Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stopping to count my blessings

You know, for as much complaining as I have been doing on here lately regarding the winter weather we've been having, it just hit me tonight as I sat down with a French Vanilla Coffee, in front of the fireplace in my warm fleece jammies, that I don't have much to complain about really. Okay, I don't like the winter weather the way I liked it when I was a kid, but still, it is pretty to look at all the snow out there sparkling like a million diamonds in the night with the moonlight shining on it.

And why am I warm and toasty in my cozy home? Because I have a hubby who works very hard to provide a nice place for me to live in and have enough money to pay the bills to keep us warm, and the electricity on so I can use my computer and watch television or listen to the radio or a CD player, enough food to eat that we really never go hungry. We may not have a certain snack that I'm craving, but that's not really going hungry! Enough money to buy the medications we need to take on a daily basis after we both had heart attacks, and a trusty, loyal companion to live with us that we can also afford to feed and pay vet bills for to keep her healthy.

We have enough money to do some of the things we enjoy doing.........hub hunting and fishing, me scrap booking and visiting with my family and friends. Being able to pull together an unplanned meal and turn it into something special when the kids and grand kids stop over and being healthy enough to enjoy spending time with them....all 18 of the living ones from 18 months old to 19 years. I'm lucky to be able to say that I have held every grand child at least once......even our dear Owen who was stillborn a few years back. And how lucky we are in knowing that he is buried by his birth grandpa and is in heaven with God and his grandpa and great grandparents. How lucky that at least we got to hold him if not given the chance to get to know him. The love for him is still there too.

Having enough love to go around and having the grand children feel comfortable enough to call and ask me to tie a tie for one to go on an interview 'cause he never learned how to do it. Having them know that they can call us for anything.........even when they were very young and called to 'tattle' on their mom or dad for not letting them do what they wanted, thinking I, as their dad or mom's MOM had the authority to still make them mind and do what I said. Very humorous! Knowing that they can come for a visit and spend as many nights here as their parents will allow when ever they want. Our theory has always been that if they want to come, they can. And if we have something to do they are welcome to come along with us or they can choose to stay home with their parents without hurting our feelings.

And we are lucky enough to live in a country where young men and women go to war and sacrifice their comfort to fight for our freedom so we can have these things and enjoy all these luxuries that they are going without.

I think sometimes I just forget to count all the blessings the good Lord has bestowed upon me in this lifetime. Dear God, please place reminders in front of me so I never take all this for granted.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter or something like it, has a hold on Michigan!

I know it is only January and living in Michigan means winter and snowy months from November through February and sometimes into March. We've actually had snow well into April before too, but I have had enough snow this year. It really hasn't been a bad winter.........REALLY! It's just that when it decided to hit, it hit with a vengeance and hasn't let up. The streets are very slick and slippery and I won't venture out on them. Not since I rolled a new 4-wheel drive Jeep over back in Jan. of 1990 and was stuck hanging upside down inside the vehicle with about 12 people staring in at me all talking and trying to figure out what the best way to get me out was. The roads were glare ice that day and I was on my way to work. I worked at a bank in the mortgage loan department. All the roads in the area were icy that day. In fact a county snowplow had rolled over getting off the exit ramp to the same street that I rolled over on. The snowplow driver was not ticketed. I was. The police officer wrote me a ticket for driving too fast for conditions. I was going 20 mph in a 45 mph zone. It was a very windy day and a gust blew me across the road into the oncoming traffic lane and when I tried to recover it straightened out and came back into my lane only to slide of the road into a deep ditch and roll. I knew it was going to roll.........I could tell by the way it moved. I was very calm about it at the time. I didn't remain calm when they couldn't figure out how to get me out! Nor was I calm when the State Trooper ticketed me. I told him I was only going 20 in a 45, and he responded with anyone out driving today is driving too fast for conditions. My answer was 'you are out driving today.' He told me he was working. I sarcastically told him that I too was on my way to work and not to a matinee. He did give me a ride home though since I refused to get inside the ambulance once they freed me.

Once home, I called my soon to be hub at his work and told him what happened. He came home immediately and wanted to take me to the hospital or at least the doctor. My sons were in high school at the time and I worked with one of their friends mom. Their friend called his mom to see if she made it okay to work and told him that she did, but that I didn't and had been involved in a roll over accident. Both of my sons called the police and got a ride home to be with me and make sure I was alright. They never checked out of school or told anyone they were leaving. It turned out okay for them, as the police chief knew us and explained the boys behavior the next day to the school office.

That ticket I received was the very first ticket I had ever had. I had been driving since I was 16 years old and I was 44 years old at the time and was pretty upset to have been given a ticket when the county snowplow driver didn't get one. I wrote a letter to the judge explaining why I felt this ticket was unfair and not at all necessary.

A few days later in the mail, I received a letter from the judge and the road commission asking me to attend one of their luncheon meetings in the city of Allegan to speak about my situation. I accepted and attended the meeting within a couple of weeks. The road commission presented me with a license plate that said "Saved by the belt", a coffee mug with a picture of a seat belt in use painted on it, a bumper sticker and a certificate that commended me for wearing my seat belt. But the best part was when the judge got up and said that the ticket would be rescinded and no fines or points would appear on my drivers license! I guess you can fight City Hall on some occasions and actually win.

But to shorten this and get back to the point...........that is why I refuse to drive when we get a lot of snow that becomes slippery or icy on top from the cars traveling on it.

The photos above are from Sunday when hub was plowing and hauling firewood in. We received about 6 more inches of new snow last night and he had to plow again. Tonight we are under a Lake Effect Snow Warning......which means we could end up with another 5 - 10 inches of new snow by noon tomorrow. Now, not all counties are under this warning. It is mostly the counties near the coast of Lake Michigan. The county I live in is on the coast of Lake Michigan, but only the west part of the county. I live closer to the east part of this county but we happen to live in what they call the local snow band so these Lake effect warnings always involve us too. If only I had a full time chauffer I probably wouldn't get cabin fever quite as bad!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I am in the process of reorganizing my computer/craft room. I began this project shortly after hub left for work today which was about 2:00 that he left and 2:30 by the time I began. It is still a mess. Of course, my theory is that if you are going to reorganize, you may as well clean from top to bottom at the same time! The following picture shows why I need to reorganize.

If you look closely at the bottom two shelves of the green unit, you can see that it has also become a collect all for some of the grand kids favorite toys. I will leave them there as it gives them something to do where I can still see them, if I want or need to be on the computer when they are here.

My problem is I have too many items for this room or this room is too small for the many items I have! I think I still need to give it some more thought. So, I'll take a break and ponder it some more! Guess I'll take a photo when I'm happy with it and post that!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another experience

Yesterday while at the local drug store retrieving my many prescriptions I had another experience. This time with a mentally challenged individual. She was about 5'2" tall and of slight build. She was with her mother who happened to be at the counter ahead of me discussing some of the meds she was there picking up. There were several people in line behind me. This gal turned around and smiled at me and I, of course, smiled back. She gave me a robust 'hello' and I answered in return and asked how she was. She then said 'Ho ho ho', which made me chuckle and I asked her if she was practicing being Santa since her coat was a bright, fuzzy red one and resembled Santa's suit. She flashed me another huge smile and said yes and the smile was immediately followed by an enormous belch! She covered her mouth and looked very surprised and said 'scuse me'! I chuckled again.............I couldn't help it. She just seemed so surprised that such a huge belch had come out of her mouth.

I continued to wait in line while her mother spoke with the pharmacist and others behind me were getting impatient. This young woman proceeded to speak with me more. What she said didn't always follow any kind of pattern or thought process, but she kept smiling anyway and I kept up a simple yet pleasant conversation with her. I heard some one a few people back make a comment that her mother should teach her not to speak to strangers. I found this offensive. We were in a small local business and most people at least recognize others by sight if not by name. I turned around and watched the gal who made the comment turn a little pinkish in the face, and I thought GOOD! This young gal who began the conversation with me was probably no more than 5 or 6 mentally and I can't count the number of times I have spoken with children of this age while waiting in line at grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores and the like. No one has ever mentioned in those circumstances that the child's' mother should teach them not to speak with strangers. I feel the comment was made because the people behind me in line were in a hurry and most likely didn't want to listen to what they perceived to be a handicapped person conversing with anyone else.

When her mother turned after finishing her business with the pharmacist, she smiled at me and said thank you for entertaining her. I said no thanks were needed and the gal told me I was a 'good girl' and gave me a big hug as she turned to leave with her mom. How little effort it took on my part to make this gal feel comfortable and like she belonged. I just wish more people would take the time to do this. And this made me think of the veteran from the day before and I wondered once again what is wrong with today's society that we can't all take the time to make a stranger feel good about themselves. Seems the longer I live, the more I see that needs to be fixed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

American Veterans

Today, I took my husband's uncle to the Veteran's Facility in Grand Rapids for his eye doctor appointment. I left the house at 12:10 PM and returned home at 5:20 PM. That's how long it took. Yes, he had an appointment for 1:45, and never got in to see them until just after 2:30. Then they needed to put drops in his eyes and sent him back out into the waiting area until the drops took effect. Which consisted of at the least another 30 minutes.

While sitting there, I had a lot of time to do some people watching. And I am appalled at the way some of our veterans are treated. Oh, I don't mean by the medical staff there or any of the other staff working at this facility, but by others waiting to be seen by which ever department they were there for. Or maybe it was the people waiting with the other vets........their drivers or care givers perhaps.

I actually witnessed one couple chuckling and making rude comments about the apparel of one of the veterans walking by. Okay, maybe his pants were a little short, maybe he was in need of haircut, maybe his shoes and coat were way out of date, but those making the comments have no idea what this veterans background or living conditions might be. And I believe the man waiting with the woman was a veteran himself. And from the looks of him from better circumstances than the man they were making fun of. It really upset me. I mean, these veterans have made sacrifices for our country to make sure we have the opportunity to remain living in a free society and this is the way they get treated. Shame on those people for not giving the proper respect to this old veteran that he deserved in spite of his appearance and/or living arrangements at the present time.

We would all do well to remember 'but by the grace of God, there go I'!

Let me thank every single veteran who has fought or served in what ever manner to protect my rights and freedom and apologize for those with little sense to be able to offer recognition when it is deserved. And to those of you who passed by me without a smile, I hope the smile I gave you lifted your spirits just a little.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Today has been a busy day. Well, all week has but I suspect that with school starting and people being back to work it will begin to calm down more. Of course, the week is virtually over anyway being that it is Saturday at 9:50 PM!

New Years Day my grandson, Steve, stopped by for a visit with his girlfriend, Lindsay. Lindsay lives in New Hampshire and flew in the day after Christmas to spend the week with Steve and his family. She is a very sweet gal and Steve's mom and step-dad and sister and little Drew think the world of her too! She was also here at Thanksgiving for a visit. Pretty nice of her parents to let her come for two holidays; well, three if you count the day after Christmas. She did stay home and celebrate Christmas with her parents and brother. This is a photo of them sitting on my love seat.........

Today, Drew got here a little after 1 PM. Emily had a competitive cheer leading thing going on at a local high school and we all knew that there's no way Drew would be able to sit that long and watch. So the only option was for him to come and spend some time with the "Mema"! He left about 5:30 PM............

and I prepared for the next round of the sandbox set to arrive. Harley and Hunter got here about 6:30 PM, done with supper, baths and the donning of pajamas to spend the night. Easy stuff when they are all ready for bed and they are only going to be up for a couple hours and then go to bed and have Dad and Virginia coming back in the morning as soon as I call them.

The photo of Drew is last years and the photo of Harley is from Christmas Day. The one of Hunter was from last March when he was here for an over night visit.

I'm thinking of installing one of those revolving doors they have in some of the stores...........what do ya think?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It hasn't stopped snowing for 3 days now. Not constantly, but off and on. Enough on to accumulate enough snow to cancel school for today. It would have been the first day back after Christmas break. I have talked to a few moms who are not at all happy with the snow day. Obviously a different breed of women than me. I used to love Christmas break. Actually, I loved every break when the kids were home and we had a more relaxed schedule. I loved having the kids around all the time. So much in fact, that during school breaks and summer vacations, we always had extra kids hanging around and in our home. Makes me wonder if kids are much more misbehaved than they were when mine were young. Or could it be that woman have changed and most no longer wish to be bothered with having to be responsible for children all day long.

I hear many of them talk about how the house is always a mess and the kids fight and just don't listen to what they tell them and they are tired of being ignored and being made to feel like slaves picking up after the kids constantly. I say.....WHAT? I never felt like that. My kids were taught respect........respect for me and respect for their belongings. Leave them lying around and you would lose them and have to 'buy' them back from me after I gathered them up and stored them in my closet. Which, btw, was "MY" closet and not a public place for children to go snooping. And they respected that too! Maybe the problem lies with the parenting skills and forgetting to teach them respect. I see so many parents being what I refer to as 'armchair' parents. Meaning they sit where they are comfortable and tell the kids what to do......repeatedly. But do not make any effort to actually get up and make sure what they have said is being followed through on.

I'm not advocating constant yelling at them or by no means beating on them! But maybe you need to show them that you mean what you say and there are or will be consequences for not listening and doing as you are told. Or is it just easier for them to let things pass than to deal with them. But what do they think these kids will be like when they are 15 and 16 years old and older? Do they think at that age there is some magical pill to give them that will make them responsible and respectful? Not going to happen people! Maybe I'm just getting too old and can't accept the change in parenting ways......but I don't see it for the better!