Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace, Love and Joy to you all.......

Wishing all of our dear family and friends a joyous Christmas filled with the spirit of love and kindness.     

Friday, December 14, 2012

There are no words........

The heartbreak and horror of today in our beautiful hometown  is beyond comprehension.    Our hearts are heavy and sad.    Andy and Mason attend a nearby school and we are so very thankful that they are home safe tonight.  

Monday, December 10, 2012


I think I mentioned this favorite kitchen tool once before , or maybe not......can't remember that far back.    Anyhow, this Blendtec blender will grind up your golf balls, your avocado, including the pit and probably your favorite shoe in case you wanted to make a smoothy out of it.     I use it most days for delicious nutritious enriched tasty smoothies.     Everything not made of metal is susceptible to being  smooched.    Most days it is fruit ( a good way to get rid of ripe bananas or less than perfect strawberries), acai juice, flax seeds, protein powder, veggies and always greens....spinach, kale.    Sometimes it needs a bit of blue agave syrup to sweeten it up a tad if I've put too many tart things...tomatoes really sap the sweetness out.      
 I make enough for two and he never wants to know what's in them.....and sometimes an opaque glass and straw are best to avoid the unappetizing color....but they always taste great.    I've also made delicious squash soups and if you keep it blending long enough, it will heat the soup.    This little item is pricey but will take care of all those things in the refrig drawer that are long last their prime.  

After coming back to the homestead from our  prolonged stay-away, the yard sadly suffered from lack of attention.    We had a lawn service for mowing and trimming but they obviously didn't earn their pay once we were gone.     So they are gone and we are looking into another.    And, then the delightful little (and I mean REALLY little) ghost ants decided to drop by.     They are called that because of their whitish color and the fact that they appear out of nowhere with no apparent access.    Our pest service is excellent about dropping by as soon as I call to assess and take care of the beasties  (ants are all we've ever had and if anything else came to visit, I would have to move out).
These appeared near the sofa and I had a few crawling on me....not being very visible, I just FELT like things were crawling on me.........
finally realizing that they were !!   I even took two with me to my PT session ......    They don't spray for them and instead use sugar it takes a few days.... I saw one last night but hoping it is the last of his tribe.   

Speaking of PT...  I had my last session on Friday and see the Dr tomorrow.   Hopefully, he will clear me for normal activities.    We have started taking Pickleball lessons and altho I am careful to not do anything to aggravate it,  I'm not about to try golf until I'm cleared.    P has really taken to PB.   It is played on a court smaller than a tennis court, using a large wooden paddle and a wiffle ball.   It is almost as popular as golf down here.    Considering he was in ICU 7 years ago, his ability to try this is amazing and he's already better than me.......for now.  

We did make an effort to put up some outside decor for the Holiday.    I doubt we'll put up a tree inside or float Christmas balls in the pool or have cookies and milk for Santa.    But the outside does look nice and it took minimal kind of decorating.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back where the sun shines.........

Important stuff more useless time waster that I've found is Word with Friends.    I'm not alone in spending the $2.99 for this app. , nor the only one spending waaayyy too much time dreaming up ways to trump MaryBeth and Jon.     But they managed to gang up on me and I fell to defeat with this one benign word, placed just right for  105 points !!!!     It was painful......
 A couple of years ago, we were there for the choosing and cutting of the Christmas tree.   It was rainy and cold.   This year was only a tad better so we opted to keep the home fires burning while they tromped thru the forest of pines to find the perfect one.     While waiting for it to settle and dry out , the boys decorated this smaller one for the big window.  

Only one ornament fell off.....and didn't break.  

We got home late late last night after a 4 hour flight delay.   First the plane broke, then we changed gates for another plane and then we had no crew.    We were not optimistic that we would ever get out of Newark.    After eating a delicious roasted vegetable wrap, we finally boarded and then  napped as we hurried South.

Florida is so sunny and bright and warm....   and colorful.     But it lacks rambunctious little boys.    

Friday, November 30, 2012

49.....'s a wonderful thing,  especially with your very best friend.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's pretty, but.......

 For an hour or so, the big flakes fluttered  down and began to frost the landscape.   The boys left for school and then the messages came in that there would be an early dismissal..... Not sure why since it seems to be melting now....but I wouldn't want to be responsible for making those decisions.

 So, we cozy up inside and play cut-throat matches of "Words with Friends".     I don't play with strangers, just try and prove my superiority with friends and far I'm holding my own quite well.  

It's a good day to be a cat.....................and the snow is falling again.


Did anyone with better eyes than I happen to notice the uninvited table guest at Thanksgiving ??

Friday, November 23, 2012

Call to duty.......

As grandparents, we are always 'on-call' to help out whenever and whereever needed.    Sometimes, it is just for a few hours.....sometimes it is for many many days.   Mostly it is filled with a chance to get to know those delightful little beings and to develop ties that last forever.....especially when miles separate us.      

And so, we flew north this week  to help out when busy schedules collide.   Terrible picture of the NY metro area, mostly covered by clouds.
We arrived just in time to celebrate a 7th birthday.    The cake was designed by pirate and lego fanatics and features a  maelstrom with doomed  ships ........cleverly sculpted by their mom.

The family gifts involved games of all sorts......Mom sunk Mason's battleship and Paul and Andy were very interested in a laser game that is a take on chess with mirrors and laser beams.   Very fun and challenging. 
We celebrated the holiday with all the trimmings but not the turkey......a decision was made to cook a beautiful prime rib on the grill ..... Andy performed the candle lighting ceremony with much purpose and serious attention.    (Mason had chicken nuggets and Doritos as his special dinner !!!)
Weather is decent and we have threatened to escape if a hint of snow appears.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A nice story........

A long long time ago, well maybe 50 years or so, there was a very special minister and his wife living in North Dakota.    She played the piano for church functions but didn't have one at home.   They scrimped and saved and she finally got her piano.     And it was always a focal point in their homes.    They eventually retired to Florida where they had a very active life until  her passing  much too soon.     He eventually needed to move to a smaller home and the piano was to be given away.    At that point,  their  son Paul stepped up and said it needed to stay in the family and so it was sent  to Connecticut.     It stayed in our home and I even took piano lessons.   Paul knew how to play and his claim to fame was a rendition of "Moon River".      Eventually , it  just waited to be used.    And then, a very nice family began looking for a piano for their 4 children.   I worked with Robin at the hospital and we decided that this would be the perfect place and that Paul's mom would be so pleased that it was in a home with children learning to play.  
Fast forward to today.     Robin's children are grown and she is still  at the hospital , but now she works with MaryBeth.    I had totally forgotten about the piano until Robin generously suggested that it come back to the Miller family.      And so today,  the piano is back for two happy boys and  I'm sure that  their great grandmother is smiling down on them.      Thank you Robin for taking such good care of it until it was needed again.    

Friday, November 16, 2012

An embarrassment of i's.............

This is the  assortment of reading devices currently in use here at the homestead.    All connected to either Kindle and /or iBooks.   The Kindle, the iPhone 5, the  iPad mini and the iPad 1   ........ It seems a bit much and I seem to be  out of control.    I keep justifiying  
 my electronic habit by arguing that I could be enamored with jewelry .     Anyway, I've added the mini iPad to the mix and so far it exceeds my expectations.....Compared to it's bigger brother,   it fits easily into my purse, I can hold it it one hand, it is much easier to type on and has all the upgrades and fun things like Siri and a camera.   It also receives the same texts that I get on my phone for some reason.   I was having more and more difficulty reading on the Kindle and was considering the newer Kindle with the brighter background....You can see the difference in this pic (poor as it is)......the mini is a very nice reader but distracting when email arrives or I need to check 'Words with Friends'.    I have 30 days to decide if I will keep it or change it for one with a data plan.    I think the iPad, of any size, is just a brilliant idea.      By the way, just finished reading "The Round House" and it was excellent.   Now beginning "Cloud Atlas" which is not an easy read but has been on my list for a couple of years.    It sounds like the movie is just as difficult to follow.   I am liking the challenge of it but glad I have the built in dictionary to help me along.

It's been pretty quiet around here.    Days spent staring at the golf course and wishing are not terribly productive.  The rehab on the knee continues and this patella femoral syndrome appears to have a very slow recovery period.   My impatient nature wants to insist they are wrong and  that I'll be walking 5 miles and golfing very shortly but reality tells me otherwise.
    So, last night we headed to Orlando with our neighbors Gene and Sharon to see Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba.    We saw it about 10 years ago and found it just as enchanting this time.    I pulled these pictures off the web.....the tiny Asian girls with their whirling balls and sticks were amazing.
 The trapeze artists were breathtaking.   The trampoline gymnasts with their split second timing kept us on edge.     It was 90 minutes of delight.  
Come down and visit us and we'll go see it again...................

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The 3rd Annual Tres Amigas happening......

.....was mainly about the golf.   Shelly and Carol once again traveled across the country for a week of good golf, good wine and good times.    I managed to make my way around the courses, sometimes playing a hole or two, other times just enjoying the view from the cart, depending on the crankiness of the knee.     We look forward to 'same time next year'.

Speaking of the knee , and I really am tired of this whole orthopedic thing...... I was put on tapering doses of prednisone....starting out with 6, then 5, etc.   Well, my system got a good jolt of something and I couldn't sleep nor act lazy nor keep quiet......I read the little insert and it said something about a side effect of psychic derangement !!    That certainly caught my attention and I placed a quick call to my personal OBGYN for guidance in hopes of avoiding this pending condition..... she recommended some changes to the dose   but even then, I was wired for several days.   But , the knee responded somewhat and I'm ready for PT to begin.    I probably shouldn't have tried to swing a club..... a good way to develop bad habits while trying to protect the knee....but it was fun to get out again after so many months.

It's time to catch up on some down time before we head north in 10 days.    I feel as tho we've been on a speeding treadmill since the Balloon Fiesta.... it's all been positive but I'm ready to put my feet up and get lost in a good book / movie / box of chocolates.......well, maybe not the chocolates since I'm still making those food choices that cause some quizzical looks.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Updates, Octoberfest and a new look at childbirth.....

Medical report Alert :      It seems that I do not have a complete ACL....this isn't my MRI because this knee has one.    The Dr asked me when I tore my ACL and I gave him an intelligent glance and said "Ummmm.......I don't know.... "  He asked if I'd had a previous injury etc and I checked back in my remembered history and couldn't find any time when I had pain or an injury to it.    He said it wasn't repairable at this point and doubted it was causing me  any problem.    The MRI did show a lot of bone edema and signs of inflammation but nothing requiring incisions and anesthesia .... yeaaaaa !!   So, I am on steroids, anti-inflammatories and Physical Therapy.    NO GOLF, NO WALKING for exercise but I can ride a bike and swim.   I guess it's the best I could have hoped for except to not have an injury at all.    
So, with that reasonable news under my belt, we went to the Town Square to celebrate Octoberfest.    It was really really chilly.....I think we missed fall somewhere.... We bundled up to watch the wonderful Polka dancers and the German band.   Then we warmed up with a big Italian dinner.     Over on the waterfront, was the New Orleans Preservation Band from Orlando.     They were renamed the Heidelberg Hot Shots for the evening and wore shorts.    The trombone player and spokesman is well into his 80's and they got the crowd warmed up and swinging.
And because it's Halloween, I had to 'borrow' this pic from my sister on Facebook.     Maureen is a CNM at Kaiser ...... she also has a license plate on her car that says " Midwives help people out.  "    

The Connecticut kids are getting good at cooking on the grill and reading by flashlight.   We're hoping that the 3rd big storm in the past year won't leave them powerless too much longer altho almost 100% of Newtown is black.    

And,  I don't want to make you jealous or anything, but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school !!        (borrowed from this blog )

Sunday, October 28, 2012


It's a pretty morning down here, away from hurricanes and  floods and tsunamis and earth quakes......even the bugs are behaving.      We worry about the kids in Connecticut and have encouraged them to make haste and head south to the comfort of electricity.    But they are brave, or not very smart, and will stay put for now......

Yes Norma, those are the same birds from the store in Kent.    Glad you have such good taste and that I can copy you.  

This dark picture shows Lizzie and Becca in front of the Apple store, hooked into  WiFi so that they can set up their new Surface tablets from the Microsoft store.   Mike insisted that this was part of the deal for them to get one.     Wonder if anyone noticed.......

The MRI was OK.    It sure didn't look 'open' to me but they kept my head and shoulders out.  And with closed eyes, and lousy music thru the earphones, I was very very still and out of there in 20 minutes.     

Broncoman is back in his rightful place .....  but it is very windy and often he is crumpled on his back like a dying fish.     But we are confident  they can keep their lead in the AFC.    Meanwhile, the Jets look really really bad....maybe they'll bring in Tebow to try and save the day...half back ??  Quarterback??      
Thinking good thoughts for  all of you in the path of Sandy.....enough I say !!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Enough already....

Today, I get to subject myself to claustrophobia..........
The knee finally won and I'm having an MRI.    I still don't think it's anything that would require surgical intervention but it just ain't right.   And it's getting worse instead of better.    And it even hurts when I'm asleep.   AND, I can't play GOLF !!!      I called to make the appt. and after asking me a zillion questions about body implants (none) and metal body parts (none) and my history of scary ailments (none) and my age (old) and my weight (going down) and if I was CLAUSTROPHOBIC !!  (YES), I was rethinking the necessity of this.  
My first known episode of the C word was when we were at DisneyWorld and in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride and they closed the hatch and I couldn't breathe and I panicked.....fortunately, because of my reaction, they have since removed that scary attraction.    I guess my fear of flying had something to do with that narrow tube and my stress level always elevates when the door closes and I have to turn off all electronics.....well, maybe it's not the door thing, maybe it's my disconnect from my phone, my Kindle, my iPad......
Anyway, she offered me the Open MRI machine......I had one before(the closed type) , on my head (yes, brain cells were present) and I had to close my eyes BEFORE I entered the room so I wouldn't see the thing and so I could ignore the fact that I was surrounded by impenetrable metal inches from my nose.....I have a vivid imagination and I just knew that bad things happen and that it could CRUSH me.   The drugs they gave me before did help.......I'll be brave today and skip the drugs but will close my eyes......and since it's my knee, maybe I won't be so surrounded...maybe.

In other news, we're trying to shovel out accumulations ....  Becca's Disney leftovers,  all the RV stuff , mail, dust, too many geckos on the lanai and dead plants............Company's  coming on Tuesday .    I read somewhere that a clean house is a sign that a female relative is coming for a visit.....or college roommates !!    Gotta get busy, I'm way behind and the maid threw up her hands and quit !          

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To say Goodbye.....

We gathered at the house this weekend to remember our years together as a wonderful family.   Others joined us.......children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors and all of those who remembered with us.    Our parents moved to this house from North Dakota in 1961.   It is a solid craftsman style with architecturally- rich details and fine finishes.    Mother loved this house and it's gardens which became her trademark and her therapy and her rewards.    Dad kept it all in pristine shape as the ultimate Mr Fix-it.    It became the haven  to return to  with it's large comfortable rooms, it's kitchen designed for a crowd (despite the small single oven)  and the deck Dad designed to enjoy the California evenings, shaded by magnificent trees.    On Saturday, it was filled with almost 100 who came to share their stories and offer their condolences.    We laughed and ate and looked at the photos of all those years gone by so quickly.     

It will be so strange not to return to the house in the middle of the vineyards.   It has already been sold to the owner of that acreage and altho our brother Tom will continue to live there for awhile, we won't go home again.      The 4 of us will gather but it will be somewhere else.......    but we won't forget the red house in the vineyard, nor  our Mother and Dad who made it our home.   
Sandy, Tom, Maureen and Me.........and in the background, the largest of the many carousel horses that Dad carved.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Perfect finale to our journey.........

 We made it home !!    Over 9000 miles in 4 1/2 months......from the oceans to the flatlands to the mountains, we saw it all.        The blog followed us everywhere and took you's a few of the last pictures.........
Mesa Verde is a hidden gem, literally.......   you'd never know there was anything in this high and arid country until you look really close........

 And, after a downhill jaunt , you can get up close and personal.    The structures at this site are very well preserved, including original logs in the ceilings.    Very little has been restored.     And then you get to walk back UP, at 7000 ft and with warnings about the dangers of the heat and altitude and the strenuous climb if you have any health problems.    I decided that my knee wasn't a health problem and with some huffing and puffing, we did just fine.  

And then, we headed south to Albuquerque.     National Geographic lists this event as a "must see".   We agree.     

 These are random shots, in no particular order, taken at sunset and at dawn and in daylight.   They are not edited at all........

 I liked the alarm clock......

 Alex holding the stabilizing rope while they inflate "Flyer"......

 Becca and Lizzie on a morning flight............the "Flyer" represents the Denver logo.

 A tribute to the 911 firemen.............

 Evening "Glow"........not to be missed.

 The butterfly is huge........

And a real crowd pleaser........Airabella the Cow.     She is huge and disrupted traffic one day while landing on the highway.    Her feet land before the basket.  
I have many many many more pictures ..... over 800 just of the Fiesta.     In the next weeks , I may share more...... but if you ever get the chance, plan a trip to this amazing event.  Plus, the fireworks are the best we've seen..........and Alex worked the set-up for them.

We're off early Friday morning to California for a gathering of family and friends to honor my mother on Saturday.