Monday, January 31, 2011

Serve With Love

Tonight a sacred ritual was performed..A ritual that is performed in every Church in every land and is understood in every culture. It falls into "mourning with those who mourn..comforting those who stand in need of comforting". I'm sure it was done in prehistoric ages..I'm sure a Woolly Mammoth was slaughtered and brought to the tribe. It's what we do when we can't do anything else. We feed the masses. We bring our casseroles, our bread, our meat, our sweets, our jello. We bring our love for the ones suffering the loss of their loved one. Not knowing what to say, perhaps not being able to help in any other way, food can be the universal point of understanding. It gives a grieving family time to sit and talk to each other, reminisce, and remember with love one who's not there to join in. The food arrived in containers, crock pots, foil pans..a seemingly endless trail of sustenance. Enough to feed, and more to take home for later. The fishes and the loaves..We worried at first if there would be enough. Then we worried about where to put it all. My Mother was/is the greatest testament to that parable. No one ever left our home hungry. My Greek Mom knows how to extend a few cookies, crackers and tuna into a feast. Her magic wand? A wooden spoon. Her magic words: Just Do It..(Nike stole it from her). She passed it on to her children and I've used it as often as the occasion arose. Maybe not quite to Mom's height of serving..she is the Master after all..the Yoda of Church funeral dinners. But I think even she would have been proud of us today. I'm proud of the women I serve with in our Church...our tiny branch here in Ashland. What we lack in numbers, we make up in casserole dishes! But tonight one of them is going home to a house without her loving husband. Tonight she was in need of comfort. In need of help. In need of friends who didn't hesitate to give, to serve and will be there whenever she needs us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cafe Starkey

This weekend was filled with Grandkiddos, and food..making it, sending it out to Church for a baptism, making more, feeding the starving Starkeys, making more, sending more to Church for a funeral dinner, making more and of course eating more. Whew! But it was fun to have all the kids here and the noise level around the usually quiet dining table reminded me of when we had a house full of boys eating at this same table. Cameron came in and immediately said he was hungry and was happy with an appetizer of cheese and crackers!
We all gathered around the table for the request meal..spaghetti! I know it's Driana's fav. She didn't want her pic taken so I was polite and didn't, but I laughed at this shot because at first I thought Anthony was eating with his elbows on the table, but really he didn't want his pic taken either and was hiding his face. I think they are getting sick of YaYa and her crazy, come out at every occasion, camera. this a "boarding house" reach Jackie?
Saturday night was make your own pizza night. The kids created their masterpieces and I think they really enjoyed the fun of cooking and having their own pizzas just the way they like them.
Oh Yummo!
Things that happen in the night..this white dusting on all the trees took me by surprise this morning. I was up until atleast 1am and I never saw any snow. Then I look outside this morning around 7am and..voila! Powder sugar has coated the Pines.
Most people who visit the Pines come to the front door..usually they don't walk in the yard, especially when it's covered in snow. These prints are not the human variety. I'm always amazed at the many tracks I find in the yard because most of the time I don't see what's making them. I can guess when I see them what's been cutting through...deer, rabbit, cat, and I'm sure other creatures. The big prints? Oh, that would be me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have a few things I've collected over the years. Santas are the ones my kiddos would probably say first if asked what their Mommo collects...but I also collect these little beauties..vintage tablecloths. I've picked a few up at yard sales, or antique shows, but I scored really big the last few years from a friend who's Mother-in-law started paring down her own collection. Estelle is almost 90 and I've been blessed to have her pick out a few of her favs for me to take home and cherish. By the way, if you met Estelle you'd never guess she's that age. She's tall, ram rod straight posture, beautiful, with lovely red hair that is perfectly coiffed by her hair dresser daughter. She's an artist too. Her paintings are amazing! I'm very thankful that she trusts me with her "babies"..Why do I collect these? Why do I love them? I guess I always wonder what was happening when these were on tables back in the 50's..times when families sat together for meals, when days were a bit slower. After the sadness, and darkness of WWII... brightness was needed. The homes of the 50's showed that brightness if you look back at photos or look at what was popular in furniture and appliances.
The colors are so vivid and the flowers so beautiful. They cheer up the dreary days and add more life to the sunny ones!
This tablecloth really isn't vintage..well, perhaps it is if you consider 1976 a vintage year. My Dad had passed away a week before Thanksgiving that year and Jack had just graduated from the Chiro college. We were packed right after Christmas and leaving Chicago for Ashland. I was excited to go on to this new adventure, but the timing was a bit off. This wasn't how it was suppose to go down. Dad was suppose to be here to help us move. Maybe Mom wouldn't be as torn up about her oldest daughter flying the coup with our year old baby if Dad was there to soften the blow. My family is Catholic and there's a Mass that is held 40 days after someone passes. After that Mass for Dad, the clan all gathered at my Mom's for dinner. This tablecloth dressed her table. After dinner everyone started writing little notes to us on it. Sweet sayings, cheerful wishes, sad "I'll miss yous", and many other send off good byes. My sister embroidered some of them before giving it to me and I've treasured it ever since. Many who took pen to cloth that night are no longer living. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, my Grandma...but I have their thoughts and all their love they shared with me all my life on that special linen. Many times I've taken it out just to sit and read what's there, remembering that dinner and as I read those notes in their own handwriting I swear I can hear the noise, the chatter, the laughter and the tears of a family gathered around a table, sharing much more than food.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On This Day

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Sister. This is her with her son Jonathan...The smiles are the same, the happy look is the same. You can see the love just by looking at this picture. Today marks 7yrs since Jono's death. He was killed in an automobile accident on a cold, snowy, icy day very similar to our weather today. How she made it through those dark days is a mark of her faith, her belief that there is a reason for everything and her gratitude to God for letting her have him for 18yrs. It's changed her forever, and all of us who loved him have been changed too. I'm more appreciative of my own children. More sure of life after death. More grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who does not leave us alone, especially in our grief. He will never be forgotten by any of us, or his friends or the people he touched in his life. The many that came to his funeral to tell his mother how Jono came and did many kind acts of service that he never told anyone about. The many teenagers that called him friend. More than 1000 people came to his calling hours. It was overwhelming, but not surprising. He was a corker who could make you laugh with his sense of humor. Not unlike my sister. Today I called her to say I was thinking of her and Jono. We talked about that for a bit then went on to talk as sisters do about our lives. By the end of the conversation she had me laughing so hard I was crying and we could hardly speak without cracking up! That is just typical of her to have me cheered up, when I was trying to do that for her. The saying that "life goes on" is does go on with all the happiness and sadness and moments that change your outlook forever, but it doesn't end here. Someday we'll all be together again. Hopefully laughing with tears of joy, hugging with loving arms around each other, and an eternity to spend together.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This Is For The Birds

This morning I was looking out my window and smiling because of the sunshine. I wasn't fooled into thinking it was warm...1de. was the temperature..Brrrr..But it was nice to see light and blue sky! Then I noticed the tree was loaded with these little creatures. Robins!! Many Robins! Growing up a Robin was suppose to be the first sign of Spring. Jack kindly informed me that many species of birds do winter over and don't fly south. Yes, I know that, but can't a frozen girl dream of warmer days? Of singing birds? When I went outside to take these pics I realized what was going on.
This is the reason why this tree outside my diningroom window was covered with birds..the tastey crabapples that were still left from this summer. How clever of Mother Nature to leave a snack for them on these very cold and snowy days of winter.
Well, enjoy yourselves little all those freeze dried crabapples..and maybe next time I find a whole flock of Robins it will be spring!!! Please!! P.S...If I should leave my car in the driveway next to that tree, please watch where you leave the fruit when you're done..if you get my drift.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Poem

I found this on the table at work today. I did not write it...I did steal it however. It fits the weather pattern in my little world. I think many can relate to it no matter if you live here, in the northeast, south, southeast or any strange place that has received snow that it doesn't usually (or ever) get. I follow many wonderful poet's blogs...I have even written a few of my own..Just not this one, but here's my contribution for this cold Monday.

and the gentle breezes blow
seventy miles an hour
at thirty-five below.
when the snow's up to your butt.
You take a breath of winter
and your nose gets frozen shut.
So I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave Ohio
cuz I'm frozen to the ground.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Take The Gun...Leave The Cannoli

I had an early morning meeting today. I needed to be at Church by 8am..I only live about 1min. from the Chapel. So I'm driving down my country, snow covered drive..the one pictured in my header. (I was going to put the picture of it here, but that would be redundant.) Anyway, as I was going out the lane I saw something in the path ahead of me. I pulled a little to the right thinking a branch was there. Only it wasn't a branch, it was this:

I stupidly stared at it..and stared at it. What the heck?? This is truly a Godfather moment. As you can see it's a deer leg. Well, part of a leg. Then I stupidly start looking around. I mean, really. What did I think I would find..a three legged deer? A Mafia hit man? I then backed the car up to the house to tell Jack about it. He stuck his head out of the house and wondered why I was coming back. My reply: "Hey Hon, there's a deer leg in the driveway"..His reply:"OK". Then I drove off to Church and was a few minutes late. My excuse: "Sorry, there was a deer leg in my driveway." Their reply: "OK". The End

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's On Your Bucket List?

We had our women's meeting (the Relief Society) at Church tonight. The theme of this meeting is one that has been on my mind since last year. I wanted to do a lesson on making sure our affairs were in order. We make sure our meetings are centered around a scripture and I felt inspired to use this one. We don't know when our time or our spouses or children's time to leave this earth will come. Like most people I have many experiences in our family of members dying early. It's not a pleasant topic, but we need to be prepared. If we're prepared "We need not fear". Also those left behind need to know what we want to happen, how we want our "stuff" taken care of, and if we can't tell anyone because of being incapacitated in some way, how we want our medical issues handled. I also wanted us to think about what we want to do while we're alive and kicking! Write down some things to accomplish in this life. As the song says..."live like you are dying!" That's where our bucket lists come in!
I invited our good friend Greg come and give us some good advice about wills, living wills, instructions on what every family should have prepared in case of a sudden death, or illness of either spouse, or yourself if you live alone. Making sure your wishes and instructions are written down so the task of "taking care of things" after we die is easier and things done just the way you would want them. I have some work to do to put some items in order. I was really happy to get the info! Now to get to work!
When Greg finished his talk about what every person needs to do to make sure all their ducks are in order, we talked about "bucket lists". We read the blog of a young lady who has terminal cancer and read her list. We watched a video from the movie, "The Bucket List". Then I handed out the cute little buckets shown here with a blank card in it and had everyone start to write down some things they would put on their lists. It's a personal thing. We didn't read each others because it's really only important to us. Hopefully we can all start to put lines through some tasks that we want to accomplish. Good fun things too I hope!
After the meeting everyone sat around for a bit chit-chatting and going to get snacks set up in the other room. I was pleased at our turnout considering the weather hasn't been too great and we are a small branch of the Church. I think many important questions were asked, answered, and the wheels turning in our heads about being prepared not only if something bad happens, but how to enjoy living. So lets get out a piece of paper and write out that list...the bucket list. Things to do before we "kick the bucket"...things to do to have a happier life..things to do to enjoy our families...things to do to forgive hurts where, I ask, what's on your bucket list?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1-11-11...I love that!

I have nothing to blog about except the date. I think on November 11-2011 I will blog again and perhaps I can post some extraordinary happening or pic. But for now, have a good 1-11-11 and maybe do just ONE thing fun, helpful, happy or nice for yourself or someone else. Now, if I get 11 comments on this today, that would be sweet!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yep, I Did It Again

It's here! My blog book came today and it turned out pretty good. I remembered that I blogged a similar entry last year when I received my first book. Actually, that's not true. I only remembered I blogged about it because I read it in my new book! I used " website to assemble it. I had a few mishaps due to my computer's problems and my own doofusness (I just made that name up! Feel free to use it in scrabble). I'm happy with it and it will now sit on the shelf and maybe someday, someone, somewhere will want to take a peek at it. For now, I'll just sit back and read about last year and see if I can make 2011 even better. (Not that it will take much!) Thanks to everyone who let me make them or their story "blog worthy".
It's divided into chapters or I should say blog entries. Makes it easy to go back and find an entry or pictures that I might want to look up.
The inside has all the pics and prose. It's fun to look back and see events, seasons and stories that made my life a little or alot more fun!
Here are both volumes...little books about my life, my family, friends, work and sometimes nothing in particular.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freaky Friday

There's a song that goes: "Have you done any good in the world today?"...That was going through my mind at work this day. Everyone has those quirkie days that make you scratch your head. The first thing that happened to me was as we were having our "time out" before one of my cases. A time out is done before we start any case, or hand the Surgeon a knife. The patient's name is read, their birthdate, and what operation they're having and the site..(left or right). When the name was read I looked up and asked it to be repeated...then I asked what their address was..yep, it was my next door neighbor. How observant I am. Then we had a patient that made me bite my tongue. I don't care if anyone is on medicaid, insurance, self pay..whatever. But when they have 6 kids, not married, on medicaid ( money) and are having an operation to see why they can't get pregnant...I do pause. My fav thought is: "Are you kidding me?" (not "get me a baseball bat!") Then when said Pt. is belligerent to the staff, with yelling, swearing, just plain not nice...I have to remember my mantra for 2011.." Just because you think it, it doesn't mean you have to say it"..I will, however, blog it. Please excuse me and forgive me if you think me callous. Now, a bigger question looms..should I bake my neighbor some cookies and go visit and see how they're doing? Explaining that I know they had surgery because I was there, but failed to recognize them? Or not..please send help, I need it. Here's a quick look at yesterday, it was a bit less weird.

Thursday we got a sneak peek at the soon to be finished operating rooms...I remember in 1978 when I started working here that the OR we're in now was only about a year old. Now it's outdated and these are the future. Big, technically awesome! Everyone is excited about it. Great way to start a new year.
Here we're having our inservice on all the new booms that will house the equipment that we normally have to lug into the rooms, plug into walls, side step cords all over the place...unless you're me and actually have tripped over them and hit the floor. Not one of my better days! The new lights are to die for! LED... 90 of them and they will not burn out until after I retire!
The nurses desk in the room will be a God send. Charting will be all on computers and just having that space is wonderful...hey, I wonder if they can get my blog on it?? Hmmmmm.
I want this screen for my family room...I think this will be fun. We can get x-rays sent up in digital form and displayed on this baby..the construction workers had a soap opera on it one day...maybe we can get HGTV?
Donna and her trusty camera.
My boss Mary and Dr. M....he's an anesthesiologist who is in love with this room! I think he just likes building projects.
Dr. M and some of the other Docs bought a huge sound system to blast out music during cases. Not something I'm looking forward to listening to, but somehow the wiring got screwed up and I think he's on his knees looking for it! He's such a tinker type guy. He should have been an engineer or an architect! Believe me, I've been to his home and have seen the beautiful work he's done by himself! However, he can't sing worth a darn and insists on belting out the lyrics (not even the right ones) to the music. This should be interesting.
Awwwww..cute little scrub sink!
Some staff members would argue this point, but I think the best part of the new ORs are! I know you can only see a sliver, and only the sky, but hey when you don't see out a window all day it's heavenly to see even that little bit!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Give Me A Baseball Bat!...

That is what I'm usually thinking when my computer doesn't do what it's suppose to do. Since last week I've been trying to get my blog from 2010 into book form. It's been one big frustration after another. My computer wouldn't let me preview the book. I tried a million and one ways to get to work. No luck. I finally tried it last night on the computer at Jack's office. Bingo! Success! Until I realized I needed to change the front and back cover pics. That was something my home computer would let me do. So last night, after I got home, I changed them and tonight I went back to the office to finish it up and order it. I drove into town after Jack went to his Boy Scout meeting. This will be a breeze! Except the computer wouldn't download the pages so I could preview the book..are you kidding me? I tried forever. Finally a message pops up that the website was upgrading, try back in a few hours. NO WAY..GET ME A BASEBALL BAT!!! I then proceeded to Jack's lap top in his office (instead of the computer in the outer office). Bingo! It loaded, it previewed, it was perfect! All I had to do was order! I placed the order and then got the credit card out to pay..I had just got the new one, the old one had expired. I cut up the old one. Only when I went to put in the expiration date I realized I had cut up the new one and I had the expired one in my purse. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? GIVE ME A BASEBALL BAT SO I CAN BEAT MYSELF!!! So I called Jack during his scout meeting to get the number from his card...and the code number...hung up..realized I needed the expiration date..called him back...Anyway, I finally ordered the book. It better be perfect when it gets here. I use my blog as a journaling tool. At the end of next year I will read this post...this pictureless post and remind myself to hide all the baseball bats because I'm sure I'll be screaming at the computer or myself..Give me a baseball bat!! P.S...I had to edit this and add that on top of all of this nonsense, I forgot my glasses. I can't read a thing without them. I can see a fly in a knot on a tree from a million miles away, but my computer or a book...forget about it. Lucky for me Jack had a magnifying glass on his desk. Leave it to an old Scouter to be prepared. I read the credit card with a magnifying glass....that's the only way I picked up on the expiration date. I'm such a doofuss!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Country Roads, Take Me Home

I was excited to see when I got out of work that we had a brillant, sunny, crystal clear blue sky kind of day. Trying to keep to my "plan" to exercise more I thought a walk down my country road would be fun. The air was cold and crisp, but not unpleasant, just invigorating! I grabbed my camera and walked down my drive and turned to the left toward my favorite barn.
And here it favorite barn. I don't know why it's my fav, but there is just something about it that speaks to me. I wish I could pick it up and put it in my back yard! That would then require me to put something live in it, so maybe I should just admire it from afar. When I looked at the pic I took I realized it looks better coming from the other direction. Oh well, it always makes me smile when I see it and many times I'll say to Jack: "Ahhh, it's my favorite barn!" I'm not sure he feels the same about it, but he humors me.
I turn around at my favorite barn and head up the road in the other direction.
The leaves on these trees don't fall until spring. So all winter they hang on for dear life in their brown, wrinkled clothes!
This field of dreams is right across the road from me. Behind the tree line is a beautiful man made lake. Once Donna (Starkey Hollow) and I walked over to it. We found out later that it is private property and no one is allowed back there. Lucky for us, ignorance is bliss! We never went back however. We follow the rules..once we know them!
While walking I could hear the gurgling of a little creek that runs in a little gully on the one side of the road. If you look in the far corner of the pic you can see that I'm not the only one who puts their pumpkins in the woods for animals to snack on in the winter!
Across from the creek is this little house, almost at the end of my road. It was a foreclosure that was purchased by a friend's son and his young family. It sits on 2 acres, it was completely redone and I just love the look of it. They got it for a steal! I was so happy that it was bought and it's being taken care of so nicely.
At the end of my road and to the left is another cute barn. The Parsley Pot is an old barn turned into a business that sells all kinds of cool's chock full of fun items and you'll just have to come take a look for yourself! This is where I turn around and head back.
Almost done...I guess my next door neighbor actually has a cuter barn than the white one down the road. When I give directions to my house I always tell people to look for the white fence right before the big Pine trees. That barn needs a pretty horse or two sticking their heads out of the cute barn doors, or over the pretty white fence, don't you agree?
I made it home! Thanks for taking a walk with me down my country road. If you hum "Country roads, take me home", I'm sure John Denver would smile up in heaven! Yes, I like his music, just ask my co-workers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Once There Was A Snowman

December was freezing and snowy...the whole month! It made a beautiful Christmas day and the sledding was great. But, it was still a bit unusual for this time of year. Then the last day of the year comes and "BAMB"'s 58de. and sunny. I washed my car, took down Christmas decorations, sat outside and brushed the cat, sat in the sun and read a magazine for goodness sakes! However, I'm not dumb enough to think it's going to stay this way. No, I just look at this as a a free gift with purchase! When Christmas comes down, the snowmen come out. I don't put a bunch up, just enough to brighten things up a bit. Way up on the top shelf was a dusty box with the words "Snow People" on it. I haven't put these out in a long time. As I brushed off the dust and opened the box, a flood of memories came out. These two snow people are 33yrs. old. It was 1977 and I had had my 2nd son in Sep. The Church women's organization (the Relief Society) was making these snow people as a project. I missed the meeting but one of the girls brought these over for me. She made me two and the snow lady is holding a snow baby! I was so touched that someone would take the time to do that for me. I was a bit homesick that Christmas. We had moved to Ohio in Jan. of that year. I had left my family, friends, job and home town where I grew up. My Dad had just passed away and coming from a big city (Chicago) to a small town was quite the adjustment..(little Chiropractic humor there). The Church was a life line. Our little branch of the Church is just that...little. But the hearts of the people are big. Getting used to living here took a long time, but the friendships I made with the members have lasted all these years. The friend who made these moved back west with her hubby a few years ago. I don't know if she reads my blog, but maybe she'll see this and remember a kindness she did that meant more than she'll ever realize. This year don't hesitate to do something nice for someone. Even if it seems small to you, it could mean the world to that person. We don't always know what people are feeling or thinking. I've learned that it isn't usually the things we do that we regret, it's what we don't do that comes back to haunt us. Someone might just need a snowman to warm their heart.