See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One of Mom's favorite hymns

He is born the Divine Child
Il est né le divin enfant,
Jouez hautbois, résonnez musette.
Il est né le divin enfant,
Chantons tous son avènement.
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous le promettaient les prophètes,
Depuis plus de quatre mille ans
Nous attendions cet heureux temps.
Une étable est son logement,
Un peu de paille est sa couchette,
Une étable est son logement,
Pour un dieu quel abaissement.
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Tout petit enfant que vous êtes,
O Jésus, ô roi tout puissant,
Régnez sur nous entièrement.

He is born the divine child,
Play oboe, resonate musette.
He is born the divine child,
Let's all sing his accession.
For more than four thousand years
We've promised by the prophets,
For more than four thousand years
We've been waiting for this happy time.
A stable is his lodging,
A bit of hay is his little bed,
A stable is his lodging,
For a god such a humble thing.
O Jesus, o all powerful king,
Such a little child you are,
O Jesus, o all powerful god,
Rule completely over us.

Hardly a Christmas went by when we didn't hear my mom joyfully singing the above in French, her native language, during the mass. Linda probably heard her mother singing the same tune, as she also remembers the hymns sung on Christmas Eve, by a joy-filled choir.

Western churches in this area, were known for having choirs, rather than just cantors. These choirs were accompanied by instruments mostly, the organ.

The Eastern tradition is different in that instruments are foreign to the liturgical service. There are several understandings here:
  • God created the human voice to praise Him, while men create instruments
  • Words can be heard in a clear manner, when not drowned out by the organ
  • Our purpose is prayerful interaction with the priest to proclaim holy words in worshiping God, during the Liturgy
  • We are not providing entertainment, and even just giving notes can be a distraction

The subject of wedding music came up at coffee hour. Some of the other churches play organ music just before or after a wedding, (if they still have an organ). Most Orthodox churches do not have nor do they require one, as this is foreign to our worship. Have we taken on other religious practices, and erroneously adapted these musical additions?

A good choir director is trained to give the notes for musical parts, such as in the Russian Tradition, where some use the uncommon 4-part harmony. The Romanians have a cantor, in which we take our note from, and he takes his note from the priest. (This allows a continuous flow of music without interruption). The advantage in celebrating in this fashion is that the Liturgy can be said anywhere, simply.

The subject came up about the entrance of the bride, and music during a wedding service. As I recall, the priest and the groom met me at the back of the church, with the alter server. We were given a garment from the priest to be led down the isle to the left, in front of the pews, (the wedding party followed).There we exchanged our betrothal. Then, on the right side, in front of the pews we received the marriage blessing. Their was no organ, and the cantors sang the holy hymns beautifully, at the appointed times during the service.

No fancy stepping down the isle for us, or here comes the bride, but it was simply beautiful, peaceful, holy, and no one missed the fanfare.

Tradition has its time and place, for those who need musical accompaniment, my daughter-in-law and one of my nieces had a bagpipe playing beautifully in the distance, a nice touch.

We fill our minds with the notions that television, Hollywood and magazines provide. As if they know anything about the sanctity of Marriage. I was told that here comes the bride comes out of a bar-room setting. Do you still want that at your wedding? The church is full of its traditions, and many of our Orthodox ways extend back, thousands of years.

Do we want to change what is proven, given by the church because we know best, or because we can't have what we want?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No Underwear, please

It is easy for some of the clergy to talk about gift-giving, when they are not confronted with the problem of fulfilling a child's dream. A child who is depending on you to find what their little hearts desire. (They will hold it against you. You've got to find a way).

It touched me that Fr. P. in his blog spoke about his grandmother. She meant a great deal to him, because he hardly mentions anyone that he loves. As a grandmother, I can identify with that special relationship. She would make homemade things, warm and practical. My grandmother, gave me handkerchiefs. She didn't work and had a limited amount to spend on her fourteen grandchildren, not including her step-grandchildren.

Years ago, they did not have the pressure that our children are constantly putting us under. That is: advertisement. They want it and expect to get it. (If the Jones' have it, they are entitled too!) If you don't deliver, they'll be hell to pay. So, what do poor parents do that do not have the money to keep up with this insanity? Try to get to a sale. And because they know these items are limited, get to them first. The blame game, again. The parents are wrong.

Then, one of two things, don't have any children that you can't afford. Or, make so much money that you will not have to put up with the rantings, as you will give them everything that their hearts desire.

It is unfortunate that Commercialism and greed rule the day. That is not going to change. There is no room in the inn any more, people have stopped going to the stable. Baby Jesus is not the reason for this season. It is the almighty dollar once again.

There are other's out there, who need to be told that what they do for the poor and needy are very much appreciated. Since the fire department in our town provided our Christmas on many occasions, we owe them our deepest gratitude and respect. Often, these fighters give of their own time and treasure, while their own families sacrifice for the common good. God bless you all!

Every year we hear the horrible stories, like the Wal-Mart one on black Friday. The fact that someone got trampled to death should tell you something. It just isn't right. None of it is. Especially the merry making of partying people who won't go to church, but find time for everything else. They will not see the fallen state that we are and have been slipping into. (The hearts of many will grow cold).

Fr.P. advises moderation. My dad used to say the same thing. We got underwear, and other necessities, and except for one year, when I got a bride doll from my godmother, that I really wanted, we got little.

My dad always got a new shaving brush, blades and some cheep after shave. My mom got little things, nothing great that I remember. Santa did come, and we had a great meal, chocolate cream pie, and candy. We sang carols together.

The emphasis in our house was on going to mid-night mass, or the children's mass on Christmas day. And, when we closed our eye's knowing that we had better fall asleep right away, or Santa couldn't come, we always heard the sleigh-bells ringing outside. He was here! We knew it. After all, hadn't we been good little children? We knew we were getting the embarrasing underwear, at least.

I still can hear my mother singing her French Christmas Carols. I didn't know what they meant, but there was happiness and joy in her voice.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Virtue of Hope

We hope for what we do not see. That is why we rely on so many sources to enlighten us, the gospels with their eyewitnesses, and the saints.

(Quotes were taken from the Book: Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Seraphim of Sarov, written by: Constantine Cavarnos and Mary-Barbara Zeldin).

We recently celebrated The Entrance of the Holy Theotokos into the Temple, where she was set aside for her work, at the tender age of three. As a teen-ager she would become the Mother of God, by her own free will. Being pregnant and vulnerable is difficult and frightening, because you know that you will enter, death valley. The Holy Mother of God, didn't even have the comfort of her own home, mother or bed.

The bible tells us that a sword would piece her heart. We mother's know how fragile our hearts are, and what a torment befell the Virgin Mother at the cross. What got her through? Her faith and her hope. She had already endured many struggles, a virgin mother, who possibly lost her older husband Joseph, many years prior to the death of her only Son. Jesus and Mary would part, and she would be left in the care of John the disciple. Left in her heart was hope. Hope that she would see her son again.

The feast celebrated where He comes to fetch her spirit is known as the Dormition of Mary. Later, we know that she is present in the heavenly realm, (psalm 45:9.) This is sung at the First Hour on Christmas Eve Day. Magnificat: "All generations will call me blessed."

The message is one of Hope. Many of the saints have revealed to us miraculous events, cures, disclosures. Like Mary, some people have been put aside to attain spiritual heights, one such person was St. Seraphim of Sarov, a monastic. He guides by speaking of the importance of inner stillness, guarding of the heard, and mental prayer. Repeatedly stressed is theosis, union with God, the fullest possible participation in Divine grace.

During the last period of his life, his face was seen lit by a dazzling supernatural light, and on several occasions he was seen levitating. On March 24, 1831, St. Seraphim had his twelfth and last vision of the Theotokos, prior to his death. On this occasion, "while in his cell, he saw the All-Holy Virgin escorted by two angels, the Apostles Peter and John, and twelve virgin martyrs. The vision lasted about four hours."

"One more practice of the Saint about which something should be said is that of frequent Holy Communion. He always stressed the importance of this practice to the people who came to him, and he urged priests to facilitate it.
He said: "So great is the grace received through the Holy Mysteria, that it has the power to purify and regenerate every man, no matter how great a sinner he may be."

"His life was full of joy, and he tried to impart it to his associates, cheering them by his very presence and occasional pleasantries, both in their work and especially in the evenings, when, tired after a long day of activity, they chanted in the choir. "Joy is not a sin." "He saw the image of God in every man, and the sight filled him with joy."

One Holy Thursday, during the solemn Liturgy of St. Basil, at the time of the Entrance, Seraphim suddenly stopped motionless, and had to be supported behind the iconostasis, where he was silent for two hours and motionless. "He said that he had suddenly seen our Lord Himself in His glory, attended by the heavenly hosts, entering the church by the western door and stopping before the iconostasis, where he was standing. Christ blessed the celebrants, bestowing a special blessing on him. Then He left by entering into His icon on the iconostasis."

We mortals need proof, and people can find all that they require, if they were to adhere to the gospel passage, (Matt.11:28) "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

All you need to do is ask, seek and find, and the door will be opened unto you.

So, in keeping with the spirit and joy of Christmas, what are you hoping for?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Today a storm of thoughts filled my heart of traditions past, and of course the present day.

No matter how little we had as children, our parents always made Thanksgiving a great day. My mom would wear a beautiful dress. Talk was always about the traditional football game. If they lost, we ate crow, and if they won, it was turkey of course.

If we went to my grandmother's apartment, we were divided up and ate in small groups, beginning with the children. My grandmother made the best pies. She had prize -winning recipes published in books.

I can still hear her say that she wanted the part of the turkey that went over the fence last. She loved fat. (It took me a while to get it.)

The girls were given aprons to wear, as we did all the clean up, not the boys. The men would smoke cigars and talked. There was a lot of French spoken, so we didn't always know what the older ladies were talking about.

I'm still not well, so John and I stayed home, although we were invited to several parties. Steve's girl Jean, received her two grandsons early today, as their mom went to the hospital to have another child. A day no one will forget I'm sure.

My oldest son called early this morning. He is always the first to think about me. His son Nate was watching the Macy's parade, like me. He was so happy and extended his wishes to grandma, and grampy, Happy Thanksgiving. Such a sweet voice. Later they were going to her mom's to get together with a rather large family.

Tonight I heard the song, Sunrise, Sunset. Quickly go the years, ........full of happiness and tears. A great movie, which I'm glad I had a chance to watch.

Other greetings came over the Internet, and to all, my heart is with you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meat Pie

My mom was careful to keep the tradition of her family's meat pie. Today's mom tries to keep a close proximity to that recipe but addresses the health concerns of her family.

These are some of our concerns: The beef must be at least 93% lean, or 7% fat. If your used to using a mix of ground pork and ground beef, this will increase the cooking time. Also pork is fattier, so we use a healthy substitute.

My mom used to roll milk crackers, but I've found a quicker method. We use seasoned bread stuffing.

The result is that you can easily make this meat stuffing for your pies in a jiffy.

I don't recall mom having a food processor, which is handy and facilitates the cooking time. Hers took a good part of the day, between the straining, and cooking down the pork in water with celery and onions, rolling crackers, and slow cooking, it took her days to prepare for the feast. Her stuffing was outstanding! You can add this recipe to your Quickie ones.

Laura's Heart-healthy Meat Pie
1 oz. Bell's seasoning
14 oz. chicken broth, low sodium, fat-free
7 oz. Arnold's Herb Seasoned Stuffing
14 oz. Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style
2 1/2 lbs. 93% Lean Ground Beef
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
1/4 cup smart balance spread

Saute chopped onions in a large pan, using the spread, add ground beef and ground sausage, mix thoroughly cooking on medium heat, stirring constantly. In your processor place chicken broth and stuffing, (let stuffing soften in broth). Add Bell's seasoning to meat in the pan, (remove extra fat with a paper towel if necessary), blend broth and stuffing in the processor and add to the meat, stirring thoroughly until well blended. Cool down before placing prepared stuffing in your pie shells. Makes (2) pies. Bake in a preheated oven 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turn down heat to 350 degrees. Cook to heat 30 minutes, maximum. Important! Make sure the stuffing mix is completely cooled before placing it in the pie shell.

A healthier pie. You can substitute mashed potatoes instead of the stuffing/broth, or use crackers. This makes the consistency perfect for pie cutting. I've tried the recipe without pork using just ground beef, that works as well.

Today, I'm using prepared pie crust. (Mrs. Smith's) Pies cut in 1/8 sections equal 7G of total fat. (We make sure that they have zero trans-fat and no cholesterol). Sodium another concern is only 135 mgs. I don't care for the bleached wheat flour in this product. Another substance I try to avoid is MSG.

No matter where you are tomorrow, enjoy the day, and when we bow our heads in prayer, we will be thinking of you, and are most grateful for the many prayers and blessing bestowed upon us through you, our friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Little Rye Bread

I am going to make you hungry for the good things baby. If eating can't be fun, forget it. I'm all about play. I've invented colorful little sandwiches, and dips which will make your taste buds long for another. Veggies can be so various that the sky is the limit. Beginning with two luscious avocado's and a guacamole mix, prepared several hours before, dipping with Pepperage Farm sesame seed sticks, for a tease. Then, placing little rye breads on a platter, spread the hummus, (I like the garlic blend), and cut thinly red peppers and pitted black olives, fold a piece of red leaf lettuce and top. Add a slice of thin tomato. (If you'd like you can top with 1/4 slice of your favorite cheese). Substitute tuna and egg salad along with hummus, for party planning. The little bread can be cut diagonally and placed to form a star, with your favorite relish in the center. For dessert, try Yogurt over crushed graham crackers, topped with fresh fruit and a lot of luscious cream.
Iced water with a slice of lime or lemon, after your meal, only.
This is a quick, and fun little lunch.

Tonight it was chili, I use 12oz. of rinsed B&M beans and up two 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, one can of chopped tomotoes. I add a frozen bag of baby corn. (Cooking time about 10- 15 mins., after sauteeing with onions). It's served with sour cream and restaurant-style white tortilla chips.

Later in the evening we have our ice cream or yogurt.

Tomorrow should be fun! I'm making my French Canadian Meat Pies.

When the kids were little, we cooked broccoli and stuck them in the mashed potato mounds, calling them trees. And then, there were snowmen, here and there made from stacking mashed potato balls. Limited only by your creative imagination, healthy eating can be fun.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Quickie

We Orthodox are in an Advent or Pre-Christmas preparation period. This is difficult if your working and do not have meals prepared ahead, or, if your like me and can put stuffs together on a dime, it sure makes a big difference. Besides abstaining from foods, it is a time for increased prayer, and alms-giving.

People who are born into this faith have lived the lifestyle, and are familiar with the processing of various recipes, handed down through the years. They have the knowledge most converts lack. Those who really know me also know I will not back down from a challenge. However, when I got home from the office and everyone was looking at me for something to eat during the food restricted period, or abstinence, I was at a loss.

On our budget, and not knowing where to turn, I tried soy products. Both my husband and I had food allergies and were on special medical diets, low sodium and low fat. You can add diabetic to the lot. And many other restricted items.

So what do you make for sixty somewhat days with no eggs, milk, dairy, meats, or anything that bleeds, (fish). Vegetables. Some also go as far as no olive oil, and restricted wine.

My grandson has a peanut allergy, (no nuts around him). Most foods are salty, a big problem. Wheat does not agree with my husband. There is also a sugar and white bread restriction. MSG is a no-no. So, while people eat peanut and jelly sandwiches, that is out. Another popular food is the spaghetti family. Another No-no, as too many tomato product causes acid reflux for my husband. He can't tolerate the wheat pasta, and can have very little of it. He is also allergic to tuna fish, which some eat on occasion. Anything is palatable if sweet enough, another no no. A good food for us is also rice. Oats, and fruit. Salad is a good choice, but not sufficient. He cannot do vinegars, or caffeine or chocolate. We are virtually on two different diets.

Our priest has given dispensations, understanding that for some changes in the diet should not be done. One can only do what they can. When my husband starts on this regime, he not only loses a lot of weight, but it makes him sick. When a woman is post-menopausal, it is imperative that she get the amount of calcium her body needs, or bones start breaking, such as: teeth. While soy products are substantial in our diet, too much can produce too much estrogen, and result in cancer. It's not all that good for the male in your home to have too much soy either. Unbalanced meals can leave you weak, Mal-nutritious, and you can become depressed. The other aspect is cost. We need to live within our budget.

But tonight, I'm happy to share one of the quickie recipes I've learned to make, which is not only fast but delicious. It meets the nutritional requirements, and fits in with all of our dietary concerns.

Creamed Mushroom and vegetable egg-noodle casserole
  • 1 1/4 cup (uncooked) egg-noodles
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup, one can of water
  • 1/2 bag of assorted frozen vegetables, (peas carrots, beans)
  • 1 box of sliced (14 oz.) gourmet stuffing mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons of Smart Balance Spread

In a saucepan, saute the mushrooms, (moderate heat), cooking down with the smart balance spread, until slightly browned then add the creamed mushroom soup and water, (mixing well). Cook the egg-noodles separately while the mushrooms are cooking. The micro waive will process your vegetables. Drain noodles and Combine all, stirring well. Good eating.

Serve with your favorite wholesome bread, and fruit.

An Invitation...

Have been receiving many invitation's through various sources, not uncommon this time of the year. The political ones have stopped. There are many more opportunities to give to favorite charities, prayer meetings, classes, committees, lunches with friends, birthday parties, and Thanksgiving and Christmas parties .

That equates to, the invitation to give. Was it always this crazy, or am I suddenly painfully aware of the cost of living these days in America.

We went shopping for groceries, all of four bags, no meat, actually not much at all, but a smacking $100.00 worth. We saved $20. they said at the register. What did we buy? I still don't know. I recall, when I first set-up housekeeping it cost me $20. a week, including a Sunday roast and beer.

Everyone is saying that this is just the beginning and we are going to be taxed to death. People that work should be able to afford to eat, and not pay $4. a pound for tomatoes. (Not even fresh from the garden.) Maybe, we'll need to go back to raising chickens in our back yard, if it frugal to do so.

Instead of dreaming of a white Christmas, I think we should be dreaming of the garden we will need to survive on next year.
Just give me Home Depot cards for presents to buy dirt, fertilizer, and Pete moss. A gift certificate at Morse Farm Stand would be nice for the plants. Then, it would be nice to encase the whole garden in a fence, so that the critter's wouldn't eat it before we do.

When I was younger, I read a book about the Chinese and how they almost starved one winter, living on tea. Makes me grateful for the wonderful meals we eat in this country. God has been good to us, and so remember that no matter what else comes along this week. Remember also that poverty is a state of mind. People can have everything and it still isn't enough, to satisfy the greedy person. I guess it's cut back and keep busy.

So here are the golden rules: First be thankful, secondly, share what you have with another person, no matter how little. Thirdly, always remember that there is someone out there much worse off than you are, so please do not take more than you need. And, pass the green stuffing, please. Just a family joke!

I remember one year, a snow storm was upon us here in New England on Thanksgiving Day. People could not reach their destination, (family and friends). As a matter of fact, most people couldn't even get up Lebanon Hill. It was reported the next day in the newspaper, that as a result, where those travellers stopped is where they hung their hat. Thanksgiving was a little unusual that year, but happily they all enjoyed the feast and new found friends to boot. People counted on other neighbors to feed their family, so it all worked out.

Keep the home fires burning, and who knows what may endeavour your way this year. And in the words of Tiny Tim, "God Bless Us, Everyone."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love is All

I'm in love and I'm happy! So, I raise a cup to you.
Je t'aime
May your days be merry and brite....and May all your Christmases be White, (not yet!) This is what my grandson says all the time, when it's not quite time, no snow!(not yet.)

There is a great song called, The Eyes Of A Child. There is Joy, there is Laughter, Trust and Hope, a chance to shape the future. When you give love its love you'll find. No better teacher than the look in the eyes of a child. (It's funny how much you forget until you see things through the eyes of a child.) In a real sense, mystical. This is just one of the songs I like.
With all its majestic sounds, Air Supply, The Christmas Album is now playing. This Cd was always one of my favorites as they feature a song called "Love Is All."

You cannot know who Christ is if you don't know what love is, and see that love present in others.

Here are some of the words to Love is All.
When we come into this world
and we hunger for that touch
from the one that brought us life
from the one that gave so much
innocents will take your hand
speak through the one thought in your mind
Don't you know that love is all, Love is where we all begin and when we knock on Heavens door, only love will let us in
And as we gather to ourselves
a part of everthing we see
we realize that what we own
isn't what we really need.
Innocents take my hand
speak through the one thought
in your mind.
Don't you know that love is all
Love is where we all begin,
Love is all that we must do
it is the reason why we live
love is all I have for you.
True love can not be broken
through all the tears and pain
only one truth survives
only one truth remains.
Don't you know that love is all
love is where we all begin.
and when we knock on heavens door
only love will let us is.
Don't you know that love is all
love is all that we must do
it is the reason why we live
love is all I have for you...

If you've been given the gift of Love
It is the greatest gift that can be given you.
The only gift that you can bring with you.
It is bestowed upon you as a blessing, the eternal flame.

Give someone that only gift that matters Christmas, Your Love.
The bible tells us that Love, is superior to gifts.
(1Corinthians 13:13-14) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sleigh Ride

What excitement "Joy to the World, the Lord has Come!" What joy. I'm listening to The Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by: Keith Lockhart. This Cd will put you in a festive mood. It is majestic to say the least. On a day when the temperature is 2o degrees, and the wind is howling outside, it makes me happy to have such a sound home.

One in this day and age, can only imagine the thrill of going down hill and dale in a horse-drawn carriage. Snow lightly falling and the evening air crisp and star-lit. It brings me back to one evening when I was in high school. We went ice skating on a pond in Sturbridge and it was thirty something below with the wind chill factor worked in. We were not cold somehow, and of course, there was a wonderful fireplace roaring inside of the cabin along with hot chocolate and goodies. It was the type of weather that one would have been encouraged to stay indoors, but we in New England were build tough. Beside, it was a church sponsored event, and maybe a chance to meet someone nice.

I spent many hours on the outdoor pond, Carpenter's Pond, where we would circle the pond, sometimes holding hands with friends, to music which was piped from inside the shack. Those were very happy days. Looking back I was a good skater and learned to skate backward and do some simple tricks.

One day, while skating backwards, I hit a crack in the ice, down I went and in falling down, I hit the back of my head. I suppose I knocked myself out, and remember a friend putting some ice/snow on my face to revive me.

Having fun virtually costs very little. Dad even let me go at night on occasion, as long as I was home by the deadline. This is where I came to know my first husband. I didn't know that then, but I'd see him with the person who they called the queen of Southbridge, who was a beautiful blond, and she could ice skate like one in the ice capades. He was a cousin of my cousins Mike and Jeff. Since I was eight and one-half years younger, he didn't notice me then. All the girls liked him, a very popular guy, a radio personality. I guess you could say he was handsome. At that young age, I felt a slight hint of jealousy, a feeling I didn't quite understand, as I hardly knew him.

He was into music, a D.J. who provided music at dances held at the old YMCA, downtown. That much we had that much in common. Years later, after his tour in Viet Nam, we would meet up again, and he was determined to make me his wife. He has been gone for a while now, having died from cancer. It's funny though, I can still see his mark in little Nathan, when he passes his fingers through the tag of his blankets, in a style that Bob invented. And then, it's Ah Come On! In only a way Bob could say it.

At those times, we look at each other, all thinking the same thing. He's still with us. Those are the inherited traits.

Now there playing, "Baby it's cold outside." Boy, they've got that right. I can understand how difficult the holiday's are for all those who's loved ones have gone before them.

I remember my dad singing, I'm dreaming of a White Christmas. He'd cry every time, thinking about his parents. It will be a blue Christmas for many, who understand what I'm talking about.

Yes, we go through the motions, know fully well the true meaning of Christmas, as we participate in the festivities, Church service, and holiday treats, cause "there's no place like home for the holiday's." Deep down, there is a sense of reality...and that is:
I'll have a blue Christmas without you,
I'll be so blue thinking about you,
You'll be doing all right with your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Nutcracker

It didn't take long in my life to discover my love for music. Now I wonder, was it introduced to me, or it is inbred. I knew that Tchaikovsky was my favorite, and I don't recall my parents liking classical music. It was probably something I picked-up watching TV. I remember the theme from Swan Lake was so beautiful to me. Years later I would play it on my keyboard.

Every opportunity I have, I share music with Nathan. Yesterday was no exception. I thought that Christmas music would be appropriate, so out came the box full of various Cd's and a variety of different music selections. Guess which one was on top? The Nutcracker, so it begins....It will probably take me until Christmas to go through all of them. I was so captured. Especially, my favorite number by the London Symphony Orchestra, Act Two #13, Pas DE DEUX. Tchaikovsky, expresses the drama to the core of your being. I played it over and over. It's probably going to take all of that time to get through the collections that mean so much to me.

Christmas time, I never get enough of it. It's majesty and joy surpass the commercialism. So be merry and bright. Reflect on what no one can take from us. The birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. See the star? It beckons to you to come to the stable, to be renewed. Come all, the lowly, the forlorn, the journey begins now. There is something for everybody. Let your hearts be merry and bright.

Children learn what they live. Sometimes they surprise you. Yesterday, Nathan struggled to climb up and sit on the bar stool next to his grampy. I watched him as he endeavored to have a conversation with him. John was playing a game on the computer when Nathan asked him if he was sick? With the cough that John had, who could miss that. But interestingly, Nathan at such a young age was showing his concern. Then Nate, said "you need steam." Then he told him he was going to take care of him. How does he know he needs steam? Nathan is the best cure for what ails John, how did he know that? This little boy is a very special child. Christmas comes when you least expect it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where is Home

It is often said that home is where you hang your hat, or where the heart is. A place where you can be happy. Belle, in the musical, Beauty and the Beast was from a provincial town, and once she leaves this place, her freedom is taken from her and she is held against her will. She finds that her heart's far, far away-"Home's a lie."

Home is where she will spend most of her time. She'd give anything to return to what she called a dull town, and is sorry for the complaint. She thinks of her past, "home a memory". Enters the person Gaston, who is clearly in love with himself, yet proposes to make Belle his wife. Saying "she'll be my bride, She'll capitulate to me." Meanwhile, Belle is thinking, "So unweddable!" (Gaston, its all about him). He says to Belle, "Will you be a wife? Will you be some he-man's property?" "All roads lead to The best things in life are, All's well that ends with me! Escape me, there's no way, certain as do re Belle, when you marry Me!"

Both suitors, are beasts to Belle. The prince, who is made into a beast is judged as a selfish and unkind person, the enchantress saw that there was no love in his heart. The prince was offered a rose as a gift in return for shelter, with a warning, do not be deceived, that beauty is found within. The prince does not take the advice from the stranger, and ends up in Bells's words "mean, coarse and unrefined". As a curse is placed on him, the beast is given a chance for redemption. Before a last petal falls from the rose, he would have to learn to love another, and earn their love in return, or forever be doomed.
The beast seeing through his own eyes grew to dispair. (This is probably the disposition of most of us. We are never good enough, rich enough, smart enough, handsome enough).

Gaston, who see Belle, as "Who's as beautiful as me," would not make a good husband for Belle as compared to the interactions between beauty and the beast. Examining the signs of love as they appear between Belle and the Beast are termed "New and a bit alarming." (Belle), "But there's something in him that I simply didn't see." (Love happens unexpectedly and over time).

Listen to some of Belles thoughts. "There's something sweet, and almost kind. And now he's dear and so unsure." And now the Beast. "She glanced this way, I thought I saw, and when we touched she didn't shudder. No, it can't be..I'll just ignore But then she never looked at me that way before."

Being together, they share a book, many looks, laughter, dinner and a dance. Belle finds her home. Belle asks the beast, "Don't you know how you've changed me? I've found home, stay with me." The beast knows that Belle does not just see the beast within the man, but something deeper. He earned her love, and before the final petal fell, she told him that she loves him. The curse is broken. He is transformed back to the handsome prince.

There is no home without love, and that requires a humble heart and spirit which comes from within. You can be in the biggest house, have all the wealth in the world, or, perhaps you have very little. If your with the one you love and that loves you, you have everything. Home is where your heart is. And your happiness depends on it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beyond His Years

Last weekend began one of the most enjoyable weeks that grampy and I have had with Nathan. He was our house guest. Unfortunately, he came when he had a cold, and we were on the brink of something ourselves.

Those days were so precious that I would be remiss to write them down. This morning I had the pleasure of hearing his happy little voice as he was at home with his very happy and hopefully well-rested parents.

Looking back, there was only one call for a time-out. That was done by his grampy. Nathan has become used to time-outs, no he doesn't like them, but it wasn't the time out that bothered him, it was that grampy was mad. During our little walks, earlier he remarked, that "grampy doesn't get mad." But grampy will not tolerate slapping and pushing grandma. He's got it, if you want anything from grampy, you have to be nice to grandma.

Lessons are taught many ways. He sees grandma looks up to grampy, now he is learning the chain of authority. He knows that whatever grandma asks grampy to buy at the store, he does. So, now when he wants something, he will ask me to ask grampy for it. (My point is that time-outs teach resentment). Like all anger, it develops from the previous point, until resolved). We would rather stress the positive.

He is built tough. He had fallen on just about every bone in his body, just developing. You tell him he's okay, and he believes you, because he sees you as his authority, and he knows that you love him. So what bothers him? When you are mad.
You are his security blanket he cannot afford to lose.

This is the easy part, all men, live to please their women. It is a natural instinct in them. I complimented his work, just as I would any other man, (forget the age), and he loved it. He couldn't do enough to help grandma, it pleased him. Giving him small tasks help to develop his listening skills. It says, yes I am paying attention to you. (Who doesn't want that?) So, he went around with his indoor lawnmower, and grandma made a big deal about his "work."

There has to be room for choices, do you want applesauce, or peaches, or what video would you like this time? I find Nathan is a very strong-willed child, but will do anything if he is not pressured into it. Making him think it is his decision was helpful. Sometimes, this technique was not applicable like when it was time for going to the potty. No boy at that age wants to go to the potty, just ask them. NO! They try everything to avoid it. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

So, I learned quickly not to ask, rather, we'd look forward to the next event, saying, after you go to the potty, we'll go for an adventure in grandma's car. Call me when your done. Leave quickly. The next thing I knew, "I did It." No problem. There is never a problem when good behaviour brings about a reward. Kiss the boo-boo knows all about that, right guys? (For my boys it was usually a share in the cheese cake bought at the grocery store). Nathan was promised a new little matchbox car and we kept our focus on that. Contingent of course, on how he behaved for grammy.

Dealing with the word No. A simple business technique I learned at the office, in order to get a person on a positive side, was to ask questions that result in the answer yes. Is the sky blue? Yes, Is the sun out, Yes? Do you see the blinking light? Yes. No is not what grandma wants to hear. If that fails, it was the authority reminder, grandma is boss number 1, then Nathan is boss is number 2.

If he started with his whining, which all kids learn from each other, I simply told him that I didn't like to hear it, and if it continued, it would be early to bed, like right now. It stopped immediately.

Nathan wants to be happy, he laughs and plays, and is such a good boy. He is so interested in life, and wants to learn everything in a day. Mostly, he is proud of his work, and helping grammy and grampy.

Each day, he talked to his parents on the phone, and looked forward to seeing them, telling me they were coming on an airplane. Someday he wants to go on one too! Even though he is still scared of the minutest bugs on grammy's window. Growing up is not easy. He's doing a great job with his alphabet, numbers, putting things together, now he has learned one of life's important lessons, chain of command. The go-to person.

I was stunned the other day when he asked me, "grandma are you happy?" (If grandma is happy, he is doing his job. His work is important to him. Work equals rewards). Wait! Since when has anyone ever asked me that question?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Love brings out beauty

Our church group usually takes in a couple of plays a year, and this year one of them was Beauty and the Beast. (Cinderella was always my favorite Disney Classic in the past, as I could relate to the character). After seeing this musical, it will always be Beauty and the Beast.

Linda and Vic are good friends, and on my sixtieth birthday, they gave me more than a present, they captured my heart. The beautiful glass encased couple, Belle and the Beast, dancing to the theme song is sitting on my dining room table. Linda knew what this play meant to me and because I also received the CD, I am sharing the words of the beast. It describes the change that love makes.

It begins in a palace. One night a spell is cast on the prince, because of his selfishness and, for the rest of his life he is doomed to live a life of regret and deep pain, in the body of a beast. Unless, there is found a redeeming quality in him.

Love comes unexpectedly to him, her name is Belle. An appropriate name meaning beautiful. Belle understands the beast because she sees his "heart," which now changes because of his love for her. He lives to please her and gives her a present, books. They have dinner together, and the rest is as certain as the sun, (not before much suffering on the part of the beast). The words of the beast.....

If I Can't Love her, Lyrics By Tim Rice

And in my twisted face
There's not the slightest trace
Of anything that even hints at kindness
And from my tortured shape
No comfort, no escape
I see, but deep within is utter blindness

As my dream dies
As the time flies
Love a lost illusion
Cold and driven
To this sad conclusion

No beauty could move me
No goodness improve me
No power on earth, if I can't love her
No passion could reach me
No lesson could teach me
How I could have loved her and make her
love me too
If I can't love her, then who?

Long ago I should have seen
All the things I could have been
Careless and unthinking I moved onward

No pain could be deeper
No life could be cheaper
No point anymore if I can't love her
No spirit could win me
No hope left within me
Hope I could have loved her and that she'd
set me free

But it's not to be
If I can't love her
Let the world be done with me

Love transforms the beast back to the prince, after an heroic act. And they live happily ever after. The End.


I have been an advocate for holistic health care for years, and have subscribed to many books. My research allows me to share some of these views with you. I am not a physician, but it is my hope that if this information has interested you, you will pursue the subject matter with your health care provider. We should at least be concerned as mom's for our families, and ourselves as well.

Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. The problem is obesity, plain and simple what we eat. The answer is processed foods, because we have stripped our foods from essentials and in some cases thrown out fiber and important vitamins and minerals. Add MSG to the mix and now it also becomes impossible for your body to experience normal appetite regulation.

Scientists condemn soda to the "bad for you category," so why does it continue to be a number one seller? The fact is, we need our foods sweeter and sweeter. Its got to have eye appeal, so we use products like bleached flour, and dyes. If its not sweet the kids won't eat or drink it.

Manufacturer's have capitalized on our ignorance, many times hiding the undesirable product on the ingredient list by using "chemical names". Take the time to find out what those hidden things are.

People who are prone to diabetes, and have developed a taste for sugar, will choose substitutes, tasting sweet, but can be even worse for your health than sugar. One of these products is aspartame, (which, if you go on-line, you will find out why many people have taken it out of their diets). I will not have it in my home.

Others, like corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup, and sucrose, are found in unlikely processed foods. These sugars are unessential carbohydrates, which shoot up your sugar index. Why do we need sugar in sauce?

Evaporated cane juice or evaporated cane juice crystals, are minimally processed, meaning they still retain some Vitamin B and Magnesium, but will still negatively affect your sugar index. The bottom line is if you are in the market for sugar-free foods, or drinks avoid those utilizing aspartame.

Try to use the natural juice of fruit as a sugar substitute, like pineapple or unsweetened apple juice, or apple sauce. Water down the carbohydrates, when you can.

We all need to be "label readers" to try to avoid these dangerous substances from entering into your body.

When I was a child, I used to eat butter and sugar sandwiches on white bread. Can you imagine!

Adaptation comes slowly, cut the sugar portion each time, when preparing your recipe and gradually you will work to change your "taste buds." Or, cut sugar out entirely.

I have read that the only alternative product that can be used is called stevia. I have not tried it, so I don't know how it tastes. More and more I see the logic of eating as many natural products as possible, unaltered and God given.

Enter in the age of genetically processed foods, cloned and in our food stuff without warning, all in the name of the almighty dollar. What's at risk? You are. The fact is, we don't know what were eating most of the time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shepherd of Souls #35

Listening to this might change your life. You can find it on iTunes. Some of the key phrases or words.






When your sick, you can mask it with a pill. The pill, has a side effect, that can quickly be remedied with another pill. But unless you get to the root of the issue, the physical problem will never be resolved and you will never be well, slipping into still more diseases until death.

I think the holistic health care part 2 hit right on target. We should want to resolve our suffering and that can only happen when we are curious about finding a deeper understanding and awareness of our self. Our whole self. Personalizing it, and coming to grip with reality. That takes courage, work, and someone you can trust to talk to. Doctor's do not have time for that.

You have been hearing the word change lately. Are you willing to change? The reason that some people will not change is because they want and need to be miserable. Maybe change means that they will now have to be independent and self reliant. It could be fear of rejection. I know a lady who's husband has been dead for many years. She is a shut-in by choice, lives within her memory. How can she be happy if he's gone? She is going down by choice.

We have an innate need to be comforted and fed, and all of us crave love. Yet, I know someone who does not let anyone touch him. Rather odd, his response. Why does he not let anyone near him? I've heard him say that he doesn't like people. Others in his occupation have said similar things. Aren't we called to love one another? Touching someone is a natural gesture. Are these people afraid of being loved? Or have they been hurt in their lives and the risk is too great, so its easier to live a lie. I believe that this is the chief reason why people are sick, they cannot come clean. Harboring is a self-poisoning. You have to love your life and, what you feel you are on the inside should reflect what you are on the outside.

Kim Ladue talks about the Twinkies, and the salad, an interesting analogy.

Not too long ago, we learned that a person had carried around for years the memory of having an abortion, which happened in her younger years. Think about the effect of that on your health. Can you tuck that away? (The fact is you cannot see what is on the inside of someone). Frankly, I do not believe that being unbalanced is mostly nutritional. While it is true that foods are being genetically produced, we have good choices non-the-less. Being all jumbled up inside is often the first place to look, and there is no quick fix. It was an interesting program, and I'm sure she will have people lined up at her door. So, take a deep breath, it begins there. Decide its time to make that change, because you deserve to be happy and healthy.

Fr. Peter ended with a very nice vocal selection entitled, "Healing Waters," for all of us who's "Soul is Screaming."

I remember another couple who became pregnant in high school, they were so much in love with each other. The parents separated them fast, he was going to Holy Cross to study to become a doctor. This devastated this girl's life. The problem was he was from a high class family, she lived in poverty.

It is said that poverty is just a state of mind. When you get lemons make lemonade. The people that said that was not poor. There is no accounting for the damage inflicted on the poor in terms of worry and fear.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Musings of a toddler

It is totally amazing the amount of knowledge that Nathan displays at his age. After lunch, when it had warmed up to about forty degrees, I dressed him up to go for a walk down the street, to get the exercise that he is accustomed to. While we walked, it was time for a serious talk. Like, "grampy doesn't get mad," Nate said. No wonder he loves grampy so. (That was then, but when Grampy caught Nate hitting and pushing grandma, when he got home from work, it was time for a time out.)

It was time to pick-up leaves and toss them in the air. I remember doing that as a child, but it wouldn't have dawned on me to that now. We kicked our way through the leaves, calling it fun. Yet, he knew not to go into the road. He said, "we went to church and I heard all the people singing." That impressed him!

On the way back he asked me for the rake and the barrel. The rake is the size that you use to clean between bushes, and its very light. The amazing thing is that he understood how to use it. Then, he placed the leaves in the barrel. We filled it up. These were the stragglers that remain in the garden along the side of the driveway. Starting to rain, we went into the house.
Many times that afternoon he said, "we worked." Even at that age, and like most men, his work is important to him. He was proud of his accomplishment.

It wasn't long after, he had difficulty closing the bathroom door, as I have a rack over the top, you have to pull or push it closed. But, he was checking it out to find the "problem".

Now, he is able to get the rather heavy stool, so he can place it by the computer to see what's going on. He has an intense desire to learn. I've found him using the mouse, and he knows how to direct the arrow and click on target. He understands the world icon, and shows me how the computer is "reading" the program, looking at the tower. When he sees the red X on the on the monitor located on the task bar, he says, "it's not ready".

When going to bed tonight, he questioned me about the heating system, asking about the noises, and telling me it was a "water system". We have forced hot water.

When washing his hands, he pointed out the hot side and the cold side, telling me that we turn off the hot first. After drying his hands, he puts the stool back, then off to sit in my chair, which he now calls "mine," meaning his, and he will fight for what belongs to him. It is amazing that he understands what a clicker is and can turn the TV off and on, and find channels. Ah! clicker, man's best friend.

You'd almost get the impression that he is all grown up, but when you tuck him in to bed, he asks for the light on, and the door left open, and it's Pepper, Snoopy Brown and Snoopy White, and a Yellow Dog which he hasn't named yet. Then, the questions begin again, "Where is his blue airplane?" (left in my car), and if that wasn't enough, he proceeds to tell me all the model numbers. And, did I see the smoke stack on the truck? He misses nothing. Knows the names of the trucks, what they do. He's loves sports and watches the game with grampy.

Asking for his yellow blanket, it's tucky bunny time. That was only a small amount of what I observed today, and I wondered what else was going on in his little mind.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Our church will be celebrating the feast day of St. Michael. St. Michael is an Archangel who stands at the throne of God, and does His bidding. This means for those of you who are not Orthodox, we celebrate Vespers on Saturday, and a Divine Liturgy on Sunday. (All those who's name begins with Michael will be celebrating their name day.) (Also, Michelle, and other feminine names).

Sometimes, the bishop comes out, in our case, it is His eminence Dr. Nicolae (Condra), who is an Archbishop. Or, His Grace Ioan Casian De Vicina, who is our Auxiliary Bishop. The pastor of our parish is The Rev. Dr. Peter-Michael Preble. The Cantor is Mr. Vasile Muresan.

On Saturday, following Vespers, we will serve hors d'oeuvres, pastry, apple cider and coffee. Following Liturgy, Sunday, we will enjoy a full turkey and ham dinner, complete with dessert.

We are very much looking forward to these festivities, and to being with friends, family and other church members from St. Nicholas Parish, and St. Michael's.

We have been working hard in preparation to receive our guests, and as in all events held in our parish, we pray for it's success.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Golden Age

Today is the day. The biggest so far, the big 60. I have reached what is known as the "Golden Years". It is a time when you can enjoy life without the worry of small children to care for, as basically you are thought to be "carefree." Now who ever in their right mind suggested that?

Time to do whatever your heart desires, so they say. Some have called it a second childhood. Playing again is a priority because you care less about what people are going to say about you, and you just do it. Some people go back to school, having the opportunity that they never had before. For some, it is trips, and vacationing away from their residences. (Of course, I'm speaking of those retired). Whatever it is you do, its supposed to be a fun time in your life.

Most people enjoy the prospect of a quieter, reflective time. No matter what your thought is, the fact is, you are as old as you feel. Age is just a number! I feel like I did at my sweet sixteenth birthday, (and never been kissed), and that is -- looking forward to many fun days to come!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Voted

John McCain gave his expected concession speech with so much dignity and respect for his new President Obama, that I went to bed, disappointed and frustrated at the outcome. He certainly has a lot of class, and would have made a great President.

People around me, earlier that morning, were confident that the Democrats were going to win the election, by what was being presented on the media. It was a good race, and John McCain fought the good fight and will always be a winner in my view.

Its not about my feelings, but about choice. It may take awhile, but in time I'll get over it. After all, the people have spoken and they know what they want. Change. Let's hope its a change we can live with. I never believed that I had the right to anything, that your didn't earn.

We hope always for peace and prosperity and wish our new President well. We need to be inspired to do the very best we can, and stand behind him fully supporting and respecting his post. It will be a challenging job, to say the least. Congratulations President Obama!

Certainly, we will need to be (united) fellow Americans, working our way out of the mess we are currently in. Times have changed, and we need to change with them, or get lost in the shuffle. Remember, we still have traditionalists, even in the most liberal of states, like California. We will be cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

worldwide viewing

We have placed the 60th birthday slide show presentation on YouTube for viewing. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Colorful Cheeks

Nathan and I played outside today, which produced great health benefits, as well as pink cheeks. Running around is good for your heart, and it keeps you warm on a cold day. Usually, Nathan comes to grandma's but today, I went to his house. It's a good thing I had the two-year-old was with me or I'd be lost.

Nathan knew where every light switch was, the flatware and dishes for our food, and just about anything I needed to know. It was so cute the way he tells me this is the kitchen, I like it. Showing me the flooring. (Just like a man). And then, looking out of the sliders, "what happen to mommy's tomatoes?" And, look at the leaves falling down. You wonder what goes through their minds. We're used to it, and it's all so new to them.

We began the day playing cars, and then watched "Noggin," both upstairs and down. Upstairs, we played with the toys in the man room, colored in our car coloring book, and then we took the sizzors out and cut, counted ten pieces, and wrote the number on each one. We placed them in a pile, then I asked him for each one beginning with the number one. Not only can he count, but he identified all of the numbers, colors, and alphabet. I constantly asked him, how do I, (testing him), and he knew.

We played, outdoors with a huge blue ball, almost bigger than him, and because the driveway goes down to the end of the street, grandma chased the ball. I haven't done that much running in a long time. He told me that he was not allowed to go in the street because of the cars. I knew kindergarten kids who didn't know that. We walked around the house, into the woods, just to throw away leaves. Then, picking up sticks we sent them flying into the tree well. Out came the watering can, because he said, while looking at the potted mums, "they need to drink". Later, we played basketball, then out came the lawnmower, and front loader.

He is at a stage when he loves working in the sand and so it's continually filling the dump truck, and dumping it again. It was done over and over until lunch. He ate and slept well. So did I, while reading a book.

The change in time meant indoor play after Nathan woke from his nap. So, we practiced baseball (ground balls), using a tennis ball. Then, cartoons and cars all over again.

Before you know it, it was snack time and then dinner. The days seem shorter already. I heard the phone ring, it was his dad, who earlier had showed me how to use the TV clickers, on both sets, and the phone, or I wouldn't know how to answer and call out. But it was Nathan who was able to find all the light switches, or we would have been sitting in the dark.

I'm so glad he didn't ask to see "Mighty Machines" today, because to be honest, the equipment was so technical, that I wouldn't have known how. Happily I know how to use the microwave, and flat-top range.

It is said that children are smart because they are exposed to the learning opportunities with others of all ages at day care facilities, but I think that it is the technology. I have never seen toys like his. He had the alphabet on the refrigerator, he put them in order, placed individual letters in a holder, which said the letter and sound it made. Amazing!

But the best part of the day was when I heard him say "no" to his father, and his father using words of wisdom, said to him. "Nathan, when you say "no" to mommy and daddy, what do we do?" Nathan said, "time out." Then his father said, "that's right" so, what word are you not going to say? And, of course Nathan, replied "NO." His father replied, "Good Boy."

I don't why I think that is so funny! Is it me? Or, are grandparents great observers? Remember the post I had a while ago, growing a short tongue, that was one of those moments.

Tonight, I will sleep well, pink cheeks and all.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Republican, Democratic, Independant

We are all in this together, and by golly tomorrow will be an interesting day to say the least. Preparation is being made for the next President of this great nation.

Tonight my head is spinning with different views, and comments that we have heard for a year. It seems there was no getting away from it. The mailbox has been full. The television ads, guest speakers and classes, all geared to elect the best possible candidate. Phone calls and lots of debate, the day is near and I can't wait.

You will get your chance to finally vote in just a few days.
Say a little prayer, and hang on for the ride. We think this year they'll be no land slide. God bless the U.S.A.

Balloons and Clowns

Saturday evening I prepared to attend my grandson's Halloween Party, and was looking forward to meeting all his friends at the Polish Club. It was said that his day-care provider, Miss Linda, was putting this event on, in order to get the family's to meet. I've heard so much about her since his birth, and all the wonderful things she does with the children, that I was looking forward to seeing her and all the costumes.

We arrived at 5:30 on time, and when I walked in I expected to see all the kiddies, making noise and running around. Instead it was quiet, no kids in view, no costumes. Then, surprise!

I was surprised, that's who was surprised! Me. I should have guessed it, but I admit, I had no clue. I was Clueless, even though Jean asked me a week or so prior, for addresses. Angie, for pictures for a book she was compiling for Bill?

Just the other day, we were discussing where we would eat dinner, following Nate's party. I even offered to make something here, but they really wanted to eat out, no wonder!
Angie said that Billy had a gift certificate that they needed to use. It was a (white) lie. And, I bought it.

This plan was well crafted, as nothing was missed. Balloons, guest register, a beautiful cake, flowers, a video- presentation, everything but a male stripper, thank God. I saw this at one of these "over the hill parties," and I wouldn't hold my breath at what the kids could conjure up. In fact, one of my first concerns was "being roasted," by them or my brothers. That didn't happen.

It began with a poem delivered by my eldest son, Bill. Here it is:
As we all gather here to send out some cheers
as Laura's Big day quickly draws near...
She's 5 days away from turning SIX-O
But looking at her, it sure doesn't show.
I promise to make this speech really brief,
as not to cause you very much grief.
You've waited for this moment all of your life,
21,900 days to be precise.
I used that number to be more kind,
cause a half-million plus hours is a very long time.
From raising two boys, to helping your brothers, you mean so much to us as well as to others.
You've guided, supported, and wiped many tears,
mended and lended, and cut many hairs,
and today you are honored with food, wine and beers.
(So, please stay 'till the end, we'll need help folding chairs).
The Polish Hall said we could throw no confetti,
so sorry for that, but enjoy the spaghetti.
We ordered balloons and clowns by the dozens,
the balloons never showed but we've still got your cousins.
We've kept this clean and tried to be kind
cause we both know better, you'd kick our behinds!
So on with the party, the music and fun
this is my cue, that it's time to run.
But there's so many things I'd still like to say,
but I've gone on for too long for your hair has turned grey!
On and on I could go, things to say there are plenty,
but we'll stick to the facts-you are 3x20.
So lets all raise our glasses and give a big cheer,
for Laura has graced us with 60 fine years!!
Happy Birthday Mom.

Then, Steve took the mike and was prepared, after a few jokes, to present a video, complete with snap-shots, background graffiti, and music. Poking lots of fun at the fact I was a scorpion, and listing what their characteristics are like, everyone laughed because, I could see they know me well. It was also the politics of the time, as I was born on an election day, and, the costs of things as they were at that time. It included famous people born then, and of course, my name was listed. They laughed when they saw the record (33rpm's), but little did they know I used to play "I'm A Puppy" on the Columbia label- 78's. They were thicker and smaller, and not flexible.

The car in one of the photo's, was the same one that Angie's dad, fixed up recently, and is so proud of, featuring it in Antique shows. He gave a lot of credit to his girlfriend, Jean, who worked on it with him until one a.m. in the morning, then both of them worked full-time jobs. Angie and Bill, Steve and Jean all deserve a lot of credit putting this together. It was a fabulous night, and if they wanted to make me feel loved and appreciated, they did an outstanding job. They even played my favorite song, by the Dave Clark Five, "Because, I Love You."

Thanks to all my friends and cousins, Aunts, nieces, nephews, and to the many others who came to my party. You made me feel "special" on a special night. I won't forget how thoughtful you all are, and what a wonderful family we have. And, I hope you all know how much I appreciate and love each one of you.

Steve did not forget the other song that I've enjoyed through the years, often singing it to them when they were young, by the Beatles, (Abbey Road). It's the words that are so meaningful at the end of the tune. They go something like this:
And in the end
the love you'll take
is equal to the love
you make.

Ditto. That is what it is all about....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rewarded for Effort

You are rewarded for your effort. That is how it works!

Little Nathan came to the door, unexpectedly, as his parents were going to call first if they were able to come on Halloween. It was understood that Nathan had to ride in the biggest firetruck in town first, with his uncle Steve. So, mom was a passenger, while his dad was assigned to blow the horn, as the truck in all it's glory rolled down Main Street. He doesn't realize what an honor that was, "yet." Yet is one of his favorite words. No Daddy Yet, No mommy Yet. No coat Yet. I think you get it.

It was off to his other grandparents house, and by that time we thought it too late for a visit. It was our understanding that we would see him on Saturday, at a little party being held for all the kids and some family members. I recall how hard it was to get the kids dressed and to go to Grandma's house across town, only to scoot back to my mom's with two tired costumed and at times cranky kids.

We realize that it is tough on the parents, especially when they do not share the enthusiasm and are miserable in some of those get-ups. Nate's mom tries to involve him in choices, and from what I gather, he wanted to be a french fry.

Well, I was wrong, he was the cutes hot dog you've ever seen. And, at the point of "let's get this off now," by the time he got here. He's a good sport. Everthing works this way. You are rewarded for your effort.

Nathan was rewarded for his effort. He got a huge pumpkin balloon, two new jets to play with and add to his collection, one shinny red (sour) apple, and a bag of little fish crackers, pizza flavored. Mom tried to read the card to him, which was his favorite, a Halloween styled truck. But, he was too excited for that.

Then, he called his mom, Ang, (and in a tone that his mother did not appreciate). So, she said to him that he was to call her, "mommy." (He has developed a little tone). Oh Gosh! He also told his mother to leave the room, ( he did the same thing to me the other day), because he wanted to play with grampy. Playing jets with grampy is a full-time job, lately.

Nathan doesn't mean to shun his mom and me. He doesn't understand that "yet". Woman are not on this earth to be put aside or shunned, and at some point, he will learn that. Just like hes learned that he is rewarded for his effort. Grampy can teach him that.

Off they went, the usual waves, blinking lights, and poor mom, who hadn't had her evening meal, was going to pick-up something again. Bill, on the other hand, had a cup soup to help with his cold. They are such good parents. Nathan will probably not appreciate them for many years, but he sure does love them, me too!