Saturday, May 7, 2022

Mother's Day 2007

Abby wrote in her blog, AbbyNormal, about a memorable Mother's Day.  It was a prompt from Mama Kat's blog that I'm not super familiar with.  However, after reading Abby's post, about her memorable Mother's Day and Mother Day thoughts in general, I thought I would share the story of my Mother's Day in 2007.

I know I have shared this story before on one of my blogs, but I don't remember which blog, though I know it wasn't on any recent blog and as I have some new readers, I thought why not share it again. I had not thought of this Mother's Day for years until just a few days ago, even before reading Abby's blog about her memorable Mother's Days.  So maybe it is time to share it again.

My mom died on December 13, 2006 at the age of 85 years old. She had lived a good long life but you know how you want your moms to live longer.  If your mom is still alive, treasure the time spent with her.  You won't regret any moment that you do.

My mom got sick at the end of November 2006 and got admitted to the hospital with what would be diagnosed as fungal pneumonia. She was pretty darn sick.  She lived in the Washington DC area with my sister and her family and at the time my husband, son, and me were living in Southern California; having just moved down from Montana a few months before in June 2006.  My sister kept my brother and me informed of my mom's illness, progress, etc.  My sister pointblank asked the doctors how much time my mom would have in case family members wanted to come and visit. The doctors pointblank said 10-14 days.  My sister relayed that info to us. 

My brother, his wife and one of his grown children went to visit my mom and said goodbye to her basically.  I was in denial.  I did not think my mom would pass.  I did not go and visit her.  The night before she died, she was the most alert she had been during the whole hospitalization. I thought she had been buoyed by my brother's visit (her favorite though she would never admit he was her favorite) and I thought she had made a turning point to getting better. My sister later commented that during the whole time she was visiting my mom, my mom was very alert but she kept looking beyond my sister.  Almost like she was seeing someone else in the room.......(I like to think perhaps it was Jesus calling her home). A few hours later my mom slipped into a coma and it was decided to withdraw care as she was not getting better nor would get better and let her peacefully pass.  I said goodbye to her over the phone.  I like to think she heard me.  

In the interest of keeping this short and not novel length, I won't list why and try to explain why, but I did not go to her funeral.  Looking back, I would have done both (gone to visit her and her funeral) and I regret not doing so, but you can't take back something after the fact. 

I grieved like anyone would grieve losing their mom.  And life went on. 

Mother's Day 2007 rolled around. I already knew it was going to be a tough day. The first one without my mom alive. So I braced myself the best I could, knowing there would be tears. 

I got a wonderful gift though from God.  And yes, there were tears, but there was also a wonderful gift.

At that time, I was volunteering in the nursery of the church we were going to.  I was scheduled to volunteer at the 9 o'clock service on Mother's Day.  Another lady was also scheduled to help out.  One baby was checked into the nursery that morning for the 9 o'clock service.  A little boy.  I would have known his name but in these close to 15 years, I have forgotten it.

In the course of the time we were together, the other volunteer and me, we talked as volunteers tended to do.  I knew her from a few other times working with her. She told me that her nephew's wife had lost a baby just a few days before at 39 weeks pregnant.  She had not felt the baby move for a time, had gone in for a checkup and discovered the baby had died.  It was later said the cord had wrapped itself around the baby's neck.  Of course the family was devastated with the loss of the baby. 

I was mourning my first Mother's Day without my mom.

We both loved on the little baby in the nursery.  We took turns holding him as he was not mobile yet.  Just sitting up with support.  

Service ended and the parents came to pick him up.  We talked to them about how wonderfully cute their little boy was and how good he was during the time there in the nursery.  I asked how old he was and the mom said 5 months, saying he had been born in December.  I asked what day in December as I may (or may not) have a birthday in that month and I wanted to see (or not see) if his birthday might be close to my birthday (assuming I had a birthday in that month).  I may (or may not) advertise my birthday here on my blog.....

The baby's mom said "he was born December 13th".  I remember my eyes got big though I did not say anything about that day.  We finished talking with them, they left to carry on with their day, and I went into second service with my husband.  I cried through the whole service as I knew I would.  I don't remember what the sermon was about.  It may have been about mothers.  It may not have been.

I just remember thinking about how special of a gift it was to see that life had been born on the same day my mom had passed from this life to her eternal home with eternal life in heaven, and that I got to see that life in this little boy that I got to love on for an hour's time in the nursery, along with another grieving woman, grieving the loss of their new family member.

I did thank God for that very special gift that first Mother's Day without my mom.  

To those women who celebrate Mother's Day, Happy Mother's Day.  To those women who have trouble celebrating Mother's Day, I get it.  For whatever reason, it can be a hard day.  I had many a hard one with wanting to be a mom but not able to due to infertility.  And then the sadness of them with missing my own mom.  I kind of accept Mother's Days now.  We don't go overboard here in celebrating it and that is okay with me.

But Mother's Day 2007 will always have a special place in my heart (especially when I remember it).  

Oh gosh, now that I think about it, Mother's Day 2006 was pretty special too! But that is another story for another day! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

April Books

I do not know how I managed it, with the A/Z challenge and all, but I read 6 books during April.  I have to say I did really structure my time to make sure I was doing something constructive and not just scrolling through Facebook and the like, so I did a lot of reading on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and of course Monday through Friday mornings when exercising on the treadmill.

Here's the books I read in April (no particular order):

A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca.  


Taken from the web: 
A Place to Stand is his memoir of childhood on small farms in New Mexico, his adolescence spent in orphanages and detention centers, his years as a drug dealer in San Diego and Arizona, and his extraordinary personal transformation under harrowing conditions behind bars.

It is a memoir and I usually don't read a lot of them.  I'm not sure why this particular book caught my attention to check out from our local library's e-book.  It was a fascinating story of the author who survived a traumatic childhood and adolescence and a 5 year prison time in a maximum security prison. During that time in prison he did learn to read and write (basically taught himself) and upon release from there did make a career writing poetry.  It was a hard read since there was a lot of tragedy within the pages, but redeeming at the end.  I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer.


From the web:  
After her husband’s sudden death, Carley Winsted is determined to keep her two daughters in their beloved home on Nantucket. To ease the family’s financial strain, she decides to transform their grand, historic house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable—especially not Carley’s mother-in-law. Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships. And her late husband’s former law partner is making Carley confront an array of mixed feelings. Then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways.

I needed a book to read and none of the books I had on hold were available yet, so I found this book, again through my local library's e-books.  I had not read anything before by Nancy Thayer.  It was a light romance.  Very easy to read.  I read it over a weekend.  Predictable story with a few twists.  I give it 4 stars for a summer read on a beach, provided one is going to the beach for a summer vacation.  

Eli's Promise by Ronald Balson:


From the Web:   Eli's Promise is a masterful work of historical fiction spanning three eras—Nazi-occupied Poland, the American Zone of post-war Germany, and Chicago at the height of the Vietnam War. Award-winning author Ronald H. Balson explores the human cost of war, the mixed blessings of survival, and the enduring strength of family bonds.

It is a book about WW2 and the Holocaust but the story is actually told in 3 different time periods (as the war starts and the first few years, after the war, and 20 years later).  It is a story of promises made and broken and of betrayal.  I saw it on Sandy's blog.  Very fascinating story with a good plot.  Few surprises along the way.  I give it 5 stars.

The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom:



From the Web: What would happen if we called on God for help and God actually appeared? In Mitch Albom’s profound new novel of hope and faith, a group of shipwrecked passengers pull a strange man from the sea. He claims to be “the Lord.” And he says he can only save them if they all believe in him.

This was a short book and I read it over just a few days.  It was an interesting plot with some concepts to think about with life and faith.  Again, I give it 5 stars.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel:



From the Web After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

This was a bit of a mythical/magical type of book.  As stated above, the main character is kidnapped from her parents and raised by an old woman who teaches her how to survive in the woods.  The young woman does help Jews who are fleeing from the Nazis survive in the woods.  There was a very interesting unexpected twist in the story that was a big game changer with how I thought things would progress.  Very well written book.  Again, I'll give it 5 stars.  

Three Sisters by Heather Morris:



From the web:  Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz, as the Nazis try to erase any evidence of the prisoners held there. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued.  And this is where the story begins. From there, the three sisters travel to Israel, to their new home, but the battle for freedom takes on new forms. Livia, Magda, and Cibi must face the ghosts of their past--and some secrets that they have kept from each other--to find true peace and happiness.

I had read a couple of other books written by Heather Morris including Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey.  All these books were written as fictional history but based on true life stories.  All are based in WW2 and the Holocaust.  This one was a good story, as the others.  I give it 4.5 stars.  At the end of these books are pictures of the people the books are based on and their families.  It is nice to see that from all the suffering they endured during the war and in concentration camps, they were able to go on and live a life, get married and have children, etc.  

So now I am at 20 books for the year of my goal of 50.  I think I'll get there!

What are you reading these days? Anything good to recommend? 


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Zephaniah and Zombies

Finishing the A to Z challenge with 2 words for the letter Z.  First of all, thank you all who visited and those who faithfully commented on a lot of my posts throughout the month and a big thank you for those who commented on each and every one of them.

For those who have a faith, Z is for Zephaniah 3:17: 

The Lord your God is with you; the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  

Remember, he is the Mighty Warrior and he will fight your battles.  You just need to be still and know he is God. 

For those who might have  a faith some day (and might not, and that is okay too), Z is for Zombies:  

One of the games grandson plays is called Plants Versus Zombies.  It is kind of a cool game, better than some other ones he plays.  The zombies are coming to attack and the plants have to kill them.  One of the weapons used is a pea shooter (shown on the left).  I found the definition for the pea shooter online:  The peashooter is a toy version of the blowgun or blowpipe. It is usually a tube that launches its projectiles via blowing. As the name suggests the normal ammunition is peas, though other seeds, fruits, improvised darts, or wadded up paper can also be used.

Of course they would make a pop-it toy with the characters (as well as plushies and so much more).  


Just be careful out there and avoid the zombies or if you can't, make sure you have your pea shooter with you.

And that is a wrap!! 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Yogurt

I like yogurt.  I usually didn't eat a lot of yogurt until recently because it had a higher amount of calories than I wanted to eat at the time or it didn't have much protein in it.  But one day at work when I was putting my lunch in the fridge, I saw a yogurt container and on the top of it I read "12 g of protein".  I picked it up and saw that it only had 80 calories in it.  I wrote the name down and asked my husband to get some for me the next time he went grocery shopping.  (He does 99.5% of our grocery shopping by himself; I love it).

The yogurt is Light + Fit Greek and Nonfat Yogurt by Danone.  It comes in a lot of flavors but not all the flavors are available at times at the store.  My absolute favorite is the salted caramel but their strawberry cheesecake is very good as is their peach.  Really, everyone I have tried I have liked.  



And true to form, they only are 80 calories each and have 12 g of protein in them.  Often I will have a container at breakfast with a hardboiled egg or a container at lunch with some crackers.  They are filling and tasty.  

Do you like yogurt? 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

X

I will admit I was totally lost about what to post for X so this is a bit of poetic license for it.  Forgive me, okay?

I was Xcited to hear about Buzzed Bull Creamery coming to the Scottsdale area.  They offer ice cream that was infused with alcohol.  Or you could get plain ice cream without the alcohol in it.  Either way it sounded good to me and it was something I definitely wanted to try.  

It opened a few months ago but we had to wait until the weather was pleasant to have ice cream.  I love ice cream but not in the middle of winter when it is cold out (not that Phoenix ever really gets cold, but it does cool down a bit).

We went to the shop this past weekend.  Here is the Xtraordinary menu.  I got the Death by Chocolate that was infused with chocolate vodka.  Hubby got the Cherry Cordial infused with Brandy/Cognac. 


They use liquid nitrogen to make the desserts.  This video shows how it looks when the liquid nitrogen is turned on.  I think they begin with a liquid ice cream base and  they add what goes into the creation.  It goes into a metal bowl, then they attach it to a beater type thing that uses the liquid nitrogen to turn the liquid into ice cream.  You can get the finished product as a milkshake or ice cream consistency.  This video is about 25 seconds long showing the liquid nitrogen at work. 



The drinks were Xcellent!  Here is my Death by Chocolate as a milkshake.


And hubby's Cherry Cordial as a milkshake.


They were so, so, so, so very good! 

Took about 10 minutes from ordering to get the product made.  Worth every minute of waiting.

We definitely plan on going back and trying something else on the menu.  It was really pricey but definitely worth it.  

If you ever have the opportunity to try this, please do.  It is worth the effect to go the Xtra mile to do so!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Water

Here in Phoenix at the local parks (and some people do it at their houses), they water by a technique called flood irrigation.   Basically, they flood the area they want watered. 

This is how it looks at the park where those Easter eggs were chalked on the sidewalk in my Neighborhood post about 10 days ago.  


The ducks (and Canadian geese) like it when it is flooded.  You might be able to see a duck in the middle of this picture.



It looks like a lake in the middle of a park.  But it is just temporary.  



This is about a week later.  You can see the water in some placed has receded.



But not in all of the areas yet.  Usually takes about 2 weeks for it all to recede.


This one was taken Saturday April 23rd.  I kind of like the sky effect in this one.


And these last two from yesterday, April 26th.  Water all dried up.  




First time I saw the park covered with water (they do sections at a time), I thought a water pipe had broken.  It took me awhile to learn about flood irrigation.  A lot of new people to the area also are shocked when they first see it until they too learn about it.  From what I read, it is more effective for watering with less evaporation because of the heat we have here.  

They have been doing it for years so I guess it works.

I just found it odd when I first saw it.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Vacations

What was your favorite place to go on vacation or your favorite vacation?

Growing up, we didn't take any vacations because we just didn't have money for them. We lived in Southern California so we would go to the beach or the zoo, occasionally Disneyland, but never more than a day trip and not far away.  We did go back to visit family in Pennsylvania one year when I was 13 years old.  My first plane trip.  I enjoyed it then.  I don't like flying now. 

When hubby and me were first married, before children, we took a vacation at least once a year.  It was always to places we could drive to.  We went to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Hearst Castle, Aspen Colorado, Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico to name a few of the places we visited.  We usually vacationed in October around our anniversary.  The crowds were less and the weather usually pleasant.

Pretty much every year when we had kids we had a vacation. Usually always to places we could drive to.  Because we lived in a few different parts of the western states, we would see the tourist attractions in those areas.  When we lived in Montana of course we visited Yellowstone.  We also went to Rapid City South Dakota (that is a fun town with lots to see including Mount Rushmore).  When we lived in New Mexico we drove over to the Grand Canyon.  It was always an adventure traveling with kids, as anyone with children will attest to.

After we became empty nesters, we still took vacations.  Again always to places we could drive to.  The last time I flew, and it will be the last time I fly, was to my niece's wedding in Washington DC back in September 2018.  I do not like flying and I won't get on a plane again.

But my favorite vacation was the vacation we took back in 2005 to Washington DC.  It was my son, my husband and me.  We visited my sister and her family and my mom as they live right outside of Washington DC.  We had so much fun visiting all the usual "tourist traps" of the nation's capital.  We didn't tour the White House but of course we saw the White House.  We loved the Smithsonian museums we visited and we didn't realize it until we got there that they were free (at least at that time they were).  We especially enjoyed traveling around on their Metro system (like the subway).  We would park at a shopping center that had a Metro station, buy a pass for the day and use it to get all around to where we wanted to go.  Saved on trying to find a place to park in downtown DC and we just thought it was so cool to travel that way (doesn't take much to make us happy I guess).  It was the last time I saw my mom before she passed a year later.  We ate at great restaurants, we took a drive and saw where my husband had been born, Patuxent Naval Air Station.  We couldn't get on to the naval base, obviously, but we at least got to see the area where he had been born and had lived for his first several years of life.  We also visited Solomons Island  where I had the best crab cakes and my husband and son had the best key lime pie.  Just best trip ever!

Hubby and me are thinking about a vacation for this year.  I think we might have found where we will go, probably in September, but that is another post for another day :)