Thursday, March 31, 2022

 They have this little lending library stationed outside their front door:

Anyone surprised I found a couple to bring home with me?

Didn't go for a walk today after all because rain moved in.  Instead Sandy and I watched the first 3 episodes of Z: The Beginning of Everything which aired several years ago.  We were enjoying it; too bad it was cancelled after the first season.

Z: The Beginning of Everything is a period drama television series which presents a fictionalized version of the life of American socialite and writer Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (Christina Ricci) and is based on Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. 

I was dragging a little, and spent the remainder of the afternoon taking a substantial pre-dinner nap.  That's what rainy days are for, right?

Since Andy & Sandy cancelled their original plans to be out tonight, a shrimp and couscous meal that was delivered yesterday from Blue Apron ended up on the dinner menu.  Originally I had planned to eat leftovers, and would also have been I'd be perfectly happy to eat a salad to compensate (maybe a little?) for all the rich food I've been enjoying.  And it would certainly be fresh...

After dinner we watched King Richard, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.   By the time we finished it was around 11:00 (late for me!) so it's a very good thing I'd had that nap!

 Nothing official on today's agenda for me.  Andy & Sandy did have a dinner thing tonight (and apologized for planning to desert me for the evening)  though as of yesterday Andy has been a little under the weather so they likely will end up bowing out and staying home.  

Also heard from Tom yesterday that he has the flu and couldn't get warm.  

It has warmed up here considerably, and was quite pleasant when I went out today to feed the birds/squirrels our strawberry tops after breakfast.  I should be able to brave the afternoon temps and go on Pippa's afternoon walk, which I haven't done yet this visit.

Sandy was worried that the squirrels would trash the new bird feeder I got her for her birthday, but at the store yesterday we found birdseed that bragged squirrels wouldn't be interested in it.  So yesterday she filled it and hung it on their bedroom balcony.

Another one of her gifts, from Richie, was a Beatles jigsaw puzzle.

None of us has ever seen a 3000 piece puzzle before, and the box is almost as deep as it it tall in order to hold all of the pieces.  Given how long it took Tom and me to do the 2000 piece one from Alex, this one should keep Sandy busy for a LONG time! 


FYI Sandy has always been a serious Beatles fan; she's seen them in concert THREE times!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

SATURDAY was a very full day, starting at the cemetery mid-morning.  Yes it was quite cold (I was very happy to be wearing Alex's SmartWool leggings and shirt under my layers) and also windy.  But as Andy pointed out "at least it didn't rain."  (We did get snow and hail later in the day.) 

In addition to Andy & Sandy, Marilyn, and me, Ed came with the kids (Emily was stuck dealing with a last-minute delivery and joined us at the house later), and also Richie (Andy's best friend from school, like a second little brother to me, and "adopted" by Mom & Dad after his parents passed away within weeks of each other.)  We all shared stories and memories of Mom, and had to laugh when the kids' all mentioned brunch at Riderwood.  (It really was a very nice do-it-yourself ceremony; no clergy, just the way Mom would have wanted it.  The cemetery representative who was there said that in his 26 years it was the nicest 'service' he'd seen.  Usually the clergy (who may not even have known the person) does the talking, and he was impressed with how everyone, including the kids, was included at ours.)

And speaking of food, we all came back to the house and pigged out on a deli-style lunch.  Rachelle came over to deliver some of the stuff for Sunday's party, and we enjoyed a family prequel to the next day's celebration.  With all the kids there it was nice and lively (I had closed the kid gate to the stairs because Greta is only two, and it's a long way down) but never thought about Maggie, four, climbing up and peering over the half-wall.  Talk about a heart-stopping moment!

Alex called me on his way to the river (it was in the 90s there) knowing we were going to the cemetery to honor Mom.  He thought it might be a hard day for me, but basically it was a positive Celebration of Life, the kind of family gathering she (and Dad) would have loved.

We did have a brief "respite" in the late afternoon after everyone left (after helping clean up I got in some time on the heating pad) before Zach and Bekkah came over from Virginia in the late afternoon. We caught up on things (Zach's new job, starting in a month or so, sounds wonderful) and pigged out again, this time on Chinese take-out.  As a bonus we got excellent fortunes in our 'dessert'.

SUNDAY was the 'real' party, which exceeded all possible expectations.  We added more family members to the crew that had been here on Saturday, including three more little ones (Allen's great-grandchildren) that I'd never met. 

Brian & Katie, with Daniel (4) and Francesca (2)

Everyone enjoyed it when Katie played the flute - and Greta was enchanted.

 Justin & Ash, with Mia (just a few months old)

I loved getting a baby fix. 

My cousin Rachelle, with her dad -

and my cousin Ken.

Justin had created a lovely photo montage, which everyone clamored to watch twice.

photo montage

MONDAY morning was spent relaxing around the table as we continued our eating marathon, with bagels, lox and cream cheese for breakfast, and leftover Chinese for lunch.  Andy shuttled Marilyn to airport after lunch, and when he headed to a doc appt Sandy & I watched a dog movie, 23 Walks. After dinner we played some cut-throat Rumikub.

TUESDAY was Sandy's birthday, so more official partying/eating was on the schedule.  For dinner we went over to Ed & Emily's for Taco Tuesday (and birthday cake!) and of course presents.  As busy as their household is, with six yours/mine/ours kids, it's a happy kind of chaos.

Today (WEDNESDAY) Sandy and I made a trip to the grocery store in the very unlikely case that we might run out of food.  But since Charlie and Harry (with typical teenage boy appetites) will be spending the weekend here (Emily is having some surgery) there were things Grandma needed to make sure to have on hand - including snacks and desserts.

At the rate I'm eating I just hope I can still fit into my jeans by the end of the trip!

I'm still working on loading/editing photos, but figured I'd better post what I have so far.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Today would have been Dad's 103rd birthday.  

Here's the photo I took on his 90th - 

which sadly turned out to be his last birthday.  

 And on Sunday the family is gathering to celebrate his brother Allen's 100th!

Of course I will take lots of photos!

I've enjoyed revisiting 'old' art and knickknacks around the house, as well as admiring some acquisitions since my last visit several years ago - like the grandkids' elephant handprints.

Of course some of Mom's things now live here; her giraffe 'guards' the front door.

Thinking about the AQG quilt show today.  Hope my quilt gets admiring looks - and also that someone remembers to snap a pic of it hanging and sends it to me!

Andy is at the airport picking up Marilyn; I see more family stories ahead!

I had worried (surprised?) about sleeping through my 3:15 alarm yesterday, but woke on my own at 3.  As requested Alex called at 3:15 (because I'd also worried about him sleeping through his alarm), and we left right on schedule at 3:45.  With no traffic snafus (though I was amazed at the traffic at that hour of the 'morning') we arrived at the airport at 4:15.  I checked in curbside via my smartphone (of course had printed a paper backup 'just in case'), there wasn't much of a wait at security so that was easy, and I arrived at the gate shortly before the 4:45 boarding.  With my boarding spot of A41 I had no difficulty snagging my preferred seat in the back, and then ate, played games on my iPad, and 'read' my way through an uneventful flight. (The airline no longer provides any magazines, so there was no crossword puzzle to do.)  

There was a LONG wait for luggage at the carousel (not enough airport help?) but Andy waited for me. In the very short time that it took him to get to the curb from the cellphone lot once I eventually had my bag and called, a Chevy Equinox with "Andy" driving pulled up. I was stunned that he could drive a 'regular' car, and almost got in! 

There was a yummy lunch awaiting me at the house (the eating has started!) along with a very excited welcome from Pippa. 

The rest of the afternoon was nice and relaxing; expecting to be a 'little' tired later, I unpacked when Andy and Sandy took Pippa for a walk.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the wide assortment the birds at the various feeders, the squirrel antics, and even spotted 'their' fox slinking through the trees in the woods out back.  There were lots of bluebirds, chickadees, woodpeckers, etc. to keep me entertained, and photos 'may' appear in later posts.  In the meantime, I'll post a few of yesterday's less-than-perfect photos.

 Sadly I missed the money shot of this squirrel hanging upside down on the feeder just a few seconds earlier - but it's 'likely' <g> that there will be ample opportunities to snag that photo in coming days. 

After a yummy dinner we laughed our way through the evening, remembering funny family stories. I also heard (for the first time!) the story of their first date, and wonder how I'd never heard that one before. (They definitely need to watch Turner and Hooch.

I was tired during the afternoon and evening, but my goal was to make it until 9:00 last night, which I managed admirably.  At that point I considered it a win and went downstairs to get ready for bed.  As expected Pippa spent the night down there with me - though once Marilyn arrives I will become chopped liver.  (Since eating chopped liver may not be appreciated by everyone, the Jewish English expression "What am I, chopped liver?" signifies frustration or anger at being ignored on a social level.)


Once I got into bed I started a new book (finished listening to One Man yesterday), having set the sleep timer for 15 minutes and assuming I'd fall right asleep.  When I was still awake at 10:00 (having reset the timer at least once) I ended up taking a zolpidem.


I feel reasonably rested after a good night's sleep.  There isn't much on today's agenda (except a shower at some point) until late afternoon, when Marilyn arrives. Maybe I'll get some better bird pix today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

 Must be spring - our visitors are back.

 I'm (almost) set with my Boarding Pass; checked in at 5:15 this morning, and have scored a prime number of A41, ensuring that I will get "my" aisle seat in the back (convenient for my multiple trips to the bathroom on the lengthy flight.) 

 Once Tom wakes up I'll print the pass (the printer, right outside the bedroom, is noisy.)  Also sent it to my phone, and will TRY to board via that.  But the 'text' showed up in Safari, and I'm not entirely certain that I can access that at the airport, away from the home wifi.  IF there are any issues (gee, could that happen?) I'll feel better knowing that I have the paper as a backup.

My back is still kvetching, but at least I have an easy day ahead of me - just need to pack, and hope that I don't forget too many 'crucial' things.