in spite of stay home & stay safe

I still managed to be productive! Slashing through my accounting duties and lowering the pile of paperwork. But accounting is not enough to sustain, so, periodically, I sneak away from my desk and actually do other things!

Like build a long planter and plant a tombstone rose (Home Depot delivers supplies and I bought the rose plant on Etsy!). And build a corner planter in the backyard and plant another Tombstone Rose. Still have to fill it in and paint it. Thanks, Etsy!!

Talk a walk and trim up the hubby’s memorial tree.

Always a good feeling when your clothes closet is in good order. A bit of re-arranging and a floor rack on rollers from Amazon to hold 19 pairs of sandals and shoes does the trick. Yep – all of my blouses on the top rack are in order of color – light to dark

Gave out the “not this year” Easter party eggs originally for the egg hunt, to 6 different families to share or hunt or just open! And then I got a surprise gift! Thank you LeAna! If I ever get to go anywhere again, I have the perfect outfit to wear it with. Love it, but more importantly, the sentiment and thoughtfulness.

Tried on my new mask custom made by sister, Robyn. Attempted a bacon wrapped meatloaf (it will be better the next time – I think I have perfected it now!). Changed my blog design and still have some work to do on that! And scored big time with the world’s skinniest laundry hamper at just over 7 inches for the tiny laundry room in the tiny home. Easter decorations went back into storage bins. Reluctantly.

Participated in the Family Zoom meeting that Jeffry set up as a regular weekly event!

Almost finished a custom ordered lamp shade for lady’s black and white butterfly themed office/craft room.

And to top it all off, a surprise package from Isabel, Alexander & Victoria filled with Russell Stover DARK chocolate eggs and three hand-crafted cards. Pure Heaven!

Not a bad couple of weeks. Not bad at all.

Day 4 – “Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”

Someone once wrote;

Sometimes, you just can’t find the right words to describe Rome.

The beauty of the Eternal City, the chaos, the mismatch of elegance and decay that is around every corner.

So very true.  Even the decaying buildings are magnificent in their own right.  The juxtaposition of the graffiti against the stunning gardens.  Tiny ristorantes tucked into corners of the city across the crowded road from five star eateries.  And so it goes.

Before our day really begins, we engage in a bit of goofiness – I show off a Christmas present blouse from Isabel & Ricky, while Robyn models her teeny tiny coffee pot, in the Price is Right style.  (Note the adorable orange refrigerator door!)

 

This was truly a blissfully exhausting day of sightseeing.  Again – Juxtaposition.

First stop was finding tickets to the hop-on hop-off bus tour.  We walk and walk and walk some more, until we locate the ticket vendors and find the bus stop! Image result for HOP ON HOP OFF BUS Rome

We began the tour with the amazing coliseum.  The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum.

And now we continue our tour on to Vatican City.  We keep seeing these initials on landmarks and light posts, and so we just had to research …  2019 04 17 D        SPQR (Latin: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, “The Roman Senate and People”, or more freely as “The Senate and People of Rome”; Classical Latin: [sɛˈnaː.tʊs pɔpʊˈlʊs.kᶣɛ roːˈmaː.nʊs]) refers to the government of the ancient Roman Republic.    2019 04 17 E

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A little surprised to see all of the vendors pedaling their wares all along the walk inside the Vatican City.   I would have understood more if there had been rosaries, crosses and things like that.  Instead there were little cars that transformed into other things, stuffed animals, little race car toys and many other unrelated items.  I just felt there should have been a little more respect for the area.  And, did I mention the 1€ to use the toilette?  All over Italy you pay to potty.  The things we take for granted in the USA.

Vatican City, in full State of the Vatican City, Italian Stato della Città del Vaticano, ecclesiastical state, seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and an enclave in Rome, situated on the west bank of the Tiber River. Vatican City is the world’s smallest fully independent nation-state.

2019 04 17 VSuch a beautiful day In Roma.  The sights and sounds are almost too much for the mind to absorb.  But in the end, that is exactly what we did – we absorbed!

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remembering July(s) from the past

an all grown up granddaughter comes to Leesburg to say good-bye before we move back to Tucson

weekend visit with a granddaughter

Old Glory

Wedding day for Lori & Jim

Tristan gets a little surprise from Uno Blast

Kerri’s Birthday

Maxwell visits Leesburg

Family get-together

Walking the town center in Leesburg Village

I have no idea what he is doing, but it must have been important!

Look at those little kiddos.

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

He loved the Inner Harbour in Victoria

Bicycling thru Tucson

Family BBQ in Canada

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

 

a teenager grandson

Grandma's Bebes

And now he is in his second year of teenager-dom.

This smart, funny, sensitive little boy – is no longer so little.  He is grandma’s boy and I tell him that every time I see him.  Even though, now, when he runs through the airport to greet me, he almost knocks me over; he will forever be grandma’s boy.

I was at the Virginia house when he came home from the hospital.  A preemie at 3 pounds and 5 ounces, you would never know it today.  At fourteen, he stands over his dad and takes much satisfaction in resting his forearm on his father’s shoulder.  He has a tender heart and a sensitive soul.  He also has a sly sense of humor and enjoys making me laugh when we should be serious; lovingly taunts his younger sister by flipping her hair or poking her side when dad isn’t looking.

When he was a toddler in Tucson, he was my Target buddy at least once a week.  And he kept me in check, removing items from the cart when he was of the opinion that “we don’t need this, Grandma”.  Later on in his tween years, he would accompany me to the Wegman’s, and it was my turn to keep him in check.

And now he is heading toward the middle of his teens.  Still Grandma’s boy.  Still his sister’s biggest fan and her steadfast gentle tormentor.  Still a loving, sensitive, smart, talented and handsome boy  er, young man.

But in my eyes, he is still the toddler stacking soup cans in my pantry or running down the sidewalk to my open arms and appearing out of the bedroom where I thought I had cleverly hidden his birthday gift, on the seat of his brand new red tricycle.  So much for that surprise.

I love this child.  This toddler turned teen.  This handsome young man.

This forever grandma’s boy.

Happy Birthday, Mateo.  Grandma loves you.

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a smorgasbord of an evening …

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Ricky & Isabel each prepared a dinner casserole featuring pasta and I did absolutely nothing except enjoy the food and company.

Victoria was suddenly overcome with shyness at the “kid’s table”.

We take some time out to remember this evening in pictures.

Alexander decides the perfect way to end the evening would be to form a pyramid of kids… what could possibly go wrong with four kids in a stack on a hard tile floor?

 

Gdovins & More 2014 Family Reunion Day 1

Monday, the 24th,  was a comedy of errors as far as our flight.  Bob was unable to travel to Grand Junction Colorado, so Ricky remained behind to stay with his dad, while Mateo, Marluce and I headed to the airport.  From before we even left home, our flight was delayed by 45 minutes.  Okay – no problem as we had an almost 2 hour layover in Phoenix.  So, 1:45 passes us by and then 2:15 and I am thinking, boy our layover is getting fairly short!  At 2:40, we are moved to another gate to board a different flight to Phoenix.  As we are landing with 7 minutes before the boarding gate is closed on our connection, the flight attendant asks everyone who is not connecting to stay seated as we are all running out of the plane to get to our gate.  With one minute to spare, we make it.   We taxi out to the runway and then stop and wait…and wait … and then the Captain announces that he received an error message on the plane’s computer and maintenance people are on their way so we wait and wait and 2 guys come on board and check this and that and then they leave and we are thinking “woo hoo”.   Well, we woo-hoo’d way too early.  After the men leave and the stairs are pulled back up and we are getting ready to take off, Captain has other ideas.  He announces that we have to go back to the terminal and we will sit on the plane while some other mechanics surmised the situation.  A fuse.  We needed a new little fuse.  A short time later, we were on our way – although, since this was the 2nd attempt at take-off, the enthusiasm had waned somewhat.  As we settled in the air at 30,000 feet, Mateo and Marluce played on their iPads (Yes, the each have one and Mateo won them both at different events).  Once in a while you could hear their voices and a little giggle.  Just good kids having a little fun.A1 A2

This smaller jet has much more engine noise than the bigger ones, so any conversations were muffled, as if they were whispering.  Captain announces that he is beginning the descent into Grand Junction and clapping follows.  I like a grateful crowd.  Just as the first wheel touches down, Mateo, not realizing the volume of his voice after such a noisy plane ride, exclaims (okay – he yells!) PREPARE FOR LANDING!!!  And then comments on how he didn’t realize that his voice got so loud.  Several passengers joined me in laughter.

GJ Regional Airport

I will admit to the embarrassing confession that I have never rented a car myself up until age 62. The hubs always handles these things and I have not minded one bit that I have been spoiled for my many years of marriage. Off we go in a 2015 Nissan Altima with key-less ignition. Zippy little thing and if I could, I would pack it up and take it home!! So, back to our day … We arrive at the Marriott’s Spring Hill Suites in beautiful downtown Grand Junction, facing Main Street and all the beautifully lit trees ready for the holidays.springhill

and then as quickly as they arrived … it was time for them to depart.

Ricky and Mateo and Marluce left early in the morning for the airport and their return trip to beautiful northern Virginia.  The paints and crafts were all back in their rightful place.  The house was too quiet.  Nobody asking for snacks.  Nobody asking to play in the water.  Nobody trying to talk their daddy into a little more screen time.  Just the quiet.

I do not accompany my kids to airports, if I can avoid it.  I am too emotional.  Watching them walk into the building and having them beyond my grasp is just too much.  So, I leave that to the other son or the husband.  Although, I am certain you wouldn’t have to look too close to see a tear in Jeffry’s eye as the glass doors of TIA closed behind them.

I remember the many times we would leave Grandma Tabor’s house for our return trip to Grand Junction, and we silently giggled at the fact that “uh oh.  Grandma is crying again”.  I think I can hear her voice in my ear asking “well, how do YOU like it?”

I don’t, Gram.  I don’t like it at all.

TIA sunrise

Day 2 with the Ashburn Gardners in Tucson

After a good night’s sleep and playing with cousins,  the grand kids were all ready for water time!  Ricky, Jeffry and Kerri loaded up the cars with kids and sunscreen and towels and water and snacks and headed to the Mundle neighborhood pool.  My three little M&M&Ms are true water babies and cannot seem to get enough splashing and jumping!!  They are fearless!

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From Ashburn Virginia to Tucson Arizona

Finally, Ricky, Mateo and Marluce were about to land in Tucson for a week-long vacation.  I had Abby for the day, so Poppa picked up Maxwell and headed to the airport.   Soon after, I heard the garage door open and Abby and I ventured out to greet our Virginia family.  And, this would be the first time that Abby was introduced to her cousins.

Mateo multi-tasks.
Mateo multi-tasks.

Relaxing and visiting and listening to tales of a grand kid’s life!

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Marluce works with Maxwell while creating a masterpiece!

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Max likes to make a good impression on his cousins by dressing up for the occasion!

7 6 4The kids started getting restless in the little house and so I hooked up a wacky water thingy and let them cool off a bit in the backyard, much to their delight!

For dinner, we had a huge spread of salad bar, sandwich bar, Mexican dip, chips of all kinds and teriyaki meatballs!  There was something for everyone and the leftovers would serve us well later in the week for snacks and lunches.  The Virginia kids left with the Pantano Edge kids to retire for the night.  More tomorrow.

 

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a crazy little thing called LIFE

I am getting way too familiar with all the wings at Tucson Medical Center.  I know how to get to each ward, the emergency room and (very important here) the cafeteria.  Not for their food as I compare all hospital food to my days at St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where you could get mashed potatoes (real ones) a fried chicken leg (so yummy) and a regular old piece of Holsum bread with real butter for a buck something and it was like having dinner at home.  This was a staple of mine during my employment as a nurse’s aide and later on working in the nursing office.  Nowadays in hospitals, there is always a conglomeration of some type of casserole,  Not my cup of tea.  So, no, it is not for the food.  It is because it has big tables and I know which ones have outlets near them so I can spread out my accounting and work while Bob is sleeping or in surgery.  It helps to have numbers bumping back and forth in my brain to counteract the medical jargon and talk of transplants and heart stents and blood sugars and more.  Numbers make sense to me.  Medicine, not so much.  So another 30 days with ambulances and 3 hospitalizations and surgery and waiting.  Hubs is home from the various hospital visits now and for the time being, is doing well.

Saturday I open the freezer door and see that the ice in the ice tray is melting.  WHAT?  I listen with ear pressed against the refrigerator door.  Nothing.  Not the usual compressor noise kicking on and off.  Must be the breaker.  Move everything away from the door to the fuse box.  All breakers are in their proper place.  Well, that can’t be good.  I hear something …  is it a bird?  Is it a plane?? NO – it’s SUPERSONS!  And a brand new refrigerator is delivered on the morning of Mother’s Day.  My boys saved me and what a relief having someone take care of me while Bob is in the hospital.  I am forever in their debt.

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Mothers Day Brunch for Kerri, Maggie and me at the University Marriott, where we were treated to a yummy buffet, a box of chocolates, Abby singing but also to watching Max riding in the glass elevator with Mahmaw waving until his little arm almost fell off!  Then, up to the Mundle’s room for Mimosa’s.  Yummy!2013 mothers day 1

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In the meantime, we are having our Friday Family Dinners and Abby visits on Monday and Tuesday while Max maintains his Thursday-Friday routine at Nana’s and Poppa’s house.

Look what I can do, nana!
Look what I can do, nana!

 Max pulls his shirt up over the back of his head and reminds me of those elves on JibJab!  He is proud of this new accomplishment and demonstrates various versions of this feat, shirt over the back of the head and the shirt over his face.  This goes on for much of the afternoon.  Amazing!

I announce the annual Camp NANA in chalk on the back patio.  Max is impressed.  Max is so impressed that shortly after he sees it, I hear the unmistakable sound of hose water and see that he has entirely washed my promo away.  Fame is so fleeting.

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Friends and family have been so supportive during this very trying past couple of weeks.  My gratitude to everyone!

Meanwhile … back east in Virginia, swimming lessons for Mateo and Marluce!  And they are flourishing in the water!  Cannot wait to watch them swim in person!  Love you kids!

swimming

Virginia – Day 12

Waking up in Northern Virginia to five and one half inches of snow on the ground.  Brrrr.  Back in Arizona, this is our Springtime!  I had forgotten how the northeast cold can sting.  I heard the grandkids getting ready to play out in the snow.  Mateo and his Abuela, Gloria, made a snowman in the backyard and then safely transported it on a sled all the while gingerly maneuvering the gentle “hill”.  Once safely in place at the front of the house, the sled was removed and the little guy stood to greet all who passed by.

Since this was the beginning of Spring break, I was hoping to spend the day packing and playing with the grandkids.  Before I could engage them, they were packed up in the truck and whisked off to places unknown – probably to enjoy the day sledding or making snowballs.  I guess this would be the time to mention that not all was quiet on the Virginia front.  Ricky and Katia are in the beginnings of divorce proceedings.  My stay was not always welcome by my daughter in law.  There were biting comments and hurt feelings.  There had been several times over the past 14 years when a darker side had spewed ugly and mean words my way, but this was different.  This time there was a sort of finality.  I have never been  accustomed to a child screaming at a parent – no matter the age.  Being chastised and degraded by a child whom you have loved is not an easy thing to face.  And, frankly, it was never attempted in my childhood – let alone tolerated!  But, there it was.  And the sting of the words burned in a way that the icy weather never could.

I spent my last day working on some accounting issues and folding and picking up.  The curtains were open and the bright snow under the sun spilled a soul cleansing brightness over the room.

Rick picked me up after work and we headed to a home cooked meal graciously offered by Isabel and a welcome reprieve from the tension.  The children were entertaining, and after watching half of their beloved “the Voice”, they performed a dance routine for the grown-ups.

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Ricky and I returned to his house where he succumbed to sleep.  I had chosen to stay awake and work on my accounting.  We were leaving the house at 3 a.m. and I could sleep on the plane.  But not before venturing upstairs to kiss my grandkids goodnight and good-bye “until next time”.  Mateo is a philosophical child when it comes to good-byes and a tender one at heart.  Both of our eyes filled as we said our farewells and hugged and kissed and vowed that it would not be long before we spent time together again.  Marluce is my tough “I am a wanna be tomboy who loves to dress like a princess” mini-me (although I never wanted to be a tomboy!).  But her good-bye hugs are heartwarming and her words of wishing I did not have to leave her, are heartfelt.  Again with the tears and hugs and kisses and I had to tear myself away from her before I could not.

Virginia – Day 10 Dinner!

After several hours filled with kids, Ricky and my new friend, Isabel, joined me for dinner at a swanky Mexican bar and grille. Yummy froo froo drink and a chimi and I was back in the real world. Sopapillas with chocolate sauce and whipped cream? Hmmmm. Still wondering about that choice!  Always fun to visit new restaurants and check out the food and decor!1

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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Virginia Day THREE

I have not felt as social in a very long time!  Up and ready – set – go!  To Mateo’s belated birthday party at Cyber Club!  11 a.m. until 1 pm and 15 kids are thrilled to be dancing to Wii games, playing Mario Bros. and challenging each other to air hockey.  Nice alternative for a 9 year old’s

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Mateo tries his hand at air hockey and is quite successful.

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Marluce and Abuela Gloria show off their dancing finesse.

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After blowing out the candle on his Angry Birds Cake,  he is officially NINE years old.

Playing and teamwork and comradery and laughter rated this party an A+ event.

2:30 pm and we are now attending party number 2 of the day.  Valeria is turning five years old and we have all been invited to her birthday blowout, complete with a puppet show,  DJ, Dancers, Goofy and Minnie and Mickey Mouse!  Very fun party; Valeria was adorable, Estevan was funny and Nydia, Carlos and Carolina were as charming as ever.  So nice to see their family again.

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Nydia, Carolina, Estevan, Valeria & Carlos

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Dancers and Bubbles and Games and Prizes!

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Ricky, Minnie, Marluce, Mateo, Mickey & Me

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Group photo with the mouses!

Oh, you think the day was over?  Au contraire!  To dinner with Ricky and the grand kids at Blue Ridge Grille.  The prime rib was phenomenal, Ricky said his steak was the same, Marluce enjoyed her chicken tenders and sautéed Portobello mushrooms while Mateo dined on his ala carte grilled cheese, sliced apples and milk!  Wonderful day ending with a relaxing dinner listening to grand kids talk about school and friends and parties.

Blue Ridge Grille

Virginia Day TWO

Ricky goes to work.  First day at his new job.

Katia goes to work.

Kids go to school.

I work on accounting and in early afternoon I get the bug to go outside – even though the air is still quite cold and crisp!  I see leaves.  I find a rake.  And three hours later, I find myself finished.  Back inside for a nice hot shower and more accounting.  Ricky picks me up and then we retrieve the kids from Majest. Home so they can change and off we go to Wegmans for pizza and movie night.  Some light grocery shopping afterwards and returning home, we find Katia hard at work on the goody bags for Mateo’s belated birthday party on Saturday morning.  Mateo has made it somewhat of a tradition to be sick on his birthday of February 10th.  This year it was strep throat.  Not sure if he has ever actually celebrated his birthday ON his birthday! 2013-03-15 20.24.482013-03-15 20.24.57

Virginia Day ONE

Ricky went to work.  Katia went to work.  Mateo & Marluce went to school.  I worked on accounting and visited with Gloria and generally just got settled.03 15 2013 2

Nearing evening time, Gloria and I left to pick up the kids at their after school program at Majest Martial Arts studio here in Ashburn.  Each day they are picked up by a limo,(Yes, I said limo) from their elementary school and transported to the studio, where they do their homework and then have Taekwondo lessons. Back Camera

The studio is immaculate and there are tables to use for homework and different classes for all ages.  Here are my two little almost black belts (Okay, they are white belts but they have stripes!) getting ready to come home with us.

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Stopped at the store on the way home.  Gloria rented the kids a movie, which we all enjoyed, before the kids had their bedtime.

and the time WHOOSHES by …

Days fly by so fast that I can barely keep up!  Trying to get ready for my 2 week long trip to Virginia and a birthday moustache bash and still working my accounting and housework and laundry, OH MY!  Well, the 3rd birthday part for Mr Max was quite a success.  Moustaches and balloons were everywhere.  Kids were laughing and playing and Bob and Tom and Jeffry and Jamie were all kibitzing.  Mahmaw and O Canada Poppa were running back and forth making sure all of the guests were fed and recycle items picked up and in general, making the entire affaire seamless!  Kerri had everything so well thought out and executed.  Such a clever young lady!  Just look!

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complete with PB&J moustache sandwiches, Root Beer Floats and Warm Popcorn!  Max was a perfect gentleman, thanking each person for their gift and hugs all around!  On Monday, Miss Abigail came to visit and was charming as ever.  We strolled around the neighborhood and she was not shy about telling Nana what she thought when I had to stop to do something or wait for a car!

abbyCarriage 1While shopping for a snack to take on my plane trip to Virginia – I found this HUGE bag of carrots.  Just why  would someone need a 25 pound bag of carrots??  Have to think on that one.  really big carrots

My flights to Virginia were great!  Each leg I had a window seat and each leg, the aisle seat and I had the middle seat open so we could share it to hold our stuff  Bonus!  I could have sworn the guy on the 2nd leg of the flight was Anderson Cooper –  until he mentioned that he worked for Hilton Hotels!  Glad I did not ask for his autograph.

Landed at DCA Regan and Ricky was right there waiting for me.  Very late dinner at Amphora Diner and then home to hugs from Katia and Gloria and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Another week passes me by …

The kitchen island top re-do is almost done.  Not perfect – but what an improvement!  Granite tile and many times of removing some tiles and re-installing some of the trim – we have some touch ups, one corner, and caulking between the wood trim and the tiles – but it is still really nice.

So looking forward to hosting an Easter dinner for friends and family!

Max spent Thursday and Friday with us again this week.  Today, he helped Nana shop for Easter dinner – even brought his own cart!

Celebrated our 41st anniversary on the 5th with a letter to the hubs!
41 years ago at 7 pm, two teenagers stood in the Church of God in Grand Junction.  Pastor Todd officiated a short ceremony in front of a few friends scattered in the pews.  I do not even remember what he was saying – I guess I was too concerned with the child inside of me and what was next in our lives together.
Since then, we have lost babies and family and friends.  We have lost books and love letters and a piano and photos and perspective and even sometimes our way and so much more.  Since then we have built careers and houses and backyard decks and friendships and gardens.  We have gained knowledge and daughters and sons and a deeper relationship and love of others and even a little respect.  We have seen Victoria BC and Puerto Vallarta Mexico and Nassau Bahamas and lots of stage plays and young sons in school productions and our youngest sporting the gold ropes at high school graduation and our oldest granddaughter lip syncing to “oops I’ve done it again”.  We laughed at Cristopher imitating the walk of Charlie Callas and at Ricky jumping up on the table at Dairy Queen to sing like Rosie singing like Elvis and at Jeffry performing Cuban Pete boom chicky boom, boom chicky boom, boom chicky boom.  We were blessed to hear Tristan attempting a kindergarten singing career and seeing Chase just a few moments old and watching preemies Mateo and Marluce blossom into healthy and happy kids, and listening over the phone to hear the first cries of Quinn and getting text messages from Megan updating us on the birth of Maxwell and hearing his little cries.  We have loved each other and our children and grandchildren and each other even more and dear friends and going on dates and seeing new places and each other even more.  We have felt the pain of loss and the fear of the future and the sadness that comes with family crisis and the realization that some things will just never be.  But we have felt the pride in our family and the joy of new babies and the unimaginable appreciation of a prospective kidney donor and the peace that comes with security in love and the dreams of what lie ahead.  All of this has been ours.  Together.  I cannot imagine it any other way.
Hard to believe those two teenagers with a baby on the way, pledging their love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death us do part, beat the odds.  I dream of more travel and future babies to cuddle and being with family and watching sunsets and all of this,  Together.
  Happy Anniversary honey.  I love you oodles.

Gardner Family Picture


Gardner Family Picture
Originally uploaded by BGPantano.

A whole new world awaits …
Aracely – 9 years
Angeles – 3 years (10 months older than Mateo)
Ricky
Mateo – 3 years
Marluce – 1 year
Katia
Itzel – 5 years

Wow. I am so proud of Ricky & Katia for taking this on. They have a true perspective of what family means.

Mateo & Marluce visit for a weekend …

While Ricky and Katia took a weekend trip to California, the grand babies spent the weekend with Grandma & Grandpa. We spent a lot of time in the backyard since the weather was perfect. Marluce was fed in her booster seat on the back patio while she squealed with delight every time her big brother ran past her. She thinks he is just there to entertain her and she absolutely adores him. She did not like to touch the grass, so she played in her play yard with her toys and watched the birds and listened to the outdoor noises. It was fun to watch her reaction to a dog bark or a plane fly over. Mateo was on the go every minute of the day, and kept me on my toes. When he wasn’t hopping and jumping and running and turning on and off the water outside, he was conversing in new “Mateo-isms” … when I said it was time for a nap, he replied “don’t say that, Grandma!” … when he couldn’t get me to do what he wanted, he would start asking in Spanish, apparently thinking I did not understand English. At the end of the day, Grandpa came home from work and he and Mateo relaxed on the back yard swing as Mateo looked in the sky and exclaimed in hushed tones “beautiful stars in the sky!”

the last time

The day was November 26th 1988 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Mom, Dad and Grandma Tabor had the motorhome packed with their travel belongings after a few days of visiting and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with them and my special “little sister” guest, Leisa. We had managed to fit in a huge holiday feast; the requisite shopping on Friday after, and of course, several rounds of Bingo at Papago Bingo. I had stuffed the traveling refrig with container after container of Thanksgiving leftovers. This was a special one as I had never known my mother to leave her home for that particular holiday. This was the first and only one in my life. One year she was sequestered on a murder trial as a jurist, and the judge had ordered the jury dismissed just for that day and they had to return to sequestration Thanksgiving night. Mom had made a detailed list of everything I needed to buy a week prior to the holiday with detailed instructions on how to prepare what and how and when – like I didn’t already know after being her right hand gal since the age of 10. Even on a several week jury trial, she still insisted that the family dinner would be held on North 18th Street, and no amount of reasoning was going to change her mind. And so it was. So, I was quite surprised when she called and said they were coming for Thanksgiving. Mom had suffered a bad bout of the flu in several weeks prior and I thought maybe she was just worn out. So, I didn’t question it. I was excited to host Thanksgiving at my house in Tucson. Of course she insisted that everything would be just as though we were in Grand Junction. She would do all of the cooking and baking. Gram was in charge of peeling 10 pounds of potatoes and I was charged with setting and decorating the table. I didn’t give a second thought to Mom’s comments here and there. “I do not ever want to die in Tucson.” When I said what an odd thing to say, she explained that we had that doctor here who transplanted hearts. And what if he took hers out and replaced it with someone who was mean? Would those unprincipled traits be transferred to her? I kind of just shrugged it off with a smile. We were sitting in the living room relaxing one afternoon, watching an old rerun of Designing Women where the ladies had designed a New Orleans style send off for a young friend who had died of Aids. Mom stated that she wanted her funeral to be like that with upbeat music and lots of flowers. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

After a nice breakfast at Coco’s, the three musketeers were on their way home. I didn’t envy them. The drive from Tucson to Grand unction is almost unbearable for me; hours of dry dusty desert with no cell or radio reception. It is, nicely put, miserable. They didn’t seem to mind. As long as Mom was in her motorhome, she was good. Cristopher was out with friends. Ricky was at a U of A game enjoying his time with friends in the kids Knothole Section. Bob and I were set to enjoy a movie night out with 4 year old Jeffry in tow. As the movie time slowly approached, Bob reminded me that we needed to get on our way. But, I felt uneasy and did not want to leave the house that night. When I relayed that to my husband, he just nodded okay and went about his evening. He was used to me changing my mind so nothing unusual about that.

If memory serves, it was around 7 in the early evening when the phone begin to ring. It was still in the time where the phone hung on the wall. Bob held the phone out saying it was my dad and if they had car problems, I was to find out where they were and he would be on his way. Before I put the phone to my ear, I quietly said to Bob “honey, my Mom is dead,” He just looked at me, admonishing me with his stare about the inappropriateness of making such a comment. As I lifted the phone to my hear, I could hear my Dad’s voice saying “Mom’s gone”.

I felt the tears as Daddy explained the chain of events leading up to this call. And then the blur of the night began. Laundry had to be done for five people making the 780 mile trek to western Colorado; arrangements had to be made for Jeffry to stay with my Tucson friend, Peggy for a week. Calls had to be made to my siblings. And in a flurry of tears and questions and travel arrangements, we finally fell into bed after midnight. And then came the long and drawn out sobs as Bob held me tightly until finally exhaustion and sleep took over. And this day was over.

My Mom was gone.

Family History Links to Page for GDOVIN