Babysitting Grandchildren

“Grandchildren don’t make a woman feel old It’s being married to a grandfather that bothers her.”
Grandma Jan

Our San Diego family needed a babysitter.  Our daughter and her husband are finally at a place in their lives where they can break away from routine and get away alone for a few days at a time.  It blessed us to have little three-year old Amy for a few days here with us in Arizona.   
Everything Changes When a Three Year Old Visits.
The uncanny triple digit heat wave nixed our outdoor plans.  Amy loves animals and we live close to Out of Africa, a wildlife park and zoo.   We couldn’t take Amy with her fair complexion.   We did, however, visit the indoor swimming pool.  Watching Amy running gleefully under the pop up sprays and loving the water slide put a big smile on my face.   

Interesting to hear Papa’s version of Cinderella.  Did you know that Cinderella called her dog “Bruno?”  Me either.

Bye, bye, Bruno and I am missing her already!

“No cowgirl was ever faster on the draw  than a…

Father's Dog

“A man is incomplete Until he is married. After that, he’s finished.”                                                                       Zsa Zsa Gabor

I knew that when I married my husband, pets of various kinds would come to live with us.  The man loves animals.  Especially dogs.

I’ve always had a dog as a kid.

Like so many newly married couples, we got a practice dog before kids.  The kids and the dogs followed over a lifetime.

I like big dogs.  I miss Frankie, our yellow lab, who died just as we retired, but I love the freedom of being able to go anywhere for days without having to make arrangements for Frankie.  I like the bonus, too, of not having to vacuum dog hair from my area rugs.

I stood my ground for three years refusing to house another pet, even a goldfish.  And then I caved to my husband's pleas.

“You can have a dog if you promise to be its master, feed him and be the one to walk him.”  Check.

“You can have a dog if you rebuild the old chicken coup and make it a …

When Self Pity Joined Us for Dinner

Graphics and quotes tickle me on the inside when they instruct us to let go of all bad feelings we harbor and carry on like they're not there.   I like the Polish proverb that says: "Not my circus, not my monkeys!"

I never find it easy to shrug off those negative feelings whether it is my own drama or another's regardless of those cute memes and their powerful messages.  Honestly, I struggle.

When I felt like a target. I looked forward to a friend's  invitation for my husband and I to join her for dinner in a fancy part of town.  I dressed for the dinner date carefully choosing the best outfit in my closet with just the right shoes.  Tom and I can't afford to dine in this kind of exquisite fashion and I imagined a wonderful experience.

Except, it wasn't!

Oh, the ambiance and wait staff impressed us.  I resisted the temptation to photograph my fancy dinner plate less they think I'm a classy chick who never gets a chance to go out like this.

Our friend …

Thick Crust or Thin?

You can take a girl out of Chicago but you can’t take Chicago out of her especially when it comes to deep dish pizza.

The aircraft slowed its speed over Lake Michigan and gently landed at O’Hare in Chicago just as the sun began to go down.  I turned to the friendly passenger on my left as we peered out the plane’s little window together and I thanked her for the pleasant conversation we enjoyed over the 3.5 hour flight from Phoenx.  In turn, she asked where I thought I might dine out during my week’s stay in Chicago.  I asked her for suggestions.

“Do not leave Chicago and fly back to Phoenix without Lou Malnoti’s deep dish Chicago pizza!”

I had never heard of this place.

My younger brother picked me up at the airport.  It was dinner time and I felt hungry.  He suggested we go back to his house in the Chicago suburbs and order pizza with the family.  When he asked me if I like deep dish or thin crust, I told him that I drool for deep dish!  I almost fell off my chair when the pizza a…

Flowers, Flags and Friends

I write this post smack in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend.  We, like so many Americans, enjoy grilled food on the back deck.   We notice the American flags secured proudly on front lawns and in the parks.  We bow our heads and give thanks for the sacrifice others gave so we can be a free nation.  We celebrate our freedom.
Another kind of memorial Tom and I changed from our jeans and t-shirts into dressier clothes and drove into town yesterday afternoon.  He mentioned during the drive to the funeral home that we have spent several weekends attending memorials in the last months.   I balanced the pasta salad on my lap that I prepared for the reception after the service, and we lamented the passing of yet another good friend, our chiropractor, Danny.  It touched Tom and I deeply that the family invited us to the intimate service as well as the public one.  We joked that they better choose a place like the county fairgrounds for that one to hold all the people Danny loved and helped to …

Sunday Afternoon in the Park

My eight year old granddaughter saves her money.  During my last visit, I noticed three full piggy banks in her room.  Recently, she invested her money in a tablet and now the rest of us had to get the AP for our phones so we could chat with her.  Her father scrutinizes her contacts so it’s safe and fun.
In the past week I received a photo she took of her three year old sister sticking her tongue out, a drawing for me telling me how much she missed me and lots of answers to my questions about school.
A chat that touched me deeply described last Sunday when their family went to Balboa Park after church.  They ate a picnic lunch and then visited the International Cottages.  I’ve been to the cottages on prior trips to San Diego and enjoyed my granddaughter's perspective about them.  
I’ll showcase some of their photos along with some of my memories to explain the International Cottages that the park features.

This first photo is a collage of Sookie now compared to my first visit to the …

Wishing Mother’s Day Looked Different

This Mother’s Day doesn’t look exactly like I want it to.  We’ve been told that my sis has just weeks to live.She’s still in a Chicago hospital and has survived a blood clot, infection, seizure and mini stroke this week.

My daughter, Amy, came over for breakfast during the week and we searched my stash for just the right tablecloth for her mother-in-law’s memorial scheduled for this Mother’s Day Weekend.  We were both sad.
I decided to serve our scrambled eggs on my mom’s Franciscan dishes that morning complete with my lace tablecloth and inherited silverware.  I am learning that creative centerpieces are a springboard to interesting conversation, hence the old photos.  That’s when our breakthrough came.  As we held each photo, we realized how blessed we are with the moms, grandmas and aunties that have sprinkled our lives.  We belong to a loving family and God has also blessed us with loving friends.
We are thankful people.  My pastor said it well when she reminded me that a garment of …