Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My paternal grandmother just recently turned 99 years old.

That's almost a century!

She has a few health issues, but that's to be expected after 99 years of wear and tear on her body and organs. However, she lives with my aunt (her daughter) who takes excellent care of her. They have some outside help for a few hours each day, but Grandma prefers Aunt M to take care of her.

Her mind is still pretty darn good. Sure she has a few episodes of slight confusion, but for the most part, is right on top of things. She is still strong willed and determined and will let you know without a doubt if she disagrees with your thoughts or opinions.

She enjoys watching and listening to political programs on TV and is completely dedicated to following the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Her absolute favorite player is....LeBron James. She knows everything there is to know about him, and then some!

Grandma was the third of seven children, having been born in a small town along the Ohio River.

As a child Grandma and her friends would swim across the Ohio River. One of her brothers would row across with them in his canoe, so if they were tired, they could get a ride back. Her mother would stand at the edge of the river yelling at her for swimming across, telling her how dangerous it was…and the next day she would be back again, doing the same thing! (And I used to wonder where Joe and Alex got that trait...)

She and my Granddad fell in love and married pretty young, when they were only 17. My dad was born when she was 19, then my aunt when she was 20.

Of my Grandma's six siblings, five eventually married. Uncle Raymond had a girlfriend named Mabel, but they never got married.

Out of the five that got married, NONE of them had children.

Once, many years ago, I asked her why none of the others had children. Without skipping a beat she said that they all saw how bad her two were (my dad and my aunt) and decided they wanted nothing to do with it!

Grandma never got a drivers license. She tried to drive one time, got in an accident, then said she'd never get behind the wheel again. Apparently, she meant it!

When my Granddad was only 44, he was killed in an industrial accident. This happened before my parents were even married. I never had the chance to meet him. I'm sorry I never got to know him.

After that, Grandma lived with my Aunt M, and helped her out in her beauty shop for decades. Grandma was the official greeter and coffee lady. When I was young and would stay with them for a few weeks each summer, I would "help out" too, hahaha.

When we visited her for her birthday I asked her about all the changes she's seen over the years. She immediately stated that not all of them were for the better! (That's the opinionated side of her showing through again!)

She's the only one of the seven children in her family still living...I told her it was because she has always been taken care of AND because she was the only one who had children.

We know that having children can sometimes bring you gray hair a little sooner than you thought necessary, or add to the wrinkles on your face, but there's also a chance that having children can prolong your life.

Happy 99th Birthday Grandma!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Leisurely Ride

Last Saturday morning Ted and I went for a ride through Amish country. It only takes us about 15 minutes to get to the "Gateway to Amish Country" from here, but it's not something we do very often. The area has a large Amish population, but there are also quite a few "English" that live out that way. The further you go into Amish country, the more Amish you see, naturally.

Unfortunately there are those that take advantage of that and try to sell all kinds of Amish things from dolls to furniture and everything in between. Ted has worked around a few Amish carpenters and they really get upset when merchants take advantage of the unknowing public by claiming that they are selling Amish goods. With most (but not all) items, the only thing Amish about those things is that they are being SOLD in Amish country.
Anyway, we knew that it would be fairly busy out that way because it was a nice autumn day, but still decided to go.
Our first stop was a grocery store that specializes in cheese, baked goods and bulk products. Their bakery is excellent and, luckily for them, we were hungry. We got way too many things from the bakery (cinnamon rolls, sour dough bread, cookies, fry pies, etc.) and then got some bulk things too, in addition to some pumpkins.
We continued on into a small community and stopped at an apple orchard. The term "apple orchard" is misleading in this case, as the apples and other products are all in a warehouse type facility, having already been picked. We didn't get any apples, but did pick up a few more pumpkins and a couple potted mums. They had something interesting and I'm still not sure if I like it or not. I didn't purchase any of these particular items, but I did take a picture of them. They had some pumpkins that had the top cut almost all the way off with a mum inside. My initial thought was that I liked them, then I wasn't so sure. Now I'm on the fence.

The parking lot at the orchard was filled to capacity and two chartered busses pulled up and began unloading. That's when I said that we needed to leave. I got the distinct impression that the busses came from inner city Akron or Cleveland. I overheard a few of them talking and they had the northern Ohio accent. Although it's a slight accent, I can still detect it. It seems as though people from "the big city" just go crazy over Amish country, so I was going to let them enjoy it without hearing me mumble under my breath.
The day was gorgeous, and the clouds were really moving fast. I got a little carried away taking pictures of the sky, and you're the lucky people who get to see them!
One of the roads took us right by a cemetery and I saw a small area that had an angel in it. For some reason it struck me as very touching. I took quite a few pictures of it.

We were only gone for a few hours, but we had a nice time.

I like the contrast of the buggies and the cars in this shot. I was careful to not get the man's face in this picture, as the Amish do NOT want their photos taken.

Yes, the Amish and English share the road. The Amish community also pay taxes toward the upkeep of the state and county roads.

We also came across a stone fence that really intrigued me. I wonder how old it is and what the upkeep is like for it.

Another Amish buggy, waiting for its owners to finish up their errands.

It was a beautiful autumn day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Is it Me? Or is it the Book?

I just finished reading "Swimsuit" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. I usually like Patterson's books, except for his Alex Cross series, however, I'm not sure about this one.

Either I'm getting old (don't anybody say a word about my age...I'm warning you) and just don't need graphic scenes to entertain me, or his work is becoming more...I can't quite come up with the word...maybe intense?

Whichever way it is, I found the beginning of this book disturbing. That's about the only way I can describe it. Once I got into it and wanted to see how it turned out, several more disturbing scenes played out.

When I got about two thirds of the way through the book, I just HAD to read the last few pages to see how it turned out. Otherwise, I was going to have to stop reading it.

I chose to finish the book and I still can't get the gruesome parts out of my head.

So...I'm wondering...is it ME who's changed? Or is it his writing? I know he collaborates with other authors, but surely he has the final say. This was definitely one of my least favorite books of his.

It might be a while before I read another Patterson book.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Productive Weekend

For the past few years Ted and Alex would go away over Labor Day weekend. (Yes I know that was a month ago, but so what?)

This year they didn't because Alex was in college and even had classes on Labor Day.

Anyway, for the past few years I took advantage of that weekend to clean out my closet. I would have a bag for things that were going to go to Good Will and another bag for things that were in too bad of shape to go anywhere but the trash.

This year was no exception.

OH MY....

I wish I would have thought to take before and after pictures of my closet. It was SO bad. I had just enough space to step into the closet and stand in front of the rods. I had put boxes with "things" in them on the floor.

I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to clean anything out. Otherwise you really don't accomplish all that much. Fortunately, I was in the right frame of mind that weekend.

At one point I just sat on the floor and threw stuff out of my closet. I figured I'd go through it later. The only problem was that when later came, I wasn't able to get out of the closet without climbing a mountain of stuff.

I got rid of stuff I'd been holding onto for years. I got rid of things that I wore two sizes ago (yeah, like I'll ever fit into THAT again). I got rid of clothes that I didn't like anymore.

I found boxes with Christmas gifts from two years ago. I gave the couple baby things I found to a teacher at school who is expecting a baby this winter. I got those things when our niece was pregnant with our great nephew Michael...who is two and a half years old now.

I came across bags with stuffed animals. (There's a story for a future post there.) I put them all together in one box. I found a shirt on the floor that I had totally forgotten I had. I don't think I've even had it on since we moved into this house in March of 2006.

When it was all said and done, I had FOUR big trash bags for the trash.


there were bags for Good Will.

How many, you may be asking?



Yes, 15 bags, stuffed to the gills, that went to Good Will. Joe took them one day while I was at school, and it took him two trips.

It was such a refreshing feeling to look in my closet and know how much I got rid of...I know for a fact that I got rid of 35 dresses alone. I didn't bother to count the skirts, jeans, dress pants, shirts, blouses, t-shirts, sweatpants, sweaters, shorts, capris, etc.

Now my goal for this month is to tackle my shoes! I have at least 40 pairs of shoes, but only wear about 5 pair. The rest are heading OUT!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So Sweet

One recent morning at school, I witnessed the sweetest thing.

I walked out of our room, heading toward the office. It was early, about 15 minutes or so before the tardy bell rang.

I saw a little girl who is in first grade, facing a little boy, both of her hands holding his. I heard her say, "It'll be okay. I'll see you at recess."

Then she kissed him on the cheek, he smiled, and she told him he needed to go to his classroom. He turned to leave and she watched him walk down the hall.

I said, "Molly, is that your little brother?"

"Yes it is."

"Is he in kindergarten?"

"Yes, he's in Miss Fisher's room. He knows his way there."

"You are such a nice big sister, making sure that he gets there okay, and telling him you'll see him at recess."

She smiled at me, glanced toward him to make sure he turned down the hallway, turned around herself, and headed off to her room.

It was the sweetest thing to see this little girl taking care of her brother like that.

Molly isn't her real name, but she reminds me so much of Molly, the American Girl doll. She has glasses and long hair that she wears in braids sometimes, and her hair is the most gorgeous shade of red....not obnoxious red, just sort of a light brown red.

And she's obviously a very caring sister.