Saturday, June 30, 2007


Kim sent this arrangement of exotic orchids. When mom went to Donatis to order the flowers, they were told that someone (Kim!) had just purchased their entire stock for an arrangement. It's breath-taking. And still a week later, perfectly fresh.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Pictures of Mae

Some pages from the little album I made for Gramma's 90th birthday. She loved it & kept it beside her on her little desk in the living room. Mom gave it back to me this week. :(

fresh flowers please!

The fragrance of a big bouquet of fresh flowers. Yum. Such eye candy - even if they're wilted & messy from being scrunched in the selt belt of the van. If I had my way, there'd be a weekly delivery. These were leftovers from Gramm's funeral, which make me happy. She love, love, loved fresh flowers - what to expect from someone who owned a flower shop, greenhouse & nursery for many years? I'll dry a few of these pretties and put a few blossoms in a memory jar.

This spot is usually a dumping place for junk mail, car keys and cell phones. This arrangement is the exact size and style I'd like here. More hydrangreas though. The blue tones with my accent walls were perfect, don'tcha think? Add floral arrangement to my to-do list. Check!

leprechauns spotted

well not actually, they were spotted leopards at the zoo but Cathrynn caused us to do that parental smile when she announced that they were leprechauns. And when we casually mentioned that they were leopards, she said "Oh right! Leprechauns are real people, not aminals." Ummm, okay for now. She's still six. And we let her say aminals vs. animals cause it's so darn cute and the last of her baby talk enunciations.

Sometimes the best days are the spontaneous ones. The ones were you insist to your spouse that 80% chance of thunderstorms isn't ideal weather for trekking through the rainforest with 2 kiddos. What did I know? It was a great day. It started as a lazy afternoon - even the lions were cuddle-dumpling on a cliff. One raised his mighty mane and gave us a lazy look before enjoying his nap. The elephants were a blast too. Luckily they were out in the fields 'cause the girls decided their house was too stinky to even visit. Two years ago the monkeys were such a favorite that we went back up the hill to see them one last time. Not this year. Liv could barely get in the door without gagging. It was a speedy trip.

Other great moments - Frank feed a peacock - Juno - crackers by hand. Cathrynn touched a stingray, had a deer sniff her and went into the petting zoo area with kangaroos. Liv hung back with me. We did get pounded with some rain - but used the times to our advantage - at the aquarium and later at tree house in tree tops with an impromptu picnic. We were so caught up in the moment that we didn't notice that the rain had almost stopped and the sound we were hearing was a waterfall under our shelter.

Liv did mention that it was her first visit there - we'd left her in the car the previous times. What a hoot - where'd she get that idea? I'll have to pull out the pix to prove her wrong.

Day 2 - no diet coke. Frank mentioned that I was so calm. Hmmm... was it the caffeine withdrawl headache maybe?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

why can't I cry?

It's over. Today was the last time I'll ever see her. I still couldn't cry, I got teary eyed but not the sorrowful tears I wanted for her. Am I just so relieved by her passing that I can't be sad too? Too drugged with Zoloft that I just can't do real emotions anymore? Am I at peace with her death?

Maybe I'm just numb. I feel like I'm moving under water. I had that surreal moment when I'd just passed the cemetary and realized that she was there. In a box. I managed to choke down the rising anxiety that engulfed me when Pappa died. I just kept driving and clenching the wheel. Thinking in slow motion. Quieting the hysterical thoughts of going to get her. And how inhumane it is to leave someone you love in a box on a hillside.

Tonight, I collapsed in the chair in front of the fan - the a/c decided to kick it again on the hottest days so far - low 90s and 83 at 11:45pm. Frank did the dishes. I wanted desperately to do something like creative like needlepoint or cross-stitch, nothing with paper - I wanted to feel the fabrics.

Instead I took a cool shower. So much for not being depressing anymore.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

stay tuned

I promise to have much more shallow and trivial matters on here from now on.

Shopped 'til the rest of the family dropped today (rookies!).

I just watched the sun set in a glorious pink haze as the girls played hockey with Frank & the neighbor girls. Laughter, lots of it. That's more like!

"one more time, DaDDDDDEEEE. PLEASE!"

Friday, June 22, 2007

seasons in the sun

"good-bye my friend it's hard to die, when all the bird's are singing in the sky, now that the spring is in the air..."

My 70's childhood ran the soundtrack yesterday. Edited to add that I don't think that song is the least bit appropriate for an almost 93 year old woman dying. But my brain didn't agree. I was cleaning, no - more like attacking - the house yesterday. I dumped the books off the bookshelf in the family room and was putting everything back nice and neat. Need for order when life goes too far beyond my control. On 9/11 I remember cleaning the base boards for hours.

To the casual observer, the house was ransacked by some crazy woman. When Sandra called for me to come now, but to drive carefully, I thought "I can't. The house is a mess." Perhaps my way avoid the inevitable. I was in the shower when Kim called to tell me firmly that I should get going. Coordinating the whole thing from Arizona.

So, I raced a thunderstorm. Numb, no thoughts just that damn song running incessantly in my head. Feeling the need for tears but unable to cry. Tried to prepare the girls a little bit. They were fine once they knew that Brad & Leah would be there. Vince and Caitlin were coming home from Uniontown, stuck in rush hour traffic and racing the same storm.

When I got on Route 50, the girls started double daring the skattered raindrops "Is that all you can do? That's a sprinkle! Let's see some RAIN!" As I turned up the hill, the scent of wild onions, Pappa's wild onions that we used to stop and pick, hit me and the tears started. I passed the cemetary and the tears flowed. We pulled into the drive and raced to the door with the storm at our backs.

I arrived at 4:20 and she passed at 4:55. When I said that I knew Pappa was there as I'd smelled the wild onions passing the cemetary - she gave such a deep ragged breath that I jumped.

She was always terrified of lightening and thunder, but they gave her passing some real drama. Lightening, thunder, generators blowing, awnings flapping, torrential rain, power outage. She passed in the dusk with the back-up oxygen. Her breathing went from the ragged breaths to what I've read described as the death rattle and I know why. I hope to never hear it again and was suddenly thankful that Vince wouldn't hear that sound. She passed with her family at her side, in her bedroom, as we said the Hail Mary and Lord's Prayer. It was peaceful and quiet, she didn't struggle and looked at peace.

Mae Marie Monaco. My grandmother. Rest in peace.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Olivia Mae broke my heart

I held it together all day. Getting the room ready for the hospital bed, making dinner, cleaning Mom's house, fielding about 50 calls. Busy, busy, busy.

At bedtime, after their books, I thanked the girls for being so well behaved today, especially when Pappy & I were getting the room ready and talking to the guy about the hospital bed.

Liv said with a smile, "when she gets better, we'll give it back". So proud of herself at thinking it through.

Breaking my heart.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Friends & Really Old Memories

So, I was watching Cathrynn & Liv play with Mallory, a sweet 10 y/o girl from around the block. They love, love, love the attention. And adore her. So, I try to keep out of they way of their games of childhood. It's like a glimpse inside my own backyard. Chasing, hiding, drawing, biking, no planned fun - everything just evolves.

Tonight I was in the laundry room, keeping an eye on them & glueing some beads to a box in a hobby that Frank thinks is ridiculous while there's still cleaning to be done. It's my sanity these days. I like the focus of it. And it's such a forgiving craft - no tearing out stitches... my oh-no's become part of the design. And more importantly, it's a time to process my thoughts, remember details of the hospital visit with Gramm, venture into the next few weeks and the end of her life & suffering.

So, in the middle of all that, I'm watching the girls and realize that Mallory and Cathrynn are the exact ages that Dee and I were when she was hit by the car. And, I'm suddenly trying to put the two of them in the same roles and make sense of it all. I really don't think about it anymore. The pieces are fuzzy. Why did we, the younger siblings, walk Kim to her friend's house? Why was Glady there right after it happened? Was she supposed to pick us up and babysit us? Where were mom & dad going that night? Why don't I remember mom and dad at the accident scene? Did they blame me and I've blocked it out?

I remember walking back to the house. It seemed like slow motion and there were people everywhere - parting the sidewalk to make room for me. To stare at me. Was Kim with me? Was I alone?

I saw Terry, the teenager from next door, and saw her tears for Dee. I don't think I cried though. Was I in shock? I remember going up to the house to pack and seeing the bathwater in the claw foot tub. Clean water, ready for someone.

I know mom came to visit us that night (was Kim with me?) at Glady's house and listening to the accident report on the radio the next day. It was either here or in a newspaper article that I learned that I was almost hit too.

When Frank was going to Pat for dental work and they were having fun, comparing notes about dating me, Pat told him that I was messed up b/c of the guilt I was carrying around about Dee and the accident. I was floored. I guess that was around 1990 and her life was really a mess. I carried my guilt way too long. It wasn't until she met Mikey and got married and started a somewhat normal life that I was able to accept that her life and decisions weren't my fault anymore.

I want to call Kim and ask more about what she remembers but no need to dig this all up now. Although she'll be thrilled to talk about anything that was wrong in our childhood. For now, there's enough crap rising to the top. Maybe later I'll ask and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the strongest woman I know

Gramm is continuing to be the strongest woman I've ever known. Today at the hospital was a totally different scene. She was asleep or maybe the morphine is knocking her out, it isn't a peaceful sleep btw. But I sat and stroked her hand. She tried to focus on me and the girls. I was selfish. I wanted them to be there, just few a few minutes. I wanted her to know they were there. I can't tell you the number of times she said how much life they brought to the house when they visited. Vince called about coming home. I wish I had the answers for him. He's at Caitlin's house in Uniontown and it's about a 4hour round trip to come home for her dad. He mentioned how we just got there in the final moments when Pappa passed.

She's not eating. Aunt Do was force feeding her mom said. Not while I was there. It wouldn't have happened. So, it will be just days I guess. Yes, she's given up. I'm in awe of her once again - the strength of those who survived the depression and were never the same. She's doing what I'd want to do at the end of such a long and full life, she's leaving us. Sad for us. Hard for us.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lemonade & Lightening Bugs

Summer days here in the 'burbs. Cathrynn & Liv under the umbrella selling really, really sweet lemonade. Frank supervised and they made $4.25. Later the same day, spent it all on veggie seeds and gardening gloves at the dollar store. Planted them with Frank. And then ran and played for hours in the yard with Mallory. At 10pm they were having dinner and we saw mini-fireworks in the distance. To exhausted to bathe - I put 'em to bed dirty.

Life is so good.

Pix to follow.


Frank's upstairs having his Father's Day nap.

It's hotter than tar outside so the girls are inside building blocks and I'm lounging on the 'puter. Ah - if I only had a laptop I'd be on the sofa. The pressure's off. After 3 long years, the Marine scrapbook is in the hands of the rightful owner. Dad seemed to really like it. Even took it in the hospital to show off. And Frank & Dad were both pleased with the stepping stones. Nice homemade, handmade gifts.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Got the laundry done & folded, vacuumed, scrubbed the kitchen floor and cleaned everything. By noon. This goal thing might work.

Spent the afternoon with the girls in the garage making the stepping stones. It was messy and hard work stirring all that cement but Daddy & Pappy will be thrilled. I'm having the itch to leave the house. I get wanderlust just for a trip to the dollar store.

Joanns it is - need some 12x12 for the Marine album. Girl must shop.

The morning you scrub the kitchen floor

will be the day the girls spill lemonade. It was clean for about 4 hours. Now it's beyond sticky. And I ran out to deliver the care package to the starving college kids and left the dinner dishes.

Maybe writing about it will get me motivated.
  • Sticky floor
  • Dirty dishes
  • Litter boxes
  • Laundry
Nope - not motivated. Funner stuff (said in my best Livia voice) :
  • Stepping stones for Father's Day
  • Marine Corp. scrapbook
  • work on mosaics
  • banana bread - yep, I'm my worst enemy. I bought some really nice brownish bananas. Was going to bring a loaf and a picnic lunch to the trip to Rogers today but I've got too much going against me (see prior list ;) ) & not enough money.
Now I'm starting to warm up. Goal - no fun stuff, even posting, until the chores are done.
Peeling myself away from the computer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Whelp, I've been a slacker. My hand's been bothering me all week and it really zaps me. I have to favor it, and limit what I can do. What a tedious hassle. And, at first so painful that I can see stars when I hit it wrong.

And, it has been a pretty sucky week. Gramm ended up in the hospital. The cancer is stage 4 in her bones, causing the broken ribs. We all knew this was coming. But it still takes you a bit by surprise. Just weeks ago, she seemed like herself. And then it all started slipping away. Bit by bit. Even Vince said when he got a private number call at 11pm last week, he thought it was me and news about her. So, everyone is squabbling. The family with each other. The family with the nurses and doctors. Yes, she needs tests. Painful, ridiculous tests. But, they've got what they needed to know now they just need to get her a bit better and send her home. Dad and I cleaned her room, threw away the old sheets, moved all the furniture to accommodate the wheelchair. I would like for her to come home. If only for her to die peacefully there. No more tests. She will need to go to a home for rehabilitation first. There's just no way around it. Kim's frustrated. I just get the big pix info. She wants details. And then, no matter what I say, she gets defensive or mad. I hate when those who have physically or emotionally left the family offer last minute lifeboats or second guess the rest of us. Pu-lease. I went today and mom & dad had ice cream with the girls in the gift shoppe. I tried to show them the windows of the maternity ward but couldn't get to it. Liv said she didn't remember that :D Cathrynn remembered that there were lots of windows when Liv was born. When Vince was little he used to say "remember when I was born and they put me on the table, and the walls were green..." after a while he forgot about it. I still wonder if he did really remembered his birth, if anyone could've it 's V. So, as this not so good week closes, I'm a bit misty eyed over life. Death. Birth.

I took V and Caitlin a care package of Pepperidge Farms brown sugar & cinnamon bread, creamy pbutter and peach jam, ramen, pop & $40. They were thrilled. That was some good pbj I'll bet... Was supposed to be my breakfast, but those college kids need it more than I do anyday, anyway.

Sweet pbjs.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Crochet. Learn.

Some of my earliest memories of my Gramma are of her telling everyone who would listen that she never wanted to die and to make sure everyone kept her going by whatever means necessary.

It seems the request was honored in too many ways. Not many of the people she thought would be making the decision are still around. She's buried Papa, her eldest daughter, all but one of her siblings & their spouses, and most of her friends. She'll be 93 on August 1st.

She was doing so well until last summer. The breast cancer was back after 17 years. She was as fiesty as ever - "I'll fight it for 17 more years" . She doesn't know but I prayed that she'd die peacefully so she wouldn't have to live through a masectomy. How would she survive that?We're busty women afterall. She did quite well actually. She is old depression era hearty stock - a real survivor. I also prayed she'd die when Auntie Ei died. Surely she'd never make it through that funeral. But she did. It made her more frail though. Her light went out a bit right then.

And here we are. Battles over bed sores. What is right? Who is right? Fights. Bickering. Cursing. Threats. Lift chairs. Pain patches. Motorized chair?

It seems unfair that shingles, a virus, would strip her of her dignity and health. The cancer didn't.

I have a lump in my throat & when the phone has mom's ring, I steady myself. Let it be peaceful & soon is my only wish. Let it be over. A nursing home will kill her. The decision is looming.

I never learned to crochet. I had time I guess. It never seemed like it but now I know that I never will, how could I possibly let someone else teach me???

Frank won't listen to me say that she's not doing well. It seems I've been saying that for the last 10 years. Well, I think it's true now.

Lazy Days of Summer

Yesterday was C's last day of kindy. She's already mentioned that she'll be in 1st grade in just 10 weeks. She got a perfect attendance award. She loves school so much. I'll be hard pressed to keep her happy this summer. She made a pretty basket for Mrs. Campbell - we stopped by Preserve Cottage and came out with a robbin's egg blue basket, verbena soap, tiny tlight candles shaped like cardinals (too sweet to ever use I'll bet!), a tiny birdhouse... And then a stop to the S&S - some pretty teatowels with flowers and a bird house, colbalt glass lawn ornaments, and a miniature rose bush. A yellow and white polka dot ribbon was all it needed for perfection. I'm sure she will never forget when she carefully carried it over to Mrs. C. The delight for both of them was real. Good stuff.

Liv's trip to the ped looks like a waste of our $15 co-pay. She's doing much better, and of course, it must've been a virus.

Off to the library. I stayed up until 3am reading & finishing The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I loved her effortless writing and true emotions. Believably real and sad. EDITED to add - Well, I just followed the link I put here. I am blown away and at a loss for words. I can not believe that Ann Hood lost a daughter and this story was about her coping with and the lies about grief. I don't think I 'd have made it past the 1st chapter had I known. As it was, I sat in the living room with a box of tissues and tears spilling all over me.

A relief after days I'd just struggled with E. Berg's A Year of Paradise. It was just too unbelievable. A waste of my time.

It is a glorious summer day - sunny, no humidty and only in the low 70s. I've been tinkering around the house all day & the girls have been playing dolls. Lazy days alright.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sick kiddo

When Olivia gets sick I worry. I keep dreading and fearing that a fever is going to send us back into the tailspin that was 2003-2005. She had a rash after a long day outside on Saturday. Sunday she was in tights all day, and Monday I did notice that the rash seemed more raised - a bit like bite - just as we'd guessed since she'd been in the grass all day + her skin is just such a mess - the eczema and bumps and bruises cover her legs. But there were only 10 or so of these bumps. Fastforward to today. A fever, chills, really cranky. So, does she have a mild case of the chicken pox??? I'm freaking. Did I miss it? The neighbor kids have not been outside all week - are they sick? Weird. If I take her to the ped tomorrow will they have to do bloodwork and will we find out bad news about her neutropenia? I've been waiting for this shoe to fall since January 2005 - our last visit to the Hematology Dept. @ Children's Hospital. Even Frank is worried. Now that's scary. He knows it could all be back again - shots, dr. visits, blood chks.

I just brought her downstairs - naked and shivering, feverish, refusing to take the Tylenol pills. She finally dozed off - asking for the gum I'd promised if she took the meds. No dice baby girl. It's going to be a long night.

Mosaic Madness

Have you ever worked on something too long and it started to look like crap? Not even looking like anything? When you say a word repeatedly and then you start to think you're talking jibberish? I'm at that stage. I'm tired of wiping the china clean and getting all gunky. I fell asleep wondering if I could pipe the grout around each piece! I'm glad I started on the small table. I'd have chucked it by now if I was doing the eatin' table. What I think I'm going to do for that is put a thick layer the all in one adhesive/grout/sealer and then imbed (embed? see neither looks like a word - that's what I'm talking about!) the stuff into it. This might just be another one for the what was I thinking? pile. Thoughts, comments and even more so - roll up your sleeves and join in help - are of course appreciated!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I need to create something

The moving process has sucked up my creativity. Sure I've been busy. I've had fun, but everything has a purpose. The drapery in the window needs to be split and made into two panels, the bathroom walls need finished, or the green painter's tape is going to be part of the decor. Most has been fun, but none of this is just plain old dabble with my paints and glue. I want to play with my stuff!

Today's goal - create something small & pretty. Maybe thank you notes for Dana & Darla?

Finish placing the mosaic table top. Maybe have it grouted and sealed for the weekend. Now that's a goal I could do. If I could just get off the computer!

Tomorrow's goal - work on the Father's Day album. I mean it. Not going to wait until the day before. Righto. New regime. Gotcha.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wildflowers & Weeds

Wild flowers & weeds from my darling C. If I had her hair I'd pray for rain every day. The more humid the prettier & tighter her curls. It was quite balmy over the weekend and she just cuter as the day got hotter. She's a sweetheart. I had her pix here but deciced against it. She's too precious - you'll have to take my word!

Monday, June 4, 2007


Nothing like repairmen coming over to get me to clean the place a bit. Frank loves to have company over just for my famous "big" clean. Vince is the same way. It's the daily preventative maintenance & attention that we're on the lazy side. I prefer busy, but Frank is really busy but still tidy so I know it's me!

So, on this rain drenched Monday morning, I've already vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed the dining room floor with a pleasant orange oil. I'm about to fizzle out. Veg in front of the computer mode is sucking me in. Soon I'll be hitting my favorite message boards, blogs, ebay auctions, and trashy celeb news. The SAHM version of the Monday morning water cooler.

Goals - gotta have them I'm told. So - stand back - here I go, at 42 this old gal is making some changes. Hereby declaring Monday & Thursday big clean days. Not that I have a maid in the wings to do all the other stuff, just hoping it will keep me on task. Unlike my usual ADD self.

Next goal - healthy eating and DAILY exercise, omg it took me 3 tries to even spell exercise, lol!
My goal had been to be Fabulous at 40. Then I lost steam and ended up even worse than before - Fat & 40. I saw somewhere that 40 is the new 20. Now we're talking motivation. I'm ready. I'm over setting goals like birthdays and reunions (although my 25th is next year, blech). I have a toothache pain in my leg - I laid awake thinking it was cancer eating away at me. More likely protesting the walk we took Saturday night, with a dash of rain induced arthritis pain.

Goal - scrapbook!! First - finish, er start, the Marine Corp. album that I gave to Dad empty three years ago. Then, use my space. I wanted a 4th bedroom to craft. Made it pretty darn charming and comfy. I keep telling myself that it's too nice to be stuck inside with the girls. Truthfully, I'm have scrap block. Too much time on 2peas oogling the new stuff & styles. I'd rather shop for new than use what I have. Big surprise, huh?

Summer book goals - hey - I'm on this one! 2 down, working on another. That's more than I read in 2006! Can you keep a secret? I liked it alot - a totally summer read, kept hearing Bridget Jones in my head but that's not a bad thing when reading on the back porch, sipping lemonade & margaritas.

Short term - goal - feed the girls. TTFN!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Morning glory

It's amazing how much has changed when we moved to this house. The deck is so peaceful in the morning. A breeze. The trees are bright and lush. Frank gets up and has coffee out there. We all straggled out to join him. The girls are silently watching the birds eat the bread they threw.

It seems like the townhouse was smothering us. Here we have room to breath and grow.

Lemonade in hand I head back to our own paradise found. With book 3 of the summer -The Year of Pleasures

Friday, June 1, 2007

They were Singing & Dancing

Cathrynn's kindy class had a year end musical review. It was so sweet. Luckily they did something since they totally diss a cute graduation ceremony like V had in kindy. I can't tell you that C was an energetic or enthusiastic singer - but she was tall and stuck in the back row & seemed pleased we were there (me, Liv, Grammy & Pappy) . When she had her line & said her name - she spoke clearly. Tomorrow I'm sure we'll watch it a few times with Dada (since he was at work today) .

Olivia's dance rehearsal performance was pretty sweet as well. They were all over the place, as 4 y/os can be on a huge stage. Heck, I'd be lost too! They ran through it 3 times with them. I swear we moms looked like papparazzi - the poor kids were probably blinded by flash - no wonder they were off their marks! Should be pretty entertaining.

Mom & Dad took us to the food court at the Village for my bday dinner - the girls were thrilled w/ their Subway. Then some shopping. Some tequila and picnic margarita glasses. Nice touch.

Vince remembered my bday and called me. He was out photographing for his final project. I keep hoping and praying that it all stays good with him.

Frank finished the day with a surprise since he'd told me he was doing my bday tomorrow. Nope, we were all sitting out on the deck enjoying the setting sun when he appeared with a pastry box. Now we're talking! Chocolate silk pie w/ huge shavings of chocolate and mounds of freah whipped cream for The Pie Place. How he managed to get it here w/out melting and then smuggled it in the house - I can't tell you. Big brownie points for the man!

Might have a sliver now that I mentioned it.

Almost mid 40s my arse!

This morning Frank sent me a text message with a Happy Birthday and the next one telling me that I'm almost mid 40s and still hot. Hmmmph. I was happy he thought me still hot - always nice when the person you've spent almost 11 years with - through thick & thin - although currently chubby, sigh - still finds you hot.

Speaking of hot. No a/c.
86 today and 87 tomorrow.

I intend to shop all weekend to avoid the heat at home!

Pretty in pink...

Cotton shirts.  Love 'em. Usually can't wear 'em.  Too tight. Pull at the boobs.  Or, shrink in the first wash.  And being a plu...