Thursday, December 29, 2011

And Life Does Go On!

Now I think you thought that perhaps everything just stopped after the wedding- that it was so perfect in every way that from that moment on we'd just stay in a state of euphoria thinking about what a wonderful time we had. Well, I suppose we did for a bit- a very bit.... But it wasn't long until we were BUSY! AGAIN!  

Now we're going to cover A LOT of territory with this blog- but like I said we were busy!  And I kept meaning to start...  First it was going to be "About Fall" but then next thing I know it's Thanksgiving and then  Christmas- and Christmas just isn't "fall".  Christmas is decidedly "winter".  So we're just going to ramble through the last weeks.  Maybe you can keep up with us- I'm not sure we did!

Now since I've made a career of procrastination you might know I have quite a collection of "excuses," but trust me for this blog I have a MAJOR EXCUSE- in fact- THREE MAJOR EXCUSES! I started- and even more importantly finished- hand done Christmas Stockings for Brandy, Will and Mikayla.  Oh yeah- this might be the best excuse I'll ever have.  For the weeks I was working on the stockings I didn't do anything but stockings- well almost anything... But more on that later...I must say that excuses are fueled by procrastination.  It's not  like the instructions didn't say that each of these stockings should take a person 40-50 hours to complete, and you have to know that was an optimistic opinion most likely based on someone who had done them before and knew the process.  And, as Max will explain later, those kits didn't just arrive this fall, nor did Brandy suggest this specific style - Max suggested them and just asked Brandy to pick out which ones they wanted.

Just ask Don if this didn't absolutely take over for those weeks as he did EVERYTHING but work on the stockings. From time to time Don would just shake his head and mutter- "you'll finish them by Christmas- just not sure which Christmas".   You must understand that Max partitions procrastination both on a short term basis and a long term basis.  She did work on these projects for 7-8 hours a day over the last few weeks, but getting started on a daily basis follows an hour or so with me in the mornings drinking coffee,  a rather long shower and getting dressed process that includes breaks to scan the internet and read the news, breakfast with the NY Times, reading more news and eventually being fully prepared to start the day around noon.

But before I lay too much at the feet of these stockings it's only fair to say that though I started working on them in early November I didn't get serious, real serious, until mid November.  And since the wedding was the first of October, there is a rather long unexplained 6 week gap...Well, not really explainable.

We began after the wedding with a great fun with the GRANDBABIES!  Marianne, Reeder, Hayes and Weiler stayed on in Cincinnati for a couple of weeks after wedding and what fun we had. 
There was a trip to the Children's Museum....

And there was a trip to "Parky's Farm"...

And we even had "Sleepovers"- Reeder spent overnight on one night- and then Hayes another!  Weiler is still a tad too little, so he'd just come visit when Marianne was here as well! And of course Anthony was over to join the fun!

And we made a trip to Bluffton for "Friday Night Lights" Bluffton style- and then a volleyball ball game for Darby...I think on Friday Night Lights, the local football wins lots of games.  That's just not the case for Bluffton this past year.  I think we left just after halftime, when a cold wind was blowing and the Bluffton Pirates were behind about 40 points.  That's Darby below #2 and her Mom (coach Mom) in the red in the background.

There were plenty of cheering for Darby's team!

Sarah, Deseree and Anthony came along for the fun...

Bailey and her Dad!

Kelly and her new nephew!

And we even made a trip to the pumpkin patch!

Now before you settle into thinking maybe I'll be staying home for a while.  WRONG!  I was off to Oklahoma for the 40th Reunion of my University of Oklahoma College of Nursing graduating class.  Yep you heard it right- 40 years- 40 BIG YEARS!  Of course this provided additional reasons for delay.  It seems a lot of these 60 something nurses haven't really adopted technology like Max has.  So she took it upon herself to contact her whole class (about 40) and personally invite each one of them.  Max searched for these folks every night for over a week trying to find email addresses, telephone numbers or places of employment.  I  only wish she had told me what problems she was facing so I could have given her my OU Alumni Directory. 

 I drove from here to St. Louis where I met up with Susan, Ada and Rosemary- three of my college roommates.

Now we actually graduated in Oklahoma City at the OU Health Science Center- but of course we made a trip to Norman where we had spent our freshman and sophomore year.  We visited the library- probably my favorite place on campus- and in the great hall and the "stacks" the least changed...

And then here I am with Mary- my roommate BEFORE I was roommates with Susan, Rosemary and Ada...

And in case you're thinking that this must be the end of my roommate list- well you'd be wrong...

Here's the whole group of roommates- not that this is ALL of my roommates- just all at the reunion.  
(PS- Don't forget that Gay was my very first roommate!)

Well I had a great time- and came home quite exhausted- but so glad I'd gone.  Of course we predate email- and facebook- and twitter- and blogs- and we'd long ago lost addresses with all the moving about we did before we finally settled- so this was a true REUNION- of friends- and dear friends- who hadn't seen each other for 40 years!

And while I was off to OKC and the 40th Reunion of the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing graduating class!  Don took some great pictures of the beauty of an Autumn in Ohio- if you're not too busy to notice!

Since this was going to be a Fall blog, we would be remiss not to add some pictures of Fall colors.  About 2 miles from our house is a 335 acre county park called Glenwood Gardens.  On my daily walks with Brutus (our mostly Lab) we often go to that park, so I took my camera for some pictures.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea 

Bald Cypress

Staghorn Sumac

I just liked this picture of the mist rising over the meadow.

Three Maples

Not sure what this is, but I do like it.

And finally at our house:
The red oak outside my desk window

The Ginko beside the front porch

Now it was right about here that I thought- I suppose it's about time to begin working on the Christmas stockings for Brandy, Will and Mikayla.  They had been safely living in the original packages in my work room since last winter.  Now don't get me wrong- from time to time I'd think that perhaps I ought to at least take them out of the packaging and read the instructions.  But somehow didn't quite fit into my "retirement" schedule....  But of course November is getting mighty close to Christmas so it didn't seem too early too begin preparations.  I started by reserving a couple hours a day...  I started with Mikayla's...

Well by the middle of November I realized I was NEVER going to finish even Mikayla's stocking- much less Will's and Brandy's if I didn't rather dramatically increase the "stocking time commitment"!  I had Mikayla's almost finished by Thanksgiving and was starting Will's- the "killer" stocking- over 140 individual felt pieces to be cut out and sewn on- many with sequins and embroidery!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Will's stocking was only in it's very beginning stages when THANKSGIVING arrived!

THE NEWLYWEDS ARRIVED!  Amber and Evan came down from Chicago and we had our first opportunity to entertain just a couple of "old married folks"!  

They started Thanksgiving morning with the Annual Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day 10K, one of the oldest and largest races in the country.  This was the 102nd year of the race!  Our racers did terrific!

And in addition to Amber and Evan from "out of town", Gay and Amy came up from Florida to celebrate with us.  It was their first Thanksgiving with us but we sure hope it won't be their last.  It was so much fun having them- and I might mention that Gay more than paid her way with all the work she did in the kitchen!

Don and Amy...

Amy, Gay and Don...

And of course these pictures wouldn't be complete without another picture of our newlyweds!

Now it's about here that you'd expect a whole bunch of pictures of Thanksgiving Day dinner- the food, the guests, the decorations.  Well you're just not going to get it!  After all that time cooking  I'm afraid that neither Don or I had much time to grab a camera- and the couple of pictures Don did take were taken in the kitchen AFTER the disaster and didn't make the day particularly inviting at all.  And should I mention the fire.... Well because you asked.  Don and Amy decided to take the Brutus and Winnie (Amy and Gay's black lab) for a walk- after all the day was gorgeous and I said "sure no problem, I can baste the turkey while you're gone".  Well I wasn't very careful so the "turkey juice" dripped to the bottom of the oven.  And then add in the little detail that Gay and I overfilled the the casseroles so they bubbled over when they started really cooking in the oven.  It started with smoke- LOTS OF SMOKE!  And of course every smoke alarm in the house was wailing- and I might mention that in addition to the battery operated alarms (those you can silence by taking the battery out) we also have several connected to our home alarm system and there is no silencing that one except getting rid of the smoke!  So Don brought up fans- many fans- from the basement (now you can imagine the effect of whirling fans and open windows have on a "resting" turkey waiting to be sliced!)  And of course we had to stop this alarm or soon we'd be visited by the Fire Department!  Well it was about this time the grease in the oven started flaming and I yelled "GET DON QUICK!" and we started taking those casseroles out of the oven before the oven and the casseroles burned to a crisp- and shut that oven off!  Well- as you might guess- this just isn't an environment that is particularly conducive to taking all those "pretty" food pictures you see in the magazines!
So you'll just have to take my word for it- we did have a highly successful Thanksgiving- despite the excitement!

Now before we could settle in complete to our QUIET retirement life of working on Christmas stockings we were off again.

First we made it up to Bluffton for quite a show!  I went with Kelly to Darby's Dance Recital...

And while I was watching Darby Dance!  Don was over with Pat watching Bailey play basketball!

My great niece Bailey has some great potential in basketball.  She lettered last year as a Freshman and should have started most of the games.  She is tall, strong, left handed and works very hard.  Here are some action shots her getting baskets during the game.

Oh, I almost forgot- in between Thanksgiving- and the beginning of our travels to Bluffton and then to Oklahoma (more on that later!) ANTHONY TURNED FOUR!

So we took off in the car for Oklahoma- and a wonderful visit with family and friends.  Every minute was packed with a  visit with a special person- family in Tulsa- friends in OKC/Norman!  A good time was had by all- well I don't know about "all" but I had a great time!

And Nancy and Bub invited us all out for a Saturday brunch.  I might mention that Nancy's cooking is fantastic.  If given an opportunity to eat her food snap it up quick before anyone has a chance to snatch it out of your hand!

And then we enjoyed the spectacular hospitality of  our close friends in OKC, Clare and Oliver!

They even hosted a wine and cheese party before we all headed for dinner at a wonderful restaurant in OKC!
Oliver, Bruce Parker and Clare...

Don and Sharon Parker...

Mary and John Holter...

And at dinner...

And we spent a day with Kathy and TH Milby in Norman!

Kathy and I left the "boys" behind and went out to lunch with Earline at Victoria's Pasta Shop...

And then Kathy and I just had to stop at the French bakery before we went back to the boys!

And did I mention that this was TH's 85th birthday!

Well I know now I've made you real, real tired reading this very long saga of life after THE WEDDING!  But in case you've lost the train of some of the story line it's probably here that I should tell you that yes indeed the stockings were finished by Christmas...

And then "overnighted" to Niceville, Florida where they were hung by the chimney with care!

Now if you'll hang in there just a bit more I'll take us all the way to Christmas.  And then the story of "what I did with my post wedding vacation" will end!

Our only BIG CELEBRATION was with Michael and Liz and Sarah and Deseree and Anthony on Monday the 26th!

And of course there were presents!

And my favorite present: Michael came over early and "rewired" the kitchen so now I have internet in the kitchen!  I am connected!  This old house of our has plaster walls and my study and the kitchen are the newer parts of the house, they have metal mesh lath under the plaster instead of wood.  Unfortunately, our wireless router is in the front of the house and one floor up and we just couldn't get a good wireless signal to the kitchen.  I did the first wiring and got the cables from the router to the kitchen and my study.  But to get cables long enough, I had to buy a roll and that means the wires didn't have the computer fitting on the ends.  I bought the tool and the fittings, but there are 8 tiny wires in the cable and they have to be pushed into tiny holes in a very specific order.  Unfortunately, I failed cable fittings, but Michael is a wiz at this sort of thing and actually likes doing it.  In less than an hour he had all four fitting on and the kitchen and my study are now both hardwired.

 And of course there was the tree...

And glass of cognac by the fire on Christmas Eve...

May the joy of the holiday color your New Year.  We're glad you've shared so much of our life with us.