Friday, August 29, 2008


While traveling through blogland I came upon a blog by a woman from England who goes by the name of Queenie. Her name brought back memories that made me curious enough to visit her blog.

Our older son went to a small Christian college in California. It was far from home, but we had relatives nearby and that is where he wanted to go. I missed this boy who was so bright and ready for college. He flew home for the Christmas holiday and we were eager to hear all his stories. While walking to baggage claim I asked how school was going. He said fine but he was going to sure miss someone. “Who is that?” I asked. “I've met a girl, Mom,” he replied. It was the first we had heard about this so I was full of questions.

Me. “Is she a freshman too?”
Son. “No, Mom, she is a sophomore.”
Me. “Oh, how old is she?”
Son. “She's twenty-five.”
Me. “Where is she from?”
Son. “She's from Thailand.”
Me. “What's her name?”
Son. “Queenie.”
Me. “Queenie?”
Son. “That's a nickname. Her name is actually ****.” ( Her name was too long and too foreign sounding for me to pronounce. I had to practice until I could say say it correctly.)
Me. “Does she go to church with you?”
Son. “She comes sometimes.”
Me. “What religion is she?”
Son. “She's a Buddhist.”

By the time we reached baggage claim I had discovered that my eighteen-year-old son was in love with a twenty-five-year old Buddhist woman called Queenie whose real name I could not pronounce. It was hard for me to process all this information.

That evening he was sitting in the living room telling me all about this wonderful girl who had stolen his heart. He didn't think I could possibly understand how he felt. “Mom,” he asked,”Have you ever been in love?” I told him that I loved his father. He replied,”No, Mom, I mean really in love!” He then rolled of the couch and did a back flip and gazed dreamily up to the ceiling.

That first love did not last. He later found the true love of his life and has been happily married for eighteen years.

Who was your first love?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thanks you all for your thoughtful comments and the prayers for my family. I felt your love and concern and I cried.

I have loved watching the democratic convention. Michelle Obama and Hillary were both marvelous. They made me proud to be both a woman and a democrat. Bill Clinton did good last night. Joe Biden and his story inspired me. He is a great choice as a running mate. I am looking forward to hearing Barak tonight.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bill & Jean

I talked to my brother Bill tonight. Life is hard now and the conversation was painful. Jean is in the long-term care facility. She is receiving good nursing care and has made some progress. One side is completely paralyzed, but she is breathing without assistance and has even spoken a few words. That is more progress than we had hoped for, but her condition is still very grim. Her words are few. She has said things like,”Hurts,” “This is terrible,” and “I can't stand this.” Bill does not find much comfort in knowing how much she is suffering. When asked if she knew his name she said, “Bill.” Once she said, “Vicoden.,” the pain medicine she is receiving. Her brain is working and she knows she is hurting. How awful it must be to wake up trapped in a body that always hurts and no longer works.

My heart breaks for them. Pray for this sweet couple as they struggle through a very hard time.

The picture is from their wedding day thirty-nine years ago.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5 Thoughts From Last Week

1.Finding long lost relatives has caused me to think about our common heritage. I am thankful for the wellspring of love that flows from my grandparents down through the generations to bless my grandchildren, their great great grandchildren whom they never even met.

2.We began rehearsals again with the Bowie Senior Chorale. The first day back after our summer break felt like the first day of school. I love singing with this group.

3.I hate negative political ads.

4.I have loved the Visa ads for the Olympics. Go World!

5.The house seems very quiet after the grandchildren go home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I just can't resist talking a little more about my Texas family. The highlight of summer when I was a kid was our annual trip to see the Texas kinfolk. Usually we drove from California to San Antonio where my grandparents lived. As we crossed the border into Texas my mom made us sing,

Oh, beautiful, beautiful Texas
The most beautiful state that I know.
We're proud of our forefathers,
Who fought at the Alamo.
You may live on the plains or the mountains
Or down where the sea breezes blow,
But, you'll still be in beautiful Texas
The most beautiful state that I know.

Texans are all very proud of their state. My cousins used to tease me because I lived in California and Texas was so much better. I really didn't understand their pride. Texas was hot! They had chiggers that could eat you for lunch. I just never did get their pride. But I did love going to Texas. The whole clan came to visit and life was a great big party during our visit. There was watermelon in the backyard and playing in the sprinkler with my cousins. There were great adventures out to Martindale, the very small town where TG and Wilma lived. TG was a hunter and I got to eat squirrel at their house. When bath time came we all had to share the same tub full of water. I was company so I got to go first and everyone else took their baths in the same tub full of water after me. The last one to bathe had cold, dirty water.

I remember clearly one year as we were leaving standing by the car while all the grownups cried and said good bye. My cousin Kenny told me that the next time I came I had to be the host and he would get to do everything first.

The picture is the family gathered after church. I am the giggly girl leaning into my mom and dad. Kenny is kneeling in front between my two brothers. Don't you love all the hats!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I grew up in California. Most of my cousins lived in Texas. We saw each other only on our annual summer vacation to visit my grandparents and other Texas relatives. We had fun together as kids, but we drifted apart and did not keep in touch as adults. I no longer know any of my cousins. This week has, therefore, been a most unusual week. There was a comment on the blog last week from DD. DD is married to my first cousin John David. I haven't seen him since he was a little boy and I knew nothing about his current life. The next day I got a letter in the mail from my first cousin, Dot. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She was just a baby last time I saw her. She has a facebook page full of old family photographs. It was fun to look at those days long gone and remember summers with my cousins in Texas.

The picture is my mother's family. My mom, Byrtle, is on the left in the back. Next to her are her sisters, Dorthy and Rubye. Her two little brothers TG and James Franklin are seated on the couch on either side of my grandparents. My grandparents had fourteen grandchildren. DD, who commented on the blog is married to TG's youngest son. Dot is James Franklin's youngest child. It was such a pleasant surprise to hear om them.

Do you know your cousins? Are they a part of your life?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rehoboth Beach

We have just returned from a two day trip to Rehoboth Beach, one of my favorite places. Our son and grandson joined us there for a little beach fun. We spent the day playing in the waves, making sandcastles and flying a kite. All of that activity can make a body hungry. We started talking about what we wanted to eat. The boardwalk has so many tantalizing foods that are part of a beach vacation. We agreed to start with a big pizza from Grottos. The problem we had was that we were only there for two days and our tummies just couldn't hold all of our cravings. Obviously we had to find room for a bucket of Thrashers fries. Then all the other goodies were there for us. An orange/vanilla twist cone from Korhs custard, a big candied apple, caramel corn, chocolate covered strawberries , funnel cakes, cotton candy, shaved Hawaiian ice and salt water taffy were all tempting us. We just couldn't eat it all, which was a little sad. We bought some goodies to bring home and stopped at one of many produce stands along the road home. I thought our tummies would appreciate some fresh fruits and vegetables after our day of boardwalk gorging.

What food do crave when you are on the boardwalk?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


A few years ago while visiting in California my husband, daughter and I invited my brother Bill and his beloved Jean to join us for lunch at a restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. They were excited about joining us. The memory of that afternoon still makes me smile.

My big brother is short, only about five feet tall. Jean is smaller. Neither of them are very healthy. They are an adorable little old couple who hold hands when they walk. To say that Jean walks slowly would be a gross understatement. It is difficult for the rest us of to move at such a slow shuffle. That afternoon we parked in the closest spot to the pier so we would have only a few steps to reach our destination. It took about fifteen minutes to cross the short distance. We finally reached the pier and there before us was a beautiful antique carousel going around and around to the carnival music. I love carousels and I wanted to ride this one. Jean's eyes lit up when she saw it and she wanted to ride too. It was wonderful. We had assumed that Bill and Jean would sit in one of the swan benches that were available, but no, that would not do. Jean wanted to ride one of the ponies. Of course Bill wanted Jean to do whatever she wanted. Jean slowly shuffled over to her chosen pony. There was no way she could get up without help. Bill, Dennis and Ann all pushed and shoved until she was safely mounted. Then Bill with slightly less difficulty mounted the pony next to hers and we all found a ride for ourselves. Jean laughed and laughed as we whirled around with the music in our ears and the salt air blowing in our faces.

The next day we were all together with my other brother Joe and his wife Judy. I overheard Jean telling Judy about the wonderful time we had had the day before.”It was wonderful,” Jean said, “We all rode the ponies on the beach.”

This week Jean is being to a long-term acute care facility. It is a terrible place where they care for people with horrible medical conditions. The rooms are crowded and small. There is only a small chair by her bed where Bill can sit. There is little privacy. There is little hope and less joy.

I am grateful that we do have sweet memories to sustain us.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cool Gramma

You can say a lot without even using real word. For example, last week we bought a new 46” 120Hz 1080p LCD HDTV. We are quite excited about it. While watching the Olympics I feel like I'm right in the pool with all those magnificent swimmers. It is amazing to feel so close to the action. We also decided to get one of those Blu Ray DVD players. The young salesman talked us into upgrading that to a PS3. It has a great Blu Ray and for just a little more money we now have a wonderful game system. My grandsons think I am now one cool gramma. To complete the experience we added Guitar Hero. I have yet to master one song, but it is fun to play with the boys who are very patient with my inexperience. They tell me not to be discouraged and to just keep practicing. My thirteen year old said, “Don't worry Gramma. I sucked when I started too.” So I guess I will practice some more. I don't want to let the boys down.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hibiscus Lessons

One of the prettiest plants in my yard is a hibiscus. Every morning I go out and enjoy it's big beautiful pink blossoms. It is just a spectacular sight all day. As the sun goes down the blooms whither, turn brown and fall off. The next morning a new set of flowers show off their loveliness and the yesterday's blooms litter the ground and are blown away by the wind.

I talked with my brother Bill a long time tonight. His beloved wife Jean remains non- responsive. It has been a month since she fell and hit her head. She was fine one moment and then she was in the hospital having brain surgery. She has not awakened since her surgery. She is breathing on her own without the ventilator, but the neurological damage appears to be severe. She may never be aware of her husband's presence again. It is hard.

During the last six years Bill and Jean have enjoyed over twenty cruises. They love shipboard life and went every opportunity they had. Bill's advice to me tonight was to seize the day. Enjoy each and every moment of this precious life God gives you. Bloom brightly and enjoy your day in the sun light.

Good advice from my big brother.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lion King

For my husband's birthday last February I gave him tickets to see the Lion King at the Kennedy Center because I wanted to see it. Last night the date for the performance finally came. It was worth the wait.
I love going to the Kennedy Center. It is in a beautiful location. From the rooftop terrace you can see all the big monuments of Washington. Across the Potomac you can see the Pentagon and the Air Force Monument. Yesterday the weather was perfect and the skyline was beautiful. I am always impressed when I realize that I actually live here.
The show was a high energy, delightful entertainment full of spectacular, colorful costumes and great music. I knew all the music from the movie, but this was a far more powerful story. It had some intense scenes that made me cry and some wonderful funny lines that made me laugh out loud. I loved the song, “He Lives In Me.” Now that I am the grandmother of young adults I like the thought that their lives are a reflection of all those in their past. I like the idea of living in the lives they now live.
If you ever have the opportunity to see this show, go. It will make you smile.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Camping with Boys

This week I joined my daughter on a camping trip with her thirteen-year-old son and three of his buddies. We had a delightful time together.
Thirteen-year-old boys are a breed all their own. These guys have bodies that have suddenly gotten bigger and voices that have suddenly gotten deeper. They had a wonderful time all day doing manly things like setting up their tent, canoing, chopping firewood and building a campfire. They loved the freedom to play and roam the woods by themselves. They were manly men. At night they crawled into their tent laughing and talking. Our campsite was about a hundred yard away so they felt alone. As they got sleepy they noticed that the night is full of noises that these city boys aren't used to hearing. They could hear scary, unidentified things moving around outside their tent. My daughter's cell phone rang. They needed a mom. These manly men had no objection when she crawled into their tent and sang to them until they were able to fall sleep.
This is one of the songs she sang as their lullaby that night.