Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Hi Everyone,

No pictures this time around. As you know it has been quite some time since I've written. I have been suffering from computer withdrawl. I am now at my cousin's in the Lauderdale area and am using her computer.

Our weather in Naples has been extraordinary! Today it is cloudy and cooler in Plantation...thus the reference above to Fargo(as in ND, or was it SD?)

I have been given this gift of time down here. I was somewhat restless and bored on first arrival, but am quickly learning to use all this down time. As many of you know I was suffering from some anxiety/depression issues before I left. The past year or so just caught up with me. I didn't see it coming at all, one day it just hit me. I am progressing back to my old self. I am using my time here to do some healing and to practice being in the present moment. My biggest discipline is learning and accepting that I am NOT in control of everything in spite of what I think and how I act! Just when I think I have finally learned that lesson some curve ball gets thrown at me and there I am trying to pull all the strings, catch the ball, redirect it, effect the outcome. I end up expending more energy than I have and am soon depleted. Seems I've been working on this problem a lifetime.

Two messages regarding this have come to me while in Naples. The first was a sign in a resturant that Tom spotted: "Panic Now....Avoid the Rush". The second was in the book I read in the morning when I say my prayers. "An optomist expects his dreams to come true. A pessimist expects his nightmares to." Guess which side I lean towards? My Mom always said, "Prepare/expect the worst. If something good happens you can be pleasantly surprised!" Is it any wonder I am like I am? I learned at her knee. She had a rough life starting at a young age and I guess that is how she managed to get through a lot of it. Turning a thought process that has been with me a lifetime takes a lot work. But I am staying with it. I know it would be a far easier way to live.

Until next time....always, Kathleen

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Just some thoughts....it's that time of year. Have you been lucky enough to enjoy some good weather in your neck of the woods? We have been blessed with sunshine and temps in the high 50's and 60's, unusual this late in the season.

This is a shot of Tom and I taken up in Gwinn. It was Evelyn's baptismal day. As you can see the weather in the UP was beautiful, as were the colors!

The weather here for Tuesday, November 4th, voting day, promises to be good. High of 65 and sunshine. That may help those who have to stand in long lines. Tom and I have reached the age of absentee ballots. It may be one of the few "good" things about these latter years. Somehow somethings haven't been panning out as advertised. I think we spend more time in Dr. offices than I care to think about. It wasn't what I had in mind.

Regardless of who you are voting for, please VOTE. Most of you know who my candidate is. We really do need a change but more importantly I think as a people we need hope. This is the most interested and excited I have ever felt about an election. I have become a CNN junkie. Tom can't stand my obsession. He said if I ever criticize him again for watching reruns he really going to give it to me. He thinks CNN is nothing but reruns now too.

The economy has my attention too. Deciding to retire this year and then have the bottom falling out of my 403B has not helped my piece of mind. I've finally got myself calmed. I've made some new decisions about investing and I'm educating myself about it too. I'm starting out with the BASICS...Investing for Dummies. I guess it's about time I take some personal responsibility for my money. Money has always scared me. I lived for years believing I didn't have enough. Somehow(God's care?) I always managed. The kids and I had a roof over our heads, furniture to sit on, food on our table(though small portions, which was probably healthier) and medical insurance. I really never had a plan when I was
younger, I just skated along. I guess I did okay. Now here it is all these years later and guess what? There was a plan I just didn't call it that. Now my fear is about loosing what I didn't think I had enough of. So, I'm doing what a lot of people are doing. I am being more careful. I am planning meals, planning driving trips, conserving, remembering my charities and being Thankful. For I have everything I need and then some. There are so many people having it really hard right now. I think we all need to remember that and lend a hand were we can.

So enjoy the tail end of this beautiful weather, VOTE, and lend a hand to the guy next to you. Tomorrow someone may be lending you theirs.

Until next time....always, Kathleen

This last photo makes me think of how it feels to "....rest in the palm of HIS hand."

I've had a few occassions to feel that comfort, it is real.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008







Well, today is Mom's birthday. She would have been 93 today. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of her death. I thought about her a lot today. Took time to journal this morning, I somehow wanted my thoughts recorded, to be tangible, not just fleeting. It is so hard to believe that it has already been a year. The months have flown by.

These crazy times right now...all this economic upheaval, boy have I thought about my Mom through these days. I can hear her so clearly..."I told you this would happen. There is no way people could keep living the way they have. You thought I didn't know anything. Now you see. And believe me things are going to get worse! You young people have no idea how hard things can be, no idea. Buying on credit and not having a pot to p... in. This was bound to happen." Boy was she right.

I haven't taken to washing out my Ziploc bags yet, but I did do an inventory of my pantry. You betcha! I took everything out, cleaned the shelves, made a list of everything I had and how many. I don't have to buy pickle relish for at least 2 years. Does anyone need yellow mustard?
Anyway, I took stock of what I have and then made menus to fit the ingredients available. I am no longer going shopping and buying lots of meat to re wrap and put in the freezer only to discard it 9 months later because I forgot it was in there. I am planning my shopping trips and errands so I do as much as I can in one day and not waste gas. I am walking to the bank, the library the drugstore the mailbox. Believe it or not there is a little more of EVA in me! She would be proud, she always thought I was so wasteful and such a spendthrift. And we are actually eating leftovers. I am no longer using the old method of packing them up and then waiting until they are spoiled/moldy and tossing therefore "alleviating" guilt. Last week it was split pea soup, this week there is chicken soup in the makings. Is this really me?

Tonight I would just like to thank my Mother for all of her sacrifices, all of her hard work, all those times she stuck to her punishments. I appreciate everything she did and the spirit with which she did it. I would not be who I am today. Each of you who knew her, loved her, depended on her would not be who you are either. She touched many of us if only for a moment.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." Flavia

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you and miss you. (Remember though....now we have baby Eva!)

Until next time....always, Kathleen

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's Not to Love?

Mom(Lara), Dad(Brian) and Evelyn on her Christening Day. Dress made by Grandma Rice.

Bath time is a happy time!

Watching CNN(can you tell?)

Out for a stroll with Grandma "P"

Here are some recent shots of "Miss Evelyn". Tom and I were able to spend a week in her company. It was wonderful. She is a happy and very content baby. Seldom cries, often smiles and laughs. I know she is my Grandchild and you may think I am a bit partial, but seriously, what's not to love? Isn't she beautiful?

Lara has been back to work for almost 3 weeks now. She and Brian hate leaving Evelyn, but she is in the very loving and capable care of Grandma and Grandpa Rice. How lucky could she and them be? No worries about whether or not her needs are being meant. Shirley(Grandma Rice) has been sending me photos of Evelyn a couple of times this week...just to help me with the pain of withdrawal.

I feel bad that we live so far apart. It will be a challenge to develop and maintain a relationship with Evelyn from so far away. There is nothing like frequent and close contact to have that specialness develop. But, I am here, and she is there and that is the reality. Just tonight Tom and I were out to dinner and I watched a toddler interacting with her Grandma. It made me sad to know that those times ,though possible for us, will be infrequent. I will probably only get to see her two or three times during that period of her life.
I only hope that as she gets older we really will have scheduled times with our web cams. Lara and I have done web cam calls about three times. Evelyn is still too little to understand, that the person on that screen(who looks a little blurry) singing that "zoo" song, is none other than her Grandma "P".

So for now I have to settle for the visits I can manage and hope they will be enough to form a connection that will last over the many years to come.

Until next time....always, Kathleen

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Upper Penisula Visit



Posted by PicasaCan't believe this is my first October post! Well, then again I can. We had a busy week in Gwinn. I didn't have access to my photos so I put off blogging.

I know you are surprised that my first blog is not filled with Evelyn's pictures. Well, I'm making you wait. Besides, I wanted you to see some of the beauty in Lara, Brian and Evelyn's home town. It was all the more appreciated by me when I had another "eye" episode. I have been having a problem called "Post Vitreous Detachment" since May. Another one of those "aging" things. The condition makes me at higher risk for a retinal detachment. My vision is effected for several days after an occurrence. Anyway, I saw my retinal specialist on Monday and things are resolving. I admit it is a very scary thing, the threat of loss of vision or impairment. I look at these photos and realize how blessed we all are to have the senses God has blessed us with. Beauty surrounds us every minute of every day and look how often we look past it. There we are ,"caught" up in where we are going or what we will be doing next. I am so guilty of forgetting to be PRESENT, forgetting to live in the now.
Anyway, these pictures where taken at Johnson Lake, a quick 5 minute ride from Lara and Brian's house. There were too many of us in town for Evelyn's baptism to stay at their house, so they found this lovely cabin for us. It was a great place to hang out. Sunday night Lara, Brian and Evelyn came over for the evening. Several of us got a Cribbage lesson from Brian. Evelyn entertained us with her cooing and laughing. Lara spread out Evelyn's photo shoots from WalMart and gave them out. We had dinner out and celebrated all of our birthdays since we were all together for a change. It was too short a visit as a family but it was a great reminder of how lucky we are to have one another. Next blog will center on you know who....
Until next time....always, Kathleen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My First "Best Friend"

Glamour Girl

Serious Student

Always An Early To Bed Girl

Does anyone recognize this girl? Descriptive terms: "gregarious", "fun loving", "friend", "animal lover", "generous", "sports lover", "nurse", "professor", "athlete"

What she does easily: LAUGH

Favorite Expression: "I was HOWLING!"

Born in Detroit
Raised in Detroit
Deserted the rest of us in Detroit
Became a "southerner"

If you haven't already guessed, this is none other than Barbara Elizabeth (Yako) Sherman, my cousin. {footnote to anyone who knew Barbara back in the 1950s, she used to say her middle name was Louise. Everyone else had a middle name except her, so she picked one. Then when she was confirmed she took Elizabeth and gave up the alias.} Barbara now lives in Plantation, Florida. She is a Registered Nurse and teaches Pediatric Nursing at Broward Community College. She is married to Dick Sherman and they have two Weimerweiners named Dutchess and Buddy. I would tell you which dog is more spoiled but I'm not sure, Barb was never one to play favorites. After I die I wouldn't mind coming back as one of Barbara's dogs.

Facts about Barbara and Kathleen: Barbara and I are three months apart in age. She is the eldest! However, in spite of her rank, I could somehow always get her to do ANYTHING. If you see Barb, ask her why someone who got deathly ill on amusement park rides, would repeatedly go on anything that went in circles(even after upchucking). Ask her what it was in my manner that convinced her she could jump off the diving board(even though she couldn't swim) and I'd make sure she was okay? What ever made her think I knew what I was doing? I'll tell you what I think...I think it was our bond. I think it was our undying love and affection for one another. Our Mother's were sisters and somehow I think we thought we were too. Our friendship has carried us through 62 years. What memories we share.

Barbara has been one of my biggest fans. She has been a great "Aunt" to my children. She cheered me on through my late entry into Nursing School. She has encouraged me to strive to be excellent in my nursing practice. And she thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread! No matter what I do, no matter how I do it, to Barb it is the best. I don't think she has an inkling of how much she helped me get through in my life. How instrumental she was in helping me to believe in myself during my early adulthood. And so dear Barbara, I am telling you now, thank you.

To those of you who have never had the good fortune of having a "Barbara" in your life, I am truly sorry. You have no idea how great it is to have Barbara as an audience and to have her laugh so hard....well, lets just say you have her rolling in the aisles! (The rest Barb, will be our secret.)

Until next time....always, Kathleen

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Sea Turtles




ANN(my daughter), TOM(my husband) & I


Last November, after my Mother died, Tom took me to our favorite place, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We were married in Puerto Vallarta in 2001. We go there every winter and have for many years. We've met some great couples who vacation at the same time of the year and we meet up with them every February. On this particular trip, my daughter Ann came along too. She moved in with me the last two weeks of my Mother's illness. At the time she was working, finishing school(her Master's in Nursing), and getting ready to start a new job as a Nurse Practitioner. She joined Tom and I for 7 days of our 12 day stay.

Sea Turtles are an endangered & protected species. The beach the El Presidente Hotel sits on seems to attract female Sea Turtles and they come ashore at night and lay their eggs. The beach boy will see the tracks of the turtles flippers in the morning. They follow them and gently probe the sand with a long wooden stick. They locate the spot and gently hand dig until they find the eggs. Some turtles lay over 100 eggs at a time. Once the eggs are uncovered they are gently placed into a Styrofoam cooler and transported to a fenced in area of sand which is above the beach area. They are reburied and the date the eggs where laid is marked on a stake. When the incubation period is completed the designated hotel personal begin checking the nesting area several times a day. We were lucky enough to see the turtles hatch and slowly dig their way out of the sand. The baby turtles are then placed in the Styrofoam cooler in water until evening. After sunset hotel guests are invited to help with the release of the baby turtles. They are taken close to the waters edge and set down in the sand. They instinctively make their way to the ocean. This is done after sunset to decrease the risk of the turtles being swooped down upon by seagulls, pelicans and other birds of prey. I came across these pictures and thought you might enjoy them. I know, it's not my usual format.

Tom and I are flying up to Gwinn on Saturday. Evelyn is being baptized on Sunday. Wait till I get back, you'll be seeing plenty of you know who!!! Until next time....always, Kathleen

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Beginnings of "Grandma Precious"


These are photos of me, found at my Mom's house in May. I had never seen most of these before.
I put them in an envelope and when my son-in-law Brian arrived I began to show them to him. After each photo I would say..."isn't she Precious!". And then the light bulb of a joke, "That's what I want to be called, Grandma Precious! I had been trying to come up with a name for my Grandchild to call me ever since Lara and Brian had adopted their first dog. Some how Nanna, Baba, Omah, Granny, just didn't fit me. For awhile I thought this name was going to stick and many of you never knew the origin of the title. I know some of you were worried! I think Evelyn will come up with something of her own. I'll be anyone or anything she wants me to be.

What do you think of the hairdo? I'm sure this is the result of my Mother's nimble fingers. As a baby I had hair that stood up like a haystack. As I got a little older it just was thin and straight. My Mom was always fiddling with it.

This was a sweater she made for me. She taught herself to knit using a doll's snowsuit pattern. It was written by a blind woman and published in Women's Day magazine. Mom said she figured if a blind woman could write patterns and knit she could teach herself. She used to get up at 4:30 a.m. and sit in Grandma Barber's breakfast room (they lived with my Grandma from 1945 to 1948) before everyone else got up. She knitted dishcloths up until the spring before she died. She said it was good exercise for her hands.

This must have been a "bad hair" day. Hats came in handy for that. I remember many a time my Mom made me don a hat because my hair looked awful...at least in her opinion. This is me in front of my Grandma Barber's house. 577 Chalmers Ave., Detroit. My favorite place to be! I think my Mom made this sweater too.

My Uncle Johnny took this picture. Thanks to him we have a decent collection of "portrait" like photos.
My Mother made this dress too. The top had hand smocking. That dress might still be tucked away somewhere on Trombly. It was pale yellow with flowers.

I am so glad to have all these old pictures. Talk about a walk down memory lane. So many good times, preserved for future generations to look through.

Until next time....always, Kathleen
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This is a post I wrote back in 2008. It never made it to my blog because I had somehow, inadvertently, lost one of the photos. It was a portrait of my Grandma from her younger days. I still can not figure out how to get it back on this tribute to her. So here it is, my memories of the woman who loved me so unconditionally. I hope Evelyn can say the same about me some day.

I thought I would introduce you to a woman who had a huge influence on me. This is my Father's Mother, Grace Genevieve Shanahan Trombly Barber. She was born on February 4, 1888 and died on my Father's birthday March 16, 1956. She died in my bedroom. I wasn't home. I was at a friends for dinner...a new friend who I was enamored with. Her name was Susan Decker and she was a "new" girl. Just moved to our area. Her Mother drove me home and invited me to dinner. It was Friday. Grandma had been over for the afternoon and was staying for a fish dinner to celebrate my Dad's birthday. Mom said I couldn't go to Susan's and I started crying. Of course Grandma persuaded her to let me go for a couple of hours. Susan's Father would bring me home in time for cake and ice cream. I kissed Grandma goodbye not knowing it would be the last time.

Off I went so happy to have a new friend and to be having dinner at her house. During our dinner I talked about Grandma and how close we where. Just before desert was served the doorbell rang. It was my Mother. Standing in the cold, tears streaming down her face and Dad's car in the driveway. Grandma had died...probably a massive heart attack. I put on my coat and got in the car, shocked and not believing this really could have happened.

You see, I spent a lot of time with Grandma. She loved me unconditionally. She nurtured me, she hugged and kissed me every time she had a chance. I can still remember what it felt like to sit on her lap and lay my head against her chest and hear her heart beat. She taught me how to be a lady. How to eat with my left hand on my lap. How to daintily wipe my mouth with a napkin that was carefully placed across my lap. She took me to have my hair done at the beauty salon at Crowley's downtown. She gave me manicures with only clear "natural" colored nail polish. She took
me to lunch at Stouffer's downtown and we traveled on the "street car". She read me a story every night I was with her, until I was old enough to read to her. I dusted the carvings on the ornate dining room table legs because she couldn't do it anymore. I ran up and down stairs for her. I spread cream cheese on celery stalks and sprinkled them with paprika for our Sunday dinner appetizers. I placed 78rpm records on the record player and helped roll up the oriental rugs so we could all dance on Saturday night get togethers. She taught me how to shuffle cards and we played Old Maid and War until I got sleepy. I handed her laundry from the basket so she could pin them on the line without having to bend over to get them. I helped weed her rose beds which were her pride and joy. Most of all I just loved her. And I told her I couldn't imagine my world without her in it, so much so, that I wanted to die if she died. Imagine my dismay that she had left without me.

GRANDMA AND ME, JANUARY 21, 1956(2 months before she died)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keeping My Balance

I'm not sure exactly how I let it happen....but I am out of "balance". You know what I'm talking about don't you? Mind/Body/Spirit out of sync. In the past couple of months I somehow forgot to take care of me. I didn't tell anyone what I needed, least of all myself.

It all kind of hit me last weekend. Jack and I closed on our Mom's house on Friday. I was really down in the dumps last weekend. A wave of grief just overtook me. I shouldn't have been surprised by any of it. I felt myself tiring, feeling unmotivated, indecisive. Then boom, on Sunday a meltdown. Poor Tom didn't know what to do for me. Heck, I didn't know.

Finally by Tuesday I had a handle on it. First thing I did on Tuesday was make myself start walking again. I'd been faithful to a morning walk ever since Mom died. I had so much pent up stress after she passed that it only made sense to work it off. I felt good doing it and most importantly it was my time, all mine. The mornings are beautiful in this neighborhood, quiet, no traffic, beautiful landscapes. On Tuesday's walk I decided to take three days for myself. Alone time. Time for restoration, solitude, reflection. Tom kindly agreed to give me my space and he set off for the cottage. I started this morning. Walk, journaling, prayer and meditation, breakfast and then off to Tantra Spa for a massage and a facial. Back home for more quiet time. Made a great dinner. Turned the phones back on at 5pm and came up to the computer at 8:30pm. Tomorrow I'm doing much of the same....well okay, no massage or facial. (I did have 2 gift certificates for that indulgence!)

This was the first time I have done something like this alone. When I was in high school we used to have "days of reflection", but it was always in a group. I've gone away with my best friend for a "mini retreat" at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, but again I had companionship. This was new and took some discipline. I had to actually shut off the ringers on my house phone...too hard to not peek to see who was calling. The cell I turned off. Same with the computer. Too easy to run to for diversion.

So, hopefully the next time I see you or talk to you I will have learned something about myself. Perhaps I will be a little more grounded, living more in the present moment(since that's all we really experience, the past and future are just in our minds). Don't be surprised though if I have my arms out stretched and I'm teetering side to side...I'll just be trying to keep my balance!

"When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world." (Eckhart Tolle; Stillness Speaks 2003;page3)


Until next time....always, Kathleen
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Last of our cottage

Okay, this is it! The last of the pictures, but you know what I just realized? You are going to see these all backwards!! My explanation is at the end...four more pieces down. So just so you aren't confused; I wanted to share pictures of our cottage and some of the views outside. I told you I am still learning this process!!

This is one half of the living room. I know it came out dark, it's the best I could do.
Our new recliner chair. I get first dibs because it was my idea. Besides, I go to bed early. Tom gets lots of time in it after I say good night.
Fire place end. Hope you can see it.
End with the couch(with you know who sitting on it). Oh, you won't get that until the next page. My wit is wasted! This is the TV end of things.
Maybe I've figured a way to make this the last of the posts, we'll see!

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More Cottage

This is the view (part of it) from the kitchen window. Not bad if you have to be doing dishes! It was still rainy out. This is facing west. Unfortunately, I can't see the setting sun, Bobbie gets that view from her kitchen window. They have a million dollar view. They are right next to Holiday Beach....they can see straight down the beach and the sunsets are incredible. That's another reason we eat dinner at their house.

This is my kitchen. It used to be a tiny room that only one person could work in. Now we've knocked out a wall and expanded it to go the width of the house. Come to think about it, there still is only one person who cooks in it! Well, at least most of the time.
This is the other end of the kitchen. It's got some counter space and cupboards, but best of all it has a computer.
That's where I write everyone from. Okay, it's only got dial up but still....I can keep in touch. I found out I can't do my blog from there. None of the pictures showed up. All that came through were those empty boxes with red x s in them! I had to delete an entire piece I did on my brother Leo and his wife Lynn's visit 3 years ago. Always learning....

This is my view from the kitchen. See the window to the left of the door? There is a couch there. Guess who is usually sitting on the couch while the one person is cooking? You guessed it!
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Our Cottage...continued

This is the actual cottage. Small and simple but a world away. We are one mile off the highway. We can't hear any road noise. We hear waves, wind and the ticking of a clock. Well, that is if the TV isn't on, with the volume way up! We have a year round porch, a living room with fire place, a nice kitchen, full bath, 2 bedrooms and a laundry room. Easy to keep clean. Comfortable, homey, but nothing fancy. It is a great place to simply be.

This is the table we eat our 2 hour breakfast at. That's our favorite meal of the day. No it really isn't that full of food, we just like to stretch it out. Morning paper, fruit and coffee and eventually eggs or cereal. I know you can't see much of a view, it was pouring rain on Saturday when I took these.
Comfy couch that opens to a 3/4 size bed. That's where I read and nap, read and nap. I think I nap more than I read. That's our neighbors house you see. Their names are Bob and Bobbie. They are the greatest. They live in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She is a nurse too. They bought their place about 7 years ago. They totally gutted it and it's great. We eat dinner together a lot. We cook on our grill and eat at their house. They have a great dining area.

Here's Tom reading in the gliding rocker. Great place to be in a rain storm.
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