Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blogger Block

I am suffering from 'Blogger Block' in more ways than one. First, I am blocked from visiting blogs and the problem is getting worse. At first it was just a few blogs I tried to visit would give me either a blank page or some kind of 'blogger error' message. And now it is almost every blog I try to visit. I used to be able to get around it by clicking on a comment someone left, and that would send me to their profile page and I could enter the blog through that, but now I just get the error message. And the few blogs that I can get to, well, most times Blogger won't let me comment, or I comment but it never shows up. And I know that some of you are having trouble commenting on my blog too.

Also, a few of my own posts were being blocked from publishing on my own blog, when I hit 'publish' I sometimes get the blogger error message. Either that or I read that my post has published successfully but it's not on my blog anywhere.
And, I have 'blogger block' in that I sit down at the computer to write and I come up empty. And when I read back on what I have been sharing, I think to myself that my life is so boring. Yes, it's Blessed, but it's a Blessed Bore. And I don't mind that, I actually love my boring life, but I can't expect everyone else to love it.
Also lately, I've been feeling a little down, so then I don't feel much like writing, and I really hate that it's so one-sided lately without being able to visit everyone else.
So I will be taking a little blogger break for awhile.
Ray will be on vacation next week, and we'll be away for a few days, and when we come back I'm going to have him take a look at this computer to see if he can fix my blog problems. He's worked his magic before so I'll keep my fingers crossed that he can get things right again.

I think of you all so often, and you are in so many of my daily conversations. And I miss visiting you and I miss knowing what you've been up to. Hopefully that situation will be remedied in the next few weeks.

And, hopefully, I'll be 'seeing' you soon!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Random Thoughts ~ Random Prayers

Just some of the rambling thoughts that wander around my head:

I love the Pledge of Allegiance. The public school across the street has a P.A. system that can be heard outdoors, and each morning after dropping Jayden at school, I walk home and as I am walking up to my door I hear the children from the public school across the street reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It's wonderful.

I hate our mattress. It's too soft, and it has that 'hammock effect', and Ray and I both wake up with backaches every morning, and we paid dearly for this mattress, but we are ready to throw it out the window.

I don't like setting goals for myself. It makes me feel like a failure. I've heard it should be done in 'baby steps', just set little goals for yourself. Such as in trying to tackle cleaning out the house, just say you are going to clean out one drawer instead. I've tried that, and if you don't achieve that one little goal, you are just the biggest loser ever. I guess if I'm going to set any goals, they might as well be big, almost unachievable goals.

I love cowboy boots. I didn't used to, in fact, I didn't like the 'Western look' much at all. But I like it lots now. And if we move down south, I think I'll buy myself a pair of western boots. Heck, even if we don't move I might just treat myself to a pair.

I do not like our new washing machine at all. It has a water saver feature. You don't get to choose the water level, the washing machine chooses it, BUT if you happen to forget something and you want to throw the item into the load of wash that is already filling with water, you can not open the top and add it, that invalidates the 'smart' machine and you end up wasting water because once interrupted the water level goes to it's highest level. I am always running last minute to add something. AND I LIKE TO WATCH THE WASH! I like to watch the water fill, I like to add my soap as the water is filling, and I LIKE TO BE IN CONTROL OF MY LAUNDRY! I WANT TO CHOOSE THE WATER LEVEL! But with this machine you have to add your soap first, then add your clothes, then close the lid and let the smart machine do it's job.
Ray picked this machine. He is very happy with it. And he does his own wash. And I am very happy with him. So I'll quit complaining about it now.

I feel Angels all around me, especially when I am out and about. It's weird and it's wonderful.

I've been thinking about another wonderful but weird thing that happens to me, most times it happens in Church at Mass. Something happens to my eyesight, things become crystal clear, and colors become so vibrant. If we are sitting up in the balcony and I look down at the slate floor below I can actually see each individual tile, it's amazing, because usually from that far away it just looks like one big slab of slate that runs up and down the center aisle, and not like individual tiles. It's as if a cloud is lifted from my eyes and all of a sudden everything is in focus. It only lasts for a short while, and then everything becomes fuzzy again. Weird but wonderful.

I once had an argument with a Jehovah's Witness about prayer. She was relating a story about being at her son's baseball game and one of his teammates hit a home run, and the boy's mother said, "Oh, I prayed that he would hit a home run and he did! God Is Good!"
The woman who was a Jehovah's Witness said to her, "Do you think that God is answering your prayer for your son to hit a home run while another mother's prayer is being ignored as she is asking for a cure for cancer for her little boy?" She said the other mother looked ashamed then for thinking that way.
I think I shocked the Jehovah Witness when I said that I thought the other mother had nothing to be ashamed of. We ALL pray for things that are less important than a mother praying for a cure for cancer for her child. That Jehovah Witness had just finished telling me that she was praying to stop smoking. My feeling is that asking for help to quit smoking was less important than begging for a child's life. But I don't see either prayer as wrong.

I pray for EVERYTHING.
I pray to find the perfect eye pencil, the perfect mascara, and the perfect shade of lipstick.
I pray for a cure for cancer.
I pray that Jayden has a good day in school.
I pray about the weather.
I pray for people that are oppressed.
I pray for world peace.
I pray for victims of floods, fires, volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and ice and snow storms.
I pray for victims of abuse.
I pray for their abusers.
I pray for newlyweds.
I pray for newborns.
I pray for their parents.
I pray for the elderly.
I pray for the weak and the sick.
I pray for handicapped people.
I pray for those who care for them.
I pray for world leaders.
I pray for the Jehovah's Witness that I disagreed with.
I pray that my family will one day be whole again.
I pray for health and happiness for me and mine.
I pray that I don't lose my temper.
I pray to find lost articles, be they dear in price or dear in heart.
I pray for missionaries.
I pray for the poor and the hungry.
I pray for rich people.
I pray for orphans.
I pray for broken families and broken hearts.
I pray for loving, in-tact families.
I pray for my blog friends and all their needs.
I pray for Piper (a little girl with disabilities that I was Blessed to find through my blogger friend Jill, and you can find her too, right HERE and HERE).
I pray for Piper's parents.
I pray for the lonely.
I pray for my soul.
I pray for everything, and I pray all day long.
I think God must be sick of hearing my voice.
Do I think that every prayer I pray is an urgent prayer? Not at all.
But I know that God Is Wise Enough to prioritize my random prayers.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Suffering From The Lack Of

Missing ~ wanting; longing for; pining for; feeling the absence of something or someone
I find this definition to be most appropriate:
suffering from the lack of

Yes, that definition sums up my feeling exactly, I am suffering from the lack of someone so important to my life, someone who gave me something so profound, and the massive void that took her place when she passed (five years ago today) leaves me longing and aching.

One day more, Mom, just one day more. Just an ordinary day, sitting at the table, having a cup of tea or coffee, and maybe one of your favorite crumb cakes, or cinnamon toast, not too dark, and not too light, toasted just right, and with lots of butter. Just one more cup of tea, Mom.

Please, let the phone ring, and I answer to, "Hi, it's just pesky me, it's just Mom." Please, Mom, the phone ring one more time. Just one more conversation, Mom.

Please let the front door open and I hear, "Anybody home? It's just me flopping in on you again." Please, Mom, the front door open and you walk in, just one more time, Mom, open the front door.

One more St. Patrick's Day, Mom, let's watch the parade together on TV, and I'll buy you a bouquet of green carnations, Mom, and you can sing 'O Danny Boy'. One more St. Patrick's Day, Mom.

One more story, Mom, tell me one more story about your childhood, or meeting Dad, or young motherhood, one more story, Mom, just one more story.

Tell me one more of your funny secrets, Mom, you know, where at the end of the story you laugh a little behind your hand, and give me that look, that 'Oh, I shouldn't have said that' look. Give me that look one more time, Mom.

One more time, Mom, walk up behind me and stroke my hair. One more stroke, Mom.
Please, Mom, one more hug. One more smile. One more, one more endearment, Mom. Just one more, Mom.

What's a world without a mother? Not as pretty.
What's a life without a mother? Not as loving.
Even Blessings don't shine as brilliant, Mom, because you're not here to share in them.

It's been five years, Mom, and still nobody has told me what to do with all this love. All this love I have reserved in my heart for only you, the love a child has for a mother, where do I put your love now, Mom? That is the definition of heartache, all this love inside with nowhere to go, the heart grows so heavy from the burden of it.

I recently read an article by Phil Nash, and he wrote:
"A few months ago, I was admitted to a club I would have preferred not to join. There is no secret handshake, no initiation ritual. It's membership is far bigger than you would imagine. And once admitted, you remain a sad member for life."

He went on to talk about all the things that have happened to him and his family since his Mom passed, all the events big and small that his Mom couldn't see and experience, and how stunning it is to him that the world has realigned itself and moved on without her. Seasons still change, how is that possible? And how is it possible that her Birthday comes and goes without her?
How cruel it is that there are reminders to us, telling us not to forget Mom on Mother's Day, as if we could.

I get what he's saying. I get that feeling of taking it all so personal. And I think most of us who have lost our Mom's know exactly what he's talking about.
Passing through the card aisle in the drug store and spotting a card for Mom (for any occasion) will engulf us in such misery of heart.
That never goes away. There is no healing from this feeling of grief. Not ever.

Losing you, Mom, is a grief beyond terrible, and life never really returns to normal.

I understand now, Mom, why you, even in your eighties you were constantly looking for your own mother who had passed away over forty years earlier, the heart is always going to seek that safe haven that is Mom.

Months of crying may be over, but that only makes things worse, there's no release anymore, there's no relief from grief once the tears stop.
"Pull yourself together", and "Get on with your life", that's all well and good, but no matter how much you pull yourself together or get on with your life, you never get away from the isolation of the heart, there's that one place in your heart and soul, that one 'Mom spot' that is now isolated.
Books, and professionals all go on about the stages of grief: anger, guilt, acceptance. But no one ever tells you about the stage of grief that is lifelong.

I am telling anyone who has lost their mother, it is a grief you will never get over. Don't fool yourself, and don't think that something is wrong with you because you carry this darkness and heaviness around with you. I'm not saying that you don't have good/happy memories that will help lighten your burden, and yes, there will be a bright spot in your heart too for your Mom always. But if you love your mother, you will never get over the fact that she is missing from your life. And your heart will never say goodbye, and there will always be a hole in your life and in your heart.

Mom, I know I sound bitter, but I'm not, I'm so grateful that I had you for as long as I did. And I do feel you all around me. But I still miss what once was. I'm missing you and I know I will go on missing, I will go on suffering from the lack of.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thinking About Major Changes

Ray and I have been thinking about making some major changes. A change in location, a change in our family situation, a change of job for Ray, and a major lifestyle change for me. We are thinking of relocating from North to South.
We've been down south for numerous vacations and we've always enjoyed it. I have some family and friends that live in the south. And so many family and friends vacation there too.
We are very interested in a specific area, and a home built by a specific builder. We are getting tired of bitter cold, icy, snowy winters, and we'd very much enjoy a milder climate. Ray would also like to scale back on his commute to work and the 'rat race' that is the New York City rush hour. We'd also like to ease up on our financial commitments and a move out of New York City could do that for us. These are all the positives entailed in moving.

The negatives would be losing the daily connection of cherished family and friends. The BIG negative would be the miles between us and the kids and grandkids. I love that the kids can drop in anytime for a visit, to do a load of laundry, to ask us to babysit, to watch a football game with Ray, and I love the family 'get-togethers' for parties and holidays. I always knew that the close daily contact/relationship that I have with my grandson Jayden would eventually have to change, but this move would hasten that change in an abrupt manner. Not a situation that I think either Ray or I are looking forward to with relish, and not something that would be very welcome to Jayden at first either. This is the only home he's known.
Kids are resilient though, and Jayden always talks with a lot of excitement when he's going to be staying at his Daddy's house, so I think he will fare much better in the upheaval than Ray or I will when it comes to changing these living arrangements.

Another big negative for me would be leaving the home I grew up in. Well, to be fair, it was not the home I was born to, that was a tiny little semi-attached house that also held a lot of nice memories and I survived that move. This house was my home for ten years before I got married (we moved here when I was nine and then I was married and moved out at nineteen), and then it was my home again when I moved my own family in twenty-nine years ago this June. So I have a lot of wonderful memories and a great attachment to this home we live in, but I also realize that a home is more than walls, doors, floors, and windows. I love this house and all the memories it holds for me, but I can love another home too, and the wonderful thing about memories is that you can move them with you.

What I really would love is to be able to pick up everything and everyone (family, friends, the house I grew up in) and relocate it all.
So the next year will be spent weighing pros and cons.
Once these changes are made there will be no turning back. And I don't want to be like other couples who have so many regrets after retiring and/or relocating. Ray and I were actually in that regretful relocation boat once before many years ago. We moved from New York to Minnesota when our oldest son, Brian, was only five months old. Our son, Erik, was born there, and when he was five months old we moved back 'home' to New York. I think maybe if the boys had been older, maybe school age, and I had met other mothers, things may have been different. But I felt so isolated, and both Ray and I are so 'family oriented', and we both come from big families, so even though we are both homebodies, it was a very lonely life for me.
Ray always says he would be happy on a deserted island with just he and I, but I think he would feel just as sad leaving the grandchildren behind. And now we have little Sophie making her entrance into our world next month too.
So, we have some very tough decisions ahead of us in thinking about major changes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


FIRST ~ I am so sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs, it's not from lack of trying, but Blogger just keeps giving me an error message. I will continue to try, and I know some of you connect your blogs to Facebook so I will try to visit that way too.

We had a few fun celebrations last month. Of course there was Jayden's Birthday, which we celebrated three days in a row!

Saturday ~ lots of family and fun!

Sunday ~ lunch out and games at Dave & Buster's Arcade!

Monday ~ smearing his name for luck before he cuts the first piece of cake at a smaller family celebration!

Also, our daughter Katie (Jayden's Mommy) celebrated her Birthday the week before that.
I was remembering during this snowy January we were having that the year Katie was born was another snowy January. In fact, Katie Elizabeth was born between two snow storms, a day or two before I went into labor with her there had been a snow storm, and I if I remember right I think it was snowing again as we drove to the hospital, and there was another storm before we brought her home from the hospital. Katie had to stay in the hospital after I was discharged because she was jaundiced due to an ABO blood incompatibility (all our children except for Ellie were born with this same blood problem), and Katie's blood count was so high that they were afraid of brain damage, and since the florescent lighting wasn't working to bring her blood count down, the doctors decided to do a blood exchange .
I was always so sad to come home without my newborn in my arms, and to have to go back and visit my babies as 'patients' in the hospital. But each time all turned out well!

And, thrity-three years later here sits Jayden, who was very excited about his Mommy's Birthday, and a few days ahead he was busy making a Birthday garland for her:

('So sorry all these pictures from Kate's Birthday are all so dark, I had the camera on the wrong setting)

The day of her Birthday we baked a cake after Jayden got home from school. I got out all the cooking utensils and measured everything for him, and then he got to work:

Greasing the pan:

Adding the ingredients:

And here is a photo of the pitcher that he dropped into the batter. He's a messy baker just like his grandmother! Lucky that I had him mix everything in the sink, that's something I should do too!

Once the cake was in the oven I told him he should do his homework while we wait for it to bake. I started to wash the dishes and asked him if he wanted to dry them and he said, "I'm sorry I can't. I have to start my homework right away!" I think he thought the sooner he finished his homework, the sooner the cake would bake!

Once the cake had cooled we iced it and Jayden got busy decorating:

Then Jayden put his gifts for his Mommy in a gift bag, made her a card, and sat waiting patiently for her to come home from work:

And she got a nice Birthday greeting!

And she loved her cake!

Also, last month I turned 57. Aging has never bothered me in the past, it doesn't bother me now, and I hope it never bothers me in the future! I've always liked whatever age I was, with the exception of when I was a preteen, I think I remember wanting to be older, I remember being anxious to turn thirteen. And I remember looking forward to my fourteenth Birthday because my grandmother said that would be my 'Golden Birthday' (turning 14 on the 14th!). But other than that I don't think I looked forward to any milestones nor did I dread them. I can't say for certain that I looked forward to turning 50, but I certainly didn't hate it, I was happy, I felt FREE, and comfortable, and contented.

My Dad told me that I was born between snow storms too. He said that most of the snow and ice had melted though, and he hadn't gotten a chance to take the chains off the tires on the car before my mother went into labor. He says all he remembers about the trip to the hospital was the sound of the chains on the tires hitting the cobblestones along the Boulevard.

Anyway, I had a really nice 57th Birthday, my Birthday fell on a Friday this year and Ray surprised me by taking the day off. We didn't do anything special, but it was special to have him home, and we walked Jayden to and from school together, and Ray brought me a Birthday cake so Jayden wouldn't be upset that I didn't have "Happy Birthday" sung to me on my actual Birthday (the family was coming over the next day to celebrate). And in the afternoon Ray and Jayden made me a cake for the next day, and they decorated it, and it was the nicest Birthday cake I've ever had!

We usually do half the sheet cake with chocolate icing, and half with white icing to please everyone, but Jayden had the bright idea to leave a little corner of the cake free of any icing just in case someone doesn't like frosting on their cake!

Ray wrote the "Happy Birthday" in script, but he said that Jayden did the rest of the decorating all by himself! I think he did another great job!

And the next day the rest of the kids came over, along with my sister Diane and her husband Steve, and my niece Rachel came over with my great-nephew James ("Jamesy-boy"!).
Jayden and James love getting together, Rachel said James is always asking her, "When am I going to see my cousin again?"

And, of course, Mia was there too!

You can see that I had lots of help opening gifts:

(The boys got the first gift unwrapped without taking off the ribbon!)

And once it was unwrapped Jamesy-boy said, "Oh, it's not a toy. You know how I know it's not a toy? Because of this writing on the box." (It said 'LOFT' on it!)

It was better than a toy! It was this beautiful Ann Taylor scarf from my sister Diane:

Even though you can't see my face through the 'crowd', I was VERY happy with all my cards and gifts!

And before anyone arrived Ray had put out a nice little spread for everyone:

(There was fruit and vegetables, and focaccia bread, and mozzarella in olive oil with basil & peppers, there were cheese & crackers, and pepperoni, and Swedish meatballs.)

Jayden and James chowed down lots of bread...

(Mia preferred Cheerios)

...and celery.

Later in the afternoon Ray ordered in pizza for us and then it was time for my best-ever cake!

And my brother-in-law Steve made us delicious pecan pie muffins for dessert! They were wonderful!

And my sister Diane made me these:
Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes!

They were yellow cupcakes and the 'spaghetti' string was white icing, and the 'meatballs' were chocolate donut holes and the 'sauce' was strawberry jelly. Yummy!

And I got lots of beautiful cards from friends and family near and far...

...along with lots of wonderful good wishes from friends and family on Facebook!

Birthday celebrations are fun!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl ~ Super Fun

I am really not a big fan of any sport, unless you consider ice dancing a sport. So I never really do get caught up in the revelry or excitement like most of my family. I think Ray would have been more excited if his Giants had been playing, but he still looked forward to the game.

Some of the family came over and we had chips and dips, and pizza and wings, and we had lots of wonderful desserts! Now that is something that excites me! My daughter-in-law, Lori, made some great brownies, just the way I like them, very moist, with chocolate chips, and it was almost like eating fudge, but better!
My brother-in-law, Steve, made something called a 'pig cake' and he said it gets it's unusual name because it's a dessert that is usually served down south at pig roasting parties. It was delicious! My daughter-in-law described it best ~ refreshing! It was orange cake with pineapple frosting, and it was served cold. Yum!
And my son, Erik, made a lemon pudding pie, and a vanilla pudding pie. I'm not a big fan of lemon, but I had the vanilla pie and it was great! (We also had store-bought pumpkin pie and assorted cheesecake, but I didn't even try tasting them.)

And, in spite of the fact that I am not a big sports fan, I did have a super fun time! Mia, Jayden, and I made our own fun!

And I also got a nice surprise over the weekend! On Saturday evening Ray brought the mail in and said, "You have something here from Rebecca." Many of you know Rebecca and visit her at her blog 'Life And Godliness'. (I wish I could link to her, but I am having trouble again getting to many blogs.)
I opened the envelope and inside were these two sweet frames!

And of course I had Ray scan Jayden and Mia's school pictures, and size them to fit.

I set them on the window sill over my kitchen sink, it's nice to have their little faces smiling at me as I wash dishes, and it's nice to have the sweet reminder of a sweet friend and her generous heart. Thank you, Rebecca!

(And I want to thank everyone who commented on my post about a Servant's Heart. You are all much too kind and generous. And I didn't write that post as a way of garnering accolades for myself, but I so appreciate your 'shout outs', you are too good to me!
It's just that I read all of you, your lives, and I see so many people, and the love each one carries around for their fellow man, and not just the happiness people derive in helping others, but the way it comes naturally to so many people. And in my fifty-seven years on earth, I just haven't felt that.
I'll give you a recent example: On a freezing cold, icy day, walking back home from dropping Jayden at school, I brought a container of salt with me, salting our path as we walked, the same going back home, and I see a car having trouble on the ice. I was cold, I didn't want to stop, I'm practically shaking my fist at Heaven for presenting this situation, all very un-neighborly and un-Christian reactions. I did stop, I did offer my salt, and I told the driver to try using their car mat under the wheel too [a tip I learned from my sister Diane, and the car mat did work], but I did it all begrudgingly, and I guess that's why I never feel good about helping others, because it's more out of a guilt trip rather than any sense of love or kindness. Well, anyway, thanks for thinking I'm a nice person in spite of it all.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

How Am I Ever Going To Acquire A Servant's Heart?

I've always been envious of those who happily serve others. Wives and mothers who get joy out of serving their families, catering to their husband's needs and the needs of their children. Happy homemakers who feel a sense of accomplishment. Folks who happily serve on school and church committees. Those who volunteer their time to others out of the sheer joy of being in service to another.
When I served on a church committee, it was more a sense of obligation rather than service, and I would sit in the meetings willing for the time to fly by so I could be in the comforts of my own home. Or I would get annoyed at someone droning on and on in the meeting about what I felt was nonsense. I care more about my own needs than the needs of others.
When I served on fund-raising committees at schools, I never felt a sense of accomplishment, I just felt like, "Oh, hurry up and get this over with!"

The only volunteering I enjoyed was working with children. They were a lot of fun, I laughed a lot, I loved them and they loved me. But that entailed me getting something out of it. Certainly not a servant's heart there.

I never feel that wonderful sense of love and service. I try to, but most of what I do, I just do out of a sense of obligation or guilt. I've prayed about it. I want to have a servant's heart, but I just don't get that sense of happiness or fulfillment that others feel and talk about.
And so far in my life, I've only known one other person who feels the same way I do. We just don't get it. I don't feel like we're cold-hearted people, but maybe we are.

We both get annoyed if we are trying to be of service to someone and things don't go smoothly. We don't mind whatever the chore may be, but we mind that a one-step chore becomes a ten-step chore due to things going awry (for example: trying to bake a dinner to take to a family in need, but everything goes wrong such as a carton of eggs falling on the floor and every single egg breaks, or the dinner burns to a crisp; or in trying to help someone paint their house and you knock over the whole can of paint onto their carpet), we end up saying to ourselves and to God, "What is this???? All I'm trying to do is help someone out here. Why all the roadblocks?"
She and I are more like 'grumbling servants'. And we both agree that we are all-too-ready to throw in the towel.

I wish I was the type of person who could say, "Okay, God, for whatever reason all those eggs were supposed to break, and that dinner was supposed to burn, and I was supposed to knock the paint over." I wish I was the type of person who felt there was some deep lesson I was supposed to learn. I'm not that type of person. If there was a lesson to be learned, it went sailing way over my head.
And, really, my feeling is, sometimes broken eggs are just broken eggs, and sometimes paint spilled is nothing more than paint spilled. And it's all very irritating. And there is no sense of a servant's heart in irritation.

"It's all in your attitude", or so I've been told. But I don't feel that I go into any mission with a negative attitude, in fact, I think my attitude is somewhat rational, I don't think I have high expectations, and yet, I still feel disappointed with the outcome (not feeling good about having done something in the service of another). What's wrong with me? Why don't I feel good doing something for somebody else? Does everything I do have to benefit me before I feel good about it? I'm not getting any younger. I'm running out of time. How am I ever going to acquire a servant's heart?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

She's 'That Friend'

My friend Barbara and I usually get together once or twice a week, we'll meet in town for coffee, or breakfast, or lunch, or we'll visit together at one of our homes, but with this horrid Winter we've been having, most of our visits have been either over the phone or through emails.
The other day she called me though and said she was going to have her husband drive her over so we could have a little visit together. I was happy to have her company, which would have been more than enough, but she also came bearing gifts for me! And she gave me so much! She thought of everything!

She came bearing the practical...

(Look at this cute cell phone case! Barbara thought it would be good for when I go bike riding, I can clip it to a belt loop and wear it hands-free, and it also comes with a longer strap so I can wear it across my shoulder if I want.)

(And it also has a little wallet attached!)

and she came bearing the useful...

(Barbara knows that I like to carry big purses, especially when I have the grandkids in tow, lots to take along! And she knows that I like bags with lots of pockets, and when I can't have bags with pockets, I like to take 'inserts' along, fill them up with all the neccessities, and throw them into whatever bag I happen to be using that day. So I was very happy to get these beauties!)

(Look at all the pockets in these! A place for pens and paper, cell phone, credit cards, everything!)

(Both the bigger one and the smaller one had pockets for everything, they even had a clip for keys and a spot for glasses. And then it's so easy to change out purses, all your essentials are in one spot!)
(These are also great for packing travel essentials for long trips!)

...and she came bearing the pretty...

(This bag is so sweet!)

(So feminine!)

(I love every detail!)

...and she came bearing the decorative...

(Isn't this adorable?! Barbara said her husband Dave picked it out for me, he said to her, "Eileen likes all this old looking stuff, right?" I love it!)

(I'm in search now of the perfect spot in my home for it!)

...and she came bearing the ornamental!

(I love these 'rope bracelets'! They are perfect for me as I have a nickle allergy, so there is a lot of jewelry that I can't wear.)

(The glass beads are beautiful, and I love the clasp too, I flipped when I opened these! So pretty!)

Right now they are adorning my statue of the the Madonna and Child...

...but as soon as the weather clears and I can once again venture out, they will be adorning my wrists!

I don't know what I did to deserve all this! Thank you, Barbara!
Here is a picture of Barbara and myself taken many years ago. We were at some function for the Rosary Society, and I promise you I wasn't the only fool dressed in costume, I was just the only one caught on camera. I can't remember what the skit was about, I only remember that we had lots and lots of fun, as we usually do when we are together.

I wish I had thought to take out my camera when Barbara was here so you could 'meet' her in a more normal setting. But suffice it to say, Barbara has a very generous heart, and she is so much fun, and she is so easy to talk to! I felt comfortable with Barbara from the moment I met her. My youngest son and her youngest son were in Kindergarten together, and we were both on 'security duty' at school, she was taking classes at the time and had brought some homework to do, but I talked so much she had to give up on her homework and close her books! The next month we happened to be together again, this time she had a newspaper to read, but she didn't get much reading done as I was 'jabberjaws' again, and the next month she wised up and only brought along a cup of coffee! And she made sure we had security duty together from then on by requesting me for a partner. And as luck would have it, a few years later we were both offered jobs in that school, and so we worked together for awhile too.

It doesn't matter if we are spending whole days together or having a quick phone conversation, in no time at all our conversations can run the gamut from birth to death and everything in between! We cry until our eyes are swollen, and we laugh until our sides split. Over the last twenty years we have laughed, cried, and prayed together. We have turned to each other for support in times of crisis, and we've rejoiced with each other in times of joy. We've supported each other through the sicknesses and deaths of our parents. She's been my confidant and my cheerleader. Our relationship is very relaxed, we are just as comfortable with each other talking a mile a minute as we are sitting in complete silence. We have been on trips together, we've gone on shopping sprees, we've seen Broadway shows, we've eaten so many breakfast, lunch, and dinners together, and we have had countless cups of coffee together. And we both agree that our best times spent together were when we went to Mass in the mornings after dropping the boys at school, and then we'd walk home and stop at the corner where we went our separate ways, but we'd linger awhile talking.

It's funny because as much as we agree on so many subjects, we also are very different. We have differing views on politics. Barbara and her husband are more apt to travel where Ray & I are 'homebodies' in comparison. Barbara is always so organized, and I am in a state of disorder all the time! And Barbara is always, always, so 'put together' and I am always so disheveled! If we are out shopping, she will take my packages and consolidate and organize them for me. If it is cold out, she will 'bundle' me up, and affix my scarf for me.

Barbara is like all things comfortable and familiar to me, she is my bowl of soup, my scrapbook, my corner grocery store. She's that friend.