Saturday, January 29, 2011

I WIll Remember You.........................................

(Sarah McLachlan singing at the link below)

My daughter shared this quote with me from C.S. Lewis when this past November, she and her husband lost their baby boy at 23 weeks of pregnancy:  “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history…there is something new to be chronicled every day. Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape…not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn’t a circular trench. But it isn’t. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn’t repeat.
My daughter, my sister and I noticed when we were at the cemetary at my grandson Robbie's funeral that the gravesite next to my dad and Robbie's was totally decorated for Christmas (Robbie's funeral was a week before Christmas). We were looking at the teddy bears and ornaments and we noticed the date on the gravestone -- the little girl, her name was Gabriella, had died when she was 11 months old in 1960. The three of us were silent and then my sister commented to my daughter that it's obvious that families do not 'get over' the death of their we were 50 years later and family members were making sure that Gabriella's grave was decorated for Christmas. As we walked around the children's section of this very large cemetary, we looked at dates on gravestones and continued to notice and comment that 20, 30, 40, 50+ years later, so many children are remembered with love.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Suite Life........................................

......................that would be our family at TownePlace Suites in Chantilly.  Really.

Eighteen months ago, we arrived home from the most perfectly wonderful family vacation at the beach.  We had been driving for five hours, and Miss Eenie Weenie ran into the house to use the bathroom.  'Hey,' she says.  'Why is the ceiling on the floor?'  'HUH?' I ask.  'And I can see right upstairs to the kitchen,' she says.  DH (dear husband) and I go running towards the bathroom and when our feet hit the new berber, it is awfully spongy and soaking wet.  A few more steps and we are looking at wall studs, dry wall (no longer 'dry') lying in curled piles on said berber.  And, we look up and where there had been kitchen floor.......well, there isn't any longer.  Need I say that it was the end of the most wonderfully perfect family vacation?

We scrambled to make phone calls to our insurance carrier, Serv-Pro (Manassas) who were absolutely fabulous, and within the week we were informed that we would have to move into an extended stay hotel as mold remediation and removal was about to begin.  We were given a list of properties, we were told that repairs would take two weeks. DH and I went and looked at all of the  properties and the TownePlace Suites by Marriott was an excellent fit for us in every way.  We toured a Suite, were assured that our hound (recently adopted from Rescue) was welcome, and we began moving in.

I have mentioned, haven't I, that we are homeschoolers?  The kids and I loaded the Hummer with school books, white boards, maps, DVDs, and drove to our 'new home.'  Staff showed up with luggage carts and carried tons of books and supplies to our Suite.  And, literally, from our first day, TPS became home.  The Manager, Assistant Manager and everyone on staff went out of their way to make this 'home.'

As guests, we were treated to Complimentary Breakfast, free laundry soap, hot coffee all day, and fresh baked cookies every night at 7pm.  Yes, we became spoiled and loved staying there.  Good thing, too, because our two week stay was extended on a sort of regular basis, and we ended up being in residence there for FOUR months.  That's right - FOUR months. 

We were there for two weeks when the New York Yankees won the World Series. We decided to put scarecrows and pumpkins outside our door for Halloween.  They stayed out there till Thanksgiving.  We decorated for Christmas, put up a little tree in our suite, listened to firecrackers set off on New Years' Eve, enjoyed the Super Bowl, three major snowstorms and finally moved out on February 14th.  the staff would photocopy tests, worksheets and quizzes that we needed for school, the kids could sit in the Business Center and they would be monitored while they took tests or did seat work. 

Our housekeeper would knock on our door when it was rainy or snowy with a bag filled with complimentarybreakfast items so 'the babies' wouldn't have to go and get breakfast themselves.  How do you not love these folks?!

On February 14, we were sad to leave.  Glad to be going back home, but the people at TPS had been our family for four months as we were aggravated on a daily basis with shenanigans from the contractor hired by our insurance company.  We visited during the summer, used the pool, and even checked in for two nights over fourth of July to have a mini-vacation.  We were so happy to see everyone and they were happy to see us.  One individual, imparticular (M), told me that we liked it at TPS because 'this was like family.'   She was correct!

We stop in from time to time, drop in to say hi to staff and wish them a Happy Birthday, and on Wednesday night when the ice brought down a power line in our driveway and ripped our electrical meter out of the house ('press one if there has been an explosion' -- I did), dh's first phone call was to TPS.  Our friend, D, told us he would call in the a.m. and tell us when to come on over, and he did.  We arrived Thursday in the early afternoon to hugs and hellos and 'let me get you extra towels' and it did feel like coming to visit family.  Dh went down to the office last night for a cup of coffee and to see if any cookies were left.  He came back with coffee but no cookies.  'They only do cookies once in a while now,' he said sadly.

This evening, M came on duty and we saw her for the first time since the summer.  The kids rushed over to the office to say hi, and hugs were shared.  M touched my heart when she said to the Assistant Manager, 'The kids are here.  I'm going to bake cookies!' YAY!

Off the Top of Your Head..........LITERALLY....................................

Think about it.  Comment below, pls.  Is there a memory you would erase if you could?  If Pixie and Dixie are having it done, we are not far behind.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Would Like You To Meet The Love Of My Life....................................

I'm not trying to rush us here.......or push you into anything.  I know that this is probably only our 2nd meeting, but if this relationship is going to continue, you must be acquainted with, yes, The Love Of My Life.  We first met in Short Hills, NJ years ago....... too many years to count.  Then, about 14 months ago, I drove two hours to Timonium, Maryland for what was only our 2nd meeting, but an infinitely important meeting as now I was ready to commit.  I drove confidently to Timonium.  I was experienced, no longer would I feel intimidated or inexperienced when I faced the object of my affection.  Older and wiser, confident that now I knew my way 'around' and knew just about EVERYTHING that I needed to know...and what I didn't know, well, there are books, magazines and websites that tell it all.

FAST FORWARD to a few days ago.  My love and I were right in the middle of something when I whipped out the camera and began clicking away so please forgive me for my haste and  overlook that small-ish grey-ish area in the upper left hand corner,  Sherwin Williams Analytical Grey, to be exact.  Have I mentioned we are renovating the entire house? Instead, focus on the gorgeous 36" specimen in my kitchen! Scroll down.

Yes, he's nice, but he's not in my kitchen.   Keep scrolling.

Oh, I wish!  But, no, keep scrolling.                                                                          



HELLO, GORGEOUS!!!!!!! My brick red AGA Legacy 36" Electric Range.  Tomorrow, that fabulous Yellow Rice and Black Bean Recipe, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Tons of How-To Photos.  For now though, don't hate me because I own one of these: 

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's 17 Degrees Fahrenheit. The Wind Chill Makes It Feel Like 11 Degrees. What Does That Mean?

It's LACROSSE Season! And, no, I did not take a blurry photo......that is frost on the camera! REALLY!!!!! When your child plays lacrosse, you are either pouring buckets of ice water over your head.......ummmmm, sorry, I meant to say you are pouring buckets of ice water over their head - especially if they are playing Goalie and wearing all that gear - OR , look closely at the photo on the right. That's right, see the person wrapped in the green blanket. THAT is what we will be doing tomorrow. Wrapping dear M in a blanket so she doesn't get hypothermia at the field. ME? You ask. I do not need a stinkin' blanket....I will be in the Hummer with the climate control set at a toasty 86 degrees F. Someone has to keep the truck warm so when M's frozen form is lifted into it, she will thaw out quickly. Just sayin' in case anyone has the mistaken impression that lax is fun and games. Give Blood.......Play Lacrosse!
Hungry? Drive by tomorrow and see the fabulous Yellow Rice and Black Bean Entree we are going to make for a Homeschool Potluck (yes, we are weirdo homeschoolers), and we will make easy-peesy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for dessert.