Wednesday, March 27, 2013

be back soon

I'm back home.
Back from a week in the air, on the road, changing diapers, playing with baby and toddler girls, and dodging rock slides.
It feels oh so good to be home!

I'm anxious to be back here. Soon.
For now, I need some sleep, so sleep wins out over writing.

See ya!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

sisterhood of the traveling Hallers

Well, life got a little crazy. And speaking of travel (last post) ... here I go again. I can't explain it all yet, but I might be needing to stick close to home for awhile and I definitely needed a little granddaughter fix. Yesterday afternoon, in a matter of about one hour, I'd planned a convoluted trip. It will involve two road trips and one flight, beginning tomorrow morning.
Along with that, Katie's heading back home from Charlotte for a few weeks. Bill was opting to stay home and suggested I fly. But when I checked flights to Charlotte and found lousy connections and prices from Columbus, Ohio, plan B was hatched.

Hmmm, how about flights to the D.C. area, where son Mark and his wife Jill live? Well what do ya know, it was about the cheapest place to fly at the last minute, so I called Jill and asked what she thought about a spontaneous trip to Charlotte.

"How about if I fly to D.C. (Baltimore, actually) on Wednesday, and we drive to Charlotte on Thursday?" She seemed excited, checked with Mark, and it's a go! Lily was babbling in the background, so I take it she's quite excited, too. Any young woman who agrees to a road trip with her mother-in-law is pretty brave in my book. I told Jill we are Naomi and Ruth, off to Moab!

So I have less than 24 hours to finish up stuff at home, pack, get some sleep, and get to the airport for a 7 a.m. flight tomorrow. Jill and Lily will pick me up and on Thursday we'll head for Charlotte. After a few wild days filled with toddler mayhem, Katie and I will drive home.

Spontaneity. Sometimes I embrace it ... we'll see how this goes. My laptop is old, slow and clunky, so I won't be taking it along. Hang on til next week when I check back in. Off I go!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

fly the hilarious skies

A couple of weeks ago, I made the trip to Nashville to visit my dad. But this time I traded the 7-hour drive for a one-hour flight. Fortunately for me, I flew Southwest Airlines.

The flight was packed. In agonizing slowness, the passengers finally were seated. Why don't more people check their bags? It's FREE on Southwest. I guess folks are carrying highly valuable belongings because they insist on hauling it all into the cabin.

Once settled, our show began. As the flight attendants demonstrated the emergency oxygen equipment, the one speaking said, "if your do all this and yours doesn't work, I'm sorry. It just wasn't your day." The plane erupted in laughter.

She followed up with, "if you're traveling with small children ... what on earth were you thinking?" I loved that one. I always wonder why airlines instruct "parents traveling with young children" to board first? To me, it's best to board last and get off first when traveling with squirrely kids. In fact, why not board everyone from back to front and seat parents and kids in the bulkhead?

They were just warming up. The lights dimmed as we taxiied and a sultry, male voice floated over us: "You're getting sleepy. You're not thirsty, and peanuts give you gas." Wow.

The first flight attendant then reminded us, "there's no smoking permitted on this aircraft, and not in the lavatory, either. If we find you smoking, you'll be asked to step out on the patio where you'll view our feature film, "Gone With The Wind." By now people were howling.

Finally, as we landed and were told where to make flight connections, the flight attendant said, "and if you're connecting to another airline, we don't care about you. Now get off!"

Air travel can be stressful and monotonous. But this wasn't my first fun experience with Southwest. Choose them next time you fly; you might have a special treat!

Monday, March 11, 2013

dreaming ...

By the time I reached my teens,
a dream had taken shape in my mind.
I would go to college. Or not.
It didn't seem important, though I never dared
mention that to my parents.
But somehow, I would become financially independent and
head for the beach.
I would find a tiny, adorable cottage just across the street from the beach.
It would be extra-nice if no other cottages were in sight.

I would write and perhaps paint and create marvelous
works of art which people would buy
so that I could support myself.
(Though I did want to marry and have children,
this dream would come before all that.)

My cottage would be, well, cottage-y,
with weathered gray clapboards and green shutters.
And wooden floors worn smooth.
I would walk the beach and head back to my cottage,
thick patches of sea grapes lining the path.
Of course there would be a porch with a hefty wicker rocker,
perhaps the one I still have
that has rocked four generations of my family.
On balmy, wind-whipped mornings,
I would wrap in a quilt in the rocker
and greet the day with a mug of steaming coffee.

That romantic dream still swirls in my head,
especially at the tail end of winter here in Ohio.
Oh, the mind of a dreamy artist.
But now I dream of a bigger cottage,
with room for a husband to putter
and me to write.
I'll make soup and bread and cookies
 for our children and grandchildren,
arriving for a visit.

And after long walks on the beach
and a bedtime snack,
I will pray with them and tuck them in under quilts
while the wind whips outside our cottage.

Friday, March 8, 2013

under the bathroom sink

Despite the fact that I've bragged in the past about my campaign to de-clutter,
there are still untouched areas of the house needing attention.

Witness: under the "kids" bathroom sink.
It is jammed with stuff and since
Katie's home this week, she took a stab at it.

It's outrageous what was lurking there ...
bath toys,
old sheets I used to spread on the floor during boys' haircuts,
the instruction booklet from the hair trimming kit
(not sure which son took the kit),
lice shampoo (only a year old, a precautionary purchase when Katie went to Paraguay),

at least 10 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, suntan and body lotions,
cotton balls by the hundreds,
travel-size plastic bottles,
Sun In,
Dixie cups,
and hair brushes and soaps of every description.

Someday when we move,
 all the cabinets, drawers and closets
will be stripped of every trace of our years in this house.
I imagine it will be a clean and liberating experience.

But for now, as we sort occasionally,
we rerun in our minds the memories of family life ...
the buzz haircuts, bath nights, and packing for summer camp;
freshly-bathed little boys and a pig-tailed little girl.
And though we welcome new seasons and new grandchildren,
each memory is packed away with a tinge of sadness.

Monday, March 4, 2013

it's reigning babies!

Holy moly there's another one on the way!
Our son Mark and wife Jill are expecting
their second child in early September.
Little Lily will be a big sister!

Suffice it to say we are super-excited,
but our baby-a-year plan just got blown out of the water,
since Dan and Jenny are expecting their little boy in May.
Aw, heck, who cares?
This gaggle of grandchildren is wild and fun, and oh
what cousin craziness they'll have together!

Little did we know when this photo was snapped back in November
that we'd have to make room for two more by the next year.

Bring 'em on ... I love our babies!

Children's children are a crown to the aged ...
Proverbs 17:6

Friday, March 1, 2013

happy birthday, little sis!

I say this every year, but how I still remember my excitement
over a baby sister when I was six.
And today is her birthday ... happy birthday, Anne!

The journey we're on with our dad (Tuesday's post) has actually revived our
relationship, which we had neglected over the years.
About twice a year, Anne and I meet in Nashville for a couple of days.
Although most of our time is spent with Dad,
we also have time to talk, laugh and catch up.
We share a room with twin beds at our step-sister's house
(a lovely lady, like a sister to us and also named Anne)
and giggle until late at night.

So, even though Dad's decline is extremely hard,
it's given us a reason to be together again as sisters,
and how we cherish our time together.

September 2011, Centennial Park, Nashville

When our mother died 34 years ago, it seems the fabric of our family
began to fray. The four of us were young adults building our lives.
We were talking over the weekend how the mother in a family
seems to be the one to hold it together, relationally.
But it's useless to mourn over those years.
We trust God's hand, and we celebrate our renewed relationship.

Happy birthday, dear Anne. I love you!

December 2011 - Dad's 87th birthday ... we have two brothers, too,
Pat and Mark!