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Forever and a Day ……

IMG_0038…… is how long it seems since I last posted.
Usually, when there’s not too much going on in my life …… I find it difficult to post.
And then there are other times.
The times that require too much of me to even begin to think of a title of a post, let alone write a few paragraphs.

So here we are.
It’s been quite some time. The last time I posted I caught you all up with my comings and goings in NY.
I really, truly, need to move to NY full time. Life is much simpler there.

The week before I was to head back to Texas I received several frantic texts and a few phone calls from Daugter #2. The time differencee is only an hour, but depending upon how late you stay out the night before …… that hour can make a huge difference.
We finally connected.
It seems that poor J-Bear had slipped and fallen on the floor (nothing more exciting than that) and broken his femur.
Yes. His femur.
What the what???
Of course they did full body xrays to see if there have been other breaks in the past, but nothing showed up. Which is a huge sigh of relief to any parent, adoptive parent or foster parent.
His bones looked good. His break was just a fluke.
And of course I was not in town to be of assitance.
Luckily for J, our local hospital has no pediatric ortho doc so they loaded him and D#2 in an ambulance and took them to another town. He loves to tell you about the ambulance ride.
At that hospital he was put into a cast that went around his waist and down his left leg …. to his ankle. His foot was set at a 45 degree angle.
And then the fun began!

D#2 took off one week of work to stay home with J.
Then D#3 took off a week from her job in Austin and came to Waco to watch him.
(Day cares don’t seem to like these kind of casts …… and who can blame them?).
And then it was my turn.

I flew out of NY, flush with the memories of all good things on Broadway (GO SEE “DEAR EVAN HANSEN” or you will regret it for the rest of your life!!).
I flew back to Waco to take over the last two weeks of cast-wearing.
Or so I thought.

Now let me just say up front …… that I love my grandson fiercely. Exactly as I loved my children. Fiercely. Ferociously. With an Agape love that will never change. Now you need to note that an Agape love is not a love that condones misbehavior, foul deeds, stuff like that. It’s not a love that says, “I will love you and support you no matter what you do.”
No.
An Agape love is a forever love. I will always love you. No matter what.
But ……. I will not condone, excuse, make exceptions for your behavior. Your behavior is yours.
But love is forever.
There’s a difference.
For those of you who don’t get that, feel free to message me to talk more about it.

So back to the 2 year old.
I love that boy fiercely.
But MAN!!! That can he drive me crazy! He’s two. He’s a professional.
And for that, I have to give him respect. ūüôā

Fortunately, he’s getting closer to being 3. His personality shines forth now and he is mostly hilarious. When he’s not mad at you. Actually, he’s even more hilarious then, which makes him even madder.

He and Gracie have a love/hate relationship. Which means that when one loves the other, the other hates him/her.
They are JUST like siblings! They actually bicker and fight. No kidding. I’ll have to record it sometime.
It drives me nuts.

But, for the most part, the two last weeks of his cast went pretty well. We went for walks, visited the zoo, visited the neighbors, and watched way too much Daniel Tiger. At 2:00 in the morning I still wake up to strains of “What Do You Do When You’re Scared”.
Sigh …….

Then came the day when J got his cast removed.
If only it were as simple as that sentence.
We tried to prepare him with the sounds and actions of the saw as it would cut into his cast.
We thought we did a good job.
Ha!
When it came time to cut the cast off, his screams far outshone the sound of the saw.
Daughter #2 held him down and talked to him closely to his face as he cried and screamed, “Mommy! Mommy!” in a blood-curdling way. I held his legs down and helped the saw tech by moving the diaper out of the way and the other leg.
And then …… about 2 minutes in, when J realized that his mother was of no use to him …… he screamed out, “GIIIIIIIII GIIIIIIIII!”
Several times.
My heart broke into a million pieces because there was nothing I could do to get him out of that situation.
I bent down to his face, cuddled him as best I could, and tried to reassure him that it was almost over.
I have no doubt that he will never trust Gigi again.

Oh well.
So the cast was off! Hooray!! Yippee!!
But ……. he couldn’t walk. Which meant that he would not be able to return to daycare.
Which meant that Gigi would still be on duty. Sigh ……

In the meantime …… I’d been trading calls with my father, who lives in Oregon and who I don’t get to see all that much.
He’d been in the hospital a couple of times with some worrisome symptoms and now he had a diagnosis.
Stage 4 Lung Cancer.
AKA: Mesothelioma
Thank you to the U.S. Navy for the work that he did that will now end up killing him.

It seems that this horrendous disease moves quickly. Way too quickly. After speaking with him a couple of times I realized that I needed to go see him sooner, rather than later.
So I took care of J for 3 and a half days and then flew to Oregon, the state of my birth.
And here I have remained for the past week or so.

This is never something that anyone of us sees ourselves doing, I dare say.
My father is 77. Too young to be told that he will probably be dead in 2 months.
I can’t keep up.

The hopice guy came over to see him a couple of days ago and they really like each other. They have a lot in common, other than this death thing.
They chatted for a while and then Mr. Hospice asked if my father had a walker (he thought he had) but my father shook his head. He said, “That’s ok, I’ll order one. We’ll also need to get a portapotty to put beside your bed. And then a hospital bed which will help you breathe easier.
My father asked, “When do you forsee all of this happening?”
Mr. Hopsice: “A couple of months.”

Holy Shit.

How do you get past the thought that right at this very moment …… you can do whatever you want? Yeah, you might get short of breath, but you’re still in control, for the most part.
To …… in two months you’ll be bed-ridden and totally helpless?

This.
Sucks.
So.
Much.

My father and I have never been close. I didn’t even know him until he came back into my life when I was 14.
There have been sporadic visits and the usual cards.
But this wasn’t the Dad who raised me.
This wasn’t a man that I really knew.

We’ve kept in touch over the years and I’ve come up for visits here and there. Fortunately Son #1 has come with me on a couple of visits so he’s been able to learn a bit about this side of the family.

I think that most of my children will come up here this summer to reaquaint themselves with their grandfather and say goodbye.
I’m proud of them for that.

I have a sister up here who I didn’t grow up with, but whom I still love. And I love her precious children as much as I love my other nieces and nephews.

I tried to explain this to her, as well as to my father.
I’m not sure why I’m here.
Except for this.
He is alone..
No one should be alone at such a time as this.
My life, at this point, allows me the time and flexibility to be here.
For him.
And maybe for me.

I would hate to think that anyone would be alone at a time like this.
And if I can help it …… he won’t.
So here I am.
I hope that when my turn comes …… I won’t be alone.

Yes, there’s more to write. Like how Gracie got poisoned by cannabis and I had to rush her to the ER Vet, but that story will come later.
Suffice it to say that she is all better and I am 1,000% relieved.
Yesterday was a very scary day/night for me and I’m not sure how I would’ve handled a tragic outcome.

But I didn’t have to.
So yay for that.

I will be going to NY in a couple of weeks for a short visit, to celebrate my girls’ birthdays and see some shows, but then I’ll be back in Oregon.
For as long as it takes.
All prayers, positive thoughts, good wishes, etc. are appreciated.

Dead Umbrellas, Shows and ……

…… a Houdini dog.

That about sums up most of the last few weeks here in NY and in side trips.

Here, in no particular order, are the shows I’ve seen:

I love Kevin Klein and he did a great job in this. It’s only on a limited run.
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This …… this is THE most HILARIOUS play I’ve ever seen! I will most likely see it again. And maybe again. If you’re planning a trip to NY and want to see a play … this can’t be beat.
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This was ok.
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This is a musical that will soon be impossible to buy tickets for. Kind of like Hamilton. I hadn’t planned on seeing it when I came, because it sounded kind of hokey to me. Then I remembered that Hamilton also sounded hokey to me. And so I bought a ticket. And Oh. My. Word. I loved it. It’s great.
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This was a fun day with my friend Beth. We were in the audience for Harry. He’s a lot of fun and is so cute. His daughters were in this show. It airs May 8th. Beth and I sat in the very back. Good luck finding us.

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This was good. I’m glad I saw it but I wouldn’t see it again (the true test of how much I love a show.)
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This was, of course, terrific. I mean, it’s Bette Midler. How can you go wrong? She did a terrific job. It’s also a limited run, and difficult to see, but well worth the effort if you can.
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And here’s a special note/secret that not a lot of people know. ¬†See that sign down there? ¬†It has Bette Midler’s name above the name of the show, “Hello, Dolly”. ¬†Well, here’s the secret …… if you buy a ticket to a show that has the star’s name above the name of the title, and for whatever reason that star cancels his/her performance for your date, you can get your money back for your ticket. ¬†It’s not a very common billing, but it does happen for big stars. ¬†But again, they have to be billed above the title of the show.
You’re welcome.IMG_6507.jpg

I have saved the best for last. This was beyond amazing. Or rather ……. Glenn Close was beyond amazing. She was fabulous times a thousand. She will win the Tony award, word. She originated this role 23 years ago and won the Tony back then. She’ll win it again. Trust me. This is only on for a few months. If you can see it ……. do. Just for her.
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And this …… well, this is tied for the best for last. It will be around for awhile, though it will soon be sold out for the foreseeable future. It gave me goosebumps …… and that was just the first act. I loved it. If my children were young again (12 and up) I’d take them to see it, too. It’s not only wonderful beyond words, it’s very, very important.
See it if you can. As soon as you can.
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One day I went on a tour of four homes in uptown NY. ¬†They all happen to be smack dab in the middle of the city, though they don’t exactly fit in their locale. ¬†One is a farmhouse, one is Alexander Hamilton’s home that he built uptown because “it’s quiet uptown”. ¬†The other two are mansions.
Here are several pictures:

Here are a couple of shots from Times Square and the Colbert theatre. ¬†They’ve changed the sign since he took over from Letterman.

Here’s a strange Trump truck that was going from Times Square to my building and back again, while playing loud music. It was obnoxious, to say the least.
To each his own.

Here’s J-bear, in the hospital after breaking his femur. He spent the night and day in while they ruled out any brittle bone problems and just decided he’s a 2 year old and 2 year olds break bones. His cast goes around his waist/hips and down his leg. Poor J. Poor Daughter #2.
The upside? #1. He only has to have the cast on for 4 weeks. And #2. He got to ride in an ambulance from the first hospital to the second, which he thought was pretty cool.
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This is one of the most hilarious sights I’ve seen here. It makes me think of clown cars.
Hmmmm ….
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Last week it rained a couple of days in a row. And with the rain came wind, but with a capital W. Wind. Actually, WIND!!! When the wind blows up here it beats that Oklahoma plain wind all to pieces.
And after such rain/wind storms you can find dead umbrellas all over the city. Yep, dead. It’s a sad, sad sight.
Look closely at the last picture and see how many dead umbrellas you can find in it.

And now, last but not least, are some pics from my last Mom’s Day at OSU with Son #3. We had a great weekend. I watched him play Beer Die, climb into a hammock about 6′ off of the ground (no easy feat), ate dinner at a Japanese hibachi place, where he and his fraternity brother took turns tossing and cracking eggs, and played pool at Willie’s, where Garth Brook first sang in Stillwater back in the day. It was a very fun weekend.

One last story …… Gracie and I flew back to NY yesterday. She was in a kennel under my seat. About 1/2 way into the flight I was engrossed in a movie. So engrossed that I didn’t notice that there was a commotion in the aisle (I was in the window seat). Then a flight attendant got my attention by flailing her arms up and down. I saw her, took out my earbuds and looked at her. She pointed down, in the aisle. And there, much to my surprise, was Gracie. Bouncing around all over the aisle, having a great time greeting fellow passengers.
The most hilarious thing about this was that the guy next to me (on the aisle) was having a minor conniption fit squealing, “Don’t let it touch me! Don’t let it touch me!” I kid you not. I was trying not to guffaw in his face. I wanted to say, “She’s a freaking 4 pound dog. What do you think she’s going to do to you?!”
The flight attendant was reassuring him that she was in no way going to hurt him. I managed to get her to come back to me and then put her back in her kennel. I have no idea how she escaped, but I was pretty proud of her Houdini-ness.
Every time I thought of it the rest of the flight, I laughed out loud. She was hilarious. She had a great time and seemed very proud of herself. I wish that I had paused to take pictures/video, but I didn’t think the flight attendant would think that was appropriate. Even though she found it all pretty humorous, too. Especially with my seat-mate hyperventilating. Weenie.

OK, I think that’s a boat load of entertainment. I hope that you enjoyed it.
I’ll be in NY for a few more days and then head back to Waco on Thursday.
I have mixed feelings about leaving, but I’ll be glad to see J-Bear again. I get to take care of him for the next two weeks since his daycare won’t take him with the cast.
Weenies.

It’s Been a Long Time ……

…… since I’ve written a post, and I’m not sure why. I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts.

Part of it is because I haven’t felt that I’ve had anything to say. Life has been going on …… nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible, either.
Mostly.

A family member is very sick, and today he had a heart attack, but he was conscious, which is good. So there’s that. I try not to let the sadness in all of the time, but it’s there.

The kids are all doing well. The grandson is fabulous. Waco has been good. Lonely, but good.

I’m in NY now, so that’s great.
But it, too, feels lonely.
I’m keeping busy, so it’s not that.
It’s …… missing him.
I’m really missing Jim more right now …… and I’m trying to figure out why.
I mean, I miss him every day, don’t get me wrong.
But tonight there are tears with the missing of him.
That doesn’t occur all that often anymore.

So I sit and ponder the date for a bit. It’s March so that’s not it. Nothing huge ever happened in March with us.
It’s not NY.
It’s not Waco, although I often feel sad that he’s not here for J-bear to know. And that he’s not here to love being a grandpa.
More tears.

Sometimes there’s no explanation.
The missing is just there.
Bigger than other times.
Hurting more sometimes.
Lonelier most times.

God, I miss that man.IMG_6278

Sick ……

…… and tired.

It’s been a rough couple of months.
And evidently, not just for me.

I know I don’t have much to complain about in my life, but sometimes I just get sick and tired.
Of crap.

I’ve had fluid in my ear for 2 weeks now.
This fluid prevented me from flying to California for our annual board retreat. My first one to miss.
And I hate that.

It’s also left me feeling a bit …… “off”. I can’t hear well in the one ear and I just feel out of sorts.
I’ve been to the ER (thankfully the infection/pain is gone), my doctor and a chiropractor (I have my third visit today). I think he’s helped a bit. The fluid is still there but I think there’s less. The pressure is better anyway.
Tomorrow I’m going to see an ENT.

Evidently I’m allergic to Waco.
So.
Much.
Fun.

The past couple of months have been hard on Daughter #2. She’s been fostering two boys, ages 12 and 9. They’re brothers and our hearts go out to them.
But.
Their behavior started out ok but now it’s spiraling out of control.
And as someone who is an only parent, I know how incredibly hard it is to parent angry, disrespectful, grieving children all by yourself.
No one has your back.
And that sucks.

She knows that I have her back, but I don’t live in the same house with them.
I do what I can and yes, I’m only 15 minutes away …… but it’s just not the same.
Things have been beyond difficult.
And it’s starting to affect J-bear.

It’s so hard to see both sides of the foster system. Yes, the kids have been through alot and no, you definitely don’t want to add to their pile of hurts. But sometimes you can only take so much.
And then you break.
And you’re no good to anyone.

We keep hoping that things will get better.
And she hasn’t given up that hope.
But she’s starting to crack.
And I don’t want to stand by and watch her break.
Prayers are appreciated.

In other news of things I’m sick and tired of …… and you mostly likely share this with me …… politics.
Ugh.
I hate, abhor, am sick to death of this crap and how it’s affecting people.
It’s ugly …… pure and simple.

Facebook used to be a fun place to go catch up with friends far and wide, but for about 3 months now it’s been less than fun.
And I don’t get it.

I get the politics part. I get that politics (and religion) can get people heated.
I get that we will never all agree when it comes to that topic.
But this election and its aftermath have become more than that.

People who you’ve never had a harsh word with have suddenly become ex-friends.
Over a stupid election.
I’ve had one “friend” whom I thought I knew …… for more than 20 years …… attack me on MY Facebook page for posting MY opinion.
Mine.
I was shocked.
And flabbergasted (I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before, but I like it. I may have to start using it regularly.).
Her words became hateful.
And so I did what I didn’t think I’d ever do over politics.
I unfriended her.
What a stupid world.
(I also had a distant relative (maybe) unfriend me because I came to the defense of my daughter on MY page. I’ve never met her and don’t know her so that didn’t surprise/bother me. I thought it was funny.)

I’m sick and tired of the fighting, name calling and hatred being poured out over this election.
From both sides.
I’m tired of friends making snide comments on my page when I post something that I like.
So I don’t spend much time there anymore.
I hope that this will all die down soon and people will become normal again.
Whatever that is.

Not that I want everyone to sit back and do nothing.
I think we should all be politically and socially active.
Or things will never change.
And we’ll be stuck with “alternative facts”.
I just hope that we can do this without the hatred.
Where has that come from?
What makes people think it’s ok to post hate on other people’s pages?
Why is it ok to let hatred spew from your fingertips?
It’s not …… in my book.

Now …… in other news of things I’m not sick and tired of …… last week, after a month of training, I was sworn in as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and on Friday I took on my first case.
If you’re not familiar with CASA you should definitely Google it and check it out. There’s probably an office near you and you might be a wonderful addition.
In a nutshell …… I’m the voice of a foster child/children in court. I investigate the life of that child, foster a relationship with them (over a period of 12-18 months, or more) and tell the judge what, in my opinion, is in the best interest of her/him.
I listen without judging, support as best I can, and try to keep the goal of the foster system in front of me: keeping families together.
No, that won’t always be the case, obviously. But it is the majority of the time.
Another goal is a CASA for every child in the system. I’m just a tiny drop in a very empty bucket.

So if you’re looking for something of great value to do with your time …… if you want to make a difference in the life of a child who’s hurting …… if this election has made you more aware of the needs of our country …… if you’re sick and tired of the divisiveness and would like to help get rid of it …… I highly recommend becoming a CASA.

And on that note …… I will end this rant post.

Happy Monday, y’all.
ūüôā

 

Binging and Transporting ……

 

…… can sometimes happen at the same time. ¬†Probably rarely.

Though all it takes is once.

I’ve been binge watching “The Gilmore Girls” for the past several weeks. ¬†I finished the 7th, and final original season yesterday and started the new episodes on Netflix today. Yesterday was the day I was transported. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†And then it happened again today.

Yesterday it was during Episode 13, Season 7. ¬†The father/grandfather had a massive heart attack and then went into surgery. ¬†While he was in there his daughter and granddaughter went to his house to pack a bag for his wife …… their mother/grandmother.

Jim didn’t have a heart attack, but he did go into major heart surgery. ¬†And some of my children went back to the house to pack a bag for me. ¬†Because I’d be staying in the hospital with him for the 6 to 7 days of recuperation the surgeon had told us to expect.

As I watched the scene of them wondering what to pack, my heart broke all over again for my children, who had to wonder what to pack for me. ¬†I don’t know if they were as positive as I was that I’d be home with their dad in a week. ¬†I don’t know if they tried hard to keep their minds occupied on the task at hand, rather than on their father in surgery.

Not knowing any of that didn’t make that episode easier to watch. ¬†It was difficult. ¬†I didn’t know the outcome of that episode …… I know that the actor who played that role (father/grandfather) died in 2014 …… but I didn’t know if they killed off his character before then.

It turns out they didn’t. ¬†So the wife (mother/grandmother) got to use the lovingly packed suitcase. ¬†She stayed at the hospital for the days that it took for him to recuperate and then get discharged. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† She was lucky.
She got to use the suitcase.

My suitcase remained unused. ¬†It was lovingly and hurriedly packed …… all to no avail. ¬†Jim never made it out of surgery.
Not alive anyway.

I didn’t see the transporting coming. ¬†It just happened. ¬†One minute I was in my living room, watching a TV show, the next minute I was invisible in my former home, watching my daughters trying to figure out what to pack in a suitcase for me.
It was surreal, to say the least.

Then today I started the new episodes …… where the dad/grandfather has just died because the actor died. ¬†The funeral, the grief …… it was all there.
And it was sad. ¬†As it should’ve been.
Transported …… again.

It must be noted that yesterday was the 9th of December. ¬†A full two weeks and a day past Thanksgiving. ¬†For those who know the meaning of that, this is huge. ¬†For those that don’t, the “death march” towards December 18th, the day Jim died, usually begins with Thanksgiving. ¬†For the last 9 years it’s been a holiday I’ve mostly dreaded …… because I know what comes closely on its heels. ¬†Most of the time it’s completely unconscious. ¬†I know that those of you who haven’t experienced the death of a spouse or child can’t understand that, but trust me, it’s true. ¬†The body remembers things that the mind tries to forget.

But this year, this year I looked forward to Thanksgiving.  And I happily decorated the house, by myself.  I realized what the days were/are leading to, but I felt ok.  And feeling ok feels pretty great compared to the usual.

So the fact that I made it to December 9th without feeling my body going through the “death march” is fantastic. ¬†And even though I shed tears yesterday, and today, I still feel ok. ¬†Don’t get me wrong …… that doesn’t mean I don’t think about Jim, don’t miss Jim, don’t long for Jim, don’t love Jim just as much …… I think it just means …… I’m happy. ¬†And I can feel sadness in the midst of happiness.

I think it also helps that I get to spend significant time with a certain 2 year old (2 sleepovers in a row this weekend!). ¬† ¬†And while he keeps me busy, and mostly makes me laugh …… it also breaks my heart that he “knows” who Grandpa is, but doesn’t know Grandpa. ¬†Nor Grandpa him. ¬†As far as I know, anyway. ¬†I’d like to think that Grandpa sees him …… and knows him.

So, be careful while you’re binging.
You never know where you might end up.

I Think Today Requires ……

…… more pictures than words.

I’m still a bit (or maybe a lot) stunned and really don’t have any words to write anyway.
Not yet.

So on to pictures. ¬†This first group are all from the month of September. ¬†I may or may not write a description. ¬†We’ll see if I feel inspired when I upload them. ¬†ūüôā

SOMEbody was put in time out for refusing to stop barking. She shall remain nameless but she has her own FB and Instagram accounts, so these could be used for blackmail some day. ūüėČ

I walked into a store at the beginning of September and was not prepared to see this:
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Or this (whatever):
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I really thought this part of life was behind me.  Ha!

And now for October.

This kid.  So much love.
We went to the zoo.

And Angel …… we went to this exhibit just for you. ¬†ūüôā
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A day in Waco.  Note that in the bottom right picture they were BOTH getting ready to act upon a bad idea.

This took a while.

Excellent cookie placement.
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Another trip to the zoo.  And a new friend was made.  A massive new friend.

This was an experiment to see if the hairstyle would work with ……
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…… THIS!
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(I’m hoping that you know he’s dressed up as Alexander Hamilton. ¬†His awesome mom made the costume!)
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I went to Oklahoma for our Homecoming and had dinner one night with my lovely, fun and loving “sisters”. ¬†‚̧
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Here are pics from November (so far):

A play and a movie preview.

A beautiful day in the Park.  Most people had on hats and scarves.
I wore sandals.
Sissies.

Another play, starring Mary Louise Parker.  There was on stage seating, which was cool.  And her 12 year old son was being an usher.  So cute!

And then there was this musical, starring Josh Groban, whom Daughter #2 wants to marry. So I hung out at the stage door afterwards to record him saying hi to her and to get pics and his autograph.  Success!

An awesomely beautiful day for tennis.

A cup of tea after a long awaited massage at Lush Spa. ¬†The kids gave me a gift certificate for Christmas …… last year. ¬†I kept forgetting about it but last week remembered and decided to use it on Election Day. ¬†I’m glad I did. ¬†I still feel pretty relaxed. ¬†ūüôā
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And last but certainly not least …… a post-grooming Gracie. ¬†The only dog I know that loves going to the groomer. ¬†Seriously.
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Enjoy your day and remember to breathe deeply every once in awhile.
Or drink a bottle of wine.
Whatever works for you.

Happy Wednesday!