Monday, November 04, 2013

"I" am Grandma Bowen

 This is my mother in law as a young bride.
There is some "talk' about how they met,
popcorn at a dance was involved,
but they married and had a family.

They struggled, financially, until they retired.
At that point they just enjoyed each other.
I hate that one of the last pictures I have of her is
with this sort of frown.
She did worry
but I remember her as loving the kids
and doing the best with what she had.



Although those who lived closer often complained about her,
she is a strong model for me as a grandparent.
She always encouraged our marriage and children.
She wrote often to us early on
and just wanted to say she supported us (in her own way).

Yesterday I was going through my things.
I found a piece of jewelry we had given her in the 1990's
In Chinese it says, "Grandma Bowen" 祖母梁宝荣

During this month of remembering our dead
my prayers often move to Grandma and Grandpa Bowen
Their life lessons are still with us.

Hard to believe she is gone and now I am Grandma Bowen.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Fall is slowly fading into winter
The trees, once so dense with leaves,
are shedding quickly.

 The ones close to the flag honoring our son who is serving, are still quite full.

 The native grasses begin to glow red and orange.
It is my favorite time of year.
 My grandchildren bundle.
 And play.

It is good. 

 A few years ago I questioned continuing.
and now the answer seems quite clear.
Our house is warm and full
of love
even when our loved ones are so far away.






I borrowed the baby pictures from my family. 
They are theirs.  
Please ask their permission if you want to borrow them since you are not their Nana :>)
OK- I should have asked as well…. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11

The plan is to see two people in Arlington this month.  One we lost on September 11th. The other was a young man who was part of our Saudi community. He lost his life in Afghanistan.

I wrote this several years ago. It sums up my feelings.


September 11th

The students in sixth grade last year were barely walking
on September 11th, 2001.
I worked hard to find a good documentary
to give them a sense of what happened.
What happened?
We had been back from Saudi for
what seemed to be such a short time.
The bombing that we lived through seemed so close,
and yet untouchable as we hid away
in our mountain cabin home.
I had been walking with a good friend that morning
Getting home for the morning news
while I showered and changed for the drive to school.
Flipping on the TV to watch film of the first plane hit
- with the immediate speculation that
it was a commuter jet that had gone off course.
An accident.
I woke my daughter and called my friend
I knew it was not an accident.
All my memories came into play.
The smell of dust and fire
Bleeding people
children calling for parents
it was so close again.
Then the second plane hit.
I screamed "I knew it!"
Silence
Emotion
Tired
Going to school was part of the adrenaline
as coming home from school
had been six years before.

How do you explain that to children?
You want them to believe that
all is right with the world.

There are good people

There are bad people

We simply have to assume the good in all
or else we could become
part of the bad.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

St. Maximilian Kolbe


In the Catholic Church we choose a particular saint
to draw life experiences from for our Confirmation name.
When I was a kid, we just chose someone because they were pretty or neat.
Not this generation.
What did that person do and how can their life help me to follow Christ more fully.
My son chose this man as one that he would like to study more in depth.
Since that time I have come to appreciate his sacrifice and that of his order.

People are confused about Saints and why Catholics cherish their memories.
We believe that our souls live on. By being baptized we enter the community of saints- declaring ourselves as followers of Christ.
Some of us- within the community of Saints which we all aspire to be in- are more overt in our walk with the Lord. They are declared "Saints" and given a day of remembrance. Those Saints were just normal people---like you and me--- who chose a path as close to Christ as possible in one way or the other.

As Catholics we believe that the living and the dead help guide our lives. By studying those who have gone before and asking them to help us to walk a more righteous path, we are addressing them the same way we would an elder, wiser adult. That is what prayer is--- communication for understanding and praise. The praise itself is reserved for God---but the wisdom can be gleamed from anyone.

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan.   In his early years he felt that Mary (whom we do not believe is God - but the human mother of God), had appeared to him. He started a group called "Army of Mary, to work for conversion of sinners and enemies of the Catholic Church, specifically the Freemasons, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary".  
Maximilian served for six years in Japan as a missionary and then returned to Poland.
From Wikipedia:

After the outbreak of World War II, which started with the invasion of his nation by Nazi Germany, Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary in Niepokalanów.[15]On 17 February 1941, he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison. On 28 May, he was transferred to Auschwitz as prisoner #16670.[16]
At the end of July 1941, three prisoners disappeared from the camp, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the deputy camp commander, to pick 10 men to be starved to death in an underground bunker in order to deter further escape attempts. When one of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, "My wife! My children!", Kolbe volunteered to take his place.[17]
In his prison cell, Kolbe celebrated Mass each day and sang hymns with the prisoners.He led the other condemned men in song and prayer and encouraged them by telling them they would soon be with Mary in Heaven. Each time the guards checked on him, he was standing or kneeling in the middle of the cell and looking calmly at those who entered. After two weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe remained alive. The guards wanted the bunker emptied and they gave Kolbe a lethal injection of carbolic acid. Some who were present at the injection say that he raised his left arm and calmly waited for the injection.[18] His remains were cremated on 15 August, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.[2]"

This was an interesting choice of a Saint for my son to study and take his name as my son is now a soldier.  I feel that choosing a man like Kolbe to watch for example helps my son in his leadership of being compassionate and certain of his actions.
I constantly look for leadership in my path. Finding saint who learned how to follow Christ in an everyday walk helps me to see that my walk can also follow Christ. On this feast day of Saint Maximilian Kolbe I am called to step up and serve others- even when it is not necessarily the path I would normally take.






Moving forward with the military

As much as I enjoyed looking out the window
and gardening
and just reflecting
and helping my family

Today I stepped in
and things will be different quickly.

The military has a group of volunteers
that help the spouses and family members
of those serving overseas.

Yes, we are still in a war.

There are still families who are left at home
to raise families,
to care for the house,
to pray for their soldier's safety.

There is a team of people who help those families.
When we were in the military
those teams did not exist and we simply did the best we could with little guidance.
There was a group here that did not have a team in place.
So....off to work I go.

I don't know if I am up for all of the work this is going to take.
We shall see.
But, I hope that I can count on you
for prayer.

Moving forward!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The blessings that come with a grandchild are many.
In our family
the grandchildren remind us of our commitment to God and each other.
Father asked that no pictures be taken during our prayers
I was so relieved.
It was wonderful to be washed in the Spirit
as we welcomed the baby to the family
Our family and God's family.
Life is going to continue to be better and better.
The blessings are many,
the time is so short.
Hug those you love
and continue the journey in the best way you know how.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Encore life moves into full swing!

Groceries are ready.
Enough rain to make the lawn beautiful, tomatoes grow and the swingset area safe to play in.
Grandchildren in the next town and on the plane to Kansas.
School- and substitute teaching- is ready to start.
Looking forward to the fast pace of the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I tend to tilt at windmills


My life is pretty darn great.
Having a family that loves and cares for each other is top priority.

But

I tend to tilt at windmills.
My favorite windmill is universal health care.
Where is the justice in seeing one person suffer 
with the same problem that would be easily solved
because they make too much or too little money?

My next windmill
is the terrible education system that is currently allowed in some places in the country.
How come it is impossible for a child to be rewarded to read a book
an actual piece of literature
but be rewarded for keeping their head down and mouth closed?
Why is it that only people who watch out for their children
because they have time or money,
and know what they are looking for,
get to have a good education presented for their children?
Why is it that the public system spends
far less on the child who could become 
a surgeon, then the one who tries to injure a classmate?

Third windmill
Why is it that every time I agree with a political side 
I am automatically placed on that side and then called names?
or shut out because my opinion is no longer valid?

Guess what?
There are many sides to all of the issues.
Just because I am nervous about the debt and our interaction with China
Does not make me a right winged loonie.
Heck, listening to "the plan" while in Hong Kong 25 years ago
made me take notice
when the plan comes together.....

Just because I feel that medical care is a basic human right 
&
All children, no matter what their parents do, should be fed. 
Period.
I am not a communist marcher.

That I clamp for each person who takes on the vocation of Presidency
Does not give me a political party.
It gives me the word that someone, 
who puts on their pants the same way that I do, 
should be respected.
Does that mean I do not write letters
heck no!
this is a Republic!

One thing that has absorbed 
my time since my youth
was study.
Study people & situations. 
My background is debate.  No one knows how to do that anymore!!!!

Guess what else.
I do not worship a Pope. 
 I am smart enough to listen to someone who has walked in shoes I will never know.
Sometimes 2000 years of experience will give an institution some vision.
Sometimes that vision is off kilter---but one would have to be blind to not see that.

My last windmill 
My basic belief that most every person is good until they prove otherwise.
I have met good and evil people in all walks of life.
Listening to them and being able to decipher what they are trying to sell
is key to a good exisitance.
Are they there for themselves only?
Do they want to change things the only way they know how?
Or are they manipulative and only want their own needs/wants fulfilled?

My husband often chuckles at me.
He cannot understand why it is important to me.
He grew up poor and is living his version of the American Dream.
I grew up in what others thought was 
 the American Dream 
and wondering why it is such a mess.
And so
I tilt at windmills.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Goal One- Day One

SMART Goal one is,  "Under 200".

I would like to accomplish this by December 30. 
Have a bet with my son in law to lose 30 lbs before Christmas. 
This will get me past the 200 mark.
If I am at the 200 mark at the end of the year,
 I will have accomplished this goal 
(even if I lose the bet with my sil and have to give him the 100 bucks).

Boy this is scary to put this in writing.

This is the weight I put on after my husband left the Army- 17 years ago in December.
It was gained mostly in the last seven years
 while dealing with stressful extended family situations and a stressful job.  
Letting both of these things go will be my other goal during this time.

Indifference instead of intense dislike. 

Any input will be appreciated along the way- as long as it is encouraging.
Of course if I divert from my healthy living blog and go into politics
comment any way you would like!

This blog is going to get some serious work outs!



A different turn

We all know that life takes you in many directions.
Some of those are turns you might wish you never took.
Others are turns that you have no idea of the outcome.

So, I am going to take a turn on this blog.

Having grandchildren changes you. 

My first is a joy and just beginning to be at an age that I will have to really get in shape to keep up with.  Going camping and hiking with him is a huge incentive to getting in shape. 
Now there will be two more to keep up with. 

Currently, I can walk on flat land for miles and miles.  With the weight that has been gathered in the last  thirty one years, up and down hills is a pain.  Walking the Grand Canyon with my grandson will be a challenge unless things turn NOW!

This will be a chronicle of that challenge. 

My plans are to get rid of the extra baggage that has been holding back my love for the out of doors.  
Today marks the beginning of an 
Eighty Pound weight loss. 
Not as thin as my wedding pictures, but thin enough to put on a backpack and play in the woods.
My hopes are that my grandchildren will see the person I am. Growing up in rural Phoenix, riding my bike five miles to school, hiking in the Arizona and Colorado mountains, playing tennis and baseball, riding motorcycles, swimming in the oceans, being crazy adventurous.

We plan on going to Israel three months after my son gets home from war.
That is my goal. 
He gets home from war.
He arrives to a wonderful small family of his wife and child.
And I am a slimmer. more vital self, ready to move forward with my life and living.

This size of body is ridiculous. 
My numbers are good---but I cannot carry it and a 40 lbs pack at the same time!
Time for a walk!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

What does a long marriage look like?

Thirty one years ago this evening, I married my best friend.

I know a few people who claim to have always had the best relationships with their spouses. I won't make that claim. I tend to be a bit too selfish and self serving to  have been the best spouse for my husband. Through it all we have stuck together.

We met in Germany. We laughed the other day that he remembered more about getting me a new car (he blew mine up by over filling the oil on our second date), then when he proposed. We me on the 6th of November and he formally proposed and gave me a ring on his promotion to First LT on Dec 1. Many volksmarches and parties later we flew into Phoenix on the 20 of June and married on the 27. For many years we could not remember when our actual wedding date was, because it had been changed so many times. My mom planned it all. My sister tried on my wedding dress for me. We just slipped into town- had a wonderful Mass and vows and then slipped out.

We honeymooned in Flagstaff first and then England. We had driven to England from our home in Wuerzburg- getting lost somewhere in Holland along the way.  It was a glorious adventure.

We spent Christmas in Egypt and Easter in Greece before leaving to have a baby and work at the Pentagon. We delivered our greatest presents to each other at Mt Vernon's Fort Belvoir and then Bethesda Naval Hospital. Who would know that 20ish years later the Belvoir girl would be married to a Marine (Bethesda) and the Bethesda boy would join the Army (Belvoir).

Three years later saw us in war torn Indianapolis. Whew. That was an adventure that I was thankful to only have six months of.  There is where we met Neil Hyland. Great guy. "Risk" once a week. He left us on 9/11.

Then on to Fort Riley to raise kids and a 150lbs dog named Susie.  We met the Mroszczaks- who have been friends ever since. Our "men" had long days as Captains in the Army. So---Tibideaus and others played. Yes, we would open our back doors and just let the kids play while the air conditioners whined.

Monterey proved to be our first real break in reality. Scott studied Chinese 18 hours a day and I shuffled our kids around to school and the aquarium.

Then Hong Kong. Feels like yesterday- we both can still smell the spices on that one street we had to go through on the double decker bus. We met the Wilners, Coopers, Shultis, Millers and Uncle Buck there. Tight knit the Army gets when very remote.  We both were honored to see places that few have seen or be a part of.

Hawaii was next. Flip flops and school on the beach. Our kids still feel at home there. So do I. Scott, not nearly as much. I guess University is not as fun as hula lessons and playing on banyon trees. WE got Annie in the deal. That dog could endure anything!

Saudi Arabia- sealed our family and gave us nightmares for years to come.  It was some of our highest times and lowest. Still have the abaya and the pictures of that day. We try to remember that  tenting in the Rub Al Khali was worth it.

Flagstaff- the house of our dreams. We built it and came home to it. The kids were raised there for high school. It was perfect for them. There was no way our marriage would survive the environment or lifestyle when both kids left---so we left too. We both miss the house, the mountains and the family- but it was the best choice.

And now Kansas. We have been here for ten years. We have slowly healed from Saudi Arabia and all that it brought. Scott has mowed, chain sawed, boated and woodworked through thick and thin. I traveled, taught and volunteered.  Recently, we have settled into being a pretty good couple.  We have welcomed a new son and daughter through our children. They have brought us loads of joy, crazy trips and conversations. And grandchildren----have I mentioned our grandchildren lately?

What does it mean to be married this long to me? I have learned that romance is often the sick child being taken from your arms at night or the loving holding of hands when your daughter swears into the Air Force. Dedication means your husband sits in the other room while your sister tries to work through her life on the phone- for several years-- and then drops you like a rock.  Joy means greeting a new member of the family and helping everyone to adjust in their own way. Failure means it is simply time to buck up and move forward, no matter if you know what that looks like or not. Faith means you watch together and silently pray that God will take care of your son, when you are unable to, so far away from home. Trust is standing side by side as your parents are ill and leave this world for the next.

All of these things are really love. I am really blessed that God granted me what I prayed for long ago.

"If he cannot be Catholic, let him be Mormon. He will know the value of family and will be dedicated to the difficult person I can be."  I remember that prayer. I got what I asked for.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stuff

My parents accumulated a lot of stuff.
The stuff is pretty neat- but there is a lot of it.
My mother moved into an independent living care center 18 months ago.
She is spry in her early 80's.
To say that it was a good move would be an understatement.
She is happier then she has been in fifteen years.
We really thought we would lose her when Dad passed- for all the years of caring for him.

Anyway.

We split up their house when she moved. I journeyed to my childhood home and spent a month going through, inventorying, going through "picking" by sibs and then dispersing the rest.
It was loads of work, but worth it.  I cannot imagine if we were dealing with that stuff and grief.

And now, we are going through the vacation cabin.
If you live in Phoenix, you know that many people have "cabins" in the North.
They were inexpensive years ago (wasn't everything).
You filled them up with stuff. A sand painting here, a piece of furniture there.

Stuff, you know, good stuff.

I assigned myself to the task of clearing. It is so much easier to do this while mom is alive!  She doesn't go North anymore so she never sees the stuff.
When dispersed she will see much of it often in my siblings houses. It is a win/ win.
Of course there is always a catch.
Someone does not want to do "it" on a certain day. Shall we delay---maybe a few months?
Others want to do it ASAP since they do NOT want to deal with the stuff and the grief at the same time.
And so it goes. Like good politicians, we figure it out and move forward. Of course it helps that we have the President of the company still on the Earth directing it to be done and off her plate!

The real point of this writing is the disposal of stuff.  My walls are filled with my own treasures. The floors as well. Our "children" have had the gumption to gather their own tastes.

I am thinking THIS is why so many people in the East have 300 yr old family homes. No one can bare to get rid of the stuff.

 How much stuff do you keep for your next generation?





Thursday, June 13, 2013

What has been filling my time?

The newest member of my family and his brother.
Life is good 



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The journey continues

Today I chose to substitute.
The pit of my stomach reminded me of the anxiety.
Would I be able to return?
Exactly why is this important?
How were my gifts to be used as tithing?

Be brave!

Walked in and took over.
There were a few tears through the five hours-
but more giggles and smiles.
Relaxed mood eased in as
the anxiety moved to the back of my mind.

Thinking back.
When was the last time I substituted for four and five year olds?
Thinking further.
How would my grandson react if things were not going his way?

No need for me to worry.
The children simply needed reassurance that
they would recieve  consistent loving care from me.
They knew the routine
They could lead.

The hours ended.
Children who were nervous and melting down at the beginning
chirped and spun with those who had giggled the entire time.

Next time I will bring my supplies of glitter, glue, books, music and joy.
No anxiety.
Early childhood,
beginning skills,
at home,
once again.
Maybe a few feathers to give my new journey flight!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Teaching someone to read

My months have been busy.
After  a few years of being quite lazy in my volunteer life,
it has all moved forward.

I took on an adult who had never learned how to read.
He is the same age as my oldest,
a product of :
too early in school,
whole language only approach
and no one who knew how to reteach after second grade.
He left school in eighth grade.

This man is anxious to read.
We spend every morning together.
As we progress, he finds that he does remember certain aspects of reading.
There are loads of pauses and head nods as he reaches into childhood
to pull out a different memorized word.
When he learns a new "English rule" he often states,
"that makes sense".

He has given me so much.
In two short months I have learned how important it is
to simply admit you do not know what you do not know,
seek someone to help,
and try not to let pride get in the way.
Those are things I have always held, but never seen on my own.

I have so many things to work on myself.
Confession is something difficult for me.
And yet, through the witness of this man, Tuesday saw me "in the booth".
It is much easier when you let pride step to the side.

This man has great goals.
He would like his Bachelors before his son gets out of elementary.
There is an air that his wife totally supports his efforts.

Letting people support,
Putting sights on goals,
Moving forward.
That is life as we know it, isn't it?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Starting

I spent a week with my mom
Going through things
Parting out Christmas ornaments
And Easter baskets.
She decided on what she wanted to keep
She has started over.

My friend's youngest is moving away in April
She has decided to sell her house
Get rid of most of the stuff and start over.

Another friend is moving after a 20 year relationship ended.
She has decided to not sell the house
But she is moving on
Starting over.

My daughter thought that having another child was impossible
Their child is due in May
Gathering the things to make the baby's entry easier.
Starting over

Returning to "retirement" is my starting over.
New challenges in teaching someone how to read
One on one
Just as I hoped life would take me.
Starting over.

I am so pleased to be at a point and a place
That starting over is a good thing.




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hi Ho!

The travel season begins tomorrow.
Disney will see "the girls+ 1" beginning tomorrow.
The next week will find me helping mom clean out a storage room.
My son and daughter on law will move at the beginning of March.
Mid March  will find me helping to straighten out the new baby's closet back East.
April is for breathing and helping J&M settle on.
May is when my N will be ready for Nana time
while the baby invades his house and life. East again.
Hoping for a warm( not hot) summer full of lake and gardens.
September will be back visiting my N when he starts Kindergarten.
Life is good, but I am going to be sick of the airport for sure!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

With all change comes a time for expanding learning

Sew Liberated has endured as one of my all time favorite blog. Meg has evolved in front of her blog audience eyes from a young and idealistic teacher to a simplistic mother. Not more stuff- but more attention to small details.  I see my daughter growing in the same way. There is that tender balance between crafts, cares, climbing and cuddles. It is wonderful to witness. My only wish is that I could be close enough to enjoy it more than thirty days a year.

My bags are packed for our next journey together. The small bag is filled with my clothes- extra shoes, rain gear, light pants, Tums. The second bag- the much larger one is filled with baby gear- Boppy, infant hats, gloves, onesies, and clothes.  Of course, since the larger bag is going home with the other family it is also filled with cassette tapes (yes, my grandson now has an old tape recorder and loves Adventures in Oddessy), books, bubbles, paint and whatever else I could scrounge for him. Play is a child's work.

I almost like that my two traveling adult companion are both pregnant. That gives me, selfishly, more time to be with my grandson. Nothing like placing four strong willed people in the same 550 ft room for six days. We should survive since we will all be exhausted from walking, walking, walking. My hope is loads of talk time as we walk from place to place. Learning about each other and what our dreams look like.

At Mass today the reading was about "many parts, but all one body". It is one of my favorites.  It gave me perspective. Sitting back and thinking; there are six families here joining. We are one body with many different gifts to bring to the table of the Lord. 

A time for reflection and learning. I have a great deal of learning to do!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Another amazing speech

If you have not read it please read it for yourself.

Now, if he would simply follow his words!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lincoln

Forgetting that Presidents are people
makes them into some sort of folk hero (or villain).

What pushes a person to place themselves into such a role?
Many of our Presidents have only had one parent raise them
or none.
Many were seen as brilliant scholars
even though they never have made it to college in the formal way.
Most were great humanitarians
even if they never met a common man.
Actually, most started as "common men".

Some saw their children die
of common things
or no real cause at all.

What makes them tick?
What makes them want to put
one leg and then the other into pants every morning?

They take the blame even during the times they should be applauded.
Once again I am reminded that I would never want to be
 in the situation to put another person's child in harms way.
I truly appreciate those who have to make that decision.

If you have not seen the movie Lincoln
you need to go.
It is insightful.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Glistening


The land of no winter was where childhood existed for me. We used to bundle in heavy coats when the temperature hit fifty. Our hands knew no mittens and our faces thought scarves were for show.
My sophomore year in college a move to Northern Arizona changed my life forever. It was the worst winter they had seen in many years. The snow stacked six feet against the first floor of the dorm. I learned about winter boots, layers and...most of all...glistening.

The way that cold turns vapor into crystals presents a beauty beyond compare.

Today is so cold and has perfect humidity.
The turkeys came in at six am to be fed.
Their backs glistened with the frost from their roost in the nearby trees.

The front lawns glisten with a coat of slight white- or is it clear- over the browns and greens that predict their future.

And then the glisten begins to move.
Slowly flakes of glisten begin to flutter down.
Small, almost undetectable, pieces of ice
float to the ground in the bright sun
a sun so bright, but no warmth to melt.

Memories of sandstorms feel my past.
One could feel the perfect air, listen and know that one was going to come.
Now it is the same with glistening.
These are the day for happiness on the Ground Level.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Decluttering continues

Downstairs closets.

I have loads of old pillows and sheets in the closets downstairs. They are in a bag now. I kept the few pillows needed for guests.Those will move to the linen closet. I also found some terrible drapes that were left by the previous owner. Another bag.
Now some decisions have to be made.
I have about six boxes of teaching materials that I could not bare to give away. Why is that? I am thinking I will take those boxes to the Thrift store by the University. Some new teacher will get a kick out of that. In fact, maybe I should contact them over all of the stuff in my garage that I wanted to yard sale. Who is going to come out to the edge of nowhere to garage sale.
On the other hand---my son and daughter in law are moving here. Maybe I could have the garage sale at their new house? Wouldn't that be a hoot? Maybe for me--but not for her.
Back to the original idea of calling the Good Will truck.
I have a full closet downstairs of my husband's uniforms. Hummm. He has been retired for...sixteen or is it seventeen years?  Maybe I will ask my son to strip off what he needs and then give them to the museum (yes, the uniforms are not in commission anymore). I cannot sale them- the legal side of me will not let that happen since it is technically illegal.

And then there is the this and that.
Next week will be the upstairs bedroom and certain bags in the garage. UGGG!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Decluttering

Carla at My Daily Half Dozen issued a declutter and finance challenge for January.

It has been a good move for me. Getting both house and financial house in order.

Here are some of the things that have happened.

Day 1- Took down and put away daughter's Christmas things. It was  a bit early, we usually do this over Epiphany, but I was headed home. Her family was so good to host us all, it needed to be clean for a good start to a new year.  We gleamed out old paper and bows when putting it all away.

Day 2- Cleaned up and packed my stuff for home. I normally get rid of extras when I get home, but chose to gleam before packing this time.

Day 3- Go through daughter's maternity clothes. Hung the most useful, pile for consignment store and then putting away "regular" clothes.  Ran to the train station to catch the plane to home!

Day 4- Went through our finances for the year. Since we purchase everything through either Master Card or a certain checking account, it was pretty easy to do. Our "envelope system" seems to have worked well. We made some major purchases this year- but it worked out well. All had been saved for and our retirement is going forward without a hitch.

Day 5- Go through the baby clothes for my daughter that were left at my house.  We have loads of storage and five years ago the choice was made to take the better baby clothes and store them here. The two of us did FaceTime  and went through all the 0-6 month clothes and "stuff". Seems she has little to purchase and an nice set of clothes for donation. We also set aside a set of things for here...knowing that there will be visitors here as well :>)
Headed to the commissary and bought $138. of groceries. Since my hubby has the flu, he has not been out to buy anything since the 30th. We needed everything. So much for a no spend day :>)

Day 6- Look at the finances from last year and tithe. Sine my husband is ill, I choose the early Mass and slipped my check into the basket that I did not touch.  Nothing worse then sharing the flu at Church :>)  I hope I don't have it---but not worth taking chances in a crowd.
Today will be a final day of packing up baby clothes for the trip to daughter.
I will be cleaning up some loose ends for a trip with her and my grandson later in the day.
A stew is in the pot for diner.

Thanks Carla for reminding me to clean up and move forward!



Friday, January 04, 2013

Home again

It was a wonderful trip
We all crowded into my daughter's house for ten days
No one exploded.
We laughed at some really great games of
Fact or Crap,


Scribblish,
Greed
and Go Fish (my 5 year old grandson is a whiz at winning).
Christmas came with Church on Post and Santa writing

We took the train to the Big Apple and caught a glimpse of a spoon full of sugar


My husband and son and son in law caught up on the entire season of
Preppers
and talked the new laws coming down.
My daughter in law and daughter were upstairs with me
talking all things baby.
Names were bantered about:>)
A quick trip to Annapolis to end the year
was quiet and sweet.
The next two days were filled with putting away,
reorganizing, and filling boxes for the basement
as the prep for the next adventure begins.

I am so thankful for my family.
I thought about my parents often over this trip.
How difficult it was to manage five of us
and give us treats like we are doing with our own.

I missed my dad when listening to a full orchestra
and my mom on the train.

Life is good and we are ready for another year
of crazy changes.