When we first moved to Michigan, I felt a bit displaced. I spent months using the kitchen table as a makeshift office and hated the fact that most of my writerly things were in boxes. We had an area set aside for my future office, but other renovations kept delaying the renovations of my office. One day in an act of frustration, I decided that we did not, in fact, need a guest room, and that room could be put to better use as my office. The bedroom set removed, I was left with an empty room. At first, I had trouble seeing the vision for this room, as I had already designed my office around the previous space, even going so far as purchasing the tile. This room was newly carpeted, so although I briefly considered ripping up the carpet, I couldn’t convince the Hubby it was something we should do. I spent days pouring through Pinterest, and slowly a vision took hold. It was bold, but I thought it would work well for the space. We’ve experimented with color a good deal in the renovations here at what we call The Northern Command Post, so when I told him I wanted to paint the ceiling, he went with it. Still, I think he may have had some misgivings in the beginning. How could he not, even I nearly hyperventilated when I handed the paint sample to the lady and asked for a full gallon. Truthfully, I debated that choice from the time I picked the color until the moment I saw it on the ceiling. But from that instant on I knew I had made the right choice. For the ceiling to work, I knew I needed bright white walls. Surprisingly, the white walls caused me more anxiety than having a bold color on the ceiling, but I also knew I could bring in color with accessories. My vision came together to give me a space that is unique and inviting, and most of all a place that makes me smile. #officemakeover #awriterslife #author #Michiganauthor #Paintedceiling #writersretreat
We had an unexpected visitor this morning, the son of the Doctor who had our house built in 1958. He showed up unannounced with the hopes of seeing inside the home. Of course, we said yes, as we wanted to share all the updates we’ve had done since purchasing the home early last year. He walked through the office, I use that term loosely, as it is currently a storage room. I could tell he was not impressed, when he made mention of the same (extremely outdated) cork flooring. Told how the room used to be the hub of the house, it being the only room with a television. He pointed to the scuffed-up floor, having gotten that way by his sister’s wayward hound. I shared with him my future plans of adding a wall, moving a door, and opening up the ceiling, but it was clear he had trouble seeing my vision. We then moved to the laundry room, which again is still in dire need of renovation, before stopping in the kitchen. The memories flashed in his eyes as he waved his arms, telling of cabinets and islands that were no longer there. Seeing doorways where none had been during his time in the home. Things changed, as he stepped into the newly renovated dining/living room. Scanning the room, he mouthed the word wow repeatedly, as his gaze took in every detail of the once expansive, yet simple room. He said he couldn’t wait for his remaining siblings to see what has become of their childhood home. He told how the front door was rarely used. “It was only used when Mother had her bridge club meetings there. Since dad was a distinguished doctor they really couldn’t have their guest using the back door. Otherwise we never used the room.”
We walked down the hall to his sister’s room (our guest room.) Another wow as he saw his old room, now our den. His parents, now our master bedroom. More stories about how the bathroom used to have a tub where a shower now stands.
We took him to the basement. And, while still a work in progress, it still managed to make him smile and profess how wonderful everything looks. It was nice to share our house with one of its original occupants and see approval. He was beaming when he left, and said he couldn’t wait to e-mail his siblings and tell of all we have done.
It pleases me to know that the good doctor and his wife can rest in peace knowing their house is in good hands. And now we know a bit of history of the house. Like, it was the first fully electric house in Sanilac county. Something that was corrected, after the third electricity bill arrived and they switched it over to gas heat. That the basement always flooded, until they had major work done. We are grateful for that! And, to be careful when digging in the back yard, as Blacky is buried back there somewhere. #goinghomeagain #revisitingyourchildhood #history #homerenovations #hometour
The hubby and I are now officially full- time Michigan residents. It took a bit of doing, but our belongings are now under one roof. Two actually. As much of our stuff is still in the garage waiting for me to find a place for it to fit. No easy chore, since we have a lot of duplicate items. The cost of maintaining two homes I guess. Mostly we have kitchen stuff as I am a sucker for the latest kitchen gadget. This kitchen is smaller than our two previous kitchens, so finding space for all my gadgets is difficult at best. Never fear, what does not fit will be purged.
It is good to be back “home.” While the hubby and I both grew up in Kentucky, we have spent more of our married life in Michigan than any other place, returning to Michigan feels like home. Ours is a small town. It takes maybe five minutes to drive from one end to the other. We have three stoplights. If you hit them all during a red cycle, it may take a bit longer to drive through our town. If you live here, you can’t go to the store most days without running into at least one person you know. A simple trip to get bread can take ages when you stop to visit in the grocery isle.
When we purchased our home in Pennsylvania, we had thought it would be our forever home. It was brand new, so new, so new I got to customize many of the elements. I had my basement and my much dreamed of mountain view. It was a lovely craftsman, on a large lot, in a safe neighborhood. The perfect home, really. With the exception of the large lot, it was everything this new (old) home isn’t. The Michigan house is an older brick ranch. At the time of purchase just over a year ago it was in need of a major update. Still, it had good bones and a spacious basement, albeit unfinished. It has a large room for an office, someday. Unfortunately, that room is currently being used as a mud room/cat playground. The cats love all the boxes and adore “helping” me unpack. To a cat wrapping paper appears to be the equivalent of catnip. If there is an empty box or packing paper, they are sure to be close by.
Except for the large dining room, where we have already been fortunate to have hosted many a family dinner, the rooms are smaller here. Our master bath is a third of the size of ours in PA. Strange, but with all the things this house is not, I must admit I am more comfortable here than I ever was in Pennsylvania. I’m sure a great deal of that is because we have family here. Our three children and six of the seven grandchildren are here. The seventh grandchild visits often for extended stays. But, even more than that, it just feels as if we have finally found our forever home. Ages ago, when the hubby and I used to ride our bikes around town, we would often pass by this house and marvel at its beauty. I’ve always been partial to brick ranches. The house sits on a great lot, surrounded by mature trees. It was a dream home to us those many years ago. We both often imagined ourselves living here. The parents of three small children it was all the house we needed at a price that was beyond our reach at the time. Then, the Navy took us elsewhere, multiple times, and in PA we thought we had found our dream house, and we could have been happy there if we’d been given more time. But fate had other plans. Circumstances in our life made us want to be closer to our children and grandchildren. And, here we are, in our new, old, dream home. It’s funny how things work out and how, given time, dreams do sometimes come true.
#dreamsdocometrue. #family #catsloveboxes #nevertakeasingledayforgranted! #movingsucks! #puremichigan
In 1986 and we were stationed in Charleston South Carolina. So, naturally, when I found out I was going to my first Navy Ball I was determined to dress the part. One thing I must stress is at that time my husband was not very high on the pay scale, and we had three small children at home, so money was extremely tight. As it happened I volunteered at the Navy thrift shop. I got paid mileage, they paid for childcare and I found some great deals. One such deal was this dress that I wore. It was a lovely pale green formal ball gown and it cost me a whopping ten cents! Yes, you read that right. This lovely gown set me back one whole dime at the Navy Relief Thrift Shop. I splurged and spent thirty dollars on a hoop skirt and found a pair of lace gloves that went to my elbow that cost nine dollars. I was not overly concerned about shoes back in those days and beings the dress would cover them anyway, I ended up wearing something I already had. So, I went to my very first Navy ball in a city that pretty much invented them in an outfit that cost thirty- nine- dollars and ten cents. There were other ladies in stunning ball gowns and hoop skirts that night, but I would be willing to bet that none of them were as lucky as I to have found such a wonderful deal. After the dance, Don and I drove down to Charleston’s Battery and walked among the cannons and hundred-year-old trees. I in my ten- cent ball gown and he in his dress white uniform. I am sure we were a sight to see. Now days, at the Navy Ball you will find more tiny black dresses, and pants than formal ball gowns but in the days of old wives (it was a man’s Navy back then) dressed in gowns, and actually looked as if they were going to a Ball.
#dressingthepart #NavyBall1986 #80shair #bargainshopping
I took advantage of our winter reprieve and went for a walk this afternoon. There was a time when I could have walked the entire perimeter of our small town, but, since I haven’t walked in way too long, I settled for a half mile head-clearing stroll. When I first started, my body rebelled sending pain indicators to my brain. I trudged on and after a bit I lengthened my stride and actually felt pretty good towards the end.
In my early years I didn’t exercise. Preferring instead to try every fad diet I came upon in my quest to lose weight. It was my friend and co-worker at the time, Dora, that urged me to get off my derriere and go for a walk. Dora was larger than I and I figured if she could do it then I should have no problem keeping up. Wrong! That lady nearly walked me into the dirt on our first outing. I remember having to stop only a few blocks from the house to stretch my calves, which felt like they were being squeezed in a pair of vice grips, and were so painful I wanted to cry. Breathe, Dora told me. It gets better, I promise. No, I moaned, let’s go back home it is shorter. She refused to let me give up, and to this day, I am grateful to her for motivating me and telling me I could do this. Dora was like that, she always looked on the bright side of things and always had a smile on her face. She passed away this week. No-one saw it coming, and according to her brother, she was smiling and laughing right up to the end. During my walk this afternoon when I felt the strain of muscles which hadn’t been used in way too long, I heard Dora’s words as clear in my head as that very first time, “It will get better, I promise.” Her spirit was right, it did, and the rest of the walk I reflected upon our friendship. I will miss my friend, but I have a feeling we will continue to take walks together from time to time.
Dora Lee Gutierrez September 8th 1963 to February 14th 2017 R.I.P my friend, you will be missed.
#thatswhatfriendsarefor #sayinggoodbye #gonetooearly #alwayssmiling!
Back by popular demand. :)
On December 24th 1980-two months after my 18th birthday sitting in a borrowed pickup truck in my grandmother’s driveway Don, my soon to be husband and I, formed a plan to elope. There was no reason for a rushed ceremony; it was simply a plan we devised to have a small nest egg saved before ultimately having a "real" ceremony. Don was in the Navy and if married, he would get married pay. It was a simple plan. We would get married, not tell anyone, and save a little extra money.
The only reason for the rush, Don was on leave from Norfolk and due back to the ship right after the first of the year. So, we decided we would get married before he left. We chose December 30th. We worked out all the details; we would drive to Tennessee, get married and be home by early afternoon, what could possibly go wrong?
I woke early on that Friday morning, as Don was supposed to pick me up by seven for our secret rendezvous. I was ready on time but Don was nearly an hour late picking me up. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, another couple was having a house moved to its new location on that very morning, choosing to do so early so as not to inconvenience anyone. Yes, I am talking about a whole house. Seriously, who does that? It was a single story, dark brown, brick ranch that was to be moved to its new location on that very day. The good news is the house is still there and every time we pass it we remember the day it found its new home on the hill. After that minor delay we were on our way.
We told my mother that we were heading to Bardstown to see Don’s father and would be gone most of the day. We had arranged for my then sister-in-law to join us as a witness, so we drove to her house, waited across the street for my brother to leave, then picked up her and my nephew who was just a baby at the time. We dropped the baby off at his great aunt’s house and started for Tennessee. Our quest to become husband and wife had finally begun.
The drive was uneventful, and we all arrived in high spirits. There was a line at the courthouse; apparently several other couples had hopes of getting married that day as well. When it was our turn, we told the lady at the desk we were there to get married. She smiled and asked for our birth certificates. This was the second thing that nearly derailed our plans, as we had not thought to bring them. Before you chastise us for not being prepared please remember we were both very young. I had barely turned eighteen and my husband to be was twenty -one, way before the Internet, so we had been unable to research what was involved. After a very tense moment it was decided that we could use our driver’s licenses since they had our pictures on them. We were lucky because at that time Kentucky was one of the few states that required photos on driver’s licenses.
Once the clerk established our identities she then requested the paperwork for blood test results. Glitch number three! Of course we had not thought to have any blood test taken. Things like this must happen on a regular basis, as the lady directed us to a clinic where we could get our blood drawn and returned that very day.
We drove across town and after several wrong turns -no GPS back in the day- finally found the clinic in a rather run down section of Nashville. After arriving, and feeding yet another parking meter, which seemed prevalent in the large city, we entered to find a waiting room full of patients waiting to be seen. As we entered the building every person turned their head to watch us. I was terrified as all of those eyes followed us across the room, continuing to stare even after we had signed in and taken our seats.
At the time I felt it was because somehow everyone in the room knew of our mission.
We know your secret, their eyes seemed to say.
But now, as I type, I think it was more because we were highly overdressed for the area. Don was looking pretty dashing in his leisure suit. My sister-in-law had donned a nice dress for the occasion and I had on a new outfit. One I was extremely proud of as it was purchased with my very own money from the new job I was working. I had on new blue jeans with a soft fur trim that lined the back pockets and a stunning black velour angel sleeve top. It was 1980 and this was extremely fashionable. It never occurred to me that fur-trimmed blue jeans and a black top may not have been the best choice of wedding attire. But, hey, this was just our pre-wedding wedding. Right?
Luckily, we were only there for a blood draw and we were called back within a few short moments. They put us in separate rooms across the hall from one another where we each sat on an exam table waving to each other like a couple of love-struck kids. The nurse came into my room first, asked a couple of questions and then tied the tourniquet around my arm. As she was lowering the needle I asked her when the results would be back. As the needle approached the crook of my arm she replied “Oh, not long, we should have them back in the morning.” I jerked my arm away just before the tip penetrated my exposed vein. “But, we are getting married today,” I exclaimed, while pulling at the rubber vice that still gripped my arm.
After a few moments of chaos, we were sent across town to a blood draw center that could accommodate a same day blood draw. After arriving, and paying the parking meter, again, we made our way to a nice waiting area. We were the only ones in the room and the receptionist, a very friendly lady assured us it would not take long to complete the process. After only a few minutes our blood was carted away to the testing area with the word STAT clearly labeled across each glass vile. We were told it would take about an hour and since it was now nearing lunch time the receptionist suggested we take this opportunity to go and get something to eat.
I am not sure how much Nashville has changed, but in December of 1980 it was not easy for three highly stressed and very hungry people to find something to eat. We drove for what seemed like an eternity before finally finding a Burger King. We stuffed our face with burgers and fries, and hurried back to the lab to get our test results. Even though we were out for over an hour, when we returned the results had still not come back. After waiting an additional hour the receptionist finally called down to see what was taking so long. It turns out that our blood was misplaced and no-one could find those two tiny glass tubes. A trace was placed on them and we had no choice but to wait for them to be found.
After nearly two panicky hours the blood was found, and the results finally arrived. Don paid the fifty- six dollars and we were on our way. Unfortunately, instead of being on our way to the courthouse we were headed back to the original clinic so that the resident doctor could verify the results and declare us fit to be married. We returned to the clinic, walked back through the gauntlet of gawkers, and spoke with the receptionist who placed a call to the nurse. The nurse whisked through the doorway, scooped up our paperwork and left without a word. Forty minutes and thirty- six dollars later, we exited the building, paperwork in hand attesting that we were in good health and genetically fit to become husband and wife. Everything signed by a doctor whom we never saw.
By the time we returned to the courthouse it was late, and all of the judges had left for the day. Feeling both physically and mentally exhausted I blinked to keep the tears at bay. Seeing my distress the clerk took pity on us and offered to call over to the night court to see if there was anyone who could perform the service. Luckily there was a judge there who agreed to see to our joining.
We made our way to the courtroom and opened the door. We were more than surprised to be met with a room full of people, all of which had turned to stare at the intruders which had suddenly disturbed the proceedings. We closed the door without entering, fearing we had unknowingly arrived at the wrong courtroom. Within seconds, the door opened and we were greeted by a distinguished man, with incredibly large ears, who assured us we were indeed in the right place.
The man introduced himself as Judge Doty and beckoned us to follow. It was terrifying walking through that sea of faces in the courtroom and into a back chamber of the building. Judge Doty was a sturdy, kind, older gentleman, with dark eyes that looked as if they had witnessed many years in the judicial system. He seemed rather pleased to be doing something as mundane as performing a simple marriage ceremony. When he asked which one of these pretty ladies was the bride, Don clutched my hand possessively, and proudly stated that I could cook too. He knew this for a fact, as I had made him a spaghetti dinner only a couple months earlier when he was home on leave. What he neglected to say, was that I had used boxed noodles, sauce from a jar, and he never even touched the homemade meatballs that I had slaved hours to prepare.
As Judge Doty began the ceremony he was interrupted by a phone call. After answering, and assuring his wife he would bring home a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, he continued. A few seconds later a second call had been answered. This call was of greater importance, as it ended with the promise of a fishing trip to take place the following day. When the service continued Judge Doty got to the part where a ring was needed and in one smooth motion without exchanging words, my sister-in-law slipped her wedding ring off her hand and passed it to Don who, without missing a beat, slipped it onto my waiting finger. Apparently in our haste to get married we had overlooked this minor detail. At long last, and without any further interruptions, we were pronounced husband and wife. It was made official after we handed over a forty- dollar ceremony fee.
Upon surrendering the borrowed ring, and returning to the van, the first major test of our marriage was soon at hand. The van was nearly out of gas, we were over a hundred miles from home and Don was nearly out of money. Between all the parking meters, blood test, doctor's signatures and ceremony fees, his cash was nearly depleted. He had a bit of money in an account at home, but that was way before the invention of the universal debit card. I had not thought to bring any money and my sister-in-law only had a couple of dollars on her, so there we were, frantically trying to figure out how we were going to get back home.
As it turns out Don had a money order in the van for the amount of six dollars, which he had yet to fill out. He took the money order to a bank across the street, went into the bank, walked up to the teller, slid the money order under the window, and told her he needed money. It was at that time that the guard saw him at the window, watched him pass the note and assumed he was robbing the bank! Apparently the bank had been closed for several minutes and somehow no-one had remembered to lock the side door. After a few tense moments my new husband was able to convince everyone he was not a bank robber, had just gotten married, and needed to cash the small money order to get his new bride safely back home. The teller, who had already closed out her drawer, took pity on him and gave him cash for the money order out of the money she had in her purse.
With the funds from the money order, and the small amount of cash on hand, Don purchased gas, which he prayed would be enough to get us all safely home. During the drive home, I, having reached my limit, proceeded to crawl into the bed in the back of the van and sleep most of the way home.
Needless to say, we arrived back at the aunt’s house to pick up the baby much later than we originally intended. As we reached the back door, my brother greeted us humming the hymn to the funeral march. As it turns out, my nephew had gotten sick, and his aunt had called my mom looking for us. (Again, this was way before cell phones.) When my mother questioned why we would take my sister-in-law with us to visit Don’s dad her aunt had jokingly stated “maybe they eloped.”
After gathering my nerve, I called my mom, who demanded to know where we had been. There was no reason to lie, so I told her Tennessee. When she asked why, I said “why do you think?” The next thing I heard was a dial tone. At that point I was very glad I had taken that much-needed nap. My brother congratulated us, we had a celebratory glass of wine and we left.
After once again gathering the courage to call my house my younger brother answered the phone and wanted to know why mom had been crying ever since hanging up the phone with me. She refused to come to the phone and told him to tell me if I wanted to speak with her I knew where she lived. An hour later we parked at the church, which was next door to our house, and, feeling as if we were facing the firing squad, slowly made our way across the yard and up the incline to our house.
My mom was still crying. My dad, not typically known for his patience, was so calm it was frightening. He wanted to know why we had eloped. Don spoke up and simply said “because we love each other.” Dad then asked the million dollar question, which was whether or not I was pregnant. We of course told them no, which was the truth. Dad visibly relaxed, slightly, and left the room. Many years later I was told by my brother that he had seen dad with a loaded pistol in his waistband just before he himself had been ordered to leave the house. I do not know for certain if this was true, but knowing my father, I tend to believe him. I think it was a very good thing that an impending pregnancy was not the reason for our hasty elopement.
When dad returned to the room, both he and mom then began a crusade to make us see the error of our ways and get an annulment. They claimed that neither of them objected to the marriage, just the way we had gotten married. They wanted us to get an annulment and then go back the following weekend to get re-married with them beside us. That wasn’t possible as Don had to return to Virginia. Besides, I was afraid if we agreed to this they would find a way to keep us from a second ceremony. Don's refusal was because he was not about to relinquish his well-earned prize. He had nearly been shot at the bank just a few short hours earlier and he was not about to let that experience be for naught.
After a long stalemate, it was decided that I would retire to my room for the night and Don would go home. All parties involved would discuss it further the following day, when hopefully, calmer heads would prevail. I know there are some that would think it utterly absurd to sleep alone on one's wedding night, but by this point, Don and I were so exhausted it seemed like the right thing to do.
The final agreement was that we would follow our initial plan to keep the marriage a secret and plan for the big wedding in the summer. As with our elopement, things did not go as planned. We never had the big wedding, nor did I get the white dress. I am happy to report that I did eventually get a wedding band which was replaced with a lovely diamond set on our twenty-five-year anniversary. When we first got married several people expressed their disapproval, telling us it would not last six months. Thankfully, their predictions did not hold true and today marks our thirty-sixth wedding anniversary.
I guess, truth be told, one does not need a fancy dress, a shiny bauble, or even a lot of money to get married. You only need perseverance, a trip across the state line, and enough money for gas to get you home….
#Andtheylivedhappilyeverafter #soulmate #elopement #Nashville #36years
I got my hair cut this week; It was way past time. I was once again at that cut it or let it grow stage, cut it won, again. The battle will rage on, as it always does. I think I want to let it grow, then as the weeks stretch and the hair begins to look like I’ve given up, I cave and have it all trimmed. It is evident, I am at war with my hair. Typically, when I get my hair done I also ask the stylist to wax my eyebrows. I’ve been doing it for years. This time, I’d went someplace new, a local day spa. Apparently, day spas have different rules about things like that, and waxing is not on the stylists to do list. No, you need a separate appointment with an Esthetician. I made an appointment, and went back today for an eyebrow wax, or so I thought. I lay on the table, which is much more comfortable than sitting in a chair and having your head tilted backwards over the shampoo sink while the wax is slathered onto your skin, and ripped off before you have a chance to declare that it’s too hot. As Dora, the technician hovers over my eyebrows, she asks if I want to do anything else. I tell her sure could you take care of my chin hairs. Don’t laugh, I assure you if you don’t have this problem yet, you will! The next thing I know hot wax is applied from the tip of my chin to my Adams apple. I clutched onto the sides of the table knowing I was in for some serious pain. I was right! Just when I thought the worse was over Dora calmly said “we got rid of the beard, how about making the mustache go away too? I looked at her with tear-filled eyes, not because she said I had a mustache, but because I was still feeling the pain from the removal of my beard, and said, “if we must,” to which Dora smiled and reached for the wax. If I thought the chin was bad nothing had prepared me for the pain of ripping hair, which I had not seen, ripped from my upper lip. I must admit, when my hand flew to my mouth for comfort it did, in fact, feel smoother. Of course, that could just be because I’d lost an entire layer of skin along with the mustache. In an attempt at making small talk I asked her what else she did besides waxing faces. She smiled sweetly and said I do whole body waxing. I jumped from the table and said we’re done here to which she said okay, see you in five weeks! #over50 #joysofgrowingold #whatwomando! #Waxing
I wasn’t looking for a cat, had no desire to get one, and even made a list of the reasons I didn’t want one. My daughter, who is a card carrying member of the crazy cat lady club, called me to tell me her outside cat had just had a litter of kittens. Knowing I rather like orange cats, she kept hounding me to take the little orange one. She pestered me relentlessly, but I remained adamant that I didn’t want a cat. I have nothing against cats, it’s just that we have a Standard Poodle who thinks cats are fun to chase, and I was pretty sure things would not end well if he ever caught one. So, after a couple weeks of Brandy- our daughter- pressuring me to take a kitten I finally sent her a photo to shut her up. I told her that unless one of her cats had a calico- not likely, given their coloring, that I was not interested in getting a kitten. I’d had a calico kitten as a child and had always wanted another. So the photo -one I’d found on the Internet- was of a calico kitten like the one I’d had as a child, same specific coloring -vibrant blacks, oranges and whites- with a two toned face- black and orange. While not the specific cat I’d had as a child, the image was darn close. It worked, as she stopped pressuring me, other than sending me the occasional picture of the kittens doing something cute. Fast forward a couple of weeks, my hubby and I were visiting my parents in Kentucky when I get a text from our daughter saying, “Mommmmmmmm! Your kitty will be ready when you come visit!” My initial thought was Sheesh, here we go again. Then she sent me the photo! In the photo was a small calico kitten almost exactly like the kitten in the photo I’d sent her. The only real difference was the mask was reversed -black on the opposite side of the face. As soon as I saw her-I was fairly certain she was a female, as only 1 in 3000 calico’s are male- I knew I was getting a kitten. No doubts, no arguments, no decisions to be made, she was mine. Her story is a strange one, I truly believe she was sent to me-there really is no other explanation. I sent my daughter a photo of the only cat I would accept and said cat showed up on her porch. You see, even though she had two mama cats- both with kittens- this kitten was not a part of either litter! This cat-my cat- just showed up on her porch and was adopted by one of the mama cats. Okay, full disclosure, we later found out the kitten had appeared at the house across the road and was nearly breakfast for the neighbor’s two large dogs. The neighbor, thinking the kitten belonged to our daughter, had taken the kitten over in the wee hours of the morning, sat her on the porch, and watched as the mama cat welcomed her. So, she may have had a wee bit of help getting here, but seriously what are the odds the exact kitten I had asked for showing up where she would then be sent in my direction. I think it was divine intervention. Someone up above knew we needed each other. I then went from not wanting a cat to impatiently counting the days until she was safely in our home. We’ve been cautious in introducing Reggie to Oliver, our Standard Poodle, and so far things are going well. For me it was love at first sight. Seriously, I have loved her from the second I saw her picture. Maybe it was a holdover, a good memory from my childhood, but I just can’t get enough of this little girl. I may not have been looking for a cat, but sometimes the best kind of love is the one that just shows up. It’s safe to say that Reggie Love -named for a character in the movie, The Client, is truly loved. #calicokitten #lookingforlove ##standardpoodle #Divineintervention
We are in Michigan this week, hanging out with 6 of the 7 G’s, and checking on the progress of the renovations. Everything is coming along nicely, but is far from completed. The furnishings are sparse; we use a folding table along with foldable chairs to eat. We have a small couch that we brought from PA in the den. We purchased a bedroom suite for the guest room, so, at least we have a comfortable place to sleep. I smile as I write that, as the mattress is still covered with the noisy plastic that was placed during shipping. We have elected to leave this in place so as not to have it covered in drywall dust. It makes for interesting sleeping to be sure.
Each morning I pick fresh peonies and roses from the yard, which I place in a crystal vase that the hubby and I found in an antique shop. The hubby and I drink our morning coffee while watching the sun rise out our kitchen window. I marvel at the way our River Birch changes colors when the sun hits its bark. I watch as the birds swoop down to feast at the freshly filled feeders, and I feel content. For in those early morning hours, the house is quiet, and life feels so enticingly normal. It’s easy to forget the challenges we face, and the uncertainly of things to come. The what ifs remain, but seem to drift away for a brief period of time to allow the sunshine to spread through me and I give thanks for our many blessing. And there are many. No matter what the future holds, I am truly grateful for what I have now, here, at this very moment. Life has been very good to me.
#puremichigan #countingmyblessings #givingthanks #retirementhome
As many of you know, due to some personal family issues I have been on a writing hiatus. During this time I've focused my energy on being with family and planning for the future. This time off has given the hubby and I some major together time and a chance to do things we have always wanted to do. One of these things was to embark on the journey of a lifetime. After thirty-five years of marriage we finally went on our honeymoon. In the planning stages we explored all options, from going someplace exotic, to staying closer to home. In the end, we decided to do something that has been on both our bucket lists for a very long time. We flew to Denver, where we spent two days in and around that stunning city. We even found ourselves on a train chugging our way up to the summit just below Pikes Peak. Once at the summit, we were thrilled to see a herd of big horn sheep. The views were breathtaking and actually brought me to tears on several occasions.
Next we boarded Amtrak's California Zephyr, and took a thirty-five hour train ride over and through the mountains our final destination San Francisco. If I thought the views traveling up to Pikes Peak were amazing, I hadn't seen anything yet. We traveled though tunneled mountains, and crept past massive walls of rock to elevations so high, with snow so deep that there weren't any animal tracks to disfigure its beauty. Up at Donner's Pass the snow was so treacherous our train was delayed for over an hour while we waited for a snowplow train to come and clear the way. Afterwards, the plow gave our train an escort allowing for safe passage over the remaining mountains.
We arrived in San Francisco during rush hour. It was dark, and the city inhabitants were scrambling to get home. Having never been to the area I found our trip to our hotel to be a bit daunting. I'm glad the hubby was driving, as I am not a fan of traffic, especially when I do not know where I'm going. In the two days we spent in the area, the traffic never really improved. Sill, we managed to find our way to the sites we wished to see. We had a seafood lunch at Fisherman's Wharf; saw the seals at Pear 39, shopped for souvenirs for all seven of the grandchildren, and even took a bicycle cab. Our driver did an awesome job of taking our picture, while still riding and guiding the bike. We toured Alcatraz-yes it is just as cold and eerie as one would imagine it to be. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge multiple times- the views will take your breath away. We rode the cable car, and shopped at Tiffany and CO.- okay window shopped- but at least I can say I was there. We drove down famous Lombard Street, saw the Painted Ladies and drove on streets so steep they would put a rollercoaster to shame. We stayed up way to late and ate way too much. I got sick- of course I did, I was on vacation after all. We got lost, darn those navigators. Got caught in the rain- of course, it was San Francisco. And most of all we made memories to last a lifetime! That is what I will remember most, that we did all those things together. Just a reminder, never take a single moment for granted, you never know when you will no-longer have those moments to share. And don't wait until life throws you a curve ball to do the things you wish to do...
#Denver #PikesPeak #dreamhoneymoon #bucketlist #SanFrancisco #bicyclecab #AmtrakCaliforniaZephyr #enjoylife