Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Ties

I come from a close family, in feelings if not in distance. That's why it was so special at Thanksgiving for us all to be together for a change. We were all thankful to have time to spend together because it doesn't happen often. My dad lives in Kentucky half the year and in northwest Florida half the year. My brother lives in southeast Florida, and my sister and I live fairly close to each other in Kentucky. However, we all get caught up in our own nuclear families and don't see each other as often as we could. We loved our family time at the holiday, especially Dad. At 84, he is becoming more and more aware of his mortality, and his family is very important to him. We laughed and enjoyed our memories. It was great!

I don't think I ever realized how close our family was until I grew up and saw other families that didn't have nearly the loving relationship that we shared. We have always tried to stick together for family birthday celebrations and holidays, but with Bob and his wife Janet in Florida, they miss out on a lot of this. Terry's family didn't have this close relationship, and I have met many other people that don't quite understand the bond that we share and how important it is to us that we maintain these ties. It's getting harder to get together as the family grows and the kids have other family obligations, but we keep trying, and we treasure every opportunity we get.

I hope that we three of Dad's "kids" have managed to pass this family closeness on to our own children. It seems we have, and I know I am grateful to have three kids of our own to carry on our family traditions. It's only now as they've grown up that I have come to realize how they have treasured certain memories from their childhoods and how they have carried on some of the things we did while forming new traditions of their own. Life is good...

P.S. On another note--in looking at the picture, it strikes me that my brother and sister and I don't resemble each other much at all. I can see in the picture that I look like my dad, but I sure don't look like Bob and Peg, and they don't look like each other. My own kids can't say that about themselves!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Beach Gene

We have just returned from one of my favorite places on earth, the beach. Now I love any beach, but this particular one was Panama City Beach, Florida. The beach in that area is particularly beautiful, with brilliant white sand and sparkling aqua water. I love being at the beach because the water is endlessly fascinating to me. Sitting where I can see the waves roll in is just about the only place where I can leave my book unread in my lap while I watch the undulating water and listen to the waves lapping at the shore. It is very relaxing and riveting at the same time. And the beach changes constantly.

One day the waves will lap quietly at the shore, and the next the surf will be roaring. Of course, it doesn't roar in the Gulf of Mexico like it does in the Pacific Ocean, or even the Atlantic Ocean, but it does have its active times, as you can see. Some days the water sparkles with sunlight, and other days the skies are dramatic with storm clouds. And sunsets over the water are not to be beat. How can this not capture your imagination?
I don't know what causes this fascination, but it must be inherited because both my parents have had it, and my sister shares it as well. I know I have passed it on to at least one of our children, despite having a husband who doesn't share it and is mainly bewildered by it. As far as he is concerned, he could live forever without going to the beach. If he would want to move to Florida, he would be content to have a home in the center of the state or a house far from the beach. He thinks my dad is crazy for staying at a motel on the beach instead of buying a home a few streets away and that I am being intractable when I say it's not worth going if I can't be where I can look out and see the beach. I cannot explain it. You just have to have the beach gene, I suppose. I guess it is good for him that we live in Kentucky, where the nearest beach is 500 miles away! It's a moot point here.

So I must be content to get my beach fixes when I go on vacation. I'm grateful that I had one this year! It was almost as perfect as vacations can get, and I am so fortunate. Life is good!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving-a little early..

I know this is a little early for a Thanksgiving post, but if all goes as planned, we will be in Panama City Beach for the holiday, enjoying it with my dad, my sister and niece, and my brother and sister-in-law. It will be the first time all three of us "kids" (63, 59, and 55) have all been together with my dad in several years, since my brother lives in Boynton Beach, FL, and my sister and I both live in Kentucky, as does my dad during the spring and summer. I am really looking forward to the trip, our first real vacation in two years. Before we go, however, we are going to host a pre-Thanksgiving feast here tomorrow for our own children and grandchildren. I love to cook the Thanksgiving dinner-turkey and dressing and all the traditional fixins'. I have gotten to where I take a few shortcuts, but it's still pretty much a big dinner. I doubt very much if we will all sit at the table to eat, since there isn't room, but I have gotten out the good china and silverware, which is only used on the holidays, mostly Thanksgiving. After this year's feast, I will give the silver to Alissa to take home and the china will stay here in the china cabinet for Doug and Kellie to have when they move into this house next year. Hopefully, we will still use it on Thanksgiving, but it's time to pass it on to someone who will maybe get more use out of it than I do.

Meanwhile, Susie at Susie's Space reminded me on her blog that we have much for which to be thankful, so I am going to list a few things I am grateful for. This is by no means a complete or detailed list. I know that I have been blessed in many ways by God, and not because I have done great things to deserve these blessings. However, I do have the good sense to be grateful and at least try to be a good person. :)

  1. Good health and an optomistic outlook
  2. A generally cheerful disposition
  3. Waking up every morning
  4. A loving family heritage-great parents and grandparents and siblings
  5. A long and happy marriage
  6. Three wonderful children and three wonderful children-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren
  7. A fulfilling career (now over)
  8. Retirement
  9. A lovely home now and soon a brand-new one
  10. Enough financial wealth to be comfortable
  11. Terry's much improved health and attitude
  12. Hobbies that make life fun
  13. Great friends
  14. The ability to take care of myself and others

I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Life is good!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Debra's Meme via Alissa--and a picture

This is a painting of a leaf taken from a picture that I again filched from Alissa, and you can see the original photo on her site. Of course the painting doesn't do the spectacular photo justice, but it was a very eye-catching picture. Sorry that I placed it in the scanner crooked. Just turn your head a little to see the straight version. :)
Here's my version of the meme:
I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments.. what is it?
Produce: Potatoes.
Bakery: donuts
Meat: Laura's Lean hamburger
Frozen Foods: Rocky Road Ice cream
Dry Goods: Spaghetti

Let’s say we’re heading out for a weekend getaway. You’re only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what’s in your bag?
Clean underwear
A clean shirt
Bedroom slippers (my mom never let us walk on hotel floors in our bare feet!)

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
Ha! Ha!
I love you.
Give me a break!

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn’t get to do, you probably wouldn’t be in the best mood?
Crossword puzzles

You just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We’re talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
Doing word puzzles
Watching old movies

We’re going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it’ll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
Polar Bears

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
Two and A Half Men

You’re hungry for ice cream. I’ll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?

Rocky Road
French Vanilla
Butter Pecan

Somebody stole your purse/wallet…in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what’s in there?
Tide To Go pen

You are at a job fair, and asked what areas you are interested in pursuing a career in. Let’s pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted, so what 4 career would be fun for you?
Travel Journalist
Tour director
Flight Attendant

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
Have more confidence in yourself
Listen to your parents.
After college, give yourself a year on your own before settling down to marriage and a family.
Life is good--enjoy yourself!

OK, consider yourself tagged, and let me know if you answer the questions!
That was easy enough, I guess. At least it gave me something to write about. Maybe I will get a chance to post again about Thanksgiving before heading to Florida next week to visit my dad. If not, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and remember we have much for which to be thankful. After all, life is good!

Monday, November 05, 2007

No Monday Muse Today

When I started going to the library to paint on Mondays, I told Terry that I would only go when we had nothing else going on. Today we had a good reason for me to skip the painting session. The old guy went to sign up for his Social Security benefits. Since he retired nine years ago, he has been receiving a stipend from his company that filled in for his social security benefits that he was too young to receive. However, he is one of the first baby boomers, having been born in early January of 1946. I guess he is among the first wave of our generation, the one who is going to bust Social Security. Too bad for the rest of you! The substitute stipend that he has been receiving has not grown since he started getting it, not going up with the cost of living, as Social Security has. He found out today that he will be receiving almost $500 a month more than he is presently getting. We were thinking more like $400, so this was a pleasant surprise. He always told me that when he starts receiving his Social Security, I get to have a new car. I was going to get $200 of the raise to put toward a car payment, but maybe now we can afford a little more. I am hoping to get a new Saturn with a sunroof and OnStar. He would like me to look for a used car, but I got a used car the last time, so this time I want a new one. Of course, as long as it isn't a clunky old pewter Blazer that is 3 years old, I guess I should be grateful, but after all, when he got a truck last year, he got a new one. We won't be looking until after the first of the year, so I'll let you know what I finally end up with. Meanwhile, life is good! :)