Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I, like many others, have a GPS system which I have decided I probably can't live without.  I also get Pediatrics, as one of my many journals.  What does one have to do with the other?  To fill white space, WVR, MD aften prints paragraphs about -- well, just about anything.  One of this month's was entitled, "The Female Voice."  He went on to describe how most computer generated voices, such as that in your GPS or like Siri in the new iPhone, are all female voices.  Why?  Because according to an aritcle in (October 21), most people find women's voices more attractive than men's.  And in popular culture, computers that are helpful or subservient tend to be female....such as the computer on Star Trek.  He goes on to say that he has yet to meet a driver here in the U.S. that has a device with a male voice.

Well, WVR, here I am.  I have Nigel, a British sounding, and very male voice.  I think his original name was Tim -- probably one of the reasons I chose him.  I like the British accent (though he and Ken, his Aussie counterpart sound exactly alike to me).  Perhaps Josh, our pastor at CCiW could tell me what part of England he comes from -- I don't think Yorkshire...he sounds rather bland for that.

None the less, I have Nigel.  "In 800 yards take the exit right, then take the motorway."  Thanks, Nigel, I will. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Florida and Back Again

Hard to believe my trip to Florida has come and gone.  It was wonderful visiting with Jill and the GrandAwards.  I'm pretty sure 3 is just about the most delightful age.  I'm devastated that some of my pictures (many of my pictures....) turned out blurry.  Bummer.

We ate dinner at Joe's Crab Shack on Wednesday night because Deven was up to 80 books in his 100 book challenge.  He needs to read 100 books by the end of second grade, and by the time I left on Sunday,  was up to 96.  I think a second 100 book challenge is in order ... also slightly harder books ...

We went shopping (of course).  Miramar Outlets in Bonita Springs is wonderful, and I love Ann Taylor.  Am almost persuaded that I can now swap out the summer and winter clothes -- a job I dread on a bi-annual basis.  Yuk.  Deven was more than happy to be spared the shopping chore!  Laura seems to love it -- and people at Ann Taylor remembered her.  Jill thinks perhaps she's been there one too many times!

We had dinner on the beach on Friday night, though it was a tad chilly.  The clouds were up and about, but it was still nice.

I had to go to the delightful little store, "Exquisites" because that is exactly what it is -- got a new Vera purse that will hold both the Kindle and the iPad. 

Saturday night Jill hosted her "life group" from Vanderbilt Presby Church -- great food and fellowship.  Loved meeting some of her closest friends.

All too soon it was over -- and home again.  But -- in my bag was a letter from Deven that he had written totally spontaneously:

"hi grame  this is Deven A i'm goingto miss you becus you are going to Chcago  i hope you get snow so we can go in the snow  i love you grame il come back soon i love you."

I love you too, Deven.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Friend Nan

I've not seen her since I was 4.  We (Mother and Daddy and I) stayed with Nan and Don and their two sons, Hugh(ie) and David in Tasmania when we were traveling around Australia, and Daddy was doing evangelistic meetings.  We had been summarily booted out of China where we were missionaries -- the communists came, and foreigners left -- us among them.  So we went to Australia and moved around a lot -- Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne...Tasmania.

I don't remember much from the two years we were there.  I remember going to kindergarten with Heather, one of the children of one of the families we stayed with -- actually, Jean and Lyall Lush ended up moving to Seattle and our families stayed friends for many many years.  And I remember staying with Nan and Don, and playing with Hughie (also age 4), and not being very nice to David, age 3. 

And of course, there was (and is, and always will be) Vegemite.  (I'm on a CS Lewis listserv, and whenever things get a bit slow, it's time to bring the non-posters out of the woodwork by having the Vegemite-Marmite wars as we have an equal number of Brits and Aussies on the list.  But I digress).

Anyway, Hugh "found" me when I was in nursing school, and we corresponded for awhile, but then lost touch.  However, in this day of electronic communication, Nan found me several years ago via the internet.  How she did that, I'll never know as of course I'd been married for many years, and don't use my maiden name on much of anything.  But find me she did, and we have corresponded rather irregularly over the past 8 or so years.

It has been wonderful "meeting" someone from my past that knew and loved my parents and loves Jesus so very much.    It brings back a whole part of my life that I hadn't really thought about for years...I mean, I was FOUR, after all.  But we've exchanged pictures, and she has/had a blog -- and I had mine (Mother of the Bride) and now this one. 

Nan caught up with me again recently -- she saw the pictures of the newly painted house from my last post and wrote, this time to "Jan of Blue Gables."

I name everything as anyone in my family will tell you.  This computer is "Big Mama", the middle sized laptop is Harry Potter (it's an HP), and the really little one is Miss Minnie.  My car is JanzLmo (which is also the license plate), and Bob's is Frank Sonata.  The GPS is Nigel, as he's a Brit, and I'm thinking the iPhone will be Ima.  (Ima iPhone).  The iPad may or may not be Iva.  Haven't decided if Iva iPad is just a bit over the top.

In the nearly 30 years we've lived here, I've never come up with a name for the house.  But Blue Gables resonates with me...and as a Lucy Maud Montgomery fan, "Jan of Blue Gables" resonates even more.

Thank you, Nan!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I got home last night from a week-long CLS course in Minneapolis to find the house completely finished.  It is, if I say so myself, lovely.  Bold.  Crisp.  Clean. 

From the old:

To the new:

Yup.  I do like it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I might have mentioned we got a bit rained on at Oliver Winery when we were there with Torrey and Chris. 

Before the rain.  It is absolutely beautiful there!!


We are painting.  That is, the house is being painted.  Justin and Anthony from College Pro are here, and making quicker work of it than I would have expected.  In the interest of making sure that everyone notices the color change, it is going from a white (ish) to blueberry.  With trim of whipped cream, and accents of deep raspberry.

Hungry yet?

This is just the first coat on almost all of the front half -- but contrast with the north side which is still white.

Will try and post updates periodically...

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Spending Weekends With Adult Children

There are lots of blogs about being a mom.  I wish that I had either (a) known about blogs or (b) there HAD been blogs when my children were young.  It would have been most fun to blog then as I'm sure I would have had much more interesting and erudite things to say (perhaps even perspicacious -- the word we learned today from Chris' vocabulary list). 

However, all I really have to talk about any more is adult children.  And grandchildren when I have the opportunity to see them.  Which isn't as often as I would like.

Anyway....we spent this last weekend (Labor Day) with Torrey and Chris.  Now, it is one thing for them to come to us -- this is Torrey's home, after all.  She's lived here since she was 3.  But it is totally another thing for us (both) to go and stay with them for a weekend.  We are in their house.  Under their roof.  We are the guests.  For some reason, I never think of T & C as being guests in our house.
But -- what a wonderful weekend we had!  I've decided that God's gift to us for having children is having -- ta da -- ADULT children!!! 

Dinner (chicken taco salad with cilantro lime dressing)  was ready for us when we got there on Friday night. Ate on the deck. Conversation.  Having conversation with your adult children is the best.  Just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday:  Relax.  Get up whenever.  Brunch at Cafe Patachou.  Split an egg sandwich with bacon (did you know that September 3 is International Bacon Day?) and avocado with the DH.    Drove around parts of Indy we'd never seen.  Did you know that Indianapolis is really a very lovely city with lots of cool neighborhoods?

Spent the afternoon reading.  Nearly finished "The Hunger Games." 

Evening -- Connor Prairie -- Voodoo Daddy concert (a "big band" sound) complete with picnic and fireworks.
Sunday -- Church at Genesis.  T &C have been attending for nearly 5 years.  I'm astonished at how the church has grown in that period of time.  I guess we could call it the last of our church hopping for the summer.  It was great.  Despite the 7 words 11 times (or whatever), we both appreciated the sermon.  Pastor Paul was very good.  It was the last of "Five Things I Wish Jesus Had Never Said." and this one was on sin....'if your eye causes you to sin (lust, greed, desire, whatever)....then pluck it out".  What are those sins? 

I don't want to dwell on it, but suffice it to say that he helped me figure out mine.  And I've been thinking about it ever since. And no, I'm not going to share it with you.

Sunday afternoon - head down near Bloomington to visit Oliver Winery for tasting and brunch on the patio.  Delightful!  Reading down by the pond.  That is, untill the rains POURED and we were soaked. 

Sunday night -- Dinner at Maggiano's.   Bob and I had my leftovers for dinner tonight and there is still enough left for both of us tomorrow night.  Good grief!  And we still have his leftovers and the extra pasta dish they gave him because he was able to get an extra one compliments of the chef....

All this to say -- our wonderful children planned an extra special weekend for us.  It was fabulous.  We had an amazing time. 

Adult children are the gift that God gives for having children. 

How blessed we are.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Farewell to Marge...

There was a memorial service at College Church today for one of the most wonderful and Godly women I've ever known.  Marge Gieser, who was transported to Heaven on August 12, was an amazing artist who made the banners that hung on either side of the platform -- always depicting either the season (Christmas, Easter) or the focus of that particular sermon series.  She choreographed, for lack of a better word, the special services -- organizing the children carrying their palm branches on Palm Sunday, the carrying of the banners on Easter, the silence and darkness of the Good Friday services, the "spread" across the Thanksgiving Eve service table (complete with the College Church Mouse....

And that is just a snippet of what Marge did -- that is what the people of College Church saw on a daily basis.  She was a wife, a mother, and grandmother.  Her husband and children called her blessed.  A life well lived...a life of service to others.  More than one tribute today referred to Proverbs 31....

The sanctuary was packed -- well over 1000 people there.  Our former pastor, Kent Hughes, (emeritus, now, as he has "retired" -- as much as pastors ever do -- and moved to Washington) presided.  It was wonderful seeing him again, and hearing him preach. 

The service was wonderful.  The music was transporting.  "For Alll the Saints" was never sung as triumphantly!

I don't think even Marge could have choreographed it better. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Favorite Foods

There were a couple of items I forgot to add to my other list.  Qualifier -- these are favorites of MINE....

Hamburgers/cheeseburgers/bacon-avocado-bluecheese burgers -- Alfie's, Glen Ellyn IL
Ribs -- Alfie's, Glen Ellyn IL
Garlic Ranch dressing -- Houlihan's (anywhere)
Cappuccino -- Valletta, Malta (hands down, best ever!!)
Green olives -- Sevilla, Spain

Tim brought me more olives from Sevilla for my Mother's Day present, along with a cute little olive dish.  These particular olives are not exported, so very hard to come by.

And -- Lord willing -- we are planning a cruise for November, 2012 which stops in Malta!!  So I will get my second cup of amazing cappuccino...

This is Tim and me at the little restaurant in Malta where we had that most wonderful cappuccino....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Becoming ... um ... OLD!

Grammies are supposed to be old.  And plump.  And have grey hair tied up in a little bun and smell like cookies. 

I'm old -- officially as of today, I can retire and start getting Medicare.  And I'm plump.  But we won't go there.

I don't have grey hair -- at least I don't know that I have grey hair.  Actually, I probably do, but since I haven't seen the real color of my hair since it turned an ugly mouse brown when I was pregnant with Tim, I have no idea what color it is.  It's not tied up in a little bun but it is short and I get it cut about every 5 weeks.  I tried for spiky once, but that failed miserably.

Smell like cookies....uh, no, I think today I smell like Calvin Klein's Obsession.  Probably if I smelled like anything it would be a computer.

What does a computer smell like anyhow?

I'm celebrating my big day by working on "stuff", getting a manicure, enjoying every single one of my Facebook Happy Birthday messages, buying myself a couple of books for the Kindle (hey -- it's my BIRTHDAY!!), seeing a mom and baby later this afternoon, and going to Houlihan's for dinner with my Bobbert and dear niece, Rebecca who is finishing her second day of classes at Wheaton College.

So far for my birthday I got a new office chair, an iPhone, and my trip to San Francisco.  Starting in June, I claim anything we need to buy (or want to buy) as a birthday gift.  That makes it all seem legitimate, somehow.  Bob got an iPhone too -- also probably as my birthday present!!

My mother ADORED her birthday.  She loved getting presents -- the more the better.  I think it was her 70th birthday -- was it then?  Lyn would remember...that we wrapped up 70 presents.  Lots of Heath Bars and pencils.  Didn't matter to her what the present actually was, she loved everything!!

Only better thing would be to have All My Children (and Awards) here today.  But I've been blessed -- Jill and the Awards here with Torrey and Chris in July; Tim and Annabel here with Torrey and Chris in August, Lyn and Tim, David & Rebecca here just last week. 

Yes, even getting old, I am truly blessed.

Thank you, Lord for all my birthdays!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fave Foods from LEC

Linda, Carole and I started a list of our favorite eats and where to get them.  Thought I'd share them here for posterity...

Consider each of these starting with "Best...."

Fried Oysters -- Hank's Oyster Bar, Washington DC
Calamari -- Logan's Tavern, Washington DC
Bacon -- Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Appleton WI
Mexican (all around) -- Ted's, Norman OK
Soup & Salad -- Madison's, Jefferson City MO
Key Lime Pie -- Charleston's, Norman OK
Shrimp with Walnuts (Chinese) -- Chef Ping's, Arlington Heights IL
Pot Stickers -- T G I Friday's, Anywhere
Derby Pie -- Bistro 301, Louisville KY
Fresh Banana Cheesecake -- Cheesecake Factory, Anywhere
Grilled Artichokes -- Hitching Post, Buellton CA (they also sold Magic Dust...delicious on anything!!)
Chicken Pot Pie -- Embassy Suites, Salt Lake City UT
Macaroni & Cheese -- Doubletree, Arlington Heights
Carbonara -- Some little Italian restaurant in Morehead KY

I know I'm missing a couple -- will share when I think of them.

Meanwhile, the best all around bed I've ever slept in -- and at least I got to share this one with Bob -- the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.  Too bad we were only there three nights.  Wish I could have figured out how to take the bed home with us!!

Church Hopping Part 3

With the exception of one more Sunday which will occur sometime in the fall, we have finished our church-hopping for the summer.  Quite frankly, if you live in the Wheaton area, or any other community that has a plethora of churches -- we'd advise it!  Particularly if you are empty-nesters.  Children, for the most part, aren't fans of church-hopping as they like their own space and familiarity.

Last Sunday we attended Church of the Resurrection, a contemporary Anglican church currently meeting at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn.  One of my classmates from West Sub, Margaret Muir Webb, and her husband Jerry go there, and that's what spurred us on -- actually running into Margaret one Saturday at (our favorite store) CostCo.  (Great for the "senior buffet" on Saturdays....).

Anyway, it is good to get out of your comfort zone and see how others worship -- realizing anew that there are many believers who love Jesus, and that we don't all have to demonstrate this in the same way.

"Rez" was the most different of the four churches we went to this summer.  Small worship team, but good music (as far as CCM -- contemporary Christian music goes).  Liturgical -- very much so.  Communion which is part of the liturgy every week, was quite catholic -- all those who are baptized could partake, which meant three and four year olds.  The pastor, however, made it very clear that if you were not in a right relationship with Jesus, that you had better refrain from participating.  We walked forward and were served the bread by the pastor (gluten-free if you needed it), and wine or non-alcoholic wine (as you desired) by one of the elders.  Very much a solemn, yet joyful occasion.

We parked right behind Rachel, one of Torrey's friends from high school who grew up in College Church, but who now, with her husband and adorable daughters, live in the city and attend one of our daughter churches -- Holy Trinity.  They had come out to Wheaton for the weekend, and were going to Church of the Rez for the first time because her sister Jessica and family attend there.  Fun catching up with Rachel, and later with Jessica....

Overall, I think our church hopping experience left us with a much greater appreciation for College Church....especially -- oh most notably -- especially -- The Music!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Making Comments...

Rosie just texted me to say she was having trouble making comments on my blog.  No problem, I thought, I'll just make a couple of comments and show her how it is done -- being the techy that I am.



For some reason I can't comment on my own blog either.

But I did change to the new editor thingy....I wonder if this will work better than the old editor.  New USUALLY is better than old. 

Except when it comes to Grammies, that is.

Families Together

At last. Tim and Annabel are HERE! They got in last night -- late. Somehow their co-pilot disappeared and was no where to be found...didn't answer cell phone calls, nothing. An hour or so later they finally found a spare (reminds me of a spare tire just sitting around waiting to be used), and they were on their way...

Got home around 11:00 -- it was midnight their time, but both were starving so had a little cereal (cereal is a wonderful thing) to tide them over until this morning.

They came from Atlanta where they were visiting Annabel's Mimi & Papa (maternal grandparents) and her Aunt Robin and cousins....prior to that they had spent several days in Naples with Jill and the Awards.

And now they are here! And Torrey and Chris come tonight....

Tim's "9 Day Club" will be in and out too.... That would be Michael Duncan and his wife Kelly (Mike's birthday is 9 days before Tim's), and Sam Bandstra, whose birthday is 9 days after Tim's.

But here are Tim and Annabel with Jill and Grammie's Awards...

I, of course, think they are all beautiful.

Of course, no prejudice here whatsoever....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Church Hopping Again...

Today was visit to church number 3. In comparison to the blog last Sunday, this one will be mercifully short.

Let's just put it this way -- in a nutshell, today's visit made us both extremely glad we are members of College Church in Wheaton.

We spent the first 40 minutes standing and singing. Well -- others sang. At the 11th repeat of the 7 words, I finally got it. To their credit, there were a couple of hymns I recognized. Included in that 40 minutes was communion. Now, at College Church, communion is a sacrament -- a worshipful time, accompanied by scripture, prayer, music, meditation and self examination. First the bread is passed around, and then the "wine" (not sure it is Welch's -- probably Jewel brand). No matter --

Here we stood, and two little cups were passed -- one on top of the other; the bottom had a little square of something -- hmm -- maybe 3 mm square -- and the top one had a half a communion cup of juice. We "held" until all had been "served" so we could "partake together." It certainly is expedient, and for this church, the largest we have been to thus far, communion was over and done with rather quickly.

Then we got to sit down.

The sermon was, um....forgetable. It was loud. Lots of yelling and pacing back and forth, bad grammar, and a young white man trying to sound like a black street preacher.

Yo, man!! We are not tempted to return....

I went to CostCo and picked up a delicious key lime pie for the birthday celebs next weekend. The members of the 9 day club which started in middle school will all be here -- Michael, whose birthday is today -- Tim, who is August 9, and Sam -- August 18.

I can't wait to see them all!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Chicago has now surpassed the rain record for July set 120 years ago.

Enough, I think. It is enough....

Nathan & Tiernan's wedding tomorrow is outdoors....let it be sunny and bright.

Thunder and Lightning and Rain, Oh My!

To say it's been hot is an understatement. 90ish most days. And we have had rain. Oh yes, we have had rain...lots of rain. It has (mostly) come in the form of really really nasty thunderstorms with lightning bolts that make you want to put your head under the covers. And all around midnight or 1:00.

Our electricity has gone out every night for a few minutes for the past 4 nights. Not nearly as long as many of our friends in the area -- one of whom is my friend Joan. Joan called this morning. Her electricity was out -- again!! -- and she is housing 15 people. Her son, Nathan is getting married tomorrow! Com Ed has promised she can have her electricity back on Sunday. Nice of them. So she was farming family out -- did we have a spare room?

We did, and we do.

She called back and Karin and Todd and baby Addie are going to stay with some good friends, and she has the rest of the family sorted out.

Our house is 113 years old. When we get these storms I wonder if its time is up. Will this be the night the mammoth maples in the back or the German chestnuts in the front will topple? Right on our roof?

So I ask the Lord to send his guardian angels around us and the house for yet another time....

And he does.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's Gift

How to begin?

Hmmm....well, to start with, we church-hop (somewhat) during the summer months. Though devoted College Church members, (and have been for 29 years), last year, childless and usher-free, we decided to visit other churches in the area. After all, Wheaton has a plethora of churches, doncha know?

Our number one church to visit is Calvary in Oak Park. I was a member there when I was in nursing school (West Sub), and our favorite pastor of all time, Todd Wilson, is now the senior pastor there. So -- obviously first on our list. Uhhhh....Todd isn't preaching any of the weeks we are available to hop.

Last week we were in San Francisco -- the week before that we went to Wheaton Bible Church where we saw some dear friends we hadn't seen in ages.

This week was open. Where to go? Bob suggested Willow Creek. South Barrington is a LONG way away, but we could go to Willow Creek DuPage, which is about 10 minutes from our house, and where our dear friends, Jan & Chris Lutes attend. So -- maybe we would see someone we know. Yeah, Willow is a seeker church and they do the "11 words sung 7 times -- stand up and clap" rather than good traditional hymns which we love (and are used to), but HEY -- check out the website and Lee Strobel was speaking today! He's the author of one of my most favorite books, "A Case for Faith" and I was pumped. So was Bob. Church at 9:00.

I overdressed.

Shoulda known. Jeans were the order of the day. Or shorts, or capris, or....not dresses. Good thing I'm past that sort of embarrassment. (Yeah, you could tell because I posted about it, right?)

Anyway. Fast forward past the three "songs" I didn't know. (I am a "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "It is Well With My Soul" sort of person).


"We are really sorry to say this, but due to some minor surgery that Lee had to have the beginning of the week, his doctors advised him not to fly, and at the last minute, we are going to substitute a video from our Leadership Summit 2010 from Jeff Manion, pastor of the Ada Bible Church in Ada, MI."

Great. Who is Jeff Manion, and where is Ada Michigan, and bummer.

We then listened to the best message we have ever heard, that we (both Bob and I) will remember and quote and refer to for the rest of our lives. If I could have had one wish, it would have been that Jill, Torrey, Chris, Tim & Annabel could have been sitting beside me.

"The Land Between" spoke to us as no other message has in -- years? Decades? I don't know when. Jeff was funny, articulate, and right on target. Loosely based on Numbers 11 (my eyes glaze over by the time I get to Numbers when doing a "read thru the Bible in 20 minutes or less", he talks about the desert time for the Israelites -- between Egypt and Canaan. And then talked about how we go through our own "land between" where things aren't going lost, children straying, divorce, finances in the pits, bosses critical....all sorts of things. And, how this can actually lead to spiritual transformation depending on how we approach our "land between."

Anyway, I found that I could order the DVD -- got four of them -- one for each of us -- and then -- YAY!! Discovered his book on -- on Kindle -- for -- you won't believe this -- $2.99.

You can get the DVD of his message from (go to leadership summit, 2010 under 'resources' and look for Jeff Manion). Or the CD -- slightly cheaper. Or get the book (it's only 194 pages) for your Kindle or in hard copy.

You won't be sorry.

It was God's gift to us today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did I Leave My Heart in San Francisco?

I really don't think so. We had a great, intense, short, and busy vacation over a long weekend, but I was happy to come back to Wheaton. It was great going and not HAVING to do anything or see anyone....

We stayed at the Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill -- rather posh, but amazingly enough, less expensive than many of the other hotels we checked out, including the Holiday Inn on Fisherman's Wharf. And yes, we had dessert at the Top of the Mark (also breakfast which may have been the most expensive breakfast ever....).

Got plenty of exercise. My doc would be proud of me. Even walked up one of the hills from Chinatown to the hotel!IT might not look like much, but oh, my legs felt it!

Spent plenty of time at Fisherman's Wharf, made good use of the cable cars and the "F Line" trolley, had a half day tour of the city, and never did get a good picture of the Golden Gate Bridge since Friday morning was incredibly foggy.

That would be the only picture I got of the GG Bridge. It was a tad foggy!!
Just a very cool house!

We came home to very hot and very muggy Wheaton. A day later it was back to work, speaking in very hot and very muggy Coon River and Mille Lacs Minnesota....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Electrical Matters

It's been a humdinger of a week. Had a short but terrible storm Monday morning which knocked out the electricty to over 800,000 here in the Chicagoland area. Ours went out for about 5 to 7 minutes, but then came on again. Some of my Wheaton neighbors are still without power, and this is now 48 hours later. Comcast did go out for about 4 hours in the afternoon....I'm very grateful I have a Verizon doodah that gets me online wherever Verizon is. That plus my cell phone, and I was at least connected.

However -- and this is weird -- the monitor for my desktop went out and didn't come back on for 40 minutes after the electricity came back on!

Yesterday, Comcast went out again for another 4 or 5 hours -- seemingly no reason.

So this morning the electricity blinked off -- and then on again immediately. But my monitor didn't come on for another 25 minutes.

Obviously there is something going on with it and I don't like it. I DO like my monitor though. I wish it would just stay nicely and calmly and not give me fits.

Bob got his iPhone on Tuesday. He's now feeling quite like the postmodern man.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts on Being a Grammie...

I've not posted since my Awards arrived in Wheaton (finally) on July 1. Jill's early morning flight out of Naples was canceled, and she was told -- too bad, so sad there are no more -- and rescheduled on Continental for Saturday afternoon, July 2. My type A, number one daughter is nothing if not persistent, and finally, after 3 agents and 3 hours with United, got one that spoke English (please someone, explain to me why United is outsourcing customer service to India???) and got her on a flight on Delta that got in Friday evening....just about the same time Torrey & Chris arrived....

It's wonderful having her and my two grandbabies here -- though they certainly aren't babies any more. I recently finished reading "The Granny Insiders Guide for New Grandmothers" and while I'm not a newbie at this, it did give me some food for thought.

Becoming a new grandmother is, in some ways, like becoming a new mother. It's untread waters to negotiate. And while it isn't as overwhelming as being a new mom -- and you get to go home at the end of the day -- there is much that gives you food for thought....

How much advice do you give? How much advice does your daughter/son/daughter-in-law/son-in-law WANT? What expectations do they have? Do they even have any expectations -- until you make a mistake and then they discover they DO have expectations?

One of the books I wish my own mother had written would have been about how to be a grandmother, but though I suggested it, she never got around to it. I clearly remember a conversation she and I had one day that went something like this:

Mother: Being a grandmother for you and Rosie (my next-down-sister) is certainly different.

Me: Yes? (Good open-ended question -- designed to elicit more information) What do you mean?

Mother: Well, if you want my opinion, you'll say something like, "I'm going to do thus and such. Whaddya think?" If Rosie wants my opinion, she'll say, "Oh, Mama. You raised four children. What do YOU think I should do about this situation."

Guess who Mother liked best??? :>D

Disclaimer -- my beloved sister is a southerner. They talk like that.

Me: Well, what about Rick? (My brother).

Mother: That is totally different because I'm dealing with a daughter in law, and I don't think I can talk to her the same way as I can my daughters.

Hmmmm. Lyn (youngest sister), was off the hook here because she wasn't even married yet, but I'd love to know what Mother would have said about being a grandmother to her children.

As you can tell, I've never forgotten what she said -- and it has really made me think. More about that later.

By the way, Mother was right on about our responses to her -- I'm a first, and pretty independent (Oh Jill, bless you....). Of course, Mother was a first too....

Rosie is a middle and the family peacemaker and smoother-over-of-rough-spots.

Lyn will say "I'm just like Jan, only less so, and just like Rosie only more so." Not that we really understand what that MEANS, exactly, but it sounds terrific.

Meanwhile, you need some pictures of my Awards.... The first two were taken at LegoLand in Chicago. The second one of Laura is during the family birthday - Torrey's, Deven's, Jill's, Laura's and mine. The second one of Deven is waiting for the parade on the fourth.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grammie's Awards are Coming!! dear daughter is arriving at O'Hare with my two darling "awards." I can't wait to see them's been too long. We are planning a very full and fun week -- a trip to the Dunes with Torrey & Chris and meeting up with Grandma Jan from Traverse City. Heading to Chicago for the "Taste". A birthday party celebrating Jill, Torrey, Laura, Deven, and me. Fireworks. Fourth of July parade in Wheaton. Kids' Town to see Agnes and let the kids run around at a really great and fun place. Cosley. And maybe just collapsing on the deck to let the kids run through the sprinkler. I'm sure kids still run thru the sprinkler.

Don't they?

In any case, I'm thrilled they are all going to be here....

And I'll be glad to be home again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Have I mentioned I have discovered Pandora? Maybe not, since I've not blogged since my big discovery. Wow -- what fun! Music that I like. Anytime and anyplace I have either my iPhone or my computer. And if I put it on a general mix, I can have Bach followed by The Letterman followed by Chris Tomlin followed by Enya followed by an ad? Oh well. For not spending $36/year I can put up with a few ads.

Next question: why does Bob's computer periodically decide it doesn't want to connect to the internet. No reason. Just -- "sorry, can't connect." Nothing different, nothing changed. All the other computers can connect -- currently we have Big Mama who is the primary desktop. Harry Potter is my HP laptop that keeps me sane when I'm traveling. Miss Minnie is a tiny Acer that has tons of power and is LEC's go to computer when we are lecturing. So why does Mr. Toshiba decide he is going to crash?

Generally, turning him off and then on again works. Not this time. Tried re-establishing our wireless connection. No. Had to get the kitchen chair, climb up, undo all the connections, redo all the connections (in the right order), press the reset button, and.....VOILA!! All is well. With everyone and everybody.

Go figure.


Wish I could have fixed Skype as easily today. Connection was the pits. Finally gave it up after about 40 minutes of off again on again communication. The video was terrible as well. Don't know if it was his connection or ours. Usually it is perfect. Sigh. Not the way to spend the very little time we have talking to my dear children.

Speaking of dear children -- have I mentioned that Grammie's Awards are coming in less than a week? I can't WAIT!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let There Be Light!

And behold, there was light -- and it came 28 hours after there was no light. And I got up at 12:08 am to find that it was good.

The coffee this morning was excellent. Better than usual.

I've been smiling all morning. Amazing how much more we appreciate something when we don't have it...something we are so used to! Though when Tim was in Mauritania, living in his little cement block house with no electricity, I used to send him as much battery operated lights and fans and whatnots that I could...

Tim's life there is a wonderful reminder of what an amazing country we live in -- and how much we do take for granted. I'm glad he had that experience, and I'm glad we were able to experience a bit of it when we went to visit. But I'm extremely grateful that we live in the United States where we have luxuries that most cannot even begin to imagine. Wow.

Praise God.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Praise of Electricity....

I'm tucked in at the library -- which has electricty -- because we don't. Was able to shower this morning, but not wash my hair because I couldn't dry it. Seems to me the last time this happened I was leaving for Duluth later in the morning, and our electricity came back on just before I left.

Today, however, is the longest time with no electricity since the night Tim was born....It went out when the tornado sirens went on last night about 8:30. It's now 11:00 am, and unless it has come back on in the last hour since I've been here, we are still without....

I'm fully equipped here though -- am powering up the computer and the iPhone. My Kindle is good for several more days...the car is full of gas, and I should be able to toodle around town if necessary...

So I'm looking at today as sort of a vacation day. I suspect I'm not the only one here because of no electricity. The lady at the table across from me has been reading her Bible and is now clipping coupons. She looks as though she's settled in for the rest of the morning, in any case. We've had another downpour since I've been here, but it is now partly not cloudy (as opposed to partly cloudy which implies more blue sky than clouds. We have more clouds than blue sky, though I do see a patch of blue off to the east.)

Wasn't how I PLANNED on spending today -- glad I got most of the paperwork that needing doing done yesterday.

Had a mammogram and dexascan done today. Been years since I've had a dexascan -- was trying to think how long, and I'm guessing at least 10. Mammograms haven't gotten any better since I started getting them yearly at the age of 45 or whenever it was. Truly tortuous.

But at least I'm done for another year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ahhh....Home Sweet Home

I'm home. Uneventful flights to and from DC. Happy to be back on American, and not trying to negotiate United. No lost on time....even early coming home. Oh the bliss!

We had an amazing week in DC. Will (Linda's husband) drove us around and Bob (Carole's Bob, not mine) flew down on Friday and he and Will toured the city while we taught.

The food....oh, the food! I wish I had taken pictures. We had the best calamari EVER at Logan's Tavern. And the most fantastic fried oysters at Hank's Oyster Bar. Saturday night we "celebrated" Father's Day at The Wharf in Alexandria -- almost positive it is the site of Carole & Bob's first real dinner date nearly 40 years ago though it looks a bit different.

So -- the best cappuccino I've ever had: Malta
Best garlic parmesan chicken wings: The White Owl in Mooresville NC
Best calamari -- the above mentioned Logan's Tavern
Best fried oysters -- the aforementioned Hank's Oyster Bar
Best ribs and hamburgers -- Alfie's Inn in Glen Ellyn IL

Now, the problem with finding the best is that it spoils you for trying that same dish anywhere else.

Driving in DC is not for the faint of heart, however. Especially in a Very. Big. Suburban. Will did a very good job negotiating roundabouts and spaghetti-like expressways.

The people in the course were very appreciative and very very nice. We'd love to come back and teach there again....

Hint hint...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Traveling -- Again

This trip -- Washington DC. It was raining. I was worried. Took a carryon this time with a change of clothing and some makeup....Just In Case. All of us got to DC together which was Very Good. Late, of course. But there.

We are teaching in an ampitheatre at Howard University School of Medicine. I can readily envision a professor in a white lab coat doing a dissection of a human body with eager (or not so) students looking on...

We are staying in the Doubletree which has the teeniest bathroom I've ever been in in a hotel. Reminiscent of the ones we have on our cruise. Fortunately there is only me....and it's a good thing I'm not any larger than I am. It does inspire one to go on a diet, however.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Technology

Sometimes I wish I was about 10 years younger so I could enjoy all the new technology that is coming down the pike. I think of my mom, who was the first one in our family to get e-mail capabilities and a computer -- an old Epsom -- at the age of 68, and I think about how much she would enjoy all the fun things we have today.

My newest gadget is an iPhone. I'm still a real newbie with it -- I have fat thumbs, so it's harder to text on it than on my old phone which had the teeny tiny typewriter-type keyboard -- but I'm getting better. I need my dear SIL, Chris, to sit down with me and help me figure out what apps I need. I know there is an app for that -- whatever "that" is, but I'd like his help, none-the-less. After all, he's the one that *made* me get this phone.

I take full credit for the Kindle, however, and gave it to him as an early C'mas present. Gave one to Annabel, one to Bob, sent $$ so my sister in Berlin could get one as well. Torrey & Tim don't want a Kindle. I don't get it. But -- oh well, someone still has to turn pages and mark things up with a highlighter...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Traveling...Not for the Faint of Heart

Normally I enjoy traveling -- I do a lot of it. But occasionally it becomes a bit frustrating. There probably aren't too many of us that take to the friendly skies that haven't experienced The Lost Luggage Debacle.

Mine was this past week. Flight to Duluth canceled -- there are only two flights to Duluth per day from O'Hare to that pretty town in Minnesota on United -- 1:10 pm and 10:00 pm. After standing in line for 2 3/4 hours -- yes, a rather long time, I was told that though I couldn't fit on the plane at 10:00 -- it was booked solid -- they would send my luggage on that flight as they couldn't change my luggage to a different city. I flew to Minneapolis and took the Skyline Shuttle to Duluth. The hotel took me over to the airport to claim my luggage at 11:30. Not there -- still in Chicago. It would, I was assured, come in on Friday at 3:00 pm. A bit late for a nice change of clothes or the videos I planned to show at the conference, but oh well -- I'm probably not the first person that has had to lecture in my jeans and t-shirt.

Fortunately I had my computers and my lectures on Dropbox, so not to worry.... The nice shuttle driver took me to Walgreens at midnight so I could get some necessities....

Conference went well -- people were lovely. Called the airport at 3:00 -- no luggage. Still in Chicago. However, they could have it to me by midnight. I'm leaving for home at 5:00 am -- do NOT send it to Duluth -- leave it in Chicago, and I'll get it in the morning.

OK, fine.

Except -- uh -- not so fine. Unbeknownst to me, they sent it to Duluth and delivered it to the hotel at 1:00 in the morning. By the time the hotel called me to let me know it was there, I had checked out and was flying back to Chicago where I THOUGHT I was going to meet up with said suitcase. By this time I figured if I never saw my jeans, red t-shirt and denim shirt, it would be too soon.

Of course, it's not there. But they (I'd LOVE to meet "they" sometime) promised it would arrive Saturday afternoon. Not. Sunday morning by 10:00 - and they would call first. Not. Sunday by noon. Not. Sunday by 3:00. Not. "We're a bit backed up," they said.

No kidding.

At 5:30 I get a call from O'Hare after Bob has told some disembodied voice he is going to write to the president of United. "The file was closed because the bag was delivered to Duluth."

Really? After all those phone calls? How is that possible?

"But, I'm looking at your bag right here. We can deliver it with the next round."

Nope - we are coming to get it.

And there it was....3 1/2 days after I bid it farewell, we were reunited again.

I have to fly to DC next. What are the chances I'll make it WITH my suitcase???

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back to Blogging?

I'm going to try my hand at blogging again....hoping all the nuances thereof will come back to me. My old blog -- still up -- Mother of the Bride -- is, well, in a word, old. Torrey is no longer a bride, having been happily married to Chris for nearly 5 1/2 years. And in fact, I'm no longer a MOG either, since Tim and Annabel will have been married for a year next month! Can it be?

So, what are "Grammie's Awards?" My two adorable grand"babies" by Jill -- Deven, nearly 7 and Laura, almost three. I'm hoping for more awards to come, but for the moment, these two will suffice.

"And more"? As a traveling lactation consultant educator, mom of three wonderful gifts from the Lord, wife of 41 years to a magnificent man....there is ALWAYS more....

Here's to another 5 years of blogging...