Saturday, November 28, 2020

Three Thanksgiving Visits - Fort Worth, Lillian and the Bells!

I was up early on Thanksgiving morning and watched the 94th annual Macy's Parade while addressing Christmas cards.

I'm loving spending time in our Christmas den!
Right now it's the only room in the house that is clean and decorated.
That and the gazebo.
Those are my two Happy Places to rest a bit before moving on.
The rest of the house is 'under construction.'

Louis Dean slept a bit later than I did but we were both up, dressed and ready to go to Fort Worth and we arrived right at noon!! Not even one minute late!!

We were a small group this year but we enjoyed every minute.

There's usually a crowd at Nita and Mike's for Thanksgiving with 30+ people.
Some years more and some years less.
However, this was the very first year we all sat at one table.
Nita used her real dishes!! Not one paper plate in sight! And no Solo cups either!
There were 7 of sister Nita and Mike, her daughter Leah and Patrick, my son Benjamin and Louis Dean and I.

But the food could have fed triple our number!!
Nita and Mike are mazing!
She made made mac and cheese, broccoli rice casserole, gravy and dressing.

I brought company mashed potatoes, pepper poppers, and Louis Dean's dinner rolls.
Patrick smoked two turkey breasts and that was the best turkey I have ever tasted!!
Plus Nita had ham!

Leah is an excellent cook and made the most scrumptious lemon cranberry bars while Nita made pumpkin cheesecake and pecan bars.

We had grace and then set at the table for well over an hour!
It was a lovely time of visiting and leisurely enjoying all that wonderful food.
Our family seems to be gifted with the ability to get along well with each other.
We even discussed politics for a few minutes with no change in voice or manner.
I think it may be because we love and respect each other.
No snide remarks or trashing one party or the other.
I love that.

I was watching the clock and noticed it was time for me to get over to the nursing home for my scheduled visit with Lillian. I arrived at 1:30 and there was one other lady there to visit her cousin.
(Even though I was told to arrive as early as possible because there would be many visitors.)
We both waited outside and a nurse came out and did the nasal swab to test for Covid.
Now that didn't happen as easily as I wrote that sentence.
We rang the bell. And waited. And someone finally came and said someone else would be here shortly. And that someone else did come out but it took awhile.
After she swabbed us, she set her timer and we set ourselves on the park benches outside the door and waited.
Both of us were negative so we were escorted inside.

Amber (one of the staff) went with me to Lillian's room and I asked her to take our picture.
I'm so glad I was able to visit. The months of isolation, no visits, and lack of getting treats of homecooking have taken a toll on her. Apparently the nursing home had a big Thanksgiving dinner for all the employees earlier that afternoon. Lillian's room is very close to the private dining room and she had noticed all the food coming in. She could see it and she could smell it. Everyone had prepared food and made a big buffet of it all. Because of them stopping to eat - all the residents meals were served nearly two hours late and it was NOT the Thanksgiving Dinner Lillian had thought it would be.
When I came in her room at 2:30, her meal tray had just arrived and she was visibly upset and disappointed in it. To be honest, it did not look good. There was chicken along with turnip greens and macaroni and cheese ( but not much cheese because it looked very pale) some dressing and a piece of cornbread. The dessert was some mushy thing in a Styrofoam cup and Lillian asked them to take the entire tray away.
I think she was what we call 'Hangry!'
And rightly so as breakfast had only been a bowl of cereal served some seven hours earlier.
So you might say the timing of my visit was not exactly perfect!

But I think it did cheer her up.
I thought maybe we would go outside in the courtyard to visit - as it was an absolutely gorgeous day - 
but instead we went out in the hall and talked to a friend of Lillian's.
This lady has a beautiful spirit and such a good attitude.
I'm ashamed that I can't remember her name but whenever the nursing home opens up, I will be sure and visit with her again. She laughed at Lillian's complaint about the food and finally got Lillian to laughing, too. If I had only known the staff would not be checking everything I brought in, I could have taken her a plate lunch from our Thanksgiving dinner. That's what I did last year.
The last time I was here with the burger from Braum's, the director told me that not even the satff can bring in take out food. Maybe they relaxed the rules for staff but they need to do the same for residents.

I only had an hour to visit so we went back to her room and she showed me all the cards she's received!
I cannot thank you all enough for what you have done.
She read every single card - maybe more than once!
She started saving the envelopes so now I have a lot more addresses to send out Christmas cards to all who were such angels to send something to Lillian. She didn't save all of them at first, the envelopes, I mean. She had no idea the cards would keep coming. At first it was birthday cards and then Halloween cards, Thinking of You cards, and then Thanksgiving cards.
I thank you so much for taking the time to pray for her and send her mail.
She's getting more attention from the staff as they come down to her room just about every single day to deliver the mail!

I was happy to see that she has put on a few of the many pounds she's lost!
Her granddaughter brought her the ingredients for homemade pimento cheese last week.
She wasn't able to actually see Lillian but she left it with the staff and they took it to her room.
My visit with her on March 10th when we went shopping and out to lunch was the last visit she has had with anyone outside the nursing home. My visit on Thanksgiving was the first one since then.
She loved the outfit I brought her!

We said our goodbyes and several 'I love you's' before I left.
Next visit I will bring her Christmas wreath for the door and hopefully some take out food!!
Would it be a sin if I tucked a Braum's burger underneath the wreath?
It's in a Tupperware wreath bottom and clear top.
By nature I am a follower of the rules.......however......Lillian would dearly love a hamburger!

Louis Dean had stayed at Nita's and Mike's and watched football with the guys.
The girls had gone to the backyard with tall glasses of iced tea and sat in Nita's cool swing so I took my tea out and joined them.

Before we left. Nita, Mike, Leah and Patrick loaded everyone up with leftovers to take home.
What a blessing to have Food for Friday!!
Benjamin is a favorite so he may have enough food for the entire weekend!

We drove home during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys football game.
I had just enough time to shower and change clothes before we headed over to Dallas to the Bell's house. Lillian called me and said that, while there were 5 cases of Covid at the nursing home on Thanksgiving morning, now there were 8. A nurse had just come in and given her a swab test. The fifth one this week. I was SO glad I had not touched anyone but Lillian and not used the bathroom there nor touched my face plus I was wearing a N95 mask. I used hand sanitizer as soon as I got back in my car after visiting and washed my hands when I got to Nita's.

Benjamin went home to get his Klaus - I still have a hard time pronouncing his name!
It comes out as CLAWS for me and that's not right. It's more like 'KLOUSE.'
We brought Samantha and Tabitha with us so all four sibling kittens were reunited for the second time since we got them.

Four kittens from the same litter and four completely different personalities!
Here's our two!
Amber and Mike have a highly vaulted ceiling in their foyer and there they are just hanging out up there! Tabitha is chilling with her paw hanging loosely over the ledge.
Klaus was totally overwhelmed by all the other kittens and people!
He's an 'only cat' to a bachelor. And they are tight.
But still! Benjamin is determined to give Klaus life experiences.
With enough visits, he will be just fine.
I did not get a good pic of him but I will say his favorite spot is to wrap himself around Benjamin's neck.

Amber had an early Christmas present for Ben and his cat!

He will LOVE this!!!
Amber bought a Christmas house for hers and there are so many funny stories about how Tabitha chewed off  the tabs that held the second story and when Samantha jumped onto that platform - with Tabitha below in the first story - and it fell through!!! Well!  Amber says Tabitha was so traumatized that she ran out and slid all the way into the dining room skidding to a stop under the table and wondering what in the world just happened!!

We were all gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving night together.
That included a delicious soup Amber had prepared along with Louis Dean's dinner rolls and some pepper poppers from me.

This was our movie!
Last year we saw Christmas Chronicles I with the Bells so now a movie on Thanksgiving night is a tradition!

Today - what is called Black Friday -and why is that?? - Louis Dean dealt with a multitude of fallen leaves. I have never known him to be this determined to keep up with the leaves. They are usually piled so high that the outdoor Christmas lights are hidden beneath them. Our lawn guy normally arrives in time to clean the yard and flower beds up right before Christmas. I don't think there will be any left by the time he gets here. Louis Dean bought himself a nice new electric lawn mower and he seems to enjoy using it.

I spent the day decorating the front porch.
This should not take as long as it did!

We both stopped what we were doing at 4:30 and got cleaned up to go watch Logan and Harrison's hockey tournament.

It was good to get out of the house and STOP working for awhile.
Plus we love to show support for the grands.
The game started at 5:45 so I knew that would involve night driving.
Arriving was no problem and I chose the easiest route by way of George Bush Turnpike.
I'm happy to say the trip home was easy peasy! It helps when you drive familiar roads and there's no rain or fog. We can get back and forth to places we know and the lights are right.
Still....we are cautious about driving at night as a rule. And it does take BOTH of us to do it.
I wanted to attend this game but I needed a copilot.
Louis Dean was more than willing.

I will close tonight's journal entry with this pic of our front porch.....
I have run out of 100 count white lights with green wire.
Even though I spent a lot of money on lights to last me right after Christmas last year.
I had to use white lights with white wire on the door I wrapped it in gold mesh.
The porch is not finished yet but it's almost done.
Tomorrow I move on to the living room!

'tis the season to DECORATE!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday morning was cold enough to have a fire in the den while I had my quiet time and then later Louis Dean and I did our Bible reading and read the next to last chapter of Cheaper by the Dozen.

I love all things warm and cozy!

I spent the day doing errands.....I started in Irving and then drove to Dallas and decided to stop at the Goodwill on Midway. I saw several shoppers loading their vehichles with all kinds of Christmas treasures as I parked and went in. Alas, they must have taken every good thing in the store because I came out empty handed. It happens. I shopped the Aldi and Walmart for Thanksgiving things for us as well as Lillian's list before going to the Bell's for a visit and to pick up our kitties.
They kept them for a couple of weeks while we were at the ranch.
Amber and her family tells us they are so well mannered and behaved.
We did get two great kitties!
So did she and so did Benjamin!
Ginger and Klaus.
They will all be together again Thanksgiving night when we gather at the Bells - kittens in tow - for one of Amber's famous soup suppers and Christmas Chronicles 2 movie!!
Who knew these kittens from the country would bring such joy to our family??

I accomplished my errands, came home right before dark and went straight  to work on making my Company Mashed Potatoes - with sour cream and cream cheese - and is best made ahead of time.
Plus I scraped all the seeds out of my home grown jalapeno peppers and filled them with cream cheese to make pepper poppers for Thanksgiving in Fort Worth at Nita's.

It was nice this Thanksgiving Eve morning to go in and wake up the kitties - they stay in their kennel during the night.
I crack a fresh egg into a bowl each morning and sometime at night and they seem to enjoy it.
 Good for them!

I think they are happy to be home even though they absolutely LOVE being at the Bells!

Good morning, Tabitha!!
So many times I call her July!




July was Amber's cat!
She got her in July in 1992 and she lived for 22 years and was an amzing kitty.

Can you see why???
That's why I think Samantha and Tabitha will be here for the rest of our lives.
Then they will go live with Amber!

Today was baking day for Louis Dean!

He made 80 homemade dinner rolls - each weighing 1.78 ounces!
He did an amzing job and all the rolls turned out perfectly!!
Not ONE burned.
I may have gone in the kitchen and told him - repeatedly - to check them while they were baking.
I know my oven better than he does!
That bottom rack is hotter than the top one.
I know that better thna he does because I bake so many cookies and muffins.

So while Louis Dean was baking......

I was decorating!
The foyer.

Samantha loves the sparkle and the ribbon!

Both kittens have been entertaining themselves - and US!

It was a good Thanksgiving Eve.
The house got warm with the baking so Louis Dean and I took our evening wine outside to the gazebo where it was so much cooler.

And Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!


Monday, November 23, 2020

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas! And the Santa Painting Winner is......

 We were packing up to go home Sunday when Sherry came down on her tractor.....

....and the next thing I heard was Dean calling me out to look at his dad!
He was getting his first Tractor Driving Lesson and Dean knew I would not want to miss this!

He loved it!!

I'm thinking he may need a few more lessons before he's good to go on his own!!

It's always more fun to arrive than to depart......but we were on the road shortly after 2:30.
The camper and cabin were all clean and left ready for our return - in just two weeks!
We will come back for our December bee meeting.

We got home at 4:30 and I got right to work!
Started the laundry and dishwasher - I run a light load when we leave and then rewash it when we come back.

Then I started putting the Santa wall up.
It gets easier every year.
This time, I simply switched out paintings and used the same frames. 
A few places I had to turn the frame vertical and hang it a little higher.
I have more paintings than I do wall - so I will hang another Santa wall in the hall later this week.

Louis Dean and I ate huge baked potatoes for our supper and watched a Bull.
Covid messed up TV shows along with everything else.
It was nice seeing a current episode.
Louis Dean was tired and went to bed early while I stayed up and vacuumed and cleaned so I would be ready to start decorating this morning.

And decorating I DID!!!
All day long.
The den is pretty easy - I always use Christmas plaids and a Santa theme.

Lots of Santas.....

I just realized you can't see the new Santa painting down below the Red Santa and the cardinal.
I will need to fix that!

I haven't put the dozens and dozens of small Santa ornaments on this den tree yet.
I distinctly remember packing them in a Santa tin that popcorn came in. 
Have not seen that yet!

We got this wreath hung because I was able to climb up on the organ with Louis Dean holding on to me. The other mirror will require a taller ladder and we will do that tomorrow morning.

I love the way this secretary looks.
The candle top doesn't really go and I may move it someplace else.
All my journals, diaries and prayer books are on these shelves.
I've slowly had to replace the other books that were there as the journals have multiplied year by year.

I am loving the den! It took SIX Hallmark Christmas movies!!
Back to back.
I've never watched as many as I am this year.
The decorations are so beautiful and I love looking at the scenery.
I refuse to watch the news.
Louis Dean watches Fox Business for a few minutes in the morning and at closing bell to check on the stock market news. Other than that - it's Hallmark Christmas movies all the way!!

And now to announce the 2020 Santa Painting Giveaway......
out of 120 entries.....the random number generator was 58.......

And the winner is........Michele Meek-Frey!

I will have that in the mail as soon as it's dry enough to mail.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Our Last Day at the Ranch......

It was a beautiful Saturday down here in the country! 
Louis Dean and I finished up some of the projects we had lined up to do.
I like looking out the window amd seeing him in his overalls with a shovel in his hand and digging around doing who knows what? He keeps the fenced in garden area or front yard or whatever as neat as a pin...which just strikes me as so funny!! But I am not complaining!!

While he did what he was doing - I started the process of cleaning up the camper and cabin in preparation for our departure tomorrow. I changed sheets and gathered laundry. I vacuumed both the camper and the cabin and cleaned the bathrooms. Tomorrow I will pick the rest of the peppers from my little pond garden and will make pepper poppers next week to take to Fort Worth for Thanksgiving. Louis Dean defrosted the old small freezer that he had long years before we married - and we have been married 15 years! He vows he will bring a new one when we come back in early December for the bee meeting. In addition to the meeting, we will be having a pot luck supper and I do not want to miss that!

This photo nearly looks like cloud trees!
It's been such a good week down here.
We arrived on Friday a week ago. I decorated and cooked last Saturday and then we had a birthday party for Louis Dean on Sunday. We each have worked on our own projects art and his work....electrical and more.

I love seeing the critters down here.
Around 5:30 we went down to put the ducks up.
The sun sets earlier every day and we missed the pretty pictures of yesterday.
Dean and Sherry are celebrating Thanksgiving at her parents today.
They will be home later tonight to put the goats up.

My last big project was to pin the backing, batting and quilt together that I am making for Louis Dean.
I messed up the star that should go on the blue denim area - but I'll figure something out later.

Louis Dean made homemade hamburgers for our supper tonight.
Then we took showers....although he said they are more like 'pourers' since we don't have hot water yet.
We pour the water over us using a big yellow Dickie's cup!!
It will be a simple thing to get 220 for the water heater but it involves the electric company coming out and turning the power off - for awhile. That was not possible when we needed the AC! And then when they did come out - it started to storm and they advised against turning the power off because they might be out on emergencies and couldn't get back to turn it on. So we waited. And we continued to pour instead of shower. And that's been just fine. We may miss these days of making do once we get the 220!
But maybe not!!!

It's not even 9:00 but bedtime is near!
Louis Dean is out in the front room playing his guitar and singing.
I opened the door so I could listen.
I have been addressing our Christmas cards and will go back out to the table and do a few more before I go to bed tonight. 
If you are reading my blog, I would love to send you a Christmas card!
Please send your address to my email on the side bar of the blog.
Or the email of my blog.....which is

So far I have 103 entries for the Christmas Santa giveaway.
I looked back to see how long I have been doing this and this is my 4th year.
Debbie W and Ginny H and Donna G have been past winners.
Since we are going home tomorrow, I probably won't do a journal entry until Monday and that's when I will announce the winner instead of tomorrow.

Thank you all for reading and being such good friends.
I talked to Lillian today and she received three more cards this morning - Thanksgiving cards with beautiful scripture verses on them - and she was so happy!
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the cards y'all have sent.
Not long ago I prayed a specific prayer that God would send Lillian JOY.
I had no idea how and what that could be considering her very limited circumstances.
But God is always faithful and he can find a way where there seems to be no way.
Your cards were the way he chose.
She is so excited to show them to me on Thanksgiving.
She thinks it will be through a glass and I can not WAIT to see her in person! I am hoping that since I will have a Covid test before I visit her in her room, that I will be able to hug her.
Thank you all again, for being such a blessing!!!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Lillian, Pics from Puerto Rico, Hello Grandma, Art and Ranch Scenery! Catching up....

 I have good news about Lillian!
On Thanksgiving afternoon I will be visiting her in person!!
I'm so excited! She knows I'm coming but thinks it will be a 'through the glass door' visit when I bring her some groceries and things. She is going to be so surprisd when I go to her room!

pic from February

I had to jump through hoops to figure out how I could schedule a visit using the nursing home's Sign up Genius website. I finally figured it out - I think - and then called the nursing home to make sure I'm on the calendar. I must arrive 30 minutes prior to my visit time in order to take a Covid test and I must wear a N95 face mask. This will be the first time to visit with her in person since March 10th.

I have news from Puerto Rico!

Summer is having a ball!!
They went on a hay ride and have done lots of  other fun things.

But the best part is simply BEING there.

The island is so beautiful and I look forward to visiting there someday.

I like this pic!
Two friends on a walk together.

Summer is doing the homeschooling and this gives Sabrina a break since she works full time from home and has lots of other responsibilities.

Chandy keeps us in the loop with her family.....

Husband Chris and Jaxon Dean!

We are looking forward to seeing them next month!

I've been a happy camper this week.
One thing I like about being here is that I do not work hard like I do at home.

One job I did on Wednesday took the better part of two hours - filling our med boxes!

Our truck AC/Heater motor went out so I dropped it off  at the mechanic's place Wednesday evening.
Dean teaches Karate in Waco so they picked me up and Sherry and I ran errands while Dean had class.

We finished early enough to have supper at Casa Ole!

Thursday I did art all day long.

Right before I went to bed last night, I took these pictures of our LED lights.

Louis Dean loves the circles!

When we drove in from Waco on Wednesday night, it ll looked sp pretty!

This was the sunset this evening.
Dean and Sherry were gone so Louis Dean and I walked down to put the ducks up.

This reflection is on the duck pond.

The light doesn't stay long so you have to catch it at just the right time.
Same duck pond but the other end.....and just a few minutes later.

I worked on seven paintings this trip and they are all done now except for the drying and glazing.

Santa #1

Santa #2

Santa #3

Santa #4
I think this one looks a little like Sean Connery!
One year when I was teaching class we all did Santas and one of them looked like Robin Williams!
They all seem to take on their own personalities.

I've had fun with this one.

And this is the canvas for Brenda's September birthday!
Character traits will be printed on the jars once it's dry.

I cleaned my brushes and packed all the art supplies up to take home with us this time.
Just in case I need to do some last minute strokes.
I did one other painting from a photograph but I will save that to show later.
It's a surprise for someone.

We've been here in the country a week today.
Tomorrow we will start the tasks of cleaning, packing and loading up to go home.
I think we will go ahead and leave on Sunday.
I have much to do when we get back.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I need to get the house all dressed up for Christmas.
Plus I need to put up my Santa wall.......

Sunday morning I will do the random number selection thing and announce the winner of this year's Santa Claus. The paint's still wet so I will be setting it in the sun to dry so I can glaze him, dry him again and then mail him off!