Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slow Life in the Fast Lane

So,  here we are retired and taking it easy.  The nice part about retirement is we don't have to awaken to the alarm clock at 4:45 am.  Start your engines now, because retirement is not in the slow lane and trying to slow down doesn't really happen that easily.  The alarm is set later -- that's good!  However, there are  many days I wish I had that job to which to  retreat, to take my mind off my own life worries!  Ha Ha!  Who knew the job was good for that!  What I have discovered is that having worries, a family and friends is the fast lane.  I always said that only boring people can get bored.  I am here to tell you that retired life is anything but boring.  It's sometimes fun, sometimes daunting, sometimes without answers, sometimes busier than ever, but really it's just the next phase of the moon so to speak.  I wouldn't really want a life without problems to solve or the next phase of the moon to enjoy.  So I am lucky!

Here's how we roll...

Well, it was getting towards the middle of the month in January and the Christmas decorations were slowly being put away.  If you know me at all, you know that my tree is down before New Year's Day.  Well, we thought having this 15 foot tree was a good idea at some point and now need help getting it up and decorated.  Gabe had decorated the tree for us before Thanksgiving and here it still was.  Gabe's father had passed away and she was still in Utah helping her mom.  Melanie was laid up with a knee and hip problem, Andrew and Matt were working and being dads so should we just leave the tree up until next year.  Rich and I decided we could take down this 15 foot tree.  We carefully took off the decorations.  Some we removed with the fan cleaning extension.  Hilarious!  Then we just tipped the tree over and took it apart.  We stuffed the four parts in the box and I mean stuffed and slud (a new word we made up) it down the stairs.  So much for the tree.  It was so nice to have it put away.

What a relief!  The decorations were nestled all snug in their beds!  A job well done I say.  Phew!

Just so you know, I am continuing to work on my mom and dad's history including their ancestors.  I think I took most of January off, but have now finished most of their ancestors to be included in the book. 

I will just throw this picture in...    This is my dad's Grandma and Grandpa Rounds.  They were a wonderful influence in his life.  Everyone thinks my dad was an all Idaho boy.  He was born in Idaho, but was raised in California and moved to Idaho only when he was a senior in high school.  This is the Grandpa who carved his initials into the brick on the front porch and then helped Dad to carve his initials.  Dad was probably about 10.    Thereafter HBN also carved his initials all over California!  He said he was even fired from one job on Calalina Island for said carving.  To note:  A few years back my youngest brother, Darryl, drove to San Gabriel, California and bought the two bricks from the current owner of the house.  What a treasure.
 Also, Grandma Rounds's father was the famous,  first boy child born in Salt Lake City after the Mormon Pioneers arrived in the valley.  I didn't know them, but love these smiling faces and especially a grandpa who took the time to carve his initials with his grandson.

So, I have to add pictures to my own history as well as to Mom's and Dad's.  Wish me luck, pray for me, or do a history book dance for me.  I will bury an onion in the back yard to see if that will help me complete this project.  What a task I have taken on for the family.  This is called writing history the way I want it.  This is what you do when you are retired.  Ha Ha...okay on to the family.

We were almost at the end of January when Lottie spent a couple of nights with us.  What a delight that beautiful child is.  Her momma and Nathan were in Utah and Matthew had his out of town working retreat for his law firm. 

                                         We pampered Lottie with a fun bubble bath in the big tub!

All the grand kids think the bed posts are for fun!
Lottie showing her tricks.

Then, since her birthday was the next week, we took her to get a early birthday present.  She was in heaven for days with this fun gift.  Yes, we were at Build a Bear.

Lottie has such a sweet and beautiful face.

Rich insists on keeping life interesting with health challenges.  (In fact the last two years have been just crazy for him.) To be able to have a surgery in March, he had to have a heart catherization to make sure the surgery could go forward.  He could write the book on taking care of yourself and being a good patient.  He has had many challenges, but sails through all of them.  He makes it look easy in fact.  He would like my sympathy and help during these times, but he (true to form) usually ends up taking care of me so I won't stress and worry.  Love this guy!  The heart cath went well with no blockages, but the ejection fraction dropped from fifty  to forty due to a silent heart attack at some point last year.  Who knew there was such a thing.  He was cleared for the surgery with above average risk.  I decided to go to the doctor myself to get some tranquilizers or something.  The slow.
lane was feeling a little to fast.
Rich is even handsome and happy in his hospital bed.  He has always been able to make me laugh and on this day we were celebrating our 47th anniversary.  He really knows how to show a girl a good time  -- right???
We made it through the procedure, but again, he was detained because he couldn't stop bleeding through the compression wound.  Finally he did and Melanie picked us up and drove us clear to Culpeper.  Check the first step off.

             Andrew and Melanie brought their girls to Culpeper to play with Charlotte.
                               They love sitting at Grammie's counter!  Jocelyn, Charlotte and Audrey!

See those flat slices of apple on the counter.  Those are Grandpa Apples!  The kids all beg Grandpa for his apples when they visit.
                    I'm not sure what I was trying to talk them into here, but they were adorable.


We celebrated lots of birthdays in February!  We celebrated Charlotte turning 7.  Gabe and Melanie turning something in the 30's category and Nathan turning 7.  Now that's a lot of cake.  Here are  the pictures of the fun!

First Charlotte:  Gabe had a fun brunch for Charlotte's birthday.

                         Here's the birthday girl!  I can't believe she is 7.  Ha Ha -- Nathan photo bombing.

Grammie (me)  made a cute melonhead fruit decoration for the brunch!  Fun Fun

We celebrated Gabe and Melanie together!  I had great fun making  the cake and we had lots of fun eating it also.  I wanted a special cake for Melanie and Gabe.  Three layer double double chocolate!

I love the looks on all of the faces.  Funny Funny

 I'm quite confident that Rich and Andrew moved to blur up this shot.

Then it was Nathan's turn.  I can't believe this adorable boy turned four years old.

 He was very serious about getting his gifts unwrapped.

 We've had tons of snow this year and Rich took this shot on March 3rd.  It's looking east on Davis Street in Culpeper.  Not one car was out.  Except us of course.  The minute it snows, Rich Crowley has to go drive in it.  Love this picture.  It looks like it could have been taken in the 1800s.

And then we had Matt's celebration.  He wanted a birthday breakfast instead of a dinner.  It was lots of fun.  And NO CAKE!

Here's my cute little guy at 18 months. 

 And what fun we had complete with Monster Pancakes, Carmel French toast, lots of fruit, scrambled egg nests and bacon.  Don't forget the Orange Julius!
Grammie holding Jocelyn, Audrey and Charlotte, and Matthew holding Nathan. 
I have the cutest grand kids.  They all look so different, but I'm pretty sure they all look like me.  Ha Ha!  I'm not saying I'm cute, I just want them to look like me.

 Two days later, Rich, Matthew and I trekked to Fairfax Hospital for Rich's surgery.  After a two-day stay, Andrew drove us home.  The surgery was a success.  The doctor reported out at about 1:00 to tell us about the surgery and that Rich was in recovery.  Matt left and I waited and waited.  Since Rich was staying in the hospital, they wouldn't let me in recovery.  They finally told me that he was so agitated they had to sedate him.  In other words he was back there fighting with the nurses so they put him out.  He was in recovery for over four hours.  He didn't get to his room until after 6:00 pm.  The surgery was a high tech  DaVinci Robotic prostatecomy.  All the cancer was removed along with the prostate.  That was four weeks ago and Rich is doing well.  The recovery is a slow one, but day by day he improves.  It seems like it was just January and we were dreading everything.  Now, the surgery was four weeks ago, the snow is finally finished and Spring is here.  We are happy!

Could these two be any sweeter.  They are crazy about each other!  More of Grandpa's Apples.

And last but by no means least, here is our adorable little Harper.  She has taken to giving "dirty looks" on a few occasions.  Grandpa captured this one.

 They don't get any cuter than this little Harper Crowley!  I just love how she can furrow her little brow.  And...She can keep us all very busy.  She looks like me too!

So busy is what retirement is all about.  I'm just warning you about the slowing down part.  It doesn't really happen.  So just go with the next phase of the moon,  And if you get bored, just come see us.  We'd love to show you around our Virginia.  Also, I will fix you the recipe listed below or anything else you would like!!!  This offer is good anytime!

I have said in another blog that I still love cooking.  Especially now that I have my Recipe Box on my iPad.  Many have asked me for this recipe so here it is.  If you have others you want, let me know.
I found this recipe when I started teaching again in the 90s at Annandale High School.  The speech pathologist office was next to my room and we had a connecting door.  I was teaching government that year and once the kids were in their desks, the door would barely open.  She used to poke her head in often to see if I was busy! She found this recipe in a magazine and we both loved the recipe.  I just loved her too.  She left and moved to South Carolina, but gave us her hot tub!  Nice.

Easy Kielbasa Fettuccine


box of fettuccine
two peppers - one red one yellow sliced into strips
large onion sliced
bottle of zesty Italian dressing
shredded Parmesan or fresh grated

1.  Cook fettuccine according to directions for al dente. 
2.  Cross cut kielbasa diagonally and saute until a little browned on the edges.
(If you get turkey kielbasa, you have to add a little oil to he pan)  I've used all kinds.  They all work.
3.  Add peppers and onion and cook until somewhat softened or your preference
4.  Toss together with the fettuccine and dress with the Italian dressing (I only use about 1/3 of the bottle). 
5.  Sprinkle with cheese and toss again

I also like to add other fresh veggies.  Mostly sliced cherry tomatoes.  But don't cook them.

Can be served warm or cold.  Add some crusty bread and you are set.  It's an easy one -- add it to your easy cooking list.