Monday, July 29, 2013


There is much to be said for modern technology, especially websites that help you find old friends or family members that you have lost touch with as the years have gone by.   I am specifically thinking of Facebook and how it helped me reconnect with old friends from my childhood and grade school and old friends I once worked with but lost touch with.   It's amazing what results you can obtain just by putting a friend or family members name in the search engine and waah laaah!   You can immediately connect with them if you just send them a friends request or a simple private message.   As soon as I started a Facebook page back in 2009 I got immediate results.  Not only was I looking for people, but imagine that.   They were looking for me too!  The first reunion was a tea I hosted for three friends and former co-workers from over thirty years ago.   I took great care in the planning and choosing of the menu, the invitation and the gifts for each gal.   I had mugs made with pictures of us on the Kankakee river, at Great America, the Ground Round, the Renaissance Faire, 4th of July picnics, all from pictures I had been taking my entire life.   Have camera, will travel.   Wow,  did I take the pictures and boy, was I glad!   Here is the table set in anticipation of our reunion.
I could not wait for the ladies to open their gifts so we could reminisce looking at our mugs and the crazy things we did in those pictures.   When the girls showed up, it was as if no years had passed between our last meetings.   That is a real friend, someone you can just pick up with where you left off so long ago.   That afternoon was very special and we have stayed in close contact since that day, vowing never to lose track of one another again.   So far we have succeeded.  But it does take work and effort and is so well worth it!

I hosted another reunion a year ago today with even more old friends and co-workers that I either found on Facebook or had always kept in touch with.   I had just been diagnosed with the big "C" and had just completed thirty-two radiation treatments and the first of six chemo treatments and was feeling very nostalgic and melancholy.   I wanted to have all my special ladies around me for a special day that would take me through the months ahead.   I wanted to make sure that no matter what happened, I had reconnected with them to enjoy them and savor the time spent with them.  I had a table set up on the front porch for our luncheon and for each ladies place card, I had a framed picture of them - a picture from long ago.   It was so much fun to watch their reaction when they saw their framed placecard.  I also had a special card at each persons place setting with copies of more pictures of them.   Pictures they had no idea I had.   I enjoyed going through all my old pictures for this project and hoped the pictures would make them as happy as they had made me.   The look on their faces as they opened the cards was priceless.   I am so thankful for cameras!   I only wish I had an I Phone back in the day.   I would have been pretty dangerous!  Here are a couple of pictures from that luncheon held just one year ago today.

I'm now in the planning stages of yet another reunion with ladies I worked with at a flower shop long ago.   We are in touch, we are determined and eager to meet for dinner, it is just a matter of getting everyone to agree on a date.   This meeting will be bittersweet as we have lost of few of our flower shop girls in recent years.   But we will toast to them and share our memories and hopefully, will stay connected in years to come.    I will most certainly post about that reunion in the near future!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Guilty Pleasure

I admit it, I am an anglophile, which by definition is:

A person who is fond of or greatly admires England or Britain.
Fond or admiring of England or Britain.

This didn't just happen when William married Kate, although as you can see by the picture, I was a bit obsessed with the ceremony, waking up at 3:00am, brewing my pot of English Breakfast tea in my Royal Doulton teapot, putting out a spread of crumpets and scones for myself and the sleeping spouse.   No, I've been an admirer of all things British since falling in love with all things  Dickens, especially A Christmas Carol, and that nanny of all nannies, Mary Poppins.  I love Beatrix Potter's beautiful illustrations of bunnies and foxes romping around in Mr. McGregor's garden, pictures of quaint English villages with thatched roofed cottages, English hymns and songs, especially Greensleeves, and of course The Beatles.  I first remember following the activities of the royals in 1969 when Charles was crowned Prince of Wales by his mother and being intrigued by all the pomp and ceremony.  Then in 1973, my mother let me stay home from school and get up in the early morning hours to watch Princess Anne marry Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey.   Again, my mother and I shared a pot of tea when, in 1981 Diana Spencer married Prince Charles at St. Paul's cathedral, yes THAT St. Paul's where Mary Poppins sings about feeding the birds, tuppence a bag.  We loved getting up early to watch all the excitement of the crowds and the news commentators.  When a year later, the married couple came out of the hospital with baby Wills, well who couldn't love that picture.  And now, this week, history repeats itself on the same steps of the same hospital where Willam was introduced to the world.   But this time, it is bittersweet that HRH George of Cambridge doesn't have his Grandmother Diana here, to love and spoil that way I'm sure Kate's mother will do.   I'm sure Diana is looking down, proud and happy that William has become such a nice young man with a beautiful, down to earth wife and now an adorable little heir that we anglophiles will enjoy watching as he grows into a fine adult.   With the parents he has, can he grow up any other way?   So, I join the Brits in wishing the new family much happiness and I hope they let us catch glimpses of HRH George as he grows up, as Diana did with William and Harry.   Bravo William and Kate, job well done!   Cheerio!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Glorious 4th of July

 Hope you are celebrating the birth of our nation, however simple or small the picnic or party might be.  We used to be known for our 4th of July bashes.  I would decorate anything that wasn't sitting still and if it was sitting like our cat Sassy below, she got put in with the decor for picture documentation.  Back in the 80's the  big thing was to make a ham in a you can't even find a ham in a metal can.   I would make all kind of salads, baked beans, decorated flag cakes, even a jello mold made in the shape of the United States.

 Bunting and balloons, a Christmas tree decorated with 4th of July ornaments and flags, plasticware and dishes in red, white and blue, one brother providing his DJ services for some great music,  my other
 brother providing the fireworks.   We hosted these
parties for years and while it was a lot of hard work, the rewards were worth it.   I have so many pictures of family and friends sitting around, gourging themselves in their red, white and blue finest.   The most fun was seeing how everyone dressed up each year.   We were a pretty colorful, patriotic group.  At our first little cottage, we had arbors and trellises to decorate and everyone would pose under the arbor that we made with love for my husband's sister's garden wedding at our home.   I think I topped Martha Stewart that day.   I did idolize her back in 1991.  Now, not so much.
Every year my Dad and husband would try to outdo each other with their colorful patriotic shirts and they always took a great picture!   Love you guys.  As I've gotten older, I've let go of the entertaining, being happy to attend others picnics.   This year since the 4th falls in the middle of the week, not too many are having big shindigs, so I've purchased some beautiful ribeyes and that is what we'll be doing, barbecuing on the blue Weber grill given to us 27 years ago as a housewarming gift by my parents.   A nice quiet holiday spent listening to surrounding fireworks and reminiscing about the "good old days".    Happy Independence Day and God Bless the USA!