Monday, December 22, 2008

No room for Mom...

It's official - the dogs have won as can be evidenced by their taking of the throne. Luckily, when I snapped this shot, mom was on her own type of 'throne' so wasn't too inconvenienced.

I'm planning on taking Mom out today (bundled up so she probably can't move) to get her nails done. Even though it's cold out, this is a very necessary thing! It's particularly windy here though, and she's fairly miserable when it's cold and windy. So, we'll see. I might become a manicurist myself. Would be easier.

We've spent the last two days making and experimenting with new recipes. John is the happy recipient and official tester of most of them. I made these cookies that I dubbed 'Crack cookies' for 2 reasons: 1. They're like crack cocaine - totally addictive and 2. You crack them into bite sized pieces. They're truly marvels, and I must stop the madness!

Mom, John and I bottled our first batch of wine yesterday - 30 bottles of red (Montepulciano). There was a definite learning curve in the bottling process; just ask my previously golden toned walls in the diningroom (good thing I have a dark wood floor....). Regardless, Namaste Cellars has officially bottled its first wine, and it was delightfully tasty, just as promised by the wine store that sold me the kit and starter concentrate. The 3 of us shared a bottle (even Mom loved it) and had to drink 'just a bit more' to even off the bottles - that's our story and we're sticking to it. I'm off today to get labels and design such. We had a lot of fun and are going to delve into a Chardonnay next, closely followed by a chocolate-raspberry port. Can't wait for that one!

Niece Monya and her family were going to come down yesterday but we put that off as, by the time the ice melted down here, it was sleeting up there (just north of Hagerstown).

Channukah brought some nice gifts around here. Mom scored 5 pairs of warm and cozy socks from John, along with a page-a-day calendar (that way, she will know what day it is). She also was the grateful recipient of many new warm, fleece nightgowns and robes. I got a beautiful ankle bracelet from John. We spent most of our time in ports last time on the cruise with me trying to score one. Couldn't find one I liked, but I positively LOVE the one he got me - it's gorgeous.

John received assorted items from me, including the wine making kit. I might have made a tactical error though in giving him a membership at my gym...he was a trainer in the Marines and worked my butt off yesterday at the gym. 2 hours and many sore muscles later, we were soaking it off in the hot tub but, evidently, not all of it soaked off as I'm sore as can be today. And, as I understand it, we're doing it all over again tonight - augh. Note to self: dumb gift.

Mom gave John a great book 'A gunkholer's guide to the Chesapeake' in preparation for our sailing trips this summer on his new boat, which should be delivered in March (we've decided that the official christening will be done in my driveway so that Mom can attend). Anyway, the book is great in that it documents (in great detail) the entire Chesapeake Bay, including isolated mooring spots, nice restaurants in quaint towns, how to approach the various spots in low and high tides, and, my favorite, places you can only see by boat. We're excited to plan our trip in June for my birthday - we're hoping to go out 4 or 5 days on the boat for a nice, relaxing vacation. I've already got the inaugural meal planned - lobster!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kids of all ages love making cookies!

So, this is Gert's contribution to the cookie-making activities. She calls it 'cleaning up' but I'm not buying it. We sure have fun in the kitchen though. And, she's much appreciative of anything I've made - I love an easy audience.

I went to a cookie swap last night at friend Kimberly's house. I was quite surprised to find that I really had a blast with her new friends - she's just moved back to MD (we missed you Kimmie!) and is integrating into a new neighborhood. Her neighbors are amazing! In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such an interesting, fun bunch of women. Most of them have dogs - 2 are fostering in fact - so I was already impressed. Victoria made the long haul up from Lusby and, as always, I won yet another $10 from her - did I mention I like an easy mark (ah....audience)? It's so good to have true friends around - we've all been friends since the early 80's and have ridden the ups and downs of each others lives. It's amazing to see how far we've all come - and, how far we all have to go!

Mom and I (and 4 dogs) are heading to the cabin on Wednesday, provided, of course, all goes as planned. We do remain flexible over here! I'm hoping to take her to the 19th Hole (a local WV bar which has 'gambling' - um, 5 slot machines). Sharyn will be in town and will stay with us on Sunday after Xmas so that will be a great time, as always. Holidays are fun over here with people just dropping by. Mom and I both enjoy the visits.

Mom's eye continues to improve but has periodic episodes of light sensitivity still - hence the Jackie O glasses. I think I can have some fun with this though with some interesting choices of sunglasses. We'll choose to consider her eccentric...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

To see or not to see...

...that is the question.

Had another follow-up appointment for Mom at the eye doctor's last week. Mom and I both noted that he was very very excited to see her doing as well as she is doing. That kind of struck us both as 1) either he didn't think she was going to do very well after the complication from the surgery or 2) he was covering his tracks by not telling us before of the possible implications. Interesting, to say the least. Anyway, the remaining stitches will dissolve so we don't have another app't for 4 months. And, the BEST part of the whole thing is that we're now free of the dreaded 4 hour drops! What a difference that makes in the routine of the day as we both were living in 4 hour increments. Now, she can sleep through the morning without me having to wake her for drops and I get to go out for longer than 3.59 hours! Yahoo!

A few days ago, she noted that she could see the tissue box out of her left eye so some sight is returning. She's been 100% blind in that eye for many years so the return of the sight is also meaning that she's light sensitive. She sits around the house most days in her cool shades - John says she's doing her Jackie O impression...

Anyway, her appetite is returning in full force, which is good. Her humor? Back 100% - whew! She's been cracking me up on a fairly regular basis again.

Pictures to the left are niece Monya's children when they came to visit recently. I actually took all 4 to the local playground (by myself!). They're great kids and easy to be around so that was a great time.

As long as Mom is ok, am hoping to head to the cabin to host a Christmas brunch for John's family - which appears to be growing! His mom and dad are here as will be his brother, sister-in-law and niece from Arizona. So, lots of people and lots of dogs at the Mansion West.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 3rd...again

Well, it's been 19 years ago today since my sister died in a car accident in Frederick. It's hard to imagine how life has changed during this time. Her children are grown with darling children of their own. My father is now gone but, thankfully, my gorgeous mother is going strong - well, sort of.

Mom's eye is still quite painful and will be until the rest of the stitches are removed on Dec 15th - that seems like a long time away. We had a tylenol #3 party over here the other day, chased with small shots of Harvey's Bristol Cream. At least it made her smile. We're hoping to step out to Atlantic City in the very near future for a change of scenery. And, Mom and Dad both have always claimed that nothing hurts you at a blackjack table - I can verify that, having spent a fair amount of time at a table with a broken foot...Broken foot? What broken foot??! And, Dad was never more limber than when he was throwing dice (and making his numbers!).

John and I spent last night at Brookside Gardens, strolling through and enjoying the Chrismas Lights. It was a beautiful night and we had the gardens all to ourselves. I had been to these years ago and it was a totally different experience - crowded, not much fun. This year, though, it was pretty magical.