Saturday, July 31, 2010


My father died last night. He had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer only a few days before. He went home and died surrounded by one of his brothers, my step mother, my step brother, my half sister and my sister. He is at peace.

I am sad. I spent a large portion of last night trying to figure out if I was sad because I had lost my father which is natural of course or sad because my father and I were never close. He was a man who did not show emotion much. He was raised not to like many men of his generation. I can only remember three emotional conversations we ever had. The first was when my parents were divorcing and he told me in tears how he would always be there for me. The second was when, some twenty years later, again in tears (both of us) when he attempted to explain why he had not. And the third was this last Thursday night.

I was in Wisconsin with my friend, Pam. It was a beautiful evening and we were at her youngest daughter's softball game. I had tried to call Dad earlier and my cell phone would say "Call Failed". I almost didn't try again but gave it one last shot. And the call went through. He appeared accepting of his death. I told him where I was and how I had to get home before I could come to visit or even make arrangements. We both felt so sure he had more time. He told me he would not go anywhere until I came. Sometimes we can't keep promises. We told each other we loved each other and I know he always has.

So, I am sad and crying as I type this. I am sad for all the years he and I missed as our last conversation was one of the best we ever had and sad that it had to take his dying for us to have that.

I need to write this for me. Goodbye Dad.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ACOT get together

The classes have been wonderful, the make n takes fun, and new lines varied. I'll put my picks up tomorrow. Here are a few pictures from last night at the ACOT dinner.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome to Wisconsin

Pam and Leslie picked me up at the airport and the fun began. We ate ate a great restaurant in the Third Ward that had fantastic food and then it was on to a micro brewery on the river. The day was custom ordered and could not have been more perfect. Pam's house is wonderful and her family warm and gracious.

Our internet connection is iffy so more tomorrow...we are safe and sound in Chicago.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Being in the moment

Yesterday was our last day on the beach and I took a solitary walk while E loaded the van for our trip home. It is so easy walking along the shore to be totally in the moment. There is no agenda. The birds fly from prime fishing spot to prime fishing spot, the fish do what fish do and tide ebbs and flows. I would like to bring more of that ease of being into and appreciated the moment into my daily life.

On our way home, Little Mama called and life had overtaken her and Chris and the Twins. Poor little Landon had developed a bad diaper rash and home remedies and dr.'s advise had not convinced out little fella that all would be well soon...babies do live in the moment! and poor Landon's moments were not happy.

As soon as we got everything out of the van and into the house and I put in a load of whites, I took off to offer what help I could. I rocked and fed and soothed and rocked some more and would like to think things were marginally better when I left. Little Mama got to shower, eat and run a load of laundry. Poor Big Daddy has been on call all week so, in addition to being Daddy when at home and getting little sleep, he has been called out to work in the middle of the night. These two parents could use a rest.

So, not having got enough of the babies yesterday, we told Little Mama to come on over for the day and bring some laundry. Poor little Landon needed some major loving and don't think from the pictures we did not love on Colvin too...they both got their share. While we entertained the "troops", she got an hour and a half nap and left with a basket full of clean clothes.

And Nana and Papa got in some major bonding time with our grandsons....

I also managed to get all my clothes washed, ironed and repacked and am ready to head out to Wisconsin tomorrow morning to visit with my dear friend, Pam B before she, Leslie and I head to Chicago to meet up with Janet M and other Cherry gals.

Janet and I are hoping to meet our sweet friend, Maria, one of the mornings and I have a date with my cousin, James, whom I have not seen in ages. He and I share a love of family history and I can't wait to exchange info and to see him again.

My uncle Mike called while we were gone, speaking of family history, and has managed to trace my dad's side of the family(Sears/Cyr) back to the 1500s...can't wait to see that.

I will be 'broadcasting' live tomorrow from Cheese head land so watch this spot.

Oh, and are not the boys getting more and more handsome? They are entering their 7th week on earth!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just a couple more days in Paradise.

At least once during our stay on Estero Island, E and I walk down the beach early in the morning, come up under the pier and cross to Times' Square, a pedestrian section of the island with shops and numerous restaurants. We treat ourselves to breakfast at either Pete's Time Out or Plaka's. Wed. morning we picked Pete's. After our eggs, toast and hash browns we walked by to our 'home' here. We have been so fortunate in our weather as, despite the mid 90s temps, we have had lovely breezes to keep us from roasting.

E and I sat pool side reading for a large part of the morning and then headed back to the little outlet mall for E to exchange a purchase and I picked up a pair of shorts and two cute cotton tees from Izod for 26.00...gotta love these summer sales.

We met Nick, Jerry, Caden, and his dad, Justin for lunch at Smoking Oyster is Justin in full pirate garb...

Around 5, E and I roamed back down the beach to a Gulf side restaurant called Nemo's. We use to hang out here for music a few years ago when it was called The Barking Shark. We met my sister and her boyfriend for a light dinner and some libations and, just as they were heading home, Cheryl and John came in and joined us for a bit. They were bar hopping down the island and sampling seafood as they went.

This was an incredible evening. E and I sat on the pool deck with a glass of wine watching the sun set. Everyone was staring out into the Gulf close to the shoreline and we found feeding dolphins. They came in so close and were still feeding this morning when we walked. I love these amazing creatures.

We have been so spoiled the last few summers by the most beautiful sunsets here and this year has been a bit disappointing. The ones usually viewed this time of the year are bold and dramatic with visit peaches and pinks and blues and shades all in between. While not one of the most spectacular, last night's was pretty.

Tonight is our traditional pot luck dinner and we have moved the time to 7pm to allow the sun to drop a bit and the breezes to pick up. This is our last night on the island til next year and it is always a bit bittersweet. Some will be staying through Sat. morning when we usually all leave but we need to get home. We need our grand son fix, me especially since I won't get to see the boys again for another week. I head to Wisconsin to visit my friend, Pam B, and then we join up with Janet M and a bunch of the ACOT Cherry girls in Chicago for the Craft and Hobby Association convention. Hoping to see Elizabeth A, owner of Simply Scrappin' and Michele, owner of Posh there too!

Hope everyone has a great day

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

E's Peach Sangria Recipe (here ya go laura)

Carolina Peach Sangria (we used Ga. peaches)

from June 2010 Southern Living

1 (750 mil)bottle of rose wine
1/4 C vodka
1/2 C peach nectar
6 Tbs thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
2 Tbs sugar
1 lb. ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 60z pkg fresh raspberries
2 C club soda chilled

1. combine first 5 inredients in a pitcher and stir til sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries and chill for 8 hours.
2. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving

Frozen peaches and raspberries can be used (but the fresh is the best).

And today's drink of the day is Pom a tinis! Yum!

Welcome to my Wednesday

No, these are not Cabana Boys in this picture but rather two of the darling gnomes scattered around the Bubble Room out on Captiva. This is for Clare so she can see just a smidgen of what she has in store for her when she, Janet and I invade the islands this coming January. I have so many gnomes in my garden thanks to the kids that I have had to request "no more gnomes". lol

Last night E did his infamous shrimp boil for all of us. There were 14 of us and not much left over. Words escape me in describing how good this tasted. And peach sangria also by E has become our favorite. Jadee brought E and I a box of Spanish wine that goes down far too smoothly.

Today, the only thing we have on our agenda is our morning beach walk and some pool time. I need to get a stronger block on my face as the 30 I've been using is not working...I think half my face peeled off during the night.

Love to all and wish you were here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week 29 : Peach Sangria, Sand, Surf and Fun

Jadee, Andrea and their girls arrived via car by way of Memphis where Andrea lives late Sat. night. They hit the beds but were ready to play bright and early with the rest of us. E and I stake out the same table we had last week and then take our walk on the beach. Jerry runs and slow but sure, the rest drift to the table. We fill a carafe with coffee and everyone helps themselves. This is morning at the beach.

Some of us read and some of us don't...some eat breakfast in and some get nourishment at either Reeses (one of our favorites) across the street or, if the line is not too long, down the road at Heavenly Biscuit.

Here are the girls playing in the surf their first full day here. They make sand castles, hunt shells and have found tiny crabs and needle fish which they always let go...having a biology instructor for a mother makes for ecologically correct children and more power to her and them.

Sunday, my sister, niece and great niece came out to play as well and Janet brought a wonderful salad to accompany our burgers and brats.

Sunday we all hung around the resort catching up on each others' lives just as we always do. We use to go dancing at either the old Bridge restaurant to reagee or to Parrot Key to dance to the 50s and 60s with Al Holland but times change and no Al this year and the Bridge has become Doc Ford's (Randy Wayne White's hero in his novels set here in the area).

Yesterday, while a slew of kids, parents and grandparents all headed to Lover's Key for some primo shelling, Cheryl and I crossed over the causeway to Sanibel/Captiva for a day of exploring, shopping, and lunch. Cheryl had never been to the islands and it was fun to show her all my favorites. We had lunch at Key Lime Bistro on Captiva and I showed her the cabins at Tween's Water, where Janet, Clare and I will be spending a few days in January when Clare visits from N.Z. And a visit to Captiva in not complete without a walk through the Bubble Room. I will try to put up some pics of us there as Cheryl got one of me with...gnomes! lol.

When we got home and all gathered around "our" table to greet our friend, Nick, down from St. Louis to hang out with us. This is not Nicks first visit so he knows the one has to do anything they don't want to do! E made us the most amazing peach sangria and everyone was on their own for dinner. We had lemon chicken with marinated green beans mixed with goat cheese, olive oil, spices and roasted almonds.

Tonight is our shrimp boil and we hope to snag the picnic tables in the covered pavilion. Care to join us? Hope you have a great day!

P.S. Kim, Kristen and Chris, Jill and Kellee, Chuck and Linda...we miss you all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Five layouts in a bit over an hour

Today is my reveal at A Cherry on Top. This month I worked with the boy line, Oliver, from Making Memories. With the use of the 8x8 sheets of paper and die cuts I was able to create four layouts for the Twins album and a layout for my Friends album in just a bit over one hour. These papers work great for boy pages but are versatile enough for others as well. Gotta love that about any line of papers and the embellishments are so cute too.

We all over did the sun in the fun yesterday so E and I will be doing a bit less beach time today. We are suppose to get some rain this afternoon so that will help a lot...thinking some scrappy time sounds good or a road trip over to Sanibel/Captiva. I'll put some of the beachy pics up tomorrow...hope everyone has a great week ahead.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Week 29 and we are only missing one!

E and I got all our errands run Thurs and Friday so we could spend yesterday sitting beach side and welcoming everyone as they arrive. It was check in day and the start of one of our favorite weeks of the year, Week 29. There are going to be 18 of us total this year: Jerry, his son Chad, his wife and their two kids, Jerry's son Justin, and his son, Jadee and her two girls, her friend Andrea and her two, Cheryl and John, E and me. My niece, Jenn, great niece, Kaela, my sister and her boyfriend, Dennis will be joining us this afternoon to bring our total to 21. Nick arrives either Monday or Tues.

We have been bless so far these past few days with amazingly breezy, sunny weather. Not sure if it is a storm off shore or what but we've had surf which makes for great times in the Gulf. Yesterday, some of of our little guys here tried boogie boarding with mixed results but they sure enjoyed it despite success or failure.

The high waves have brought the board surfers to our beach and watching them has been so much fun.

Cheryl and John arrived first and celebrated their 29th. Anniversary with John's cousin and his wife and then with us. Cheryl has retired from Special School District in St. Louis this year and Steve and DeeDee gave her and John this week as a retirement gift. We welcome them to their first Week 29.

Hope everyone has a great day...I am betting we do!