Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Buffalo Bills Bupdate

Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills phoned home and said that while he has tremendous respect for Dick Jauron (the coach, above), he is history (my poetic license). He also "thanked him for his effort these last four years." Now I wonder what words he really wanted to insert between four and years? My first choice is "soul-sucking". How about you-what words would you have wanted to insert there?

So listen, Who will fill this jacket next?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Big blue Balloon

This is a picture of SGS on his 1st Christmas 1999. He is with his great-grantparents, my SM and SSF. After you read the story look back at Grampa Bernie, you can see why he looks sad.
This weekend SGS was at a birthday party for a close friend-as he was leaving they gave him a blue balloon with a gift bag. He held on to it carefully-he is after all 10.5!

We went to Mass, and on the way home, I mentioned to be sure to hang onto his balloon as we got out of the car-he quickly said he wanted to give it to Grampa-I interrupted him to tell him how nice that was and he and grandpa could play catch after supper in the living room. He carefully explained to me that no, he wanted to give it to Grandpa Bernie-who was my SM's husband, my SStepfather. He passed away in 2002 when SGS was three years old. What an impact he must have made for this little guy to still talk about him.

When SGS was just about a month old, SBernie held him and sang a Norwegian lullaby to him. I just loved it so much that I asked him to sing it again, and he did not know what I was talking about-by this time, his Alzheimer's Disease had already started to rob him of his true self.

I have made it my mission to pass onto my children the importance and memory of the people in their lives, whether still here or not.

I know my SAunt reads this blog-and I want her to know that we all loved her husband SUncle Jack so much that we are always talking about him and his stories-SS is teaching SGS to say bull**** just like SUncle Jack did for him. And, his kindness to our entire family and his joy for life is such an important part of who we are today.
We all owe that to our kids to root them in who they are and where they came from.

A few months ago SGS was talking about remembering SGrandpa Bernie drawing with him, and that if he was still alive he could teach him how to draw now. We then discussed the artists in the family, Grandpa Bernie did many paintings, I have a SAunt who has a great artists eye and has done paintings in the past, her daughter was also blessed with this skill, and has her own Graphic Design Business-thank you very much! I also have some Snieces and a Snephew who have that ability too. No need to ask-I did not make that list. So SGS said if he wanted to learn to be an artist he could ask them to teach him.

As the balloon discussion continued I reminded him about his father's grandmother that SGS was very close to-she passed away about 18 months ago. Then we discussed all his relatives that were together in heaven-so this is what he said when he released the balloon "This is for all my relatives in Heaven, enjoy this balloon, and I love you and wish you a Merry Christmas-this is a Christmas gift for you".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grey Matter

Grey Matter-wouldn't that be a great name for a website-blog? It could mean so many things, like grey matter as in the brain and it's offerings, or that those who have grey hair matter-they are relevant, or what a person who is grey has to say. Too late for me, but dear reader-it is yours for free, nada, zilch cost if you want to start your own site, use that title and share your thoughts and what makes you unique. Let me know-go for it.

So listen, here is the reason this phrase came to my grey matter-I was listening to two males talking recently-they were of the grey persuasion-just like me. What they said really struck me -because of the topic and them. They looked like two old friends out for breakfast, maybe after early hunting or before working on a car together-you know, one of those things that guys do together that are dressed in jeans and flannels. But they were talking about computers! Rams, backup, usb ports, all that good stuff that now make up the vocabulary of anyone owning a computer.

It was so interesting to me to think how things change, these same men grew up in a computer-free zone like me, maybe owned a crystal set radio that they would clip to their bedroom radiator for better reception just like my SB#1 did
(and honestly my SB#2 and I did when SB#1 was not around),

or they spent many hours looking and trading sports cards (gotit, needit, wantit).

Good for them-keeping up with what is available, and making it their own, not just for the generation that lives and breathes everything tech.

So whatever age you are, make GREY MATTER.
It is your gift and what you do with your grey matters.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The best part of my day today

So, the day had a lot of challenges,
but then, just after 5pm, SD brought over SGS. He just got out of school-he attended his first meeting of the CARD CLUB, and he was talking a mile a minute. This is a club for 5th and 6th graders to show and trade sports cards. Isn't that a neat idea? The gym teacher (I guess the correct title is Phys Ed Instructor) ran the club, and needed to approve the trades so no one was horn swaggeld to trade a Babe Ruth for a Joe Blow. He showed me all his new cards, and now he has decided to save Football cards and Buffalo Sabres cards. He also has a large Pokeman collection, I guess this is the next stage.

He had supper, then his shower was on the schedule, but, he spied the toy catalogs and flyers that I saved for him. OH MY GOODNESS, he could hardly talk, he needed to pour over them to see if everything he wanted was listed, they were and then some.

I used to have him circle the ones he was interested in, but this year he made a discreet little check mark in the little box next to the toy. That seemed like such a milestone, small measured check mark, instead of a circle made with wild abandon.

Finally the shower happened, more catalog time, a little playing with his Bakugons, and then we did his homework to get it done for the weekend. I am so grateful that I understood it this time. I did ok in school, but sometimes his homework is a tad of a challenge for me. They use a different method of adding, and the poor kid, I have him do it one way sometimes because that is the only way I know, and if he doesn't bring his book home for me to refer to, he is out of luck. Tonight it was just figuring out perimeters. I know this! We did it in record time, with me just overseeing. I gave him a few pointers for adding in his head, and he used that advice for the last two problems.
Then, as a reward, we got to play Bakugans together. I think he was a little loose with the instructions about the game, he looked carefully at the cards we would be using before-hand, then he would pick his and my playing pieces accordingly. He let me win a few times too! What a guy.

Now he is watching the Buffalo Sabres with Grandpa-tied in the third period. Do they still say that a tie final score is like kissing your sister? It's a kiss, but it does not count because it is your sister.

Tomorrow he has a school fundraiser breakfast. Six grandparents are attending along with SD and SS and SGS's Dad. Should be nice.

SD was chosen for an honor at school this week, a scholarship dinner for those going on for their masters degree. I am so proud of her, and to think she is doing it with all of her other responsibilities. She always seemed to love the challenge of tossing many balls in the air at the same time, and now she is very good at it. Sometimes when I read her school papers, especially her creative writing courses, she just amazes me, where does she get the ideas from? How does she pull and push the ideas to have them turn inside out while you are reading, and poof an entire new idea is created. I thought I would be good in college, but I choose another form of education, now I am uncertain how I would have done. Life brings you to where you are for a reason.

Maybe tomorrow, I will have so many great parts to my day that any crude that challenges the positive stream of things will fall by the wayside. I wish you a day that you can look back on as one that was really well lived .

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Summer

Indian summer is a period of sunny, warm weather, late October, early November after the leaves have turned, in the Northern Hemisphere-that per Wikipedia.

Well, if you have never experienced this gift, I feel badly for you. We have had many days in a row and a few more expected of 60 degrees plus. Someone even mentioned yesterday that maybe this is our spring! We really had a lousy spring and summer, wet, cold, especially the weekends.

SH said that we are predicted to have an El Nino winter-milder than usual in the Northeast. That is so us we are the Northeast!

We did have an El Nino a few years back (well it must have been quite a few years back because SH and I were not married and I was drinking a glass of wine-not my MO now) and I remember sitting on the back steps on Christmas Eve in shirtsleeves! In WNY!!!!! Did you hear me singing that last sentence? Just the memory makes me happy and hopeful for some of the same. Let's meet here in April and we can talk and compare snow or lack-there-of stories..

Autumn is the time of year when we try to "GET READY" here in WNY. That term can vary from person to person, household to household.

Those dedicated to their yard work trim, cut back, mulch, cover bushes so the rabbits and deer don't find out that your burning bush tastes really good, and then there are pansies and bulbs to plant. The cars get winterized, the summer toys/bikes, hoses put away.

Some people fill the larder,
freezer and every nook and cranny with food, paper products,
pet food and anything you think you might need in case the big storm does come. The last few years, they may have added printer ink to that list! Some people make sure the snowblower will start, gas is ready, wood is ready, shovels are moved to the front of the garage, and one put on the porch (you need to get rid of a few feet of snow sometimes from the porch before you can do anything about the mess in the driveway-and sometimes you can only push the front door out only so far because the snow is so high-not often, but it happens here in the "snowbelt"), bottled water aplenty is in a non-freezing place, and generally we get everything ready to get warm and stay warm. Flannel sheets have been on the beds of many for at least a month. Some people take advantage of this kind of weather to put up Christmas lights and decorations. It is usually done on a weekend, when the weather is unusually warm-and you know you might not get another time, so it is not too uncommon to see Christmas Decorations in place before Thanksgiving. Hey, whatever, I don't pay their electric bill. Let their kids and grandkids talk to them about "going green", using less energy, smaller footprint, blah, blah.

I have done most of these things, with the variety changing as the years pass. This year I did nothing more than toss out hanging plants and pull up most of the annuals for my yard work. We had a project in the front that is still not completed, yard dug up, many bushes were moved, many plants lost completely in the process. I just decided what dies back and regrows does. Period. Next spring will be surprise after surprise to see what makes it.

SS and I ran the massive snowblower about a month ago to be sure it is ready when we are. I feel like such a wimp now, I cannot start the snowblower unless I use the electric start. The "easy start" operation apparently only applies to people under 60 without arthritis in their hands. I really look comical when I use the snowblower-it kind of drags me around the driveway, any speed it wants-I just have to hope when it is done, it leaves me near the steps. SS does most of the snow removal-he is really so good to us, but sometimes, we need to get it done before he is available, so I take out my typed up instructions, reminding me where the choke and other things are that I have to set properly to get it to do more than start and quickly stop. I use this time to practice new swear words also-my "Me" time that all the magazines stress that you must find time for.
Warm clothes, blankets are ready, new gloves bought in multiples for SGS-where do they go?
What is done is done.

So listen, the reason for this description of our usual Autumn activity is because, most people have done whatever they needed to do by now, and these are our bonus days-enjoying the mild weather, blue skies and generally just soaking up some pleasant sunshine-free vitamin D.

Wherever you are, I hope you can experience your own version of INDIAN SUMMER, even if it is just in your heart.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Kiwanis is a service organization that SH and I belong to. For the past few years our club has been putting yellow ribbons in the center of town, along the route that our Veteran's Day Parade takes. Today we refreshed those ribbons. This is a view looking up the steps of the Veterans Memorial Park to the flag area. The steps are made of inscribed paving bricks. They were purchased in honor and memory of Veterans. It is very moving to walk those steps and read those names and ranks. We also have a section of bricks honoring Killed In Action soldiers, ranging from the Civil War to the Iraq War. The names on all the bricks are of the soldiers, but they represent many more people-their parents, their wives, their children, their siblings, their grandparents, neighbors and friends. We honor all Veterans in this small way. Thank you to all of them for what they have done in such a large way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We've only just begun!

This morning we had the first snow here-large, huge, phony-looking flakes. They only landed for about two minutes, then quickly melted-so if you wanted to tell someone, you couldn't finish describing them, and poof- they were already gone.

But just now, we got some very loud-this will get your attention you sitting inside snug as a bug non-believers: HAIL. OK, OK, enough already. I believe.

So listen, last night we were watching our wonderful Yankees win the World Series, and today it is Winter.

I need more of a transition than that, some very cold days, a few light sprinkles, seeing your breath outside, a few neighbors cranking up the wood burners. After a few of those things, I wouldn't mind waking up to the absence of outside sound-you know how it is when the roads have snow on them before the plows go through and all traffic just goes by like it was wearing soft slippers, not wanting to wake anyone?

I love the way Winter looks, I just don't like how it feels: heavy to shovel, fighting with the tires for domination of the road at the end of your gas and brake pedals, bone-chilling (isn't that a great way of thinking about the power of cold?), and let's not forget those frozen, wet clothes dripping on your hardwood floors, making a cold, wet, dirty, gritty-salt encrusted puddle.

Then again-what do we always say about snow in Western New York " At least you can shovel it, not like all those hurricanes in Florida, or mudslides and forest fires in California".

Grass in not always greener-especially when it is covered with snow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkin Passions

So listen, is there anything better than Pumpkin? Pumpkin coffee, pies, latte, doughnuts, muffins, soup, candles, it's everywhere, it's everywhere!

From my picture you can see that my SH is a thin guy, me: not so much. Every time I am out of the house, I call to see how he is and "Do you need anything", he quietly asks if I could pick up a few pumpkin muffins or doughnuts. Of course I will do anything he asks of me, he requests so little, and he is so polite (I love good manners). I stop at Tim Hortons (we call it Timmy Hos), or if needed at Dunkin' Donuts and order 4 pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin latte or coffee for me. Since I don't use sweetener anymore of any kind in my coffee, I think the pumpkin flavoring at Timmy Hos is really horrible. The pumpkin latte that Dunkin' sells must have a ton of sugar-it is reaaaally good.

The Kwik Fill Gas Station near my house sells pumpkin flavored coffee-right in the coffee grounds, Green Mountain brand I think. It is delightful, I am taking a deep breath right now just thinking about it. I even whined one time about wanting to buy some, so the owner (who knows me) allowed me to purchase three bags of grounds-I gave two bags away, and now I am hoarding my stash, a little bit added to regular coffee now and then for SS and me. SH does not drink coffee.

This pumpkin product plethora is temporary, and with all things that are good, it is always nice to have something to look forward to. (How do you not end that sentence in a preposition?)

p.s. Sometimes a muffin top has a piece missing by the time I drive home-it must be the bumps in the road that knock it off and clear out of the car. Are you buying that? My SH just smiles when he opens the box.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oink me Not!

So listen, I told you all that my SGS had swine flu (I know it is officially H1N1, but a nasty thing deserves a nasty name-no scientific moniker for this guy!), so he took tamiflu, got better, now my SM has it, she also has tamiflu, but it will be a time before she bounces back like he did. At least she is getting better, gratefully. My SS and her husband also have the flu, as does their SG. Don't know if it is oinker or not, but I bet it is.

So far, SH and SS and I do not have any symptoms-but I wish I would have bought stock in hand sanitizer and clorax wipes. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.

Please take care, cover your mouth, keep your hands off your face and wash 'dem hands.

And FYI, the pictures on the header of my page were taken on my trip of a lifetime with SS to Italy in 2006. I will try to remember to change them monthly. This is at the entrance to the Vatican Museum. Because we were part of a tour, we got to wait at the "special" entrance with reservations at 8am. By that time the poor slugs that were not part of a tour were in line around the block (and their blocks are very loooooong), just hoping to be admitted. Remember that if you go to Italy, be part of a tour, your guide steers you around to all the must-see places, you ride in beautiful new bus, are provided everything and if you are lucky, your guide is a real charmer likes ours. Here he is. He told us he still lives with Mama. Why not? He gets his favorite food, his clothes beautifully ironed, and I am sure his cute cheeks kissed every day. We all should be so lucky as to be loved like an Italian son.