Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

It's New Years Eve, still 2010, inching towards a new year. Having a blog I decided to look back and note a few things about 2010.

January, 2010, I made a first effort to regroup myself after Rex's terrible extended illness. I signed up for "The Biggest Winner" 8 week program at Apex fitness center. There were 16 classes where trainers pushed us beyond our known capabilities. It was terribly hard but I enjoyed the challenge. However, I got more of a challenge than I had anticipated. After coming home from one of the classes we discovered our hot water heater had flooded the basement. Because of Rex's weak health, our insurance company put us up in a residence hotel and the restoration on our home began. It was a full month before the new paint, wallpaper and walls were back into place. The remodel turned out beautifully but the disruption was stressful.

February, our beloved little granddaughter, Mackayla, had to have her feeding tube replaced in a surgical procedure. I had been watching her when her tube just plopped right out of her tummy while I was holding her. Even with multiple attempts by her daddy to put it back in, the hole had closed up quickly. It made us all sad for her to have to go through another surgery.

In March, Rex and I took a road trip to Dallas to visit our dear friend, Wayne. We hadn't seen him in a long while and he had some special dishes he wanted to give us. It was wonderful to spend a short visit with him but Rex was feeling so poorly we left early and hurried home.

The month of April found Rex in New Orleans for a geology meeting. I sure wanted to go with him but it didn't happen. I was so worried about his health on such a trip. April brought my attention to a writing group that met close to home and I started going to it. I really love how much writing on my book I get done when I go to this twice monthly group.

Rex traveled to Dubai in May. When he returned we planned to go to Iowa to Kelly's graduation (our future daughter in law). However, Rex's mother was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer that had spread. So instead of going east we turned the car west and went to the Bay area to see her. While there we had a great time going to Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and wine tasting in the Napa Valley.

On our way home we made an extra stop to visit Loren Davidson, a troprock artist! He gifted me with one of his CDs and some other fun things he had. When we arrived home, Kelly had graduated and had relocated to Arvada. More specifically she moved into our spare bedroom (as planned) while she and Matt continued to look for full time jobs.

June brought was one of the highlights of my life. I was Beth's guest on a Twitter Princess Cruise to Alaska. The first days were travelling on the Midnight Sun Express Train across Alaska. We had excursions one could only dream of. We rode in a helicopter, landing on Yanert Glacier. This was the ultimate life-time experience! We rode in a twin engine plane to the summit of Mt. McKinley, ATV'd and we went dog-sledding, whale watching, to a salmon bake, and ziplining. Not only did we have wonderful adventures, the people we were on the tour with were the most amazing group of people I have ever met. After 2 weeks of fun I returned home only to be whisked away to a Winter Park condo for a week. Rex and I had time to just rest and for me to recover from such exhilaration. While in Winter Park, Matt and Kelly and her two visiting brothers from Ohio came up for a visit. We rented a pontoon boat and had a great day on Grand Lake playing.

In July, Rex and Beth answered a quick summons to come to California to see Rex's mother, Louise. With her cancer she was not feeling well. While there they offered for her to relocate to be close to one of them. She decided to move near us in Arvada. Two days later she was in the car with Rex on her way to Arvada. Her first stop was a lovely independent senior home. She wasn't doing well there so within a week she was settling into a nursing home where the hospice nurses had made arrangements for her to move to.
She loves seeing her great grandchildren now that she's in Arvada!

August brought Rex's brother for a visit from Clovis, California, for a visit with his mother. We hadn't seen Kirk in a very long time so it was fun catching up with each other. The next week Rex and I left for another adventure of a lifetime! We flew to Los Angeles and met up with our dear friends, Christy and David and boarded their 45 foot sailboat for a week of fun and sailing. Into the month of September we sailed to Catalina Island and Two Harbors. While in Catalina, Christy and I bought ourselves Ukuleles! We decided to learn to play together! Living on a sailboat was on my bucket list and I had the greatest time. Another highlight of 2010!

October was pretty much back to the basics. I watched granddaughters, Abbi and Mackayla, during the week, worked part time, got to my writing group, tried to get exercise in my day. Rex concentrated on his work, ministry and his writings. Every year in October I volunteer at the Jeffco Action Center's Beautiful Junk sale. This year I was astounded to find a new, upgraded ukulele. I had started going to a monthly ukulele song circle. With my new uke, I feel I'm making progress.

November brought us to Minnesota. We had been wanting to visit Beth and family since they moved there and finally we were able to do it! On the way, we stopped the first night in Omaha. Another bucket list item got crossed off when the night security guard at the Comfort Inn gave me lessons and a chance to ride his segway! What fun I had at midnight riding around the parking lot. The day after we got to Minnesota, we were privy to see their first major snow storm of the season. Eleven inches covered the area. That was fine with us, though, as Jeb and Maddie and I worked on my "Wreck This Journal" and played Mexican Train with Grandpa Rex. It was all too short of a trip and we headed home. On the way we found ourselves getting to visit my sweet Aunt Bernadette in a nursing home in Norfolk, Nebraska. It was a wonderful visit and it was to be the last time I got to see her. She passed away December 17, 2010.

Thanksgiving was the transition into the Christmas season. After Thanksgiving dinner we put up our decorations.

In December we were thrilled to go to the Alpine Choral's Christmas concert to see Mary singing. It was a fabulous concert and Grandma Louise got to see her granddaughter singing. I hadn't seen Grandma smiling as much as she did that night. A few weeks later we had another grand event when Rex and I went to Abbi's first dance recital. Seeing our little 2 year old grandaugher on stage was so fun and it brought tears of laughter to our eyes. She was in her element and the cutest one there! The very next day brought a huge surprise my way. I was visited at work by Matt and three Applewood Plumbing Heating and Electric employees. They came to tell me I was the grand prize winner of their "Eye Spy" Orange Truck Contest. I had won a new 95% energy efficient furnace, with installation. Total value was $7500. Within the week my new furnace was in and purring! Also December had Rex in the hospital for a night. His on-going chest pain was worrisome but his heart was given a clean bill of health and he was sent home.

December brought a milestone birthday for me! I had mixed feelings about it but it turned out to be A-okay! Mary and Sarah spearheaded a wonderful birthday party for me. Friends and family came and we had a great tropical party. The next day I joined my niece, Julie, my sister, Janet, and Kelly for a joint Birthday tea party since it was also Julie's birthday (she was turning a mere 19 years old!). We all traveled to Eaton, Colorado, to have afternoon tea at Victoria's Tiny Tea Room. Of course, Christmas was only days later so I cooked dinner and the family gathered for Christmas eve appetizers, presents and Mass. Rex served Mass on Christmas Eve and then also on Christmas Day when he preached.

It's now New Years Eve. Rex took me for a fabulous meal at The Fort. It's a famous place and I hadn't been there so it was another Bucket List item checked off. I had the Chef's special (venison) and Rex ordered the surf and turf (buffalo). For appetizers we had pickled quail eggs wrapped in buffalo sausage with jalapeno raspberry dip and my meal came with poached crawfish tails in a spicy tequila cocktail sauce. I now understand why The Fort has the reputation it does. A cannon was shot off during our meal and a costumed mountain man visited our table. Festive balloons added New Year's ambiance and even though it was zero degrees outside, it was worth venturing out in the cold.

May the New Year of 2011 bring lots more fun and excitement! I'm ready!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Papa at Mass

Since I have 2 little granddaughters who are most social, I sit with them and their parents in the cry room at church. Abbi is 2 1/2 yr old and Mackayla is 18 months old. Abbi cruises around visiting with her "friends" and it's impossible to corral this little social butterfly. Since her Papa is a deacon at the masses we attend, she will often wave to her Papa and say "hi" even though he is on the other side of the church at the altar unable to hear her. It's always a surprise to hear Abbi's comments about her observations of what Papa is doing during mass. One day she noted "Papa is wearing purple", another day when he was carrying the book of Gospels in the entrance procession Abbi commented "Papa is hiding". She plays with her cousin Mackayla and wanders the cry room, occasionally looking out the window checking on Papa. At the end of mass she observed "Papa is drinking coffee" when he was cleaning the sacred vessels after communion. When I told her he wasn't drinking coffee, she asked "what is it"? I thought my answer "the precious wine" was all the little one could comprehend. When Deacon Papa was kneeling during the Epiclesis, Abbi observed "Papa is hiding". When she looked out again and saw him standing she commented "Papa not hiding anymore." Bringing toddlers and young children to mass is challenging. We are thankful for the cry room where everyone understands the antics of the wee ones. I do hope the parents making the effort to get to Sunday Mass receive lots of extra graces and blessings! They are most deserving!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Having Fun

As some of you might know or suspect, I like to have fun!
That's why when I heard Rita's Going Wild by John Friday I laughed and declared it my "theme song". My theme song before this had been the foot stomping "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. I will still claim "Pretty Woman" as a theme song but it has to take second place now. I hope you enjoy hearing this song and that it puts a smile on your face!

I had heard once that we all need to have a theme song. What is yours?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Denver Cup Cake Truck!

Cake Crumbs in Denver has caught my attention! I had to search for it on google as I wanted to know all about it! At my writing group yesterday one of the ladies was talking about the cup cake truck! Instantly I was interesting in hearing more. Can you imagine a truck bringing fresh, yummy cupcakes to YOU? I live northwest of Denver so I don't think the cup cake guy will be likely to come this way but I have signed up on facebook and twitter to follow him and to get his daily posts on locations. I sure hope I find him someday!

Mamma Mia Trattoria!

These are pictures from the Sunday Brunch Menu from Mamma Mia Trattoria in Westminster, CO.

Driving around last week we saw the sign above Mamma Mia's announcing they now had Sunday Brunch. We had not patronized the restaurant yet and took the next Sunday morning opportunity, after Mass, to try it out.

Was this ever a pleasant surprise! Brunch entrees are $11.95 including drink choices from mimosas to wine to coffee. They had me at mimosa! You can see my drink in the upper left hand picture. The mimosa's OJ had lots of pulp, just the way I like it! My entree was "Eggs Carbonara". It was 2 eggs over toasted country bread with prosciutto and carbonara sauce, fresh fruit and perfectly prepared potatoes. As you can see the fruit was delicately sliced and perfectly arranged. Rex ordered the "Frittata Aosta". It was an Italian omelet with mushrooms and fontina, served with potatoes and similar freshly prepared fruits. He chose chianti wine to accompany his brunch.

In addition to brunch entrees, the same menu offered tempting lunch entrees. Those dishes ran from $4.95 for the Italian Wedding soup to $12.95 for the "Crepes al Salmone in Salsa Rosa." The crepes stuffed with salmon, topped with pink cream sauce will probably be the beckoning finger leading me back there. Our server also informed us that they are open for evening dinner as well. I think we have a new favorite place to keep checking out!

Baby Central at Grandma & Grandpa's

Abbi's Car....she told me to "hop in"! She used Grandma's car keys to get it started!Welcome to Grandma and Papa's Home!
As I was sitting on my loveseat in my living room, I marvelled at the scene before me. Random toys had already been picked up off the floor. Cracker crumbs had been vacuumed off the carpet but remnants of the granddaughter's visits graced the living room. The highchair wasn't directly visible as it sits off to the right of the camera but directly inside the front door is this gathering of baby essentials. The front most carseat is for Mackayla, one year old, still sitting backwards in the car. Against the wall in the background sits Abbi's car seat, a two year old who can now sit up straighter and faces forward in the car. The two little red Adirondack chairs can be moved around to watch favorite TV shows or made into an imaginary car. A "pull up" toddler "diaper" sits on one of the red chairs, easily grabbed as needed. A folded up stroller rests next to the red chair on the right. It can carry Abbi to the park or Mackayla to visit Great Grandma Louise at the nursing home. Behind the stroller is the little white deacon bench that holds the dolly's bed and blanket. Unseen under the white bench are additional Fisher Price over-sized toys such as a radio and farm. Also out of sight is a stack of Mackayla sized diapers, baby wipes and "baby" cheetos. A clear little bag holds colors, markers and a random orange car sits close by on the coffee table. Removed from reach is the black circle dish holding the three teal candles and array of sea shells that used to decorate the coffee table. This picture is now what welcomes visitors to Grandma and Papa's house. What a transformation this living room has gone through in two short recent years. Describing my home to a gal I work with, she responded "you are the fun Grandma", as I let go of maintaining proper adult decorum to allow the wee people in my life to have a play place at Grandma and Papa's. I wouldn't have it any other way, either! How I love these little girls who always bring their smiles up the sidewalk to our home!

Shoes On a High Wire!

Did you ever throw shoes up in the air, aiming to get them stuck on a line? I am happy to report I never did it but I see it's still in vogue. I found these shoes on the street where my mother-in-law is in a nursing home. It's a lovely, quiet neighborhood and thereby hangs a story. I wonder if it's because it's the end of the summer and kids are restless? The other option is something I once heard when shoes appeared on a line outside of a private school. The story was that hanging shoes shows the location for making drug deals, whether buying or selling. Does anyone else have more info on the history of hanging shoes? It does take some athletic ability to throw this high so maybe it's just boys in competition. Hopefully the new school year athletic shoes have already been bought. I'd hate to think these were still good back-up shoes for a rainy day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Here I Am" Sign!

Today when I pulled into Arvada Estates to visit Rex's Mother Louise, I noticed the words "Here I Am" on the car door next to me. The first thing I thought of was that I had just come across the winning plaque on some radio station's search contest. (I'm such an optimist!). I then stretched a little more and saw "You found it" Now I was really getting curious as to what I had found!
A final stretch had me laughing! There on the bottom of the sign was "This is Your Car". I wonder if the owner has a problem of trying to get into the wrong car and some creative person -- who can't spell-- made up this magnetic sign? I'll have to keep an eye out to see if I see this car again. If I ever catch the owner getting into it I'll ask them about it and let you know the story!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sad neglect no more

I love my Traveling Tea Lady blog but I have gotten sidetracked from it in the past years. Since my adventurous trip to Alaska the last 2 weeks with Beth, I have a new resolve to write. I was so inspired by the travel writers, tweeters and photographers on the Princess Cruises P.R. Twitter trip. The people I hung out with were mostly young professionals with lots of enthusiasm and brain power.

One of the Tweeters has a web site and business called "MidLife Road Trip". Rick and his wife, Denise were on this trip and I loved meeting them. Rick follows people as they realize their mid-life wishes fulfilling their bucket lists. This got me thinking about what would be on my list. I had a weak dream board wish list but nothing I was very excited about. I reminded myself of all the awesome things I've already been blessed with and have done so I decided I want to make two lists: 1)Things I've Done and 2)Things To Do.
I also realized I live in rather a small world. I have no idea of some of the possibilities of things to put on a "to do" list. This past week I rode in a helicopter and landed on Yanert Glacier in Alaska. Doing something like this was not even on my radar. I had no idea something like this could be done. It turned out to be a life changing experience standing on frozen tundra so isolated that only a helicopter could get me there. The silence, the beauty can't be described in words. I can only say I felt exuberant seeing this heavenly glory.

My goal now is to continue to find this exuberance in my everyday world. I will watch with new eyes, a camera in hand and live in expectation of what each day brings. Meanwhile I will continue to write out my "to do" list and start working at crossing things off.