April 29, 2011

out with the old in with the new

They say bad things happen in three's. I wonder if that applies to electronic devices. My poor laptop needed a new keyboard not too long ago; so I replaced it. To my surprise they charged me an arm and a leg. Then one of the hinges on the cover snapped, but it still worked, I just used it gingerly and didn't close the cover- it didn't really matter since I'm the only user of it anyway, I didn't spring for the repair.

ouch that hurt!

But the final straw and I know these things happen in older computers was when I turned it on the other day and the screen didn't light up at all. Of course after careful examination I could see my icons and with a flashlight that my laptop was working. A little Google search confirmed that it is probably the back light inverter. I can send it out if i want to incur another large repair bill but I don't. So I've decided to try to repair it myself sometime in the future and use it as a spare computer for guests and the grand kids. After all I have gotten more than half a dozen years of decent usage out of this one.

You should have seen me with my husband's flash light in the dark and my thumb drive taking off my files and my pictures; it was a sight for sore eyes. Come to think of it I had sore eyes when I got done transferring off the first installment of stuff from my old computer to that little green device.

shiny new -ruby red
Anyway, I ordered a new computer on line the other day, I went to the store yesterday for pickup. She's a beauty...all red and shiny! It took me foreeeverrr to put everything in order. Install my printer, my camera software, all my favorites- or most of them anyway, I'm using a different browser-not crazy about internet explorer.Then let us not forget the fifty plus Windows updates that needed to be installed; holy cow!

But I'm happy to say I'm back in business blogging with ease. Using my husbands computer wasn't going to work at all. He's a desk person with his computer; and I'm a laptop person and stylin if I might add on my couch!

April 27, 2011

being with my peeps on easter

front left to right grandson #3 cousin J
back left to right grandson #1 cousin L, grandson #2
I am laboring at my husbands computer to write this post- its like wearing someone else's shoes- not the right fit! It feels funny sitting at a desk!!. My laptop screen  isn't lighting up and one of the hinges snapped.  I think its time for a new one, now all I have to do is figure out is how to get my files on to the new one when I get it. ( I know I know I never backed up!)  I can see a faint outline on the screen so I know it's working. It's a good ole gal but another repair bill isn't in my future. So I guess we'll be sharing for a while until I get a new one and figure out what to do about my files.

In the mean time here's what happened over the Easter weekend...

So I had a wonderful  extended weekend with my family, most everyone arrived here on Thursday night so the festivities started early. Although the cousins did hit a bit of traffic coming from the north- not the ones from the south thought- they all arrived here safe and sound and without the hastles of traffic.

Friday was pretty much a relax and catch up on what was new in our lives while my cousins sons played video games and played with the cats. Did I forget to mention that my son also arrived on Thursday as well? The guys spent hours outside in the sunshine throwing Frisbee, football and baseball with the boys since the weather was really very nice.

from right to left H, Chef G , grandsons #1, 2 cousins L, grandson #3 cousin J

Saturday we all headed up to Richmond to see the Picasso Exhibit, my daughter, son in law and the grandsons met us there. We had the kids dust off my Aunt Winifreds wheelchair for Mom so she could join us since she's on a cane and the walking involved would be way to much and we were on our way. Needless to say, the five boys didn't see the Picasso's, although the VMFA is free the Picasso was $16 per child and that rather costly. My cousins husband stayed with the boys and the rest of us staggered our time into shifts so the children could enjoy the rest of the museum while we viewed the Picasso's. For me it was overwhelming, and we walked  thru 11 different gallery rooms displaying his art according to the year he produced the pieces displayed. Starting at 1900  straight thru 1956. There were prints, paintings, photographs, sculpture, drawings- I really could have spent a week in there but only spent an a bit more than an hour and a half since our tickets were timed.

My cousin H at VMFA

Needless to say I can probably speak for my daughter her husband and my cousins that the right choice was made regarding the children who are all under the age of 13. Picasso who is brilliant had many pieces of art on display that were of a sexual nature. To say it plainly; the man likes breasts and other parts of the female anatomy and it was probably a good call that the kids weren't exposed to so many pieces of art with that subject matter.

Then it was back to the house for more food, boy did we eat! And my cousins husband is a chef so it isn't to shabby to have his help in the kitchen. My Grandson # 2 loves to cook and be in the kitchen and he and Chef G spent a ton of time together cutting and chopping on Easter Sunday after we got home from Mass. We even gave Grandson #2 his own knife which is blue since he's taking cooking lessons for Mother Day with my daughter; isn't that a great idea for a mother and son to do?

My cousin C and her son L had to head out early so that he could get back to Charlotte to spend some time with his Dad later Sunday. My kids- son in law headed out of here on Sunday after dinner since it was back to work for them on Monday, and they are all in public service, one county, one state, one federal. The grandsons were exhausted I came to find out since I was late nights here hanging with the cousins in my den for boys sleep over time. My cousin H and her husband Chef G and their son headed out on Tue to go back to PA.

It's safe to say, my husband and I are pretty tired right now, but always pleased to be with our family. I hope you all had great family time as well over the long weekend.
Do anything interesting? Eat anything fabulous? I'd love to hear about it!

April 20, 2011

Easter company and Picasso

My cousins are coming for Easter this year, three from the Phillie area, two from Charlotte add to that our immediate family of two of our three kids; our son our daughter and son in law the three grandsons and my Mom that totals fourteen. Other than my daughter and son in law they are all sleeping here from Thursday thru Sunday or a combination of those days, arrival times tend to stagger. We'll be busy bee's for days on end and even though everyone is helpful because they're family I have to pace myself and not to overdue.

We're ready for everyone to arrive, the house is arranged- the beds are made, whose sleeping where have been  calculated- Mom has three bedrooms  at her house as well but everyone usually stays here in order not to bother her to much as she's getting on in years. We've done all the shopping for the food, drink that is necessary to feed the masses. Everyone should be happy except for my cats, they don't care for the noise, so they'll sneak in after dark and get in the bed with us.

The Easter bunny has been notified that the children will be here Easter morning so candy and Easter eggs will be delivered- hidden here and not at their empty homes- that would be tragic!

Everything has gone according to plan pretty much except I'll have to make a quick trip to the doctor tomorrow morning, for a check of my leg. It pretty much hurts more now than it did when I fell at the beach. I have a feeling I've developed an infection called (cellulitis) where my leg scraped against the stair and could use some antibiotics.

Other than the usual eat, drink and gab fest we are adding a bit of culture to our holiday this year. On an exciting note we are heading up to the  Richmond Museum of Fine Art to see the Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.  There are 176 of his pieces of art; his finest personal collection on display there. I've been dying to go since February but we've decided to put it off so we could all go together- it runs until May 15th. in the event any of you are interested in visiting Richmond to partake. I'll probably write about it after the family clears out I anticipate it will be an amazing experience. Everyone that I know who has gone has been moved deeply by it.

I hope that all who read this blog along with your families have a wonderful Easter filled with love. And we will do the same but  as always we will  remember on this fifth Easter since their death;  how much we love and miss Gretchen and Eric who are always in our hearts and never far from our thoughts.

Gretchen & Eric

April 18, 2011

adult bullying with a side of breakfast

Yesterday my husband and I went out to breakfast after Mass. There were several  staff in waitress positions and one grill cook. The restaurant had a decent flow of diners, but it was by no means busy.

I am an observer of people, and am always so sad to see public displays of shameful behavior.  I've alway been sensitive to things like abuse even when it's subtle-passive, abusers have a manner. Maybe I have that law enforcement sense that all my family has without the actual job, who knows? The cook in the diner was for lack of a better word was an adult bully.

Did you ever visit a diner where the waitress is required to holler out her order to the cook who is cooking right there in plain view, written orders are not exchanged? This was that type of place, you know two eggs on a raft or whatever they say, it's rather funny to hear the sayings, its kind of like a show!

Now imagine being a waitress and the cook refused to fully acknowledge  you as you stood there trying to communicate your customers order and every time you opened your mouth she just raised her open hand and dismissed you. The good ole "talk to the hand".  I believe I'd much prefer my co worker the cook  say to me "please give me a sec, or I'll be ready in a minute, I'm ready now, please or thank you. Never once did I observe her saying a word nor did she raise her head or make eye contact.   I was but a scarce few feet from her and I couldn't help but wonder how she stays employed.

It was rather pitiful to see her manipulate a group of grown women into circling her;  to see the humiliation in their faces as she dismissed them by raising that hand and like Pavlov's dogs they would automatically go silent.

Waitress' are some hard working women as we found out as we chatted with ours  plus she was friendly and proud. I gently asked her if things were always this way and directed my gaze to the cook, she affirmed my question with sadness saying she chose not to make waves. You see she told me she has a husband and three children and has to work.  She doesn't have the luxury of staying home, and for that reason she feels she has to take this abuse, how sad is that?

April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday Blessing

I worship you Lord! You did not enter you holy city Jerusalem on the back of a war horse, but humbly and on a donkey.

You knew that you were surrounded by murderers, yet you came in peace, and by your sacrifice you would utterly conquer death before the week had passed.

You, oh Lord, are blessed and worthy of my praise. You have saved your people. I say, "you are my King!". 

I long to live in the city where you sit on the throne! Establish your Kingdom, so that your people can live in peace.

Jesus, I bow before you, and I will sing your praises until your Kingdom comes and is established, and forever after.

This blessing was shared with my via e-mail by a friend and I thought it was worth sharing this Holy week; blessings to you all....

April 15, 2011

-post card- we ' Duck 'ed down to the beach!

We left for our beach holiday about noon Saturday and did a leisurely drive to North Carolina, that amounted to about a three and a half hour drive. Before all the family arrives for Easter the following week we figured we deserved a little pre-rest and relaxation. Do you like our logic? Our destination the small charming town called Duck NC. This area the north part of the Outer Banks and is rather narrow from  the Currituck Sound to the beach. To walk from one to the other isn’t all that difficult although we didn't do it ourselves, the reason for that is farther down in this story.

shops on the sound
There are cute little shops in Duck, there are tons of restaurants dotted all over the community many with decks and docks. Of course all serving sea food, some with a Caribbean flair, most any type of cuisine can be found as well. This is a community that services a large tourist trade there are ice cream shops, kite shops, hammocks, t-shirts, antiques, crafts, books, coffee shops, just to many shops to mention, but you get the idea.

view of the resort from the beach
We checked into our resort and the view is beautiful, the walk to the beach is do-able and the beach is nice. The weather was in the 70 to 80 range the whole time we were there, but I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. We did a bit of shopping few a few essentials and were happy to commence with some relaxation.

decks of the uppers condos
The complex are these three story cedar shingle multiple units and they are everywhere on the property. All the units have decent size rather nice decks, fireplaces, kitchens and as many as three bedrooms. We however were unlucky enough to be placed on the third story, which equals 40 stairs. Five different sections of multiple steps winding your way up, it has its benefits though, the view is beautiful. 

view of homes next to our resort

So Sunday morning we decide to go to Mass, you guessed it…. we got all the way down and I took a fall on the bottom section. My foot slipped on the mold of the deck step and I went down like a ton of bricks. My leg, butt-pelvis, shoulder blade, and arm are such shades of black, blue, purple, and green. I will promise not to post any pictures of my wounds, take my word it’s not pretty!! 
resort beach
A little fall didn’t keep me down however, sitting was more painful than walking anyway. I’m strong boned so I was pretty much back to normal in a day. We went to the beach daily, I have to say there were plenty of troopers that actually braved the water and were actually swimming. The water is way too cold here in April for me.

calm seas today

We pretty much planned each day’s outing for one meal in a restaurant, usually lunch. I would rather be browsing in and out of the shops in the warm afternoon sun and eating at an outside café then eating dinner out. So that was our pattern for this vacation. Then we’d go back to the resort and cook dinner after visiting the beach and we’d eat a nice meal  on the condo’s deck and share a bottle of wine or have a few beers. It was very relaxing!!

beautiful beach front homes

On our last day we drove over the bridge to a town called Manteo- Roanoke Island, “the lost colony” and browsed in the shops. Again, another quaint town with shops, shop owners and crafts people selling their wares in shops and galleries by the docks, that are lined with the most beautiful boats.   We very much enjoyed the company of an elderly couple who were at the next table from us while we had lunch. He like my father was from Brooklyn, NY. We enjoyed a lively conversation and reminisced about our former home New York, he too now lives in the south-Virginia.


All and all it was a lovely holiday aside from the fall. I only have one other tiny little regret (or maybe it was a blessing) about our vacation and that was the fact that the resort didn’t have free Wi-Fi. They did have a service available but they wanted something along the lines of $50.00 for a week’s internet service. Frankly that was just a bit excessive for something that most places give for free now a days. What I can do with my smart phone really is minimal so that’s why I didn’t post anything until I returned and I apologize for that sincerely. 

I hope you enjoy the pictures and hearing about our week at the beach...

April 14, 2011

words matter- the call

Words Matter

He called to tell us he resigned his position at his company and invested in a new business of his own. Our son-in-law had only been married  to our daughter briefly about 2 1/2 years before she died in the accident with her brother.I must admit in all fairness there wasn't time to fully bond with him the way I would have liked to, these things take time and I'm afraid we never had that.

My husband and I drove up to the city to see what he had done with his life in the short time since her death. He showed us around his new restaurant, the one he purchased with her insurance. I studied his face thinking to myself this has got to be bitter- sweet for him. But regrettably all I saw was the sweet behind that grin and no bitter at all. I then waited for him to say her name, to mention how he wished she were by his side, but he never once mentioned her; it was if she'd never existed.

His eyes made a scan of his new business before he sat with us at a table. Then like a parent bragging about his favorite child, he declared to us proudly;"this has been my life's dream".  His words pierced my heart like a knife.

I am happy for the second month to participate in “Words Matter” a writing
 exercise on how the spoken word affects us. This concept was created by fellow blogger 
and grieving mother Dana over at Roscommon Acres.

Others will submit their writings as well, you can too if you’d like. I would encourage you to
 visit her blog by clicking her blog button which is located on 
the right column below my subject cloud to read them.

April 7, 2011

-from my garden- tomatoes finally!

The sun finally was shinning today and it looks like the weather has taken a permanent turn for the better. Dare I say spring has come. As I sit here writing this blog post however I am still keeping my fingers crossed just in case I'm wrong.

We finally got our tiller back after two weeks. The poor repair man was under the weather so that was the delay. Thank goodness the carburetor just needed a good cleaning so it wasn't a costly endeavor and now we're back in business.

My husband and I went out today and planted some tomatoes and a few lettuce plants in our garden. It's just a start for us there is still plenty left to do, but we didn't want to leave for the beach without having something in the ground.

Here's a few pictures- the product of our labor...

You may be wondering about the black paper, we always use this in our tomato gardens. We love this stuff, it keeps the weeds down and the soil moist around the roots in the hot southern sun. Take my word when I tell you our tomatoes grow tall and strong.

April 5, 2011

spring break for grown ups

When I was a senior in high school I went down to Ft Lauderdale with a few girl friends for spring break. Boy did I feel like such a grown up. My first time away from home, my first time flying in a plane, getting a little taste of the freedom that was soon to come post high school.

The boys, the beer, the parties and the beach...what a time we had. Alas I have overcome my penchant for the first three but the last well......

I've said in numerous times here on this blog, I love the beach. I  love and appreciate the beach especially now after such a long a frankly crappy stretch of weather.

My husband and I are taking a bit of an adult spring break to the Outer Banks this Saturday. We'll be back by the end of the week because we have a wedding the following weekend.

There are some beautiful beaches here in Virginia and North Carolina as well. This time we're heading to North Carolina to the beach. The beaches here in the south are really lovely this time of year. I'm chomping at the bitt to get my feet in the sand, smell the salt air relax and do absolutely nothing.

Hopefully the weather will be nice and we'll get to walk on the beach and take some pictures. The resort we chose is right on the beach. I spoke to the lady at the resort the other day and I wasn't at all surprised to hear the resort was fully booked.

I haven't quite decided if this little vacation will be with or without my laptop.... so we'll see if I'll be posting on my blog or not....we'll just have to see about that! Check back.....

April 2, 2011

-post card- my wishes

After the kids died I remember I was frustrated. If I could only have a few wishes granted- just three- it would have helped me tremendously as I went thru the process. Here's what they would have been.

Wish one would have been the obvious I wanted my kids back, that the awful accident that took their lives had never happened, that it was all some terrible dream. That I would turn over in my bed, my husband would wake me up with my usual hug and a cup of coffee and life would go on as usual. But we all know that was not going to happen. And although I didn't get bogged down in a lot of “what if’s” or "if only-s” I did indulge in this wish if only for a moment.......

My second wish was that my grief/pain and the journey that I was about to take came with an instruction manual. I didn’t know what to do if what I was feeling was right, if I was going crazy. I desperately wanted someone-anyone to tell me to do this on this day feel this on this day, something suited just for me. Too much of what I went thru was frankly “about me” and nobody had the answers I needed because it was personal. It scared the pants off me more often than not, never knowing what to expect next. Up one day, down the next it is so disheartening; it really is, and everyone heals in their own way, so who knew? I would more times than often get impatient with myself, my healing seemed to move at glacial speed if you ask me.  It was hard not to compare myself to others, to feed off their pain so I avoided those who were in my circumstances and used a therapist for support.

And my third wish was that I wanted “it” to be over, when in fact it’s never really over. What I really wanted and tried to do was to rush to get past the pain- because pain is"it". But the fact is there was more than one "it" in my reality, there were two. And unfortunately there's no getting past either of them. I had to feel every stinking bit of the first one; the pain. I've mentioned this before; I did a lot of suffering when my children died and I can’t imagine a mother or father who wouldn't. It is a necessary part of the healing and I found that out. I had to set aside wanting to be strong, wanting to do what I thought everyone else expected of me and just gave myself permission to feel whatever I felt without judging myself.

The other "it" I have come to understand is the journey itself, that will be the rest of my life. The bond I have with my children cannot be broken, not even by death.... so now I just live the best I know how.     
 “Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel a free to delight in whatever remains to them?” 
Rose Kennedy

April 1, 2011

its all about- blogging

It's been just a bit over eight weeks since I've started this blog so I thought I'd dedicate a post to telling you about my impressions so far.

I wasn't quite sure when I started this endeavor that I'd have all that much to say- apparently that hasn't been to much of a problem so far. This has really been very enjoyable and it is my hope that you stay interested and that you'll keep coming back to read what I have to say.

My poor lap-top has seen better days however, one of the hinges on the top has broken from....I don't know overuse! This computer has traveled all over even as far as Hawaii on vacation with me ( check my vaca blog here) WE'RE ON HAWAIIAN TIME. My grandsons's play with it, my Mom kinda sat on it once in the airport so it's seen better days. Who knows maybe Santa will get me a new one this Christmas.

When the idea of this blog came up I knew I had to have a goal. I also needed a standard- a line in the sand, so I made a pact with myself.  So as long writing this blog pleases me and the interaction with other bloggers is positive then I would  keep doing it. But if it becomes a burden or if the interaction with others became negative or over the line or extreme in any way then I would stop. It had been nothing but all good I am happy to report!

I've have a list of blogs that I like to read please click and take a look  BLOGS I LIKE and check them out. I check to see if they are updated usually a few times a week so I can read them. And I have followers now which is kind of neat, I especially enjoy sharing comments back and forth with ya'll, comments are actually my favorite part so far.

If you've visited the blog and haven't commented yet, please don't be shy, say hi or better yet become a follower and then make a comment- I won't bite you I promise.