Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On to Essex - and Remembrance on the 4th to Mom, Dad, & Mr. Tower

Hometown USA ~ Essex CT! It's a ritual from childhood .. in order to go 'home' a trip down Main Street and around the docks is nearly mandatory ~ the car just goes there automatically! And yep, those same ducks I fed as a child are still there swimmin' around looking for a bite of bread! Next stop after ensuring all is the same downtown the car drifts to the cemetery .. beautiful resting place and gotta tell Mom and Dad all the troubles I've gotten in to since last visit, pull weeds, and make sure all is intact. It was a gorgeous day ~

Next .. the scary part .. going to the house .. and wondering exactly 'who' my 'squatters' are and what kind of mess I'll have to deal with. Walked around the back yard, the back lots, got some pictures .. and wandering back toward the house when a uniformed man quickly approached asking me if "I was a daughter" . . yep, that's me .. a daughter .. and yes, I belong there as the introductions are made with a neighbor I've never met .. and who happens to be a CT State Corrections Officer .. yippee skippy! As he was catching me up on Maple Ave events (another story in itself) ANOTHER man comes around the corner of the garage .. holy smokes .. who is that? Too much excitement! Chuck Tower stopped by on his way home from work - I don't even remember if I had the keys at this point .. but did have a nice long visit with neighbors and then off to Saybrook to see Laurie! ( And of course Thena and Casey ) Finally went through the house and it just gags me what people (strangers?) will do to an empty house .. aside from breaking in .. argh!

Laurie and I had a 'plan' of course .. too bad I had no communication at all! Cell phone .. no service and of all the flippin' times .. the house phone, internet, and tv all were out! Ok, so camping adventure for me! Errands on Wed that had to be done .. then we got to get up front and personal with a 'bucket truck' .. gheesh I wanted to go up in that darn bucket to see what it was like but that didn't work out! As we sat and laughed (too much) over a really nice lunch .. we all realized how the years have gotten away from us. I think we might be 'old' .. but not quite antique!

As the day went by I knew somebody would come looking for me .. no computer and no cell .. unheard of! We just pulled into the driveway .. Laurie was heading home .. and a car pulled up .. fist waving in the air .. busted .. it was Lovey and Sara! We all chatted in the yard .. when a big truck pulled up .. uh oh .. 4 females saying 'who is that' .. oops .. Chuck! What a mistake that was .. talk about a honey do gaggle .. can you fix the tv .. can you fix the computer .. the toilet is leaking .. oh yeah .. the phone doesn't work either!

We all went in the house and had a really nice visit ~ thanks you guys! Thursday was an awesome day ~ I got to do all that I wanted to do ~ then go to Class Night .. Friday .. graduation .. Saturday the movies (The Proposal) and riding around to all our 'haunts' from high school .. seeing the changes .. chatting as we strolled memory lane .. the do you remember's .. topped off with ice cream!

I've been home many, many times .. this was a very special trip. Nobody was sick, no trauma to deal with .. plenty of incredible drama .. and seeing / meeting so many people that I've wondered about over the years .. Kim, Barbara, Dan, .. always great to see Laurie .. and Lovey, Tim, Sara, Timmy, Julie .. Mrs. Cook .. and yep, Chuck .. a special thanks to a very special man for all you've already done and helping me with so many things (you have no idea the trouble you are in for) coming up!

Thoughts and prayers are with Mom, Dad, and Mr. Tower for their efforts in past wars/conflicts that protected us from our enemies and guaranteed our independence!

Stafford High School Graduate - Timmy Dillon

This says it all! June 19th 2009 ~ Timmy Dillon Graduates from High School!

What an awesome event! Not that I'm proud or anything .. (oh no, not me .. )but my nephew got bazillions of awards and scholarships .. all earned through his achievements in school and throughout the community!
This is a huge event that happened to take place on my sister and brother-in-law's 27th (I think) anniversary and they didn't miss a beat! Sara was in from UCLA and kept us 'grown ups' under control, and Julie was involved in the events both nights too!

Congrats to both Timmy and Emily! Best of luck in your college adventures!

Chester CT ~ Visit with Nana ~ Great Trip!

June 16th .. at the crack of dawn .. leaving for St Louis airport and heading home to Essex CT! This trip is always my favorite .. going home .. and especially when it's for a fun reason! I was supposed to leave late on the 16th .. but switched the flight to an earlier time .. too antsy! Then the challenge upon arrival .. how will I get in the house ~ all the locks were changed .. hmmm .. get there early and catch up with somebody who has a key!

Arrived early afternoon, and decided to visit "Nana" in the nursing home on the way to Essex. For the past several years Nana has maintained her age at a consistent 90 .. almost to where I don't know her real age! Her birthday had just taken place on the 14th (Flag Day) and she was walking with her walker down the hall toward me .. and got a huge smile as she greeted me! She gets me mixed up with my Mom so I never correct her .. I just go with the flow .. and this time the flow was following her to the community room where they were having a game time. Shortly after we got there .. Nana just kind of flopped over on my shoulder .. and napped for 30 min or so .. so sweet .. how many of us can say our grandparent has napped on our shoulder!

When she woke up, she was again surprised to see me .. and several of the other elderly people were begging her to play the piano .. and she did! I haven't heard her play or seen her play in probably 40 years! It was awesome! She played several hymns, patriotic songs, and then I asked her to play Yankee Doodle!

The whole room was tapping along to the music .. some were singing .. and I was so proud to be a part of that activity! Nana told me stories I had heard many times before but really enjoyed hearing again ~ recalling times from many years ago when she went out on the Connecticut River duck hunting .. how to get to the blinds .. Grandpa steering the boat .. shooting the ducks right alongside of him .. her roast beef with Yorkshire pudding holiday meal .. and several people that she remembered from Essex .. Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Adams, Mr. Tedesco and some I didn't even remember.

Great quality time with our oldest family member ~ hope she has many more healthy years and I'll do it again next time! ;o) I just love old folks and kids .. plus a lot in between ;o)

2009 Class Night Stafford CT High School

June 18th 2009 ~ Stafford High School (Conn) Class Night

What a fun time!! I've never heard of this event before (maybe too old to remember - yikes) .. but had a great time! The graduating class, their families ~ seemed like mostly parents, faculty, and some important board members/townspeople attended this function ~ and it was all about the senior's.

Although it was all around fun seeing pictures of these 'kids' from kindergarten all the way up through their senior year .. I was totally astounded by the talents of the senior's who did a variety of different skits/shows throughout the night.

My 'little sister' Lovey .. yeah yeah yeah .. supposed to call her Laurie but she'll never know .. had me in tears! She is on a quick approach to being in her late 40's and this is the first time I've ever had the chance to really see her playing the piano .. she is just incredible! I know this was all about the kids .. but without my sister none of these events would happen .. and I'm so glad I was invited to see the whole show!
The next highlight of the evening was when my nephew Timmy went up on stage, with another senior, Emily .. and the emcee said they were singing Scarborough Fair .. dedicated to Aunt Sara! Yikes .. on came the tears again! What voices .. perfect delivery .. and as I sat there I thought how lucky I am to have such a talented family to be with! I wish I could have shared that night with so many significant others .. and know for sure my parents would have really enjoyed the night. Wish I was better at taking pics!
Once the show was over all the excitement was focused on the following day .. the actual graduation was to take place on the 19th! The Class Night is a great concept ~ not sure if it's a local event or if other school's have something similar but if you ever get a chance to go .. do it!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Timmy Dillon Eagle Scout Veteran's Honor Tribute

Timmy Dillon, Stafford High School (CT) Class of 2009 Graduate ~ my nephew ~ and an incredible one at that!
I missed his Eagle Scout ceremony but can't tell you the pride I have in this 'child' on his tribute to all the veterans!
Way to go Timmy!
I have no idea how long it took to create this but each little star looks like it is handmade and individually placed .. of course as an Air Force Veteran I'm partial to this seal above all others:

Congrats on your accomplishment with the Scouts ~ keep up the good work!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tornado Approach 06-08-09 O'Fallon IL

What a day we had yesterday! Winds swirling around .. car rocking and rolling and I got pictures of the clouds on approach! I like typhoons better! Of course I had to take the flag .. and the wind was pretty strong at this point.

Most of the damage in our town was to trees, limbs, vehicles, and lots of small debris ~ I have a big limb down, the kids have a bigger part of a tree down, neighbors on one side have siding ripped off and hanging, the other side had a lot of shingles ripped off. Hopefully tonight when I get home I can do a better walk around and check for damage - but I think the tree is all I have to worry about.

Yay! Power is back on ~ food isn't destroyed ~ and we're supposed to have another night of storms! Best of all ~ the internet and tv work!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We're Havin' A Baby!

Wow! I was warned .. after all the weddings in May are done it's time for me to get used to being a Grandma again - and yippee!! Somethin' in the water out here and Heather's been drinking it!

So far so good .. only about 6 weeks along .. with projected arrival in January 2010. Mommy doing well of course ~ you can actually see that 'glow' that follows her .. and the extra spark in her grin ;o)

Doug's ready! When does the furniture get moved and how do we make a spot for a new munchkin ~ and I can't wait to see the cousin's faces when they realize they will HAVE a cousin! Don't think they know yet!

Marshall & Tucker .. LOL .. what'll they do! They won't understand having another critter in the house that doesn't look like a MinPin .. play like a MinPin .. and eat like a MinPin! Boy or Girl .. it won't matter .. just give us a healthy, happy baby and we're all set!

More to follow ~ seems like forever away but it'll go fast .. so much easier to be a Grandma ;o)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mom, Surprises, and Challenges!

Happy Birthday remembrances today to a very, very, special Mom. It's unreal to me that she is gone ~ normally we'd be chatting back and forth on the computer which she learned at the young age of at least 80 .. and having a ball! Every night we did jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles online .. as well as resolve all the world's problems .. ;o)

Since I can't share my stories with her today, I'll put a few here that I know she would totally enjoy! First of all, my Chris is coming home from his deployment and that's better than all the tea in China for sure! The spider bite saga .. where is my nurse Mom with all the advice on how to handle that durn bite! Got it covered Mom!

And gossip! Guess what I got! A gorgeous vase of 8 roses arrived yesterday! Boy did that create some raised eyebrows and questions! LOL! Back when the dinosaurs were alive (pretty sure anyway) a high school classmate of mine, Chuck Tower, was one of the 'gang' .. along with Laurie, Donna, Marcia, Kim, + all .. (yes, another Chuck) .. confused yet? After graduation, both of us entered the Air Force at different times and not knowing the other one did til we met again in 1976 on Guam!

Conditions were horrible! Super Typhoon Pamela had destroyed the island, no water, no power, and there I was in the passenger terminal doing US Immigrations checks on inbound passengers and viola - somebody knew me?? LOL! Many years passed and we lost contact, until recently Facebook allowed so many of us oldies to reconnect and my shock was complete when I realized both of us had completed over 20 years serving our country .. but sadly with very different outcomes - so I'm gonna try to fix some of them if I can!

I was fortunate, had tough jobs at times but very good supervisor's and experiences .. and I was recognized/rewarded through the years. Imagine my total disbelief hearing a peer of mine, not only a classmate but a distinguished veteran didn't have the same courtesies afforded to him! Mom .. I know you would have been outraged! Not to worry, got it covered! It is my pleasure and honor to be able to have a United States Flag flown on behalf of his honorable service to our country, and especially in my Air Force, at the request of a Connecticut Senator!

Where is all this story leading to? See the picture above! Roses are red, baby's breath is white, and there is a blue ribbon on the vase (camera challenged me didn't capture it) to symbolize our nation and say Thank You from a vet to a vet .. now I did take some liberties with the flowers (sorry Chuck, but hope it's ok) and know how much Mom would have loved (and giggled) at this story going back through all the years and the questions. Who are his parents, where do they live, across from Donna, is he related to .. LOL! Sharing the flowers with Mom .. she'd be 88 today! Thanks Chuck!

Hit Level 103 in Mafia Wars .. a game Mom didn't learn for sure! The Challenge I got levied with today .. is to blog more .. ok, Laurie .. here you go! Mountains and hills to climb .. always a challenge ahead .. who catches ya when you trip up ..

Rest Easy Mom .. I'll be visiting soon and I'm sure have lots more stories to tell you .. like the one that seems to have slipped out about me and spinach!!

Love to all ~