to your mother


Friday, September 30, 2016

10 Year Crapiversary

10 Years ago today, 9/30/2006 at 9:30 a.m. as Dad likes to remind me, Mom had a massive stroke.  CLICK HERE to read a blog I started 6 years ago about The stroke. I didn't get many people reading it so I stopped writing, but the beginning of our journey can be followed if you click up there on CLICK HERE.

We don't talk to Mom about today, why remind her of a crapiversary if we can only wish she has pleasantly forgotten the date? Dad and I speak most everyday and always on this date. One of us usually mentions something like "It's 9/30 today" and the other one replies "It's amazing how far she has come" and Dad always feels compelled to say "I'm not going to say anything to her about it" and I agree "Me neither" . Then we proceed to talk about other stuff.

It's been awhile since an update about Mom, and she has been doing so well recently, so let's take this 10 year crapiversary to tell that Stroke to stick it cause Mom ain't backing down yet.

You know Mom fell and fractured her pelvis a few months ago, CLICK HERE to refresh yourself on that one. Well. Mom has a way of turning lemons into lemonade, people, it could be her fulltime job.

Since Mom had fractured her pelvis, the Dr. ordered physical and occupational therapy. Well. The therapy is still happening People, three and a half months later. Dad said today that Mom is walking more and more for the therapist. They have her using a brace to loosen up her curled up knarly hand. Dad and I both agree that Mom has obviously surpassed the level she was at pre-fall but those therapists just keep coming back for more. We both agree that it is probably Mom's perseverance, her sunny attitude, her stubborn you-tell-me-to-do-five-reps-and-I'll-do-ten oxness that keeps those therapists coming back. And Mom's gonna milk this therapy for all it's worth, she is amazing.

Recently I called The Manor and during our conversation the care provider told me Mom had been gone all day. I was taken aback. Dad hadn't mentioned any appointments for Mom that day. "Where did she go?" I asked while trying not to sound alarmed. Laughter and then "Oh, she went on the field trip to the tea room. They said she laughed and giggled the whole time. We just love your Mom". I quick called Dad. He also didn't know Mom was going on the field trip to the tea room. When I asked Mom about it during our call the next morning, there was silence. Then she erupted into laughter. I'm not sure if she found it humorous the way I found out or if she was reflecting upon what a good time she had had. Either way, that lady still knows how to throw down when it comes to having good time. Dad and I now have to wonder what she is doing up there on that mountain when we aren't looking cause goodness knows she's not going to fess up to anything on her own.

So. 10 years ago today Mom had a stroke and she is still pushing through. What, has it been 4 years since she got the cancer survival prognosis of 2-3 years? Cripes. As Prince put it so well, she can still party like it's 1999. Prepare yourselves for Mom to outlast us all.

Goodness knows at 81 she presents herself better than I do.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Five...and the S Key Doesn't Work

Joe plays Minecraft on my computer. Apparently he uses the "s" and "w" to do this. At times these keys don't work. Seems as if they are working now, but if halfway through this thing it looks like a cryptic message, I'm going to continue to plow right through, you people will just have to figure it out. Sorry.

Waiting for the bus, St. Patrick's Day circa 2015. Yes, that is the skirt that Teresa made that was featured in the last "Five" post. Luckily it landed in a skirt-appropriate place rather than Julie's head. Note: Zuzu pet did not go to chool. Oh my, the " " key jut ent out, good luck People...looks like "w" did too. Well now they are working again. This will not be addressed again.

 This is a collection of stuff that Julie found on the floor of the bus and wanted to keep. I took a picture to send to cousin Beth after we had been talking about kid treasures. You'd think this stuff was covered in sugar and edible as a treat if you asked Julie about it. Treasures.

 Fooling around, feeling the love.

 This is a picture I took to send to Maxine. She made the kids fleece vests one year and the kids randomly match them up with their outfits. If you look closely you can see that each of Julie's nail are painted a different color...kinda like Mom' a fe eeks ago. Click HERE to read about Mom' manicure at The Manor

My babies can SWING, People, all by themselves. This a picture of them swinging together on their own for the first time. I can not decribe the feeling I had (and till do eeing thi picture), of eeing my kiddo ing on their on...pumping their leg to get higher, leaning back hile ailing forard, taking itting up o eriouly while moving backwards, smiles, laughter, freedom from aking thi mama for jut one more puh. Freedom to be independent, go a high a they ant, no need for parent uperviion. make my heart soar.

Net pot (hat no the " " key too?). Jut forget it, I'm done ith thi epiode.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Here's Five People

Cell phone pics circa 2015...

 Julie wearing her birthday dress February 25, 2015...aaaaaaaaaand she did her own hair.

This lilput got her ears "piered" for her 6th birthday. I had to wait till I was 10 and had to keep my room clean for a YEAR (Mom said that would show that I wouldn't loose my earrings. Being a mother now, I realize this was probably a ploy to NEVER allow holes to get poked in her precious baby's ears but alas, I am just as stubborn as she and that blasted room was clean for a year, People)  before Mom would allow me to get the holes poked in my ears. She actually took me to our family doctor to have HIM pierce my ears rather than the teenager at the kiosk in the mall. Well, Dr. Karesh, who quickly diagnosed Paul with leukemia and literally aided in saving Paul's life, was not so hot at piercing wee little ears. When I wear studs, the earrings poke out to the side rather rather than straight ahead. Eh, I'm over it. When I came back after my freshman year of college with a SECOND hole poked in my ear, Mom stomped out of my room muttering "You will NEVER get a job with all those holes in your ears". I am here to tell you, the first principal who hired me had three holes spreading up each ear SO THERE MOM. But I digress, this picture is about MY precious baby's ears. And I'm over that stuff, right? Julie was soooooooo excited to get her ears "piered" I thought I might poke out my own eye from the whining and fit-throwing month after month after  month we just couldn't wait any longer. She chose pearls because she wanted to be like Grandma Mac. The piercing technician (I just made that title up) told Julie it was a classic choice, you can dress pearls up or down. How did this tech know my girl so well? Anyway, Julie was brave, Joseph was scared, she almost didn't get the second ear done but we got er done. Note: the girl NEVER changes her earrings so loosing them in her trashed room isn't an issue. BOOM. Me? I rarely wear earrings and never in the second hole. Interesting.

Sick day spring 2015. Both kids sleeping on the couch under the blankets made for then by Grandmama Nuhf when they were born. These blankets have brought much comfort to the kids over the years (thanks Mama Nuhf). If you look closely Joe's feet are actually TOUCHING Julie as they are on the couch. This only happened because Julie was comatose otherwise ALL HECK WOULD BE BREAKING LOOSE.

Where do I start? St. Patrick's Day 2015. Dress made by Mom for RJ (Rachel Jean) perhaps 2005. Skirt/head covering made by Teresa circa perhaps 2014? This is breakfast before school...and that's all I have to say about that.

Oh my word. Summer 2015. Joseph learned how to use his wee lil armpit to make an exhilarating sound. I can not get mad at him for making this sound. Ever. Do you see the incredible joy on this boy's face? How can I deny him that joy? Although Julie doesn't like the jester.  "THAT'S RUUUUUUDE" she will scream at the top of her lungs. Then I calmly say "Julie, dear, it's RUUUUUUDE to yell at your brother. Joseph, some people find that noise to be RUUUUUUDE. If you want to keep making that noise, please do it in your room." (Perhaps mocking her attitude is scarring her, in 20 years I'll let you know what her therapist says.)  Joe usually complies with a huge smile as he stops riiiiiight outside his bedroom door and rips one last juicy one from that wee lil pit of his as he runs into the room. Julie screams "JOSEPH!" in her best playground-teacher voice as I giggle under my breath. It just brings him so much joy, I mean look at that face.

This week's cell phone pics are brought to you by CAPITAL LETTERS. I used them a lot in this post, must be a CAPITAL LETTER sort of day so WATCH OUT PEOPLE.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who Cares What Day It is, You People Love This Stuff

Another post filled with old-school cell phone pics...have at it.

On the way to Joseph's indoor soccer game this winter, there was super wicked weird weather and then here's the double rainbow. If you look closely that's a church at the end of the bright rainbow. My intentions were to print the picture and drop it off at the church. Never did. And that's okay.

 Snowmagoodnessthatsalotofsnow 2016. I believe our neck of the woods received round 3 feet? Felt like 4 yeeeeears of snow. Kids had fun AND they are old enough to shlep ON their snow gear, shlep OFF their snow gear AND put it all in the dryer (yes Colleen, without washing it first, THAT'S how I roll).

 Swimming off the dock down the street from Grandma Mac's house, summer 2015. These monkeys love themselves some water, be it a bay, a pool, a sprinkler, a mud puddle...these fishies will be in it. Reminds me when Joe was about 2 we lived in a townhouse community. I walked the kids to the playground after the area received a lot of rain. Joe had his rain boots on, splashing in small puddles along the paved path as I pushed Julie in the stroller. We came up to the common area where lots of people seemed to be mingling enjoying the sunshine after all that rain. I distinctly remember a father holding his skinny-legged daughter on his hip. He was pointing to this huge, long puddle and talking to her. She just kept shaking her head to whatever words her father was saying. I lost track of Joe as I was observing the two. Next thing I know, I leave the stroller behind as I run in slow motion, hands held out in front of me and I'm yelling "noooooooooooooooooooo" as Joe literally does a swan dive - arms out-stretched, chin held up - into the huge, long puddle in front of the father and daughter. Joe looked around, kind-of surprised with himself, then proceeded to splash his limbs around, belly down, in a way that might tell someone watching "I meant to do that". Many people gasped, laughed, pointed, shook their heads. Well, that father with the skinny-legged daughter on his hip laughed a belly laugh, turning to his shocked horrified daughter, saying in a language that I don't understand something like "Look at him! He loves the water!" She buried her head in Dad's shoulder. Dad looked at me as he dangled his daughter over the puddle (Joe still "swimming" in it). Her legging-covered toothpick legs jerked up to her belly, like a frog. He took her away from the puddle, her legs relaxed. He did this a few more times - leg retract, legs relax - making eye contact with me as if to say "she can't stand the water" in this universal language of frog reactions. That Dad and I laughed a bit...then I marched that boy home. He didn't care about missing the playground, to the delight of many, most of all him, he got to SWIM that day.

We rented our last apartment from some delightful people (shout out to! At some point early on, Wendy presented Joseph and Julie with their first-ever packs of Hubba Bubba bubble gum. Don't get me wrong, these jokers had had gum before but never anything with which you could actually blow a bubble. Well. On that day our lives changed for the better (in more ways than one but I'll only discuss the mega gum extravaganza here). These buster browns worked and blew and chewed and blew and cried and blew and voila! Joe's first blown bubble. Since then they have both become experts, if I do say so myself, so proud. So happy that a small gift from Wendy will always remind me of the joy on this boy's were a part of his first bubble, Sister. Thanks Wendy.

Oh my word. I have never looked at the Radonworx website...look at you all! My People! My landlords! Johnny? Why so serious? Wendy, you are stunningly gorgeous in such a way that no one would believe how well you can handle, well, THOSE people in such a I-won't-take-that-stuff-you-are-trying-to-pull-on-me way. Pops! What a Dapper Dan you clean up to be! Three amazingly giving, thoughtful, understanding, funny and good-natured people. Seeing you all brings a smile to my face. Okay. On with this show.

Oh my. Isn't she sweet? On the wagon ride at Christmas on the Square in Leonardtown circa 2015? A McAloon holiday tradition that started, well, around when the first grandchild/nephew could support his own head, perhaps 10 years ago? Look at that smile, People. Look at the joy. Well. Mike's sister Karyn texted me this pic to show me how happy Julie was because at some point in the few hours before Christmas on the Square...well, Julie did not look like this. She was miserable. Crying, ranting, hitting, puddle-on-the-floor raging over, well, I don't recollect why it happened that time. Perhaps other extended family members do because this almost-everyday-experience-in-parenting-hell was not the norm for them. Me? Just another day in paradise. Anyway, I was delighted to see a smile on my lil-bit's a I sat on the warm couch...while Aunt Karyn and Auntie Lisa braved the December cold on the square in I could have some peace on my Earth. Thanks Sisters.

We were playing on the sandy-beachy spot down the street from Grandma Mac (perhaps fall 2015)  when a couple came walking their grand-dog. This feisty guy was kicking up the sand and spinning around...just like Julie likes to do...these two really hit it off playing with each other. Julie would flick sand up between her legs and the dog would do the same. The dog would race around and sliiiiide into the sand and Julie would do the same. The ?dogma? asked if she could take a picture of the two of them playing, I asked her to text it to me. Pure joy, People.

Let us find some joy today, People.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why Not, It's Wednesday?

Life just keeps happening at full speed around here. Anyway, here's Five on Friday pics on Wednesday...

 Myron and Maxine love to get the kiddos little goodies throughout the year. If we don't see them for a holiday, Maxine is for sure going to drop something in the mail to brighten their day. Such as Valentine's day 2015...this is what Joseph chose to do when I said "Let's take a picture to send to MaMa and PaPa to let them know how much you love their present". I love how the white stitching on Darth Vader's mask resembles the gappy-toothed mouth of Joe.

 This is at the Mt. Airy fireman's carnival circa summer 2015. The Super Shot is one of those "rides" that gently carries you straight up then plunges you down suddenly, as if a major cable broke in an epic carnival ride malfunction, then suddenly slows down to place you gently back on the platform. This pic was taken on the way up...Julie, the second child at 6 years old here, smiles excitedly at the thrill of what is to come...Joe, the first child who, at 7 years old here, is apprehensive. Kind of like the bravery Julie had around that time when Joe was too scared to go in the basement by himself and Julie took his hand saying "Come on Joe, I'll make it okay for you."

This was posted in a hospital last summer. Love the thought of this.

A dear friend of mine shares the same demons I do. As an act of cleansing, she wrote these words in the sand and watched as the waves steadily washed the demons away. She took a picture at each point in the process and texted them to me. Very powerful stuff, People.

These two crazy kids? When she texted this picture of them? My heart swelled with joy, I was rendered speechless at the joy radiating through the cell lines...or air waves...okay whatever don't loose the moment here, take my word for it these cool cats are a great couple.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Five on Friday

Well, it's really Saturday, but for most people it's a three day weekend, so today could be a goes...

This is Julie and I waiting for the bus spring 2015.

While waiting for the kids to get off the bus, I was texting with Emily and I couldn't spell diarhhia. I still can't spell diarehhia. Emily taught me a trick on how to spell diahrehia. I just thought I was sooooo funny, I got the giggles. I took this picture and sent it to Emily cause I was laughing so hard. Spelling diarhea still brings a smile to my face. Diaharhhia. Diarehha. Diarrehia. I know there is an h in there somewhere.

Julie and Sierra were never in the same dance class, but both danced for the same dance company. During the dress rehearsals for the spring recital, Emily and I would take pictures of the girls while saying "Dance Moms season 2" and laugh about it because we are the extreme opposite of dance moms. Julie decided to take gymnastics this past year so, alas, Dance Moms starring Peggy and Emily was cancelled after season 2 due to lack of interest in, well, dance.

Last day of school for the kids 2015.

For Christmas 2015 Uncle Paul and Naomi got Joe a bubble blower that attaches to the back of his bike. The photo is kind of grainy on my computer screen but on my 20 year old phone you could see the bubbles flowing out behind him. Joe loves loves loves this bubble blower, still uses it today. He loves to ride in front of others yelling "go through my BUBBLES!" Reminds me of back in the day when I drove a truck for mosquito control. First day on the job, sitting in the truck next to the guy who was to train me, we hadn't even left the parking lot and his first instruction was "never drive through your own cloud". This worldly advice has come in handy for me many times since then.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Week Ago Mom Fell, Oh and By the Way I'm Moving Tomorrow

Okay,  the fast and dirty of it...
Disclaimer: I wrote this using my phone, please excuse, we'll anything but content.

 Mom tried to use the bathroom by herself.
She fell.
She went to Chambersburg Hospital.
She had fractured her pelvis..
She was in a tremendous amount of pain.
She returned to the Manor Wednesday.
Her pain is manageable with tramadol and Tylenol.
Mom had occupational therapy at the Manor Friday.
She stood in the hall for part of her therapy.
The concern now is that Mom is going to walk out of the Manor and hitchhike herself to the beach.
If you see the lady on the side of the road, please take her wherever she wants to go.
She deserves it.

Meanwhile movers come tomorrow to move my family and me south to be closer to both our extended families. We are over the moon excited about this. Then reality hits me...

I have one more day to pack, People. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Five on Friday

Well, it's Friday you's the cell phone pics of the week.

Our dear friend Ellen (also our realtor) and I were looking at possible houses to buy in spring of 2015. A historic home on the main street in town was for sale at a decent price so we went to check it out. We already knew it used to be a sanatorium back during the civil war. Well, low and behold on the second floor was the surgery room? Not sure what it was called but the room was decked out as it was back in the day...tiled floor, walls and ceilings...a drain in the middle of the gurney to make it easy to wash off blood...I don't know but seeing a dead squirrel on the road gives Joseph the willies...can you imagine living in a house with a blood room? Though Ellen said it could easily be renovated into one mother of a shower room. Ellen is a master when it comes to vision.

 Emily sent me this card sometime last was soon after her house had flooded from a frozen pipe break. This just cracks me up. It's important to find the humor in life...Emily is a master at that.

 My dear friend Jen sent me this picture while she was on a retreat weekend in St. Mary's County. I kept it as the wallpaper on my phone for quite awhile. Peace, Sister, there is a Higher Power, a true Master, in control.

This is a selfie with Mom during her first blood transfusion in the spring of 2015 I believe? I took it to show Mike that Mom was doing okay. Mom certainly wasn't as upbeat as I was that day. I was excited about mastering our selfie on the first try cause goodness knows the lady was not going to sit still for a take 2.

This is Mom waiting to see Dr. Cashdollar for one of her oncology appointments. I thought she looked so festive in her scarf made by Libby that I would send Libby a picture. Back in the day, Mom always joked with Libby's kids that the Easter Bunny came at Christmas and Santa came at Easter. Libby had knitted this scarf for Mom because the little balls look like Easter eggs and the red fluffy is a reminder of the fat guy who comes in December. Although it may not look like it here, Mom loves the scarf and the memories behind it. In this picture she looks like she's saying "Why in the world are you taking my picture in the oncology reception area and how many times do I need to tell you to update your phone. That thing there is downright pitiful". Mom is a master of speaking volumes through a look.

Master on, People.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five on Friday

More pictures from my old cell phone:

 Colleen sent me this picture. Back in 2014 Mom-Mom had taken lil Gwennie to the McDonalds playground and this was the result. Lil Gwennie's parents repeated over and over what she should tell her preschool teachers. The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. She actually told her teachers this. She would also walk around the house mumbling this to herself, similar to how other wee girls sing Let it Go under their breath as they play.  Chris and Colleen? Parent's of the year in my book.

I was in bed. Both kids wanted me to get up. They looked so sweet I took a picture. I'm sure all heck broke loose after that and I finally rolled out of bed to deal with it.

Christmas night at Grandma and Grandpa Mc's 2014. Julie had gotten an "American Girl" (Target style) doll from Santa. They were sleeping together, so cute...although Julie's eyes are partly open = creepy.

 Naomi picks up some fun stuff from the book fair/librarian conferences/I can't keep track of all the places she goes/ so Joseph and Julie often benefit from her spoils. A couple years ago it was light up sunglasses. Julie was excited that it was dark on the ride home and wanted to wear hers...cracked me up. Kids still grab them when we are out in the dark.

Christmas present from MaMa (Maxine) and PaPa (Myron) circa 2014. This Olaf was just about as big as the girl. I took this picture to send to MaMa...Julie was sooooooooooooo excited.

Enjoy the weekend people.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five on Friday

Pictures downloaded from my cell phone, in no particular order...

This is Bucky. He's a very-very-very good friend of my friend Don I met years ago. He pops up at random times in my life, when I'm least expecting it. These random pop-ups scare the junk out of me. He sent me a selfie just a few weeks ago. I actually exclaimed "OH MY WORD" when I opened the text. He was my phone wallpaper for awhile. Anytime I picked up my phone it was the same response. I finally changed it when someone in the quicky-mart asked me if everything was okay when I looked at my phone and exclaimed "OH MY WORD". Bucky.

 Christmas Eve 2014. Santa took a picture with my cell phone before he ate those cookies off to the left. You will read more about the cookies later. Mike's mom makes those stockings for family, friends, well, lots of lucky people. She learned to make them from her mother-in-law. Slowly but slowly (I have finally learned to knit well enough to hide my mistakes with the sewed on sequins) I am working to knit the stockings to carry on the family tradition. It's kind of neat that it was passed to a daughter-in-law and to her daughter-in-law.

 The famous frog rain slicker. Teresa passed this on to our family when Joseph was 3 years old. He wore it till the sleeves crept up his wee arms and then passed it down to Julie (sweet relief, she was JONESIN to wear it). This is Julie in her second year of wearing the coveted frog slicker, circa fall 2014. NOTE: Teresa's son James (freshman in high school next year, been taller than me for countless years) wore this slicker before passing it on to us...and who knows how many lucky kids wore it before him...Joseph wore it his first day of preschool at Bushy Park ES...I didn't take a picture of him walking in because I was so overwhelmed with joy and fear...the moment is permanently burned in the back of my retinas...I remember wee-preschooler-Joseph walking in line into school as Miss Katie (speech teacher) touched his shoulder, looked at me and laughingly said "He is so CUTE" then she rubbed his back as he walked past...I let out my breath...I knew he was in good hands.

 Mom in the hospital on 11/11/2014. She had started a new chemo and soon after I received the hospital phone call from Dad that he had woken to Mom having a grand-mal seizure. Scared, I drove to Waynesboro Hospital not knowing what would be going on when I got there. When I walked down the hallway towards her room, I could hear her familiar laughter. She was tired, achy, puffy...and somehow happy. I took this picture to send out to a few people to reassure them that Mom was okay.

Santa's cookies circa 2014 (featured in the Christmas Eve pic above). It was time to go to bed on Christmas Eve. A seven year old and five year old in our house wanted to leave Santa some cookies (a tradition known throughout, well, a lot of people have knowledge of this little ditty). In my typical Mom-of-the-Year fashion, I did not make fresh-baked cookies nor purchase said cookies for the jolly fellow who would be soon on our scene. Bless be I had met my dear friend Elizabeth a few days before...SHE had made fresh-baked crab sugar cookies. Bless be that Mike and I did not eat all said fresh-baked crab cookies in one sitting. Kids were thrilled to leave fresh-baked-crab cookies, with added Rudolph red nose gummies, for the fat man. Bless Elizabeth.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five on Friday

I have a lot of pictures on my cell phone (perhaps 40?) which bogs down my memory (my phone has no internet access and the typewriter part slides out...that's right I said typewriter). I often have to delete a picture in order to take a picture. You see, usually when I take a picture with my phone it is impromptu...I'm not expecting a picture-taking moment. Life just happens and I don't have my camera (yes, I still have one of those...sensing a living-in-a-technology-cave theme?) I keep these pictures on my phone so I can relive the feeling of "awwwwwww, I remember how happy the kids were on the last day of school last year" and " awwwwwwww, I remember when I didn't know how to spell diareha and kept texting Emily about diarhhiea and misspelled it a different way each time and it made me laugh so hard that it was a joyous moment in my life kind of like that Chewbacca mom video but I live in a techno cave so I never thought to take a video of it and becoming famous. Wait a minute, where was I? Oh.

During my 3:00 a.m. thoughts a few nights ago I thought "Hey, I can post those pics on my blog, write about the memories and then whenever I want to relive those memories I can look on the blog. I'll post five at a time so it's not overwhelming. Hey, I'll post five each Friday. Wait. Did I tell Dad I was coming up tomorrow? Doesn't matter, if I did he will probably forget anyway. Wait. Have I shaved my legs recently? If I teach preschool I'm going to have to shave my legs more often, those kids are always rubbing on my leg when I do a read-aloud. Did Mike ever change our address on Dollar Shave Club?" Racing thoughts. Yes. Yes they are.

 This card was from Don. In typical Don fashion, he sent it to me at the perfect time. The sparkling smiley face - the simple lowercase hello - sunny and happy - just what I needed that day. After a few weeks the kids coveted the card, picked off all the jewels and hid them away in their rooms. We have since moved and two years after receiving this card I found one of those jewels on the living room carpet. Joy.

This is Halloween circa 2014. Julie was a mermaid among a sea of Elsa-s and Anna-s. I was so proud. Her originality brought me a smile. Joseph looked though the costumes in his closet and decided to be a race car driver. Yeah! Simple enough just put that suit and goggles on and walk out the door. No. Not that simple. In true Joseph-the-thinker fashion, he needed a car that would be around him so he could actually look like he was driving. Angry Mama arrived because loving Mama felt overwhelmed. Loving Mama took a deep breath for perspective and angry Mama took the backseat. I covered a box with red paper and Joseph proceeded to decorate and design the rest. I helped a little with the hood but the rest he did on his own. He even cut out a hole for the gas tank and taped a bag to the inside so he would use the candy he collected as fuel. People got a chuckle out of filling his gas tank.

 Mike took this selfie in 2014. He texted it to me with a message about how much he loves me. Mike does not take selfies. The pictures he traditionally sends me are cars he wants to buy or a picture of self-rising flour and bleached flour in order to ask which I want while he is grocery shopping (neither sweetheart, but I am soooooooooooooo grateful you are doing the grocery shopping. Sooooooooooo. Grateful.) Two reasons this warms my heart. 1. Mike looks genuinely happy.  2. This handsome dude DIGS ME.

 Joe had lost his second tooth. The two windows in his smile made me smile. Still does.

I looooove the look on Joe's face in this picture. MaMa, otherwise known as Dad's brother Myron's wife Maxine, gave the kids stickers to decorate their jack-o-lanterns in fall of 2014. She said she liked them because then you didn't have the mess and hassle of carving. Well, we did the sticker ones but the kids didn't realize this was to replace carving and they screamed, yelled and threw one hell of a fit were very disappointed. We went back out and bought two more pumpkins to carve. At the time I thought I could hear Maxine laughing all the way from St. Mary's County...She raised 3 boys and a girl, you know...she KNOWS about kid-sized disappointment.

More cell phone memories to come next Friday...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Manor Manicures

Every Thursday is hair salon and manicure day at the Manor. It's fun to see the ladies all dolled up for lunch, the way their eyes get bright when you say "Boy your hair looks nice today Margaret!"

Mom hasn't partook(?) partaken(?) (Kellee, help  sister out here) in a hair cut yet. She has been keeping her hair a short, straight chin length for the past few years. But let it be known, hair dos at the Manor are $5 ahead to make sure they can fit you in. (Kellee, I feel like I can put a but at the beginning of that sentence but I'm not sure the rule. See how I didn't end that sentence with is? Well, whoopsie.)

After two weeks of no-not-for-me, really-I'm-fine, nope-I'll-pass Mom finally caved and got a manicure...
Thursday, May 19, 2016

When I walked into Mom's apartment, she laughed and giggled to see me, then she promptly put her hand out towards me. I took it, shook it, and used it to pull her into a hug. She pushed me away and put her hand out again, twinkling her fingers.

PA: Oh my word! You finally caved and got a manicure!
Mom: Yes! (twinkle twinkle twinkle)
PA: (trying to make a joke) Did you pay half price? (her right hand is curled up from the stroke...and the manicures are free)
Mom: (harumphing...twinkle twinkle twinkle)
PA: Oh my word! Each finger is a different color! 
Mom: (smiling laughing) YES! (she pats me as if she's forgiving me for being dense) 

Onward to lunch.

 Faith (personal care provider) approached Mom and says, "Let me see your nails, I heard they are something special today". Mom twinkles at her. "Oh they are beautiful and just your style!" The manicurist (personal care provider, I haven't committed her name to memory yet) comes by to admire Mom's nails. She tells me that, with no prompting from Mom, she decided to paint each one of Mom's nails a different color because Mom always wears mismatched socks.

People? This Manor place is a Magical place. These angels who are taking care of Mom are truly gifts. Painting Mom's nails different colors? The Manor just scored 1,298,456 points in my book (but who's keeping track).

And Kellee. This end-mark inside the parenthesis, outside the mind goes back  to English class at Glenwood Middle School. The room was kinda dim, there was a definite old-book-paper smell. is am are was were be being been do does did I memorized all that stuff but for the life of me I can't remember the parenthesis rule. I think it bothers me because of my grandma Loyd and Bat...those ladies knew what was right and wrong, I tell you.