Archive forApril, 2008

Meeting the Family

This Saturday is Emily’s bridal shower! And just who is Emily? you ask. Well, she’s my niece. My brother’s daughter. If you haven’t heard the beautiful story of how I found my brother (Jim) and his family, you should read this: Family Matters. It’s the lovely and totally remarkable story of how I found the brother I thought had died at birth, when I had been only four.

We now have a rewarding friendship. He’s a sweet guy with a beautiful family. Emily is his oldest child.

I haven’t met any of his siblings nor his adopted family. I want to stay in the background because I understand his adopted mother (who is in her 90’s) isn’t comfortable with the idea that his birth family has contacted him. I don’t want to challenge her position and I would love to hide and just “be there.” Emily has invited me, so I will be proud to attend and represent his “other family.” It will be interesting.

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Today and yesterday it’s been dern cold! Yup, we haven’t gotten out of the 40’s and this morning it was about 32 degrees. That’s the Michigan in April I’ve come to expect. April is always a cool month. The near 80 degree temperatures last week were out of character for my beloved state at this time of the year.

At home I’m in fleecy sweat pants and a heavy sweat shirt all day. This is certainly unlike my apparel in sunny Florida.

But yesterday I received a cute swim suit I’d ordered to replace the one that disintegrated in the pool and left me showing too much of my bottom.

The sad result of the cool weather is that we don’t go out much. (At least historically, we have stayed inside when it’s been cold.) Yesterday I worked on the Subterranean Strings website and I did the “newsletter.” I really need to work harder on the Evart workshop schedule which is a humongous job and will take me about a month of pretty steady labor.

We had a performance Sunday at a church and this Friday we have a practice. It has been great to see our Michigan music friends and spend quality time with them.

But my only times to “venture out” of the house in the past 13 days (since we returned home) were trips to my eye doctor, beautician, two practices, and our performance Sunday. That’s it. It’s so different than our active Florida life.

As summer approaches, that will change. And obviously the problem is mine, not John’s. He’s been outside every day working in the yard and getting cleaned up from the winter.

We’ve heard repeatedly that the winter here was the worst in dozens of years. I do love snow, but I can’t say that I feel badly missing the cold weather and confining bad roads. I loved the pool and warm weather.

But little by little I’m settling in and glad to be home. And John is purring.

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Time (not in a bottle but instead, being wasted)

I wish I could get my time-wasting habits under control. I can’t seem to get it all together and organize everything that needs to be done. Our place here in Michigan needs major renovation but I’m not prepared to really start it and John’s way too busy getting the yard and garden under control. Today he cut down a couple huge trees so we’ll eventually have a nice easterly sun view.

I cleaned house and then had a lady over to look at dulcimers. I ended up selling her my “top-of-the-line-instrument”. It was her birthday and I know she’ll be happy, so I was pleased making the sale.

It seems like there’s always a long list of stuff that needs to be done. Ahhhh for the relaxation I feel in Florida.

One thing we can’t complain about is the weather!! Since we’ve returned to Michgian, it’s been perfect. Today it was mid-70’s as it’s been since Thursday when we got home.

Life is great. I love it here. There’s lots to do, but I guess I need the challenge.

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Home at last!

Yesterday afternoon we arrived home. Seemed like a longer than normal trip.

The grass is green here in Michigan, and the crocuses are in bloom. The leaves haven’t really popped out yet although with some species (like willows) you can tell that they’re on the verge.

It was really warm (about 70-73) both yesterday and today even warmer (about 78).

Our place seemed dusty and in need of some major sprucing up. As soon as possible, we’re doing some major renovations.

Feels good to be home, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to returning to Florida in June.

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Headin’ Back to Michigan

Yesterday John and I headed northward to our home in Michigan. I hated to leave behind all the great friends and fun times we experience in Kings Point.

I have been taking lots of photos and I plan to create a collage of head shots of the lovely folks we consider our Florida Friends. It’ll take some time to go through all of the pictures I have taken and pick out good ones. You’ll want to check back, if you think you might be included.

The last few days of our visit flew past. We enjoyed the pool as much as possible. Of course we were at Rockin’ Rendezvous Thursday. We had our buddy Bob over for dinner Sunday evening. We packed. I spent as much time with Mom as I could.

Now we’re on the road headed north.

I’m already looking forward to returning. Although we can’t drive down again until mid-September, I’ve decided to fly back alone two times (once in June and the second time in late August). I know it’ll be deserted when I come back by myself. Many of our friends are snowbirds so it’ll seem empty. It’s just that I can’t leave Mom longer than a couple months. I worry about her. She is my responsibility

My last visit with Mom was bitter sweet. She seemed to understand and did the “I love you a bushel and a peck” routine.

But in addition to missing Mom, I’ll also miss all the sweet people from her alzheimers unit. There’s classy Petra who must have been an elegant lady because she’s still very attractive and one I’m really close to. There’s Ruthie who “mothers” everyone. She’s made me promise I’ll continue to visit her, even if something happes to Mom. There’s Ray who observes and seems to really care about the others in the unit. There’s Lois, one of the newer residents who doesn’t seem to belong in the unit at all because she’s so sharp. She’s always sweet and friendly and still loves to go out dancing with her husband. Larry is the Casanova of the unit. He loves women. When I asked him for my good-bye hug, he jumped to his feet and gave me a bear hug!

Little Monica is 102 but still loves her beer. She’s sometime demanding and surly, but at her age, she is the matriarch of the unit. Dale and I enjoy a special friendship. He held my hand all one evening when he was feeling really blue. Jean moved into the unit few months back and seemed unhappy but she’s fitting in nicely. Eleanor is also fairly new, but looks lost. Jack never talks but he has a smile that’s ear to ear. Shirley and Mom are the most “advanced” in their disease. Shirley seldom talks much but she’ll smile and say “fine” whenever I ask how she is.

They’ve become folks I value and care about. Sadly I know that their lives are as fragile as my mother’s. One bad cold or the flu can be fatal. Since Mom moved into the unit three years ago, there have been several of the members who passed away. Mac, Helen, Regina, and Doris all died while I was gone. It’s hard to say good-bye, knowing that most times when I have come back, someone has left the group. I realize Mom’s very vulnerable too.

These special people were all once vibrant. I still see traces of what they were, but in many ways they’ve already left society. It’s really sad. I hugged each one and had a few minutes of private time with each of the 12. I know they will miss me but I’ll miss them too. I’m kind of a fixture in the unit. Some of them never have any visitors at all so they look forward to my “interruption.” I make it a point to be up-beat and talkative. I tell funny stories. I make them laugh (although Mom’s past that point and can’t even smile). I question them and answer their questions even if they ask the same thing 50 times in one visit. I encourage them and tell them how important they are in my life. And those aren’t empty words said for their benefit. They do add to the quality of my life.

Now I’m getting teary so best change the topic!

We’re enjoying perfect driving weather and moderate traffic. Michigan, here we come!!

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Furniture Came

We spent yesterday afternoon at the pool and I’m sure that’s where we’ll be every day until Sunday. Monday will be packing day. Mother Nature is cooperating by forecasting weather which will cool off and by Monday the pool won’t be as tempting.

A few observations:

Love bugs have been the subject of a couple of my blog posts. Click here to read a previous post about Love Bugs. I’ve seen a few the past week or two. They’re definitely on their way back!!

We may be real grumps, but we’re still upset by the behavior of the children who visit Grandma and Grandpa and invade the pool. Yesterday the yelling of three or four kids got so loud at times that adults couldn’t converse. We moved away from them, but they were so loud you couldn’t escape. What happened to the old adages we employed when we raised our kids? I’d never have allowed my kids or my grandkids to infringe on the enjoyment of others. I’m amazed at folks who feel it’s an indication that kids are having fun. To me fun and rudeness don’t have to go hand and hand.

Rockin’ Rendezvous hasn’t lost any of it’s charm. The folks are really nice and we wouldn’t miss it. I do wish they’d have scheduled one outdoors. Last year we enjoyed the outdoor pool deck for one of the fun Thursday evenings. The new pricing policy on optional two-for-one drinks works better for us. Now you can buy one drink for a slightly higher but still very reduced price rather than always getting two. (The old policy pushed you to consume more than you wanted.) We’ll say good-bye to many of our friends at the gathering tonight.

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Sunday Splash!

Sunday we went to Busch Gardens again. By mid-afternoon it rained! And boy did it!!!! We were soaked.

Prior to the rain, we had a great time! We took in Jungala. It’s a new area. We especially enjoyed the with close-up encounters with tigers but it’s primarily directed at kids.

At 11:30 we attended the Charo show. The koochi koochi gal still has a body to die for. She’s 67 but could pass for an in-shape 40!! Darned good guitarist too! We had great seats (three rows back and in the center). I was able to get some decent photos of her:


We also had a nice lunch at the Dessert Grill while we watched American Beat, a high-energy music show featuring sounds from the 50’s to about the 80’s.

On our way home, we shopped for new furniture for our condo. We found some stuff that will be delivered Wednesday. It’ll really make our place more livable!

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Fun Week!

Grand weather and lots to do created a perfect week.

We were at the pool nearly every day, went out to dinner with friends, and spent time with Mom. Of course, Thursday’s Rockin’ Rendezvous is always a “must attend.”

Here’s a video of a bevy of beauties line dancing at this week’s rockin’ time. (Sorry the “Achy Breaky” sound isn’t clearer.) If you were there, see if you can find yourself.

Sometime soon, I plan to take all of those still photos I’ve been taking and compile a collage of the KP/SSC folks. It might take me a couple of weeks, but I hope I have a good picture of you to include. So if you see me with camera in hand, smile!

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Two weeks to go…

We leave for home two weeks for today. There’s a lot to do before we head back.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, from some standpoints, I am ready to go home. We’ll miss our Florida friends, the activities, and the lifestyle, but we have some up-north responsibilities that are nagging at us.

We realize our 20+ year old home in Michigan needs up-dating (floors, counters, paint, and a replacement roof). Our place is lovely from many standpoints, but when I think of what we are looking for in a Kings Point condo, we realize our place in Michigan needs some of those upgrades. So I’m getting itchy to get going on some of the projects that I envision.

Today we went strawberry picking on the other side of Wimama. Strawberries were beautiful, and we couldn’t believe the price: 25 cents a quart (for you-pick). We picked ten quarts. Now we need to do something with them.

We spent time at the pool this afternoon and saw many of our favorite friends. The water temperature was perfect! Tonight I was with Mom (who was a little better).

It was a perfect day.

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