Sunday, July 24, 2011


While listening to a very inspiring homily at mass today, the question was put forth: "What would you ask God for", money and cars were mentioned, etc. But of course none of that stuff lasts.
I immediately thought of my answers, but I also know I would forget it in 5 minutes, so I came up with PGS, as in pigs.  PGS would be easy for me to remember because I am a newbie to angry birds on my cell, and am stuck on level 21 of the first set-for three days for goodness sake..  The object is to kill 3 pigs who are barricaded under wood, metal and glass, using kamikaze birds, of different sizes and skill sets.  Do not, I repeat, do not start playing this game.  Last night was one of my now very rare sleepless nights, and there I was, trying to annihilate pigs.
I passionately digress. Mea culpa. Deep breath, move on.
So listen, in my thoughts about asking God for something, I choose PEACE, GRACE and STRENGTH.
Peace for living with all my choices I have made in my life-good and bad, who I am, how I live my life and what I wish for others.
Grace for my much needed skill: to exhibit Grace under fire, as I have written about here before.
Strength, for all the twists and turns that life holds, for the ability to serve others with out it making me look good, and to except every day as a gift-from God.
'Nuff said.
I wish you Peace, Grace and Strength also my SFriends, if that is what you want.

Here is a Peace song for you:

And, this is something not peaceful. an image of an Angry Bird:
Now, wipe that out of your brain, and look at this, very peaceful:

See, Peace is achievable!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bikes and Blooms

There is a small town in Western New York named Clarence.  Some of you might know of it because it is the location where Flight 3407 crashed.  A tragedy in a very tight knit community.
This summer, those who live in this very old, quaint, community of lovely homes-in the exact area where the crash occurred, decided to decorate the front of their homes and businesses with bicycles and live plants.  They are really beautiful and creative.
 Here are a few pictures of that "4 Corners area":

These are actually two stationary bikes in front of a gym!

This is a "twofer", one also on the porch to the left.

This one above looks like a bridal bike, all white..

Tucked into a flower bed.
I must apologize for the blurryness of the photos.  I have been taking most of my pictures with my cell lately, and when I zoom in, they are lousy.  I really need to start bringing my regular camera when I know I will be doing these type of photos. 
Don't give up on me, I will do better, promise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Notices........

Do you read Death notices and Obituaries?  I do.  That is why I think of them as Life notices, they try to capture a person's life.
I started reading them in my 20's, I don't know why.  As the years went on, and I was involved in patient care, I read them for info on people I had cared for, still later, I read them because I was involved in a ministry that sent mailings to shut-ins, and I did not want to make a mistake and sending a cheery note to grieving families. And now, it is part of me, I read almost every death notice and obit and memoriam notice., in every paper that I read.
There were so few pictures with the notices in the old days, and a lot of obituaries.
In case you don't know, Death Notices are paid for by the family of the deceased, charged by the line numbers, and include everone that they are related to/spouses and details about services. Obituaries are considered a news story, put in by the newspaper, with input from the family as needed.  As a news story, they can put in what they want, so if you ever did anything famous or unfortunately infamous, they can include that also.They also include survived- by information, not spouses of their childrens names, just their spouse and/or children.  I always thought that was wrong, the spouses of the children are so involved in the lives of that person also.  Our paper had a change in policy some years back, Obituaries will only be done on the "creme de la creme", in other words an ordinary person who lived a good life, but did not do anything earth-changing were no longer going to have an obituary published.  The decision was made to help the paper be more "efficient".
For people like myself, this was a loss.  I liked to read how people spent their lives, what their achievements were, what their history was.  I get a lot of information from the death notice about family ties, but that is just the beginning of who they were.
So, for a time, very few obits were published.  I  think there were a lot of complaints, because after some time, more and more obits appeared, not as many as in the past, but more.
There was an  increase lately  in the number of pictures that were included with the death notices, they are interesting to look at.  Sometimes the family picks a picture of the deceased when they were very young. I didn't use to understand that, but I read once that people want to remember that person at their best-young and full of life.  When my father died, his family was in charge of the funeral, and his mother had put a picture on the closed casket of a young kid-maybe 18 or something.  I was too dumb and maybe too much  in confusion as to if I should mourn him or not to realize that the photo was of him.  I had to ask.......................
It says a lot that they would pick a picture of this man when he was a mere lad, they had to take care of him his whole life, so to him he was never a man.  Just my opinion, not based on any discussion with them..........
Sometimes the pictures that are chosen make the person look so mean-no smiles, kinda like they are saying "DON'T TAKE MY PICTURE  DAMMIT!". I am sure there are a lot of pictures of me with that espression.  I like the pictures with hats-today there was a picture of a lovely lady wearing some type of head gear-it could have been a motorcycle helmet, but she didn't look like she "rode", and then I read that she was involved with horse-raising/training, so that is what the gear was.  Sometimes, the pictures are of the subject looking off to the horizon.  I imagine this was part of a wonderful contemplative photo of someone looking into the sunset or mountains, etc., being very content, at peace.
When my two SStep-Fathers passed away, they published their obits, very nice tribute to them.
When my Matka died, I had what I thought was another good obit.  Actually, I had started writing a rough copy of it right after her husband died because I knew I would be so emotional that I would not do it justice if I waited.
They did not publish it.........................
I know everyone thinks that their relatives are special, and I think the same way.
Since her death, I have noticed that some people include the obit info in with the death notice, that way, they are sure to have it published.  Some people might not be able to afford this, but we would have gladly paid this in tribute to Matka.  I still am disappointed  with myself for not thinking of that as an option.  Something I could have done better.  It will always bother me that this final tribute to her could not have been read.
Until now.
Thank you for being kind and allowing me to post this:

Mary C. Arnesen, 86, born October 7, 1923 in DuBois Pennsylvania, died August 8, 2010. Mrs. Arnesen moved to Buffalo in the 1940’s to raise her family, and lived in the area, except for two years while living near Rochester. She worked for over thirty years as a grocery store cashier and office clerk, most of those years at the former Loblaws and Bells Park Edge.

Her family remembers her as being full of fun, participating in many social and church groups. She loved bowling, having bowled a game of 242 when she was 79; bingo; pinochle, crafts; bus trips with her many friends; gardening; cooking great Italian meals for her family; dancing; crocheting sweaters and blankets for her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; but mostly she enjoyed spending time with her family, still playing on the floor with the youngest ones.

Mrs. Arnesen worked many additional jobs while working full time as a cashier, including waitressing, as a companion for the elderly, and at one point while raising her young family, she operated her own restaurant on Bailey Avenue, “Mary’s Skillet”, where she was known for her great pies.

In retirement she was still very active, and spent many years caring devotedly for her late husband Bernhard during his struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. She held many positions in the social groups which she belonged to and was always available to help when needed for these and church service groups.

She is survived by her sons John and Terrance Connelly and daughters Joan Michalski, Kathryn Merkel and Sarah Kutter and her Sister Rose Reilly.
There she is, an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life that filled her family in an extraordinary way.
And because Matka was full of fun, here is a song that got her clapping and dancing and singing and laughing, I am smiling right now thinking of her reaction:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Meal of a Thousand Ingredients, give or take a few

We are fish lovers, the favorite used to be fish frys, but to keep SSon and us on a healthy path, those dinners are now as rare as  teeth on a hen.
Tonight, I cooked some frozen salmon burgers-sprayed with a CCC (canned chemical concoction) that was butter flavored.
And I made a saute pan chock full of stuff. I started with some olive oil and fake butter heated, and added bok choy stalks/ cut in 1/2 inch slices,  and a rough cut onion-seasoned with dried chives and some generic Italian seasoning, and celery seed since the bok choy reminded me of celery, after some time, when the onyons were shiny, (there used to be a creole chef on TV that pronounced onions that way-I wonder what his name was?) I added 3 plum tomatoes cut up, about 1/2 cup of low salt beef bouillon from a carton in the fridge and some pepper and the cut up bok choy tops, cooked a tad more until all were mixed together, then I added about 1/4 c of Splenda to give it a little sweet taste, and I knew it NEEDED something else, so I opened a jar of cooked sweet red peppers, cut up a few and that was it. It simmered just a few more minutes to meld the flavors (I watch way too many cooking shows-that phrase just jumped onto  the keyboard).
This is what it looked like:

Then, to make a salad, I used fresh spinach-which I just remembered that I did not wash-yikes, I will have to trust that when the bag states washed, they mean it.  I added just a few croutons to make it look like something SS would like, some sunflower seeds and some blueberry flavored Craisens, with just a few splashes of Italian dressing:

The salmon patties cooked up great,

and since I did not make any "starch"  SS could have one slice of bread to pretend it was a sandwich.

We (I) play this game, "what is in the dinner you are eating?", and SHusband was able to identify the onions-he is too funny.  But SS did really well.  I just want him to know that these things that he said tasted good were not burgers and fries. He is really needing to change his entire way of eating so that his Diabetes diagnosis at the age of 40 does not do damage to his body for the next 40 years as his Doc discussed with him this week. This is the time to get his blood sugar down to the normal range (which is not that far away for him now) and he has been so cooperative.  His two month checkup showed all his numbers down, so if he continues his diet and exercise, he should be OK.
I am very proud of him not being upset if he can no longer eat certain foods, and especially when he has ice coffee with milk and Splenda  instead of sugar and fat filled fancy coffee drinks. 
That was our supper tonight, and since my brain is always focused on food, I am already wondering what I will cook tomorrow..............
You need some dessert after reading this supper blog SReader, so here is a salmon inspired video for you:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flowers in my path

I like to plant perennials. They don't ask for much, every now and then you need to cut them back because they have spread too much, but then you just start some more elsewhere.  They are faithful. And, if you play your cards right, they will not need to be watered. Here are a few flowers in my yard

The first of course, you have seen until today on my header, it is the lupine, you should see how ugly that one is now that it's flowering is finished. Oh baby.

And these we all have seen on the sides of the road in New York State (NYS), they are called Day Lilies, they grow wild here, but these are from what I call my Uncle Jack garden.   He was a much loved uncle of mine, he gave some plants to my Matka, and she gave some to me.  They grow like crazy, and the past few years, two trees are growing right out of the middle of their bed.  They are covered with sometimes 6 feet of snow in the winter because they are right at the end of our driveway, but, they still keep coming back.  This year I added some soil, peat moss and a little mulch for them, a special treat because they have been so good to me. I think of them as our personal anniversary flowers when I drive around and seen them everywhere.  The explanation for that is because when we were driving through NYS on our honeymoon, they had just sprung open and seemed to greet us everywhere we went, like they were happy for us.

These are of course Daisey's, they seem to be so fresh -hey, maybe that's where the saying "Fresh as a Daisey" comes from? My barberry bush in the background needs trimming, but the color contrast looks nice eh?

Here is a view as you walk to my front steps, astilbes, hostas, daiseys, Iris and Lily of the Valley in the spring.

I don't know what these are called, I had the tag buried near  them for so many years, then, we needed to move the plants temporarily, and the tag-all gone.  I thought they had the word grape in them, but??? They spread, grow 12'tall, and the buds are only open in the morning, later in the day, when it gets warm, they close tightly.  If I find the tag, I will let you know.  They really are pretty, and they divide very easily and take well.  Hey, while looking up some spelling in my huge "Miracle Gro Encyclopedia of Plant Care", I think this is a Spiderwort plant.  Their picture looks like my picture.

Pink something, gee I had that in my brain a minute ago.  Is it a Lily too? These are growing in the shade, under our Plum bush that has been trimmed back so many times-it is massive.

These pretty yellow babies were bought just a few short year ago-I like variegated leaves, and they had nice shades of green, then last year, they bloomed, tall yellow flowers, and then this year, they took off like crazy, and I had to cut back easily two thirds of them.  They should really all be moved to an area where they can spread and go crazy.  They were planted next to a plant that has pretty purple  flowers in the late summer-some people call them obedience plants , but my SSister-in-law calls them disobedience plants because they spread like crazy too.  They are all over my yard, and I have this policy with them now, I dig up the extras and PUT someplace, not plant, and see if they take-they always do, poor neglected things, and they sprout back up.

These are sunflowers-tricked you, silk sunflowers.  On our porch, and did you notice that some of SHusbands rocks moved to the porch.  Sometimes when I am walking around and in the house, I need to stop, "IS that a new rock"?  I know they have real names other than rocks, but usually rocks are referred to by me as brown, or green, etc.  One year, we had real sunflowers growing everywhere, because we had a fun squirrel who thought he should take the sunflower seeds that we put out for the birds and relocate them. I am not kidding, they got over 6 feet tall, we had them tied up everywhere, I wanted to see how they would look.  Well, that was a one time experiment, they took all the water from the soil of the other plants in the gardens that they grew in, but it was a fun year when it happened.  Now, I pull up those shoots if I see them.

Yellow Lillies, so striking.  I am really into yellow and green.  Except when I am into purple and pink and blue.
I had some nice Lilacs this year too, I have 4 bushes, two I cut back last year, but the other two came through for me.  I tend to like flowering bushes, so we have forsythia, and two beautiful Weigelas, one dark pink, one light pink, I highly recommended them.
I still have some purple cone flowersfrom my SAunt  that are just getting flowers now, a purple dahlia that I planted this year, not a perennial, but pretty, gladiolas were planted, but because we had so much rain this spring, the hostas that I have so many of, grew very large and fast, so the bulbs that I planted next to them have grown up sideways???  I will  show you if they open.  I had some nice peonies that were originally planted by my SMother-in-law, and transplanted by me, very happy to see those flower this year.  Our Rose of Sharon-purple, is just starting to get buds, so that is something to look forward to.
Just thought I might share these with you SFriends.
And, here is a sunset for you. Peace, Love, Happiness all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good Reading

Have you read any novel that has made you a life long admirers of the author? I have a few of those authors that fit into that category for me. Today class, we will discuss Fannie Flagg. Some of you might recognize her name from the TV show Laugh In. She was part of the cazy, talented cast that were the original LOL crew. That show also had Richard Nixon as a guest when his handelers wanted him to appear more likeable.......
Goldie Hawn got her big break on that show, as did Ruth Buzzy(ie?o ).They had a family called the Ferd Ferkels or something like that, and if I was usinog my home computer to post this I would have included a Youtube clip for you SReaders. You are on your own for that, consider it homework.
Back to Ms Flagg, she was fun to watch on Monday nights for all the years that show was on. The correct show title was Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.
Years go by, a novel comes out entitled Fried Green Tomatoes, by Fannie Flagg. I actually did not know it was THE Fannie Flagg. Great story and then, one of my favorite movies. I have read all of her novels. The Christmas themed story was especially well done " Redbird Christmas ". Just before going away on this little "R.and R"trip, I went to. BORDERS for some Anniversary gifts for my SHusband and some extra books for me. I picked up "I still Dream about You "by SFlagg. I am already sucked in to the story. Hope you can read it and go away from your everyday for just a bit.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A kind man, and..

He was a kind man our Brother-in-law Bud.  Now, he is at peace, living in the good life's reward that he strived  for on Earth.
His 81 year stay here ended on June 30th, surrounded by his devoted wife and 5 loving children. 
He was always willing to do for others, with a smile, never a complaint, never a criticism, always wanted to make things good for all. He worked full time, and also owned/managed apartment buildings, did all the work, remodeling units often,  with his dependable wife working at his side.  He built two of his houses, and said he was going to stay in the last one until he died, shy just a few days at the end, he achieved that.
He shared all the work that he could with his adoring wife, especially during big family meals, he was known for many special dishes, but the one that I am reminded of was his Carrot Cake.  I was always proud of my carrot cake, proud until I tasted his, then I stopped making mine-no comparison to his.
He was calm, never heard him raise his voice-except to sing-Imagine him singing to his wife on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  All present knew what a difficult challenge that was for him since Alzheimer's Disease had already invaded his mind.  But he did a beautiful job, and as the tears came to his eyes, the applause of those watching wrapped him in their hug of support.
He was a CAR man, loved old cars, owned many, told so many stories from way back to the 40's of his car purchases and adventures driving all over.  He was the best man at our Wedding, and he drove us around in his 1953 Hudson Hornet that day.  I felt like a Queen from an earlier era.
He was also the oldest son in his family, so that extended family surely feels the loss of this leader.
Because my SHusband's father died when he was 15, Bud took over all the responsibilities of upkeep and remodeling this house that we live in.  Every room has his touches in it.
Bud and his Sweetheart loved traveling, and that was their gift to each other.  On their last trip to Hawaii, he snuck away, and walked all over to find some material that he purchased and surprised her with when they came home.  She had said she wanted to make some Hawaiian tablecloths to remember their trip, and could not find the right material when they were out together.
SH bought every car but our last one from him because he also had a garage for car repairs and sales.
Sounds like many different lives doesn't it?  He made it all work, and in the process, BUILT a church with his brothers-the actual building from the ground up, then he stayed on as a Trustee for many years.  For many years he, along with two other men cooked a Mother's Day Lunch for over 100 women in town.  Soup to desserts, never complaining, he just thought it should be done.
SH said his SMother was very happy that his SSister married Bud, because he was always the most considerate man, opening doors, being respectful and considerate of others.
It was an honor to know him, and a privilege to Love him.

Here is a story of their love: