Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

It is Thanksgiving Day and I want to be sure I give thanks. I have posted previously about the people in my life I appreciate: friends, sisters, brothers, sons. I want to jump to the top of the list to make sure I mention my DSH. He will not be happy if I go on and on about him, but I do want it known that he is my #1 blessing.

We spent a quiet day together today. We ate a spectacular meal from the Thanksgiving buffet at the Sunset Grill, on Tampa Bay. The menu included the usual turkey and fixings, plus stuffed fish, steak, ham, soup, salad bar, appetizers, and desserts. I did not have to eat turkey, but DSH was able to get the dark meat he likes. Low carb diet today? I do not think so! I was sufficiently stuffed when we left.  I appreciated not having to cook a turkey with all the mess (and leftover meat for days). I have extra pies from Publix  here at home for us, too. Because I do not mind having leftover pie. Thanksgiving has always meant pies and family. I couldn't have my kids with me, but I got pie!

After we left the restaurant, we walked around the marina nearby. Turns out there were a couple of boats for sale there. When we got back, DSH spent hours on the Internet researching similar boats. One of the dreams DSH has had for retirement involves owning a boat. Originally he was thinking a sailboat. I think that taking sailing lessons together would be neat. I also love the idea of traveling the intercoastal waterway or exploring along the coast of the US. I have no idea if we can afford this, but it's fun to dream. When we were first married we would go to boat shows and pretend we were boat owners. Now DSH is thinking about the possibility of a smaller boat, for fishing the local rivers and bays. I do not relish this idea so much, but if it makes him happy, I can be ok with it. (One of the boats we saw for sale today was a really nice fishing boat that I could be happy on. It cost more than our present house, however.)

The newspaper today had  over 4 inches deep of sales ads for today and tomorrow. (In contrast, the news part was maybe an inch) I am so grateful that I do not need to get anything badly enough that I would feel compelled to hit the sales on Black Friday. It is so nice to not need anything. But what about Christmas gifts for others, you ask? They will get gift cards or handmade items.

In closing, I just have to say I am very thankful for my DSH and the life we have together. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kitchen Plans

DSH and I are hoping to get a make over for our kitchen. It still has the 1960s cabinets, counters, and stovetop, but somewhat newer appliances, although both black and white. I have been searching the internet for pictures of remodels hoping to get ideas. My friend, Sylvie back in VB, just redid her kitchen and was gracious to talk me through her planning process as well as posting pictures of the new kitchen on her Facebook page. I am beginning to feel more confident about going forward. DSH and I were having heated discussions about how much demo would be needed to make me happy. He wanted valid reasons for my choice to tear out the existing soffits and get tall cabinets to the ceiling and I finally figured out the main reason was that that's the look I like. Then he showed me a cartoon that was in this morning's paper. I will keep you informed of things as they progress.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brothers are blessings, too.

God gave me 4 brothers. My oldest brother Dennis I will meet someday in heaven, as he died when he was 10 before I was born. My mom once told me she thought he had been reincarnated in me because we were so much alike. He had already decided to become a priest along with his best friend, who I believe did go on to do that, and I liked dropping in to the church on my way to or from school. I even considered becoming a nun until my catechism sister told me she wasn't allowed to wear shorts even in the summer. My mother also told me that Dennis and I shared the ridiculous behavior of sharing a lollipop with our dog-you know, as in, lick for me, lick for you, lick for me etc...yuck!

My second oldest brother Mike is also in heaven now, having passed away in November of 2007. We shared something too: cancer. And not just cancer, but the same kind of cancer, that of the gall bladder. I was told by my doctor that it is a very rare cancer and so unheard of in siblings that the pathologist was considering writing a report in a medical journal. It is because of Mike that I did not put off going to the hospital with the first painful gall bladder attack. He also made sure I saw my primary care doctor to follow up my initial gall bladder surgery (in July 2007, routine biopsy found  the cancer) with further testing to see if there was still cancerous cells in my body. The surgeon who had removed the gall bladder and told me of the test results also said,"Good news, the cancerous organ was removed so you are cancer free." WRONG! So thank you, Lord, for putting Mike's illness before mine to warn me of the danger. I am also thankful for having Mike as a big brother for all the summers I had at his home in the woods by the pond. Mike also filled in for my dad, walking me down the aisle at my wedding, and well, just being there whenever I needed him.

Next in line is my brother Bill. A teen when I was young, Bill was busy with school, work, and girlfriend. But I do remember him catching grass snakes for me to play with and always having really neat firecrackers on the 4th of July. Bill and his family moved in with Mom after Dad passed away, making it possible for her to stay in the family home for many more years,and keeping her "young" with little grandkids around her. I am thankful to him for that. It is neat to visit Bill, although I don't do it often enough, because of all my brothers, he reminds me of my father the most.

Then there is my brother Frank. He was the brother who was difficult to follow in high school, because I would hear, "He's  your brother? Oh, oh! Not another one!" Never heard that about my other sibs...hmmm. When I was young, 8 to 10 years old, Frank and I were given singing lessons, thanks to my grandfather. So once a week or so, we would travel together to an old court house and listen to each other sing. I don't think he remembers these sessions, or that I was the sister  there, but I remember thinking how wonderfully he sang and how I wanted to be like him. He still sings beautifully, I think. Frank and my sister in law Aggie were there for Mom when she needed assisted living arrangements. They opened their home to her where Aggie fed her well and Frank provided Scrabble games on demand, and they assured her that her faith in Jesus alone would get her to heaven. Frank also reminds me of my grandfather and my oldest son. Don't ask me why-just a feeling I always get. It's a good connection that I am thankful to have.

I have four sons who, I am thankful to see, have a good relationship between them. In fact, I found out years later, that the oldest three, all born within 3 years, formed a "gang" of sorts to support each other when being disciplined. "No brother left behind" or "no one snitches on a brother" sort of thing. I found this out when I was telling them how I never saw them bickering like other siblings. Even as teens, they hung out together. Of course #4 was treated more like the baby brother, but now as adults, even though miles separate them, they still keep in touch.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me brothers and sons to love.

Friday, November 16, 2012


So I am still counting my blessings leading up to Thanksgiving Day and I have to mention that my sisters are definitely on my list. I have three and they each add something special to my life. I do not think there is anything I could ask from each of them that they would say no to.

Lou is the sister closest in age to me. We grew up fighting each other for our parents' and older siblings' attention, but once we grew up and became mothers ourselves the fighting stopped. We both married Navy men and ended up living in the same city. It was great having her close enough to visit and just chat about nothing in particular. She was there when my kids were growing up and I loved how she loved them just because they were my kids. I only hope I have shown her kids the same love and kindness. Actually, all three of my sisters have been that way about my kids, but Lou was there with us when they were growing up, so she was the first to hear about all their "adventures" good and bad. Being in Florida now and not in the same city, I miss seeing her whenever I wanted to stop for coffee and to play a game of Scrabble. She also had great holiday dinners in her home that I still hope to get to one of these years.

Lou (standing) and Jo at Trulee's wedding, 2008
 Jo is the middle sister for me. Some of my favorite memories growing up involve tagging along with her and her teenage friends to school events. I remember going with her to the little "hang out" restaurant near the high school where she would let me pick songs on the jukebox.(Music from the 50s and 60s are still some of my listening favorites.) Jo also brought me to every Disney movie that was playing in town. I think I got my love for the movies and TV dramas from her. She has a wonderful husband, Dave who also has been there for me whenever I needed him. I love that I can talk to Jo about books, TV, and movies whenever something new (or old) catches my attention. If it wasn't for Jo, I would not have met my husband,  and, because that worked out so well, I am eternally grateful to her.

Then there is Angie, my oldest sister. DSH refers to her as my twin sister born ten years earlier. There have been times when he swears it's me talking about something, only to realize it is Angie. I called her one day to say I had become a demonstrator for a stamp company, and she laughed and said, "I just signed my contract, too!" I will be thinking about her and she will call right then. So we have a special connection, that's for sure. She is the reason I became a teacher and the reason I moved here to Florida.  After we figured out our cell phone company didn't charge for calls between us, we began calling each other at least once a day, so it was only logical that I would move closer to her after we retired. We stamp together, attend aquatics together, shop together, visit museums together,  go out to eat together, and still have a list of places we want to see together.
Lou, me, Angie, and Linda July 2009

While searching for pix to put on this page, I found the one above that included my dear sister-in-law Linda. I want to include her here on my list of blessings for which I am thankful. The in law part is only a technicality, as she has been part of my life since I was very little. Fortunately for me, she lived (and still lives) on a pond where her family owned a campground. So many summers were spent visiting her and my brother Mike where I got to fish with boloney as bait, swim, and generally hang out in the woods. Maybe my love for the environment came from hanging around with her. Her son, Mike was the first kid entrusted to me for baby sitting, too. My brother has passed away, but Linda will always be my sister emeritus!

Frank, Dave, Tim, and Don
Another of the blessings of having sisters are brothers in law. Here's a picture of the 4 of them together, including my DSH. I am also grateful that our husbands enjoy each others company and share common interests as well. They belong to an exclusive club, The LODGE!
(Lovers of Derocher Girls Exclusively)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Feeling Better

I am feeling better this morning. First of all, my foot feels more like it was just bruised, not broken, as I can walk on it without as much pain as the previous two days. Secondly, I am happy with the outcome of the presidential election and optimistic that the country is going to come together again. I watched the election coverage all evening, going to bed only after hearing Mr. Romney's concession speech  and Mr. Obama's victory speech. You know, whenever they went to the Romney campaign party in Boston, I was dismayed to see an audience whose faces did not reflect the faces of our country. In contrast, the faces at the Obama campaign party in Chicago did show the diversity that our country has come to be. I hope that the two houses in Congress have figured out that we need to work together to bring about change for the better. I believe President Obama when he said he will get this done. Everyone needs to continue to pray for our country, too, whether you are happy with the election or not.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You don't know what you've got till it's gone...

One of my favorite songs from my college days was Joanie Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" and the line that starts, "Don't it always seems to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone." I guess that's what I have been going through these  past couple of days and the thing I didn't think much about having was mobility, that is moving quickly and easily without pain. I did something stupid Sunday night. I was on my way to bed and instead of taking the extra steps to turn out the hall light, I walked quickly through the dark, jamming my foot hard on the corner of the baseboard. I crawled into bed, but did not sleep well because even the blanket hurt on my foot. In the morning I could see I may have badly bruised or maybe even broken a small bone in my toe or foot. Time will tell how bad it is. Yesterday morning I needed a walking stick to get around, but by afternoon I was able to put some weight on my foot. Today I am trying to wear a slipper and that is causing a little more discomfort, but I can put weight on it. I am much slower than usual however and going to dance in my Zumba class on Thursday is probably not gonna happen.

I have been counting my blessings this month in anticipation of Thanksgiving Day. Today I am adding my good health to my list, even though little blips like this foot thing happen. I am cancer free. I take no prescribed drugs for problems family and friends have. I am pain free (most days). And my thinking is clear(do not ask my DSH about this tho' as his opinion may differ!)

For those of you who have not heard Joni sing this song, or for those fans like myself here's the you tube video:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Counting Blessings

This is the month when we are reminded to count our blessings and my friends are definitely on that list. First of all, the fact that I have so many, as well as the ability to make new friends, is a blessing that I do not take for granted. There are a few who I am especially grateful to call friends.

Julie and Diane are two of my of my long time friends who have remained close in spite of the miles that separate us. Our faith in Christ brought us together many years ago. Then having children the same age, boys especially, I think was the glue that held us together. They have been there for me during the good times and bad, loving me and my kids no matter what. They shine the light of Christ's love in the way they live. They make me want to be a better person, too.

Beth is my best bud that I left back in Virginia. Again, our faith brought us together, having met at church when she joined my tone chimes group. Her daughter and my #4 son are the same age. She helped fill that  spot in my heart when Diane and Julie were no longer nearby. Our love for pop culture, movies and TV shows has been the glue that held us together. I laugh often when I am with her although others may not get what we find funny. We stay connected through texting and Words with Friends. I have my Kindle Fire and Justified addiction because of Beth. Beth is a few years younger than me, but I hope she will consider moving to FL when she is old enough to move into my community. I miss her company, especially when movies come out that I want to see with her.

I have made new friends here. I hope that I can be a blessing in their lives as much as Julie, Diane, and Beth have been in mine.