Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Chihuahuas

This was Cassie's first major family holiday. She was a bit overwhelmed.

In the photo above, I am holding Sissy, our shy baby. Wick is holding Cassie, who has a black muzzle, as if she has been into the chocolate pudding.

She did not get into any pudding or pie, but tasted every crumb that dropped on the floor.

Our daughter has a large Golden Retriever, Emma, and two cats: Boots and Spencer. Our son has a Boston Terrier named Oreo. Cassie wanted to play with all of them.

Some were more enthusiastic than others.

The cats stared, hissed, and finally ambushed her. They never touched her, but to hear her shrieks, one would have thought she was being skinned alive.

Emma wanted desperately to play. But one little pat from a paw as big as Cassie's head sent her rolling across the floor.

Oreo is bouncy and playful, and a bit closer to Cassie and Sissy's size, but still big enough to send either of them sprawling with one mis-aimed leap.

They mostly played with each other, as they do at home, slept in their bed by my feet as we played Settlers of Catan, and did their best to charm bits of turkey and ham from unwary family members.

Sissy spent as much time as she could wheedle out of me, sitting in my lap with her head tucked under my arm, shivering if anyone else spoke to her or touched her.

After three days with 14 people, four dogs, and two cats, Sissy was doing her happy dance as soon as we got inside our house. Cassie ran around excitedly, sniffing to see that everything was exactly as she had left it.

They are sleeping the sleep of exhaustion as I write, snuggled together under their fleece blankets, noses still twitching at the scent of the left-overs we brought home.

They have no idea that in a month, we will be doing it all over again for Christmas.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

Since I posted about my myriad lists, I thought I would share our menu for the upcoming Thanksgiving gathering.

We are gathering at Jeana's. Mom and Dad means Wick and me.

Wed night
: lasagna, salad and bread (Jeana)

Breakfast casserole (Jeana)
Lunch: sandwiches, BBQ smokies (Jeana)
chips with Rotel dip (Mom)
Supper: Turkey, Dressing, Rolls, Mac and Cheese, Green Beans, Pumpkin Pie (Jeana)
deviled eggs, pecan pie, fruit salad (Jamie)
Veggies and Dip (Mom)

Breakfast (Dad)
Late lunch: Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Rolls (Jamie)
Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggies, Cranberry Salad, Apple Pie, Gingersnaps (Jeana)
Broccoli Casserole (Mom)
Dinner: leftovers
pimento cheese for sandwiches (Mom)

Sat: Breakfast (Dad)
leftovers again, banana pudding

Sunday: pumpkin bread before church

And here is the list of stuff we still need from the grocery store:

For the roast vegetables:
yellow squash
tomatoes (cherry or grape)

For the cranberry salad:
1 bag fresh cranberries
4 apples
4 oranges

For the banana pudding:
vanilla wafers
sweetened condensed milk
cream cheese
cool whip

For the coffee, which we drink from morning til night:
flavored coffee creamer (I like pumpkin or cinnamon sugar cookie right now, but pick something you like.)

For the big Pipaw breakfast the kids expect whenever we get together:
Yes, there will be gravy. A tub full of gravy.
pancake mix for Sat.

I baked today for Sunday's breakfast:
Pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin bundt cake
Banana walnut bread
banana walnut muffins
Chocolate banana chocolate chip muffins
Two loaves choc. banana choc. chip bread

The reasoning here is that Sunday morning will be hectic, trying to get everyone ready for church, bathed, dressed, fed, and still in our right minds, so all these bread-like substances will be easy to grab and go out the door.

As my late Mother-in-law would have said, we will have enough food to feed Cox's army!

Six adults, four girls, and four teenage boys.

Too much food? Not enough? Everybody has their favorite thing that we just have to have. When we all still gathered at my mama's, the crowd grew to 54 people. We can't have quite the variety that we had then, with everyone bringing something different, but we do try to include the traditional dishes we all love.

The extended family finally conceded that 54+ people was just too many for one person's house, so now we gather at the clubhouse where my folks live. But by getting together with our kids and grandkids, we are keeping alive the tradition of maintaining family ties, allowing enough time to really visit, to play games, to luxuriate in being with the people we love best.

In the words of the old hymn:

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

May all of you, my dear friends, have a most happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making Lists

Holy Mama asked if anyone else is a list maker. My hand went up immadiately.

Do I have lists.
Grocery list for today, for this week, for stocking up, and for “when I feel especially rich.” Which hasn’t happened yet, but might someday, if we ever win the lottery.

A list of what I need to cook with for Thanksgiving, a list of things I am going to cook, a list of stuff I will make if I have time/feel like it.

A list of menus for Wed. through Sunday, showing what Jeana is making, what Jamie is making, what Wick is making, and what I am making. With an attached list of explanatory notes.

A list of stuff I have been meaning to take to Jeana, Jamie, the grandkids.

And a list of what needs to be loaded into the car now, tomorrow, and on the day. And a list of bedding to take. This is beginning to overwhelm me; I had no idea I had so many lists.

The great advantage of making lists is that at least I will know what I was supposed to do, what I was too tired to do, and what I forgot to do.

But making lists makes me feel as if I have already accomplished something, even though all I have actually done is make lists.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rainy Afternoon

We are still in the midst of a drought, according to statistics, which indicate we are shy 20 inches of rain for the year.

Our county and those around us have been under a burn ban for months.

But this afternoon, it rained.

The back wall of our cabin is windows, about 25 feet of windows, looking out onto the lake. It is so beautiful to watch the rain as it starts on the other side of the lake, and gradually moves over the water, like the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep.

Both our front and back porches have tin roofs, so we enjoy a symphony of rain falling on the tin and running down the ridges, dripping off into the earth. The lightning flashes, the thunder rolls, and we cuddle with our chihuahuas under a hand-made quilt, and watch the blessed rain pour down from heaven.

Let us praise His name for His goodness endures forever.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What a difference three years makes

Three years ago today, I was in hospital, recovering from surgery for four abdominal abcesses, and expecting to go home by the weekend.

Little did I know that I was just beginning a two-month marathon stay in hospital.

And another surgery.

And kidney failure from a bad reaction to the contrast dye.

And a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, with a heart four times normal, and a projected demise within 10 months, if nothing changed, or I didn't get a heart transplant.

And losing about a pound a day, because I couldn't eat much, and couldn't keep down what little I ate.

And four months of physical therapy.

And having to take disability retirement, or being in a wheelchair and then a walker and now a cane.

But I also didn't anticipate the outpouring of prayers and love from family, friends, friends of friends, and churches and people I had never met.

Or the constant comfort of Bible verses memorized in childhood and teen-age years, speaking of the love and care of God the Father.

Or the way our marriage relationship knit ever closer.

Or the tremendous sacrificial care I would receive from our children and grandchildren.

Or the strong unwavering sense that God kept me here for a purpose, even though I am still not sure what that purpose is.

God is good, all the time.