January 2021

January was a crazy month. A lot of times we have the oldest grandkids here for Christmas Break and get to ring in the New Year with them. Not this year, but Ally did send me a picture of herself outside in the snow in Clyde. 🙂 We had a quiet night at home and voiced our hopes for a better year ahead, adding in our black eyed peas for good luck on New Year’s Day. 🙂

From there we moved on to watching excitedly as Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock were elected to the Senate in runoffs in Georgia, assuring a Democratic razor thin majority with the VP being available to break any tie votes. Although Trump kept complaining that his election was “stolen” and “rigged,” and his supporters became more and more vocal, we were just kinda holding our breath till Inauguration Day could get here. Trump continued his tirades as well as his illegal activities, trying to get states to “find” more votes in his favor, threatening more lawsuits even though 61 legal actions had already failed, and eventually telling Vice President Mike Pence (erroneously) that he could stop the certification of the Electoral College votes on January 6. Although I’ve long been a political junkie and very tuned into politics, I don’t think I could have told you before this year exactly when the Electoral College meets or when the votes are certified in the Congress. Due to the events of this year and last year, I certainly know now.

We watched in horror, along with any other thinking or caring person, when Trump riled up his supporters in a rally and sent them off to breach the Capitol on Jan 6. Who would have EVER imagined a violent insurrection would take place in this country, with people killed, maimed, threatened, terrified? I am still shocked. Honestly, I thought there was a risk of violence that day. But in my head, the violence would involve fights between various groups or maybe between protesters and police (though I figured the police would take it easy on whitey). I was worried about someone having a weapon. It did not cross my mind that these rioters could take over the Capitol. Not only take it over, but desecrate it, kill a police officer and hurt many others. (Side note: this is the “BLUE LIVES MATTER” crowd?) Beating officers with flagpoles flying the American flag? I thought these were the “patriots” who held the flag in such high esteem? And then, eventually, most of them just walked away, some of them with help getting down the stairs. What the hell. You know if this had been a Black Lives Matter rally, anyone who’d attempted to enter the building would have been beaten up, arrested, and/or killed. I have so many questions.

We still managed to get to Inauguration Day, extremely changed with limited attendance due to Covid and more security than ever before. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were finally sworn in. Now we have SO MUCH work to do but at least the horrible Trump Administration is gone.

July 4

Day Two!

Swimming in the pool, floating in the lake, paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, surfing, kneeboarding, jet-skiing…you name it, the kids did it all. Corey is great with the little kids and took them out on the boat both days, plus dragged them in a tube behind a jet ski. Most of the adults took younger kids on the jet skis and had a blast.  David and Bonnie cooked brisket and we had tacos and sliders for lunch the second day. Sarah and Miles cooked dinners both days but we didn’t stay to eat…I am sure we missed out on some good food!

Ada and Jack have both learned to swim so they were having contests in the pool–who could hold their breath the longest, who could tread water the longest, who could swim from one end to the other the fastest. Ada swims and swims and swims and takes the deepest breaths when her face comes out of the water. She sounds like she is struggling but she is not. We were cracking up. She is also so light that when she did a cannonball, it barely made a splash.

Elle, Beck, Emery and Luke told us all about going to camp and we caught up on their other news. Aidan told us about his plans to do an aircraft mechanics program when he goes back to high school in the fall (if schools reopen…). Ally is looking forward to playing volleyball in 7th grade, while Elle will continue with soccer. Beck will start an acting class, which was one of his loves when he lived in Dallas. Jacky and Ada will be in Kindergarten…not our little babies any more.  Susan is going to take prerequisites so she can apply for LVN school. Bonnie and David will be going back to teaching and wondering about the circumstances; Bonnie will also be coaching volleyball, basketball and track this year (if athletics happen). Corey says once Aidan is out of high school, he and Susan and Ally are moving to Granbury. They have talked about this before, so we will see! 🙂  Miles and Sarah bought some land near Lake Tyler and are going to build a resort/wedding venue. Life seems good for all of the family and that makes me happy, despite the virus and the uncertain outlook for the future right now.

We left before dark but the kids had a big time watching fireworks and setting off some of their own from the dock.  Here’s to next year!



July 3

Last year my girls and I decided we’d get together 4th of July each year instead of trying to force the issue at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It has become harder and harder to get everyone together on those holidays and just ends up with me being whiny if they can’t come. So I finally said I was willing to forego those if we could commit to doing something once a year (any time, I don’t care!) with everyone. We had so much fun at Sarah and Miles’ for July 4 last year that we made it happen again. Of course, our plans were made long before the coronavirus hit and that changed things up a bit. The kids are not overly concerned about getting sick; I think they are mostly cautious about who they are around and what they do but they are not socially distancing the way Rich and I are.  I told them we’d come over each day on the 3rd and 4th but we would stay outside and not get in anyone’s faces (even though this is hard for me as a very huggy/kissy grandma) and we weren’t going to spend the night since there were 14 other people sharing air and space in the house. I know they think we are a little overboard but we just don’t want to take a chance on getting ill.

Anyhoooo, we drove over on the 3rd and I was SO dang happy to see all three of my girls, all three of their hubbies and all eight of the grandkids! We visit Sarah and Miles some, and we had Ally for Spring Break, but we hadn’t seen Aidan or any of Bonnie’s crew since before Christmas. That’s too long for me!

Rich and I took our own food and drinks and just kinda camped out in the yard  and on the dock watching all the fun. I did go on the boat once and sat up front away from everyone else. The grandkids had a ball swimming in the pool, playing in the lake, riding jet skis and going out in the boat, tubing, surfing, hanging out with each other and enjoying being together. I’m glad they all get along and seem to like being in each other’s company. Ally, Elle and Emery spent a lot of time together, Luke and Beck are good buddies, and Ada and Jack REALLY love each other.  Aidan is older than the rest but he is still such a kindhearted kid and played with the little ones in the pool, throwing them in the water and letting them ride on his back. He was also a big help with the bigger kids when they wanted to try to surf or kneeboard behind the boat. Of course we enjoyed just sitting and chatting with the girls and their husbands.

Here is an overload of pix from Day One. 🙂

Christmas at home and in Tyler

We had a quiet Christmas Day at home and enjoyed a meal with Rich’s ex brother in law Bob and his girlfriend Amy. Bob was married to Rich’s sister Vesta years ago and they have two sons together. They have kept in touch because of the kids and, at some point, Vesta let us know that Bob was taking an interim CEO job at a small hospital near our house. How random is that? He’s been here for several months and we have managed to get together periodically. It’s been nice for Rich to have a friend here and someone to hang out with once in awhile.  Now Bob has taken a permanent job at a hospital in California so he will be leaving soon. We were invited to dinner at his apartment where he served homemade gumbo and Rich made creme brûlée for dessert. We had a nice time visiting and will miss him when he leaves! (Also some of my recent thoughts via meme and a pic of all our Christmas cards…I love hearing from people at the holidays).

On the 26th we drove over to Tyler to see Sarah, Miles and kids. We were really happy to see them again and they seemed equally pleased to see us. 🙂  We had a nice charcuterie platter for lunch, opened gifts, played games, and hung out till it was getting close to dark. I didn’t really want to be on the road out in the country with deer moving about. Did I mention my youngest daughter Susan hit a deer recently on her way to work? She is fine but messed up her car pretty badly. We got home around 6 PM and the drive wasn’t too bad, though there was lots of traffic the day after Christmas.

Bye-bye, November

It was beautiful last weekend and we ventured over to White Rock Lake (not far from our house) to the annual ArtMart at the Bathhouse Cultural Center.  SO many talented local artists and crafters had their items for sale, it was almost overwhelming. We wandered through the whole place, intending to work our way back to purchase a few things but we left empty handed. Too many decisions?? I did take a few business cards so I can consider ordering later.  Then we stopped in at Brumley Gardens’ holiday open house. It was definitely all decorated for Christmas! We had a drink and a cookie and looked at all of the plants and displays, but again left without a purchase.  What’s up with that?!

All of the kids were with in-laws for Thanksgiving so our friends Mary and John were kind enough to invite us for dinner. Their daughter Bridget was home from college, plus their friend Mark was visiting from NYC. Also invited were a colleague of John’s (who did not want  her picture taken) and Rich’s ex-brother-in-law, Bob. So we had a funny mix of people which only made it more interesting and enjoyable for all. Not to mention great food and lively conversation! Rich contributed homemade cranberry sauce and homemade rolls and I basically showed up with gifts in hand. Can’t beat that, right?

4th of July

Last year Sarah and Miles bought some land at Lake Tyler, about 2 hours from here, and have just completed building a house there.  We were all invited to come out for a few days for the 4th and as luck would have it, everyone could make it except for son in law David.  I told the girls it was “Mom’s Dream Come True” to have (almost) everyone together for a change. It’s next to impossible these days and I am always a little whiny on holidays when one family or another can’t make it because of schedules. We missed David a lot because he is big fun so it was not quite my dream come true, but pretty close.

The house is gorgeous, the lake is pretty and peaceful, and there are more bunkbeds than you can count so everyone had a place to sleep.  When my girls were growing up, we often had family reunions on their dad’s side at Cedar Creek Lake where Aunt Frankye and Uncle Charlie had a cabin. I told Sarah she is “the new Aunt Frankye” and she definitely lived up to the moniker.

Bonnie left our house on July 2 and took her three kids plus Aidan and Ally to meet Sarah and Miles and their kids at the lake. Rich and I stayed back till the 3rd because I had my usual Tuesday volunteer work on the 2nd and we were meeting our friend Karen at DFW to give her car back to her so she could get on the road home to Abilene. We drove to Tyler on the morning of the 3rd and Susan and Corey came that evening, hauling their boat.  As soon as they got there, the kids wanted to go out on the lake so Corey put the boat in the water and they were out till almost dark.  We all had dinner together and had a fun time till lights out.

The next day, Jack got up and saw me in the living room and said, “What? You had a sleepover?” LOL I said yes, we were all staying! Then he saw Corey and said, “What? You slept over too?!”   After breakfast, the boat fun began in earnest once more. Various configurations of kids and adults went out all day long.  Rich and I rode along once and had a great time watching the kids learning to knee board. Corey was super patient and really good with all of the kids teaching them what to do.  Elle and Emery both got up their first time and were so proud. Of course Aidan and Ally are old pros because they’ve had the boat for awhile.  Then the kids had an absolute blast tubing. I wish I could post videos here because they are hilarious. We had some crazy tumbles and a few tears but mostly lots of laughter and instructions to “go faster!” and “again, again!”  In between we had some meals and snacks and played some games. Miles’ cousins (who also live on the lake) came by to visit. Sarah and Miles went out and bought a TON of fireworks to set off once it got dark.

Sarah is turning 40 at the end of the month (I’m not sure how this has happened…hard to believe I will have a child who’s 40) so she and Miles had planned a trip to Jackson Hole with 5 other couples they’re good friends with. They had an early flight out of DFW on the 5th so they’d arranged to stay with us till after the fireworks and then head back to Dallas while the rest of us spent one more night.  Rich and I were taking their three kids home with us till Sarah and Miles returned on the 9th.

It was twilight by the time the boat was put up and everyone was gathered at the house. I had been wanting a group photo the whole time but it was hard to get everyone together so I was trying to hurry them along to get a shot before it was too dark. At the last minute, Miles’ cousin came back by and I asked her if she would take a few pictures of us.  She agreed and we headed down to the water. Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible and she decided to use a flash, which was not the best idea. In all of the pix, we have the dreaded “flash eye” and I could not edit the photos to fix it.  Disappointing, but I have lots of memories in my head, right??!  We had dinner, the adults helped the kids with the “safe” fireworks, then set off some major fireworks that were pretty amazing and a little scary!  In fact, Jack did not like them at all so he and I sat back on a swing out of the thick of it. Afterwards, Sarah and Miles loaded up their stuff and their dogs and got on the road while the rest of us got ready for bed.

The morning of the 5th, we did a lot of clean up and Susan’s family left first, then the rest of us around 10 AM. Goodbyes are always hard but we really did have so much fun that we all left on a high.  On the way home with Sarah’s kids, we stopped to use the bathroom and get snacks at Buccee’s and who should we run into but Susan, Corey and kids! We gave another round of hugs and chatted for a few minutes before getting back on the highway.

I am not very nationalistic and not too much of an admirer of all the jingoistic “patriotism” of July 4. But I was happy to have an opportunity to have most of my sweeties together.  Next year, David!!

Christmas Time

Here’s a little round-up of the holidays.

Rich’s sister Vesta had a long layover at DFW on her way to a friend’s in Georgia. We picked her up, took her to lunch, and visited for several hours before having to return her to the airport.  It was a nice surprise to get to see her!

Volunteer party, looking at Christmas lights, playing in a huge box is better than anything, hot chocolate always hits the spot!

Visit from my friend Susan, gifts and cards from near and far, holiday toys donated to refugee families, Christmas Eve and Day with Sarah and Miles, along with Miles’ family. It was a lovely season and we are appreciative of the many people who bring so much to our lives. Thank you to all and let’s hope for peace, love, and justice in the new year.