Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

A wonderful family Thanksgiving! All 3 daughters were here and happy to see each other. The two sons-in-law seemed to enjoy themselves, and, of course, Logan entertained everyone.

After dinner, we were taking family photos out in the front yard. As the girls and I closed in for a shot, a beautiful Queen butterfly flew between us and Joe who was holding the camera. It truly felt as if Mark was checking in with us. See what you think after looking at the photo. Look just above my head near the facing board of the house. Cool, eh?
Here's a photo of Logan and me. You can tell we're facing into the sun, but I just couldn't resist including it in this post. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. While we were preparing dinner, he found a framed photo of Mark and me from around 1985, and it was taken at the Gulf of Mexico beach at Matagorda. He brought the photo into the kitchen to show me. When I asked him who was in the photo, he said "You are Lulu!" Then, when I asked him who else was in the photo, he said "That's Daddy-Lulu!" So we now have an official name for the grandbabies to use when referring to Mark.

This is a photo of Kate and Joe, Logan's proud parents . They are expecting another little boy in May. Can you imagine how happy Logan will be to have a little brother? And can you imagine how busy they will be keeping up with those two boys?

Here's a nice one of Amanda and James. The newlyweds are happy and expecting a baby in June. There's a lot to be said for keeping faith, living in the present, taking life one step at a time and prayer! I need to tell my friend Robert about that--he'll smile, I'm sure.

Jenny is Logan's favorite playmate...hands down, no doubt about it. Here is one of Jenny with that gorgeous smile of hers. Perhaps life or a good job will lead her back to this area. Not that Fort Worth is that far, but it would be good to see her more often!

 And here is proof to Jenny that Logan can, indeed, fly! Notice the tongue--it helps with concentration! Like I said, he's a beautiful boy, and I'm sure Daddy-Lulu is glowing with love from above.
I'm so thankful that our family is intact and has become closer. This was the most incredible Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to Christmas!
Things do not change. We change.  Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where does time go?

It appears that my intentions to write on a regular basis haven't quite kept up. Time often seems to have evaporated. Is that the result of a busy life? Living longer? Both?

Well, I have a few minutes for a break, so I think I'll try to begin to catch up a bit. In September, I attended my 40th high school reunion. Wow, did we have a blast. It was amazing how many of us could just pick up like we had seen each other the week before. Friday night was a gathering for everyone to get reacquainted and break the ice. On Saturday, a very dear friend (my junior high boyfriend!) took me to Port O' Connor, and we spent the afternoon with some special friends. It was so much fun riding around the salt water and smelling that fresh air, not to mention almost continual laughter! Saturday evening was the dance. After primarily dancing with my Mark for almost 40 years, it was quite a change for me to dance with others. But, once again, my dear friend made sure I didn't sit out. Other old friends were just as attentive and made sure I was dancing when he was away from the table.

After the dance, none of us were ready to call it a night, however, everything in Port Lavaca, Texas shuts down at 1:00 a.m.--no exceptions! So a bunch of us gathered back at our motel room, shared stories, relived events, laughed, laughed and laughed till 4:00 a.m. Needless to say, we were a bit quieter at Sunday morning's breakfast!

One thing that all of us agreed upon was that it was a wonderful experience and we shouldn't wait another 40 years before doing it again. :) Those of us who have stayed in touch over the years will continue to do so, and some of us have renewed connections that appear to be lifelong. I'm grateful for the lovely ladies that continued to encourage me to attend. And I'm especially appreciative for the friendship of the one who made all the reservations and made certain I'd have a place to stay.

The bottom line is this--I've had a good life and plan to have many more years of the same. It was heartwarming to spend time with people and realize that all of those memories mean as much to them as they do to me. Life can be so hard, but life can also be so good. The reunion was a good reminder that focusing on the positive is the best way to really be happy. I'm glad that is my quest in life.

Happiness depends upon ourselves.  Artistotle

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Funny how time seems to alternate between slow motion and evaporation. On the 20th, it will be 5 years since Mark passed away. While it often seems like yesterday, when I take a serious inventory of life events since he has been gone, it almost seems like much longer. Odd how that is. Here's a photo of us at our high school graduation in love and relieved to be out of school and headed to college. Life was so simple then! The beginning of our life together.

Looking back, we had many chapters over the years, and each one was unique and special. Oh, and some of those were easier or harder than others, but that's what life is all about, yes? We had so many adventures and lived true to ourselves and followed our hearts. When Mark became ill with sarcoma, the docs removed it and we all hoped it was behind us. Then, a few months later, it was back with revenge. The good part of his illness was that he only had to be caught up in the "fighting cancer" lifestyle for a year and a half. He was not bedridden at all and able to live fairly normally up until the end. And, thankfully for both of us, he was able to pass on at home in our bed with me at his side and daughters nearby. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and the most spiritual experience I've ever had. Even though it isn't the best shot, here is a photo of us on our last Christmas Day together--about 8 months before he died. Chemo had taken a toll on both of us, but we loved spending some time in the back yard with Opal and Pearl--our two Great Pyrenees.

Each year as this time rolls around, I go into a different sort of existence. I'm always grateful for the many years we had together (1967-2004), it is difficult not to grieve for the time we lost. As many of my friends often tell me, I try to focus on the positive aspects of life. So, for the most part, I think of how fortunate Mark and I were to have so many years together. But, and it's a big but--I miss him with every heartbeat. And it's interesting how the universe works. Just when I think I'm slipping into a deep state of grief again, a butterfly or bird will fly by; or one my dogs will do something that only Mark and I would find funny...then I realize that life is just like that. Please remember him on August 20.

Pearl is becoming extremely limited in her movements, and, honestly, she seems like she's often in a bad mood. Her barking is far more excessive now than ever before, and I take note of that. Some days, her mobility is manageable, many days I watch her drag her weak leg. When I begin thinking about Pearl's life and how much is left of it, I have another one of many heart-to-heart talks with my vet and a couple of dear friends. As my vet says, letting go is as much an act of love as caring for a pet throughout her life. He's right. Pearl has always been and will always be our special princess. She will let me know when she is ready to go.

Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality. Emily Dickinson

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zeke and I go to class

Zeke and I began Intermediate Agility last night. Right away I remembered why I enjoy spending time with my dogs. He was attentive and went into training mode right away. All he wanted to do was follow my lead and do a good job.

After we complete this class, I'll see about completing the Canine Good Citizen course and advancing to therapy work. My goal is to take Zeke to Dell's Children's Hospital to visit sick young ones. By trying to make a difference for patients, I hope it somehow repays the universe for all of the support and help offered to me before and after Mark's passing. Besides, what better way to acknowledge my love for my husband? Mark's death was most cancer/sarcoma deaths are. If Zeke could make one patient smile each visit, then we would feel like we've made a difference.

Zeke regularly goes to Home Depot with me. It's nice to see how people respond to him...many ask if they may pet him which he always enjoys. Keeping that in mind, I can imagine that some of the kids at the hospital will be happy to see him. We'll try to reach that goal by Thanksgiving!

The weekend is upon us. I hope to get some gardening done and fall vegetable seeds planted. Of course, I'd be happy to stay indoors and read or quilt if the powers that be would bless us with rain!

Living in the moment brings you a sense of reverence for all of life's blessings. Oprah Winfrey

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well, due to surgery on July 3, I've been out of touch, but now I'm getting back to work and my regular activities. The heat is so intense, and the drought has become quite serious. Coming from a ranching family, it was sad to see the cattle auctions on the news last night. The poor cattle are starving and the ranchers are having to sell because they can't afford to feed them. Awful.

I'm watering my plants and yard enough to keep them alive and free from disease, but it will be a relief when rain comes. There is nothing like nutrition-filled rain to set things back on track. The things I'm maintaining were investments, and it truly seems foolish to let them simply die when a little hand watering will keep them going.

The pups are happy. They had me home for 3 weeks and were not pleased when I went back to work this week. As has been the case for the past few months, Pearl's condition changes almost daily. Great Pyrenees are considered senior citizens at her age of nine. Coupling that with the ACL surgery she had a year ago, moving around can be challenging for her. Some days it seems as if she's beginning to throw in the towel, yet the next morning she'll be romping like a young dog. As long as she has the twinkle in her eye, we'll keep on going. I feel certain she'll let me know when she has had enough and is ready to join Logan, Opal and Luke over the Rainbow Bridge.

Pearl's patience with Iris has been interesting to watch. Little Iris seems to be more than happy to shower Pearl, Zeke or me with affection. It's hard to believe how a few months can make such a difference. She came to us in late December unable to stand on her own, extremely frightened and timid, with a skin infection, unhealthy teeth and a thin coat. Now, to look at Iris, one would never know that she hadn't always been well. She is full of energy, glossy coat, white shiny teeth, able to run and keep up with Zeke and happy beyond description. I've always had large dogs, but I firmly believe that this tiny girl found her way to us for a reason. Iris is sweet, love-filled and a valued member of my family.

Zeke and I are enrolled in a new class beginning next Wednesday evening. It will be an intermediate level, distance control agility class. Zeke, as most Border Collies, enjoys agility and I expect that he'll be pleased to have a new job. He's a wonderful dog and will be even more so after we complete additional training!

My grandson, Logan, called me on the phone this afternoon. Nothing can make me smile as much as hearing, "Hi, Lulu!" He had a number of things to tell me and, thankfully, Kate was there to translate when needed. I hope to see them over the next few days!

We had a family gathering for my birthday, and Logan was extremely proud of the stepping stone he had made me. It has his hand print, many pretty stones and his name. In this photo, it's easy to tell how happy he was when I realized what he (and his mom) had made for me.

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A special day

Last Saturday was a very special day. There was a gathering at my new little house, and all three of my beautiful daughters were together for the first time in quite awhile. With the addition of my happy grandson and good friends, it was a terrific day. As is often the case with young ones in the family, Logan was the center of most of the activity. He was quick to teach his aunties how to dance, play ring around the roses and row, row your boat. Oh, and he even taught Auntie Jenny how to drive his tractor...that was funny! As much as I continue to miss my Mark, it was heartwarming to be among close friends and family. And the laughter was the best part. I hope there will be lots more times like that.

Take time to laugh. It is the music of the soul. from an old Irish prayer

Monday, June 22, 2009

Well, I’m busier than I realized. By the time my day is done, it’s hard to sit at a computer to work when I know I’ll need to sleep soon. I’ll figure it out, but I do want to work on this blog. My garden is thriving. A few tomatoes, some herbs. By fall, I plan to broaden my crop. Still trying to decide whether or not to put in a separate vegetable plot or continue tucking things among my ornamentals. There would be something special about seeing veggies growing in their own space, and it would be terrific to can some and give away a lot. This would be the time to figure out where the bed should be and mark it off in preparation. There’s nothing as good as homegrown broccoli and cauliflower!

Logan will want to help with the cultivation, too. We have a good time working in the yard and garden together. After all, he has his own set of tools, and he often insists that I use his because they’re better. He spent Saturday night at my house. We worked hard in the back yard...especially Logan. It's a lot of work using the hose to spray the always-on-the-go Zeke! He laughed and laughed and laughed. Also, he has developed a special friendship with Baby Iris. Logan gave her lots of kisses and insisted that she borrow one of his books.

A good friend was telling me yesterday that she had the surprise of a volunteer Peruvian Daffodil...just like the one pictured on my June 4 post. I can relate to her enthusiasm. Those with the love of the earth receive a lot from the simplest gesture from Mother Earth. Want to hear something funny? One of my beloved theatre students refers to me as “Mother Nature.” I take that as the ultimate compliment! Thanks, Matt.

Yesterday, I broke down and purchased a passion vine. We had many of them at the Rendova house, and, as a result, there were hundreds of Gulf Fritillary butterflies. I’ve been missing the fritillaries, so I thought to myself--I could fix that...get a passion vine! Now where to plant it? Probably on the carport wall/fence.

Rain...we need rain.

"We may have to learn again the mystery of the garden: how its external characteristics model the heart itself, and how the soul is a garden enclosed, our own perpetual paradise where we can be refreshed and restored." Thomas Moore

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It has been gratifying to watch my new garden develop. Leaving the other house was an enormous decision, and I knew I would miss many of the plants and trees. So far, I've been able to bring in plants representative of those I left behind. My daylilies, rudbeckia, echinacea, cannas, blue mist, dill, bulbine, ferns, roses, yarrow, esperanza, hyacinth vines, irises, rosemary, cosmos, cardinal vines, thumbergia and, most of all, the ladybugs, are all thriving! What would I do without the ladybugs? Everytime there's an aphid invasion, they attack with energy and, in no time, the aphids are gone. Because the ladybugs have used the dill for all of the phases of increasing their numbers, dill will remain an ongoing staple in my garden.

The earth laughs in flowers. e.e. cummings


Over the years I've heard people talk about their grandchildren, and I always wondered...can you really love them that much after you've had your own children? Now, I know. Absolutely. My grandson, Logan, is the light of my life. And the interesting thing is that he seems to continually enhance my love for my 3 grown daughters. Amazing how life develops. Occasionally, I wish that Mark could see and know Logan, but then I realize that he does see and know him...I feel it often.

Making the decision to have a child--it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone Famous