Thursday, February 7, 2013

Preparing For Blizzard Charlotte

Last fall we kept hearing about the hurricane that was going to hit CT and preparations went into gear. I made sure that everything outside was put in the cellar from the summer,my gas grill was covered and that covered was tied down. The car was filled up, a new flashlight was bought, the oil lamps were taken out, candles and candle holders were put on the kitchen table, everything was washed, a hughe plastic bin was filled with water in the first floor bathroom, buckets were filled with water for the second floor bathroom, several cases of water bottles were bought along with food that didn't need heating or refrigeration and I filled lots of Tupperware containers for the kitchen counter. Well it all was not needed - THANKFULLY. Now it's several months later and we are in the storm preparation mode again here in CT. I will be hoarding water and filling up containers tomorrow, I've been to the grocery store and Petco for the dog, the car is filled and backed in close to the house for when I'm plowed, I've spoken with the man that plows my driveway, the oil lamps, candles and flashlight will be on the kitchen table. To add to it all, I've been home sick this week so I do a little at a time. I sure hope it's like the fall and all for nothing!!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Katya

It's the eve of my grandaughter's 12th birthday which is a turning year as next Sept. 3, she'll be a teenager. As I look back and reflect, I wonder how those 12 years have flown by so quickly. Gone are the: chubby, smiling baby early talking toddler inquisitive preschooler elementary schooler that loved everything American Girl middle schooler that loves school and learning Now she is in junior high (or it would be called that here at home in the US). She still has her beautiful smile, is inquisitive and articulate and loves school and learning. She has moved on from her American Girl days but hopefully one day she'll have a daughter to enjoy them with again. Now she is a songwriter and plays the guitar while singing her own compositions. She even took part in a recital at the Irish Embassy this past spring. It will be exciting to see her grow, mature and explore in the years ahead. Happy Birthday Katya! Love from Grandma Streusel

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Liesel and The Couch Potato

Liesel may have her flaws but she is a great companion.

I was home all week sick with a sinus infection. Worked 3 days from home and 2 days I was too sick and slept all day in bed. Then I had a side affect from the first antibiotic. Went out yesterday for under two hours for two errands. When I got home, my body felt like it was dragging a 50 pound weight so I changed and hit the couch. Fortunately Hallmark Channel is running a "Murder She Wrote" marathon weekend so I was all set. My daughter and I watched it together each Sunday night and it was our ritual. I think of that each time I watch one of the reruns.

I got to bed early and slept about 11 hours last night. Got up, showered, got into clean comfies and hit the couch. I've been here all day and still feel like a rag. I'm going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and ask if this is a side effect of the new antibiotic and also why I wasn't prescribed what I've had in the past.

I'll be back in the office tomorrow and sure hope I have more energy.

Through all of this couch time, Liesel is right with me on the couch and a good part of the time, she is stretched out across my legs under the down blanket. She always wants to be right where I am and when I get up, she is right at my feet.

She can be such a sweet dog.

Things Sure Change

Today I finally was going to change the light bulb over my computer desk as it had burned out. It's a cute, little, fake brass lamp that fits perfectly on the top shelf of my computer desk. It has a strawberry lampshade that exactly matches the swags that I made for the two windows in the room.

I went into the kitchen and got out the folding stepladder that hangs on the inside of my pantry closet door. Many years ago my husband put up two coat hooks to hold it and it fits perfectly.

As I set it up next to the counter and went to the top step, I still needed to kneel on the counter to reach this particular packet of light bulbs. As I was doing that, I remembered that many years ago I could hoist myself up on my knees on the counter without the help of that stepladder.

Guess I've gotten older.

After this effort, the new lighbulb doesn't work either so I'll have to look for another cute, little, fake brass lamp

Monday, February 20, 2012

40 Years Ago on February 21, 1972

40 years ago my college roommate was visiting us in California from CT as she was out there for her brother's wedding. After the wedding, she came and stayed with us for a visit as we also lived in the San Francisco Bay area. I was not happy living out in CA being so far from family and friends while pregnant. I was not working as I'd been pregnant when we moved there and remember that it was fall of 1969. I had a lot of time on my hands and even though I was busy knitting, sewing and cooking, I was lonesome. We had moved there for the school year as my husband had resigned his commission in the US Naval Submarine Service and was in grad school at UC Berkeley. Having my BFF out to visit was just what I needed.

I still had 5 weeks to go until my due date in late March. Lorraine and I went into San Francisco one day and did the normal tourist things and wanted to ride the cable cars. Getting up on it was OK and we sat on the outside seats. My pregnancy uniform were different A line jumpers and my favorite one was a red, white and blue patchwork design pinwale corduroy that I wore most days. I was not the most graceful lady sitting on that cable car as you can imagine.

A night or two later, we all had gone to bed. All of a sudden my water broke and the labor pains started. I was up in a flash - probably the fastest I'd moved in months as I was quite big. Phil and Lorraine were asking me what was happening and what would happen next. My reply to them was, "I don't know as I haven't gotten to that chapter yet!" Next thing I did was to call the doctor. I threw some things in my overnight bag and I think we left soon after that for the hospital.

We had a new stick shift VW bug and an MGB sportscar. Phil and Lorraine helped me down the stairs and since Lorraine did not know about driving the MGB, Phil took that and Lorraine and I set off in the VW. I remember letting out some cries of pain and hearing Lorraine say, "Don't have this baby in the car with me!" All was going OK until we had to go over the railroad tracks. Oh, that bump hurt! Pulled into the ER, Phil carried me in and I remember telling the ER nurse, "I need something for the pain!" She must have thought, "If she thinks she's in pain now, just WAIT!"

Our close friends from the Navy were also at UC Berkeley and they got Lorraine to the airport the next morning. She flew back to the East Coast not knowing what was going on.

They tell you that you forgot the pain during labor. Well, don't believe that because I never did. I do remember when the anesthesiologist came into the labor room to give me the caudal, my ex had a fit as the doctor had on cowboy boots. I could have cared less if he were naked, covered with tattoos and had purple hair. He was the main with the needle full of the good stuff. He did tell me not to move or I could be paralyzed. Didn't scare me. Just give me the good stuff.

Enough of the background.

When I heard that it was a healthy girl, I put it all behind me and was absolutely THRILLED! What they say about a mother's love the minute you see and hold your baby is so TRUE! I felt it then and do 40 years later. Happy Birthday Tami!

My daughter was always inquisitive, adventurous, creative, intellectually curious and sensitive of other's feelings. She is still the same. In fact, to celebrate turning 40, she is running in a half marathon on a frozen lake in Siberia in a few weeks.

I won't say that raising her was all a bed of roses as she and I had many mother/daughter differences as we both are strong willed. Those times were minor compared to all the joy during the years that she brought to her us.

Watching my daughter grow, mature and experience each stage of her life has been wonderful. I saw her love of learning and how she channelled it into foreign languages (she speaks 4 foreign languages fluently and a 5th not as fluently). When I used to drive her to school mornings in high school, we often rode in silence as she was in the back seat talking/thinking to herself (in her mind) in a foreign language. I remember one day she told me that she loved to learn and school. I used to say, "Where did she come from? Not me!" I was in no way the student that she was. I credit that to her father's genes.

When I drove her up to college, said our tearful goodbyes and drove off, I glanced back as I got on the highway in VT and saw the Baker Library Tower steeple on the end of the town/college green. I knew my daughter was now gone from home for good but entering the world she loved. My job (and her father's) of raising her was over; she was now entering an adult world and preparing for her future. I cried and cried (sobbed is more like it) for a few miles heading away from Hanover, NH.

Now she is the mother to two girls (9 and 11) who are following in her footsteps - bright, intellectually curious, caring and sensitive. She is a fantastic mother and I'm in awe of her.

She is an educator and at every school she works at, she makes good friends with her students and many of their parents. Her students love taking her classes and respect her.

What can I say but that her father and I love her and are proud to be her parents!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What happened?

During the years that my daughter was growing up, my house was super decorated for the Christmas season and I started around 8:00 AM the day after Thanksgiving. I was at it until bedtime. Then the following week I cut fresh greens, made table centerpieces, swags for our two doors and the couple next door.

I made all of the teacher gifts and I don't just mean for one or two teachers. My daughter had gifts for every teacher she had, the school custodian, receptionist and ice skating pros she took lessons from. It took two of us to carry in all the gifts to school the last day before vacation.

Some years I also made quite a few of the presents I gave - like hand knit sweaters for my mother and MIL or crewel handbags. Add to this all the decorations I sewed or crafted for the house, Christmas tree and gifts.

Every December I hosted at least one dinner party and one or two ladies' luncheons complete with china and silver in the dining room. My family came to our house on the 25th for an elegant dinner with turkey, 5 or 6 fancy veggie dishes and 3 or 4 desserts.

It wasn't the holidays without the green cream cheese spritz cookies that I made shaped like wreaths with red cinnamon candies to decorate them. I also made sugar cookies and some years I was part of large cookie swaps so made LOTS of both cookies. Many people received my cookies as gifts along with what else I made for them. One year when my daughter was in college and overseas for the holidays, I baked the cookies in early October and mailed them (which would take about 6 weeks) so she'd have them like she did every Christmas.

My dining room table was set the weekend before Christmas and several days ahead I started cooking. By the night of the 23rd, I was prepared as we were up early on the 24th, lunch and cocoa was made and the car was packed with our skis, clothing and lunch and we headed off to Butternut Basin in the Berkshires for a day on the slopes. It was a wonderful day to ski as hardly anyone was there. One year we shared a table with another family and shared my Christmas cookies with them as she didn't bake them as they were Jewish.

After a fun day skiing, we'd come home, shower and get on nice holiday clothes and sit down to our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of chili followed by a Friendly ice cream holiday log sitting at the kitchen table but set with Christmas china. Once the dishes were done, it was picture time before we changed into jammies and sat by the tree and opened some gifts from each other and friends.

The next morning we came down to find that Santa had been and opened those gifts. He filled our stockings and also left presents. My mother, aunt and family would come around noon and we had our holiday dinner. Once we rolled into the living room after all the food, we exchanged gifts and just visited before they all left around 6:00. We all changed back into jammies and my ex and I would hand wash and dry all the china, silver flatware, silver stemware and serving pieces. Big job but well worth it.

Now to what is going on this year. How come it's only a few days until Christmas and I have not finished shopping or wrapping? I don't do all the stuff I did years ago and I am still not ready for the 24th. My fall yard prep for winter was delayed because of Storm Alfred on 10/29 and I was working with clean-up until a week ago with twigs and leaves. I have never been so behind as this year - it's just not who I am. Being very busy at work adds to it as I am tired at night. This week I've been busy evenings as it's getting down to the wire with only tomorrow to get things done as I'm out Friday night. Guess I'll be up early Saturday morning.

Annie emailed me that I need to blog more so Annie, this ones for you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday Natalia!

Tomorrow you are turning 9!

When your mom told me she was pregnant, I thought about it for a bit and said it would be really nice if the baby were a boy since she had a girl. Deep down though I was hoping for another girl. Of course the main thing was that the baby was healthly. You gave us all (and especially your mom) some concern but further tests showed that you were fine.

I was anxious to meet you and couldn't wait for you to be born. You were due a few days into January but were going to be born on December 26th. When you mom called me at work on Friday the 13th and told me she was in labor, the first thing out of my mouth was, "You can't be having a baby today as I have the week after Christmas off." Your mother told me that was too bad but you were on your way. The plan had been that I would bring your sister home with me after Christmas and keep her for the week so your mom could have you, come home and have alone time with you. You had other plans.

I was on pins and needles and watched the phone waiting for a call that you'd been born and all was well.

I packed up the car that night and Streusel and I were on the road around 6:00 AM the next morning. I think your father was surprised to see us so early. Your sister was sitting on the living room rug watching TV with a spilled yoghurt. I got her bathed and dressed, put Streusel in her crate and off we went later in the morning to meet you and see your mother.

You were just perfect!

Happy 9th birthday Little Boo!!!!


Grandma Streusel