Friday, May 31, 2013


 Wednesday we were involved in a horrible car accident with another car who slammed into the door next to me.   I was thrown out of my seat belt into the dash, my head hit the top of the roof and my husband found me on top of him when the impact stopped.   It still plays over and over in my mind.  Thank God a police officer just happened to be in the area, he took control until the medics came.   They had to call for firemen to cut me out of the car with the "jaws of life", then transport me on the board with a neck brace to the hospital.   Everyone involved in saving us and controlling everything were wonderful.   Such professionals, such command of a situation.  While our car was totalled, we were not.   By the grace of God we were spared terrible injuries.   After Cat scans and X-Rays in the emergency unit, it was determined that my husband and I could go home with prescriptions of muscle relaxers and Motrin.  No scrapes or cuts, just a lot of bruising and soreness.   I have always had such respect for the emergency responders, now more than ever.  They are my heroes forever!  You can see our Toyota Rav4 is totalled and the car on the right is the one that slammed into us.  Hopefully those people didn't sustain bad injuries and were as blessed as we were.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Got together with our old friends and neighbors whom we had not seen in four years.  It was fun to catch up on our lives and reminisce about the "old days".   Sharing horror stories about the dealings we had with our builder in constructing our new homes, the condition of the neighborhood, who of the "old" neighbors were left and just a general catching up on everything that has happened in our lives since we last saw each other.  Both couples were married in 1986, both have no children but adore their nieces and nephews and both wives have exquisite taste and gardening talents ( I had to throw that in there just for fun ).  We promised to stay in touch and not let another four years go by.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Soldiers Death Long Ago

I looked him up on the Viet Nam Wall Memorial site this morning.  I've thought about him every Memorial Day since I heard of his death back in 1967.  I was eleven years old and the soldiers sister was my classmate and neighbor.  I remember them telling us in the classroom that her brother was killed in action.   I remember one of the moms in the neighborhood going door to door, taking up a collection and having a sympathy card signed.   I stood there with my mother while she signed the card.   I remember always seeing the gold star hanging from their front window.   I remember feeling sad even though I never knew him, yet he was a kid from the neighborhood so I felt connected in some small way and I guess that is why I felt the need to look him up today on the wall.  His name was Louis, he was born on April  6, 1946 and died  few days after his twenty-first birthday.  Thank you to Louis and all those who served and sacrificed.


HM3 - E4 - Navy - Regular

Length of service 2 years
Casualty was on Apr 21, 1967
Body was recovered

Panel 18E - Line 58

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Old Friends and Former Neighbors

We were feeling nostalgic the other day, so we pulled into our old neighborhood, just to see how it looked 16 years after we built our "dream home" there.   Wasn't it Thomas Wolfe who said "you can never go home again"?  Was he ever right.   The neighborhood that was once vibrant and alive with beautifully manicured homes full of friendly faces was not to be found.  Houses were empty with newspapers for curtains, For Sale signs were a common sighting and lovely landscaped lawns were overtaken with weeds.  We drove from our cul de sac to the other one in the neighborhood, hoping to see some familiar faces out in their yard.  We were pretty close to one particular couple and wondered if they still lived in their home.  We had lost touch with them after we moved as people often do, but now I felt the urge to contact them and reconnect, especially after I saw what our subdivision had become.   The people in "our home" removed every tree and shrub that we had planted the first year we lived in our home.   We had a beautiful river birch and an ash tree, which had grown to amazing heights, but they were no more - gone, and for what reason?   Shrubs and beautiful hostas planted at the foundation, all gone.   Glorious, green sod replaced by hard clay and crab grass.   What had happened?  Could my former neighbors shed some light?   I needed to know.   We had spent thousands of hard earned dollars to make that house on the corner a beautiful home and now it was a shell of it's former self.   How sad and depressing.   Yes, I truly believe houses can be happy or sad and this one looked like it required some much needed therapy.   Well, when we returned home, I tried to contact our friends using the last phone number I had but all I got was a generic answering machine, the kind with the computer voice that you don't recognize and don't know if it even belongs to the people you're trying to reach.  It's Friday, said I.   They're probably working, I'll try again Saturday morning.   Guess what?   I got a human voice on the other end of the line.  It was the husband and he asked who was he speaking to and all I could do was laugh.   Well, anyone who knows me knows my laugh and that totally threw him a curve, he sounded totally perplexed and kept saying "no way, is it you, really you"????   I assured him it was and the next thing he said totally blew me away.   He said they were told I was dead, that I died a few years ago.    Dead, me?    I know I had battled the big "C" last year, but I didn't feel like I was even at deaths door.   When I assured him that the reports of my death were greatly exaggerated to quote Mark Twain, we both starting laughing hysterically.   His wife had just got out of the shower and he yelled to her "babe, you are NOT going to believe who I have on the phone".   He put me on speaker phone while I was laughing and she screamed, "Oh, my God, we thought you were dead".   I'm glad I called and set the record straight!!  Anyway, our plans are to get together with these old friends on Memorial Day for a cook out and we can't wait to visit and break bread with them and catch up on everything that's happened since we last saw them in 2009.   I promise to take pictures and report back on our much anticipated reunion!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Baby Boom

We seem to be having quite a baby boom around here lately.   Here is a baby robin from the nest picture I posted a few days ago.   He's quite a big guy and very vocal.  Hopefully his three siblings will join him and leave the nest so that we can change the porch light bulb!   We also have a family of doves who were sitting at the back porch, Dad, Mom and Junior.   I had never seen a baby dove and he was pretty scrawny but cute just the same.  Of course the baby bunnies are still running all around - they're a lot of fun to watch.   Their parents don't seem to stay close to them like the bird parents do.   I worry about "my babies".   Will something harm them in the dark, cold night?   I just have to trust God to watch out for the little creatures and hopefully they'll come through childhood just fine!

Updated pictures of one of our baby robins who decided to perch on my front door wreath.

                                           Another picture of the baby dove.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

That Time of Year

Spent the morning out in the country at our favorite garden center which keeps expanding and getting larger every year.  It's starting to get a bit overwhelming especially after some health issues I've experienced this past year.   It makes me yearn for the days when there were only a couple of greenhouses that you could navigate quite efficiently. Now they hand you a map with over 40 greenhouses and an endless choice of plants to choose from.   Talk about being a kid in a candy shop!  I know progress is good, but not always better.   Even a seasoned gardener such as myself starts feeling a bit exhausted by the endless varieties to choose from.   I sometimes long for the small, simple garden centers which are getting harder to come by these days.   It makes ones choices so much simpler and easier.   But, I do have to say I found some gorgeous hanging baskets and herbs at very reasonable prices so I shouldn't complain.   But I will try to purchase some things this week at the smaller garden centers so I can do my part to help them stay in business.   Oh, and as soon as I hung up the impatien hanging baskets on the front porch, the hummingbird was there checking out her supply of goodies.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Payoff For Shade

 If you are fortunate enough to live near a maple tree, you appreciate the wonderful shade they provide on hot, muggy summer days.   But, there is a trade off to enjoying those trees.  You must endure the spring ritual of the falling of the seeds or as we called them when we were kids, "helicopters".    Today is the start of "helicopter" season around here and with the windy conditions, we're having a rainstorm of seeds.   There will be an endless supply for a good two weeks and in that time they will find themselves in your gutters, planters, cracks in sidewalks, flower beds, tucked in the windshields of your cars, just about anywhere they can try and attach themselves to reproduce.  
They are very determined to germinate and their efforts do not go unnoticed.  You will soon see young saplings coming up all over the place in places where you do not want a huge maple tree growing.   So late spring is spent cleaning up the seeds and pulling out the saplings.   Ah, the rituals of spring.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Do Nothin' Day of Bliss

 Sometimes if feels good just to do nothing!   Just kick your feet up on the shady porch, sip a cold ice tea, feel the breeze and watch the birds at the feeder.   I did just that yesterday, thumbing through my garden and home magazines, eating bon bons and watching the world go by.   The smell of the lily of the valley scented the entire porch and the birds were having a wonderful time eating seed and suets.   We even have robins eating the suets - something I hadn't seen in years past.   Speaking of robins, we have 3 babies up high in a nest on the back porch light.   We have been trying to keep from using that entrance when at all possible, Mom gets so upset with us.   She flies to a nearby tree or the gutter of our garage and screeches at us as the babies chirp away.   We have nests there every year.   I wonder if it's the same parents?  Anyway they are enjoyable to hear.   Hope you're keeping cool and enjoying a peaceful weekend.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years

 Still in recovery from lunch with the girls.  The weather was picture perfect, what you might call "convertible weather".   It was us and Bob Seger blasting from the speakers, wind in our hair, laughing and singing all the way to the restaurant.  We're just old friends who, even though we had years where we didn't keep in touch, still managed to find each other - thank you Facebook - and pick up where we left off as if the years had never passed.   True friends, friends who you had some of the best moments of your life with.   Friends who are just so comfortable to be around, not judging, no jealousies, just deep friendship that's rare and hard to come by.   They've helped me get through a difficult year with laughter and support.  Love you Girlfriends - you know who you are!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Little Friend Returns

He's back, looking in the same spots on the front porch where the yellow impatien baskets hung last year.   He was quite a piggy, he would eat all day long from those flowers.  I guess it's safe to visit the garden center and get him what he's craving.

Life with "homeless man"

Back in the day, when we were dating he grew it because I thought he looked sexy.   Now he grows it because we have no special place to go, so in between appointments, shopping trips and meals in a restaurant, he goes days without shaving.   But I'm not complaining.   As long as he doesn't show up at the dinner table without a shirt - now THAT would not please me one bit.   But for now, I'll  let him keep his Grizzly Adams look as long as he's not in public!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Waking up to pure mischief!

We spent last night on the front porch.  The weather was beautiful, no bugs to contend with yet, so we sat and had tea, read and played with our I Phones, filled up the bird feeders and suet cages and fed the squirrels.   We had fun tossing peanuts to them, some were even so bold as to come right up on the porch.  I have a pretty ceramic squirrel basket that I purchased at Marshall Fields many years ago and I always keep it stashed with salted peanuts in their shells for us and the squirrels.   Well, I left my husband and cat alone on the porch while I came in to shower and I reminded him not to leave the peanut basket out.   Now, what do you think he did? He FORGOT to bring it in and what did I wake up to?   Squirrels all over the porch, high on peanuts, jumping and running around, empty shells on the table next to the EMPTY basket - even squirrel poop on my table -  the ungrateful varmints.  But still, they were so cute scampering all over the the place, bellies full.   I can't blame them for their behavior.   But now I'm totally out of nuts and they'll just have to wait till market day before they get those treats again.  Hope they stashed some for a rainy day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Love of Books

It all started with an assortment of Little Golden Books on my bookcase when I was a very small child.  Mom made sure they were within reach so that I could pull them out and read them whenever I so desired.  She also joined the Dr. Seuss book of the month club and I waited patiently for Mailman Bob to deliver the slim box of Dr. Seuss magic with great anticipation.   She read and reread them over and over again until I had them memorized. As soon as I started elementary school, Mom had me join the Scholastic Book club, where I would pick out paperback books to add to my expanding collection.  Those books opened me up to Laura Ingalls adventures, Nancy Drew and bio's of Madame Currie and Florence Nightengale.  I truly became addicted to reading and between my collection of books and the ones I checked out at the library, I always seemed to have my nose buried in one.  Oh, lets not forget the Tiger Beat's and 16 Magazines and MAD.  I couldn't go past the village drug store without buying my favorite magazines. Today I have an extensive collection including gardening, cooking, decorating, bio's, anything on Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana.   I'm never bored because I always have those familiar "friends" to fall back on, to escape from troubles and worries.   Love of books was the best gift my Mother gave me.  Thank you mom.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day

She wasn't perfect.   She had a hard childhood filled with illness and an overbearing father, but she did the best she could when it came to mothering us.  I often think in a different place and time, she could have been so much more - she could have let her talents shine.  She was artistic and a fantastic cook.   When I needed a costume for the various plays I was in during my school years, she came up with the most amazing ideas like the time I played Mrs. Santa Clause in 5th Grade.  I had a pretty red " Granny Dress" that was popular in the 60's that served well for Mrs. Santa, complete with a ruffled apron borrowed from Mom.   I had the rose colored Granny glasses fashionable at that time that were perfect.  I just needed snowy white hair.   Mom took a plastic wig of mine, covered it with fluffy cotton balls and like magic, I was transformed into a kindly old lady.  I like to think I got my creativity from her.   Miss you mom.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mothers Day to all my Moms

To all the special "Moms" in my life, happy Mothers Day.   From Stepmom Carol, to Grandma Laurie, to Mom and Mother in law Margaret - you were and always will be the best Moms that a girl could ever have.   Love you always.

Mothers Day Weekend

I hope you're doing something special for the mothers in your life.   Not to be left out are the women who are like mothers to us, nurturing and providing support throughout our lives.  It might be an aunt, a neighbor or a teacher.  Don't leave them out when you're thanking these special women for all they have done for you.  Some flowers, a card or a simple phone call are all it takes to make someones day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak decided to make another appearance this morning but he would not stay on the feeders long enough for me to take his picture.   He was busy singing and flying from tree to tree.  As I posted before, I always spot them the first week in May while they're migrating.  They are related to the cardinal and are gorgeous when you see them in person.

Perfect timing

The poppies in the garden inspired me to get my seeds planted yesterday.  That and the threat of a wet weekend ahead gave me the motivation to weed and seed the garden.   I have always planted a large variety of zinnias, cosmos, four o'clocks and bachelor buttons which are big draws for butterflies and hummingbirds. Now to wait for July when the beds will explode in glorious colors

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is bigger really better?

I had the most unpleasant shopping experience today.  I made the choice to accompany my husband to the new MEGA MENARDS SUPERSTORE which makes the regular Menards look like a small Mom and Pop shop in comparison.  You would think that the bigger the store, more aisle space, less crowding?  WRONG!   This store even has a second floor and to get up there you secure yourself and your shopping cart onto this electric ramp ( similar to that in the airports ) that takes you up to an endless inventory of toilets, sinks and cabinets.  Sorry but I was not impressed and with everything scattered through miles and miles of store, I tired easily and spent way less money than I would have in a smaller, shopper friendly environment.   Even their garden section was a disappointment, but maybe by time I made it there, I was a bit tired and cranky and ready to sit down to a quiet lunch.   Sorry corporate America, bigger does not always make it better.  Oh, did I mention that YOU the shopper have to bag your own items at this Super Duper Mega Store?   Sorry, but I won't be back.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Neighbors who imitate - is it really flattering?

 A couple of years ago I went crazy with the spray paint just as I had a few years earlier when everything was magically turned to purple.   This time, everything became lime green or bright sunny yellow.   Even the wicker didn't escape but Monty seems happy with it as you can see below.   Anyway, I have bright yellow furniture, pillows, bird cages, lime green watering cans, flower pots - you get the picture.   Well, the woman across the street decided this spring to transform her deck and garden all in, you guessed it - LIME GREEN!   Pots, painted furniture - she even has a big lime green bird cage on a table.   Mmmm, wonder where she got her ideas from?  Should I be flattered?   Should I be annoyed that someone can't think for themselves and come up with their own ideas?   I still haven't decided if I'm annoyed or flattered, but this is America and she can decorate her garden any damn way she pleases, I suppose.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A dedicated Mother

We have two Robins nesting.  The one in the picture is in our crabapple tree which looks like it will be bursting into bloom around Mothers Day.   Mom has been on her nest for about a week now and her mate stays nearby on the ground, offering protection when necessary.   The other nest is over our back door on the  porch light.  Since we tend to use this door frequently, she's become quite a Nervous Nellie, but I can't blame her.   We are being quite generous in letting her stay there without rent, the least she can do is not squawk at us every time we need to come or go.   Just fly to the neighbors tree and be patient, we'll be gone in a minute or two!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reflecting on pets no longer with us

In our 27 years of marriage, we have been owned and loved by 7 wonderful cats - not all at the same time of course.   Three was the most we had at one time, five we adopted from shelters, one was given to us by someone who was moving where no pets were allowed and one named Lucky, who adopted us by showing up on our deck during one of the most dreadful heat waves, dying of thirst and hunger.   He instinctively knew that we would be the ones who would rescue him and give him the pampered life he so deserved.  Yes, he was Lucky, but so were we.   The picture I'm sharing today is of our Angel, the most precious white fluffy fur  ball who adored chattering to the blue jays and squirrels who came by for peanuts on the deck.   She did live up to her name, but she did have a mischievous side as well.   For some strange reason she loved "twist ties" and would know just when there was one on the counter.   She knew she was not allowed to walk the counters, but somehow she'd sneak up, snatch the tie and playfully toss it around on the floor.   I never had the heart to reprimand her - it was her one naughty habit and I was an enabler who let her get away with it.   Oh, to have her back for just one more day........

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Ending of an Era

Good Morning Dear Gentle Readers.  I made a sad discovery this week when I went to pick out flower seeds and bird suet at my local True Value Store which I had been going to for years.    It had a huge " Going Out of Business " banner blowing in the wind.   Upon entering the store I saw most of the merchandise was gone, prices were slashed on what was left - it was eerily empty.   There was no bird food to be found but I was able to find the flower seeds I was looking for and as I checked out I told the 2 women at the register that I was really going to miss the store.   The older woman who was the owner said if more people had come more often and felt as I did, she wouldn't have to shut the doors but it was hard for her now as the widow of the owner, to keep up with the huge box stores i.e. Home Depot, Menards, etc.   I wished her well but left with a sad feeling that here was one more small business that was closing due to "progress".   I have always made a conscience choice to purchase at small shops if at all possible.   I would rather pay a little extra to support them.   They are a vital part of our communities.   There is nothing sadder than to see all these empty buildings that were once thriving businesses in our towns.   So, if you have a chance, please frequent the small business shops when possible and keep them going.   They need our support.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was May 1st otherwise known as May Day  - a celebration of Spring and of the Labor Force.  The weather could not have been more perfect yesterday.   Robert and I chose to have our breakfast on the porch since it was already nearing 80 degrees.   Now mind you, I had him fill all the bird feeders up the night before in anticipation that I would be rewarded with the annual visit from the Rose-breasted Grosbeak but I had no idea he would come the very next morning.  He continued to feed all morning jumping from feeder to feeder, then down to the birdbaths ( he found both but preferred the one nearest to his food source )   We watched in amazement for more than 2 hours until finally he had his fill and landed in the plum tree to sing and clean his beak.  Today it was super windy and cold and everytime I peaked out the window, he was nowhere in sight.   Hopefully he was just laying low until the winds died down.  He was one beautiful bird.