Grace brings us face-to-face with aging as she relates her experiences, her memories, advice for surviving the aging process...with Grace. This is a place for humor, sharing, and learning as well as what I hope are some entertaining meanderings of my thoughts.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Lost Woman on My Bench!

Have you ever parked the car in the driveway, loaded up your arms with lunch from Subway or your favorite fast food place, waltzed into your entryway and - poof - found a stranger sitting there waiting for you?  Whew...that is a startling experience, I can tell you! 

There I was, face-to-face with a strange woman who was casually sitting on our bench, smoking a cigarette.  She ask me if Joseph (blank) lived here.  I told her no.  She asked again & I said I am sure.  She thought it was his house.  When I asked her if she would take her cigarette out of the entryway, she got up and walked off. 

After I unlocked the door and went in to put our lunch down, I opened the app on my phone for our security cameras.  I found she not only had been there for about 25 minutes, but she also lay face down on the rug there, and did something across from the bench.  When I went back out to check to see what she was doing, I found her box of cigarettes in a planter, her gloves in a red hat sculpture, and a sock behind a painted rock.  Nothing else was disturbed - except me, of course.

She had not rung the doorbell or knocked on the door.  HB (HoneyBunny) and our dog, Jacob who were home at the time, did not even know she was there!   So, what should I do?  After some thought and debating with myself, I did what any sane woman would do - I posted about it on facebook!  Oh, come would have done the same thing, right?
Several of my f/b friends thought I should call the police, even though I had stated that this woman was never threatening in any way.  But, I listened, and I called them.  An officer came out, reviewed our camera recording and we both wondered if this was just a homeless person.  He did not recognize her, but felt that her demeanor suggested this might be the case.  I decided not to file a trespass report, and we left her belongings where she had placed them thinking she might return for them. 

It turns out the neighbor kids, my Avon lady and another neighbor had all seen her sitting and/or lying on the sidewalk at the end of our culdesac.  A little later the officer came back followed by the woman's husband.  He collected her things, gave them to her husband and they left to continue searching for her.  I can only hope they found her and that she is safe at home with loved ones now.
Lesson learned...NEVER let my guard down and always check the entryway before getting out of the car!  That could have been someone meaning me harm!  How alert are you when you arrive home?
P.S.  After aggravating health issues that kept me away from blogging for so long, it feels great to be back here telling you my stories again!  Thanks to all who have sent me good wishes and prayers.  I am feeling better and will tell you more in another post!  I love you all, and thanks to each of you who have stuck with me through all of this!
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Green Thumb Black Thumb

Arizona Springtime is here.  We are having days in the upper 70s and lower 80s and I am feeling that annual urge to plant things.  Oh, it has nothing to do with my ability as a gardener.  Nope...that would be a totally wrong assumption.  There was a time when my plants loved me and I played music for them and they prospered under my care.  There was even a time eons ago when I helped in the family garden growing up.   I weeded, harvested, cooked, baked and all was as it should be.

I'm not sure what happened or where I made a wrong turn, but nowadays I am pretty much a failure at growing things.  Flowers wilt and dry up.  Plants commit suicide.  Trees die.  Everything looks so nice when it is newly planted and I water it faithfully.  Then life interferes (that's my story anyway) and the downhill slide begins. 

Not being one to give up, this year I plan to give it all another try.  I want HB (HoneyBunny) to build me a pallet raised garden using the model above.  I will need to figure out how to raise it enough to keep my back happy and the dogs out, but  am sure it can be done.

Source: via Pat on Pinterest

Perhaps I will try this one, with storage and benches for resting my weary bones as I toil in the soil.  I am thinking lettuce, onions, carrots, and beans might be good to try.  Tomatoes, too, since we both love them.  Our compost bin is not ready for prime time yet, so we will buy compost and mulch and good potting soil for growing.  Also, high on my list of "needs" is a water faucet out back so we don't need to traipse back and forth to the front of the house to turn the hose on and off. 

Source: via Pat on Pinterest

Now, here is the ideal height for me, and easy to make.  I may see if HB likes this one better than the others.  Ahhh...the dreams I have.  How is it that I love to work in the yard, but my plantings survive quite by accident.  I'd absolutely love to have a cottage garden full of colorful flowers and shrubs.  Sigh...maybe one day, yes?

How does your garden grow?

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Comfort Food Memories

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the meals I had growing up.  We ate a lot of the same foods over and over...probably because money was hard to come by and we ate what was most affordable.  Tuna and noodles was a favorite.  Although my Dad was a meat and potatoes person, my Mom sneaked in some casseroles every once in a while.  It was simple...just tuna, noodles and a can of soup, but we loved it.

The most popular meal (if you asked us kids) would have been the Velveeta macaroni and cheese.  It was quick to fix and tasted just right!  I am guessing it fit the budget just right, too, as often as it seems we had it on the dinner table.  I thought Mom's tasted better than Kraft's and I'm sticking to that story!

The overall winner was Mom's fried chicken.  We raised chickens for many years, so it was our Sunday dinner every week.  She fried it in lots of Crisco Oil (amazing that none of us had clogged arteries!) and my favorite part was picking the crispy breading pieces out of the frying pan after the chicken was placed on the platter.  Yum...full of grease and oh-so-yummy! 

Just remembering these meals and our simple life makes me want to step into a time capsule and go back to those days.  Life was good and we didn't realized just how good until much later.

Do you have certain foods that bring back memories?
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Have you ever noticed...I mean really taken a good look see at the folks sitting around you at church?   Not just your best church buddies that always sit nearby, but the others, who are a few rows in front of you or off to one side.  It can be utterly amazing to study the variety of people in one room.

There is Loud Lola, who seems to be auditioning for a place on the worship team.  She would be the one sitting either directly in front of me, or close behind.  I wondered if the ushers would ask her to please sing quieter, as she was quite a distraction, but they didn't.  At least not then.  She was only there a few times and I never have seen her again.

Another favorite is the snugly couple who frequently sits in front of us.  Apparently they don't have a chance to chat before church, so they catch up on the day's events after they sit down, heads together, whispering throughout the teaching.

The arm raisers are a study all by themselves.  Some don't raise their arms, just their hands.  Others cautiously lift their hands above their heads with their palms facing away.  Then, there are those who feel full of the Spirit and wave arms while dancing in place.  It's all good, but it fascinates me with the variety of the gestures.  Me?  I am of the one arm raised straight up group. 

Ours is a casual church, but sometimes the younger crowd gets a little bit more casual than common sense would dictate.  There will be jeans, shorts, and in between, pony tails, Mohawks, and shaved heads, and sunglasses on top of the heads, ball caps and such.  No one complains...this church originated in the 60's and welcomed surfers right off the beach, so clothing does not determine one's faith or lack thereof.  Young and old, casual and dressed up all fit together beautifully here.

From my regular seat...oh, yes, HB (HoneyBunny) and I are "those" folks who think we have to sit in the same place each time...I can see so many types of people and I marvel at how we all come together for the same purpose - to worship the same God - no matter our background, age, or what we look like.  Isn't life wonderful?

What do you notice about those who sit nearby?  Do you have any favorites?

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Has Spring Sprung?

Here in Arizona it appears that either Spring is here with gusto...or, we jumped right into Summer!  It has been in the 80's the last couple of days, with more in the forecast - even some places in the 90's. 

That's okay with me, however.  I am ready for warmer weather.  I love having windows open, and the dogs love lying in front of the door looking out to see if the neighborhood cats are trespassing.  Life is good.

Gardener is not exactly a term that one would use to describe me, but I do love working in the yard.  Now that I have some of my energy back, I have been doing a little raking and cleaning up in the backyard.  It's a meager effort that makes me feel good.  Baby steps...that's the key.  I'll do what I can and ask for help with what I can't.

It is time to put the outdoor plants back outside.  They've wintered in the house long enough.  Warmth and sunshine will bring them back to their ol' selves and my carpet will no longer be clothed with brown leaves.  I refer to this as the "greening of the entryway."  (chuckle)  A bit of nature to welcome guests.

There you have it - my to-do list for the next week or two.  How's the weather in your neck of the woods?  Are you puttering in your garden?

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Geneology Surprise

Have you ever received a gift that was priceless...from a friend who considered that gift as nothing unusual or out-of-their ordinary?  This week I did.  After a brief conversation with little information exchanged, one of my Red Hat Sisters handed me several pages of my family history that had been hidden from my family.  It was so exciting!  (She and her husband volunteer at the local Family History Center of the LDS church and have access to genealogy sites.)

My family tree is quite tangled and the information is least to me so far.  You see, I discovered by accident when I was in high school that my Mother was adopted.  I found her birth certificate in our attic and she was quite upset.  The first words I noticed were Adoptive Birth Certificate.  Gasp!  You mean to tell me that those nice folks we called Grandma and Grandpa were not really related to us?  Not that we saw them much, but since our Dad's parents died before I was born, our Mom's parents were all we knew.

What little information Mom shared with me/us was that her Mother had given her and her sister up for adoption after her Dad was killed in a factory explosion.  What was handed to me this week was his obituary, including his parent's names, his place of birth and a brief description of how he died.  After a google search, I found out much more about the Douglas Starch Factory explosion in Iowa in 1919.  Forty three men and boys died.  It was horrific.  Many were given a mass funeral because they could not be identified.  I believe my Grandfather was one of those, as in the reports his name is listed among the missing every time.  His father also was killed in that explosion.  He was listed as injured and hospitalized, but died a day later.  It was fascinating and horrifying to read the accounts.

Already known to me from photos and snippets I had found, were the birth names of my Mother and her Sister, the city her parents lived in, and my Grandmother's maiden name.  That is all I ever knew, ~ except that we now knew that the friend of our family who visited annually and taught us to play canasta and that we loved dearly, was actually our real Grandma.  We just never knew that when she was part of our lives.  Now I have a few more pieces of the puzzle to work with.  My siblings and our families would like to know and may benefit from knowing where this family originated.  We only know half of our ethnicity.  We say we are Irish, but what else might we be?

As time permits, I will research further to see what I can find out about this half of my family tree.  And, I will pass this new information on to my siblings and our families so they, too, can work on our puzzle.

How full is your family tree?  Are you missing pieces of your puzzle, or are you like HB (HoneyBunny) who is able to trace his family back to the 1600's?  Whew...that's a lotta years of family!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

St. Patrick's Day on Pinterest

Okay, it's no secret I love Pinterest!  And, I love to share my Pinterest finds with you on Wordless Wednesday.  Here are some ideas for St. Paddy's Day coming up...

Source: via Pat on Pinterest
Source: via Pat on Pinterest
Source: via Pat on Pinterest
Source: via Pat on Pinterest

Have a wonderful Wordless Wednesday!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Good Sign

Have you forgotten me yet?  I sure hope not!  I am coming back...slowly, but I am coming back!  It has now been 8 1/2 months since my health took a nosedive.  I still have no answers as to why I have been short-of-breath, fatigued and weak.  In the last week I have had more good days than bad ~ in fact, almost every day was better than most days since July.  I have a little more energy, I don't need to lie down every so often to recuperate, and I can run errands without wilting.  Woo-hoo, and yippee ki yay! 

There is no apparent reason for this upswing except to believe that everyone's prayers are being answered.  Thank you so much!   It happened just as I was getting ready to call Mayo Clinic to see about having them check me out.   I have put that on hold to see how this plays out.

Now I need to clear out the cobwebs in my lil' ol' noggin and find something interesting or humorous to share with you!  I seem to have lots of nothing rolling around in my head! 

Right now I am waiting for brownies to come out of the oven (for medicinal purposes, of course).  Surely chocolate will get my juices flowing and fingers flying, right?  Confidence reigns supreme where chocolate is concerned! 

I'll be sharing some Red Hat escapades with you soon, and letting you know what's happening with my Relay For Life team...we are gearing up for our Relay on May 3rd & 4th.  It will be a busy couple of months, but that is what I love!

Stay tuned...
                      ...and send me some encouraging words if you care to.  There's no way I want to stop this bit of momentum I have here!  Love to each of you and many blessings during this Easter season!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Women & Safety

The news these days is full of this and that regarding safety...especially regarding guns.   It got me thinking about taking a refresher course on handgun use.  Our local shooting range has classes by women for women, which really appeals to me.  I am considering signing up for the women's self-defense course.

But, that's just me.  You may not like guns or want to use one...ever. 

May I suggest that this discussion on assault weapons that we are bombarded with daily might have other implications.  A friend who owns a gun shop recently posted a photo on facebook of assault weapons.  Being a guy with a sense of humor, it included hammers, scissors, a baseball bat, a rock, etc.  You get the picture.  It started me thinking, which can be dangerous in itself!

I started to look at household items differently...

Have you thought of all of the "assault weapons" that are within an arm's reach in our homes?  Our vacuums could scoop up two-legged pests, or at least injure them.  A spray bottle could blind someone or at least make them blink, depending on what the contents are.  Scissors could do harm if necessary, hair spray explodes...and on and on.  Sounds vicious you say? 

Consider what is happening every day in this crazy world we live in!  We read about home invasions, purse snatching, burglaries, and robberies in parking lots.  Can you defend yourself?  I am guessing most of us would have trouble deterring an intruder in our homes.  It's scary to think of someone breaking into our homes, but it happens and even the elderly have fended off their attackers with sheer courage and a weapon at hand.

Years ago I learned to use guns when my Dad took my brother and I target shooting on weekends.  But I haven't practiced for years.  Would I be able to defend myself in a life-threatening situation?  After the birth of my third child I took a self-defense judo class, but I am pretty sure I have forgotten most of what I learned.  I need to regain the confidence that a self-defense course can provide. 

It doesn't matter what type of self-defense we learn ladies, but it does matter if we never learn any.  We are considered the weaker sex and easy targets, especially as we get older.  Being self-confident and knowledgeable about how not to be a victim could save our lives one day.  I believe every woman, even our daughters and granddaughters should take some sort of course and learn to protect themselves (and their families!).

I hope you realize I am not some crazed mad woman just itching to do someone harm.  I am a friend who worries that we will face a situation at sometime in our lives, if we haven't already, and I want us to be able to defend ourselves.  I am an advocate of women's safety!  I hope this will cause you to think about this subject and to take action.  Take a class, dust off that vacuum, learn to kick box, or just tell a friend. 
Stay safe!

What self-defense plans do you have?

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