Summer Days


Frozen yogurt

Elle bakes a cake (with a little help from Chef Grandpa)


No rest for an activist

I have jokingly commented several times in the past two years that I thought I would be able to relax in my older years, but apparently not. Of course, these are not joking times and I am more and more disturbed and angered as each day goes by while the Trump administration seems determined to destroy all that has been good about our country. No, we have never been perfect and yes, we still had a lot of work to do as we inched slowly, slowly toward justice for all.  I have protested one thing or another in just about every administration since I was old enough to do so; however, this particular time seems especially cruel and inhumane.  Among all of the despicable things that have been perpetrated by Trump and his minions, the idea that the USA is purposely and systematically separating children from their parents at the border is particularly heinous. Thankfully people are speaking out and taking to the streets to call attention to these horrific policies, though I am fearful that extreme damage has already been done to these children as we know that trauma can cause permanent change in developing brains.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in remedying the situation as I write this,  with tonight’s news announcing that the government needs more time to reunify families of small children under five years old (five years old!) and I’ve read heartbreaking testimony from parents, children, aid workers and lawyers familiar with everything going on.

Saturday Rich and I joined a rally and march in Dallas to make our voices heard. It seems like a small thing, under the circumstances. But with similar rallies being held all over the country, perhaps we will make a difference. I also emailed our county judge who was seeking mental health volunteers to work with families.  I hope I will be able to assist in some way.

Amusing side note: We only saw one counter protester (unless you count the very elderly couple who walked through the crowd in their MAGA hats) and he chose to stand next to Rich with his sign that instructed people to “go home” and “change your own country, not mine.”  Followed by “I support ICE.”  I don’t know if he thought Rich was a kindred spirit or what! Rich was holding a sign that said “end racism now” so he asked me to take a picture of the two of them.  🙂  See if you can find it in the montage above.

The next Monday I attended a standing room only meeting of the Funky East Dallas Democrats who are going all-out to get people registered to vote and out to the polls. We heard from our Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, Mike Collier, and two state senate nominees, Nathan Johnson and Kendall Scudder (who is running in my district). They were all GREAT! I know we have some awesome candidates for November and hopefully that BLUE WAVE is coming in Texas.

36578975_10211949204861910_733247214888943616_nFourth of July was quiet as the Dallas kids were out of town.  Bonnie and David flew in from Amarillo early that morning, had breakfast with us and visited for awhile before they had to leave to shoot a wedding about an hour from here.  Rich and I had tostadas and fresh corn on the cob, then Bonnie and Dave came back to spend the night after the wedding reception. They are really funny and had some good stories to tell as we sat up till 1 AM talking and laughing. They had to leave early the next morning but we were happy, happy to have them here for a quick visit.

Happy Independence Day. Let us strive to embody the ideals that this country claims to stand for, even though we have failed time and time again. We are patriots when we work for peace, justice, and equality for everyone, especially those who have no power against the government.

Lots of Love in June

Six years ago, I was given the best birthday gift ever, when our grandson Luke was born on June 13.  It’s fun having a birthday buddy; well, it’s fun for me and he’s just kinda discovering that we share the date. This year when we talked on the phone, after I said, “Happy birthday!” he replied, very enthusiastically, “Happy birthday to YOU, TOO!”  It has been so enjoyable to watch this little guy develop his fun personality and sweet, kind heart. He is smart and cute and friendly, with a big imagination and some killer dance moves. 😃 He tells great stories and makes us laugh out loud at his antics. What a fun and funny kid! We love you, Luke, and we’re so glad you’re ours!

My birthday was low key since Sarah and family were all out of town for a soccer tournament of Elle’s in Denver.  Rich cooked for me and we went out for frozen custard at Andy’s afterwards.  I enjoyed all of the phone, text, and Facebook greetings, as well as a few cards in the mail from some die-hard family and friends who still use the Post Office.  🙂  I have to admit I love birthdays and hearing from loved ones near and far.  I was also spoiled with gifts, some of which are seen below.

Somewhere around this same time, we drove out to Terrell to Ham Orchards, which I’d been reading about.  Their peaches get rave reviews and they also have a blackberry patch where you can pick your own if you’re so inclined. We were not, because it was so hot, but we did buy a bunch of peaches and had some peach ice cream while there. It was a nice little drive and fun to get out and do something different. AND the peaches did not disappoint!

Then there was Father’s Day.  It’s always a little weird for me since my dad died at the young age of 42 and is forever frozen in time in my mind. He would now be 87 and I can’t quite picture him that “old.” During this outrageous political time, I just kept thinking about compassionate dads who are not in favor of ripping kids from their parents’ arms, who stand up against injustice, who love and care unconditionally for their own and other kids, who do their best in trying times to make a difference in the world. And by dads I mean biological dads, step dads, brothers and grandpas and uncles and cousins and foster dads and father figures and let’s face it, any man who is stepping up to show kids how to be a good person. Special love to my guys Rich, Corey, David and Miles, who are the best.  Again, we had no kids around on Father’s Day but greetings came in from all. Rich did not want to go out to eat because “kitchens are really busy on holidays” and he did not want to add to the cooks’ distress.  Spoken like a retired chef, for sure.  His request: Taco Bueno.  So that’s where we went!  

Unlike me, my hubby is not really into celebrating birthdays. When his rolls around 8 days after mine, it’s usually a quiet affair.  This year I left the day before to go to Graham TX to visit my dear friend Susan and to help her continue to pack up her mom’s house.  We had a lovely visit and got a few things accomplished while talking about life and sharing the delicious meals that she cooked.  My contributions were garden tomatoes and peaches from Ham Orchard.  LOL Oh, I did play prep cook a little bit, too.  🙂 It was good to have time together and to talk about this latest phase of our existence. Getting older ain’t all that much fun sometimes but good friends make it more tolerable, that is for sure.

I drove home the next day and my sweet friend Gabriele had brought Rich a pecan pie she’d made for his birthday.  Rich made dinner for Gabriele and her husband a few months ago when she had surgery and was off her feet, and he also made her a pie and some banana bread for her recent birthday celebration at Center of Hope, where we volunteer together, so she wanted to repay the favor. This got me off the hook a little bit since I had not managed to fix anything for his birthday. :O  I offered to take him out for dinner but he chose to stay home and cook.  That should make me feel pretty guilty but hey, I offered, right?!  He also received lots of greetings from everyone and we are both happy we made it to the outrageous age of 64. I am still wondering how that could have possibly happened.


Mom’s Visit Went by Really Quickly!

My mom was only here for a few days and we packed in a lot of visiting, chatting, laughing and telling stories.   Rich fixed a fabulous salmon dinner at Sarah and Miles’ one night and we kept the kids part of another day so we had a lively session of “Hot Potato” and “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding (a version of “would you rather…”).   We took Mom with us to water the garden so she could see everything there.  She taught us to play “Chicken Foot,” another domino game that we could play with our tiles from “Mexican Train.”  Rich made some yummy meals and we watched the new HBO version of “Fahrenheit 451.”  I thought she might want to see some sights in Dallas but it was really hot and she was happy to stay at home.  My sister Kathi came from San Antonio and spent one night with us, then took Mom back with her so she could visit Kathi and her family (lots more grandkids and great grandkids there!).  Mom was planning to fly home from San Antonio but I discovered she did not have a nonstop flight on the way back and it’s hard for her to have to get off and on planes and walk through the airport.  So we changed her flight to nonstop from Love Field and met my sister halfway on Sunday to bring Mom back here for one more overnight.  Before we knew it, it was time to see her off again!  Thankfully Sarah and I will be in NJ in October so it won’t be too long till we are reunited.  🙂

“Swan Lake” and Granny Arrives

My three daughters took dance classes most of their growing up years, finally letting it go when high school got in the way.  We have lots of fond (and some not so fond) memories of their dance studio, teachers, friends, recitals, performances, competitions, and awards, along with tears and frustration at times.  Although Elle and Ally had brief stints at dance class when they were younger, they weren’t that crazy about it and have moved on to more sporty activities (though they still love to sing and dance on their own).  Emery, Beck and Luke are the latest dance students, taking hip-hop classes and they love showing us their “cool” moves, which are quite hilarious at times.  In fact, as I write this today, Emery is performing in her recital in Amarillo and I’m sad to be missing it.  😦

Anyway, awhile back I noticed that the Dallas Ballet Theater would be performing “Swan Lake,” so I asked Sarah if she wanted to go.  As it turned out, the show would take place when the older grandkids were here so we decided to take Ally and Elle and make it a girls’ night out.  First, out to dinner at Elle’s favorite Italian place Olivella’s, and then on to the ballet.  Honestly I had forgotten how long this story is and, although the girls loved it, they were a little fidgety by intermission.  Sarah took them to the bathroom and then bought them a soda which seemed to do the trick for the second half.  🙂 The performance was beautiful and the girls ended up having a wonderful time.  It was cute afterwards when they were trying their ballet moves in the hallway of the theater and talking excitedly about the parts they liked best.  I asked Sarah if her muscle memory kicked in, if she could feel herself dancing some of the dances.  “Definitely!”  It was a nice night for all of us and more memories made.


The next day Susan drove in by herself (a first through the mean streets of Dallas without Corey 🙂 ) and spent the night with us before taking the kids home. Meanwhile, my mom was supposed to arrive at 6:40 that same night.  Susan and the kids planned to hang out at Sarah’s while Rich and I went to the airport, but all that went out the window when we were notified that Mom was delayed in Philly due to bad weather throughout the corridor down to Dallas.  It was warm and sunny here but apparently that was not the case along the way.  Additionally, planes were being diverted to Philly because they couldn’t land in NYC so there was a bigger and bigger backlog as time went on.

Eventually we realized she would not be here any time soon so we all went out for burgers with Sarah’s family and awaited further word.  We came back home and Mom texted periodically–at one point, I told her just to go to the desk and request a refund or a voucher and go home. It was not worth her wearing herself out sitting around at the airport for hours and hours. They’d been on the plane and then off the plane, on the tarmac and then back in the terminal, over and over.  She said they were not taking luggage off the plane and she would wait it out a little longer.  We visited at home for awhile and she finally let us know she was boarding again. At that point, her arrival at Love Field was updated to 11:45 PM.  OMG.  Susan and the kids went out to the apartment to go to bed and Rich and I watched some TV till it was getting close to time to head out.  I checked the flight tracker one more time and it had been updated to a 1 AM arrival!  Poor Mom! They never left Philly till 11 something. On our drive to Love Field, we almost hit a tree that was completely prone in the road but very hard to see because the street was so dark.  Both of us could tell there was “something” ahead but it was disorienting and we couldn’t really tell till we were right up on it.  Thankfully we did not hit it, nor did the guy behind us rear-end us!  Whew!


Mom was exhausted but always the good sport and said that she and her fellow passengers were “almost cousins” by the time they got to Dallas.  We came home and chatted a bit and by the time we all got to sleep it was 3 AM. We were supposed to go to Sarah’s at 9 AM for a last hurrah in the swimming pool for the kids but I told Mom that Susan could take them by herself and we could sleep in.  Well, no.  Mom was up, showered and dressed by 8:30, so we dragged ourselves up too.  Susan and the kids came in and Rich made breakfast for everyone before we went over to Sarah’s.  The kids had a good time together and then we had to say our goodbyes.  We miss them, but hopefully they will be back again later in the summer!



Goodbye, May, and onto June

The kids went with me to run some errands one day and were rewarded with frozen custard from “Andy’s,” which is pretty close to Jersey shore custard. Yum.   More swimming at our house and Sarah’s and the athletic club, Aidan harvested potatoes and tomatoes from the garden with Rich, we played lots of games, Rich made pizza and Ally helped him make churros, Ally and I had an enjoyable lunch with Aunt Frankye, we took more after-dinner walks and saw the neighborhood chickens, had a candlelight dinner just like “olden days” when our electricity went out one night, laughed our heads off at Rich and Aidan talking into their drinking glasses while playing games (you had to be there), talked, laughed some more, told stories, and watched some shows. Love having these kids with us!

Memorial Day Weekend

Susan and Corey brought the kids to us and visited for a bit before going to a concert and heading home the next morning.  We’d been telling Corey about Big Tony’s West Philly Cheesesteaks so we had to have lunch there and everyone gave it a big thumb’s up.  Pretty darned close to the food we love from Philly and South Jersey!  The kids got right in the pool and we took a walk after dinner.

Susan and Corey left the next morning and we took the kids with us to run some errands at a couple of garden stores and grocery stores.  Grabbed some lunch at the cute little cafe at one of the garden stores, where Aidan ordered a grilled cheese sandwich that was much more “gourmet” than he usually eats, with several kinds of cheese and some fig jam on it.  He was a good sport and did his best and Grandpa finished the rest! That night we went over to Sarah’s and babysat all the kids while she and Miles went to a concert.  Elle had a soccer game and Ally could not wait for her to get home! She finally arrived late and they were happy to have a cousin sleepover.

The next day we were invited to the Dallas Athletic Club with Sarah and Miles for Memorial Day festivities. The kids enjoyed swimming, getting fake tattoos, eating cotton candy and snow cones, and having a big ole time together.  It was hot but fun for all!