Friday, November 27, 2009


As I fell asleep last night, thinking about the events of the day, I realized I hadn't taken the time to update my blog on Thanksgiving!  What's up with that?!?!  So let me just share a few reflections on the day (I'm going for full disclosure here, folks!)...
  • I seem to go thru a "I don't want to go" thing every year at Thanksgiving.  Although it truly is my favorite holiday, there's something about having the 4 days off that makes me want to stay home and get something done.  I'm so glad my PG talked me out of  "calling in sick".  He SO knows how to play me, y'know?? 
  • There's a certain energy I feel when we all get together at Thanksgiving.  I can tell you that it's not just a "feel good"'s an energy that has momentum.  I can't even fully describe it, but I can tell you that it feels like goodness.  You know how it's said that EVERY family is in some way dysfunctional.  (I'm one that believes that, but I also feel that labeling "dysfunction" is a judgment call).  But when we're together on Thanksgiving, I just don't feel that.  So to my brother and sister-in-law hosts, I thank you for providing us with an atmosphere that is warm and loving. 
  • I am giddy with delight to see our family growing with the next generation.  We now have 4 grandkids and one on the way.  It's sometimes still mind-boggling to look at my siblings and realize that some are grandparents or mmmm.... grandparents-in-waiting!  (Sorry, kids).
  • I admire people who are willing to step into the adventure of trying new recipes.  I tend to stick with the tried and true.  But there's a whole bunch of good food waiting for you when you take the time to watch the food channels.  We had some good stuff to eat yesterday.
  • I am so thankful for so much in my life.  From the little conversations I have with my grandson ("Go away, grandma") to where I am in my life right now.  I am truly blessed.  I just wish I was better at putting the little things into words...I'm working on it, but it's likely to be dangerous, y'know...then I'll NEVER shut up!!
  • Finally, a dear friend of mine lost his mother the day before Thanksgiving and my heart is breaking for him.  Although his mom was sick for a while, it seems that no matter how well prepared we think we are when it comes to the loss of a parent, it still catches us off guard.  She was a strong woman, a wonderful role model, taught her kids how to fight back from adversity, but it was time for her to "go with God".  To my dear friend, you and your family are in my prayers. 

Have a wonderful Black Friday, all.  I think I'm done shopping for the day, did it all online.  Now it's just a matter of taking advantage of the 3 days left.  I've got some cards to make, some gifts to wrap, and some pictures to take.  Have a happy day. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nick's Back in Business

We had dinner at Nick's last night.  Well, to be a bit more technical, we had dinner at Natalie's, which is owned and operated by Nick.  He thinks he'd like to change the name of the place back to Bill's.  We agree.  Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me back up.
After I was diagnosed with breast cancer and while I was going through radiation, I just didn't have a lot of energy to cook.  So my PG and I would frequent the Crossings Grill, a local restaurant in Franklin Park run by Nick, a.k.a., The Greek.  Nick had THE BEST cream of chicken soup I'd ever had.  But the restaurant just didn't draw enough business.  You see, by the time Nick opened his business in a brand new condo building, downtown Franklin Park had become something of a "no man's land".  People from town just didn't go there.  No matter what Nick did, he couldn't draw more people in.  Those who did go, loved it.  But even word of mouth wasn't enough.  So he closed his doors last spring.  We felt like we lost a friend. 

He finally found a place to land in the city, about 20 minutes away.  We found out about it last night, and 30 minutes later we were on the road to Nick's place.  We sat and talked about the place, what it was right before he bought it and what it was like prior to the last owner taking over.  Everyone knew the place as Bill's Drive In.  So Nick is considering changing it back to that name.  Won't mind at all if people come in and call him Bill.  Just as long as they come in. 

Wednesday is Cream of Chicken soup day.  Guess where I'll be for dinner!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Angels vs. Science??

Have you ever had times where something keeps showing up over and over again?  Wait, let me give you an example:  Lately I've been running into phrases/words/quotes that have to do with mindfulness.  Here's a quote from Julia Cameron that just showed up in an email today: "The act of paying attention is what brings us peace."  (How true is THAT??)  Anyway, I can't tell you how often over the last couple of weeks I've been hit with little reminders of being mindful.  Now, I prefer to think of it as my angels at work.  But then, I believe in angels. 
My son, who is a more "logical" thinker (think Mr. Spock), would prefer to call this confirmation bias.  So I looked it up in Wikipedia.  It basically says you selectively collect new evidence to confirm your preconception, rejecting evidence that doesn't "fit".  Sure seems too scientific for us humans, doesn't it? 
I read a story a while back (I wish I could remember where because I'd certainly give credit here) about a woman who was told to look for butterflies during the week.  It was the middle of winter, there was a foot of snow on the ground and she was told to look for butterflies.  How insane, she thought.  Yet, she noticed butterflies everywhere.  A bumper sticker on a car, on stationery, on a card she'd received.  Butterflies were all over the place.  How was it possible??  Because she opened her eyes.  She was mindful of watching for them. 
Test it out for yourself.  Try this...since green (the color, people) cars aren't one of the most common, see how many green-colored vehicles you see today.  Let me know what you notice. 
In the meantime, I will listen to my angels.  They are reminding me that I really need to be more mindful in everything I do. I know this. It's not a new idea, it's just a reminder.  Thank you, dear angels.  Thanks for hitting me over the head, ever so gently. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving - Then & Now

It has become a tradition to have Thanksgiving at my brother and sister-in-law's house each year.  Their house if big enough to hold our whole family; brothers and sisters and spouses and kids and grandkids.  And the adults are in one room, kids in another, although the rooms are connected.  By the way, I use the term "kids" loosely.  Most are adults -- but they're still our kids.  My sister-in-law, Carol, does a phenomenal job (truly a job) at pulling this all together.  And she makes it look so simple. 
It's so much fun to hear the chatter from the kids' room.  Can't hear what they're saying, but the noise level is soothing. 
I found the black and white picture above while I was going through old pictures.  I can't help but believe it was of Thanksgiving.  If not, so's my Dad, his sisters, their spouses and kids, Grandma and Uncle John gathering for a meal.  This warms my heart.  Can't you just hear the chatter??  And knowing my Dad and Uncle Jimmy, I can also hear the laughter.  Because one of them, just like my brother does now, would always be cracking a joke!! 
It's no wonder Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Inspiration Filled Day

Ahhhhhh!!  Spent another day in the cellar - y'know...the Scrapbook Cellar.  What a good feeling to spend a little time chatting, creating, enjoying others' creativity, catchin' up on family stories.   When I look at the mounds of pictures I have, I wonder whether I will ever really finish getting them into books.  Today's digital photography is nice, because I don't need to print anything I'm not going to use...but I have decades of pictures that I am currently working on.  Add to that the pictures I have of previous generations and it can get overwhelming.  But if you align yourself with the right people, who become your cheerleaders in this game of life, it makes everything easier. 
So let me share with you some ideas that popped into my head about scrapbook pages I would like to do...
  • The impact my daughter has had on my life. 
  • How awestruck I am at the depth of my son's interests and talents.
  • How incredibly grateful I am at how incredibly generous the husband of one of the Scrap Cellar participants (actually, he is part owner of the place) is.  CT is just the bestest when it comes to understanding that we girls need to do this, and that he's willing to stop and get us lunch.  "Love ya, Hun!!!!"
  • How, when you least expect it, there are angels in our lives at the some of the oddest crossroads we travel...and how sometimes those angels can turn into real buttheads.  I try not to question why that happens, because I know that things happen for a reason.  But sometimes it's a bit perplexing.
  • How the feelings I have about being a grandma are probably the most difficult to describe.  I honestly don't know the words that describe the depth of these feelings.  And although I know it's love, it certainly goes deeper and wider than any love I've ever felt.  (Sorry PG, but I know you know it's different!!)
So that's just some of the pages I'll be working on.  My scrapbook pages are much wordier these days.  So it's more difficult to show you.  But I'll see what I can do about that.
Happy Sunday, All!!  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day 2009

Then = Nov. 11th - Another day off of school.  WOOHOO!!
Now = Nov 11th - Another day off of school.  AND a BIG thank you to all those who have served and are currently serving to protect our country.  It's because of you that we have the privilege of being able to openly say, "God Bless America". 
Then - "Why do my brothers have to join the Navy/Army/Air Force?"
Now - I'm so proud that my older brothers and father and uncle (who emigrated from Ireland), and the love of my life elected to serve in the military.
Then - I think we had a better idea of who the "enemy" was.
Now - In this age of political correctness, are we too afraid of even THINKING someone might be an "enemy"??
Don't get me wrong on this.  I'm not a war-monger.  Nor am I a pacifist.  I believe we must do whatever we must do to keep this country safe.  And if it means NOT being PC, so be it.  I want to know that my kids and grandkids will be able to live in a country that will allow them the freedom to say what they think, no matter how contrarian it might be. 

I am so proud to say I am an American.  I am so honored to know that millions voluntarily step up to serve to protect us.  I'm so privileged to say, openly and from deep in my heart,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm Just Tickled Pink!!!!

I'm in heaven.  My daughter had an ultrasound done, and found out it'll be a girl.  Now, let me be clear on one thing right away.  It wouldn't have mattered to me whether it was a boy OR a girl.  I'm just delighted I've got one more baby in my life to love!!
Here's what so cool about the way Christine and Steve handle the whole issue with baby's sex/ what's the name/ yadi, yadi, yadi...They find out the sex ("Mom, I don't know how people waited 40 weeks to find out the sex of their baby.  I want to be able to call it something other than 'it'"), but they will NOT tell us the baby's name.  We don't get to know that until we are formally introduced to the little one after "it" has made it's grand entrance.  I just think that is SO very cool!! 
So anyway, back to my first thought...I just think it's kinda cool that my firstborn was a boy, then I had a girl.  My daughter's firstborn was a boy, and now she'll have a girl.  My blog buddy, Leanne, has two girls.  And her mom had two girls.  Nothing to read into there...I'm not going to go on about the planets aligning, or the will of God, or the law of attraction.  I just think it's neat!!
And as far as getting the frilly little dresses and "ruffle butts" (as my mother used to call them), I think the first piece of clothing I get my granddaughter will be a pair of jeans.  Nope, not pink jeans.  I'm getting her BLUE jeans (with maybe a pink top).  Because every girl needs a nice pair of jeans.  That's just standard!!  Now if I can just find one that won't make her butt look big!!!