Tuesday, December 31, 2019

End of Year Memories

Late November through December has piled up good memories. Here is one: 

Nine kids--grandkids, great nephews and one great niece congregated on our back porch during a Smoky Mountain Christmas gathering at our house. 

I couldn't get them all in the picture from my perch in a camping chair by our fire pit, but just knowing they were there was a joy.

They are all growing up so fast! 

I’ll be posting a few more end-of-2019 memories in the next decade.


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Looking Back

I started a post before Thanksgiving after visiting a blog celebrating the blogger’s post number 2000.

I enjoy her blog and her memories prodded me to take a look at my first post, “New to Blogging.” 

With all the changes life has brought in the past decade since my first post, one thing has not changed. Being concise is still a challenge for this blogger! 

Blessings in the new year!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas at the Hospital

Hubby and I joined a few other members of his high school graduating class for the December second-Friday reunion breakfast.

Two regulars were missing. Velma and her husband had welcomed me to the group when Hubby and I had first started attending the monthly breakfast at the Harbor House, a popular Biloxi, Mississippi, eatery. 

Another of Hubby's classmates gave us the news: Velma had had emergency bypass surgery and was in her second day in the intensive care unit. 

At the hospital a few hours later, I was happy to learn she had just been settled into a room in the cardiac care wing and was allowed visitors.

She looked so much better than my late mother had after bypass surgery.  I assume that was a good sign of Velma's condition. It is also evidence of the advances in cardiac surgery in the 30 years since Mother's surgery. 

I kept my visit short and was on my way out when this little guy greeted me. 

Cups of Cheer

Coastal Mississippi rarely has snow, but thanks to a creative staff member of the cardiac unit, this snowman made of cups brought a snowy vibe to where the cardiac surgery patients regularly pass on their prescribed walks in the halls.

May that bit of winter whimsy help lift the spirits of those spending this season in the hospital. 


Monday, December 23, 2019

An Early Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving Hubby and I hosted the annual Christmas get-together for Hubby’s clan. 

With the theme Smoky Mountain Christmas we all gathered outside, surrounded by our trees and neighboring wooded properties. 

The adults congregated around the fire with camping fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and chili. (Photos by Hubby) 
 Weather was perfect Smoky Mountain cool. I'm the ever cold granny wrapped up in the red and white blanket.

There is something about camping and eating outdoors that heightens appetites and togetherness. Even though we weren’t actually camping, there were still second and third helpings, lively conversation, laughter, roasting marshmallows over the fire and building S’mores.

The younger set staked out dining space on the nearby porch. 

Afterwards everyone pitched in to bring leftovers inside, (to thwart forays by the always lurking raccoons).

We all settled inside, ready for our clan’s traditional Dirty Santa gift exchange. The next hour was filled with laughter, groans and glee.

Afterwards sweet treats reigned. My sisters-in-law and nieces are excellent cooks, bakers and candy-makers. 

Niece Stephanie with her Lumberjack Cake. 

Steph created her tasty masterpiece with the help of Pinterest and her mom, our sister-in-law, Lila.

Yes, I indulged in a taste of that Lumberjack Cake and all the other sweet treats and salty eats assembled by talented relatives. 

I also snagged a slice of Daughter-in-law Sarah’s homemade apple pie before it all disappeared. Yum!

A shout-out to Hubby who created the Smoky Mountain atmosphere, prepared food and prepped our home for the gathering. Our two sons helped grill, and all our extended family brought sides and pitched in to make the evening fun.

Hubby topped off the evening with Smoky Mountain mugs for everyone. 

The image on the cups was one of many he has taken through the years in Cades Cove. A drive or bike ride through the Cove is a must when any of our clan visits the Smokies. 

The John Muir quote “The mountains are calling” captures
our extended family’s love of Smoky Mountain environments, history and experiences.


I am so thankful for the blessings  of family, food and fellowship that graced our home and ushered in our Christmas season.

 Now I am savoring those good memories while back on the dietary straight and narrow. . . mostly. 


Friday, December 6, 2019


On our way home from Walmart one afternoon, I saw one of those small buses with a big graphic on the side: Hospice Light.

In Mother’s last few months, our experience with a hospice nurse was a blessing to her and our whole extended family. 

That wonderful nurse brought meticulous care and easing of pain--both physical and emotional. She also had a comforting way of preparing Mother, me, and my out-of-town brother for what to expect. 

Up to the day before she died, Mother was conscious, coherent and so grateful for her nurse. 

That experience made the “Hospice Light” sign disconcerting. My initial reaction was interpreting it as Hospice Lite. What did that mean? Did that mean it offered limited-service care for a reduced rate? 

Or did inclusion of “Light” indicate a spiritual element of care? But I couldn’t fathom anyone choosing such an ambiguous title for any end-of-life service.

I saw the name again on a building near the hospital. Evidently the building was an administrative site for Hospice Light. What an insensitive and confusing choice for a name! 

My irritation ratcheted up another notch.

When I passed a brochure rack in the hall outside my neuro-rehab gym a day or two later, one brochure leaped out at me. I grabbed it with a sigh of relief. No insensitive choices by anyone. Just my not-quite-stellar eye-sight.

The name on the brochure that I could now see clearly was "Hospice of Light."

The next time I saw that bus, my brain processed the essential but hard to see “of” among flowing "artsy" letters. Mystery solved. Irritation banished.

I have to confess; my strong reaction in part stemmed from my years shepherding projects from idea to completion. That usually involved copy editing. I was, and am, obsessive about editing. 

I am so glad that obsession didn’t lead to my whipping out a red marker that day, chasing down the bus and attempting to edit the logo.

It was a near call, though. Fortunately I didn’t own a red marker big enough to edit that van-sized logo.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Footwear Woes

What is wrong with this picture other than the fact that the shoes are well worn and in dire need of a clean up?

Answer below:

Both shoes are for the left foot.

They are from two pairs of old, old New Balance athletic shoes that look almost identical. I grabbed the two from my closet and started my one-handed process for getting them on and tied. 

But something looked and felt wrong. Duh!

I bought these after my 2011 stroke. They fulfilled strict specifications my physical therapist from neuro rehab gave me. 

Both pair have served me well. But now it is time to shop for new walking shoes that, like my old ones I can put on with one hand!