Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Cousin's Get Together

Where have the last ten days gone? I was sure I'd post at least once more before Christmas. But, alas I was swept away in the last minute preparations for all the celebrating to come.
So, I will report that our Christmas Eve Brunch with our friends was lovely. I didn't take any pictures, but trust me, the company was delightful, the food delicious and the mood merry.

Once again, I'll tell on myself. On the Tuesday before Christmas Jim and I took the bulletin for the Christmas Eve service to the church office, where our dear secretary, Deb, ran 150 copies for us. We brought them home and while I worked on last minute touches for the children's sermon, Jim folded all 150. On Christmas Eve morning, I took one out so that I could talk to our friend, Carl, about his duties for the evening. "When what to my wondering eyes should appear", the bulletin for 2007 all printed and folded. I had printed the wrong bulletin off my computer. Thank heavens, Deb was still at the office and she printed the correct one for us. This time, I folded them myself.

With just that little kink in the plans, the service went off well. It was well attended and almost everyone went down to the fellowship hall for cake. There were also oranges and cracker jacks for the children (a tradition of many years in our church).

Our Christmas was quiet, just as we had planned. We talked to our children, siblings and Jim's mother, watched some episodes of "Big Bang Theory", ate wonderful food and napped.

So, what's all this about a cousin's reunion? Well, just before Christmas I had an email from my cousin, Joan, who I hadn't heard from in many years. To make a long story short, I decided we should all get together with our aunt while I was in Pennsylvania after Christmas. Let me tell you, getting the four sisters, my aunt and myself together was no easy task, but after several date and time changes, we managed to agree on a time and place when the five of us could meet.

Well, the joke was on me, because when I walked into the restaurant there were thirteen people waiting for me. Two of my cousins brought their husbands, my aunt brought her daughter-in-law (who I didn't even know existed), their were four daughters of cousins and one boyfriend, as well as my four cousins, my aunt and me. What a wonderful afternoon we had.

We talked about our mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles. We talked about our grandmothers, brothers and my sister and the cousins who weren't there. We talked about the past the present and the future. We shed some tears for those who are no longer with us, shared the joys of our children's accomplishments, passed around pictures and just generally enjoyed each other.

On top of that, we had good food and great service from the restaurant staff. No one seemed to care that we were a little noisy(okay, boisterous). I think our happiness just naturally spilled over to other tables.

Our Aunt Myrle was so dear. She had a little gift for each of the nieces. Being the oldest grandchild, I was quite spoiled until the others started coming along. My aunt, of course, was one of the best spoilers.

We have made a pact that we will see each other more often. The plan, now, is for a summer picnic and Joan said she's cook. I think that must have been said in a moment of pure insanity. We'll let her think about that for awhile and then maybe we can all offer to bring a dish to pass.

Before I end this epistle of joy, I want to mention the two husbands, Ken and Gary, who ventured to spend the afternoon in the midst of the crazy "Reed Women". You guys are great! Thanks for coming. Jim says he'll surely be there the next time.

The only thing that would have made this day more perfect would have been the presence of the "three sisters", my mom, my Aunt Jessie and my Aunt Letty. Those three ladies did much to add the joy of our growing up years.

Added to our perfect weekend was our stay at our BIL/SIL's home in the woods. All three brothers and partners were together for the first time since Kathy became a part of LaVerne's life. We had lots of laughs and good food too. On top of that, we taught Kathy the family card game. Alas, she didn't have beginner's luck. Carolyn was the big winner. The picture was taken from the upstairs bedroom where Jim and I sleep.

This is probably my last post of 2008. It's been quite a year, made happier for me by you, my blogging buddies. Have a Happy New Year.

~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend Celebrations

There are lots of reasons to celebrate this time of year; holiday parties, cookie and gift exchanges, many festivities. This weekend we took part in two celebrations that really had nothing to do with the Christmas season.

On Saturday, we went to the home of our friends, Bob and Laurie, to say "Bon Voyage and best wishes" to Emily who left on Sunday for Africa where she will be married on December 27. We would all be very sad to be missing Emily's wedding except that as soon as her husband gets a visa, they will have another ceremony and party right here in our little corner of the world.

Not only was this cake clever, it was really delicious. We all use the same "cake lady" and she never disappoints us.

This gathering was just a few close friends and family members. It was a really nice way to start Christmas week as well as show our love to Emily.

Sunday was a whirl wind day. In church, I did the Children's Sermon with the lighting of the Angel candle. It was such fun. The children are darling and so excited for Christmas.

We skipped Sunday School and went to breakfast at our local restaurant where the owner always serves "Bailey's Irish Cream" with coffee to those who care to partake. I had my usual Sunday breakfast called "A Spring Morning Sandwich", an English muffin topped with spinach, tomato, over easy eggs and cheddar cheese. It's always yummy.

After breakfast we made a quick stop home to change our clothes and then it was on to the city for our friend Kyle's wedding. Kyle and Christina chose to be married in a special wedding chapel. See, Las Vegas isn't the only city that has wedding chapels. It was a beautiful setting for a beautiful wedding.

The reception was held at a landmark hotel in the center of the city. I didn't even know it existed. That probably tells you how often I go all the way into the city. Anyway, it was a delightfully elegant place for a wedding reception.

Kyle and Christina, both talented singers, entertained with a couple of songs from a recent show in which they are appearing. That was really fun.

The food was good, the company excellent, the atmosphere festive. Who could ask for more? I could. I had absolutely no luck getting a picture of the bride and groom. If you doubt me, just look...

If you look closely, you will see a glimpse of Christina's cape and veil behind Shelly. In the second picture, Kyle is the smiling fellow to the right of the fireplace. I did manage to get a picture of Kyle's grandmothers, both of whom looked lovely.

Here is a picture of Kyle and Christina taken at Christina's shower. They really looked wonderful in their wedding finery. Sorry you only have my word for it, no picture.

Nancy tagged all her readers to list five things they love about Christmas. I really love Christmas so only five will be hard. Here goes:

1. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I can't even begin to imagine my life without Him.

2. Decorations. I just love decorating the house, the tree, hanging wreaths outside. It is such a festive time of year.

3. I know I probably shouldn't say this, but I love the hustle and bustle as long as it doesn't get too hectic.

4. Baking and giving away Christmas cookies.

5. Shopping, wrapping and giving gifts to special people. Even though our Christmas giving has changed some these past few years, I still get such joy out of the gift giving we do.

6. Okay, so I couldn't stop at 5. I just love sending and receiving Christmas cards. We have received so many cards with pictures of friends and family this year. It is so cool to see how the children are changing{the old folks too}.

7. Our wonderful Christmas Eve service at church. After the candlelight service, we go to the fellowship hall and have birthday cake for Jesus. It just makes me happy all over to see our friends one last time before Christmas morning.

8. Don't hate me: SNOW. I love snow for Christmas.

Like most of the rest of you, I could go on and on. Jim and I will have a very quiet and special Christmas this year. We will miss our children and hope that maybe next year we can spend Christmas with at least one of them.

I think I'll post at least one more time before the "big day". I'll keep my Christmas plans until then.

Thanks to all of you who posted your sympathies to all of us in the death of our dear friend, Lena. Today was her funeral service. It was such a time of celebrating the life of a dear Saint. Our grief is only for ourselves and her dear husband. Our joy is knowing she is in heaven.

~Hippo Hugs~

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lena Boss, 1915-2008

Thursday, December 18, was a day of grieving and rejoicing at the same time. Our dear sister in Christ, Lena, was tragically hit and killed by a truck while crossing the street here in our little town in Upstate New York.

In all my life I have never known anyone who was more in love with Jesus than Lena. When she prayed we were all transported to the throne room of the Most High.

Please pray for her husband of 71 years, Ernest, who told me on their anniversary how much they needed each other. And please also pray for the driver of the truck that struck her. This accident was not his fault, yet he is understandably devastated. He needs our prayers.

And then think of the joy in heaven this Christmas as Lena finally celebrates with her beloved Saviour and Lord.

Hippo Hugs

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Night at the Theatre

My buddy Cheryl just posted about seeing her favorite Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life, at a fully restored theatre in Birmingham. I will confess right here, in front of everybody, that I have never watched that classic movie. I may rectify that missing portion of my Christmas experience this weekend. In the meantime I want to talk about my favorite movie, "A Christmas Story."

Since I first saw the movie, many years ago, on Thanksgiving weekend at my in-laws, I have been nearly obsessed. I bought it the first time I saw it on sale and our family began the Christmas tradition of watching it. From the opening scene and the sound of Jean Shepherd's voice to the very end where Mom and "the Old Man" are drinking wine on Christmas night, I am transported to a world I remember as a child.

We watched it with the girls every Christmas season when they were at home and waited impatiently for them to return from college so we could watch it once they were almost grown. Now they own their own copies and it has become a part of their tradition.

Having such an ingrained tradition of watching the movie, I was a little reluctant to purchase tickets to see it as a stage play. While I hemmed and hawed with Jim, my friends were hemming and hawing with their husbands. Finally, we decided to take the plunge and purchase tickets.

Tuesday evening was the night. We met at the theatre early and had coffee and {stale} cookies before the show. I remember saying to Rick, "How can it be the same without the narration of Jean Shepherd?" Rick, who grew up listening to Jean under the covers of his ice cold bedroom in Indiana, agreed that it might be a tough act to follow.

I had many questions. How would they do the narration, what about the changes of scenery from the kitchen of the house to the street? From the school room to the school yard? How about the trip to the Christmas Tree lot or to Higbee's department store?

Oh Pam of little faith!! The lights went down, the narrator walked on the stage and I was enthralled. I cannot say enough about the quality of this production. It was fantastic. The parts of the children were filled by local school children, who did an outstanding job.

The set was phenomenal, turning quietly from scene to scene. The narrator {adult Ralphie} was on the stage throughout the show, never missing a beat. Both Jim and I were astounded by the amount of memorization the part required.

Well, I guess by now, you know I enjoyed the show. If you ever have an opportunity to see this production, run, don't walk to the box office.

Let me close this upbeat post with a picture of my daughter and son-in-law's home, taken today, in the desert of Las Vegas.

~Hippo Hugs~

P.S. - Remember, "Don't shoot your eye out!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Musings

The saying in the Rochester, NY area is "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." How true that has been these last few days. We've gone from snow to rain to 50 degrees and green all in the matter of three days. How strange. Don't think this has anything to do with global warming, it's been this way for all the 40 years I've lived here.

So, it's Monday afternoon. I've had a really busy few days. After reading Cheryl's latest post, I want to add my own "two cents" to her urging to reach out to someone in need during this Christmas season.

Last year our children talked to us about not giving gifts to one another for Christmas. Jim and I have so much. What we want or need we manage to buy for ourselves throughout the year. We decided some time ago to forgo gift giving and put our money in a travel account. It's worked well for us.
Paige, Gretchen and Brian asked us if it wouldn't be better to take whatever we would spend on each other and contribute to a charity. Jim and I agreed and chose a family that had been abandoned by their father. The wonderful mom gave me a list and Jim and I had a great time shopping, wrapping and delivering the gifts. Only the mom knows where they come from.
Because the circumstances haven't changed much for this family, we have asked Mom if we can do this again and she agreed. It has been a fun project for us.

Years ago, my assistant and I started an Angel Tree project in the library. Even though we have retired, we have stayed on as co-chairs of the committee. At the last minute, we received a request from a grandmother who had just been granted custody of her five grandchildren. As we understand it, they arrived with just the clothes on their backs. Thanks to the generosity of our local Teacher's Association, we were able to provide each child with a set of clothing AND a toy. Jim and I did this shopping on Saturday. It was such fun. It's been awhile since I've shopped for young children, and never for four young boys.

Jim started early this morning wrapping. I need to do the bows. I'll get to that later this evening. What a blessing for us to be able to take part in this project.

Once again, let me join Cheryl in urging those of you who have the means and the desire to get involved in sharing Christ with others this Christmas by giving what you can. I will confess to you that making this change in our gift-giving was not an easy one for me. I miss shopping, wrapping and giving gifts to my girls and Brian. However, I am very proud of them for taking this step in sharing the true meaning of Christmas.

Jim and I are into the entertaining phase of our Christmas season, I guess. Yesterday we had friends from church in for brunch. Jim and I did a spiral glazed ham and our son in law, Brian's hash brown casserole potatoes. They are so yummy. Everyone brought a dish, making it easy on me. The variety was great; we had a vegetable casserole and a stir-fry vegetable dish. Linda made her asini fruit salad {which she must always bring}. Beth made delicious cinnamon rolls and Lara provided gingerbread men and brownies for dessert.

Mr. & Mrs. Gingerbread.

Sienna is seriously biting the head off her gingerbread cookie

Evelyn is just taking it all in, while Daddy Jeff smiles at me.

There were twelve of us{if you count dear little Evelyn}. We had a delightful afternoon. This tradition started many years ago with a group of us going to the nursing home to sing carols and do a program of Christmas scripture readings. Somewhere along the way, the nursing home said they had too many groups at Christmas and "fired" us. Not to be daunted, we just kept getting together to eat anyway and hope someday they may let us come back to the nursing home.

Today I'm doing double time in the entertaining department. I invited two of my former library clerks and our "favorite" patron for lunch today. We all love crepes and have a favorite crepe restaurant where we like to go. I surprised them with crepes for lunch today. I had chicken and asparagus crepes for the entree and strawberry and cream crepes for dessert. I think they liked them. We had a delightful afternoon visiting and reminiscing; sharing lots of new titles to read.

It is so good to spend time with these gals. Although I love my retirement, I do miss some of the people. Actually, I miss all of my staff. We had such a pleasant working relationship, even if "nobody ever listened to a word I said. " {Don't laugh, you guys. You know it's true} LOL

In just an hour Bruce and Shelly will arrive for our annual Christmas Concert Dinner. Once again, this is a tradition that has been going on for years and years. In the early years, we would wait until after the concert and then Bruce and Shelly, another couple and Jim and I would have dinner together. If any of our kids were around, they came too. Some things have changed in the past couple of years, leaving just Bruce and Shelly, Jim and I. Also, being a little older, last year we started to eat before the concert. The tradition continues even if some of the circumstances change.

I'm going to close with a story about myself. Last week I was out with some friends from church. We shopped for a new stove for our church kitchen and then went to lunch. As we stepped out of the car at the appliance store, I saw a sign over the adjoining building. The sign read "Shogun Martial Arts". What I saw at first glance was, "Shotgun Marriage". Now, tell me if I'm not just a little bit nuts.

~Hippo Hugs~

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fragments

I can't believe it's Friday already. I had such good intentions of posting more this week, but time and circumstances intervened. First of all, let me apologize to those blogging sisters of mine who have either given me an award, or tagged me in the past couple of weeks. I have every intention of acknowledging those honors. It's just that I'm a little flummoxed right now. There is so much to do and, seemingly, so little time. So, I promise right after Christmas and New Year's, I will get to them.
In the meantime, let's talk about the past few days. I did manage to get outside and rehang my pesky wreaths. I think I might really have mastered the art of keeping them on the windows come rain or storm or dark of night; that includes snow and wind too.
Here are three of the four that blew away during Sunday's wind storm.

You may remember the picture I posted of the "cobbled up rigging" Jim had put together to deter the squirrels from eating all my birdseed. Well, that didn't work so well and the weight of the squirrels, plus the wind, finally broke the whole darn thing. So while I was hanging wreaths, Jim was hanging the new "squirrel proof" bird feeder. It looks pretty snazzy, but we'll see.

As if all this outdoorsy stuff isn't enough, it dawned on me that we hadn't put the tree up on our sun porch. This tree was Jim's mom's artificial tree. When she gave up her home, I dragged it home. I just couldn't bear to part with it. We had so many good times putting that tree together and decorating it for Mom. That was part of our Thanksgiving tradition while she still lived in her home. Now it graces our sun porch with just white lights. It looks so pretty shining on our porch as you drive by our house.

It doesn't look like much here, but it's really nice at night. That is, when I remember to flip the switch and turn it on.
Thursday (omigosh, was that only yesterday?) was Jim's mom's 94th birthday. Jim had an appointment with the neurosurgeon who did his hand surgery so we left right from the Dr.'s office and went to Pennsylvania. Mom knew we were coming and was waiting for us when we arrived. She looked really pretty. You just wouldn't believe she is 94. We visited with her for awhile and then went on to BIL and SIL's to get settled before time to take her to dinner.

The weather was pretty yukky; really heavy wet snow. I was afraid she would change her mind about going out, but she's a pretty spunky lady and donned her boots and winter gear and out we went.

We had dinner at a little neighborhood restaurant. The folks there were so kind to us. Of course, they fussed over her. They took the cake I had brought along and served it at the appropriate time.

She photographs much better than her son! LOL Isn't she just a doll? You probably have guessed that I hold this lady in high esteem. She is really special.

The overnight snow was just beautiful, but did cause some problems. The plan was to meet my Aunt and Uncle for breakfast this morning before we started home. When we arrived at the restaurant, there was no power. Thankfully, the gas grill worked and we managed to have a pretty nice breakfast, even if the coffee was only lukewarm.

Isn't this a beautiful sight? Driving along this road was like passing through a winter wonderland. I just kept oohing and ahhing all the way through this area. As we got closer to home, the snowfall was less and less. I think we probably have about 2-3 inches here.

December is such a wonderful time of celebration. Tonight we joined Linda, Jason, Shelly and Bruce for dinner at our friend, Ken's, new home. He made some delicious chili. It was a really festive evening.

I'm so proud of this picture. I sat the camera on the entertainment center, set the auto timer and ran over to join the others and Voila! I'm not always successful at this.

Before I close, I want to thank Dana for the lovely surprise. I had entered a drawing for a book on Dana's blog, which I won. When the book arrived, tucked inside was this wonderful "prize".

Isn't it sweet? Thanks so much Dana. You have made me very happy with this precious gift.
BTW, I mentioned Jim seeing the neurosurgeon. He was very pleased with the progress Jim is making with his right hand. He and Jim both think things are going very well. So, now he is ready to do the surgery on the left hand. That will take place in January. Thanks for all your concerns and prayers for Jim. Neither one of us actually thought he would get this much use back in that hand. PTL.
Well, I think that's it for tonight. Sweet dreams and a great weekend to all of you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Musings

I can hear you now, "She's been home nearly a week, and only one post! What's she doing?" And the answer would be, "I've been in a whirling dervish". I arrived home and suddenly realized that Christmas was just over three weeks away. I had no decorating done, no shopping even started, the Christmas Eve Program was mostly in my head, cookies needed to be baked.

Initially, I was paralyzed. I lay awake the first night home wondering if I could manage to get any of these things done. I must also confess, for some reason, I can't seem to muster up any Christmas spirit. I love this whole time of year. From pre-Thanksgiving until New Year's is just such a wonderfully festive time, and I usually jump in with a delightful fervor. Not so much this year. I think there might be a myriad of reasons, and I can't put my finger on just one.

BUT...I'm determined to plough ahead as if I were excited and hope for the best. SOOO, last Wednesday I was determined to hang my outdoor wreaths. Now, Jim is a almost perfect husband who does almost anything I ask him...other than do outdoor Christmas decorations. Neither of us knows why he feels so strongly about that subject, but nevertheless he does. So, because I want outdoor decorations, I do them.

Over the years, I have tried various methods of securing these pesky things on my windows here atop this very windy hill. This year I researched the subject on the Internet and thought I had the answer, fishing line and suction cups. Let me tell you, this was not an easy job, but finally just about dusk, I had them all done {and forgot to take a picture}. They look like this and adorn all the windows and door in the front of my house, plus one on the flag pole, the fence and the pole holding the bird house. I'd run out and take a picture of how beautiful they are except that it's dark and, oh yes, four of them blew down in the wind storm yesterday. So much for that method of affixing wreaths. Alas, it is supposed to be 40 degrees tomorrow, so I will try again.

I must admit from Wednesday, the week got better. I baked some cookies. Jim baked some cookies. Our freezer is looking very full. We decided on a design for our Christmas card and I finalized the details for the Christmas Eve service. Let me tell you briefly about the strange experience I had on the Internet. Before Thanksgiving, I found a site that had all the readings I wanted to use. I bookmarked the site, planning to go back to it after we returned home. When I went to the site www.beholdhim.org/advent last Wednesday, it had become an advertisement for holiday gifts for men. I kid you not!!! My Christian Advent site had disappeared. I emailed my daughter and asked her if she thought the Lord had a better plan for our church or was Satan messing with me. Whatever the case, I finally found another site and now have all the readings I need for Christmas Eve.

Friday was the Loser Housewives annual Christmas shopping trip. We have been doing this for close to twenty years. The participants change as time goes on, but Sandi, Linda and I have made it every year. That escapade did a lot to energize me and put me in a Christmas mood.

We meet for breakfast about 8:30, after which we go to the mall. There we separate until about 11:30 when we meet at the Starbucks kiosk for coffee. Then it's shopping until about 1:30, when we meet for lunch. After lunch, we finish our mall shopping and leave for Target, Borders, Michaels, etc. When we finish with those stores, we go to another Starbucks for a final coffee {and perhaps muffins}. Surprisingly, even with all those breaks, we manage to accomplish quite a bit of shopping.

Saturday was a very busy day which included a very fun surprise birthday party for our friend, Kathy. Of course, there was the Alabama/Florida game, which I won't even talk about here. Needless to say, I was disappointed with the end result. We did manage to get started with our decorating though and finished up after church on Sunday.
I really love this wreath. It looks so good in my dining room I'm tempted to leave it up all year.

This is really blah. I can't remember what I did last year, but it was prettier than this. I think I have an idea how to make it better thanks to Laura of the Horton Family.

So, now I'm back to Monday, the best day of all of this. I think I'm out of my funk, thanks to Jim and the really fun day we've had.

I received calls yesterday saying that my new glasses were in at the mall and my pictures were in at Wal-Mart. I asked Jim to go with me to pick these things up and we left right after breakfast. As most of you know, you can't just run in and out of the mall during the Christmas season. There are always things to pick up. Jim was such a good sport, following me all over and driving me to Borders and then to BJ's. Although I did treat him to a mocha at Starbucks, I though he deserved something spectacular. So, we went to my favorite crepe restaurant {which he had never experienced} and had a fab-o lunch, including dessert.

And so, I can feel that Christmas spirit moving in and making everything happy and bright.

~Hippo Hugs~

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Las Vegas Days

Well friends, I'm back. It was a wonderful pre-winter interlude, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Or so they say!!! It was a delightful trip. The weather was fantastic most of the time. It did rain on Thanksgiving Day, but we weren't unhappy. They so badly need rain. Their normal rainfall is 4.5 inches of rain per year and this year they are at about 1.2. At least they were before Thanksgiving. I think it rained about 1/2 inch that day.

They are so unused to rain that that amount of rainfall causes flooding. That just boggles my mind, but many roads were flooded.

Even though Brian and Gretchen had to work while we were there, we managed to get a lot of play time in too. Tuesday we went to the Springs Preserve. This is the site of the original spring on which Las Vegas was founded. Today, it is a site that not only educates about the history of Las Vegas, but also teaches the importance of conservation of water and other resources. Gretchen, being a very ardent conservationist, volunteers at the preserve. Of course, that made her a perfect tour guide.

Brian, Gretchen and Jim as the tour begins.

All the buildings are constructed so that they can catch and store rain water, one of the most precious commodities in the desert.

The temperatures in Las Vegas are still in the 60's and 70's so, as you can see, the flora is still thriving.

The bunnies and grey fox are indigenous to the desert. I can't tell you how many shots it took me to get a decent pic of the bunnies. The grey fox is in a den and easier to photograph.

Of course, the children had to play.

Wednesday found us busily preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. Gretchen had to work, but Brian {who is the Thanksgiving chef} spent a good part of the day in the kitchen.

Jim is a very good prep cook. Lest you think I contributed nothing to the dinner, let me say that I made the stuffing. It was passable, but not my best effort.

Brian's apple pie. Isn't that a masterpiece? Oh yes, I also made a pumpkin crisp, but it wasn't quite as beautiful as this.

The turkey - also ala Brian.

Gretchen's beautiful table. I did make the name cards.

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day. Of course, I had to watch the Macy's parade. That is one of my traditions. Because Brian had to work in the evening, we ate early. Our friend, Bonnie, joined us. It was so good to see her. We had a wonderful dinner and a delightful time of fellowship. Who could ask for more???

Friday morning, we took a long walk to help counter the effects of the amount of food we consumed on Thanksgiving. Although we thought we would never eat again, of course, we did. Both Gretchen and Brian worked on Friday. Jim and I took Gretchen to work and kept her car. We went to a movie in the evening. Pam's recommendation: Skip Quantom of Solace.

Saturday was decorating day. Jim and Brian went to the storage facility and brought all the Christmas decorations home. I took Gretchen to work and relaxed while they worked.

It was really nice on the patio, just relaxing and drinking my coffee.

Sunday was another absolutely gorgeous day. We went to church. It is always nice to worship with our children. Gretchen is singing with the Praise Band now and it was nice to hear her sing. After church Jim took us out to lunch and then we dropped Gretchen off at work. We did a little shopping at Lush. I could have spent mucho $$$, but did control myself.

We decided to see another movie. Pam's recommendation: Australia is worth the price of the ticket just for the beautiful scenery. The story was predictable and long, but still fairly entertaining.

The last day of a visit is always a little sad for me. I hate the thought of leaving the kids, plus I dread the flight home. That being said, the day sped by. We took a long walk again. Gretchen and I walked side by side and had a good chance for a farewell talk. I really miss my girls. After the kids left for work, we took a little nap. The evening sped by as we had to pack and prepare for our leave taking.

In spite of my dread, the flight home was smooth. Gretchen took us to the airport at "Zero past Dark" {her words}. We kissed her goodbye until February and boarded our plane for New York. I'm sad/happy all at the same time. It was a wonderful visit. Brian and Gretchen are happy and safe. I'll see them again in about ten weeks. It's okay.

I'll close with pictures of my grand-cats. This is especially for Nancy. They are odd little kitties.
This is Fiona, a very snooty cat.
I actually think Lani might like me. She just has a funny way of showing it.
Hey, thanks for sticking with me through this longggg post.
~Hippo Hugs~