October 23, 2011

Sad Home Going...

The visit with our daughter Jill, her husband Jason, and the four grandchildren in Wisconsin went by too quickly.

We were able to spend some special time with Jill when the family was gone. We took her to lunch and she and I did lots of shopping by ourselves. I found the thrift stores in Wisconsin to be full of treasures. I came home with a beautiful nativity set, two pairs of jeans, a top, and a sweater. All looked new. Some with tags.

Jackson, their French Bulldog, and Samson, their English Bulldog were excited to see us. We are not dog people but we were able to exist peacefully. We got a kick out of both dogs for all their individual traits. Jackson guards food. It doesn't matter who has the food he stands on guard until every morsel is gone, I'm assuming to make sure he gets a crumb if it drops. He chases Samson away from the food area. And just looking at chunky Samson brings a smile to your face.

While R hung around the house I went to three fourth grade classes on Friday afternoon to be a mystery reader for the triplets. I'm not sure they were all that surprised that I showed up because they'd asked me beforehand. But they didn't know the day or time or if I'd show up. I read a quickly picked book from the nearby library called THE WITCHY BROOM. I picked it because it was short enough and ended with a bit of suspense. Jill took several photos of me in their classrooms and posted them on Facebook. That one day was the highlight of the trip for me - mostly because I had the opportunity to be with the grandchildren, to meet their teachers, and to encourage all the children to read read read. Of course I  mentioned that I write and urged them to try their hand at writing.

That evening we treated them to pizza and cupcakes for their birthdays. Austin was six Oct. 14, and Mackenzie, Tanner, and Chase will be ten on Oct. 24.
We gave them their gifts. Books, of course. Books are food for the soul, in my eyes! And the books seemed to be a hit.

The weather was exceptional for our entire visit with the fall colors not quite gone.

One day I made a pot of delicious Thia Chicken Soup made with  fresh cilantro and coconut milk.  I picked up only two fans with it. Jill and Jason. R said it was okay and the kiddies said no thanks and ate leftover Chinese food from the night before. Jill loved the soup and she and I polished off the last bowl of the double batch. If anyone wants the recipe I'll be glad to share.

Our home going was sad. Some tears. Lots of hugs. ( I just knew it was time to leave after six days. We were tired and they were too. We've learned it's  best to leave while everyone is still in love.)

However, I always leave a part of myself with them and I bring  home a part of them with me.

A few months back, Mackenzie gave me a half of a heart on a chain and she kept the other half for herself. It reminds us that we are in each other's hearts she said.

Grandchildren are a precious commodity. Not one you can give away or trade. But one that touches your soul and stays in your heart.


October 15, 2011

A Change in Scenery...

We're getting ready for a change in scenery. Tomorrow we head to Milwaukee from our home in Ohio to visit our youngest four grandchildren - Chase, Tanner, and Mackenzie - triplets - who will turn 10 while we are there. And Austin Cole who just turned 6. And our daughter Jill and her husband Jason.

We are so excited we can't stand it. I've been packing our bags and tucking in treats and little gifts all week.

We visited the neaby Apple Barn and bought fresh apple butter,  honey and apples to take to them.

You'd think we were taking a trip to Europe, the way we've been assembling items. Don't forget to take this or that, we keep reminding each other. Of course at our age, it's DO NOT forget to pack your prescriptions. We'll only be gone a week but you'd think we were going for the winter.

We both look forward to the change in scenery. Especially with fall here and the leaves putting on a grand and colorful show. Our trip will take us through Indiana and Illinois and then into Wisconsin. Any time we've traveled this route in the fall, we've been given a rare and welcome show by the beautiful landscape.

When we arrive the kiddies are beside themselves with joy and throw themselves into our arms. Of course we love and welcome every gesture of their affection. We haven't seen them since June and pictures tell us they've grown by heaps and bounds.

They'll be surprised because Nana and Papa have a new car. They were used to riding around with us in the old gray sedan when they came to visit - now one of the first orders of business will be to take them for a ride in the new vehicle and as this one has many new features I'm sure all four of them will try out each button and switch.

I don't remember having these kinds of visits with my own grandmother. The only one living when I came along was my Grandma Casto and she was very sedate and old fashioned. She wore her gray hair braided and wound around her head. Later in her life she kept it cut and permed. She got a perm every three months like clockwork. She wore a sun bonnet on trips out to the cemetery when we went to decorate. We always took her peppermint sticks when we went to see her. She let us play with the buttons in her button jar.  She liked to stay home and only went to church. Will I turn into Grandma? I don't know. I might. But I think it's unlikely.

Grandparents are more active today, perhaps because we're healthier and have more energy. Or because we didn't live through the depression nor work physically as hard as the generation before us.

Whatever the reason I can't wait to climb into the car tomorrow and head off to Wisconsin where our youngest grandchildren are waiting for us with hugs, kisses and love.

What more could one ask in this life than to be loved by a child?

We've been blessed eight times with grandbabies and are so thankful for each one.

Have a blessed day and hug someone today. If not a child then find a loved one and give him/her a big hug.

October 10, 2011

The Beauty of October

Thanks to the beauty of October and it's brisk refreshing days,  I've been hard at work again on my writing project - THE NOVEL.

 I've been rewriting all 312 pages of it and its nearing the finish line. I passed page 215 in the rewrite yesterday. I'm updating and tweaking the story.

Once it's finished I have some new places to send it to. Keep those fingers crossed.

This book has been a work in progress for ten years from the day I had the idea to now. It's grown by leaps and bounds.

It's been around to dozens of places and has a fair amount of rejections. Okay, a huge stack.

On the other hand it's won one award and gained praise from many readers, editors and agents.

My dream has been to see this book published. My long ago goal was to sell short stories and essays. Those goals have been met.

Now it's back to the big dream. The published novel.

If the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise and  I experience no other disasters by early November I'll have this thing on its way.

I'm delighted that I've kept at this daily writing schedule for the last month.

I'm a Gemini and have lots of irons in the fire. Too many things draw me away from my good intentions.

Any of you have that problem? Start something and then get lured away by a project that seems better than the one on which you are working???

Share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings to you and yours, Barb

Plus, R and I are traveling to Wisconsin in another week to see the youngest grandchildren, the triplets who soon will be ten and their younger brother.

We're excited!