Saturday, June 11, 2011

I Think My Brother Is Coming To VIsit!!!

This is a belated post...I forgot to post it on my brother's birthday.  It was a few weeks ago!!!

I have two brothers…both of them engineers…both of them cute and funny.

My brother John’s birthday is today. Normally my mom would have called him to wish him a Happy Birthday…she would have sent him a dozen flowery cards and she would have cried and called him “my Johnny”. She might even have sung Happy Birthday to him over the phone and she probably would have had a tear in her eye because he was not at home for her to fuss over. When we were little and had birthdays tons of my aunts and uncles lived in the town that we grew up in. It was called McDonald…now older and smartier…we call it McDonaldland.

But…everyone would have been at our house for our birthdays. There would have been tons of stuff to eat…and a huge home made birthday cake with this white whipped kind of icing that I crave to this day. The cake would be in the middle of the dining room table and my dad would turn the lights off, the candles on the cake would be gleaming and everyone would sing. We would have birthday cards with money in them from all of our relatives and my Uncle Frank would always say it was his birthday, too, even though it wasn’t. That would be the way we would celebrate my brother John’s birthday. My siblings and I always told my mom that he was her favorite and it would make her so mad…not mad mad just funny mad. But I really think he was. He was very sick when he was born and I remember my mom just holding him and rocking him to make him feel better. He has a tiny little scar on his ankle from a blood transfusion that saved his life. My mom would do anything for him…she loved him so much. She always made extra meatballs when she was making her yummy pasta sauce because she knew he would eat 5 or 6 before we had dinner. And anything he did for her, she cherished. They had a very special sort of relationship.

My brother John was the sort of kid who was smart, funny and prone to injuries…many many injuries. He chipped his tooth when he was a crossing guard…we called them patrol boys at our school because he was playing around with the flag pole thing that he used to stop traffic. He was riding an antique bike that he was told not to ride and fell into our neighbors stucco house and had to have stitches…I found him crying in our garage with his hand on his head…he looked up at me and asked me to look at his head to see if it was “blooding” and I nearly fainted…he needed ten stitches to close the gash. He broke his arm when he fell off of his new two wheeler and I think he broke something else playing baseball. He ate spaghetti sandwiches on either white or Italian bread….OMG!!! My dad was always calm and cool and collected as he took my brother to various doctors and emergency rooms. My mom was the freak out kind of mom…tears first, admonitions that he was careless and then a race to the hospital. My dad was the one who removed the fishhooks from my brother’s fingers and the splinters from his bare feet and put ice on him when he got burned from caps and sparkliers…

My brother John was amazing when my parents both became ill. He would fly into town to give my sister a much needed rest from the responsibility of my parents. When they were still at home he would sit with them and cook for them and take care of the things they needed. He was patient and loving as my mom slowly grew more and more detached from us. When my parents could no longer stay at home and were in an assisted living home he would again fly into town and then visit them no less than three times a day. He would time it so that he would be there in the morning and then would sit with my dad for lunch and then help him back to his room. Then he would go back again for dinner…

It was almost unbearable seeing my mom and dad not in their beloved home but he did it for them. And again unbearable when my mom did not always know who he was…but he was always there.

My brother John was always my protector…he helped me buy my first car but then we had a huge fight when he thought he could drive it whenever he wanted. My dad was mad at me for staying out late with friends. My brother John snuck me into the house in spite of how mad my dad was at me. When I was in college and worked at a summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina my first summer, he gave me my favorite James Taylor album on a cassette to take with me. I still have a little wooden log cabin that he brought me from a fishing trip.

So…there always are so many things that make up the life of a family…we lived in a small town, went to college close by and grew up very protected. My brother John was the first of us to leave home…his first job was in Michigan and I still remember him sitting at the wheel of a huge UHaul van, with his furniture and possessions, ready to leave McDonaldland for his first adventure. My mom and I waved him off until we couldn’t see him any more and then we cried and cried. From that moment on he was always “ my John…the engineer”. They would save and savor and share his successes with all of their family and friends.

So…I am not with my brother for his birthday but my heart is. I know my mom and dad are thinking of their wonderful smart son who fulfilled all of their dreams for him.

Happy Birthday, John!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need To Go Home...A Review...

Why I read this particular book…

I love books about families and their dysfunctions and relationships. This book was in one of my favorite places…Vermont…and had families as its main theme. Adult children came home to their parents and the house they grew up in one at a time over the summer. They brought baggage that included children, husbands, pregnancies, career issues and infidelities. They all came home to their old rooms and old haunts and old friends. They all knew more than their parents did and yet the parents in this story…Ginny and William…were the ones who provided a respite and care and food and support.

Why you might want to read this book…

This book had delicious writing and lovely settings and reminded me of all of the times when I went home to my parents’ house…just because I loved it and my old room and that summer no responsibility feeling. Ginny and William love having their children home and just want them to be happy. Ginny is the mom who made raising her children her life’s work. There is a touchingly achingly sweet line that Ginny says to William…it goes something like this…they are my masterpieces and I don’t want them flawed. It was beautiful. I think she will remind you of “every mom”…she reminded me of mine. The old fashioned sort of mom who did laundry and cooked and almost never complained and just wanted to help fix everything.

It was a wonderful wonderful book.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Senior Moment...

Time to face facts...Lucy Grace just had her yearly check up and once a cat is 10 ...and Lucy is 12...a cat becomes a senior!!! 

Slightly freaking out over this...

She had her blood pressure taken...if it is high...cats go on the same meds people do...she wore an itty bitty blood pressure cuff...if it wasn't so scary it would have been adorable...


If it is high it is probably my fault!!!  And it was an itty bit high!!!

I must stress her out...

Good news is she is relatively ok...bad news is she has to get her teeth cleaned and she has slightly elevated liver levels...

According to our vet...this could mean nothing or something.

She has to have blood work again in a few weeks.

I might need blood pressure work by then.

She is my angel...she knew my mom and dad.

I will be googling this until we know for sure what is going on.  I just read an article that said cats should have milk thistle to help liver function.
Ordering now...


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bye Bye To Koko, Yum Yum And Quilleran...

I think that The Cat Who...series was one of the first series that I ever became totally addicted to.  I literally devoured every book in this series.  Lillian Jackson Braun died today of natural causes.  She was 97 years old.  I know she lived in or near Asheville, North Carolina for many years.  I believe she was a fierce cat lover.  I just read that she wrote every single Ko Ko and Yum Yum book by hand and rarely needed an edit.  I find that amazing.

I loved Quilleran...the main character who lived in an apple barn with these two cats.  Their litter box was a baking pan and he only fed them gourmet foods...again...I loved this series.

Did you sort of grow up with a series or an author that you will never forget?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Perfect Beach Book...If You Love That Sort Of Thing...

Brief Book Summary…from the book jacket…

For Ellis, Dorie, and Julia, a vacation in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they need. They rent a rambling old beach house from the mysterious Ty Bazemore, who is also at a turning point in his life, and prepare for a month of rest, relaxation and reconnecting.

Their plans for a peaceful summer are interrupted when they meet up with Maryn Shackleford, a woman on the run who desperately needs their help. Soon Ellis and Julia and Dorie, Ty and Maryn will question everything they thought they knew about life as they drift towards a much needed sea change, and uncover the healing power of friendship and forgiveness.

My thoughts…

Hmmm…yum…sigh…those are my sounds of sheer reading contentment while reading this lovely book. What is it about summer reading? Like shedding heavy clothes…for light cottons and linens and other breezy fabrics…this book was a voyage of sheer contentment. It had everything I love in a summer beach book without losing substance. These women in their mid-thirties truly needed to decide what they were going to do with the rest of their lives. Ellis has been released from her banking job. Julia is tired of maintaining what she has to do to continue modeling, Dorie is at a difficult part of her marriage and Maryn is just in danger…then we throw in Ty…who has also lost his career and is trying desperately to hang on to Ebb tide…the house the women are renting and that has been in his family for generations.

All of the above is fun and a bit tense and there is some mystery as Mary Kay Andrews draws us in to this month in August in this rundown ramshackle but lovely old beach house.

I wanted to be there…I wanted to know them…I wanted days on the beach with a cooler full of icy drinks. I wanted Karaoke nights in the local bar sipping drinks and just hanging with old friends. I wanted sand and night time beach walks and fried grouper and wet towels and everything that goes with a vacay in the Outer Banks.

I have to say that I am new to the writings of Mary Kay Andrews…I have not read any of her books before. I loved this book. I love her wit and her humor and her writing style. This is a not to be missed book. It was excellent. I am only sad that I didn’t save it for later in the summer. I read it too fast and before I knew it…this lovely delightful book was over before I wanted it to be.

But it was just too much fun to savor and read slowly. This is definitely the perfect summer book.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Great Summer Reading...

Just because I am such a list maker...I couldn't resist this one...clicking on this link will get you to one more list of not to be missed summer books.

I am really into summer reading...I can't seem to start the summer without a stack of beachy books...Cape Cod, Nag's Head, really doesn't matter.  They all give me that sand on your toes sunny feeling.  The problem that I have is spacing them out...rather than reading one after another after another after another. 

How do you feel about choosing what you read in the summer?