesthood commemoration.

We currently have a senior missionary couple serving in our ward and Robert really likes Br. Owens and so Robert decided that for his birthday he wanted to take this couple out for dinner.  That frees me up from cooking and baking some dessert.  It feels strange but it is his birthday.  When he was a young boy about 16, his next oldest sister, Barbara then 21, surprised the whole family by giving them gifts on her birthday because she felt so grateful for their love.  This moment has stuck with him and I think it's why so often he wants to do things for others on his birthday.

But all his life with me he has always served everyone.  He would cut the lawns for more neighbors than I can count because they were old, ill, or vacant.  Abandoned houses that were in our area needed to be tended him..because he would say, "This is my neighborhood."  Sidewalks were shoveled or snow plowed after storms.  When our kids were young and mom lived up the street, Robert would shovel all the up to their house, get Bonpapa's snow blower (cuz of course we never owned one ourselves) and take care of their driveway and sidewalk, then snow blow down the whole of Warwick one way and then back up the other side, returning the snow blower and gas.  Back then we had neighborhood schools so at least one street was clear for the walkers. I'd like to say this was the only street he did but that would not be true.  I always worried he would have a heart attack in the heart or while shoveling so much.  But no amount of complaining would change his mind...until last year when I think even he realized the time to slow up had arrived.

I am grateful he is mine.  And I hope he lives many more years with and for me.  But as he always is quoting from Hombre...."We all gotta die, it's just a matter of when."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Today was a very special day in an odd sort of way.  Patsy called me last week and said she was ready to give away her treasures but needed help.  We set today for this activity.  So after taking her to the doctors, picking up her medicine and out to lunch, we set about to do as she asked.

All her life, Patsy never had a lot of money, never owned her own home, always living in apartments.  She married Johnny when she was about 19.  She had Jeffrey who was born with hydrocephalus and spinal bifida and altho the nursing/medical staff all wanted her to leave the infant at the hospital to die.  But this was her son and she cared for him for 40 years, til he died...about 30 years longer than anyone had expected.

Everyone knows how she and Johnny cared for me as my godparents so everyone knows how I feel about her.  Her life was hard and she often was a bit harsh or snide.  But time and circumstances alter all of us as it did her.

Patsy spent years being a cleaner for a variety of apartment houses.  And she learned to save all the money she could (and I am happy to say that she is able to continue to live on her own financially and will be able to until death...or she will live with us) and she appreciated the fine things in life.  She had a friend who collected Royal Doulton figurines and Patsy remarked to Johnny that she wished she had some. So Johnny began to help her purchase the ones she liked.  From there she went on Limoges, Waterford Crystal, and any named fine china.  For Christmas 1992 Johnny bought her this curio cabinet to store some of the most special.

And now it is ours!  And once we reassembled it, it provided the nice spirit to this corner.

As time wore on she would put a name of a family member at the bottom of them so when she died, I could be sure to give the correct item to the correct family.

Mine was always at the top.  And she was lovely.  And I felt honored that she would early on wanted me to have her, Victoria.

Now too long before Johnny died, he got up and handed me this musical box called Ebony and Ivory.

He had asked me if I was still 'tickling the ivories' and said he wanted me to have it.  I thought I saw on Patsy face a bit of surprise and reluctance so I said I couldn't take it out of the china closet but I would get it in the future.  He seemed OK with it but today Patsy said it was time I took her home.

Yesterday, we gently wrapped many of these special treasures in bubble wrap , tagged with the person's name and then boxed.  I kept asking Patsy if she was sure she wanted to do this or if she had done enough and wanted to stop.  Each time she said, No.  But then sadly, she often added, "I won't last forever."  I fear that perhaps unconsciously she feels something...something...well, something else.

And yes, I know we all have to die...and she's in so much pain and illness that passing onto the next life will be a blessing physically for her but it will also allow her to rejoin Johnny and Jeffrey.  But to lose her...well, it's going to leave a huge hole. Different from losing my mom but a hole anyway.

We wrapped up all the figurines and some of the plates and various items that she had already planned to give away. She was very tired by the time we finished altho we still have more to do but all the most expensive and most dear are taken care of.  This was to have been my responsibility after she died and I dreaded it since she has so many people who care for her and love her.  I didn't want to leave anyone out.  I mentioned to her once or twice that this is what I wanted my mom to do, give to the people she loved the things she loved but she refused.  And in the end it made it difficult and I wished she could have experienced the joy of seeing the recipients embrace her treasures.  I had told Patsy this story and maybe it's what prompted her to do this now....and I know she will be thrilled to see the joy in her friends and family members when she does.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Sunday Lois Hudsucker came to church and we walked through the parking lot together.  She asked me what kind of bird I had in the front window.  I told her a Peach-face Lovebird.  Then I looked at her and asked, "would you want him?"  And she said yes.  I asked if she was serious and she was.  She used to always have birds until she had a bazillion foster kids.  Now she just has her adopted daughter's 2 daughters.  Her granddaughter died, then one of her dogs died 2 weeks later, and finally her husband died 2 weeks after that.  I think she is interested in a squawky bird, which Absinthe is not...but he's lively...altho he's old.

Aunt Carol had called me about 14 years ago.  A friend of hers had called to see if Carol knew of someone who might want the bird that her daughter had dumped on her...and Carol replied, Of course I crazy niece.

I agreed because by this time my mom had been diagnosed with cancer and knowing she loved birds thought something colorful would be entertaining. Mom was delighted but within a few weeks she was just too ill to handle the bird so the bird came back to live with us.  Marissa is the one who named the bird.

I have to say that I struggled over this decision to give away this bird. It's not that I wanted the bird.  I never did. But I don't dispose of any pets.  .  .EVER.  But I know Lois would take good care.  So this morning I called her to be sure she was serious and she was.  So I cleaned out the cage, bagged up all the supplies and put Absinthe into a small box for the short drive to Lois.  Today was an inservice day for the elementary grades so Rebecca and Elizabeth were at home and were so excited to have a bird.

I think Absinthe is in good hands and will be happy to be in a room with a lot of activity.  I did tell Lois that if something changed and she didn't want the bird anymore she had to return him to me.  She agreed.  So now I am trying to figure out how to stop feeling guilty about this, stop worrying about whether or not Absinthe is mad at me, will hate me for taking him some place else.

Oh well..what's done is now done.  But thanks Absinthe for all these years bringing color to my life, hanging upside down, putting your head in the bell chandelier, and making Marissa, Hillary, Drew, and James all snuffly when they have been here.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Day now and then


c 1985-Jordan Robert

Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Day

Tomorrow is May 1...imagine that!  It took me back to realize that next Sunday will be the 2nd Sunday in May, hence Mother's  Day.  How fast this year has gone by.

This morning I went to Pettiti's Garden Center and put together 2 'tea' cups. One with an African Violet, and one with a tea rose which actually has already been planted outside and in its place is some violas.  But as party of this Make-It Take-It craft were two fairies.

I could select my own fairies and as soon as I saw this little girl I knew I had to have her...she had the appearance as well as the countenance of my own Autumn.  Robert named the boy  Reuben.  They are lovely, very delicate and sweet.

And then I got a bigger surprise from Pam.  Pam called to say she bought me a present and what a present it was....a fairy boot house.

And it is already in the garden spot but I haven't planted some things to come out the toe and from the top area.  When the weather warms I will return the fairies, Giddis and Henry, to their rightful place in the fairy garden but now they have wonderful home to live in as well as a yard to play in safely.

How I love my fairies...and my friend Pam who knows it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#19 Grandchild, Val Oaks Christensen

Val joined his siblings and parents on April 6, 11:24 pm.....9 lb 7 oz, 20" long  Jocelyn had that as her due date and we were sure the child would come on that special day but as it dawned, doubts began to surface.  Then Jocelyn went into labor and Dawn and I just knew come hell or high water, this child was going be born on that day.  And he was.  His sex was a surprise til the birth but we are so glad for Guy that he gets a brother finally.

He is such an amazing big brother to his sisters that he can't help but be the same to wee Val.  The best part is that Val looks just like Guy and to be honest, like his sisters as well.  Cannot miss the fact he's a Christensen.

Robert and I left Sunday after Fast and Testimony meeting and drove to PA to help the family.  Not sure what we are helping to do but we are here.

After we arrived, Jocelyn informed us that this little guy had failed his hearing test and that's a concern. Steve's brother was born deaf and his sister deaf in one ear.  I think we all did a lot of praying that this was an incorrect reading OR that he was just so rushed to get here that he just was too pooped to listen to the test.  A few of my friends were told and they all immediately joined in prayers.

Not that Jocelyn wouldn't have been able to handle this.  She would have made this child even more successful and wonderful than his uncle.  But it's a daunting situation.

Here we are, having just arrived in Lewisburg, meeting our new grandson.

 Not sure what noise he made but it surprised me.

Yesterday I was holding and singing to him and Jocelyn snagged this picture of his smiling.  Nope, not because at my nonsinging voice.  Maybe he's laughing at me.  I sang his some Garth Brooks and played him some Home Free even tho I'm not really a goat-roper.  Jocelyn says if he grows up to become one, it's going to be all my fault.

Just after this picture was taken, Jocelyn went to the doctor for herself and a repeat for Val's hearing test, and Hallelujah, his passed the test with flying colors.  We are all so grateful...and I am grateful for friends who would rally around my family with prayers.

When it was learned that Steve's parents would not be coming out for the blessing, they decided to bless Val this week, while we were here.  But alas, the 1898 christening gown was back at home. I could kick myself because I had several thoughts to just stick the gown in the suitcase so it would be here in case we could not come.  I HATE MAILING THIS TREASURE ANYWHERE, even tho I am thrilled to share it.  I always hold my breath til it comes back into my hands.  I texted Pam Barlow and asked her how much she loved me? And if it was enough, would she be willing to go get the gown and overnight it to us.  

Pam is my good friend who will always do anything for me but she's the most respectful person of boundaries. She was a bit nervous to go upstairs, through my drawer and get the gown.  But she did. She walked in, called me on the phone to say she was at the top of the stairs and then we 'walked' though the hall together, to the red room, into the dresser drawer, found the pillowcase the held the christening gown.  She took it immediately to the postoffice, calling me 3x to ask questions about mailing as she stood with the postman.  She is adorable.   She worried crazily...worse than me if that's possible. She had trouble sleeping fearing there might be 2 pillow cases in that drawer holding things and she had sent the wrong one. I knew there was only one so it was all good.  And it was all good and it arrived the next day. Of course I alerted her so she could stop worrying and get some sleep.

This afternoon the bishop arrived to help assist and record the blessing.  It was very sweet and very special to bless a child in his own home.  Steve gave his son a lovely blessing and then we took lots of pictures afterwards

BUT when I went to get them for this blog post, my camera announced that the memory card was damaged and there were no pictures.  I was so spazzin out .  There were NO pictures on the card, nothing showed up in the camera nor on my computer.  But after 4 tries, suddenly the pictures reappeared. I guess it's been a week of blessings of all sorts.

 Honor is experiencing the typical moment with the advent of a new sibling.  Here she is between her dad and their bishop, Curtis Nicholls and the bishop is reading to her to calm her down before the blessing begins.
 Guy....reading while he waits.
 Scarlett and Autumn

 I love the moment that the babe is dressed in my grandfather's christening gown.  It is a connection that I have with no other ancestor.

 I had not knitted the customary Baby Mary Janes that I knit for every baby (since I was 8 years old) but had brought along the baby yarn and needles. Good I just started knitting and finished the sweet shoes yesterday.  Autumn was the perfect little mom, putting them onto her baby brother.

Robert, Steve with  Val, and Bishop Nicholls.

A family grouping.  We certainly missed Steve and Christy.  We weren't able to reach them by phone but we did Skype with Dawn.

Happy and Good parents

And sadly we finally had to say goodbye....

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Priesthood Broadcast April 2016




Carol Ann Holman Etzel

My Aunt Carol turned 80 on March 31 and her son/daughter-in-law and a room packed with friends were on hand today to through her a surprise birthday party.

  Richard had taken her car shopping, supposedly, but then had to do something for Megan and that's how they got her here.
She was surprised.  That's Richard and his son Zak smiling with delight.

 We had driven to Euclid to pick up Patsy, these are the remaining first cousins (we were never a large family) and then drove to LaGrange for the party, then back to Euclid, and then home to Sheffield Lake. It was a day of driving but so worth it.
There was a wonderful picture board set up and these are my favorites altho most were pictures of Al and Carol with all their Corvettes.

 This is Carol as a lovely little child...So pretty!

This is a family gathering picture....Carol is holding my father's hand.  My mom is behind Carol.  Next to my mom is Auntie Florrie (Florida) and her sister, my beloved grandmother, Gladys Holman and then my godmother Patsy.  Behind and between Florrie and my grandmother is Florrie's husband, Gus Piotrowski (became Peters) and to his left is his son and daughter, I think.

When my father died, mom and I moved in with my grandparents and Carol who was just a kid so she is more like my sister than my aunt.  I love her and am glad we are family.  It was a great day.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bathrooms 2 and 3

Today should finally be the last day of the bathrooms renovation.  After Robert had completed his bathroom, the one off the master bedroom, I suggested he take a break and perhaps do the 3rd one after he had his gardening season.  Robert just wanted the whole ordeal over.

Here Robert is working on the floor tiling in the bathroom off the bedroom.  In this he was instructing Nila Eddington on the process.  Nila is an amazing woman.  She redid all the floors in her home with laminate herself!
 Here she its watching the process of cutting the tiles.  She has a couple of bathrooms that she would like to rehab.
 Here's Robert's finished bathroom done in Panoramic.  Hence the bit distortion.  He opted for the same grey color as in the bathroom on the main floor but went with a black shower curtain.  I'm telling you, we are in love with the new technology of toilets (isn't that a funny thing to comment on?)  But very little water is used and yet it swooshes out the elimination in quick time.

Next came what we call my bathroom, off the hall upstairs.  We had removed the shower curtain before taking the picture.  The light fixture we called dingle balls but I really do like them.  However, if we are rehabbing and making things look more like 2016, Robert felt they could be replaced. He is right, of course...but they were my mom's and there's just something about them that connects her to me and I will miss them.  HOWEVER, the good news is that Jordan said he'd like to have them if we do take them perhaps I will still get to see them -- only now in his home.

Robert started to remove the old toilet. The first thing he found behind the tank was this piece of wallpaper that my mom had used on the wall. Black background with flowers in almost foil.  It was lovely and very much her but very much NOT me.  He also discovered that the wax ring was so old that it had collapsed in onto the exit hole which is why not all things would flush with one flush.  Jordan had mentioned how he hated this toilet.  Now we understand the problem.  But both the wall paper and the toilet is gone. 

Be sure to take note of the dingle balls (light fixture)  because I'd like you to see the change.

 Among the things found was this pin used for hot curlers.  Might have been my mom's but equally might have been mine.  I just know what it was and we had a nice chuckle.  I used to hate when I'd misplace those pins and spent each curling session counting the pins to be sure I had them all. I'm a bit of a fanatic when I lose anything, but especially these pins.

video video

 Here's the almost sad moment...the scary thought of not dingle ball lights. Will I like the ones I selected?  Just didn't know.  Here's Robert working on the electricity.  It was a bit tricky at one point to get the fixture squared but he finally got the screws lined up and he says, "There!  A job Jordan would be proud of."

I want a small table with drawer thingy for the corner which is now available. We looked when the Barretts were here but found none.  Dawn found one yesterday (4/8/2016) up in Michigan so when I get it down here I will add a picture of my finished bathroom.  It's lovely.

After all was set up and we were putting away the tools and what nots, Robert is coming up the stairs and I notice he's weeping.  I ask him what's up.  He doesn't answer.  I ask, did you hurt yourself?  Did you break something? Are you tired?  Do you like my bathroom better than yours?

He wonders why I thought he was crying.  Really? Do I not know my man?  Finally he says, I was just thinking of the Savior.

That's the man I've married.

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