Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking toward a new year

Christmas has come and gone here.  We celebrated it a little late this year so we could accommodate those who needed to drive some distance.   Darcy drove from Durham, North Carolina, and Chance drove from Richmond, Virginia.

We did gift giving on the evening of the 26th (I think).  We kept it simpler than we have in the past.  The kids are growing up, so not the need for toys that we had for so many years.  And not a lot of money with which to buy more stuff.

Darcy brought some beautiful pottery that Hanna had made for each of us.  I need to take some pictures to share here.  Actually, as I think about it, I didn't take any pictures.  There was not anything profoundly amazing going on.  And I just forgot.

It is funny that I have adult children who don't live here any more.  Yes, it happens.  It is the normal sequence.  Some are ready before others.  That's fine too.

Nick and I were talking about what it must be like for Darcy when he comes home.   In his "real life", he has a job and a new promotion;  he is married; he has cars.  He pays to live in his house. I try to picture Darcy.  He gets up in the morning and has some sort of power bar for breakfast.  He gets coffee in the office.

When Darcy comes home to us, I am sure on some level he still feels like a kid again.  I remember that.  I got criticized for something ever day I talked to my mom.  She didn't know how to treat her grown children as adults, so I was still her's to order around.

Courtney and Morgan just seemed to grow up so fast when we weren't looking.    They have both been pretty completely independent.

Darcy, the middle child, the ever so responsible (while being mischievous)   Moved out as soon as he had a job and could afford to move  and buy groceries.

Austin is taking his own time and going at his own pace.  When he was 19, we sent him to Portland to live with Morgan and Robin.  It was too complicated.  Too many strong personalities.  Well, at least he tried it.  That was a great bit of progress.

Chance is the "Baby".  I don't think we ever told him that, but his brothers and their friend's were sweet to Chance.   But, like the others, Chance was adventuresome , and then he would want to sleep in the "family bed".   Having had all five kids in the bed was a real challenge.  Of course, there really was never a time when we had all of the kids sleeping with us.  That's even loonier if you think of it.  We started out with  Courtney when she was about 9 months old.  She would wake in the middle of the night and she needed to nurse  Nothing else would work.  So I would nurse her in the rocking chair.  I was exhausted having to get up, feed the baby and then try to get her to learn that she has to use a crib.*

I am rambling because I am so tired.

When Morgan was born, we were a completely on the idea of sleeping with your kids,

So, Courtney was the only one to sleep in  a crib for any amount of time.   

*when I first wrote this I said "she has to use a cubby".  I was really tired when I wrote that.  We never put any of our children into cubbies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Memories

Thirty three years ago today my almost 3 year old and my 7 month pregnant self arrived at Dulles Airport, from Poland, for a "surprise" visit to the States. (the surprise was that we only gave the family 24 hours notice.) I went back to Poland with a 3 year old Courtney,and 8 week old Morgan.

Courtney at age 3.   This picture was taken in Grandma and Grandpa Sherwood's living room

Morgan age 5 weeks.  Take the same time as the picture of Courtney above

The reason we came back to the States on such short notice was the fear of  political unrest.   I did not want to be in Poland and unable to cross the border into (then) West Berlin for Morgan's birth.   It was better and safer to just get back to Virginia.   Nothing much happened in Poland that would have effected border crossings, but at the time we did not know.  To this day, Nick and I both know that we made the right decision!

Here's how those two look now:  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

We lived for two years with 2 months of dark and two months of midnight sun
Sun Calculator Moon Calculator Moonphases Eclipses Seasons Day and Night Map Moon Light Map Astronomy Articles
Home > Sun & Moon > Tromsø
Flag for NorwayTromsø, Norway — Sunrise, sunset, moon times for today
Moon: 20.1%
Waxing Crescent

Current Time: Dec 26, 2014 at 12:19:55 AM

Sun: Down all day

Moonrise Today: 11:02 AM 111° Southeast
Moonset Today: 9:04 PM 254° West

Location of TromsøLocation
Today's Sun Position in Tromsø
11:44 AM

The Sun's altitude in Tromsø today. The horizontal line signifies the horizon, the vertical lines show the times of sunrise and sunset. Altitude and heading are displayed in the box on the right. The graph defaults to current time. Hover over it to select a different time. How to use this

12:20 AM







Day length

Night, Twilight and Daylight times in Tromsø today

12 AM
2 AM
4 AM
6 AM
8 AM
10 AM
12 PM
2 PM
4 PM
6 PM
8 PM
10 PM
Day, night and twilight times in Tromsø today. Black is nighttime, light blue is daytime. The darker blue shadings represent the twilight phases during dawn (left) and dusk (right). Hover over the graph for more information. How to use this
Sun does not rise today.
Today's brightest phase is Civil Twilight.

12:00 AM – 6:30 AM

Astro. Twilight
6:30 AM – 7:48 AM

Nautical Twilight
7:48 AM – 9:33 AM

Civil Twilight
9:33 AM – 1:56 PM

Nautical Twilight
1:56 PM – 3:41 PM

Astro. Twilight
3:41 PM – 4:59 PM

4:59 PM – 11:59 PM

Sun in Tromsø - Next 7 days

Solar noon

Mil. mi

Dec 26
Down all day

11:44 AM (-1.8°)

Dec 27
Down all day

11:45 AM (-1.8°)

Dec 28
Down all day

11:45 AM (-1.8°)

Dec 29
Down all day

11:46 AM (-1.7°)

Dec 30
Down all day

11:46 AM (-1.7°)

Dec 31
Down all day

11:47 AM (-1.7°)

Jan 1
Down all day

11:47 AM (-1.6°)

* All times are in local Tromsø time.

Equinoxes & Solstices 2014

Mar 20
5:57 PM
Jun 21
12:51 PM
Sep 23
4:29 AM
Dec 22
12:03 AM
* All times are local Tromsø time.

Sun articles

Today's moon in Tromsø

11:02 AM
9:04 PM
The Moon's path in Tromsø today. The horizontal line signifies the horizon, the vertical lines show times and headings of moonrise and moonset. The graph defaults to current time. Hover over it to select a different time. How to use this

12:20 AM






Moon under horizon
Percent Illuminated

Moon in Tromsø - Next 7 days

Meridian passing
Distance (mi)
Dec 26
11:02 AM
9:04 PM
3:52 PM
Dec 27
11:03 AM
10:51 PM
4:44 PM
Dec 28
11:04 AM
5:36 PM
Dec 29
12:36 AM
11:05 AM
6:26 PM
Dec 30
2:19 AM
11:06 AM
7:17 PM
Dec 31
4:02 AM
11:10 AM
8:08 PM
Jan 1
5:42 AM
11:17 AM
9:00 PM
* Illumination is calculated at lunar noon, all times are in local Tromsø time.

Moon Articles

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In a rush

I only have a minute to write.  I am going to be leading a La Leche League meeting this evening and I have to prepare.  I am still pet sitting at my sister's house, so I have to run to my house- where I know how to work the printer, and get some nicer clothes on and go.

I am writing because so much is going on in my head.   I have a dear friend who has a bad cancer (is there a good one?) and has a very short life expectancy.   Another dear friend has been battling stage IV bowel cancer for the last year.   She was just told that there are no more therapies or drugs to help her.  

Someone I love very much suffers from mental health problems.   I suffer from depression.  And I keep coming up with bizarre diseases and diagnoses.  

And so, tonight, I am going to tell new and expecting parents about the joys that await them.  About how to avoid the pitfalls and how to find their own successes as parents.

Two days ago was the six month anniversary of my brain surgery and the removal of a brain tumor.

Life is good.  Life can be sad.  Life is confusing.  People you love die.  Everyone dies.

And life goes on.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Feeling Wistful

I have been feeling a bit melancholy the last few days.  I have been doing some research on my Norwegian ancestry.   Is a grandfather an ancestor or a relative?   I never met my paternal, Norwegian grandfather.  I have been to the house where he was born and stood in what I would like to believe is the room he was born in.  I have run through the trees on the farm where he lived until he left for America at the age of 17, and where he returned and died at the age of 57.  He had lived in America for almost 40 years, married.  Had five sons, my father one of them.  I know so little about him.  His name was Nicolai.  His mother died four years after he left Norway.   I wonder if she was brokenhearted when he left.  Was she relieved to have one fewer person to feed.  Did she feel that she would never see him again?  She did not.

My children have all grown up.  Living under the same roof as I do, or not, they are adults.  They are independent.  They don't need me in the intense symbiotic way they needed me and I needed them when they were nursing.  Once they were weaned, I was still pretty important.  I was the main kisser of boo boos.  The transportation to the movies or to a friend's or wherever.    The sweet little kisses of a baby who called me his "sweetheart" and his "honey-bun".   The times when Dad would get them something and there would be a loud protest "I wan Mommy do it" followed by a diaper padded butt drop, and tears.  

All the fevers and broken bones and stitches and broken hearts.   I got to share in them.  That wonderful mystery of growing up.  Thank you kids!  I Love You So Much!

On Facebook I am constantly reading mother's lamenting the lack of sleep they are getting because of their babies.  So, I wrote this:

I read so many parents writing about their exhaustion and wistfulness, begging their babies to sleep. I know that I am years away from the last time I had a nursing baby who wouldn't sleep. I know that with my first baby, I too had bought into the idea that for my husband and I to have a "life" we had to have time away from the baby. I worked so hard trying to get her to go to sleep. Instead of relaxing and enjoying her. I got mad and frustrated. Now I know that I was in a somewhat unique situation. For 2 years I was home full time with a baby/ toddler in a country that was communist. There was no expat community and I couldn't socialize with the local population. So I really was touched out by the time my husband got home from work. By the time my fifth baby was a toddler, if I needed to get to bed when he was still up, I did. I put him near me in a safe place and let him play. He was always sound asleep in my bed when I woke up in the morning. I occasionally needed a break from each of my children. But, the word "surrender" got me through so much. By surrendering to mothering I was able to love my children easier. I am so glad we nursed and cuddled as much as we did. Now none of them are here hugging and cuddling because they are all grown up and moved on. Thank you my babies, toddlers, children and now wonderful adults. I am so happy to have the memories you each gave me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday afternoon in Ashburn, Virginia

I am house and pet sitting for my sister while she is on a cruise.    She has two small dogs and an old cat.  All of them need various medications and foods.  Last night was my first night staying.  I have never stayed alone at her house before, so it is kind of strange.     The animals have all been great.  Last night the dogs slept with me.  Not cuddled up like they do with my sister, but, on the bed and close to me.

Every day or so I think of something to write about.  Then a few days go past and I have either forgotten, or don't feel like writing about whatever it was that seemed so great.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  Some would say too much time.   Never mind that right now.    I was telling Nick the other day that I thought it was so cool all of the connections my various friends have with each other without even knowing it.

In one Facebook conversation, I was "talking" with someone who was a La Leche Leader in Guangzhou,China.   Of course we were there 24 years ago, and she was there more recently, but we had that special connection.  I asked her if she knew a friend of mine who has become a Lactation Consultant in Hong Kong. Yes, they do both know each other.   Then, another LLL Leader joined in the conversation and when she learned when we were in China she asked if I knew her sister in law.  Well, yes, she was at the US Consulate in Guangzhou when we were there.

I cannot remember what another conversation I was in was about.  But I was "talking" with friends in Beijing, China, a friend in Paris, France, another in New Zealand and more in places I cannot recall.

For the last few days I have been on the Norwegian Genealogy Facebook page.  I posted pictures of church and cemetery where my grandfather is buried-  near Farsund, Norway.  Someone said that her great grandparents are in the same cemetery.   And another person on the group, a man who lives in Norway knows the family farm and house that my grandfather was born in.  There are still members of the Kjorrefjord family living in that house

All of this  makes me want to travel so much!  I feel like I have people I want to meet face to face all over the world.   Mainly from LLL, and the Facebook Groups.

On Tuesday I attended the weekly Breastfeeding Cafe' at Starbucks.   There was a good turn out which surprised me because it was so cold.  It was so nice to just listen to the moms talking to each other.  Sharing wisdom and information that they have learned from me and shared with each other.  I think they all know how special our Cafe' is.  There is a constant change in faces as moms go back to work, or at the babies become toddlers and moms are not comfortable with the little ones running around and getting into things.    Most of the time, the moms have been to our regular LLL meeting, or saw it online.  A few moms have stopped to talk as they are getting their coffee and they  end up staying.

It is such a great joy when a mom I have visited a month ago in her home, is now a very confident and comfortable nursing mom giving support to other, newer moms.  Every now and then I am asked for advice or information, and  I am usually able to pull out a book with the answers.

One of the little babies I got to hold on Tuesday was 9 week old Noah.   He had that kind of "making eye contact with everything but me" kind of expression.  Little babies space out and stare at who knows what.  But then, Noah caught my gaze and he looked into my eyes and gave me the biggest,drooley, toothless grin.   Not just with his mouth.  His eyes smiled and his whole body wriggled with joy.  I don't believe that I wriggled, but I know I smiled with joy.

I don't have any grandchildren, and don't know if I ever will.  But I get to help moms with babies.  I get to hold and smile at babies,   I loved breastfeeding my own children and is was such a joy to me that  I am passionate about helping other women.  And I feel like a bit of a surrogate grandmother!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Slowing down?

I feel like I am in a temporary slump with my blog.  Not that it should matter.  I write for myself, but I think a few people read what I write.  For that reason, I self censor.  I don't hang out all my "dirty laundry" as the saying goes.  Which makes no sense at all.  The whole point of hanging out your laundry is to get the clean stuff to get dry.  Well, maybe it makes sense somehow.

Holidays are upon us.  This is a challenging time of year.  There are so many feelings of hope and expectation and also sadness and disappointments.

When the kids were little, and before kids, our best Christmases were the ones overseas.  We would miss our families and wish that we were all together.  But we didn't have to worry about the logistics of who to see when and running from this house to that. It was relaxing to be in our little cocoon of our family and home away from home.  Especially before any of the kids were on their own, we loved getting gifts for everyone and opening them together.

I was thinking that this was the first Christmas when we didn't see all five kids.  But looking at pictures, I guess there have been others where we didn't all see one another- at least not on the day.

A big part of me wishes that I had the money to buy tickets for all five kids and their spouses home to Reston for Christmas.  Then the other day I realized that while they are "kids" to me, they are all, every one of them. adults.  They have their own lives and friends and in some cases their own places that they call home.   I hope that they think back with fond memories of opening the presents that Santa left under the tree.  I hope that they are building their own traditions.

When the kids were little, I was "Mom".  A grown up.   Taller than any of them.  And I knew things they didn't-like how to drive and cook.  Now, I am still the mother of the tribe, but I am not omnipotent.  They don't "need" me.  Not the way little ones do.  They are adults, I am a adult.  I have to remind myself that while I am the mother, I am "not the boss of them" as they used to like to say.  Now, they are right.

Life is so strange.  The constant transitions from infant to toddler to little kid.  Always working so hard to get to the next phase.  I picture a see saw.  Mom and Dad on one end and kiddies up in the air on the other end.  Trying to get down, trying to succeed their parents.  In time, Mom and Dad get higher and almost even with the kids, then the kids start to get down to where they want to be and the parents are the ones needing help.

And that's all I got for tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Being Thankful

I first heard this poem in church about 15 years ago and it stuck with me..  It is called "Let us give thanks".

This year I add that I am thankful for my health and recovery from brain surgery.  Thankful for my family, including my mother in law, who turns 97 today.  Thankful for my husband, children, sister and the rest of my family.  Thank you for being in my life!


Let Us Give Thanks - Max Coots
Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
for children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks:
for generous friends … with hearts  .. smiles as bright as their blossoms;
for feisty friends as tart as apples
for continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;
for crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
for handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn,
and the others, as plain as potatoes and as good for you;
for funny  friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;
for friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and, who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;
for old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
for loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;
and, finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;
for all these we give thanks.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Nick

Nick had a birthday today, November 16th.   Yesterday we celebrated it a day early because  Chance was home from Richmond (college) and so we had Austin and Chance and Nick and myself. 

I made an angel food cake (gluten free) and Nick cooked burgers and fixings.

Today Nick and I went to Red Lobster with Nick's mother and we had a quiet, second birthday celebration.

The kids who are away from home texted their dad with birthday wishes.  Nick is a very loved father, and husband!

I took a few pictures of the cake yesterday and I will post them here.

Didn't have enough powered sugar to frost the whole cake, so I made a glaze
It's not easy to get a picture of Nick smiling!  He is conducting as we sing "Happy Birthday"!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My life right now

I sit and watch TV and feel sort of calm and sort of lost.  Like I just want to zone out.  I notice things around the house, that, at one time in my life would have either made me mad "why doesn't anyone see this mess but me", or energized into doing the tasks myself.  I have always been a list maker.   I make lists of appointments and lists of chores and tasks that need doing.  At least that I think need to be done.     I have lists saved in my computer that are titled "what Mom wants for Mother's Day 2006 (pick a year)".  These list are all made up of chores I would like to have done.  I don't really need any things.  And my kids don't need to spend money, but they can do physical labor.  Of course, they are all grown up now pretty much.

And now, at least today, I don't care.  I might tomorrow.   I do notice and appreciate when someone takes out the trash or sweeps the floor.  Or whatever.  I think I am just mainly feeling sort of worn out from being so overwhelmed.   This has not been the best year of my life.  Not the worst, but not the best either.

Funny though, the other day, when I was in the house all alone, I got really charged up.  I pulled the furniture out and vacuumed behind everything.  It felt so good.  I think maybe that is part of what I am living with too- the lack of solitude.  Not that anyone bothers me, that's not it.   I just want to be the only human in the house sometime.  I don't want to share the air with another person.  No, not all the time.  But some of the time.   I think I am a sieve.  My energy flows out when I am not alone and it flows back in when I am alone.   Yes, I am an extrovert.  But I still need to be alone.

I know the expression "a champagne life on a beer budget" or something like that.  I feel like I am a high energy person running on empty, or close to it.

As I said, I am a list maker.  If I don't' write down all of my upcoming appointments, of which there are way too many right now- I will forget something.

Here is my current list, and I am sure things will be added in as time goes by.


Mom’s Schedule        

Mom’s Schedule        (updated December 1, 2014)

  December-January 2014-15   

Tu    December 2, Nancy for swallow study at P.W Hospital 2:00 pm

W    December 3, Gym with trainer at noon

Th    December 4, Nancy to neurologist 1:45

Sa    December 6, Chance’s birthday!
       Nancy to attend BCGW party

 Su    December 7, Christmas party at our house

Tu    December 9, Starbucks

Th    December 11, 11 am:  M&B Matters luncheon at La Madeline

M    December 15, Nancy to Dr Clayton

Tu    December 16, Starbucks

Th    December 18, LLL PM

Sa    December 20  8:30 pm sleep study

Tu    December 23, Starbucks

Th    December 25th, Christmas!!

M     January 5 Pulmonologist 10:00 am Reston Office   

M    January 26  11:15 Endocrinologist

W    January 28  7:00 am Endoscopy at Fair Oaks Hospital

Th    January 29  11:00 am Periodontist   


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This is what I wrote on Facebook today

So, my brain, according to the MRI, is fine.
 Having an eye exam next week to see if a new eyeglass prescription might help.
Meanwhile, I have a headache.
Went to my gastroenterologist and learned that I have dysphasia, also known as "difficulty swallowing". I have to have a barium swallow study done followed two weeks later by an endoscopy to see why my esophagus isn't working right. It was recommended that I eat pureed food since I have so much trouble swallowing. We'll see.
 And tomorrow I see my therapist in the morning and my periodontist in the afternoon to start work on dental implants. If I am not about to die, I might as well have working teeth!
Turning 60 has been much more work than I expected!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Full moon

Actually, I think that the moon was a bit fuller (more full?) last night.  Either way, it is lovely.   I like to go outside and howl at the full moon.  Of course, unless I am alone or with young children, I risk being committed or arrested or something.

Thursday I went downtown (that means D.C if you grew up here), on the Metro.  My first time on the Silver Line on my own.   There's a good deal of walking to find the trains on the Reston end, and a good deal of walking- three + blocks to get to where I was going.  It was cold and drizzly and I was sweating in my efforts to walk fast and not be too late. And now I have a terrible cold.  Oh well.

I spend most of the day at the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington.   I have had a contract with the center for years, but since I have been "away" (dealing with my brain tumor), it seems like a good idea to come in and shadow other lactation consultants.  And to learn the new system of paperless reporting.

There are all sorts of items in the center that a new mom might want or need.   As a result, there are moms and babies coming in and out all day!

I enjoyed a mom who came in with her 4 months old to check out the baby's weight.  A beautiful, healthy, chunky baby it was.   I loved watching the interactions between the pair.  Mom says something, baby gazes into mom's eyes and smiles.  Mom smiles and coos.  When I compliment the baby, mom is so pleased with herself.   She says "can you believe that I did this all by myself".  Oh yes, I can.  I remember that feeling of amazing confidence and right.  Knowing that you have the milk and the love that it takes to build a baby is not something that can really be put into words.   It's the look on the mom's face and the way she carries herself.   The way the baby crinkles her face up before mom gives her raspberries in her neck because she knows that this is the dance that mom and baby do.   So symbiotic.   So perfect.  So intense, and so so fleeting.

This is why I love me "job".  I see new moms who are tired.  Exhausted to the point of tears.  They feel so unsure of what they are doing, and if they are doing it right.  Often they have their own mothers and partners saying what they think are helpful things.  And the mom is even more unsure.   This whole, small person depends on you for his very breath, it seems.   The baby cries, poops, looks cross-eyed and often has baby acne.   The new moms think that their baby is the most beautiful.  Sometimes wondering what they have done.  Where did this creature come from.   What was I thinking?  And then they try to nurse and it hurts.

I try so hard to help these moms as if they were my own daughters.   I hear them.  I understand most of their feelings, and I listen.  Sometimes I hug.  I give back rubs and breast massages.  I don't do diapers or baby baths.  I do not want to take the baby from the mother, I want to give the baby to her.

I know that there are times when it just doesn't go as planned.   And we have to improvise.   Babies become attached to eating from a bottle and mom feels rejected.   Mother in law tsk tsks and says "I never had any trouble with breastfeeding"  or "I didn't breastfeed and all of my kids turned out fine".  Yeah, not helpful, but grandmothers feel at a loss and helpless too.

The best moments are the ones where I get the mom to latch on and laugh at the joy of "getting it".   I have put so many moms to bed with their babies and shown them how to enjoy nursing and resting at the same time.

When I see the moms and babies at my Breastfeeding Cafe' every Tuesday, I am so pleased to see these now confident moms and happy babies.  And watching the "regulars" warm to the new, tearful mothers and comfort and welcome them.  They share stories and resources and phone numbers.

Mostly I sit and knit and observe.   I am there if there's a question.   I feel like the mother hen.   It makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's that time of year

Days are getting shorter and so are tempers and moods.  I love the winter and the snow and cold.  I do not like how short the days are though.   It makes it harder to enjoy somehow.

My life has been a merry go round of appointments it seems.   And one appointment leads to more appointments.    Raising five kids and getting them all to the dentist and orthodontist, but sick appointments and routine appointments, I probably spend more time in doctors and dentists offices that I can even remember.

So, why is it now all about me?   I guess it is at least in part because I am over 60 now.  Maybe having a brain tumor is part of is.  And a goiter.   And all the other stuff.  I have made three different appointments this morning with three different specialists.  I guess that makes me special!

I am not sure what "normal" is, or even what normal is for me.   I do very well actually.  I can talk (boy can I).  I can drive.  I go to the gym.   I am funny!    But somewhere in there I hope that I can be better.  To "get" better.  

I guess I've gotta have a plan.    Maybe that's why I have a headache.  My brain is really trying to get me organized!

But for now, I need to eat breakfast, take a shower, vote, and go to be with "my" group of moms and babies at Starbucks.  And maybe knit too.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

I am sitting here at my keyboard thinking of all the Halloween costumes that I have made over the years.   Courtney had a Strawberry Shortcake costume that my mom bought for her in 1983- the year we moved to Reston.  If I think about it, that was only her second Halloween in the US- the first being in 1978 when she was 8 months old.

Aside from that one commercial costume, all five kids wore home made Halloween costumes.   October was always a crazy, busy time for me.  Doing all of my usual mom stuff, plus making costumes.   I  am pretty sure I have them all in a Rubbermaid container in the basement.  

Even in Australia I made costumes.   Then,we came back to the States and   I sewed fewer and fewer costumes.  When I was down to making costumes for only two kids, it hit me really hard.   I felt so lost and sort of blue.   My babies were growing up.  Another step towards their independence.  

Then, no more costume making.  For the kids at least.  Nick and I have gone to a couple of costume optional parties.  Ours are home made, but not necessarily home sewn.

I don't seem to have a lot of pictures of costumes in my computer.  I know I have a lot needing to be scanned.

I think that this will be our first year without a real pumpkin.   We bought a plastic one at Target.  It has a face carved into it and also has a little light.  No pumpkin guts.  No pumpkin smell in the kitchen.

I am going to place a few pictures of our past pumpkins- recent past.

I have one cousin with a Halloween birthday, one Halloween grandniece turning 8 today,  and now another relative- another cousin's grandson was born today!

Trick or Treat!

Pumpkin manicure


UU Chalice

Democrat/ Pumpkin
2014 Pumpkin

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Maine Lighthouse as we approached the Maine coast

You would think I would have this
 blogging thing figure out by now, but I still find myself getting all confused when it comes to loading pictures, positioning said pictures, and then figuring out where the writing goes.

I spend several hours putting together a book (online) of cruise pictures.  There was an option to put text with the pictures, but since I wanted to get done before the next century, I decided not to.  We can write on the pages and make notations of what the pix are of if need be.     
 The picture below is one of the beautiful sunsets we saw when we were out at sea.

You can see the album online for a limited time- maybe a month.  Click here to see the link.

Looking at the ship from land.  This was taken in Bar Harbor, Maine

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A few of the professional pictures from the cruise!

As we boarded the ship

Sisters on Formal Night.  Me on the left and my sister. Carol, on the right

Arriving in Portland, Maine- the "other" Portland
At the Captain's Reception.   The captain is Norwegian and when I told him one of my children was born in Tromsø. he said he had lived there for 17 years!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's all about the curry

This evening I cooked dinner.  I cooked chicken with leeks from the garden, flavored with broth, coconut milk and mild Thai curry.  And Jasmine rice, of course.  It smelled and tasted wonderful.  It reminded me of my mom.  We used to talk on the phone every day, my mom and I, and every day she would ask what I was cooking for dinner.  The answer was almost always "chicken".  I cooked it a million different ways, but we really had a lot of chicken dinners.     One evening, my mom came for dinner.  Since having my mom for dinner felt like a special occasion, I made something that the kids loved and that I didn't make very often.  I made a big pan of lasagna.

My mom said that the lasagna was good, but she had been looking forward to one of my chicken dinners!

Tonight, after Nick and I finished eating, Nick complimented my dinner (chicken), and said, of the smell and taste, "it's all about the curry".    I miss my mom.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home from the cruise!

Just a quick note here to say that I am home after being gone for 8 nights.   We had a great time!

I took well over 300 pictures, so it will take time to go through them and decide which ones I want to post here.

I took a notebook and planned to journal on the cruise.  I did a little bit of writing, but I have gotten so used to using a keyboard to write, it was difficult.  Also, we were so busy, going to shows, people watching and taking naps, that I didn't have time to do much more than that!

Happy that I went, and happy that I am home!

Passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading for the ocean!

As we were leaving Baltimore Harbor, I noticed that we could see the building at Johns Hopkins where I had my brain surgery!

Carol and I arriving at Portland, Maine

Our ship, from the dock