not my cup of tea

I suppose that anyone who has known me for over ten minutes, most likely is knowledgeable of the fact that Halloween is not my “thing”.  Even as a little girl, I did not like costumes.  I did not like having my face made up and calling attention to myself.  Luckily, I began dance lessons at the tender age of two, so I always had a tutu around to dress up like a ballerina.  And my little black cowgirl outfit with the white fringe from “Ragtime Cowboy Joe“.  Or, my blue costume from “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”, so I could dress up in my big blue bonnet and be a Dresden Doll for the holiday.  I was a small child and it seemed like I always got swallowed up in a sea of huge witches capes and black hats and yards of billowy white ghosts.  I did not like to look funny or scary.  I had zero confidence for that type of shenanigans!  I enjoyed seeing everyone else’s costumes and admired their guts to have dark paint smeared on their faces or teeth blacked out.  Not for me.  Imagine how mortified I was each year when my Mom dressed up for her bowling team party.  She would smear honey – gooey sticky honey, on her cheeks and chin and then rub COFFEE GROUNDS into the honey so it looked like a scraggly beard.  To make matters worse, she would find an old stained shirt of Daddy’s that she had used with furniture polish and wear that ugly, dirty looking, wrinkled thing over some torn pants.  And then, much to my horror, she would mess up her thick black hair and then Aqua Net it to hold the entire mess in place.  She would get in the car, windows rolled down, and wave to anyone who looked her way.  She always came home with some sort of prize for her winning look.  Apparently I was the only one who did not appreciate her “costume”.

So, when I had children of my own, I was always in a panic.  I didn’t want them to be a plain Jane and not be up to par with their classmates and friends.  I experimented with different looks, but always came back to a clown.  I just had zero talent for any other look.   We always had something around the house to make their shoes look like clown shoes or an over-sized tie and shirt.  Red lipstick on the cheeks and mouth and some eyeliner tear drops and eyebrows completed the transformation.  Clowns.  I tried something new every year, but I admit it – they always looked like a clown.

I never decorated the house save for the pumpkins that the boys and their Dad carved – front on center on the porch of wherever we lived.  Mom and Dad would turn most of their house into a haunted house with dark lighting and cold spaghetti “brains” and jello “guts” and peeled grape “eyeballs”.  They took great delight in scaring the living hell out of me while working on the house for several days.  They had stuff in every one of the five bedrooms and, needless to say, I had many sleepless nights until Halloween was over.  I did not like scaring people and I did not like being scared.  I had enough of that on a daily basis while little brothers, Mark and Larry, would hide in my closet or in the bathroom, waiting for me so they could jump out or yell and watch me have a panic attack.  Yeah, those were sure fun days.  My brother-in-law had great fun digging out some dirt in the front yard of his Tucson home and, laying as flat as he could, and would raise up in the dark of the night and scare the bejesus out of the neighbors.  How sad it was one Halloween evening, watching little kids walk a huge arc around the front of Dan’s and Robin’s house out of fear of the crazy guy in the dark.  Robin always had lots of good candy left over!

So, here it is, October, and I will be damned if Halloween is once again upon me.  Now I have grandkids and have enjoyed entertaining them on Halloween from Tristan and Chase to Mateo and Marluce and now Max and Abby.  I have never had the chance to spend a Halloween with Quinn, but perhaps one day.  So, Max comes to spend the day last week and flatly states, Nana, you need to decorate for Halloween”.  Well, I did decorate (or at least I thought I had) by displaying a cute little pumpkin from Safeway where someone had artfully drawn a cute face with red lips and long eyelashes.  And, if that was not enough, voila, look at my cute Halloween owl in the front garden!

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Max gave me a patronizing smile and a soft “oh”, but I could tell he was not very impressed.  Then he said, “you should see our house Nana!  We have skeletons and pumpkins and decorations inside the house and outside of the house.”  I assumed from that statement, that the kids house had more than an “indoor” pumpkin and a tin owl stuck in the dirt.  “Come on, Nana!  We need to decorate!”  Looking into those clear blue eyes, I had no choice but to get in the car and high-tail it to the store before Max came back the next day.

I was NOT going to spend a ton of money on a holiday that I do not even really consider a holiday.  Afterall, November 1 begins “my” holiday season of Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany.  THAT is my kind of holiday and I have always said that Halloween is just in the way.  But, little kids and big kid enjoy the dark holiday, so who am I to quibble?  I decided to make some melting witches.  Some black pointy hats, black gauze, black and green and purple ribbons and hang them from the courtyard lights and presto! we have melted witches.  A couple long pairs of Halloween socks filled with some squished up plastic bags made for the stylish footwear left from the melting witches.  Max and Poppa found some orange and green lights in our Christmas light stash and I replaced some clear ones with the colorful ones to add a little flair!  I got 5 little battery lit pumpkins which max has had a great time arranging them and rearranging them!  Add two Sassy Witches to the front door, and we have  the final product.  Not going to win any prize, but seeing my grandson’s eyes light up and the smile on his face is my blue ribbon.

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Happy Halloween, everyone.   I am going to start getting my Thanksgiving-Christmas-Epiphany decorations ready.  November 1 will be here before you know it!

Happy 21st Birthday to my Beautiful Granddaughter, TRISTAN

Hard to believe that this tiny mite who bounced into my life at the age of two, is now a 21-year-old, married, self-sufficient young adult.  And, oh, the adventures we have shared.

1998

Here she is in 1998 taking inventory of all of her Halloween bounty!  Tristan first Trick or Treated in her neighborhood, and then Trick or Treated around our neighborhood; and Gramps drove her to some surrounding neighborhoods, so it could be assured that her treats were a-plenty!

1999An unforgettable Performance by a 6-year-old Sand Dollar first grade spring concert in 1999.

2003

The Summer of 2001, after one of our annual School Supply Shopping excursions.  Many years ago when Tristan, was just a little girl, I began a new tradition of school supply shopping.  Since we lived in the same city, I would pick Tristan up and off we headed to Target to find just the perfect school supplies.  We would pick some items from the list send home by the school, and we added some other things just for fun.  Everyone needs paper and pencils and erasers and such.  But it is much more fun to have pink pencils with silly erasers and fun characters on homework folders.  Works just the same, but puts a smile on your face when you are working on a math problem!

2002

Tristan commandeers Gramps computer to play games in 2002.  He never lets anyone else do that!

2004

A 2004 portrait with two of the most important ladies who have shaped my life.

2005

I enjoyed an after Christmas dinner with Tristan in 2005 at yet another fun-filled Granddaughter weekend.

2006

Just one of our special 2006 weekends with a Butterflied Granddaughter,  Our special weekends were always filled with dining out, game night and spoiling!  Oh yeah, shopping.  Lots of shopping.

2007

a 2007 trip to Costco during one of our Granddaughter Weekends where Gramps and Tristan grazed their way thru all the food samples!

2011

In the summer of 2011, a very grown-up Granddaughter drove to Leesburg Virginia to bid farewell to Grandparents making their way back to Arizona.

2013

And the little girl has blossomed into a young married lady.  Happy Birthday, Sassy Marie.  I love you more than words can say.  Be Happy!

Virginia Day FOUR

Hard to believe, my first Granddaughter got married today.  She was happy and nervous and beautiful and gracious.   A cute little country church was the background for this young couple to begin their new life.

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This is the part where the preacher asked for the rings – no response.  The preacher then asked if Tristan knew where the rings were and she replied affirmatively.  As he queried again, the response from the Bride was “in my car!”  A light chuckle from all involved made the ceremony all of what Tristan is.  Very cute and the preacher was still sharing some laughs over that moment during the reception.  The rings were retrieved from the aforementioned vehicle and the rest of the ceremony went off without so much of a hiccup.

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And, as a bonus, I got to reconnect with my grandson, Chase (now 16) and granddaughter, Quinn (now 6 soon to be 7).  Both were charming and Chase and Ricky carried on conversations like they had never been apart.  Chase is clever and smart and has a way with writing that would have made my Dad so proud.  He has a quick wit and shows his sisters a lot of love.  I cannot describe the feeling when I saw Chase’s face and immediately knew that was my first grandson – until he spoke.  The high-pitched little boy voice was an almost adult deeper voice.  It shocked me since I had not seen or heard his voice since 2008.  I am quite proud to call him Grandson.  These are bonds that never deserved to be broken.  I only hope they can be mended now.

I could listen to Chase for hours.  His interests in comedy and computers and music and more was better received by Ricky, since he is a guy!  But I so enjoyed listening to their exchanges and made me beam when Ricky stated simply that he had a great time talking with Chase and that Chase seemed like a really good kid.  I don’t think Ricky has seen Chase or spent time with him since Chase was a toddler.  This was a positive experience for all of us.

Such a thrill to hear Quinn call after me “Grandma” spotted with little conversations about her school and she is a cheerleader and she has an All American doll and then the heartbreaker:  “Grandma, can you come back in July for my birthday?”  I tried to explain to her that I probably could not – and that tore at my heart.  I just wanted to put her in my pocket and bring her home!

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Happy Birthday, Cristopher Chase!

Almost 3 years old.

Chase finds the perfect Christmas tree for his house.
2002 – Chase patiently poses for Grandma.
Visiting Tucson from North Carolina.
2898678631_611a265f7b 8231982426_eb02198516_o Chase
2006
at baby shower for the birth of Quinn
in Greensboro NC
The baby shower came and went. Thanksgiving was over and Christmas was just a memory. The date of January 30, 1997 was set and I thought that it would feel to me just like any other day. After all, I had delivered three babies myself. Just how exciting could this be to an “outsider”? I dressed and readied myself to go to St Joseph’s Hospital with the intention of checking in for a few moments with your Mom and Dad and then I would leave them to experience this wonder – this miracle – you!
I entered the hospital room with a basket of goodies that I made for this special day – lullaby cd’s, onesies, lotions for a very tiny you and some for your Mommy and so many other things. I gave both Cristopher and Sherrie my love and after hugs, I returned to my car in the parking lot. As I guided the car to the road, I found myself heading to your Uncle Jeffry’s school. I walked into the office and signed Jeffry out for the rest of the day. He ran to meet me in the school office and told me he was finishing an extra credit problem in Algebra and would return as soon as he turned his paper in to the teacher. I waited somewhat impatiently, tapping my fingers on the office counter and touting my story to anyone who would listen that I was going to meet my first Grandson!
Jeffry and I rushed to the hospital. While he was excited, I found myself in somewhat of a panic mode that I would not get to the hospital in time to hear the announcement of your birth. Fears were relieved as Jeffry and I walked in the room and had time to visit with your Mom and Dad before Sherrie was wheeled away by Cristopher and the attending nurses.
Within fifteen minutes, out walked my first son cuddling my first grandson in his arms. With just a simple “here he is, Mom”, He walked closer so I could get a better look and then states matter of fact that he had to get you back to the nurses so they could clean you up and check your vitals. Tears flooded my eyes so I could barely see your little face and any words I had planned on saying just got lost in my throat. Just then, Jeffry returned to the waiting area with your Grandpa in tow. I told myself that now I could go home and get back to my day, Instead, I found myself glued to the bench in front of the nursery windows; staring at you – Grandma’s tiny little blessing.
In between January 30 1997 and January 30 2013, all of our lives have taken many different turns. I have not seen you or heard your voice in four years. And now you are a young man of sixteen and I cannot even wrap my mind around that. You are in High School and have a part-time job and these facts simply astound me.
Happy Birthday, Cristopher Chase. I think of you each and every day. One day we will be together again and we will have a lot of catching up to do! Until that time, be well, be healthy and be happy. I love you, Buddy.
Your Grandma.

2012 in retrospect …

in January I received a video of my beautiful granddaughter, Marluce in her ballerina glory.
and my handsome grandson, Mateo,  on keyboard!
My hubby survived another back surgery – not without some scary issues during his hospital stay, causing Jeffry and I to panic a bit and making unscheduled trips to TMC.  We even brought home a small plastic container of now unnecessary hardware and bolts and screws and rods which still reside in one of his tool boxes as a souvenir, I guess.  5 weeks later, Bob was admitted to UMC to remove one of his kidneys for cancer.  We were lucky as the cancer was completely enclosed inside the failed kidney and there was no need for any further treatment.  Once again, there were breathing and heart rate complications which had Jeffry and I running back and forth again.  I cannot describe how that feels to be summoned by the hospital while a nurse matter of factly states “I think you should come here now”.  Scared is way too mild of a word.
Bob and I retrieved the old 1969 Rahleigh Robin Hood side by side tandem bike and put it back together.  Our plans are to restore  refurbish these and paint one black and paint one white for engagement/wedding/anniversary photo shoots.  Of course, here it is, December 31st and we haven’t even started.  But, we still have plans!

 

In February, I was able to steal a couple of photos of my Grandson, Cristopher Chase and Granddaughter, Quinn Ariana from my ex daughter in law’s facebook site.  Then she blocked me, but not before I stole a few more.  I would love to spend time with them and include them in family events, but that is not to be, so I take what I can steal er, get!  Chase is 15 in this photo and Quinn is 5.  Chase looks like his dad and Quinn looks so much like Tristan did at that same age.
Marluce recreated Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman” as she pumps gas in the car in Virginia.
 Hey, is that even legal??

 

 

 

 

Mateo’s 8th Birthday Adventure!  Mateo has a passion for all things weather and absolutely loves watching the weather channel and learning about tornadoes and hurricanes and anything else to do with the weather.  So, we thought this would be an ideal birthday adventure for him.

 

In March, Maxwell turned 2 and his mommy and daddy threw a huge birthday bash with lots of guests and food and a bazillion balloons.  Safe to say that all of us had a wonderful time, but none more than the Birthday Boy himself.

Marluce and Mateo always enjoy getting packages in the mail – and Grandma here always enjoys sending them.  Happy Easter with lots of Love!

 

 

 

 

Marluce turned 6 years old on March 30th, and her birthday adventure was customized just for her!

On April 5th, we quietly celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary.  We didn’t need a big hoopla.  Just each other.  (an excerpt from my life story)

If memory serves, September 5, 1967 was the first day of high school and the first time we met. You were a tough looking street kid with a smart-assed attitude. I am not sure just why I was drawn to you at the time, but I was. I was modest and not at all street-wise and obviously reared in an entirely different environment than you experienced. You clearly showed an interest in me with your playful glances and funny comments. My older brother, Jay, put it this way: “here you were, Miss Polly Pure Heart and along came this James Dean wanna be with cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve and a beer in hand. Of course you were going to fall for him.”
To say you did not always attend first hour geometry class would be an understatement of immense proportion. To put it in plain speak, you rarely attended most classes. I found myself distracted when you were not in Geometry class. It was the only class we ever had together and even though geometry was a difficult subject for me to grasp (and still is), I felt more confident and at ease when you actually did show up for class. I guess even then, barely knowing each other, you somehow made me feel comfortable and protected. I tried not to let you see that side of me, but I think you had it all figured out. And, yes, I did know that you stared at my legs most of the class time.
I often wondered why you never finished your sophomore year. I know you did not experience the support of a family at home. Looking back, I think you were lost and possibly felt you had nothing to offer high school and high school had nothing to offer your life. You worked. You drank way too much. You dated the wrong girls (well, of course I would say that) and you wandered. I never even realized in my naiveté, there was even a choice on attending school. It was a given in my life and I never thought of it any other way. You, like geometry, were a foreign concept. I am not sure that I have ever figured you out completely.   (more)    gdovin girl

 

 

 

 

 

 Easter was such a fun day as we entertained family and friends.  Guests were on the back patio and in the house and on the front yard swing – eating, laughing and playing with the little ones.

 

Mother’s Day was celebrated at the Doubletree Sunday Buffet with the Mundle Family and the lil Gardners.  After the scrumptious buffet, Maxwell and I took a walk on the beautiful green grounds to work off a few calories.

My first grandchild, Tristan Lee became engaged to Drake Shumaker in Farmville Virginia.  So happy for them both and looking forward to meeting a new grandson in law.  This little girl (yes, she is still a little girl to me) deserves all of the love and happiness that comes her way.  I love you so much, Sassy Marie!

In June, Max got to show off his computer savvy while Poppa was not around!

 

Max receives July mail in his very own mailbox!  And he shows off  his bounty!

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could have attended Marluce’s first official Yard Sale in August in the backyard of her home in Ashburn Virginia.  I am sure I would have found something that I needed to purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katia and Kiddies –  smiles and hugs.
And the be all and end all of the month of August …

Max continues his culinary career with his signature dish of milk, crackers, cereal grapes and strawberries.  I think we all see, the Next Iron Chef.

 

Early September, Bob and I worked on laying a laminate maple flooring in the kitchen/dining area of the little house.  Max decided to assist us placing the planks the way he thought they should go.  After a hard days work, he relaxed in a livingroom tent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid September was a great getaway to Oceanside California for the beach wedding of Kyle Harvey & Megan Mundle.  Lots of fun activities, a beautiful wedding and a surprise baby shower for Kerri filled the entire week and I enjoyed every moment of the time.  We shared a condo with the lil Gardners which was a little piece of  heaven compared to staying in a hotel room.  And the additional time playing with Max was just an added bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a day in October at the Agua Linda Farm.  Went thru the pumpkin patch and climbed on the hay bales.  We had a picnic and watched Max ride a horse for the very first time.  We walked thru the petting zoo and made friends with the billy goats.  A perfect way to kick off the fall season.

November brought the most amazing reason to give thanks … she is petite and opinionated and loved and her name is Abigail Anne; Abby to us.  The sweetest little bundle ever.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Virginia has Marluce slaving away in the kitchen making her first pumpkin pie.

 

While my retro Flair oven contributed to Thanksgiving dinner at the Mundle home.

Family and Friends enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at Chris & Maggie’s with beautiful Tucson weather in their gorgeous and inviting backyard.

 

 

 

 

After returning to Tucson, we finally resumed our annual Holiday Open House hosting around 26-30 guests during an early evening.  Food was aplenty and catching up with people we love and rarely get the time to see.  Got caught up so much in our guests, totally forgot to take any photos.  Now THAT is a first for us.  We so enjoyed all of the company and conversation and funny stories. Next year – lots of photos!
I won’t repost my recent Christmas Eve events since I just posted, but suffice it to say it goes down in my holiday history as one of the best ever.  I am still smiling.   Christmas Day was a relaxing day of early morning visits with the kids and Mundles and Max and Abby while Maggie served scrumptious french toast and Max opened gifts.  Max, taking some time to show his gifts to his audience, enjoyed each and every moment.   Received a really nice phone call from Ricky which is always a treat.  Later on, a yummy honey baked ham dinner at Chris and Maggie’s with Matt and the kids and grandbabies topped off a wonderful Christmas 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 And now, as 2013 is almost upon us, we hope for a healthier New Year for Bob and friends and family needing hope.  We wish to be able to reconnect with family members in the summer in Colorado.  And most of all, we wish for a gentler world this coming year.  It could happen.