Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Tree

While I was at therapy last Friday my husband and grandson got all the Christmas decorations down from the attic and put up our artificial tree. My husband put the angel on top (The angel is Harold, of Hark the Harold angel fame.) The rest of the tree was mine to decorate. DQ and I had a few Hallmark moments as we put on the decorations. Some of the decorations are old and have been on our tree since we married long ago. Our children made some of them. We have styrofoam meat trays cut into cookie cutter shapes and sprinkled with glitter. They still have the kids’ names written on the back in their childish hand. Friends gave many of the decorations to us; others are souvenirs of trips we have made. It is a tree full of memories.

DQ went off to play video games, and my husband napped. I thought about my mother. When I was a girl decorating the tree was a major holiday event. Every year without fail when we finished my mother would say, “It’s the prettiest tree we ever did have!” When I married and moved across the country every year without fail I would call my mother and tell her that this year we again had the prettiest Christmas tree we ever did have. My mother is gone. I miss her.

I want all of you to know that this year we have the prettiest Christmas tree we ever did have.

Monday, November 27, 2006


We enjoyed a non-traditional Thanksgiving Day at the museum of the American Indian on the mall in Washington D.C. It is a beautiful building full of interesting exhibits. It has a wonderful cafeteria serving various foods representing foods eaten by American Indians. Being a traditionalist, I had turkey and all the trimmings. Others in the family ate salmon, buffalo, and burritos. The kids played in the rotunda; spinning in circles until they could no longer stand. It is always wonderful to hear my grandchildren’s laughter.

Over and over again the exhibits explained that today’s Indians maintain their culture by passing the traditions from one generation to the next. The music, the dances, and the stories help them to know who they are. I think that is true for all people. Our traditions help us to know who we are.

Yesterday we made a gumdrop cake. This is a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me. She made it every Christmas. I have made it every Christmas. Now my daughter makes it every Christmas. It contains two pounds of gumdrops, “cut up fine (no black ones!).” While we cut up the gumdrops we reminisced about Christmases past. It was a pleasant evening of telling family stories. We ate a piece of the cake and it tasted like Christmas.

What food is a tradition in your house? What tastes like Christmas to you?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Radio City

Yesterday we got up at o’dark-thirty to join a group of friends for a day trip to New York City. We arrived in the big city about noon with tickets for the 2 pm matinee of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. With just over an hour of free time and a not quite strong knee we decided to ride the elevator to the top of Rockefeller Center. From the observation deck seventy stories above the city, we gazed out on this ocean of buildings. It is an amazing sight. The day was crisp and clear. The Empire State Building looked like we could reach out and touch it. The Statue of Liberty looked small standing guard at far end of Manhattan. After soaking in the view we joined the hustle and bustle of the crowds surrounding Rockefeller center. I felt like a kid from the country looking up at tall buildings and sights all around me.

Then we made our way to the Music Hall. Wow! Is the only appropriate word as you enter the grand foyer. It is red and gold and magnificent. The show was great. Radio City means the Rockettes and thirty pairs of legs moving as one. The costumes were fabulous, the sets and lighting were amazing. The music was wonderful. We all came out humming Christmas music. The holidays are here. The Radio City Christmas show is a wonderful way to get into the spirit of Christmas and all the joy and happiness of the season.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 20, 2006


It is DQ’s fourteenth birthday. This young man is my grandson. When he was three years old he was in need of a family and my son and his wife and daughter were in need of a little boy. God helped them to find each other. The journey of life has been a constant adventure since this boy joined our family. He has become a Yugioh dueling champion. Once he tried to explain the game to me, but I just can’t quite figure it out. He and his eleven-year-old cousin can play for hours. I think you need to be a boy to learn the intricacies of Yugioh. We spent a week in the mountains with DQ last summer. Together we went on my first and last whitewater-rafting trip. At the end of that journey he declared that it had been the best day of his life. I pray that life is full of many best days for him. Happy Birthday, DQ.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I love Sunday because it is church day. Church is more than a nice building, it is a group of people whom I have learned to love and who care about me. We share a love for God and we are family. The church we attend normally has two Sunday morning services. The 8:30 service has a praise band and more contemporary music. I love to sing along and clap my hands and feel the joy of the Lord. The 11 o’clock service has more traditional music and more organ music. I love the old hymns and the soaring sound of the organ. Today I attended both services and it was wonderful to sing and worship twice. The sermon was good, but I’ll confess I skipped the second go round of the preaching. After the second service we all had lunch together. The food was good, but the fellowship with each other was what was so good, there were lots of hugs and laughter. I love being a part of this church family.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Two days ago I gazed out the window while riding the exercise bike at physical therapy. The view was lovely. The trees were showing off their autumn splendor with bright reds, yellows and orange. I looked out at their beauty and visualized myself pedaling along a lake framed by a mountain of colorful leaves. It was so nice. Yesterday a fierce storm blew through town. We had lots of rain and powerful winds. Today I got on the exercise bike at therapy and gazed out on a bleak, leafless view. The trees looked so bare and empty. The trees announce that winter is not far away. What a difference one storm makes. I am sure there is a great moral to be learned here, but I’ll leave figuring it out up to you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Getting old is something that happens little by little. Most of the time you don’t notice it is even happening, and then, all of a sudden something comes along and tells you, “Hey, look at that. You are getting old.”

I quit taking baths a couple of months ago. Don’t worry; I do take showers so I am clean. But I love to take a nice hot bubble bath. I soak in the warm, perfumed water and just let life float away. It is a lovely, peaceful time. A problem developed at the end of my last bath. I couldn’t get out of the bathtub. My knees felt too weak to get me up. I was afraid to stand up for fear of slipping and doing severe damage to either the bathtub or me. It was not a peaceful feeling. I did eventually manage to crawl over the edge and land safely on the floor, but it was a sight I am sure no one wants to try to visualize. I have not been in the tub again since that day.

Today my daughter and her friend came over. Her friend installed a grab bar on the wall of the bathtub. It is securely fastened so I can pull up and feel confident that I won’t fall down. It is a lovely gift. I am looking forward to a long, hot bubble bath. The grab bar sits there and says you need help. You are old. It also says my daughter loves me and I can take a bath. Life is full of mixed messages. I will dwell on the fact that I feel loved.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I have been so grateful for the love and concern shown me this past week by my many friends. One of the blessings of having surgery and not feeling well is that you become so aware of the blessing of friendship. With all the modern methods of communication I have heard from so many people in so many ways. A few of those who are closest to me came by to visit and see how they could be of help. It was such a joy to see them. Several called on the phone to check on me. It was so nice to hear their voice. I received a lovely assortment of get-well cards. How nice it is to get something other than bills in the mail. My email in-box was full of get-well wishes. There were many sweet comments on my blog. I love that there are so many ways to reach to people. I am not alone.

Friday, November 10, 2006


“OK, now I’m going to press against your leg with my hand. Don’t let me move your leg. Hold it strong.” The therapist pressed against my right leg and my leg held firm against the pressure of her hand. “Ok, now let’s check the other leg.” She pressed against my left leg and it just gave way to the pressure of her hand. She then checked the range of motion in my knees. The left is limited, but not too bad. I had a knee replacement six years ago in the right leg. That was a long and brutal recovery. This won’t be nearly as bad. I have a ways to go, but I expect to be able to go on long walks again in less than a month. I will do my exercises because I do have places to go.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I’m home. The surgery went well and I sure am glad yesterday is over. While waiting for surgery I got to be a pincushion for the student phlebotomists. I know they need to practice on someone, but three tries and misses were enough. I slept through the surgery part. The doctor trimmed off the torn up cartilage and smoothed out the rough spots. Waking up from anesthesia took a long time and was gross. But today I woke up feeling like me again. Percocet is a lovely drug and I am feeling fine. My sweet husband is a pretty good nurse.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I go in for my knee surgery in the morning. The plan is to be home by evening. I will be glad when this is all over and done and I am up dancing again.


A friend invited us to a choral festival celebration, which we attended last night. It was wonderful. The program was held in the chapel of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. What a beautiful place to listen to powerful music. The chapel is laid out as all cathedrals in the shape of a cross. Beautiful stained glass and symbols remind you that this is not only a place of worship, but also a place of history. The festival choir sang music that spoke to my soul and led me to place of worship and peace. The conclusion of the program was a postlude by the pipe organ. Have you ever been so lost in the music that you felt like you actually a part of it? That is how I felt. I was no longer just listening, but actually inside this glorious music. I could feel the vibrations of the sound coming up through the floor and filling my body and my soul. It was a powerful sensation to be lost in that glorious sound. I hope there is a great pipe organ in heaven.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Personal Hero

Recently my nine-year-old granddaughter called and asked if she could interview me. She said she need to get information for a school report about her personal hero. She wanted to write about me. Wow! I thought that was just such a wonderful thing. Imagine having your granddaughter think of you as her personal hero. I was quite happy. So I went over and this sweet little girl asked me about my work with hospice. She wanted to know who had inspired me and why I liked to help people. When she was done I thanked her for picking me and told her I felt honored. She replied, “That’s OK, Gramma. The policeman down the street was too busy to talk to me so I chose you instead.” Oh well. It’s nice to be the first runner up hero. I did read the report she wrote. It was so sweet. I did feel like her hero.