Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a delightful group of ladies this past week. I was invited to guide them in the process of creating self portraits out of odds and ends glued onto a canvas or board.

We first started with a blank canvas and added color to our background. This was optional but everyone loved the idea and no one passed on it.

Next we added three dimensional pieces building around faces that I had brought along. There were more gals than faces so some created their own face with paint or created a representational self portrait, always a fine idea anyway!

Most of these gals while creative had little or no artistic background. But you would never know it from the pieces that evolved. I was so very proud of them, parent proud. They had jumped right in and without hesitation created marvelous masterpieces. It was very special too to see so many of the things I had pitched into my art projects pile become a focal point in the art. Pieces that had sat too many years in a box were suddenly in the limelight. How fun!

These gals really did SOAR on this project.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Love My Mom

My mom lives in her wonderful little cottage that she built on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay near the fishing village Reedville Virgina. My dad's family hails from here and has since the early 1600's but mom is the one of the two that ended up in this quiet piece of paradise. We visit each other whenever we can make it happen and by phone in between.

Hi Mom! How're you doing.
Oh okay I guess.
What's up?
I don't have cable. Been out since afternoon. Nothing to watch.
Well, how about a dvd?
Won't work. I don't have cable.
You don't need cable to watch a dvd, Mom.
Yes, I do.
Ummm, actually you don't.
You're not listening to me. It won't work. I tried. Hasn't worked since they made me go digital.
Have you watched a movie since then?
Oh yeah, lots of them.
I see.
You're not listening to me. It just won't work.
Did you click the button on your controller to switch from tv to dvd?
I did the same thing I always do. It works when I have cable. I don't have cable. The dvd won't work. I'm tired of looking at fuzz. There's nothing to do. I'm bored.
You really don't need cable to watch a dvd, Mom.
You just are not listening to me. I put the thingy in. I press the button. All I get is fuzz. Here I'll do it now. Wait a second. Okay I'm putting in the dvd. I'm pressing the input button. Oh, Oh! OH!!

Me to Donny, Mom's having an orgasm, or the dvd is working.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peter, Paul & Mary and Me

I first *met* Peter, Paul & Mary when I was a green freshman in college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The monied gals all belonged to Columbia Records Album of the Month Club. You could get their selection or one of your own. Most gals opted for Columbia's selection and so it landed on Peter, Paul & Mary to be the chosen album for September or October 1962, I forget which one, the weather was still nice though. I did not have enough money to buy albums then but got a lot of free listening as most dorm room doors stayed open all of the time.

After college, which involved my moving to Richmond Professional Institute in Richmond, Virginia in my sophomore year as my folks had left Ohio and out of state tuition was pretty steep but more than that my family too far away, I bought every P, P & M album available.

And then, happy day for me, I read that P, P & M are coming to the Mosque, THE venue to be at in Richmond in those years. My apartment and work mate Sherrie and I make plans to go. As the day of the concert approaches our plot thickens. I know the Mosque pretty well. All of our college dances and those of MCV (Medical College of Virginia) were held in the opulent basement ballroom. Concerts of all kinds were held upstairs in the massive domed theater complete with two balconies and box seats. There I saw Bob Dylan, Roger Miller. I weaseled my way into a Sam & Dave concert. The Mosque and I had spent many grand hours together. Back to my P, P & M story. Sherrie & I want to talk to them, meet them, rub shoulders with them after the concert. But we don't want to walk home late at night by ourselves even if our apartment is only a few blocks away. So the afternoon of the concert we park my Carolina blue Volkswagen Beetle, Velma, vintage 1962, in the Mosque proper parking lot. It is legal but there is only room for about a dozen cars.

We are ready! The concert is all that we expect. Just the three of them on that huge stage owning the show. Well there is one more, Dick Kniss, their bass player. He is always introduced but remains well separated from the group even though still on stage. That was it, no fancy lights, good sound but no headsets, acoustic guitars. You know the picture. Simplicity delivering quality music. Then near the end of the sold out concert, Mary announces that as much as they would love to stay and chat, they have to get to Baltimore to catch a plane. They have not one minute to spare. We are all crushed but that was that.

Concert over, Sherrie & I head through the packed crowds thronging the sidewalks. Bumper to bumper traffic clogs the streets surrounding the Mosque. We sigh, we are never going to get out of our tiny parking lot any time soon. Still we forge ahead and beg with Velma's vintage charm to let us out of the lot. Some kind soul does. We are now part of the bumper to bumper traffic. Suddenly a head pops out of the car window in front of us and yells back to me, "Do you know how to get to the interstate?" Sherrie and I gasp! It's Mary!!! P, P & M are (beat) in front of us! They need our help!

"Sure!" I call out. I hand wave them to a quieter side street close by and our cars switch places. I am thinking fast. I never use the interstate much; old car, not much gas, working girl, all spare money spent on music. I think I remember how to get there. We twist and turn through the fan streets. Surely they think I am taking them on a wild goose chase, but what choice do they have? They are trusting...ME!! Completely forgetting about the Belvidere Street on ramp only minutes from the Mosque, I am taking them to the Boulevard Street ramp. It really is fine though because they will have lost no time, we're going in the right direction. We get to Broad Street, only a few blocks more to the Boulevard and I-95. We need to turn left. There is a lit no left turn signal. I wave to them to turn anyway as I am doing, certain a cop is going to ticket us any minute even though there is absolutely no traffic anywhere. We are lucky. No cop, interstate ahead. We scoot onto the on ramp, as they do. They wave as they zoom past us in their snappy new car that can move. We consider following them. But, we have no gas, we have a pathetic car for a chase, we go home. We cannot let it go. A few hours later, we have a plan. We call the Baltimore airport and explain that we need to page Mary Travers. We have a message for her. They page her (this is 1967). Mary comes to the phone, surely thinking something is wrong with her family. No, it's the crazy girls from Richmond. How can we get in touch with you? She is civil. She gives us an address. That's our Mary.

After Donny and I got married we saw them together in Richmond and we even chatted with Mary through the window of her dressing room. Us outside in that same tiny parking lot standing on tip toe on the loading ramp that let you get fairly close to the barred window. Close enough to shout.

We took the kids to see them before we moved to North Carolina, again at the Mosque.

And we saw them one more time at Wolf Trapp in Virginia in the mid 90's. Donny has the cool story this time. He hung out with Paul, for real. I was taking a cranial-sacral training course and as P, P & M were going to be in town we had gotten tickets to the concert. Donny had time on his hands while I was in class. Here is his story about how he spent that time...with Paul Stookey! "In one of the local handout papers I read that Paul was teaching a songwriting class the afternoon before the concert, and I went to it!! There were only 5 or 6 other people there, and mostly we just talked about music." Can you imagine? You and Paul and a handful of other people, sitting around talking about music. How cool is that!

I love you Peter, Paul & Mary. I love the tiny road we traveled together.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Camp OBX Day 21, August 16 2009

It's final packing and goodbye day for all campers!

Wow, camp certainly has flown by. How did that happen?

C discovers that she and Henry are kindred spirits. We print a picture for her of them together even though the printer refuses to print cyan. Thus it looks very artsy.

Suitcases are loaded into the car. Ben & Heidi head out before Em. They are all meeting in *New Jersey* for a week of sun and fun with the D gang.

Em & the kips load their needs for the week leaving other things to be picked up on camp bonus day next Sunday.

Soon it is wave good bye time.

Camp OBX 2009 signing off!

Camp OBX Day 20, August 15 2009

Ben & Heidi, Camille and Brendan have arrived from Northern Virginia in the dark of night. It's their first visit to Camp OBX and we're excited they are here.

In the morning, M & L show cousins C & B all the high features of Camp OBX and then after a relaxing start to an OBX day the group preps for lunch at Kill Devil's and a trip to the aquarium.

The aquarium always provides just the right amount of entertainment.
M gets to touch a skate and take some pictures of the sharks. He finds some great shots!

Home again Donny & I leave the parents in charge. Drew & Lisa are having a good bye party for Ian. He is headed to Army basic training. Drew & Lisa always throw a comfortable party and this is no exception. We get in some long overdue visiting with folks. We make plans with George & Lynda for dinner and a movie Monday evening.

Approaching the last day of Camp OBX!

Camp OBX Day 19, August 14 2009

Emily has arrived in the night! Yipee, we love Parent's Days at camp.

Shopping for school clothes is on the schedule. M is less than enthused but chooses to go. While L & Em empty Gymboree, M & I explore shark's teeth at Michael's Gems and Glass. Some are $500+ and are thousands of years old. M picks two much more reasonably priced and we negotiate getting them and paying. We have to attract the one saleslady's attention to unlock the case (the store is packed) and then wait while she checks out other customers in line to pay back at the counter before we can escape with our treasures, a Great White tooth and a Mako.

Of course, L wants a shark's tooth too when she sees M's so it's back to Michael's to repeat the whole thing.

When we get home we mix up kid in a bubble solution and find that it works pretty well despite having to make do without glycerin which is the key factor to a sturdy bubble.

It's early supper and to bed for campers. More cousins arrive tomorrow!

Camp OBX Day 18, August 13 2009

We have a few days before the last hooray at Camp OBX. It is time to do some grocery shopping. Everyone gets to go. Small person sized carts always make for a good grocery time.

Camp administrator, Donny has gotten the spiffy new, more pixels and definitely water proof, camera he ordered today and is very pleased that it is just as perfect as he intended.

I have fixed an old Transformers tape that had come off its reel and the kids are truly impressed. I have done this many times before but not for awhile. We were always having to fix broken videos when the guys were younger. Not too complicated but it has taken me a few days to discern exactly how this particular one fit back together, always a challenge. The retaping to the reel is the easy part. Keeping up with a tab, a gear and a spring and where each goes can be smooth or frustrating. Two days of frustration and finally success with a snap back together.

Good Night from Miss Fix-It at Camp OBX.

Camp OBX Day 17, August 12 2009

It's last day for the cousins from Richmond. We all go to the beach save Jake & Donny. It is another good bogey board day and Martin makes yet another personal discovery. Bogey boarding is easy and fun.

After dips in Lake Atlantic and much sand digging it is time for eats. M & L and I need to make a quick stop at K-Mart. M needs Megatron to do battle with his Optimus Prime Transformer he got yesterday. L gets one more FurReal, another but different little kitty.

We go to Kill Devil's for our usual fare, plain grilled chicken wrap for L, hot dog for M and of course ice cream sundaes.

At home the Richmond gang is packing up and prepping for an evening ride home when traffic is more manageable. We bid adieu and truck off to Slice, just the four of us.

Just a few more days before Camp OBX 2009 is officially over!

Camp OBX Day 16, August 11 2009

Stacy & Pete have taken their troops to the aquarium and a romp on Jockey's Ridge. Jake stays home but decides to join M & L & myself in a game of mini-golf. Everyone gets a hole in one! Can't ask for much better than that.

After our game hunger sets in and we decide to head off to Kill Devil's for some summer time fun food. But first we want to stop at the K-Mart to shop, another camp regular attraction that has yet to be checked off of the list. M gets General Grievous and L a FurReal pet parrot. Jake finds a cd for his dad. And a huge reading book. He says it is a gift to his mom, she will be very excited that he is reading a tome.

Donny is on his way to the Y to see Lewis' basketball game and will meet us at the fun pool to bring bathing suits so we can take a dip in the fun pool. When we get there it has closed for thunder but will reopen in 30 minutes. Time enough for us to slip back to the K-Mart, Jake has bought the wrong decade cd set. It's an okay set but not his dads' favorite decade. Jake gets the new cd, I tell him to keep the other and now he has gifts for both folks. M gets a Transformer that he has been eying. L gets another FurReal pet, this time a little kitty.

Back at the fun pool, it has reopened and we are practically the only ones there. Donny comes by, the game was good. Lewis played well.

Soon it is home time.

Another daily report from Camp OBX

Camp OBX Day 15, August 10 2009

Cousins, cousins everywhere. Stacy & Pete take their gang off to the beach and L and I decide to play tourist and join them in the heat of the day. The boys beg off. It's a great day for a kid to play in the surf and learn some bogey boarding skills. We're at Ocean Bay, favored tourist headquarters with young kids as there are bathrooms, plus it is just across the highway from our neck of the woods. T-Mike, esteemed leader of all the KDH lifeguards, stops by to say hi and points out Dave, second in command, in the Banana Boat giving rides to the guards to stave off their boredom.

An evening swim in the bay for everyone wraps up a very typical Camp OBX summer day; go to the beach, play in the sound with recovery breaks in between.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Camp OBX Day 14, August 9 2009

Breakfast at any hotel is always an adventure. So many things to sample! Em & Mom are headed north where Star will meet them in Fredericksburg. He & Mom will continue on the Reedville and Em DC.

M, L, D & myself head east and plan to stop at the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge. We want to go on the nature trail. We ran out of time when we stopped here yesterday on our first of two scheduled stops. The day is hot and M is unimpressed with the walk until he spots a beautiful snake in the water. We had stopped to photo a spider web or we would have missed it. D & L took the path going in the other direction. When we get back to the beginning we do not see D & L and so we walk over to town thinking they may have gone that way. We finally call them and find them waiting back at the start. They join us in town and we have a very nice lunch and find out about the wolf howling on Wednesday's. We want to go!

We shop a bit, L get a bird house and M and booklet on sharks.

Then we finish our trip to home. We have just arrived and unloaded when new campers arrive. It is Stacy, Pete, Cade, Blake, Wythe and Jake who gets to come back for more than a day's worth of camp.

Signing Off for the day from Camp OBX

Camp OBX Day 13, August 8 2009

Road trip day for the entire camp! It's B's birthday and we're all going to his party. It takes two cars to handle us all.

It is also last day at camp for Donald & Terri & S, also Granne, and Auntie Em. That's a lot of campers leaving.

We load up our cars and head west. We have scheduled two breaks for the travelers. The first is in Columbia at the rest stop and nature walk. The second is in Williamston for a Bojangle's lunch to go. We arrive in Raleigh in the early afternoon. The Bergers are already there, John & Donna, Mike & Jackie. The birthday boy is sleeping, the party food ready.

First Birthday for Mr B!!

It is a fine party and we surprise Mom by getting Adam & Kim and H in from Roanoke so that all of her greats are together at one time! We did not tell her they were coming until they arrived and we really did surprise her.

Towards early evening we give good bye hugs and kisses all around. We take Kim & Adam & H to dinner and see them safely on the road back to VA. We are staying over at the Holiday Inn Express so that Em's drive to DC will be easier. DT are staying at AJ's as their flight to Nashville is a Sunday morning one. Andrew will chauffeur them to the airport.

Good Night from the Camp OBX Roving Reporter

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Camp OBX Day 12, August 7 2009

It's a day for hanging out and doing typical camp activities. An art class here, a child class there, a nap or two depending on your age, a chess class on the porch, a kayak trip to the marshes, a bit of TV time, a tad of swimming in the cool of the afternoon, and finally a stop at Kill Devil's for dinner and ice cream.

S gets his first visit to the ocean. He is intrigued as only an almost 3 month old can be. He is now a full fledged beach baby.

Early to bed for campers. Road trip tomorrow!

Good Night ♡

Camp OBX Day 11, August 6 2009

Sam likes Shark Week! He gets extra attention.

Campers have not been to the real beach this week, the water report is cold and bugs always show up when the wind is out of the south. A viewing of Prince Caspian and general hanging out win the day.

S meets Vickie the best mail lady ever. She pampers us!

L, Mom & I go to a girls jewelry party. I suggest the gals buy something and they oblige. Mom picks her favorite ring and turns out it is the newest in the Silpada line. That's my mom, fashion queen! L picks two necklaces and a ring. Then she buys something for Emily. Shannon is kind enough to let us take the items home for instant gratification. This pleases the gals.

Back home L & I wrap her mom's present and put it where she will find it when she arrives later.

Lauren & Kelly arrive to meet up with Lewis who has dined with us.

Much later Auntie Em arrives. She gets to meet S as he is conveniently up for a feeding. Love at first sight.

Kisses and hugs from Camp OBX

Camp OBX Day 10, August 5 2009

It's a big day at camp. Great Granne arrives all the way from Virginia! We have found a great driver for her trip who even uses Mom's car so the expense is very reasonable.

M practices some more with the melody harp. More games of Pirates factor into the day. The Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe is the movie of the afternoon, in Blu Ray of course. Lydia declares Blu Ray viewing, 'SO bright!'

We opt for dinner pizza at Slice and met Lewis there. Lauren is working her shift. After dinner M&L get a tour of the lifeguard truck. It's a good mini field trip.

Good Evening from Camp OBX

Camp OBX Day 9, August 4 2009

It's last camp day for E. He meets Sam the shark and enjoys a casual floor breakfast before heading home with his folks in tow.

S has his first pool swimming lesson. He's beginning to get the hang of the idea. His back float is awesome.

Camp Roller Racers have arrived and the porch 24 hour track is open. Uncle Donald teaches a gaming course using the newly acquired Pirates on the High Seas. So many new things at camp.

Another glorious sunset closes out our camp day.

A toast to you from Camp OBX

Camp OBX Day 8, August 3 2009

A very busy day at camp. It's Shark Week on Discovery Channel and M is excited. Uncle Lewis stops by to meet and tag Sea Bass with his official nickname.

E continues with his rhythm band practice. The silver coffee service is perfect!

M gets hot from running on the porch and Uncles Lewis and Stephen turn him into a pink worm wiggly to help cool him down.

The Hide & Seek Club gets in a few rounds of the game.

In the late afternoon everyone goes for a dip in the bay. S is pretty okay with it. E is our natural water bug. M gets a kayaking lesson and learns that he actually likes the sport and is good at it.

Sunset appetizers on the porch compliment savory wine to sip. And then dinner at the grand table.

A late night session of Villa Paletti brings out the champion edge to the counselors. Never has a taller tower been built with so many blocks on the tip top. And tip the top did but not before six made it all the way up.

Sweet Slumbers from Camp OBX

Monday, August 24, 2009

Camp OBX Day 7, August 2 2009

It is trip recovery and get acquainted day at camp. And this is what we do. Everyone wants a turn at holding S and DT are happy to let us get our fill.

In the afternoon M, L & I take in G-Force (no one else seems to want to go, cannot imagine). Martin later tells his mom that going to a movie is a camp first. I'm pretty sure we went to a movie in Manteo a few years back but maybe not. When we get out of the movie it has rained buckets, to borrow from an old expression that paints a pretty good picture. Without thinking, I take the beach road home. Mistake! It is so flooded and the tourists want to keep slowing to an almost stop in the inches deep water that completely covers the road. It really is not that flooded, as those of us that depend on Colington Road to go anywhere know, but it still is pretty impressive. And deep enough to maybe stall a car IF you stop. Still we get out without mishap and the kids love the spray we kick up. The tourists behind me finally figure out why I head to the center of the road when there is no on coming traffic (high road=less water) and follow suit.

It is a full camp. All cousins present save B who went to the mountains. And we'll all see him soon at his birthday party.

Happy Camp!

Camp OBX Day 6, August 1 2009

It is a quiet camp day. A bit of swimming in the bay with E before the rain sets in. Lots of art. L makes a dinosaur game, Follow the Footprints. Lego building. Basic rainy day camp stuff.

Early evening, Donny & I leave S&S in charge of the campers while we go to the airport to pick up DT& Sea Bass arriving from Nashville. They are doing their part to keep the camp theme viable. It will be many firsts for S. His first plane ride, his first swimming lessons, his first trip to the beach, and he will finally get to meet his uncles and Auntie Em.

Camp on!

Camp OBX Day 5, July 31 2009

Guests coming, guests going that's Camp OBX this summer. All of our guests pack for an early departure to Richmond but not before we have a goodbye family breakfast. And not before Robert rescues the kayak which has decided to take a trip toward the lake.

Midday sees Stephen & Sarah and E arrive from Durham! Guests coming, guests going is definitely our camp theme this summer. S&S and E settle in and we head for the fun pool so that water bug E can get in some swimming before bedtime.

Summer fun is all around.

Camp OBX Day 4, July 30 2009

Camp is filled with guests! Sarah, Theo & Peter, also from SC, arrived the previous evening and this morning during breakfast Robert, Diane & Jake arrive from Richmond. It is going to be a busy day at camp. Water activities include ball wars with the giant hamster balls, water pistol face offs, kayaking, playing with our newly refurbished rowboat that we bought at auction for $25 in Maine years ago, and occasionally swimming.

That evening we have a celebration birthday dinner for Beth including a candle ladened cake.

A hearty game of Risk sees Theo victorious. All three competitors have never played Risk before so it was an interesting game to watch. A handful of us played Quibbler, a birthday gift, with Beth. Conversation and good company serve the rest.

All guests to the house are intrigued by our crown book shelving that runs the perimeter of every room. It is such a great way to store your games, books, treasures, and see it all in a glance. Nathaniel is happy to note that we are Terry Pratchett fans.

Stifled yawns, we are reluctant to end the day, guide us all to bed.

Camp OBX Day 3, July 29 2009

Camp guests have arrived in the night! Beth, Bernie & Nathaniel all the way from South Carolina.

Next morning M immediately puts Nathaniel to work constructing Legos.

Later we journey out to the aquarium. L loves the aquarium but is very interested in getting to the gift shop. When we do, both campers conveniently forget that the rule from home is 'no more stuffed animals.' L is usually the major purchaser here but M tops her with a huge shark (sorry E&M but the other shark option was too small to consider, his teeth were just....wrong) purchase. He did not whine when I first said probably not to such a large acquisition knowing how much trouble I was going to be in (although I did not get the directive directly, these things have been discussed). But I could not go with the measly other shark choice so I ponied up. We also bought a giant turtle for B's first birthday present. And L added to her snake collection.

B's turtle ended up with lots of good karma. We all took turns carrying him. And he got a dusting of powdered sugar from a shared funnel cake at the outdoor cafe when the wind whipped up.

A great camp day!

Camp OBX Day 2, July 28 2009

Ah the joys of doing next to nothing. Both campers slip easily into this mode.

Good to report that animal husbandry is well in hand and the cats so happy for camper attention.

Finally later in the day we dust off the cobwebs and head out for a swim in the fun pool. We rather like going toward the end of the day anyway. Less sun worries and less swimmers.

First we drop off cds to Miss Kay and a painting to friend Chris. There is a slight tussle over who gets to put the cds in the mailbox, not resolved by the other camper getting to deliver the painting since this does not involve a mailbox. So we decide to burn more cds for another mailbox delivery to Miss Kay.

Sweet dreams from Camp OBX!

Camp OBX Day 1, July 27 2009

We run a first class operation here at Camp OBX. We pick up our two primary campers from their northern Virginia home, after a never ending ride through rain storms and traffic jam after traffic jam. But this provides us with a fine opportunity to see M&L's enormous trophies for Most Improved Swimmer on their summer league swim team. And all of their ribbons for well swum events. First year for both!

The return trip to camp next day is fun. We stop in Richmond at Whole Foods to get a new supply of Donny's favorite yogurt, Libertè, and lunch to go. iphone games make the rest of the trip a quick one.

At dinner L comments, 'This is a really nice dinner,' as she views the sun setting over the water.

Camp is off to a good start!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bob Dylan

The year is 1966. I am just into my last semester as a fine arts student at what was then RPI, now VCU, located in Richmond, Virginia. A division of William & Mary, RPI was a campus cobbled together in the fan district, the part of town where streets fanned out from the centrally located departments stores and town churches to meet the suburbs. School was composed of maybe four actual classroom buildings to include a three story gym with the art department being housed on the third floor. All other classes were held where ever a spot could be found. Mostly carriage houses or old homes.

Campus population was roughly half day students and half boarding, save a separate count of night school students who were mostly professionals adding onto their degrees. Those of us that lived on campus, found ourselves housed in former richly appointed homes. My dorm was the Bocock House on Franklin Street. I was one of its first inhabitants. Mrs Bocock had just opened the second floor of the front half of the house to the college. There were thirteen of us. By the time I graduated our numbers had increased to about twice that size since third floor rooms were added to the mix.

My first room was a corner room (they were huge) and overlooked the formal garden. My second room had hand painted French wall paper that used to drive us insane after a night of drinking. Red, white & blue plumes that danced freely for you. This room was in the middle of the second floor rooms (all the rest were corner rooms) and was actually a sitting room and thus very small compared to the others. Each room had its own bathroom complete with European water closet and claw footed bathtub. We had walk in, and walk through to the adjoining room, closets. Our room had its own small balcony, very Juliet like.

All of this narrative is to set the scene for RPI stories to follow in various posts. It was the sixties, women had curfews and were not allowed to wear pants on campus. I had to wear a raincoat over my bibs to and from art classes to avoid a call to the dean of women's office. I later got one but that is another story and for another reason.

The day of the Dylan concert I was hanging out at Andy's on Grace Street, the favored watering hole of business students. I was told recently by a fellow student that art students just did not go to Andy's. I really was not aware of this pecking order at the time. He explained that art students were not cool enough, or maybe too cool, but they gathered elsewhere. Since my roomie was a retailing major and I dated among her crowd I had a free pass to be among the elite. It was there that my drinking buddy (his gal pal was at home in Georgia birthing their college romance son, no pregnant unwed gals allowed on campus in the sixties) said he had free tickets compliments of a friend that worked in the box office of the Mosque to a nifty concert and would I like to go. He promised it would rock my world. The Mosque was close to campus and appears as it sounds, very big, very ornate and very impressive. All campus dances were held in the lower level ballroom. Another story.

I accept his proposal and we part to prep for our date. When he picks me up, he tells me we can get better tickets than the balcony ones he has. We stop at the box office and trade our second balcony tickets in for front row, first balcony. He explains who I am about to see. I know a little about Dylan. A dorm mate had some of his albums, I thought them rough. The house is not packed and at that it is mostly older folks, I do not see anyone from campus. What kind of concert is this going to be?

Then this skinny guy walks out on the stage of this massive place with its elegant side box seats, ornately domed ceiling and layers of velvet curtains. He sits down in a straight back chair set center stage. He warms up for a minute, probably even smoking a cigarette. And then it begins. I fall in love, He is mesmerizing. A moment in time to treasure. I am a lucky gal.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Edward & Me

I had my first job as Granny Nanny for Edward recently and it was so much fun. Mom Sarah was scheduled to have her gall bladder removed and I was on first shift. Donny planned to arrive a few days later after getting his major Bayside tasks accomplished. And Sarah's folks were picking up the second half of Sarah's no lifting for one week recovery period.

I arrived in Durham Wednesday evening and got instructions on Edward's eating schedule and menu. Stephen & Sarah were due at the patient center by 8AM. They said Edward would be up around 6:30 or 7 and they would get his breakfast going and I could finish up.

The next morning I let them have their last family moments before popping into the kitchen to take over. Edward was in the midst of breakfast and I eased into position to continue. As they were leaving the house Stephen told me this was the first time both of them had left Edward at the same time. I felt very honored to be a part of this rite of passage. Edward, with a little help from me, finished up his breakfast of cottage cheese and applesauce with a few Rice Chex for munching.

Edward loves his food and it was gone in a flash. We tidied up and checked out the toys. It was a beautiful sunny day and we wandered onto the deck. He loved this. I adjusted the plant containers so they formed a barrier between him and the rail and also provided great hand holds for this almost solo walking boy. He played and played and played. Walking from one end of his 'garden' to the other. He tried a dirt sample but found it to be lacking. He weeded and tilled and weeded some more. He moved handfuls of dirt from one pot to the next and back again. I did some yoga poses, push ups, V-sits and crunches.

Then it was time for morning nap. We washed up, fixed a bottle and headed to the glider in his room. We snuggled in and before long one tired boy was out like a light. I couldn't put him down he was snuggled so deep in my arm (well I could but I did not want to). So we glided and drifted for about an hour. Then the phone rang and he popped awake but he was probably ready anyway. Sarah said he was phasing out his morning nap.

We were having a marathon practice walking session in the hallway when Grandpa McKay popped in to check on us. We assured him that we were fine and he left to help out a neighbor.

We played some more on the deck and then it was time for lunch. Stephen had said he would be home by lunch but left instructions just in case. Sarah had prepared Edward's most favorite of all, Indian food, and so we were fine. After lunch we tooled around toyland and practiced walking some more. Stephen called to report on Sarah and check on us. Completely fine we assured him.

Before long it was time for afternoon nap. I had no instructions here so we started with a water bottle but it was not well received, so we mixed a small amount of formula and settled into our glider. Soon sweet Edward was again drifting off snuggled in the crook of my arm. I really wanted to keep holding him again but knew the afternoon nap was more important and he needed to stretch out. Just as I was putting him into his crib, Stephen came in. But Edward only stirred, he slumbered on. Later after she got home Sarah told me that I was lucky to get a slumbering moment with Mr Edward. She said he never fell asleep when anyone was holding him.

And thus ended my first Granny Nanny moments with the real sparkling Edward.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weston & Okemo

Tuesday February 10, 2009

Lewis has a private lesson this morning with more lessons later so Donny & I decide to play tourist. We get our mega coffee from Dunkin' Donuts at the Shell gas stop and take Vermont 100 to the tiny village of Weston about 10 miles down the road.

We stop at the Weston Village Store in the middle of this tiny town. It is exactly what you would imagine from a country store that has seemingly endless rooms up and down steps and stairs. We are the only folks visiting and we take our time looking at everything. We select a case of Vermont maple syrup in really cool bottles corked with a wax seal to bring home for family and friends. The shop clerk is a typical Vermont gent, short on conversation but long on manners.

Now we drive a few yards down the road and turn into the parking lot of the Vermont Country Store. It is located in the back of this famous country store such that from the road it looks like there is no parking. This is the same store that sends those small black and white catalogs full of items all over the country. It is a big operation. Lots of people are shopping here. We browse and sample cheeses and jams. It too rambles endlessly.

We go next door to the Bryant House for lunch. The food is down home and great. I have an Apple Pie apertif. It is hot cider with butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream. We both have clam chowder. Donny get home made peppermint ice cream for dessert and I gingerbread with more whipped cream.

We head back to our favorite skiing mountain and stop in the Base Lodge store so that I can get some Okemo clothing. My badge of slope conquering.

We see the Snow Stars coming in for the day from their various lessons and try to spot Lewis but all the instructors are dressed alike and we are not sure. It is fun to see the kids doing their death wedge down the slopes.

We go home and begin packing for our trip back to the humid sub-tropics tomorrow. We want to leave when the kids go to work and so need to have everything packed and out the door by 8AM.

Tonight is Wallyball at the gym and we are going to watch. Feeney plans to get in some swimming time to keep up her skills for this summer. We try to get a quick bite to eat at DJ's before the game but the waitress tells us there are no seats at the bar and that we cannot order off of the bar menu in the dining room. There are plenty of empty adjacent seats near the bar but we do not argue with her. We go to Wicked Good and get a slice of pizza. This is a quick stop and we have time to spare. We stop in at Killarney's to say hi to whoever is there which is most of the ski patrol gang. We have a quick drink, say our farewells to everyone and then it is Wallyball time.

Wallyball is a blast to watch and surely play. Lewis' team is clearly superior but it is all in fun and they switch the teams around after a while. The challenge is the Base Lodge Snow Stars instructors take on Jackson Gore Snow Stars instructors. Each week pretty much there is a different challenge. Last week was broom ball on the ice.

After the game ends, we head back to DJ's for more food. Now the kitchen is closed, we move on to the Loft, same story. We try the Burger Joint and again kitchen closed. We give up and go home and forage and do final packing.

Au Revoir Ludlow and Okemo!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Okemo Summit

Monday February 9, 2009

I awake before the guys and decide to wander around town taking pictures as it is a bright sunny day. When I get back they are up and Donny announces that he is going to stay in and work on Bayside orders.

Lewis and I gather our gear and head for the mountain base. Today we can park in the upper lot. We start with the Snow Stars office to get verification for my lift ticket. I meet Liz who gives Lewis a fan letter from a young student that also contains a nice tip from the student's dad.

We put on our ski boots and leave our Uggs in Lewis' locker. We get my ticket and head to the bunny slope. It is a quieter day on the mountain, Donny would have had more fun today.

Lewis tells me to bring along my poles. At the top of the slope he shows me how to hold the poles and then tells me not to use them for stopping. I have a great vision of this now. I tell him that I will use them for stopping and maybe I am not ready for poles just yet. He takes my poles and tells me to follow his tracks in wedge turns.

I am certain I will careen into something but manage to do a few turns before I use the wrong leg and fall. My knee takes a twisting and is very thankful for breakaway skis. A few more falls like that impress upon me that it is easier to do the turns right than feel the pain of twisted knee.

While practicing on the bunny slope I notice a woman at the top just standing, and standing, and standing. I know how she feels, gathering courage can take time.

After a few more runs on the bunny slope, we decide it will be a good time to pay a visit to the summit and our patrol friends. We take a short lift that has a completely different procedure but again not complicated.

As we exit, Lewis tells me to ski down a slope to the left. I tell him I thought we were going visiting. He says that we are but we need to ski to the next lift. And so we do. It is here that I take the most knee wrenching fall and determine not to do that any more.

The next lift is long and the view stunning. We can see Mt Washington behind us in the distance. When Lewis suggested that Donny & I come to Vermont and experience the mountain I guess I expected just plain snow slopes having only seen skiing competitions on television. But Okemo sports clear well groomed runs with stretches of woods separating them. It really is quite tranquil and picturesque.

As we approach the top Lewis tells me to get ready to stand up when my skis touch the mat. I am slow to do this and almost get that ride down the mountain then and there.

We shuffle ski to the patrol shack, drop our skis and go inside. Feeney is on a wreck, JJ is doing a mock wreck drill and Jim is off somewhere. We chat with the guys eating their lunch and then decide to leave since we know Feeney will be a while getting back.

Outside we consider our options. The runs look really steep although Sunburst is a green. I do not think I can do it. I not too seriously suggest that we could drink hot chocolate in the Summit Lodge until Feeney gets back. Neither of us wants to really do that. I tell Lewis sliding down on my butt would be my first choice but that cannot happen on a public mountain with lots of activity so I decide that I can ski down. Lewis asks if I am sure. I nod yes. I am so far out of my comfort zone I cannot even see it. I think I spy it over on Jackson Gore. Doesn't it know that I'm here on Okemo needing help. Guess I will have to forge ahead without it, after all my turns have improved.

We approach the drop and Lewis offers salvation. He will ski backwards like we have done on the bunny slope and I will hold his ski pole. We will wedge turn together. We commence and are making good progress on the nice pristine corduroy when a ski patrol guy asks if we are okay. I guess not many truly novice skiers land at the top of the mountain. We assure him that we are very fine and not fatigued at all as he seems to think. He says he can get a snowmobile but we are really fine. A snowmobile ride for fun is one thing, but because someone thinks you are fatigued? No thank you. He says he will check back shortly to see if we need help.

We continue. We reach a milder incline and Lewis tells me to follow his tracks on my own. I do and soon we reach the Mountain Road. This is also a nice gentle incline but there is a fair amount of traffic both experienced and learner. The road is also narrower. We need to keep to one side and watch out for skiers and snowboarders. We reach an intersection with Lower Arrow. It is a blue square but will be shorter and get us out of traffic.

We pair ski this to Homeward Bound, the last slope. Lewis tells me to go. He has such confidence in my skiing and lo and behold here's my comfort zone not on Jackson Gore at all but hanging out at the bottom of the mountain. Jerk wad. I take off and actually ski around a few stopped skiers and reach the bottom uneventfully. We have missed Feeney on her way back up by about a minute. I tell Lewis I could use some water and send him to meet Feeney and do some skiing while I head for the Base Lodge.

When he gets back he asks me if I skied any while he was gone. I really might have but I did not feel like getting the boots back together or dealing with falling down and trying to get up.

It's been a good day. I'm done. We head home to get ready for 25 cent wing night at Killarney's. Also I need to make banana pudding. The new house rule is that anyone who stays more than three days is required to make something to eat. I am assigned banana pudding, a great choice. I make a double batch after sending Lewis to the store for more bananas.

Later after excellent hot wings and brew at Killarney's the gang gathers at the house for pudding. It is delicious!! Jim tells me he is sorry we missed everyone today and to come back tomorrow for a ride down the mountain. I do believe him but Lewis has lessons tomorrow and I am not quite ready for soloing just yet.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sunday February 8, 2009

We get up early and dress for the mountain. Katelyn's friend Claire who flew in from Charlottesville for the weekend to go snowboarding is riding with us to the base. Feeney is coming along for our first stop, breakfast at Cafe DeLight and then headed back home to catch up on her day off sleeping.

Blueberry pancakes, with pure maple syrup naturally, scrambled eggs and coffee fill us up. We say good bye to Lauren and stuff ourselves into one car. We only have a short drive up to the base and we, along with all our equipment, fit well enough. We just miss being able to park in the lot adjacent to the base and so have to park in a lower lot and ride the bus. Before we board the bus, Lewis suggests that we put on our ski boots so we won't have to rent a locker for our gear. Walking in ski boots is quite the experience, but one quickly adapts. There are racks on the side of the bus for skis and snowboards but the driver tells us to bring ours on board since they are small. The trip is only a few minutes at most.

We unload and hoist our gear for a short walk to the lift ticket office. First we help Claire find Katelyn who is at work but gets a break since they are not busy grooming the courses at the moment. Lewis got comp tickets for working over Christmas and uses them for our day on the slopes or more correctly bunny hill.

We tag ourselves with our tickets and it is time for our lesson to begin. Lewis shows us how to get into the skis and walk with them on. He puts our (gasp) poles aside saying those will come in later. Okay so the walking stuff is not too bad, but when he tries to get us to snowplow, or pizza wedge as it is now called, we both fail miserably. My wedge is the stingiest slice of pizza ever and Lewis says that really doesn't matter it's the ski edges I need to engage. Edges engage. I send this message to my legs and feet but not much happens, I continue to slide forward. We at this point are at the base of the bunny slope so sliding is pretty minimal but still I cannot stop the motion. Donny does a bit better but we are going to need practice to master this technique.

Finally Lewis decides that we are okay enough to go up the bunny slope. This means getting on the magic carpet and off again. For those of you not in the know, it is like those moving walkways in big airports, but it goes uphill and you have to shuffle your skis on while it is moving, of course. The idea is to shuffle onto the moving part while leaning forward so you won't fall over. There is an operator to help you but kids are hopping on like nothing and you do feel pretty silly needing a hand. So going solo I get onto the carpet okay enough and immediately begin to worry about getting off. Lewis has told us to slide off at the end onto the slight decline of ice and then shuffle forward so the line does not get bogged down. I am in the lead and manage the off process without mishap.

Magic carpet update, Donny just reminded me about one of the more exciting parts of mastering the magic carpet, the unexpected stop. You are patting yourself on the back for not falling as your get on and it is actually a nice slow ride up a small slope. Then with no warning the carpet stops. Welcome to the magic carpet says Lewis from behind me. He is playing Donald Ball, he has forgotten to warn us about unscheduled stops. So now it is no longer a completely pleasant interlude. One must constantly be at the ready for a stop. Oh well, good core training.

Now we are at the top of the bunny slope. It is a Sunday and parents with kids are everywhere, as well as beginner skiers and snowboarders. But everyone is watchful of everyone. Lewis takes us one at a time. While he executes the pizza wedge backwards letting us hold onto his ski pole he is holding parallel to the ground at waist level, he has us wedge ski forward partway down the slope. Then he leaves whichever of us he is working with stationed in a holding wedge while he retrieves the uphill parent. In this manner he gets us down the slope with us doing a small bit of skiing. Donny falls once and cannot get up without Lewis' help. It looks easy enough until I take a fall and cannot get up either. Later at home I find I can hop up easy enough so I am not sure what part of the procedure is just not working on skis. We take the carpet ride up again and this time things are a bit smoother all around but at the bottom Donny has had enough partly because he is overdressed and not comfortable at all.

I wait while Lewis skis with him to the base lodge just a few yards away. When he gets back, Lewis says that was Donny's best skiing so far. While waiting for Lewis to get back I remember that wedge stopping was never any good for me with ice skates either and tell him this. We decide to see what my hockey stop looks like. It's better but needs work. I always did a circle stop when skating, sometimes a hockey stop. We go to the top of the bunny slope and I practice down hill wedge turns. When I remember to press with the correct leg it works well.

Lewis decides it is time for the chair lift. We shuffle ski to the lift and he tells me what to do. It really is simple but all so new! We take a short lift to a slope top pretty much just above and to the side of the bunny slope. We do the wedge ski thing with Lewis backwards guiding me and then he wants me to do some turns. I am constantly forgetting to use the correct leg and everything gets our of line and I fall usually losing a ski. Lewis tell me that I am leaning uphill too much in addition to using the wrong leg and that is causing me to fall. I am slowly getting the idea but when everything is in motion there is no time to think which is probably good but it is still comforting to hear him calling out instructions.

It is a short run to the bottom even with falls. We go into the lodge which is directly ahead and find Donny. Feeney has checked in and wants to know if it is too late to join us. She is finishing up some baking. We decide to meet her at the house. Lewis says a day with us is far easier than a day with kids. I think both are probably a lot of work. We send him out to take a run on his own and we gather our stuff to go look for his arrival. Before long we spy him gliding down the slope effortlessly.

It's been a good introductory lesson. Donny is glad to have survived the mountain. I am thinking about tomorrow.

Back on Pleasant Street, we tidy up and decide to go tour the Long Trail Brewing Company a few miles down the road. It is a small operation that will be 20 years old this May. The tour is self guided and nothing is running when we are there but it is still very interesting.

We can eat there but decide to go to Cappuccino's in town for dinner. It is a small Colington Cafe type place and the food is really good. Back home we run into JJ and fellow ski patrol buddy, Jim. Feeney learns that she was supposed to work today and is completely chagrined as she has never been scheduled for Sundays. She'll go in tomorrow even though it is now supposed to be her day off. No worries. Next week they are all due in an hour early and who knows what else as it is President's Day week and schools are out so the slopes will be busy.

Jim tells Lewis to bring me to the top of the mountain tomorrow and someone will give me a snowmobile or toboggan ride to the bottom, or I can ride the lift down. Failing any of that I can ski down the country road easy enough. Sounds like fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

North to Vermont

Fireplace room
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
Friday February 6, 2009

It was an easy enough trip but long and our upgrade to the fireplace room was a welcome sight. We arrive around 9pm Friday evening after leaving home at about the same time in the am. Lewis has just gotten in from work at Wicked Good. We meet JJ (housemate) & Squeaks. They both work ski patrol with Lauren and also at Wicked Good. Squeaks (Justin) is delivery guy.

Saturday morning sees us sleeping in until around 10 and then heading to town for lunch and a look around. Ludlow proper is two main streets, one with homes and one with small town businesses, that are perpendicular to the mountain, the money business of Ludlow. Three cross streets and that's it. Railroad tracks and a stream bracket the two streets, Main and Pleasant. Actually the stream bisects the two streets. It is very pretty and the town had quaint walking bridges where needed.

Lewis and the gals live on Pleasant Street near Elm and it is a quick walk to Main and the influx of small businesses. Katelyn tells us to try American Pie for good pizza, even though Wicked Good is just across the street. The consensus among the gang is that WG is good but AP is the best.

We wander in to AP and order, taking time to get to know the owner and his wife. Nine years next Wednesday they have been putting pies on the plates of hungry customers. They never borrowed a dime to start the shop but relied on give aways for the decor and starting small. They cook the pizzas in a beautiful wood fired brick oven. Yum indeed.

We wander down Main St and get some coffee from Dunkin' Donuts inside the Mobile gas station. Several rows of convenience items sit idle while customers, skiers and locals, are lined up almost out the door for donuts and coffee. Donny figures someone miscalculated the popularity of the coffee & donuts.

Back home we get more settled in and Lewis arrives from work. We discuss dinner and decide on taco soup at home since he has made fresh sour dough bread as well as guacamole. We need a few things for the soup and a lime for the guacamole plus we decide that getting our equipment now will make more sense than tomorrow, so we head out.

It is cold but we know and understand not really that cold for Vermont in February. We are pretty glad for the forecast heatwave coming along in the next few days.

Dinner is perfect after which Lewis reviews our borrowed ski clothing and with a few additions from him deems it acceptable for our first time ever skiing. Feeney is on her way back from her grandfather's funeral in upper state NY and we manage to stay awake until she gets in, not really that late at all.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Extended Christmas 2008

The table
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
The babies (and their parents) arrived Christmas Eve and we were ummm..sort of ready. Well, always ready for a visit but only sort of ready for Christmas. The tree was procured three days earlier on a balmy Sunday, then the nor'east wind kicked up and we did not want to open the tree inloading door on that side of the porch and opted for the promised finer weather. Which finally occurred Christmas Eve. What with last minute shopping and visits from neighbors (never too busy for a glass of eggnog) we had just pretty much installed the tree when in came family one, followed shortly by family two. Baby's First Christmas was officially underway!

Tuckered out from the trip with a reluctant long distance rider, the guys nevertheless helped get the lights on the tree and the scaffolding in place for the...ta da...Decoration Busters aka Mariah, Jess & Evan to arrive. I use that term literally as a few decorations hit the attrition pile but the gals did a fine job of ornamenting our tree at the eleventh hour and we were very grateful.

Everyone was in bed by 9 except Donny & myself who had drawn the midnight shift at the elf factory and thus had to go to work. I later told him we never had it this easy getting kids to bed and we did not even have to say a word.

Christmas morning, I heard rumblings early but knowing the babies were oblivious to what day it was and the adults would not mind waiting, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

At a more gentile hour we settled into opening gifts. Andrew was appointed to distribute presents being the youngest child in attendance. He did not have a Santa hat but he did his job well.

Donald called to report lumps of coal in his stocking in the form of no electricity for morning coffee in Columbia SC. Now I know he is a good child so the coal must have been a mistake, but nevertheless they had no coffee, harsh.

We that were here had a wonderful traditional Christmas dinner and even cut the coconut cake, knowing Donald & Terri would not be much later getting in. Before they could arrive, Lewis did via ichat and opened his present from AJ while Andrew watched. D&T arrived around 9 and we played a few rounds of their new game, Dominion, while we enjoyed more, I must admit, fabulous coconut cake.

I told you this was extended Christmas because you see, we are not through yet. While we were opening presents the following morning with D&T, Emily called to say she had a change of plans and thought she would be able to get to the OBX today (if you got lost we are on Friday). But, after her new plans were formed glitches appeared everywhere. Marty had a mystery rash he was having checked, Lydia had a bad cough they were also checking on. She would call back. Later after it was verified that Marty's rash, identified as highly contagious shingles, (thus no OBX Christmas for him) and Lydia's non-contagious cough would do no harm to the babies, Em and her two began their trip.

They arrived around 9 (a recurring theme) and finally we were as all together as it was going to get.

Saturday morning we had one more Christmas and topped of Martin's perfect Christmas with a much coveted Bionicle. Lydia got more stuffed animals than Emily cares to think about but she knows when she is outnumbered.

We had rib roast for mid-day meal and everyone dispersed in waves throughout the afternoon starting with the babies who, if asked, would say they had the most miles to go.

We did have the D family until the next afternoon but by this time we were all pretty much just sitting around looking at each other, company enough without words.

Merry Christmas belated!! This set of pictures is similar to but not the same as those on Facebook.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A Celebration

Grands in a Row
Originally uploaded by wellingtonrabbit
It was definitely a party. Just the way she would have liked it. She being Mary Elizabeth Bessinger Gooch better known to some as Mom, others as Grandma, others as GG, others as Mary Beth, others as Mary, others as Mrs Gooch. I could go on and on because she knew everyone and each had a special name for her depending on the relationship of the two.

I called her Mom just like my Mom because when I married her oldest son, I gained another Mom and a stellar one at that. From my point of view she was great at everything she put her mind to do. She was the queen of music, the queen of thrifty shopping and she was the queen of mothering. She raised her five children to be best friends and as diverse as their lives have become they are just that--best friends.

She nurtured seventeen grandchildren and at her celebration service on Saturday January 3rd the six girl granddaughters prior to their collective reading spontaneously formed a club they call The Heartstrings Club, grandma's favorite endearment for each and every one of them. They have firmly put the next generation on the best friends trail. Surely the greats will do no less. Already there are eighteen to carry the banner with more to come.

At the service the grand girls read, the grand boys (sans Donald & Lewis) were pall bearers and the five siblings eulogized their mother with tender and touching stories. Oldest granddaughter Liza led the way with her introduction to the reading which was first on the program. She commented about how they as adult women were grown and scattered with varying lifestyles but their common bond was grandma. How she rocked them and sang to them, how they played make-up games throughout her house and how she always had the best treats like Pecan Sandies in her cupboard just for them.

Liza set the pace for a truly loving celebration and the rest followed just as eloquently. This family service was a tender act of love, filled to the brim with such just like mom wanted.

It was not until later Saturday evening that Donny & Bethie were chatting and Donny mentioned that surprisingly none of them had touched on a topic which was a constant thread in mom's life; her love of emphasizing the point and underlining choice words on a birthday, Christmas or other occasion card. There was always an on-going friendly competition in our household regarding the amount of underlines one received from grandma. The money in the card was appreciated for sure but it was mere icing on the cake. The underlines were the thing.

At the graveside Kenneth closed the short and sweet service with a prayer. But before anyone could rise Donny raised his voice and said, "Let's let the last thing be the Doxology." And thus we sang to Mom one more time.

Godspeed, Mom, Grandma and GG. We all love you!!