Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas LunchYesterday my group of old friends had lunch together as you can see in the above picture. We all taught together at school for years and years. Now we're all retired and try to have lunch together every couple of weeks. Our lunch yesterday was especially nice because two people have had health issues recently. Mickey in blue fell, broke her pelvis, and was in the hospital for some time. Pat in purple has had various challenges for herself and her husband. We have shared a lot through the years and I really love my friends, these plus many others.

Here are a couple of pictures of recent visitors to my house. Yoshie , on the right in the picture, is my student. Her beautiful daughter and her sister had been visiting from Japan and stopped to see me. They were able to see a really heavy snow while here!

The last picture is me with my student Kaori. My students are very kind and eager to learn, and it is a great pleasure to know them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

Once again it is the holiday season and the time to reflect on the year. We hope this greeting finds you all well and we send you our good wishes for a wonderful year ahead. We’ll try to catch up on a little news here and share a few photos.

Grandchildren are the greatest joy of our lives; we spend time with them whenever we can. There was an addition to the family on May 12 when Matthew, son of Tom and Kelly, was born in Maplewood, N.J. On the left please see Matthew in his passport photo. Tom works in New York City and Kelly continues part time, working on line from home while spending quality time with Matthew.

To the right please see our oldest grandchild, Gabriel, son of Marta and Steve, who live in Stevensville, Michigan. Gabriel is three and a half years old and happily attends a Montessori School. He loves the beach, playing trucks and cars, and baking cookies with Grandma. Steve and Marta have a very busy life with their careers and occasional visits to Marta’s homeland of Spain.

On the left is Scarlett, daughter of Cathy and Sasha, living in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Scarlett is two and a half, loves animals of all kinds, and goes daily to her parents’ business where she is a helper in training. Cathy and Sasha have a store and on line business in the Chicago area. We love to take Scarlett to the park when we visit.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and many blessings for the coming year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Trees
On the left is a view of the front door of our house with the lit tree beside it. The next picture was taken in our living room, with the outdoor tree showing on the right side through the window.
I think we are almost ready for Christmas. With all of our children and grandchildren expected home for the holidays, we are looking forward to a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Storm
This is the view in front of our house this morning. The snow began last night and we awoke to several inches on the ground with more coming down. When I went outside to check on the newspaper, I found the snow to be deeper than my boots. Not much is going to happen until the snow plow comes through. This is the perfect day for children to go sledding or make a snowman since it's not so cold or windy. Later Tony will use the snow blower to clear the driveway and sidewalk; I'd like to take a walk if possible. It is a day to read a book, drink a cup of tea, and take it slowly.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cathy loves knitting just as much as I do. I taught her to knit when she was maybe 10 years old. At that time she began to knit a scarf and I don't remember if it was ever finished. Then about 3 years ago when she was expecting Scarlett, she picked up knitting again, and since has gone on to complete many projects. Here she is at her store near Chicago today, wearing a recently completed sweater. Didn't she do a nice job?
Steve and Marta came home from their Cancun vacation last evening; from the warm beaches and white sands of Cancun to the snowy landscape of Michigan. Here's Marta's reunion with Coco. She loves Coco so much and Coco feels the same way about Marta. Coco even knows how to give hugs. Coco is a very special dog!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Here's Coco in her red coat, ready to put on her leash and go for a walk! Coco has been our visitor this week while Steve, Marta, and Gabriel spent a few days on the beach in Cancun. She usually stays at our house twice a year, winter and summer, while her family takes a vacation. Coco probably enjoys her summer visits more because she gets more walks. If she has a good daily walk, she spends most of the remainder of the day sleeping. Her sleeping spot is on her blanket placed at the end of our sofa. Every time she returns to this house she goes to the same spot. Two things are very important to Coco when she visits us: her daily walk and a pig ear. She has a large bag of dried pig ears, purchased at Sam's, and knows she gets one every evening after dinner. When Coco was very young, she was much more active and I worried about her getting lost or running away. Now she has a very nice routine; she can go outside and stay in our back yard without straying if I put her outside for a potty break. Late this evening her family will return. Marta loves Coco so much, like her own child. At the beach in Mexico Gabriel asked about Coco and said he wanted to see her. It will be a nice reunion this evening when they are together again. Next week I will miss my companion next to my chair as I enjoy my morning coffee. But summer will come again and we can look forward to Coco's next vacation stay.
Look for a report on Cancun in Marta's blog next week!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Our Visitor

We have a visitor this week. She arrived yesterday and will stay until next Saturday. She is very quiet but enjoys attention. She has a red coat and is very happy to put it on and go outside in it. Usually she sleeps most of the time. Our visitor enjoys her meals and snacks. As a guest, she is very undemanding and a pleasure to have in our home. Surely you've guessed who she is! What do you think?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Moving to Japan

Saturday morning the Matsushita family came to visit me to say good bye. After 4 years in Michigan, they are returning to their home in Japan. When they first came here, their children were very young, the twins only a year old. Four years have passed, the children have grown, everyone has progressed in their English skills. I want to wish them well in their future life. It has been such a pleasure to know them.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Train Wreck

Yesterday near Chicago an Amtrack train traveling from Michigan to Chicago crashed into a freight train. The passengers on the Amtrack felt a serious jolt as the train traveling (according to the news) 20 to 25 mph hit a freight train parked on the tracks. Passengers without warning were thrown forward, hitting their heads and faces, causing injury to many. The train personnel in the front of the train were most critically injured. People were sent to the hospital by helicopter and bus. It was a very cold late November day so the shock of this accident affected everyone.

The reason I'm discussing this accident is that my wonderful daughter-in-
law Marta was on the train! She is fine, I believe, but I don't know the details. Steve called me early in the afternoon with the news. She had been going to Chicago for the day to take care of some business. I talked to Marta briefly on her cell phone; she said she was so happy to be alive. I think she may be blogging about this event; there is a link to Marta's blog on the right. Look for more news coming up soon!

Don't we feel that traveling by train is one of the safest ways to go, much safer than driving, especially in a busy city? We just never know what can happen.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Enjoying Florida

Here are some favorite pictures from the last few days.

On the left you can see Tom, Matthew and me. We all went out to a Chinese restaurant one evening.

Here's Kelly and her mom Carol the same evening.

Winter Park has an excellent farmer's market open on Saturdays. Matthew found it very relaxing.

Kelly's parents have a spool which is a combination pool and spa. Matthew loves going in the warm swirling water. He loves it so much he squeals with excitement.

The big event occurred Sunday when Matthew was baptized at the same church in Winter Park where his parents were married. Here is our group photo including Matthew, his parents, and all his grandparents. He was very contented during his baptism. The minister presented him to the church, walking down the aisle and showing him to everyone in the congregation. Matthew was so happy and well behaved on this special occasion.

This is my favorite picture of Tom, Kelly, and Matthew.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Greetings from Orlando
We are spending a few days in Orlando because Sunday is Matthew's baptism. The weather is warm and mild. Tom is getting in lots of golf. I'm enjoying lots of grandmothering time with Matthew. Here is Tom on the golf course, getting in a moment in the sun with his son.

Here are the two grandmothers with our Little Guy!

Here's Kelly's father carving the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

We all enjoyed decorating ourselves for the holiday. Here are Tom, Kelly, and Matthew, a pilgrim couple with their Little Guy

We saw an egret walking on a nearby yard. It was so slender and beautiful---at first I didn't believe my eyes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spoiled. That's me. My dishwasher died yesterday, a slow lingering death marked by stops and starts, screwdrivers and wrenches, hope and defeat. With a sink full of dirty dishes requiring attention, I headed for Walmart to get supplies for hand washing, a drying rack and drainer, preparing to once again, after a spoiled rotten life of automatic dishwashing for the past 37 years. I was feeling just a little sorry for myself, wondering how I would cope with this discomfort.
Then this evening my hands were in the warm soapy water surrounded by dirty dishes when I experienced a kind of revelation. This was not half bad. The warm water on my cold hands felt really good. It came to me that dishwashing is a finite task with a beginning and end, a household chore, unlike some others, that I can check off as completed at some point, giving a satisfying sense of accomplishment. At the moment that I am handwashing dishes, probably millions of people in all kinds of settings are doing the same thing. It is a time to think about this shared task.
I realize that I am the first generation of women with automatic dishwashers. My mother and all the generations preceding never had such an appliance. In the world today what percentage of the world's people have any kind of modern appliance or, for that matter, clean running water? Hot water that doesn't have to be carried long distances by hand? How lucky I am! A broken dishwasher is a blessing, reminding me what a lucky life I have. Sometimes I need these reminders. Otherwise I remain Spoiled.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Here I am in front of my computer screen, with a picture taken by my new webcam attached to the top of the monitor. Recently thanks to Kelly I've begun to use Skype to keep in touch with family members. Today on Skype I read a book to Scarlett (who is in Chicago); I could show her the pictures in the book and she could listen to me reading it. This evening I saw baby Mathew (in New Jersey) as he was trying to go to sleep in his crib.

How greatly the world has changed in my lifetime. We got our first home telephone when I was five years old. The phone number had just 4 digits and I still remember it! There was a "party line" which we shared with some of the neighbors. One day when I was seven years old we received our first television set. Programs were in black and white and the reception was not very clear.

Now we all have cell phones, computers, and ipods. I can see and talk to my grandchildren living in other parts of the country in a video conference. How wonderful this is! And it causes me to wonder what the future holds and what new marvels are out there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Last Weekend
We went to Cathy and Sasha's house to spend some time with our granddaughter Scarlett. Here are some pictures of our activities. We went to the park both Friday and Saturday. Scarlett is very cautious about playing on the swings and slides so I played on them with her. Being a grandmother gives me a chance to play like a child again.

Here is Scarlett modeling her Halloween costume, Dorthy the Dinosaur for us.

It was a lovely sunny weekend for early November. We needed our jackets and sweaters but it was very nice to be outside.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Visitors

Here are some trick or treaters who came to my door on Halloween night. I love their costumes!

The Cookie Bakers

I have a good helper when I bake cookies. Gabe shapes the cookie and then places it on the cookie sheet. Sometimes he eats a chocolate chip. We have fun!

Some Pictures from Last Weekend

Steve, Marta, and Gabriel came last weekend. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant and Gabriel and I baked cookies.

Gabe enjoys potstickers. He's fairly adept with chopsticks too!

Steve and Gabriel before our dinner was served.

Here's Marta!

This is Beef and Peapods. So good!