Monday, December 31, 2007

Just a quick note to wish all our loyal readers a HAPPY NEW YEAR and best wishes to Anna and Dan on their first anniversary. Rose, Jalen, Brayden, and I are going out for an early New Year's Eve dinner to celebrate the occasion and also a belated birthday happening for Jalen's December birthday which occurs so close to Christmas that it seems a bit overlooked. We've had the boys since Saturday and have to give them up tomorrow, much to our reluctance.

Last Friday evening I went to a place back in my old neighborhood - the Dorsett Inn!! I was looking for a checkered future but I don't think it's in the cards. I met my old coworker from GMAC, Liz, and her sister Sue, who did my taxes for years, there. We talked, laughed, reminisced, listened to a lot of music that was 'after my time', and made plans for summer weekends at the lakehouse. We had a super evening and plan to do it again soon.

Donald and Vita came by Sunday morning with three of their grandsons, Jake, Joe, and Christopher. Jalen, Brayden, Jamil, and Layla were already here. Layla was outnumbered by the five boys but it didn't seem to bother her. The group took right up with each other and made immediate friends. Mark and Karen had given Jalen a Guitar Hero for his PS3 for Christmas and they all took turns playing it. Donald's grandsons had also got one of these guitar noisemakers from Santa and Donald and Vita had spent the previous few days with their grandchildren and their guitar and were thoroughly ready for some peace and quiet. Needless to say, they didn't get it here.

Yesterday afternoon Rose and I took Brayden, Jalen, and Layla to the indoor pool at the Clayton YMCA. Lucky for Rose and me, they closed early or we would have been there past bedtime. When we did get ready to leave, Rose nearly had to wade in to make them get out. It reminded us of our days at the Marshfield Pool when we would stay until our toes were raw from tip-toeing around the pool, our eyes were burning from the chlorine, and our knees were weak from hunger.

Santa brought Margaret a new laptop for Christmas, but I'm not sure if her computer experts have it hooked up for her yet. I love working the New York Times crossword puzzles with mine (and couldn't work them without it), and I know she loves the NYT puzzles, too. I can just picture her at her kitchen table working on one of them with her new computer. She can't imagine how much enjoyment she will get out of it.

This afternoon the boys and I went out to Doug and Suzanne's. The boys immediately disappeared to play with Luke and Josie and I didn't see them again until Rose picked us up two hours later. Doug and Suzanne are among the scores of people whose names I can't even begin to list, who have been so diligent and caring and loving and attentive and sacrificing and noncomplaining and, besides not being able to list the names, can't list all the other gifts of love that I have received again this year. It's the end of another year and I just want to say again HAPPY NEW YEAR. I know the procedure that I'm going to go through on January 8 is going to be an ordeal so please keep me in your prayers.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We got through Christmas and are ready for the New Year. We're not planning on ushering it in by staying up until midnight, but we have Jalen and Brayden staying with us and Jalen may want to see 2008 enter. Goldman and I met Scott over in Illinois this morning to pick up the boys. Rose and I will meet Scott on Tuesday to return them. We got Layla and Jamil Thursday and get to keep them until tomorrow night, so we are having lots of fun with these kids. They're watching Harry Potter 5 right now and Brayden is sitting next to Shirley and asking her all kinds of questions about who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. Shirley very patiently answers all his questions even when the answer is quite obvious.

We went out to the Abbotts' on Christmas Day. They had celebrated with their brood the night before which is their custom but there was still some apple and lemon pie left. I don't know how many Margaret must have made. Rose, Shirley, and I all had to sample some of the ones that didn't get eaten. I tried both kinds.

We went by Chris and Shelly's after we left the Abbotts'. They showed us around their house and all the remodelling they have been doing. They didn't take the day off from their working on it even though it was Christmas. Besides their carpentry work on Christmas, they also did some jogging. I don't remember how many miles. Chris got one of those fancy phones for Christmas. He was calling me one day and Scott answered my phone with just "Hello". Chris didn't recognize his voice, apologized, and hung up. It rang again, and again Scott answered and Chris apologized. Chris caught on by about the third time and didn't think it was a bit funny. Scott did.

Pete called this morning. He and Janet had planned to leave Idaho this morning, heading for Arizona but woke up to a foot of snow and icy roads. They decided to postpone their trip for at least one more day. We did have an earlier Christmas update from Pete and Janet. They had nine for Christmas dinner of prime rib. We tallied up and though he didn't say who couldn't make it, some of the family was missing if only nine were there.

We haven't had a Christmas update from our 2 L contributor out west nor have we heard from Springfield Family about their Christmas. Donald thought he would be in St. Louis sometime this week after spending Christmas with Julie and Jennifer and their families in Plattsburg, but we haven't heard from him yet.

We need a Kansas contributor. Jana and John were busy getting settled in their new house with time out to spend some of the holiday with the Felins. We haven't had recent updates from our Kansas Branch and the holidays. Do we have a volunteer contributor?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve morning and Shirley has Rose's and my stockings filled and hanging on the fireplace 'with care'. We have to wait until tomorrow though to see what's inside. It's going to be a long day, even for us elderly ones.

Scott and the boys arrived late Friday night from Louisville to celebrate Jalen's tenth birthday and to attend Mark and Karen's wedding on Saturday. We had the birthday party Saturday afternoon, and Jalen blew out the candles with the first try. He wouldn't tell us what he wished for but with his birthday gifts and Christmas presents, perhaps his wish came true. I'll ask him on the 26th. Besides his Dad and brother, Aunt Shirley, Aunt Rose, Uncle Ding, Aunt Shelly, Goldman and I attended his party. Becoming an age of 'double digits' is a turning point in growing up, according to Jalen. He is nearing puberty and seems to know what that's all about. {He's the first one to know!]

The wedding was an awesome event. It was held at the St. Louis Artists' Guild which someone told me was once a private home. It was a magnificent place with a lovely room for the ceremony, a huge dining room, some other reception rooms, and that was just the downstairs.

The bride was absolutely stunning and, as she and Mark pledged their vows to each other in a most loving, tender and touching way, it brought tears to our eyes. Brayden had never been to a wedding before and was excited about going but didn't know what to expect or what to do during the ceremony. He proudly told one older woman, "This is my first wedding." Scott held him up so he could see over everyone and, at first, he kept his head bowed until his chin was almost on his chest. He kept this position through most of the ceremony with lots of head raising to see what was going on. The bride and groom spent the evening making everyone welcome and just sparkling with joy and happiness. I'mm eager to see the pictures the photographer took, and Rose has some more that she's going to post. I especially liked the one of the bride,'my three sons,' and me.

Mark's son, Drew, who's a student at Truman, was there for the occasion but his daughter, Katie, who is doing an internship in Kansas City and her fiance', Austin, who's a grad student at KU, were unable to make it due to an ice and snowstorm in mid Missouri. They were sorely missed. I had to card Drew when I caught him with a cocktail and it was hard to believe he is of legal age. There were music and dancing after the reception, ceremony, dinner, and photography session. Brayden, despite much prodding, refused to dance, but Jalen, with little or no prodding, really cut the rug with his Aunt Rose. The evening was a very joyous and memorial event.

We had our family Christmas on Sunday, the 23rd and, again, Katie and Austin were sorely missed. Rose and Shirley prepared a delicious brunch which we ate AFTER we opened the gifts Santa had left during the night. Brayden and Jalen helped pass out gifts UNTIL they found some that Santa had left with their names on them. They quit helping then and there. The bride and groom were here along with the rest of the family, and were going to visit with the bride's family from here. Drew was going home and back to bed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. After a rather stressful Sunday afternoon, we three women got our Christmas tree picked out, bought, brought home, put in the stand and ready to decorate. I've lived here a long time and it's as close as I've seen the two of them get into an argument when we first started discussing a Christmas tree. Someone once told me I had a quick wit. Denny overheard the comment and put in his two cents worth "If you live with her, it's a smart mouth". Shirley agreed with him when I told her about that conversation before we finished getting the tree arranged. We did enlist John's assistance with some of the tedious chores associated with this task. He was so pleasant that if it was an act, we would certainly be surprised. Putting the ornaments on the tree was a trip down memory lane. Most every one of them had a special memory and association for one or all of us. A new addition this year is a reindeer whose nose lights up when the tree needs water. It really does work!!!

Our little family, Jana, John, and 21 month-old daughter Ellie, left us last night. We surely enjoyed having them spend the time with us. They're excited about their new house and are looking forward to being closer to more of their families. They plan on having Christmas in St. John. Rose set up the tripod and took pictures right before they left. We had some duplicate shots but we're still practicing. Mine and Shirley's faces hurt before we were finished.

We got some wonderful fattening Harry and David chocolates from John and Jana. I had to go for my pre-op this morning and have been trying to gain some weight. These chocolates helped. Rose and Shirley are sure our scales can't possibly be right, especially so soon after they ate the goodies.

Mark and Karen's wedding is Saturday night. They just returned from sailing lessons from some islands near South America. Scott and the boys are coming from Louisville late Friday and have to leave by noon on Sunday. Sunday is Jalen's tenth birthday. Double digits is a big step in growing up he says.

After the wedding on Saturday night, the newly weds are coming here for brunch and our family Christmas. We're having it at ten on Sunday because Scott and the boys have to leave. Mark complained a bit about cutting his wedding night somewhat short but said they will be here promptly at ten. We will be serving some Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon, compliments of Sandi FeLLin. Sandi, I already have to save 2 pieces for friends who won't be here but I've told about it.

Shirley's nephew and wife, Michael and Leslie, came over this evening. Aunt Shirley is their Aunt Rose and Aunt Sue and to her other nieces and nephews. Most of them live in Louisiana, though, and she, like us, doesn't get to see them enough.