Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Three Special Dark-Haired Beauties

This is my mother (in her engagement photo, if I remember correctly), and today is her birthday.  She is an amazing woman, a person with spunk and enthusiasm and energy to spare.  In fact, we have dubbed her the "Energizer Bunny," because she never seems to run out of steam.  At 77, she's still running rings around most of us.  And she's beautiful, too.  I don't just mean that in the "she was a beauty back in the day" kind of way.  She is still so beautiful and vibrant and youthful.  Until she hit her late 60's she hardly had a gray hair on her head--everyone assumed she was coloring it, but it was entirely natural.  We should all be so lucky to age as well as Mom has.

Here is a more recent photo of my mom, this one taken last year on her birthday.  As you can see, she's still--to use my father's favorite description of her--very CUTE, isn't she?  (The crown adds a nice touch, too.)  And she's very young-looking, don't you think?  77 is the new 45, I believe.
And coincidentally, the beautiful young lady on the right is my younger sister, who happens to share a birthday with our mother.  She must have been the best birthday present Mom ever got!  In this photo, she's celebrating the big five-oh--but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and she looks much, much younger.  I guess 50 is the new 29.

As if having a mother and a sister who share a birthday isn't enough, my lovely daughter-in-law was also born on this date!  That makes three brunette beauties in my family who were born on September 30.  This is a photo of her with my oldest son, on their wedding day almost three years ago.  Isn't she a doll?
How extraordinary that God decided to give the world (not to mention our family!) these three special souls--who are every bit as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside--on the very same date!  Here's wishing this trio of dark-haired beauties the happiest of birthdays!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Pair of Jacks

Wednesday, September 26 was the nine year anniversary of my father-in-law's death.  I should have marked this important date--the day Dad's life here on earth with us ended and he began his everlasting life with God--with a blog post dedicated to him, but I had lost track of the date (it seems without kids living at home and school schedules to follow, I find myself doing this more and more these days).  It's hard to believe that those of us who loved this extraordinary man have been without him for almost a decade already.  We miss him and think of him all the time.  For instance, when my husband and all seven of his siblings were gathered together at Notre Dame last weekend for the Michigan game, we talked about how Jack Pearl, proud alumnus of  ND Class of '49, would have been thrilled to see his beloved Irish--currently ranked #10 in the nation--on the road to becoming a college football powerhouse once again.  Whenever it comes to anything having to do with Notre Dame, or with his children and grandchildren, we often say, "Wouldn't Dad have loved this?"

Before he became a father and then a grandfather, Dad had two accomplishments of which he was inordinately proud: he was a Domer, and then he was a Navy fighter pilot.  I've posted this photo of my father-in-law in his Naval Aviator days before, but I think it bears posting again.  He was some handsome devil, wasn't he?
And look at that Dudley-Do-Right chin of his!  All eight of his children, including my hubby, inherited it; there isn't a weak chin in the bunch.

When we were expecting our fifth son, we decided to name him after his grandfather and call him by Papa's nickname, Jack.  When our Jack was a little boy, he resembled me more than he did his dad or his dad's family; he had a round face and looked like he might have inherited my somewhat weak chin instead of the jutting jaw that predominates in the Pearl gene pool.  Jack was only ten when Dad died, still a few years away from his massive growth spurt and a little on the pudgy side; but his grandfather would have been proud if he could have seen the way that little boy took it upon himself to comfort and console his younger cousins as they gathered near the casket in the funeral home.  He didn't look like a man yet, but he was well on his way to becoming one.

Within a few years, our Jack had shot up to 6'2" and lost every trace of baby fat, and his once-short face had lengthened considerably. And the chin that appeared during his teen years was nothing at all like mine, but every inch a Pearl chin.  In fact, as he made his way toward manhood, it appeared that out of our five boys, he was going to end up with the juttiest chin of all.  Here is a picture of our baby with his three Notre Dame roommates, squished into the backseat of our rental car on Sunday night when we took the four of them out to dinner.  That's him, on the left, closest to the camera, sitting on his buddy's lap (please don't report us to the South Bend police!).  And  there's that strong Pearl chin I was telling you about.  His papa's chin.
The funny thing is, when he was a little boy, everyone said Jack looked like me.  But when I look at this picture, I am reminded of another Jack--the handsome Naval Aviator in the picture above.  I think these two Jacks make a real pair.  And when I imagine how proud our baby's grandfather would be if he could see his young namesake matriculating at his beloved alma mater, it brings a tear to my eye.

What am I talking about, anyway?  Just because we can't see Dad anymore, that doesn't mean he can't see us.  He's probably got the best seat in the house these days.  And when he looks at this boy, this grandson who shares his name and his jawline, I'll bet he's smiling.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Of Mice and Men--and Computers

Well, I stopped in at Best Buy yesterday to have one of the Geek Squad members look at my misbehaving laptop--and I couldn't believe it when I found out what was the cause of all the headaches it's been giving me for the past few days.  It was so simple, really.  The culprit was not some raging computer virus or anything that dramatic and tough to fix; it was the MOUSE!
Maybe my husband and I should have figured it out on our own, since the problem was that whenever I tried to scroll down any kind of list of items (say, the list of "Favorites" saved on my Internet Explorer page, or my incoming e-mails, or my photos), the entire list would just rush like crazy to the bottom of the page of its own accord and not allow me to click the cursor arrow on any one item.  (I don't know if I'm explaining the problem all that clearly, but just suffice it to say that it was very annoying!  And it made even the simple task of checking e-mails pretty much impossible!)

I ALWAYS use a mouse, because I'm hopeless at using that little tool bar thingy in front of the computer keyboard.  It never even occurred to me to bite the bullet and try to scroll down a list without using the mouse to see if that would work.  I don't know why neither my husband nor I suspected the mouse.  (You sneaky mouse!)

Hmmm, now that I think of it, I did drop my old mouse at the hotel over the weekend.  It bounced rather violently a few times, and then the battery storage cover popped off...and coincidentally, shortly afterward I noticed that I was experiencing serious technical difficulties.   But I had given that mouse-dropping incident very little thought until the Geek Squad guy told me the mouse was to blame.

Oh well...the good news is that I didn't have to pay the helpful gentleman who diagnosed my laptop's illness a dime for his help.  My trip to Best Buy only cost me $17.99, for a new and improved mouse.  My new right-hand man (is it a man, or is it a mouse?) is sleek and pretty--black accented with bright royal blue--and I can already tell that it works better than my old one ever did, even before that squat and ugly--black accented with dingy gray--mouse decided to go haywire on me.
The moral of the story is this: sometimes when you think you've got big problems, they turn out to be very little ones.  Little, itty-bitty, mousie-sized ones.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iPhone Blogging (@#!!*@#!?!)

I am having computer problems that are giving me conniption fits, so I thought I'd just do a quick blog post using my iPhone instead.  If this works, you are going to have the privilege of seeing a lovely photo I took this weekend of the beautifully painted ceiling inside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame, one that I snapped with this very iPhone on Sunday.

I hope this works.  If it does, then this iPhone is my new best friend--and PC laptop, you and I are FINISHED, do you hear me?
For the record, this is not the picture I wanted to post--as adorable as it is.
Okay, iPhone, we're finished, too.  Because apparently, I have to download some APP to access most of the pictures I have stored on this phone in order to use them on this blog--icluding the one of the basilica's ornately decorated ceiling.   And although it's a free APP, I can't figure out how to download the dang thing.  (Where is that iMan husband of mine when I need him, anyway?)  For some reason, however, this ND squirrel/football fan picture was available for use, so I thought I'd post it again for your viewing pleasure (or if you're a Michigan fan, for your viewing displeasure).

Maybe once I make that trip to the Geek Squad and clear up all of my cyber woes, I'll be able to post that beautiful photo!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Love-Hate Relationship with Computers Continues...

Well, at some point over the weekend out in South Bend, my computer started experiencing some serious technical difficulties.  I'm not sure if it's because I changed a setting inadvertently or if it's simply because my poor baby is sick with some sort of virus, but this laptop PC of mine is acting really weird.

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!  I hate computers!

But I love them, too.  Without my laptop, I doubt I ever would have been able to write my novel.  So computers and I definitely have a love-hate relationship (emphasis on the "hate" right at this moment in time).

I'm not even going to try to explain what's going on, because I wouldn't even know how to go about it; but I can tell you that because of the problems that have cropped up, I can't attach pictures to my posts.  I don't like to rely on just words for this blog.  I really like to add pictures that go along with the words, and I fear that "String of Pearls" would be too boring without those added images.  I'm planning to visit the Geek Squad ASAP to see if they can help me out--but in the meantime, I worry that I'm going to have a hard time getting motivated to blog every day.  I'll just have to give it the old college try, I guess.

I can't add pictures, but I'm still able to add Internet links (a new skill that I learned recently); so I'm using today's post to--once again--shamelessly plug my novel, Finding Grace.  If you click on this link, it will take you to the Finding Grace page on

I don't know how the sales are going at this point, but it's a pretty sure thing that without the Internet (and Facebook!), no one beyond my immediate family would ever know about my little book.  It's easier to get a book listed on Amazon than it is to get it carried on shelves in bookstores.  So I guess that's one more reason to love computers.  (But still...when they misbehave, I really hate them!)

Wish me luck with the computer whizzes who work for the Geek Squad!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


In case you haven't heard yet, Notre Dame's Fighting Irish beat Michigan last night, 13-6.  Woo hoo!  WE-ARE-N-D!  You could hear the cheering all over the streets of South Bend as Irish fans exited the stadium.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, he of the untied shoelaces, says he's the most disappointed in himself that he's ever been--not just during his whole football career, but in his 22 years of life thus far.  That's pretty disappointed, wouldn't you say?

Having had two of his best games in victories over the Irish the past two seasons, we Notre Dame fans were not disappointed by Denard's sub-par performance at all.  The much-touted Michigan QB threw 4 picks and just had an all-around horrible game.  The Irish defense came up BIG, and middle linebacker extraordinaire Manti Te'o--a.k.a. the "Flyin' Hawaiian"--had a whale of a game, with 2 interceptions and a boatload of tackles.  He was in Robinson's face all night long, causing poor Denard to give a performance of which, as noted above, he did not feel proud.

The excitement was palpable in the ND stadium last night; the fans were on fire throughout the game, and it was indeed an awesome place to be (and I'm so glad that my ND class of '80 hubby and I could be there!), as Notre Dame hasn't begun a season with a 4-0 record in 10 years. We're undefeated, and we haven't been this pumped for a decade.
The other day, in a post titled "Woodland Friends," I promised that while we were out here I would try to get a picture of one of the super-friendly Notre Dame squirrels--those crazy little creatures who haven't gotten the memo yet about how their kind is supposed to scamper away in mortal fear at the approach of humans.  And as you can see, even the ND squirrels are excited.  They're going absolutely nuts, just like everyone else around here.

Apparently, after last night's game, Notre Dame is ranked #10 in the nation, which is something else Irish fans haven't experienced in a long, long time.  Our boys in blue and gold have still got a tough schedule ahead of them, but all I can say is: GO IRISH!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Beautiful...and the Not-So-Beautiful

Well, we're out at Notre Dame for another Pearl-a-Palooza (forty family members gathered for the ND-Michigan game!), so there's not much time to blog.  But I thought I'd quickly share with you some of the sights I've seen out here.

First, here's a lovely painting of Our Lady, for whom this beautiful university is named (and Her Son, of course), that I saw in the lobby when my husband and I dropped in at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart yesterday.
Breathtakingly beautiful, isn't it?  I love it, love it, love it.

Now for an example of the not-so-beautiful out here on Our Lady's campus.  I took the picture below when we were getting a tour of our youngest son's awesome basement four-man dorm room two days ago.  It's big enough for four beds, four dressers, four desks, four closets, two mini-fridges, and a huge L-shaped sectional sofa with a 42" T.V. set in front of it.  It's really quite the top-of-the line digs for a quartet of college sophomores.  But it is definitely not beautiful.  Remember, this is four guys living together that we're talking about, and not a neatnik in the bunch.
Yes, that's an empty pizza box--and for all we know, it's from two weeks ago.  And next to it sits an empty sports drink bottle.  (I believe that section of carpet is the official "recycling bin.")  And of course, there's the requisite dirty sock.  (As you can see, the carpet is not just a recycling bin; it also serves as a garbage can and a laundry hamper.)  This is only a small section of the man cave; there are plenty of other food wrappers, empty cans and plastic bottles, and dirty socks on the floor in other areas of the room as well.  But having raised only sons--five of them--this is nothing I haven't seen a hundred times before.  And my boy and his three roommates are thrilled with their set-up, get along great, and aren't bothered by each other's messiness in the least.  That in itself, I suppose, is a very beautiful thing!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Woodland Friends

Yesterday, I decided rather late in the day that I would take a three-mile walk.  I knew I needed the exercise, and I wasn't in the mood to do any of my "Turbo Jam" or "Slim in 6" work-outs.  It was about 4:45 p.m. when I set out on the most lovely fall day, the kind of day that makes me happy to be alive and happy that I live in New England.  It was sunny with a light breeze, just cool enough for a lightweight fleece jacket.  Perfect fall weather.

Our house is on one of a series of cul de sac streets located in a densely wooded area just outside the downtown area of our small city.  When I'm at home, I feel as if we live out in the country; yet we are just a hop, skip, and a jump from shopping, church, schools, etc.  It's absolutely the most perfect place in the world to live...that is, it would be if we had a lake out back.  But just beyond our large, grassy back yard there are beautiful, thick woods--still chock full of white-tailed deer, even though the numerous residential developments that have sprung up in the last twenty years have put a kibosh on all the deer hunting that used to go on in them.

As I was walking along a quiet neighborhood street not far from ours, I came upon a couple of deer, just hanging out right in someone's front yard.  I would have liked to get closer to get a better shot of them with my trusty, ever-at-the-ready iPhone camera, but I didn't want to scare them off.  So I snapped this long-distance photo of my little woodland friends.
I love where we live.  The Northeast is the best section of the United States, in my unbiased opinion.

This morning, my husband and I are heading to the airport way before the crack of dawn (at "0-dark-thirty," as they like to say in the Navy).  We're flying out to Notre Dame to visit our youngest son, attend a Saturday pre-football game tailgater with all of my husband's siblings and assorted other Pearl family members, and watch the Fighting Irish beat Michigan (fingers crossed) on Saturday night.

I'm generally not a big fan of the landscape in the Midwest; it's sure not as awe-inspiring as what I'm used to here. But Notre Dame does have some pretty awesome landmarks that lend the campus an ethereal beauty that's hard to find anywhere else, I must say: the spire of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the gleaming Golden Dome with a statue of Mary on top, to name two.  And the grotto, a replica of the one at Lourdes, behind the basilica.  Yes, the grotto, of course.  And the two small lakes, St. Mary's Lake and St. Joseph's Lake., I could go on and on!

You know what?  I think I'm going to survive my time out in the Midwest just fine!  And while I've never come across any deer during my strolls around the Notre Dame grounds, I've certainly seen more than my fair share of much-too-friendly squirrels!  Maybe I'll try to snap some shots of those little woodland friends in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Attention, Walmart Shoppers!

I have a shameful little secret to admit, and I don't dare say this too loudly:  I like shopping at Walmart.

Okay, there.  I've said it.  Now don't judge me.

The impression I get from most people I talk to these days is that it's much more fashionable to shop at Target than it is to shop at Walmart.  Personally, I don't see what's so superior about Target (or "Tar-zhay," as zey call eet).  I can almost never find any clothes that I like over there, but I'm always finding stuff at Walmart.  When my five sons were growing up, my favorite clothing brand in the world was Walmart's "Faded Glory" (much to their chagrin, I might add).  You couldn't beat those Faded Glory jeans, which I found to be very high in quality while very low in price.  It was a sad day when I couldn't convince my label-conscious teenage boys to wear them anymore and had to start shopping for jeans at Old Navy.

It's hard to beat Walmart for one-stop shopping, either.  Whatever you need (or think you need), you can find it there.  Target has almost everything you could possibly need, too, that's true; but I don't believe they sell fabric, for one thing.  And I'm not sure about crafting items either.  (Target shoppers, let me know if I'm wrong about that, and I promise to issue a retraction, along with an apology.)

Walmart gets a lot of negative press for being a big, bad superstore--as if it's Fox Books and every other store is The Shop Around the Corner.  (Please tell me you got that movie reference; and if not, you must find "You've Got Mail" on Netflix or Vudu or in the $5 DVD bin at Walmart, and watch it--stat!)  And as if that's not enough of a reason to hate it, Walmart doesn't have that Target-like style, cache, and social acceptability.  There are YouTube videos that make fun of the "People of Walmart" and the way they dress, but I have yet to see the people who routinely shop at Target made the butt of on-line jokes.

That's okay, though.  I'm going to keep on being a Walmart shopper--even if that makes me a social outcast.  And I think I'll be able to get my twin granddaughters to go on shopping trips to Walmart with their grammy.  After all, it's not as if they're completely enamored of Target.  Just look at this picture I snapped of the girls during a family Target outing when I was visiting them in Colorado a few weeks ago.
They don't look all that impressed by their surroundings, do they?  Not that they'd have been any more thrilled if we'd been strolling them through Walmart...but I'm just sayin.'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Raspberry Oat Bars

Yesterday I got the urge to bake my husband "a little something" (his term for a yummy dessert item of some sort).  We were out of chocolate chips, so Toll House cookies--my old standby--were out of the question.  I had the makings for homemade brownies, but without chocolate chips added, brownies are hardly worth eating--don't you agree?  We did have a couple of cans of red raspberry pie filling (or "raspberry goo," as we like to call it) on hand, though; my husband loves it so much that he could eat it right out of the can.  I got thinking about these delicious rhubarb granola bars that my daughter-in-law made while I was out in Colorado with her recently, and I thought maybe I could do something similar with raspberry filling instead of rhubarb.  So I went on-line and found a recipe for raspberry oat bars on  (I've decided that one of the best uses of the Internet is finding recipes!  You can find a recipe for just about any dish under the sun.)  This particular recipe called for 10 oz. of raspberry preserves, which we did have on hand, too.  But I substituted that ingredient for 21 oz. of raspberry pie filling, so I think I can now consider this my very own recipe and post it here on "String of Pearls."

Raspberry Oat Bars

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a 9 X 13" pan.

Cream together:
3/4 c. softened butter
1 c. packed brown sugar

Mix together dry ingredients:
1 and 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 and 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Stir dry mixture into creamed mixture.

Press half of the crust mixture into bottom of prepared pan.  Spread the 21 oz. can of raspberry pie filling over the crust.
Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the raspberry layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

The part about waiting for it to cool is important; I got impatient to taste this deliciousness and tried to lift out a square too soon.  I ended up with a hot, shapeless, goopy pile of raspberry goo and oats on my plate.  It was yummy to the extreme, however--even though it looked like a mess. (And it would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!)  But later on when it was no longer boiling-lava-hot, I cut a normal piece and this is how it looked:
I'm sure this recipe would be great with rhubarb filling, too--or any flavor of pie filling, for that matter.

Bon appetit! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday Brunch X

My husband and I love Sunday brunch after Mass.  It's a meal we look forward to every week.  We usually have over-easy eggs, bacon (of course, because what would breakfast or brunch be without bacon?), toast or English muffins, and then something a little bit sweet, like doughnuts or cinnamon coffee cake.  I don't know how my husband enjoys all of that without a cup of coffee to go along with it, but he does; so he drinks his milk and I drink my coffee and everybody's happy.

Yesterday, we went a little bit off-script and had a scrumptious broccoli-egg-and-cheese Crock Pot casserole with our bacon, instead of our usual over-easy's.  After spending a couple of weeks recently with my oldest son, his wife, and their twin girls out in Colorado, I have become inspired to use my Crock Pot more often.  My daughter-in-law is always trying out new recipes with hers, and every time I visit I look forward to those fabulous dishes she concocts.  When I got home, I made three Crock Pot meals in a row--copying three I'd had while I was out there that I couldn't wait to taste again.  I would give you the recipe for this delectable egg dish, which tastes like quiche without the crust, but it's not mine to reveal.  If my daughter-in-law wants to post it on her blog, "Knit 1 Pearl 2", she can do that; but I'm just going to post this picture:
Oh, and did I forget to mention that we had some glorious bacon, too, not just your run-of-the-mill variety, from my husband's latest shipment of Amazing Clubs'  "Bacon of the Month" Club (a Father's Day/birthday gift from son #3)?  Well, we did.  The bacon we cooked up yesterday was called "Soarin' Swine Mesquite Bacon."  (I love the flying pig on the label; for more on my curious attachment to pigs, see previous posts "Oh, for Pigs' Sake" and "Mmmm...Bacon".)  This brand of bacon is sliced extremely thick; in a one pound package there are--get ready for this--only SIX slices!  So my husband had three of them...along with the two equally thick slices that were left over from the package of "Longhorn Lucy Buffalo-Style Bacon" he'd cooked up for himself last weekend while I was out in Colorado.  (While the cat's away, the mouse will eat almost a whole pound of bacon by himself.)  I've got to show you a picture of how this amazing bacon looks all cooked up:
This is not your typical grocery store bacon, I'll tell you that.  We usually buy the store brand thick-sliced bacon, but whoever packages it doesn't really know what thick means.  THIS is thick.  This is bacon fit for a cowboy (and if you read this blog much you probably know that my husband is a cowboy wannabe).  I don't know where (or if) you can get this bacon outside of Amazing Clubs, but if you are a true bacon lover, you really must try to find it!

So, that's the story of our decadent Sunday brunch yesterday.  It was Sunday Brunch X (not ten; EXTREME--you know, like the X Games for extreme sports?).  I'm still having a bit of a Sunday brunch hangover, if you must know the truth!

P.S. Are you impressed with all  the links I put in this post?  Can you tell that I just learned a new computer/blogging skill?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wise Words from Blessed Mother Teresa

When my oldest son gave his high school valedictory speech in 2002, he included this quote from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful."  What a perfect pearl of wisdom to pass on to a large group of young people who were getting ready to set out on their own and make their mark in the world!  It's so true that we must all try to succeed at our endeavors--we must always give 100 percent, using the gifts God has given us as well as we possibly can; but the way in which the world will measure our success is very different than the way God will measure it.

I must keep these wise words spoken by that saintly woman in mind as I struggle with insecurities about my recently published novel, Finding Grace, seeing only the tiny editing mistakes I didn't catch when I OK'd the final galley of the manuscript before the book went to print.  My pride has made me focus on those relatively insignificant details--the ones by which the world will judge the quality of my writing--instead of on the only important question, which is this: did I give glory to God through my work?  I truly tried to do that, and did it to the best of my admittedly limited abilities; if that effort is pleasing in His eyes, then I must remind myself that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of the book.

Blessed Mother Teresa spent her life in selfless service to those in need, and she is on the road to becoming a canonized saint.  We can all learn from the example of this holy woman.  Here is a very inspiring poem she wrote, one that provides advice that will not only make us more faithful (and therefore "successful" in the eyes of God), but happier, too.
(Click to enlarge for easier reading.)
I hope you're enjoying a happy and holy Sabbath day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yesterday's Double Feature: "2016" and "The Words"

My husband and I have spent more time in movie theaters since we've become empty-nesters than we ever did when our boys were living at home.  One reason we rarely went out to see movies was simply that we didn't have the time--we had an awful lot of football and lacrosse games to attend, you understand.  Another reason was that we simply couldn't justify spending the money--we had food to put on the table, after all.  Lots and lots of food.  Like the responsible adults that we were, we usually waited for movies to come out on VHS/DVD and watched them at home, and we saved trips to the theater for special date nights (our anniversary, for instance).  But we have lots of free time these days.  And we don't spend as much money on groceries as we used to.  I mean, the two of us eat like a couple of birds.  (Get it?)  So yesterday, my husband and I did something extremely decadent: we went to not one, but TWO movies.  At the theater.  On the same day.  What a madcap thing to do, huh?

It is a bit crazy, and definitely fiscally irresponsible, to go to the movies these days--especially two in one day--because it costs about as much as a mortgage payment...that is, if you add in popcorn and a soda (which we did).  And if you have a brand new 70-inch T.V. with surround-sound and a DVD player at home, it's really crazy.  But we did it, folks.

The first movie we saw was a late-afternoon matinee showing of a horror movie called "Obama's America 2016."  My husband and I abhor horror movies and don't usually have any interest in being frightened out of our wits, but we felt compelled to see this one.  And we believe that before voters go to the polls this November, in order to make an informed decision they really ought to see it, as unpleasant as it is to watch.  Here is my critique of this film: Oh.  My.  GOSH!  Yikes, I'm going to have trouble sleeping at night now.  That's all I'm going to say about "2016," because I made a promise to keep this blog a happy place, free of happiness-killing subjects such as politics.

We left the first movie a bit stunned and depressed, and we went to grab a quick dinner before going to an early-evening showing of a movie I'd been dying to watch ever since I first saw a trailer for it on T.V.: "The Words."  I was intrigued by this movie, because it revolves around one man losing a manuscript for a book he wrote and another man finding it many years later and having it published as his own work.  During the four and a half years that I worked on Finding Grace, losing all of the words I'd written was my worst nightmare.  I not only had everything saved on my computer; I also kept hard copies (even of the rough drafts), as well as two flash drives--one of which I took with me when I traveled, and one that was stored in our fire safe at home.  I realize that sounds a bit extreme; but I knew that if I ever lost the work I'd done, I'd never be able to duplicate it and I would give up completely.  So the premise of this film really spoke to me.

Most critics have panned "The Words," and the moviegoers who've left comments about it on the "Rotten Tomatoes" web site have had lots of negative things to say.  But I really enjoyed it--and my husband did, too.  We both found the story compelling, and the movie was filled with terrific actors.  It made you think, too, about how even one bad choice can change your whole life.  It also reminded you that the price of fame is sometimes way too costly.  My critique of this film: Two thumb's up!  (One from me, one from my hubby.)   It's a thoughtful, well-acted film.  It's a tad depressing; but not nearly as depressing as "2016."

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, each of these movies is worth the price of the ticket.

Friday, September 14, 2012

An Eerie Resemblance?

Today I was trying to figure out what (if anything) to blog about, and I got inspired to post some artwork.  I must admit that this inspiration came to me after looking at some beautiful paintings by American Impressionist Mary Cassatt on Kate Harvey's "Something Ivory" blog.  (Kate is the wife of my second oldest son's college friend, and if you haven't discovered her lovely blog yet, you should check it out.)

Reading Kate's post today got me feeling very artsy-fartsy.  (Time out: you're allowed to use that f-word these days, right?  When I was a kid, saying that humdinger within earshot of a parent would get you a mouthful of Ivory soap; but I think the term is acceptable in this crazy 21st century world we're living in.)  Anyway, I was trying to decide which famous piece of art I could showcase on my blog today (which would make me a total copycat, I know!), when I stumbled upon this colored-pencil and ink drawing I did in 1992.  I remember that I used a photo of myself holding son #3 as a rough model, but I took a bit of artistic license with it (and by that I mean it doesn't look nearly as much like the photo as I wish it did).
But here's what made me pause when I saw this drawing today, after not looking at it for many years: the baby in this piece of artwork looks eerily similar to my granddaughter Bonny Babe.  (Even though she and her sister Kewpie Doll are identical twins, their faces have slightly different shapes, and I think the shape of the one depicted here is more like Bonny's.)

Okay, for anyone out there reading this who has met my cute little granddaughters, I have a question for you: do you see the resemblance, too, or am I imagining it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

DIY French Mani-Pedi

Last night I got home safely from Colorado, and I've been getting settled back into the old homestead (and anxiously awaiting the return of my husband from his trip tonight).  I didn't have the opportunity to blog yesterday.  I had a long, LONG day of flying--two legs, from Colorado Springs to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Boston.  I don't like the whole flying thing much anyway; but add in an extreme case of tear-inducing separation anxiety, brought on by having to say goodbye to those adorable little twin granddaughters with whom I'd been spending the past two weeks, and it was a sort of rough day.  It's heartbreaking to have most of the people you love so much living so far away, and right now that seems to be the story of my life.

But fiddle-dee-dee, I'll think about that tomorrow.  And instead of dwelling on sad things, I'm going to tell you about the mani-pedi I gave myself a few nights ago after the babies had gone to bed.

I have never in my life had a professional manicure.  I have, in fact, rarely worn nail polish on either my fingers or my toes.  I wore a color called "Pearl" for my wedding (get it?  Pearl?) so that I would have pretty bride's hands, but I applied it myself--and I'm sure it was not the smoothest job in the world.

I have had two professional pedicures now, though.  I had my first one, at 53 years old, during a girls-day-out with my daughter-in-law when my husband and I were visiting with her and our son--and those grandbabies--over the long Thanksgiving weekend in 2011.  I had been told many times how enjoyable it was to get a pedicure, but I never believed it.  All I could think was, "I don't want anyone messing with my big ol' size 9 feet!  I'm going to gross them out!"  That first pedicure really changed my mind, though.  My daughter-in-law and I went to a wonderful place with a spa-like atmosphere, and I left there feeling like a pampered queen.  I also left there with the prettiest toes I'd ever had, painted expertly in a nice Christmasy shade of red.

When I had my second pedicure, I was again with my daughter-in-law.  We were in Upstate NY for the wedding of one of my nieces this August, and the bride and her bridesmaids went over to the nail salon to get mani-pedi's the day before the wedding.  The two of us decided that it would be a nice decadent treat to make a little trip to the salon, too.  For some reason, though, the pedicurists who worked on our feet were a tad grumpy.  They seemed annoyed with us for forgetting to bring over the jars of polish we'd chosen before we got settled into our massage chairs.  They weren't particularly gentle with our tootsies.  It didn't seem like they were particularly enjoying their job that day (although why would anyone enjoy messing around with a stranger's feet?  I know I wouldn't!).  My toenails got painted a lovely gold, a color I'd chosen because it reminded me of Notre Dame's famous Golden Dome, but it wasn't as relaxing a pedi treament as the previous one.  (Regardless, I left a generous tip; I blame the tendency I have to do this on being an ex-waitress.)

Well, my lovely golden toes didn't really hold up.  Within hours of our return from the nail salon, I dropped a high chair tray on the middle toe of my right foot and chipped the newly applied polish.  (I also sliced the tip of the toe almost completely off, but that's neither here nor there.)  Within no time, the nail of the big toe on that same foot was chipped, too--I have no idea how.  "Forget it," I thought.  "I can't keep spending big bucks on pedicures.  I'll just have to figure out how to do one myself."

So before I left for Colorado, I bought a little kit at the drugstore called "Naileen French Tip 2 Go" for a whopping $4.99 (which is a good bit cheaper than the salon version of a French pedicure) and packed it to take along on my trip.

I did my toenails first and thought they came out looking fairly nice, if you didn't look at them TOO closely.  First step: I applied the fast-drying white paint to the nail tips with the applicator "pen."  Second step: I brushed on a few top coats of clear polish.  And voila!  It seemed like a piece of cake, so I decided I'd give myself a French manicure aussi.  I did my left hand and all went very smoothly.  Then I realized that in order to do the fingernails on my right hand, I was going to have to paint the white tips on with my left hand.  I am right-handed and not the least bit ambidextrous.  Uh oh.  "Oh, NOW I see why people get manicures at salons," I thought.  "It's all beginning to make sense to me!"

I persevered, though, "erasing" my numerous mistakes with nail polish remover until I had somewhat smooth and even-looking painted white tips (emphasis on "somewhat"), and then I added the clear polish with a shaky hand.  My left hand looks better than my right, but overall I think I was able to achieve a passable imitation of a French manicure and pedicure.  And it was all DIY, costing about as much as the tip I left the grouchy pedicurist in NY--with enough supplies left over in my "2 Go" kit to give myself at least two more at-home spa treatments.

Here's the final product of my poor man's French mani-pedi (I refuse to show you my right hand):
Oo-la-la--ca c'est magnifique, non?

Here's the two-step DIY kit that I used, in case you'd like to try your hand at this yourself:
Ha ha!  Try your hand!  Did you notice what I did there?

[Sigh.]  All this talk about nail salons and pedicures and such makes me a little sad [sniff], because it reminds me of my daughter-in-law, my nail salon buddy...and it was tough saying goodbye to her yesterday, too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Well, today is September 11, a date which--like Pearl Harbor Day on December 7--will live in infamy.  On this day, I want to give a shout-out to our brave men and women who serve in uniform, who put themselves in harm's way to root out and destroy the kind of evil that led to that fateful day when the towers fell in New York City.

No matter what you may think about the political motivations that got us into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there can be no doubt that the individuals who serve in our military are brave, self-sacrificing, and patriotic.  The hardships they endure--the separations from family, the privations, the constant threats to the health of their minds and bodies--to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country are Herculean.  These people are heroic, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.

My newly wedded niece, an officer in the National Guard who married and Army officer, recently posted the most heartbreaking picture on her Facebook page.  It showed a big, strong soldier getting ready to leave on deployment, wearing fatigues (ACU's, they call them now) and sitting on a bench, holding his newborn baby daughter in the crook of his left arm.  He was obviously in tears, covering his eyes with his free hand.  It brought a lump to my throat to look at it, as it reminded me of my son's tough goodbye to his one-month-old twin daughters.  He was on an Army deployment throughout his wife's whole pregnancy.  He missed the girls' birth in June of 2011, then returned stateside for a few weeks of leave to meet them and be there for their Baptism.  After such a short visit, he had to go back to Afghanistan to serve out the remaining three months of his deployment.  That, to me, is true heroism.  I don't know how he did it--I don't know how any of them do it.

I wrote a post about 9/11 a year ago on this date, and it says what I want to say just the way I want to say it, so I'm going to re-post a link to it here.  (I hate to use the lazy man's blogging technique, but I really don't think I could express what I feel any better today than I did last year.)

God bless our troops, and God bless America.

Here's the link to that post:

Pooh on the Brain

I've been thinking a lot about Winnie-the-Pooh lately; that dear "bear of little brain" is is on MY brain--especially because my darling granddaughter Bonny has a stuffed Pooh that is always in her crib when she goes to sleep.  Pooh usually comes out of the crib with her at wake-up time, too, along with her little fleece blanket.  And when she carries her Pooh Bear around (dragging her blankie, Linus-style), I am reminded of this wonderful vintage drawing of Christopher Robin and his silly old bear.

A sleepy-eyed, post-nap Bonny, carrying her beloved Pooh and blanket.
But it's not just Bonny who makes me think of Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.  Her twin, Kewpie, needs to connect with you physically from time to time; even when she's happily playing, she'll take frequent breaks to sidle up to you and slide down onto your lap if you're sitting on the floor, or she'll come and rest her head on your lap if you're sitting on the couch.  Oftentimes she'll back into you so that you have no choice but to put your arms around her and give her a squeeze (which--trust me--you'd want to do anyway!). The way she keeps coming back for affirmation that you're still there reminds me of this little snippet written by an absolute genius named A. A. Milne:

 Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.  "Pooh? he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand.  "I just wanted to be sure of you."

The day after tomorrow, I leave bright and early to head back home to my house and my husband, after being out here in Colorado for more than two weeks.  I'ts going to be awfully hard saying goodbye to my sweet little granddaughters.  But as Winnie-the-Pooh so aptly put it, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."  (I love that quote.  I've used it before in this blog...and I wouldn't put it past me to use it again sometime in the future!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I've Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now...

Today on my daily walk, I saw a cloud that looked like a squirrel to me.  Maybe I'm seeing animals everywhere these days because I've been spending so much time with my animal-loving little twin granddaughters, who are fanatical about all creatures great and small.  Or maybe it's simply because I'm one of those artsy right-brained types.  I don't know.  I often look at clouds, trying to see pictures in them; but then again, I'm often disappointed.  This cloud today, however, had a squirrel in it (it did!), and to prove it I'm posting a picture of it.
Do you see it?  If you're saying no, then you're probably one of those logical left-brained people who would rather solve a math problem than draw a picture*, and I'm going to have to help you out.
I wish I had a steadier hand using the "Paint" function on the computer, but I think this is about as good as it's going to get.  So, do you see the squirrel in the cloud now?  Or is your brain too left-leaning to see it?

I don't know, maybe being right-brained (illogical?) makes me see things that aren't there.  And just like the song says, I suppose "It's cloud illusions I recall/I really don't know clouds at all."

*(By the way, I envy you guys!  Algebra word problems used to reduce me to tears.  I wish I had more of your can-do problem solving ability--a trait I admire enormously in my hubby.)

For the Love of Books

My oldest son loved books when he was a little guy.  We couldn't read his favorites to him enough.  He had them memorized so well that when he was about a year old, as we were turning the page of an animal book he would be making the sound of whichever animal was coming next--roaring if it was a lion, mooing if it was a cow.  When he was two and a half, I listened outside his door (when he was supposed to be napping) as he turned the pages of an oft-read book called Honey Rabbit and recited the text absolutely verbatim, right down to the "he said's" and "cried he's."  I could make him the happiest little boy in the universe if I bought him an 89-cent Little Golden Book.  That child soaked up words and pictures like an eager sponge.

The three brothers who came along after him--bing, bing, bing, so that there were four by the time he was four--loved books just about as much as he did, and storytime was a big deal in our house.  I tell you, our boys made us read to them so much about dinosaurs that they could spout facts about those prehistoric monsters like a quartet of miniature paleontologists.  Even our fifth son, who wasn't as interested as his older brothers had been in listening to the words, spent hours pouring over pictures of dinosaurs.

It is so fun to see that my granddaughters have inherited this great love of books.  (Of course, they get it from both sides: their mommy, a lifelong book fanatic herself, is in fact a librarian!)  Bonny and Kewpie would probably prefer a book to just about any toy there is. Okay, Bonny loves Elmo and rubber duckies, and Kewpie loves teddy bears (bee-ahs, she calls them--with a Boston accent!) and rubber duckies; but I think if either one of them could choose only one plaything to have, it would be a book.

Last night, I was able to capture this sweet vignette of my boy going through an animal book with his little girls.
I know when people use that saying "What goes around comes around," there's usually a negative connotation.  But that's what I think of when I look at this priceless photo.  I also think of the circle of life, and how awesome it is to see my son (who in some ways will always be my chubby towheaded toddler, listening raptly as I read--for the four-hundredth time--The Boy with a Drum) as a father reading to his own darling toddlers.

And I think that life is good today.  Very, very good.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Glimpses of Heaven

Life here on earth is not, nor is it meant to be, Paradise; in fact, it can be very tough at times.  As the saying goes, even into the most blessed of lives "a little rain must fall."  Everyone has challenges to face, obstacles to overcome, and tragedies to endure that test the strength of their faith.

But lest you think I'm down on life, be assured that just the opposite is true.  Every single day, I feel like I get glimpses of Heaven right here on earth.

Here's a for instance.  This morning, my daughter-in-law attended a gathering of MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) that meets at a Catholic church about a half hour-drive from where she and my son live.  They are new to the area, so this was her first time joining the group.  There was on-site child care for the twins, but I went along as an emergency back-up babysitter, in case the girls got too distressed being cared for by strangers and needed to see a familiar face.  I wanted my daughter-in-law to be able to have a couple of rare hours of freedom, so that she could meet some other young moms and just enjoy herself.  By the time the twins were settled in the toddlers' room and we'd sneaked away while they were distracted by all the cool toys, it was about 9:15.  The MOPS gathering was supposed to go 'til 11:30, but I wasn't worried about being bored because I had a book and my iPhone with me.  I'd found a comfortable place to sit--not too far from the child care area--and had just checked my e-mails, when from down the hallway I heard the unmistakable sound of Kewpie crying...and crying hard.  I inched down the hall toward the room, listening as I went, and before long, I heard Bonny's familiar cry joining her sister's.  I didn't immediately rush in to get the girls, thinking they might be fine once the caregivers soothed them.  But their cries just got lustier and lustier.  By the time I got to the door and asked one of the ladies how it was going, she said, "They don't want anything to do with us.  We've tried everything, but we think they need you or their mother."  It was 9:30.

My story is getting much longer than I'd intended.  Bear with me; I'm finally getting to the part that has to do with glimpses of Heaven.  When the caregivers handed the twins over to me, one by one, they both calmed down almost immediately.  They let me strap them into their double stroller and walk them around the church parking lot (stopping every now and then to watch little "Sesame Street" and "Baby Einstein" videos on my iPhone) for the next two hours--without once squirming to get down, without so much as a peep of discontent.  They were happy and relaxed and smiley, and I was on a cloud, because all I could think was, "They really know their Grammy!"  Here is what Heaven looked like to me this morning:
Grammy's girls, in their double stroller.
As if "rescuing" these little angels and then seeing their happy little faces for the next two hours wasn't Heavenly enough, later today I got another glimpse of Heaven on earth when I took a walk around the small lake near my son and daughter-in-law's house.  On September 3--"Scenery to Die For (or Sing About!)"--I posted a picture I took during a daytime walk around this same lake, a picture that showcases the absolutely glorious scenery I was privileged to enjoy while I got my daily exercise.  Today, I took my walk at about 6:30 p.m., when the sun was starting to go down, and I got an amazing shot (if I do say so myself).
(Click on picture to enlarge.)
Isn't that view utterly spectacular?!  Between this vision of breathtaking natural beauty and the sight of the precious, smiling faces of my twin granddaughters, I got some glimpses of Heaven today for sure.  Maybe this life is not meant to resemble Paradise, but on days like today, I feel like it does.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Pair of Miniature Fashionistas

As you have probably figured out, I am not a morning blogger these days.  Mornings around here are a bit, shall we say, busy--and spending time with the twins is a lot more fun than sitting at my laptop anyway.  In a week or so, when I go back to my own house and re-establish my normal routine, I'll be a morning blogger again. 

It's about 9:30 p.m. here right now, and the house is very quiet.  Mommy and babies are down for the night, and my son is up in the living room reading (he's reading Finding Grace for the first time, as a matter of fact...gulp!).  I decided to turn in early--much earlier than I do when I'm at home--and I'm all settled in down here in my cushy basement digs.  Before I turn out the light, though, I thought I'd post some pictures I took today of my two well-dressed little granddaughters, who toddled around all day in the most adorable flower-patterned cotton skirts.
Aren't these two the cutest little fashionistas you've ever seen?  Something about those grown-up-looking yet miniature-sized skirts absolutely slays me (and their Papa, too) whenever the girls wear them.  The fabric flounces up and down as they run all over the place laughing and chattering, hiding from and chasing after each other.  They look so sweet and feminine wearing skirts, the very embodiment of sugar and spice and everything nice.

I could always just eat them up, but those flowered skirts make these darling little girls even more edible than usual!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Everyday Excitement

My boys are all grown up now, and it's been so long since they were toddlers that I had almost forgotten how much little ones make you see the world--with its wealth of everyday wonders, which we adults often take for granted--anew, through fresh eyes.  I've been visiting with my granddaughters and their parents out in Colorado for the past week, and here's the thing: when your twin girls are 15 months old, you don't have to go very far or spend a lot of money to make each and every day new and exciting.

You could plan an expensive and ambitious zoo outing.  That would definitely be fun for a couple of wee animal fanatics like my granddaughters.  You could pack up the double stroller, the diaper bag filled with sippy cups, snacks, diapers, wipes, and an extra set of clothes.  And let's not forget the sunblock, and a few toys for emergencies.  Then you could strap them into their car seats, while the pair of seemingly weak and helpless 27-pound sweetie pies squirm and thrash and put on an awesome display of their truly surprising strength and agility.  Even if the drive was a half hour or so, it is more than likely that all of your planning and hard work would be well worth the effort.  Squeals of delight would no doubt fill the air as you strolled through the zoo and looked at all the exotic animals that these curious and excitable toddlers had only ever seen before in picture books.

Sure, you could do that; but you could also take a quick detour after running errands at Target, and zip through the nearby pet store.  At their age, such a simple trip can be as fun as a barrel of monkeys.  Well, almost.  Here are the girls checking out the birds at the pet store yesterday.

The water park is another great place to take little ones.  But a trip to the water park with 15-month-old twins would require the same prep work as a trip to the zoo (see above), but with LOTS more sunblock--and having to apply this sunblock could be tough, especially if you have to apply it to a pair of squirming, thrashing 27-pounders with an amazing amount of strength and agility (again, see above).  I watched the girls having their bath last night, and it looked about as fun for them as any activity could possibly be--even a trip to a fancy water park with slides and sprinklers and all the other bells and whistles.  And a good old bithy-bath* is a whole lot less expensive, too.  Just look at the pure elation on my little Kewpie's face (right) in this photo.  She looks like she's having the time of her life.

Oh, to be a little kid, huh?  I love how the simplest things in life can give them so much joy! 

(*And by the way, is there anyone out there, besides my husband and me, who called them 'bithy-baths'?  Just curious.)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Scenery to Die For (or Sing About!)

Today while the twins were napping, I decided to get a little exercise, so I hiked along a mile-long walking trail that circles a small lake that is no more than a five- or ten-minute walk from my son and his wife's house.  When I got halfway around the lake, this is what I saw:
Isn't this the most glorious scenery?  Doesn't it look like a postcard or something?  I didn't take this using a professional camera with a special lens, either; I took it with my trusty iPhone.

I think I finally understand why John Denver had to sing about this "Rocky Mountain high, Colorado" stuff.  I feel like singing, too, out here smack dab in the middle of all this rugged beauty!  When we were hiking in the "Garden of the Gods" a few days ago, I allowed my appreciation of my surroundings to be hindered just a tad by the fear that a rattlesnake or a bear would pop out of the woods onto the trail.  Today, walking around this sweet little lake and looking at the piercingly blue sky, the cotton ball clouds, and the majestic mountains, and then seeing them reflected on the mirror-like surface of the lake, I forgot all about my silly East Coaster's nervousness about the Wild, Wild West and just felt utterly at peace.

The Heirloom Doll with the Sticky-Up Hair

When my oldest son was fourteen months old, my mother-in-law gave him a doll for Christmas.  She had this stuffed doll custom-made by a woman who specialized in creating dolls that looked like real children (as much as any stuffed doll can look like a real child...which is to say, not very much).  My son's doppelganger doll did have his round cheeks, his bright blue eyes, and his shock of Billy Idol-style white-blond hair.  By the time my son got this doll from his grandma, his fine, straight, blond hair had finally grown long enough to flatten out and hang normally; but for the longest time, it stuck straight up on his head, and that was the unique feature my mother-in-law wanted to make sure the doll-maker got right.  (We got lots of comments about our firstborn baby's hair.  The most hilarious was from a sweet old lady, a stranger who stopped to admire our little towhead in the mall: she pointed out that his signature zero-gravity hair-do made him look "very alert.")

I'm not quite sure why my mother-in-law--who was far from being one of those progressive types who believe that boys should play with dolls and girls should play with trucks, so that they aren't pigeonholed according to their gender--gave my boy a doll that Christmas.  I suspect that she did it more for me than for my son.  He did give the doll several "awwwww"-inspiring hugs during that Christmas season, but then the doll was banished to the bottom of the toy basket in favor of cars, trucks, trains, and blocks.  Eventually, I accepted the reality that the doll was more of an heirloom item--a decoration--rather than a toy; so I sat it up on the dresser in the nursery, where it would stay clean and unharmed and I could enjoy looking at it.

As the years went by, and God blessed us with three more sons in quick succession, this stuffed doll began to be subjected to all kinds of abuse.  It became the "rope" in games of tug-of-war, the "ball" in games of dodge ball, and in general, something to fling, pull at, undress and laugh at.  The crazy sticky-up hair didn't help the poor thing--after all, children can be so cruel!  (And little boys, I have found, are not born with natural maternal instincts, the way little girls are.  Mine, at least, had no urge whatsoever to nurture this bullied and beleaguered doll.)   When my little hooligans ripped the doll under the armpit and the stuffing started to come out, I mended it and then did the only thing I could do: I stored the doll away until the day I had a daughter or until my boys were grown, whichever came first.  I eventually had another son, my fifth and last alas, the heirloom doll Grandma gifted to my oldest son with such love and hope never had a doting "mommy" in our house, aside from myself.

Imagine how thrilled I was to be able to pass this heirloom on to the very son it rightfully belongs to when his wife gave birth to my first grandchildren, identical twin girls, in June of 2011.  Finally, I thought, here are two little mothers who will care for this neglected doll!  So far, the twins seem to be more into stuffed animals than dolls, but I assume that at the very least, they will treat it in a more gentle manner than their daddy and his brothers did.

This morning, I took this picture of my granddaughter Bonny (the older of the twins by two minutes), who is only a month older than her daddy was when her great-grandma gave it to him that long-ago Christmas, checking out the doll.
Not surprisingly, she seems to be very its wild and crazy hair!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hooray for the Irish!

This morning (starting at 7:00 a.m. here in Colorado!), Notre Dame played its first football game of the Dublin, Ireland, against the U.S. Naval Academy.  All I can say is IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE IRISH!

Our boys in blue and gold (and spiffy green, white, and orange cleats!) beat the midshipmen handily, 50-10.  For die-hard Fighting Irish fans, it was a great way to start the season.  It may have been technically Navy's home game...but c'mon.  We were on our home turf, dontcha know?  Playing on the ould sod, on the beloved Emerald Isle.  Navy never stood a chance.

                                   HOORAY FOR THE IRISH!