Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's fall, and it's 80+ degrees outside. I realize this is normal for California, but I want to wear sweaters, and stop using the self tanning lotion on my legs. To top it all off, I have a cold. I hate having to work when my face feels THIS BIG, and I'm snuffling, and coughing - but you're not quite sick enough to stay home, especially since you just got back from a week's vacation. Ugh. The good news is that I think I've turned the corner, and it will get better from here. I've even heard that the weather is going to start cooling off a bit.
All I know is that I love fall, and I can't wait for the first day of October so we can hang our spooky pirate, and install our haunted arch over the walkway. Getting ready for Halloween signals the start of the whole holiday season. The nights are crisp, soup tastes good again for dinner, and it's nice to be snuggly under the warm covers at bedtime. I put our amber glass pumpkins on the table and get out all of the little Halloween decorations I'm starting to collect.(Again. This time for grandchildren!) On Halloween night I look forward to the 10 or so little trick 0r treaters we'll have (our neighborhood doesn't have many children), and I especially look forward to seeing Stuart every year. He started coming about 4 years ago when he was a red headed 3 year old (a dinosaur if I remember correctly), and I look forward to seeing him - and now his little brother - every year. I have no idea where he lives. He's just Stuart, and he comes with his dad.

So get ready for autumn weather - the temperatures will cool down, and we can break out the sweaters and jackets. First I'm going to get rid of this cold - maybe a nice cup of hot chocolate will do the trick? Mmmmm... with a peppermint stick.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mema Goes To Denver

Yes, I'm back from Denver- and we had a GREAT time! It was just as whirlwind as I'd thought it would be, and it's never enough time, but I had a chance to see Lexi in action, and to spend some quiet moments with Matthew. To make a long story short, here was the basic itinerary:

Monday - travel day
Tuesday - Grocery shopping. Ronna had been visiting California, and the fridge needed stocking!
Wednesday - The Denver Zoo. More on that.
Thursday - Cupcake making and delivering. Playing at a little park.
Friday - The mall, of course. That night Lexi and I played while Mommy and Daddy and Matthew went out for a quiet dinner.
Saturday - Time to pack, play a little, and go home.

Grocery shopping is always fun in Denver because we always go to their beautiful, new Whole Foods Market. This is when I get to pick what to eat and do the cooking. (At home it's usually LaMar.) We had crabcakes, garlic salmon kabobs, some good fresh veggies and salads, and lots of chocolate brownies. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating all of that good food. And while we were shopping, Lexi got to ride in a really cool little red car/shopping cart.

On Wednesday went to the Denver Zoo. I didn't think the kids would last very long, but thought we'd give it a shot. To our surprise and delight, Lexi loved every minute, and Matthew was an angel. We saw elephants ("Huge!" said Lexi), a polar bear sitting in the water with (even more fascinating to Lexi) his large toy ball floating nearby. She was quite impressed that the bear had a toy. The otters were another favorite because they swam so fast. The monkeys came up close to the window, and were fun to watch. She had fun trying to feed a peacock her sucker. We spent lunchtime throwing the breading from the corndog to the birds, and loving how fast they'd come after the bits. After lunch we rode the carousel, saw giraffes (even a baby one!) and were just in time to see the hippos get fed - a real treat. Lexi called them "Ho's." That brought a smile to lots of people's faces. At the end of the day, a good time was spent looking at all kinds of animals and birds, and everyone was tired on the way home.

Thursday's activity was cupcake making. I'd brought Ronna a book called "Hello Cupcake" (I highly recommend this book) and we decided, for our maiden cupcake experience, to make the owl cupcakes. We made 10 of them, and let Lexi decorate the other two herself. So much fun! I can't wait to see the creations Ronna comes up with next. We were sick of chocolate frosting (if that's possible) by the time we finished, so we took all of the cupcakes to her friend around the corner, and they were happily received. Who wouldn't want to eat an owl cupcake??

Next on the activity list was going to the mall to pick up some pictures taken of Matthew. We stopped at my favorite store, Janie and Jack, and found some cute jackets (Lexi's was 60% off - YAY!) and so now both kiddies can sport new jackets this winter. I love that store... That night Ronna was itching to get out of the house with Rex, so I decided to stay home and do some playing with Lexi so they could have a nice dinner without a running commentary from Little Missy. (I'm telling you, Lexi can talk your ear off!) We ate dinner, watched Wow Wow Wubsy, Mickey's Clubhouse, and Maggie. We colored. We played monster, and ran through the house (thanks, Dad, for that inspiration - the tradition lives on, and Lexi loved it). I gave her a piggy back ride upstairs for her bath, and she played in there until it got cold. Finally, it was bed time, but she begged and pleaded to sleep with Mema in "Mema's bed.... prease??" What could I do? We laid there, and, of course, didn't sleep a wink. Mommy had to put her to bed for real when she got home, and that's the beauty of being Mema - it's not your job anymore to enforce bedtime!
Saturday morning was spent with Rex and everyone, and I packed as well. Too soon it was time to go. I am missing Lexi's little voice already when I'd ask her if I could get her some juice: "You sure can, Mema!" She pronounced our cupcakes "Dewicious" and her idea of displeasure was to fold her arms, shake her head, and say "Hummph!" So funny.
Matthew is sweet and happy - so grateful for any attention you give him. He smiles so much he just wiggles, and those blue eyes... oh my. He is adorable.

Thanks Rex and Ronna, for the wonderful time. I can't wait to see you all again soon. And Lexi and Matthew: Mema loves you, and can't wait to give you lots of smooches!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Visiting the Mile High City

Tomorrow I'm off to Denver for a week of fun with Rex, Ronna, Lexi, and Matthew. I probably won't post while I'm there (although you never know...) but any pictures will definately have to wait until I'm back.
I'm excited to go, and yet I always get a bout of homesickness before I go somewhere - especially if I'm leaving LaMar behind. I have a great time doing whatever it is I' m doing, and then every night as I'm falling asleep, I'm counting the days until I get to go home again. I've been like that ever since I was a kid, counting the days left of our family vacation as I would fall asleep in the sleeping bag on the floor of whatever motel we'd be staying at. If LaMar is with me, I don't feel like that so much because he is my home. I like to go, and see, and do, but there's a certain comfort in being home in your own bed at night. I'd have made a crummy pioneer. So there - now you know a wierd little fact about me: I still get homesick.

I've tried to imagine what we'll do while I'm there, and I don't know. I do know that life with little ones is never too organized, and you mostly have to play each day by ear. I'm bringing all comfy play-on-the-floor clothes so that I can spend as much time as possible getting to know Lexi and Matthew before it's (too soon) time to go home. The trip home is always bittersweet: I'm glad to go to my own home, to my husband, and all the familiar things. But I'm always sad to leave Rex and his little family behind. I miss him and his sweetness (yes, Rex, you ARE sweet - don't try to deny it), and I miss the girl fun with Ronna. She is so smart and capable. And I certainly miss the wide-eyed wonder, innocence, and sheer enthusiasm of Lexi. And now I'll have another little person to miss: Matthew.

So, homesick or not, I'll make the flight tomorrow with Ronna and the little ones. It's going to be a whirlwind week: busy, fun, tiring, and completely wonderful. It'll be a Rocky Mountain high.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Days

Did I say that Marion never looked goofy? Well, she never did, but sometimes our outfits, in retrospect, did. Here, for your enjoyment, is a picture of Marion (surrounded by brothers and brothers' friends). Apparently, we were in our Cher phase - do you love the bell bottoms? I remember being crazy with desire to have bell bottoms like those. And look at the guy's cords - so tight and short! Ahh, the wacky 60's.
I remember painting flowers on my hands and face, as well as wearing preppy madras plaid skirts and mohair sweaters. Style was all over the place. I can still remember one girl a couple of years older (her name escapes me) who had a pair of granny boots that were to die for. We were in granny boots one day, white go-go boots the next, Mary Janes the next. And right in the middle of it all was little Karen (with Marion by her side), just trying to figure it all out. We were something, all right - I don't know what, but we were something. I'd like to go back for just a little while, and revisit those innocent days that seem like just last week. I wouldn't want to stay too long, though. Being 55 might be harsh at times, but not nearly as unsettling as being 13, wondering if anyone is going to ask you to dance, or if your outfit is cute enough (some things never change), or deciding to defy your mother (what does she know?) and shaving your legs anyway because you are a hairy ape. Those are rough times, I don't care what anybody says, and definately not for the faint hearted. We only lived through it because we didn't know any better.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Love Birthdays - Especially Mine

It's always hard to go back to work after the weekend - especially when your weekend seemed more like a vacation. Dad organized a "board meeting" with all of his kids to clue us in on what's happening with his company, Larry's Thunderbird & Mustang Parts. He's winding up his days there - has other interests now. My brother, Brent, is the general manager there, and I used to work there back in the day. Anyway, we all gathered this past weekend to spend an hour discussing business, and then to enjoy just being together. It doesn't happen that often. My youngest brother, Matt, and his family live in Indiana, so it's rare to see them. Here's a couple of pictures of his little daughter Ari, who is 2 years old. In fact, she's just a day younger than our Lexi.
How fun it would be to get Lexi, Ari, and Mia all together!
I still didn't get to spend as much one on one time with everyone as I would have liked, but it was a really nice weekend. We were able to celebrate our birthdays (mine, Matt's and Greta's), and just enjoy each other's company. We stayed at the Westin in Costa Mesa (LaMar and I were there over Memorial weekend testing out the Heavenly Bed!), and the weather was gorgeous.
On Saturday, LaMar couldn't keep my birthday surprise a secret any more: he walked over the bridge to South Coast Plaza, bought two Mrs. Beasley's cupcakes, and presented those to me with my gift: a weeklong trip to Puerto Rico in January! I was so surprised and happy I burst into tears! There's nothing I wanted more than that, and I was so hoping that he would go with me. The trip is all booked, and I'm so excited! It was such a sweet surprise, and so special, I almost had a hard time talking about it. Apparently, he and Katie had cooked the whole thing up about 6 weeks ago. He even arranged for Katie, Zach, and Mia to stay in the hotel with us for a night when we first get there. I am excited, and so, so overwhelmed by this wonderful man, and his thoughtfulness. I'm a lucky girl indeed.
So the weekend passed, and my birthday was great, and such a nice day. I even had great hair all weekend - such a bonus! Today going back to work, I was not too thrilled. But the girls at work had their own surprises in store. When I walked in, there were pretty packages on my desk, and a beautiful cake had been bought. We had lunch brought in, and just enjoyed the rare pleasure of having lunch together. So fun! I'm lucky to work with such nice ladies, and having a big piece of cake at 3:00 was not half bad either. And there's more in the fridge for tomorrow. I love birthdays: cakes and candles, goofy singing of the birthday song, and surprise gifts. I love it all - even at 55.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Past Is Not Pretty

I don't know if you can see these very well. Marion sent them to me, and they are from (the first two anyway) about the 8th grade. The picture in the middle is definately 8th grade graduation. I remember that yellow dress and white lacey tights very well. That's Cindy Clark with me - get a load of HER dress! The picture on the right is maybe from 9th grade or summer just before maybe? My hair is longer. Wow - that was a little trip back. I'm sure Marion was killing herself with laughter. I asked her why she didn't send any goofy pics of her, and then I remembered: she never looked goofy. I got to talk to her tonight - my birthday this time - and it was wonderful as always. It's always just like I've spoken to her yesterday. I love these calls, and I promised to check in with her again in about a month. I need to be better about communicating. Anyway, short post today. I was so busy with birthday business that I never got to a new post, but thought I'd better post something or you would all stop reading. Yeah, yeah - laugh all you want to at these pictures. We all have goofy pictures somewhere.
I will give you this piece of hot news: my big birthday present from LaMar is a weeklong trip to Puerto Rico in January!!! I'm so excited - don't I have such a good husband? Honestly, he's my soul mate, my true companion. Love you, honey!

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