Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kate's (Ice Cream) Update

Enough said.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Handled With Care

 A certain awesomeness pervades a room filled with four generations of the same family. Guests, from the youngest (often the center of attention) to the oldest (often the most staid) seem to take on greater significance than they would have as single visitors.      
When my brand new grandson Patrick Lawrence visited my home for the first time last week, relatives (whose birth dates spanned from 1927 to 2011) greeted him. The age span of those of us seated around the dining room table was one month to 85 years.
More than a few times I overheard someone say, “I can remember when .  . ..," question, “Where does the time go?”  and declare, “It seems like only yesterday.”  Time seemed to stand still as Patrick was carefully placed into his Great-Grandmother’s arms, the matriarch and the infant sharing the distinction of the most fragile in the room.

The one-year-old at the get-together didn’t seem to mind no longer being “the youngest,” as she toddled from room to room, her Nonni following right behind. The child was too interested in knobs she had never turned and steps she had never climbed. My own memories of being one of the youngest in a gathering such as this have faded, but I can recall each of my nieces and nephews' welcome-to-the-family visits , along with, of course, my children’s. All but one of these took place over twenty years ago.

It was a member of the younger (as opposed to youngest) set  – Patrick’s mother’s cousin -  who asked, “And what is he to me?” No question as to who is an aunt and who is an uncle. Easy figuring out first cousins too. But Patrick’s family tie to his parents’ first cousins -- and then the first cousins' children -- is where the nomenclature starts to get tricky. Are they second cousins? Or third? Are they cousins once- or twice -  removed?
The toddler's Dad said “I don’t like that “removed” thing . What's  he being removed from?” I thought he had a point.

“I think he’s my second cousin,” another first cousin to Patrick’s Mom offered, before we all went back to ooohhing and aaahhing and passing Patrick from one eager pair of arms to the next. I'll have to look up the terminology. I've done it before - but it never sticks, In the meantime, "sweetest little cuz in the whole world" will do.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 Make Your Memories Last Forever with iMemories

273911_iMemories - 468x60

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jamaican Run

The save-the-date announcement for my niece’s December wedding arrived with more than the usual details of time and place. It included packages for 3 nights all inclusive accommodations - in Jamaica! This wedding has more than a venue – it has a destination.

I’ve heard of nuptial jaunts to far-off locations. Never been invited to be part of one before. It’ll mean packing my passport as well as the wedding present. The passport I haven’t used since the children (well – they were children then) and I spent some time in Ireland – in 2000! Which means, the passport has to be renewed. Better get on that today.

Something else new, for me, about this wedding. The couple’s son and daughter will be attending. The four of them have been a family for quite some time now. And while I’ve seen “official” marriages start up and peter out here and there, or ones that don’t peter – just putt, putt, putt along with little of the energy it takes to be a working family, this couple made a commitment a long time ago – license or no license – to do it right. My own family’s Brad and Angelina thing, sans the extraordinary means Brad and Ang have to care for a non-nuclear family. A new millennium family I guess, in a time where (as I’ve been reminded over and over) relationships are different.

I wonder if the children, 10 and 7, had something to do with making the bond official. I do know, however, that this ceremonial touch is not just skimming the surface of propriety. A quick trip to a local church or town hall could have done that. Since this future Mr. and Mrs. have already achieved the precarious family balance– the juggle of parenting around two working schedules, the whirl of family activities, community involvement - why Dad even runs the local PTA! –life could have gone on and on well enough. But, I’m told He surprised Her: A Dinner. A Ring. Heard He got down on one knee even.

So in between what they have built in the past and will continue to build in the future, they are making it official in December – under the Jamaican sun. There had better be sun if I’m flying off to Jamaica.

Now, where’s that passport and number for Orbitz?

Looking for a wedding destination as beautiful and exciting as your love? Or just a neutral location that will please all your in-laws-to-be?
Why wait for the honeymoon to head to Hawaii, Las Vegas, or a luxurious all-inclusive resort? Give those wedding portraits a splash of exotic color!
Take the show on the road and treat your families, friends, and the entire wedding party to a truly exciting celebration in a fresh, new location.
Check out these deals for a destination wedding with Orbitz


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Muscle Strain: Redux

A week ago I survived the local tornado warnings . Even with what felt like a pulled glute muscle, I crouched down under a table in the basement as the worst of the storm passed overhead. And the tight glute seemed well enough afterward. Right afterward, anyway.

With the storm behind me and that hint of relief I  granted myself license to do what I had not done for a day or two: bend  to pick up the trail of this and that left throughout the house when bending was not an option, drive from here to there, weed the front flower garden, then the side yard veggies. I was catching up and, at the same time, getting ready for my brand new grandson - almost four weeks old -- who would be making his first visit to Grammy's house in a few of days.

The insult of an inflamed nerve added to my injury of glute
But an overzealous catch-up routine can get the catcher-upper caught –if you know what I mean. Still popping max doses of acetaminophen (I can't take ibuprophen) I found myself hamstrung, glute-strung, well, just about everything-strung. once again . The insult of an inflamed nerve added to my injury of glute. I had most likely developed sciatica (a painful disorder that now extended down the leg) according to my son-in-law, a PA. He said stick with the pain-killer.

Through this two-week-plus ordeal, the doctor I most trusted was away on vacation. The day he returned --which was about two days into the redux of the pain -  I dialed his number over and over, but the connection was always bizz-EE, bizz-EE, bizz-EE. Next day too. Finally got through to the office yesterday. The doctor will  see me tomorrow afternoon. Until then, the nurse said, stick with warm compresses and the pain killer.
In the meantime a friend told me - try Epsom Salt.
Epsom Salts? I thought.  Wasn't that for old people?  My grandparents used Epson . . . 
Wait a minute. I am a grandmother!

I dragged my aching rear to the CVS at the end of the street. Bought an inexpensive pouch of the salts. Sprinkled. Soaked.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. The powers of absorbed magnesium. I haven't had to pop a pill since.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

All in a Day (Two)

(If you missed Part One of this post, click here)

My daughter’s text from fifty miles away alerted me to the weather issue developing outside my window about the same time my iphone started vibrating to the Mirimba. The call was coming in from Em’s best friend – Meg, who lives 35 miles south of me. For someone who always sounds most chipper and calls me Mrs., there was a surprising urgency in her voice. “Are you in your basement? You need to go to your basement.”

“No,” I answered the question before she blurted the statement. The statement to which I replied “Yes, I know,” just having caught on to what my daughter’s text and her friend’s phone call was about.

I switched on the TV in the kitchen. The screen displayed an atmospheric map of Connecticut with large colorful blobs splattered over my area - north central. These indicated tornado warnings in my area. Actually closer than my area. The most intense splatters were just over the airport I lived close enough to walk to. The meteorologist matter-of-factly stated, “ If you live in any of these towns go to your basement. Turn your TV volume up and go . . .”
I scooped up the dog, and took stairs I had avoided for days into the cellar dampness. I crouched  under a table pushed against the cement wall. Sitting cross-legged on a plastic bin cover challenged every muscle in my healing leg that, once again, felt tight from hip to toe. I texted back to Em.

Tense muscles. Tense moments. Yet, I remained calm. Being able to keep in touch with Em and Meg through the storm helped. Plus, it was traveling in Em's direction. I couldn't go through her labor for her, less than two weeks ago, but maybe I could sort of model what she might have to do  - head to the basement with Patrick and a friend who was visiting - when the storm passed her way. Besides, except for the sound of heavy pounding rain, it felt perfectly fine in my basement.There was no sound of wind gusting or, what might have pressed my panic button - the sound of a rushing train.

 I got through the ten or so minutes the meteorologist said to sit in the basement, under a mattress (in my case, a table), texting and playing with the dog. And then I saw the sun shine through the small rectangle of the basement window.

The dog and I headed upstairs, to the smell of baked chicken fingers. I had set the toaster oven on/off timer. They hadn't burned.  And the cloud burst was beginning to lose intensity   as it traveled due east toward Boston. There'd be no danger in the more northeastern Massachusetts hills tonight and less complaint about an aching leg in North Central Connecticut. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

All in a Day (One)

Some days usher in more lessons than others. The most-inspiring ones are pretty obvious, like sixteen days ago when my grandson Patrick arrived. Everyone in his extended family – from his great grandmother to his cousins to even my cousins’ children (which would make them his cousins twice removed) took pause that day, awestruck over the miracle of  life’s beginnings.

Some of us were reminded of life's ending too, especially remembering those who could not be with us for Patrick’s birth. I wonder what my very dear friend thought, after hearing I had just become a grandmother. Just a day or two earlier her father passed away on, believe it or not, the same day he was born . Just hours before his 90th birthday party was about to begin.

There are days that speak in more subtle ways. For three of those days now, I’ve been nursing a pulled gluteus – of all muscles! This has made me a grumbler more than a wonderer. The malady has kept me from seeing my little grandson, making me a very unhappy cramper (one whose muscle is cramped :/).  I’ve had to relegate myself to the first floor of my home and, at night, to a recliner instead of a bed -  which would be even more uncomfortable to try to sleep in. (As if sleep were really a possibility in the recliner).

Though I had a difficult time last night, partly swigging water and two extra-strength Tylenol twice in twelve hours, partly in a tub of warm water, partly propped awkwardly atop a  heating pad, partly in the already mentioned recliner, and partly pacing the floors, which was more comfortable than reclining in the chair, you can imagine my surprise when mid-afternoon today, I began to feel just a bit better. Enough, that is, to reduce the painkillers down to one every four hours and feel as if I had reached a threshold of sorts.  The worst of this pain in the rear (and down my leg) was over. I’d be back to my routine and able to see Patrick in a day or so.

I began my celebration of sorts by starting to prepare chicken fingers for dinner. It felt so good having some interest in preparing a real meal again. (Cereal, yogurt, and bananas only go so far when you are convalescing). Egging, coating, and placing the breast tenders in a pan seemed as comforting as the meal it would provide.
I had just put the chicken in a small toaster oven when my daughter texted a four-tiered message to me from her home just 50 miles away - an answer to an earlier text from me , followed by some more attention-getting news.

 There was a storm brewing - and an unexpected day's lesson riding on its tail.

To read Part Two All in a Day post, click here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hansel and Gretel and Patrick

My hand holding the eggplant hybrid
I never grew Hansel eggplant until this year. Since my little garden is so limited, I thought I would try a miniature variety. After dainty purple flowers bloomed, the fruit came in looking like  dark purple grapes, then fingers, and now  an eggplant that thinks it’s a cucumber. I had a feeling this  variety was a real find  when I came upon it at Meadowview Farms  in Southwick, MA this spring.

According to one garden site , Hansels (Solanum melongena) tend to be less seedy and less bitter than the orb types. The fruits are ready to pick when finger size or about 3" long. They grow in clusters of 3-6 fruits and mature relatively early in about 55 days from transplanting.

Come to find out, just today, that there's a Gretel variety with the same characteristics, except that it's all white.
 I planted my single hill (made up of six seedlings) the first week in June and this weekend, the harvest is popping. What's really nice about eggplant Hansel is that if you don't get around to harvesting the fruits at 3" or 5" or 7"- as so often happens with me - they will remain tender and non-bitter up to about 10" in length. This was the right summer for such an amenable plant  - with my brand new grandson Patrick about an hour away (you knew I couldn't write a blog without mentioning him - didn't you?) and my writing directing me to Danbury CT a few days this week and Florida last month.
Haven't been as faithful to my little veggie patch as I would have liked to be. If my plants were babies, they'd be very cranky, with me not having been able to get myself into a gardening routine the last couple of months. Luckily, my daughter and son-in-law are better at infant parenting than I am at tending plants . Even though this is Em and Ry's  first stint, they've got Patrick  into a routine that rivals the phases of the moon. Nice going Mom and Pop.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Star Struck

Apparently, the stars already have something to say about the person Patrick Lawrence will come to be, based on the day he was born. Grammy, of course, is only too happy to elaborate on each attribute for the little guy.

LEO THE LION CUB    You are security-conscious and practical, yet also enthusiastic about moving forward and open to new ideas.

PROUD GRAMMY: Guess that explains the relatively calm time you spent in Mom’s womb, until you decided to arrive 11 days early – and by C-section, no less. For the record - your Mom arrived by means of pretty much the same flight pattern and landing schedule.

 LEO THE LION CUB Both a dreamer and a planner, you will pursue your vision if you have a clear and reasonable plan.
PROUD GRAMMY: From the look of your peaceful face when you are sleeping, your dreams are to your liking. I wonder if any of our faces – or doggie  Kona’s -- have shown up in your night stories yet. About the planning thing, let me tell you your Mom and Dad have a knack for organizing and producing. They pulled off the wedding of their dreams, almost a year ago, and got themselves moved into a little house perfect for you three – I mean four, counting Kona – to romp about, just last month. Perfect timing. Right now, all you need to plan is when you will eat, sleep, etc. In time, you’ll be making the decisions that will allow your dreams to happen too.

LEO THE LION CUB: In group settings, you tend to naturally and quietly lead

PROUD GRAMMY: In this case, you’re already a shoe-in. For the smallest and, most often, the quietest person in the room, you are the number one attention- getter.

LEO THE LION CUB: Others often turn to you for advice, and they value you for your input.

PROUD GRAMMY: It's a little early to put up your ADVICE 5 CENTS sign just yet. Still, you already have greater influence than you might realize. Why else would I find myself  answering the daily question  “What’s the best thing I can do today?” with one and only answer:  “Spend some time with Patrick.”

Leo the Lion Cub and his friends can be found at free zodiac clip art