Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sweet Baby Evan

Evan is the second of our grandsons (Jake's little brother). He is just finding his footing and is so sweet and innocent. He's not huggy unless his teeth are bothering him or he just woke up. And he is independent and adventuresome. Something tells me he may be the one to have the artist ability passed on in him. A little charmer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Gently into the Night

We visited my mother who is 86 and living in a care facility in our homestate this last weekend. Took the grandsons up to see her. Most of the time there she didn't seem to know us as she didn't really bond in her usual manner. When I hugged and kissed her good-bye she did not respond as she has before with some comments. It's hard seeing her fading mentally. She looks good physically, eats well and they take good care of her, but I wonder if it is fair to her that she lives that way. Of course, I want her with us as long as we can have her selfishly because I won't want that day to come when we must part. But it's still hard saying goodbye to her mind and the essence of who she was to all of us. I am glad that we've had a chance to show her how much we love her and to understand what aging is like at the end and how much dignity she gives to even that.

What becomes of the Broken-Hearted?

A niece is enduring heartbreak and having gone through it in my youth I know that it literally feels like a hole in your heart. How to trust those you confided in and trusted. Once you have been so open with another human being and they turn their back on you, it's a door slammed in your face. A new road has to be taken and it redirects your life. I've learned that the new roads are the ones you should be on, to lead your life another direction (because I believe God has a plan for each of us), but it does not make the pain any less intense. I admire my niece for facing it headon and making steps to move beyond it. Say a prayer for her, will you? When more than one comes together in prayer, as the saying goes, miracles happen.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Girls

Four of my high school girlfriends came to the cottage the last weekend there. Two who could not come sent regrets...Peg and Carol (she sent the most beautiful spray of flowers!).
They went to Mackinac Island, but otherwise hung out at the cottage and a couple of towns nearby.
There is something about being with females you have grown up with as they know you inside and out. Or so it seems. I realized when we got together how many years we had been apart and for some strange reason shared some scary incidents in my life that just kind of came out of my mouth without intending to...

Jake, Beth and Bob were there...I had thought I would be able to spend all the time with the girls on the weekend, maybe next time we are together. We named it the second annual Julie's Weekend because she hosted the first one in our hometown and has since died from cancer. We felt her presence with us, as well as those of other girlfriends though.

We were a fairly cohesive group of about a dozen gals back in the 60's when parents stayed married and dinner was on the table most evenings. It was truly a blessing to have grown up in those days and I will always cherish the friendships that arose from those years.

Pictured are Jeanne, Marilyn, Annette, Karen and Moi.

Jeanne was a cheerleader and married her high school sweetheart. She was an American Airlines stewardess for many years and then they raised a family of three boys and one girl, who are now all married.Her husband was an auctioneer and is now retired. The two of them also found time to be missionaries in Russia. Now they are anticipating moving to a new condo after selling the home where they raised their family and moving into a new phase of their lives. The two of them still look just like they did years ago with only minor hair color changes. They are Christians and it shows in how genuinely they communicate with others. I so admire Jeanne...she was and still is one of the sweetest girls I know!
Marilyn and I were born 5 days apart and our Mom's were in the same hospital room. I did not know until this weekend together that my mother named me the name Marilyn's mom had intended (guess it was a popular name then), so her Mom named her Marylin. Later Marilyn changed her name to be exactly what her Mom first intended as she herself preferred it! Whenever Marilyn was called in a group, both of us used to answer!! ---Marilyn was our gorgeous Homecoming Queen. After college she went into social work and now lives out west where she works in a small school teaching 20 students. She is into spiritual guidance, the environment, and nutrition. I had not remembered seeing Marilyn since college but she swears I visited her once in Detroit and I have no memory of it! She's sending me a photo she says she has of me there to prove it. Strangest thing not to remember that. Marilyn has a soulmate of six years and is foster raising a young boy of 11. She also by a previous marriage had a beautiful daughter and now has a son in law, grandson and granddaughter.
Annette is full of energy and a lot of fun. Her father was superintendent of our school and she came from a large family. She is an English teacher and her husband a school principal in a small town near our hometown. They raised four girls, three of which were triplets. Annette says it was all about organization raising them! Now all the girls are married and they have one gorgeous porcelain faced granddaughter and another child on the way. This year they all went to Mexico together and next summer they plan to get together at a cabin near a lake. Annette was checking rentals online and when I checked them also, I was amazed at the rents they could command.---Anyway, Annette drove and also brought the wine. Her phone rang over and over and she truly was the life of the gathering! I am amazed at her energy and her youthful good looks after all these years. It would not have been a gathering without her and I hope she never misses a one through the years!
Karen was, and is still, Marilyn's best friend. They lived a block from each other growing up and you seldom saw one without the other. Karen went into Eastern Airlines and when it folded she remained living out east. Now she lives in our hometown where she owns her own home and is developing her art by selling it in galleries. She does amazing collages and her color sense is wonderful. She is so practical that she could write a book on simplifying. No computer or TV and a refrigerator where you can actually see the shelves! Her home is minimalist, which I find fascinating. She reads a lot so is interested in everything.

A part of me will always be with these girls as an extended family that I will love forever. I hope we keep the traditon of the weekend slumber parties going through the years.

Cottage in Retrospect

Somehow I had the mistaken thought that I would have more time to post onto this blog at the cottage, but the truth is I have less time all around now.
We replaced two country couches Bob bought at auction a couple of years ago for a paltry $25 . Now we have a leather couch and love seat with 4 recliners in them...makes it like a movie theatre. The couches blend with our hated mustard and brown carpet from the previous owners. Next summer, after 15 yrs. of living with it, we hope to replace it and all the walls with pine.
Then Bob found a neighbor willing to sell almost new snowmobiles, so that shot the furniture buying! We did, however, find a great antique dealer eager to sell and for under $500 bought an entire bedroom set for our daughter. It's shown here in a back bedroom where we also installed two new windows. The old windows were nothing more than single panes of glass framed in...that's the way they did things in the old cottages.
Bob also put in a new stove top (we are still looking for a new oven) and replaced the screens on the sliding doors facing the lake. I put more flowers, soil and mulch in the garden at the entrance to our drive and gave away all the loft bedding, replacing them with quilts and new sheets.
That's pretty good for a month at the cottage!
Next summer we hope to redo the inside, do the roof on the back part of the cottage and switch around some bedrooms if we also get the back bathroom finished. The more we accomplish before retiring the better off we will be on a limited income. After 15 yrs. of owning the cottage we are eager to have all the basic things done to it, so we can just handle repairs and spend time outdoors.