Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Person to be Thankful For

Checking out Grandma's Yin/Yang stone

Eating Black Bean Soup all on her own....

Making nice with Telly

A Goodbye kiss from a Grandma who's still in her PJs

It's been nearly 10 days since Evelyn was here. We all missed her, suddenly the house wasn't as full, as warm, or nearly as much fun.
It was great to watch her walking around, checking out all the things that she never noticed before. Suddenly there was an awful lot
at eye level. She was so good. I didn't put anything away. All I had to say was, "No, that's not for Evelyn. That's Grandma's." She'd point at whatever and shake her head no. The only thing she really picked up was my Yin/Yang stone that sits on my table which I call my "sacred space" It's the spot that holds many objects that have spiritual significance to me. It's the spot I sit at when I say my morning prayers and do my meditation. It is a collection of long ago yesterdays and some things from the present. It's the place I say thank you for Evelyn....and for all of you.

Until next time....Always, Kathleen
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lot's of my Mother in me!

Ann going through my pantry!

Unopened brown sugar, standing on it's own!

Evaporated relish and old ketchup....

Shameful expiration dates....October 20th, 2002!!!!!!

It's been two years since my Mother died. More and more I see her in me. The movement of my hands and the arthritis that is
already evident. My smile, the way I roll my eyes and I guess the way I look in the passengers seat of a car. The way I've been "starting" plants from cuttings and nursing along those that look doomed only to have them "come back" healthy and green once more.

As many of you may recall, we had so many stories about my Mom's thriftiness and her saving of so many things. She was a believer of buying on sale and stocking up. But as the years progressed and she ate less and cooked less the "supply" cupboards began to hold a large amount of expired items. Well, I hate to admit it, but that has been found to be the case in my own house! Ann has been living with us for the past several months. She is the apple that has not fallen far from the tree. She is a lot like me but also a lot like her Grandmother. I guess I should state she is like us when we were younger. I hope she realizes that she will also be a lot like us as she ages. Anyway, on a recent weekend I came into the kitchen to find Ann perusing my pantry. She was pulling out multiple bottles of yellow mustard, ketchup, relish that had been bought on sale. You know, those 10 for $10 deals. Stored in the pantry to be forgotten until I bought another and added it to my plentiful stock. She found rock hard brown sugar, and expired, unopened flour. She challenged me to try and guess how many hatched mill bugs the flour had, but I declined. The worst was the expired Sizzle & Stir from 2002. My mind went racing back to my Mom's house. There in my squirrelled away memories was me, in Ann's place, and my Mom in mine. Now the difference here was I ALLOWED ANN TO THROW OUT the stuff. But I had to admit, I was glad to have a daughter standing in my kitchen bringing me to task. So now the pantries and the frig are all safe. The health department would be proud and none of you have to fear food prepared from outdated items.

As the years past and I see more of Mom in me, I am proud! I hope I have inherited all of her good qualities and that I have toned down the not so good. I have a deeper appreciation for who she was and how strong she was. I hope I can do her proud.

Until next time....Always, Kathleen
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Well, here I am in Gwinn, being entertained on a daily basis. Upon arrival I was greeted with one of those, "Hey I know you, but I don't know where from" looks. But after I began to sing the Zoo Song, there was immediate recognition. Arms went out and soon, hugs, kisses and giggles where freely being shared.

The first day I wrote in my journal I noted that the days of sitting and holding and rocking, my Evelyn Meditation, where over. But I have had to edit that remark, because I realize she is now a Meditation in Motion. She forces me to sit and observe her antics, or to quietly read a book, or pretend I am drinking from a cup or to chase her until she is hysterical with giggles. She loves my imitations and songs I make up as we go along. She loves to dance and has quit the rhythm.
She brings out the child in me and the nurturer too. She is just all around good tonic.

The weather has been incredibly beautiful. Better than what everyone downstate has been describing. Every day it has reached the 70s with fall blue skies and a few puffy clouds. My flight up was fast and uneventful. The sky clear and the views over the lakes beautiful. The color changes have barely started. The season is a good three weeks behind.

That's it for now. She's napping, time for Grandma to shower and get dressed!

Until next time....Always, Kathleen

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kathleen's Korner: Here I Am

Kathleen's Korner: Here I Am

Here I Am

She loves when we kiss!
Cuddle time on the porch and
kissable toes.....

Three Generations!

Have you wondered where I am? So have I. Somehow, the summer has flown by. I didn't notice where it went. But here
we are into August already!

My recovery seems to have taken all my time. I have read more, but haven't knitted. Haven't done a lot of deep thinking, and have gotten off my spiritual track some. I'm refocusing on that now. Somehow my morning routine has just disintegrated. Exercises, icing my knee, and taking pain pills seem to have taken up most of my days. My knee is healing well. I've gotten most of my range of motion back, but not all....at least not yet. I walked 2 miles Thursday morning. No joint pain! The further I walked the better my knee felt. But, I'm still not back to normal...yet. Hey, but I did work in my flower garden transplanting perenials the other morning. It was great.

The summer has provided me with extra time for the people I love. As you can see, Evelyn was back in town. So much bigger. So engaging. She entertained us all. What a lucky girl she is to have so many people fall in love with her. What a lucky family we are!

Challenges abound in so many of our lives right now. The economy. Relationships. Health. A friend of mine lost her husband on Wednesday to Pancreatic Cancer. Very fast. She sat in my kitchen just two weeks ago, telling me he had taken a leave of absence the day before. Two weeks, and he's gone. Just a reminder to hug the person next to you, tell them you love them, and be thankful for what you have. That's what I'm trying to do, every day.

Until next time....Always, Kathleen
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Saturday, July 11, 2009





ON HER 1st BIRTHDAY 7/2/09

I've been absent from my blog for about two months. In that time, lots has happened. I've had my right knee replaced. I'm six weeks into recovery. Everything is going very well.

I've found that in this post-op time, I've been really focused on the physical. My writing, especially anything reflective has taken a back seat. My personal journal has few entries, my blog has been neglected, even my emailing has slowed down. I realize that life's journey takes us up and down many roads. All of them have a purpose in our development and growth.

I have been on a spiritual journey most of my life. I began seeking at age 7, and have many clear memories of thoughts, devotions, rituals and events in my life that have brought me to today. Last winter I was steeped in the reflective areas, and rested my spirit for 4 long months. Now on my return to Michigan, I found myself facing a physical challange that thwarted my plans of returning to work and gathering $$$ for our trip south this winter. A year ago I would have been bent out of shape because I couldn't control these events. But not this year. I found myself embracing the needed surgery and knowing there was purpose in all of this. I now know there was and I'm glad I am where I am. Sometimes life's events are not meant for us alone. I see clearly now, how intertwined our lives are, and how often our experiences are there to effect someone else. It really is about being in the moment. Accepting what comes, and holding fast to the idea that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

The pictures above are a story in themselves. Telly is Ann's dog. He is an English Bull Terrier(the Target
dog). He has been staying with us for awhile. He has attached himself to me. I am the new Alpha, the pack leader. He should be called Shadow because he doesn't leave my side. He listens well and seems to be thriving on being around people all day. That is a luxury he hasn't had because of Ann's long work days. He loves the cottage and is able to be off leash here. At the moment he is lying at my side.

The last picture is of course, Miss Evelyn. She turned a year old on 7/2. I couldn't resist including this photo. It's one of her facial expressions after tasting sugar for the first time. It looks like ecstasy, but Lara said she really seemed overwhelmed by the taste. She is coming to visit us on 7/23 with Mom and Dad, can't wait to see them all. She has become a little girl over these past 31/2 months.

So here I am, right where I am meant to be. Enjoying the quiet of the cottage with my husband and my granddog.....

Until next time, always....Kathleen

Sunday, May 10, 2009


David, Becka and Murphy

Murphy/Beagle-Basset Mix

Their Home in Royal Oak, MI

Table Set For Mother's Day Dinner

Homemade Potato Salad

I had a Mother's Day dinner at David and Becka's. Becka is quite the Betty Crocker. Their new home is so inviting and her culinary skills are great. She cooks with health in mind. "Preservative free, lower fat, cut that sugar"....is her motto. She does it all with seemingly little effort and tasty results!

She whipped up a batch of homemade Potato Salad. New potatoes, fresh dill, eggs from her brother Mick's chickens. Oh, did I mention Murphy??? Well, of course his picture is above.

Now Murphy is a sweet, lovable beagle/basset mix. Becka & David found him wandering on Mack Ave. the day Ann graduated from Nursing School. We were going to dinner, and there was Murphy wandering the busy street. Oh, did I mention Becka is an animal lover...a stray magnet, a dog rescuer? Well, she is. I don't think there is an animal she's met that she doesn't like. Well, Murphy found a home. He joined the Clifton household and immediately got on with Cooper the big yellow lab(the other dog in the family household). Murphy is solid, low to the ground and long bodied, but he is very, very agile. He can walk across the back of the couch(on the frame, mind you) without a stumble. He's like the Flying Walenda's when it comes to balance and agility. So, yesterday, while we sat in the Living Room, visiting, watching the hockey game, Murphy quietly, gracefully managed to get onto the table and eat most of the potato salad. There was not a glass, a plate, a piece of silverware out of place....just an almost empty bowl and a dog, sitting quietly licking his chops! I think he was surprised that anyone noticed. Without hesitation he walked down the basement stairs and readily entered his crate. Now, that is unusual, he generally won't go in without being accompanied by Cooper. After dinner, he was allowed to come back into the loving fold of family. By then he had long forgotten why he was asked to leave the party; and so without reservation we all decided to just drop the topic of Potato Salad. We never figured out how he got up there. The chairs were all in place under the table top. The only possibility was my Mom's Cedar Chest that sat under the window. Just the height an agile Beagle/Basset could use to "leap" onto a table with such precision that only a ripple was noted on the cloth sitting under the vase of flowers. I mean the boy has TALENT!

There seems to be a history in our family of our dogs eating our food, especially on special occasions. Mandy our little stray ate part of my brother Leo's and Linda's wedding cake while we were out taking pictures. My cousin Barb's dog, Duke ate an entire Honey Baked Ham which was to be the main course at a farewell dinner for Lara and Brian. Tom's dog Penny ate a bowl of my Mom's great homemade Pirogi. For some reason I think these events say more about us as a people than the dogs as animals. We may need a Dog Whisperer in the family!

So, we have been promised Potato Salad on another visit. We are waiting and hope it won't be too long. Family gatherings are the glue that holds us. It is interesting to watch the "passing of the place". First my Grandmother's, my Aunt's, my Mom's, then my house and now on to my children's. Traditions that change a little with each generation, but that hold on to that spirit that makes us Family. I'm so glad my clan is mine....including the dogs!

Until next time....Always, Kathleen

Friday, May 8, 2009


Lara and Evelyn

My Flowers For You This Mother's Day

The Outdoor Side of Lara

Mutual Admiration Society

Happy Mother's Day Lara! You're one terrific Mom. You are selfless, tender, gentle, affectionate, single minded, giving, tolerant, concerned, generous, creative, nurturing...when it comes to Evelyn. What a lucky little girl she is. She came into this world so perfect and you are doing all you can to make sure she stays that way. I admire you so. I believe that with every generation of women, mothering becomes better...more perfected. We learn how to be and how not to be from our Mothers. I hope I taught you more about how "to be" rather than how "not to be". But whatever, take the lessons and use them wisely and then pass them on to Evelyn. Make sure she has them tucked inside of her for when it's her turn. And believe me when I say, it will be her turn sooner than you realize.

You are an incredible daughter. You have become such a wonderful woman. If we were in each other's lives in a different way, I'd pick you as a friend. But, we are in that tangled relationship of Mother/Daughter, and frankly, I think our's is pretty healthy and pretty terrific. And I do consider you my friend...so I come out doubly blessed! If reincarnation exists, I'd want to come back as your child or your cat! Nothing against how you treat your dog, but I'd rather have a cat's life if it came to a choice. I think a cat would fit my personality better.

I think I forgot to mention your excellent judgement. And that you have shown by choosing Brian as your mate. Excellent job!

Happy Mother's Day to my born to be a Mother, Daughter! I love you.

Until next time....Always, Mom/Kathleen
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Give Up On This Format

I just don't get this site's format. I blog....save, check it on the edit page and the typing never turns out the way I layed it out.

Read my blog on Ann, below as best you can. The words are a challenge at times.



Once again she surprises me. She's been doing that since 1975. It's Ann, with yet another "adventure".

It started at age 4 when she kept calling Public Radio so she could "please get that Big Bird, you keep showing."

It happened again when she broke her ankle and didn't slow down, even though it wasn't yet a walking cast.

It came in the form of volunteering at
Beechwood Manor when she was nine.
Calling me at work to say she needed a TB test so she could help out there once a week.

Then it was becoming a terrific swimmer and a member of the swim team. Devoting hours of disciplined practice, often at 6 a.m. before school started.

Then it was becoming a "teenager" and challenging me in every way she could. Testing my limits and sometimes her own.

Then it was college and entering nursing school.

Then it was failing school and finding another field to get a degree in.

Then it was graduating and becoming a Vista Volunteer....living on a stipend of just $300 a month.

Then it was working as a Health Educator and working with women on parole in an in house rehab facility. Watching her grow in compassion and understanding of people who had "come up"the hard way.

Then it seeing a light go on in her mind and her spirit, realizing that yes, Nursing was her calling after all. Back to school to finish an Associates Degree....work, go on to finish a Bachelors and a Masters and to now work as an Advance Practice Nurse/Primary Care.

But tonight, I turned from the stove to look out my kitchen window to see such a surprising sight....A figure in black....helmet and all! It was that woman again, surprising me still.

Ann, the Motorcycle Mama...on her way home from work no less. Another adventure....from that child who keeps on surprising me!

Be safe Ann!
Until next time....Always, Kathleen

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Proud Grandparents

Patricia Ann Winterfield

The Winterfields(Left to Right)

Maria, Kathy, Tim, Patricia, Tom and Tommy

Proud Grandparents

Mutual Admiration Society

Our Granddaughter Patricia graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, yesterday. We (Tom, Tim(her Dad) and I) went to Grand Rapids on Friday. We had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant called the 1913 Room in the Grand Amway Hotel. It was a pretty swanky place and a special treat for Trisha. Saturday was the commencement ceremony. We sat through an hour and a half of name calling so we could hear "our" girl's name called. We are so proud of her.

Patricia is considering joining the Peace Corps. She had a final interview last Monday in Chicago. She is being strongly recommended and
hopefully will be "invited" to join. She will likely be sent to Subsahara Africa to teach science. She has worked so hard to get through school. She did it the hard way, working, taking loans and some help from her family...but mostly she did it on her own. She is so enthusiastic about life. She wants to gain life experience, help others and make this world a better place.

Trisha, Grandpa and I want you to know how much we love you and how proud we are. You are your Grandfather's legacy. He was tearful at your commencement, wondering out loud where the years had gone. You have so much ahead of you. May you succeed in the many adventures that lie ahead of you and may you learn from the ones that don't turn out as planned. And keep in mind that saying , about "things being rearranged for the right outcome."

Grandchildren are the BEST! Until next time....Always, Kathleen
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Visit with Evelyn

Lions and Tiger and Bears...oh boy! A Grandpa Smooch

Sharing a Giggle

Pucker Up!

Has it really been over a month since I've blogged. I guess that shows the

difference in available free time between

Florida and Michigan.

We arrived home on Saturday 4/4/09 and one hour after our arrival, this little pumpkin showed up at my door. We had five wonderful days together.

Evelyn now knows more about her zany Grandma. She heard me sing our "Zoo Song" at least 6 times each day she was here. Now I call and have Lara put me on speaker phone so she will continue to hear my voice and know "our song". After the first few words she bounces on her parents laps, or on the floor or in her chair. She claps too. She likes "our song". We visited the zoo while she was here and it will become a part of many more visits to Grandma's house. She now owns a pink baseball cap that says "Detroit Zoo" and her own divided plate and a bowl stating the same and decorated with numerous zoo animals.

I also taught her how much fun it is to sing and dance and twirl in Grandma's arms. She laughed, actually giggled and had me short of breath. What aerobic exercise I would get having this child around me on a more regular basis. I will do anything to make her smile and hear her laugh. Ask the grownup kids how their Mother acted at the Zoo. Zany!

And of course, Grandpa got his kisses in. It's such fun to watch Tom so delighted to win a smile or a vocal response from her. They had their cuddle time in Grandpa's chair and she passed him a crumpled sheet of paper...back and forth, back and forth.

What a delight she is.

Until next time....always, Kathleen

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Kathleen and Cammie working on kicks....

Cammie "jumping" to Miss Kathy

"Ring around the rosies....."

I know, who would have thunk it. Old crusty here turning into a mush melon. Can you see what loving Evelyn has done for
me? Never would I have looked at other people's children like this, not before Evelyn came into my life. She has peeled an onion, layer
by layer. She has gotten to my very soft caramel center. She has opened me to love like I have never known before.

This little girl "Camryn", called Cammie was down at the pool with her Mom and Grandma a week ago. I took immediate notice because
she made me think of what Evelyn might look like at age 2 1/2. Cammie is also adopted. She and I have begun a friendship. I go into the pool everyday. Her Mom and Grandma just sit on the edge. She and I are playmates. I am practicing my Grandma skills. It is really very easy. She has decided that I am the best. When she comes down after lunch and spots me, she cries out "Miss Kathy", and runs to me. She has taken to kissing and hugging when she leaves. She had never heard the song Ring Around the Rosies, I began singing it and moving her in circles, she sang along and within two tries she had the words down. Her Mom videoed us with my camera and if I can
figure out how to post it later I will.

Okay Evelyn, hurry up and get to Detroit, your Grandma is waiting for you. I think there will probably be a trip to the Zoo!

Until next time....Always, Kathleen
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