Wednesday, July 20, 2016

To Serve And Protect

There are stories almost daily of lives that are lost.  Lives that are taken.  Lives that are seemingly not given any consideration that they are anything but a body in a uniform.  I know that lives are also taken, lost, and also not given consideration that they are anything other than a criminal with intent to hurt.  Somehow we've taken it upon ourselves to be judge and jury when these things happen.  I've never faced a person with a gun or a person that I thought might want to do harm to me or my family.  I've never faced a situation in a dark alley, street, or car that would make me scared.  I've never had to make a snap decision on someone that I have to decide is a harm to others or themselves.  I'm grateful to those that do make those decisions.  I'm grateful to know I can make a call if I'm ever in a place or situation that makes me uncomfortable.  I'm also grateful to know some of those bodies in uniform as real people.  People who have families, friends, pets, hobbies, and go to work daily and put all that aside to help save others.  To serve and protect.  Are all police officers good?  Are all police officers perfect?  Heck no.  Are any of us perfect?  I doubt it.  I know good physicians, nurses, lawyers, school teachers....I also have met the opposite.   The slogan is "Black Lives Matter".  And they do.  But I say: "ALL LIVES MATTER!"    I grew up in a suburb of Chicago.  My folks moved there to build their own home in 1951.  No more apartment living where kids couldn't walk on the grass or play safe out in the street.  Everyone thought my parents were crazy to leave the city to live in the middle of nowhere.  But they knew what they could make happen there.  A small unincorporated neighborhood that slowly began to grow as others joined the movement to leave the city.  There came a time when our little town needed a police force.  My Dad was asked to be the first Chief of police in Oakbrook Terrace.   He accepted and had a couple of other volunteers to help get the force started.  They used their own cars and did this on their own time and at their own expense.  Today that little volunteer police force is now a full size, legitimate police force with cars and a station house and many men and women on the payroll.   When my Dad passed away I was very touched to see all the officers come to his funeral and give him a police escort to his gravesite and also take the time to pass through our neighborhood and our home with the whole funeral procession following.   This is my Dad...my hero.

Today I know another family member who has taken the calling to "Serve and Protect".  My niece,  Katie.  Also my hero.
She completed her Bachelor's degree in criminology and went on to get her Masters and is now a police detective with the Oakbrook Police Department.  She is more than a target in a uniform.  She's a mom to these two cuties.

She's a wife to Blake.
She's my sister's daughter.
  She's a Granddaughter, a sister to her other siblings, a good friend to many, and a good person who puts all this aside to go and help others and keep the community she serves safe.  Because she works out in the "burbs" it doesn't mean it's safe.  I know she has investigated many crimes that would make us all cringe.   I also know she has to go serve warrants in the city to criminals that you have no idea how they will react to being served.  In 2004 her younger brother, Jonathon, was killed in a car accident.  She was the officer called to the scene.  Imagine going to a bad crash only to find out that the person laying dead in the snow is your brother.  She's been hurt on the job but doesn't let that stop her.  She's hoping to get to retire one day from the force.  She hopes to go out with a good record and also without injury or worse.  We pray for her daily.  I hope we say a prayer for all those that put their lives on the line.  I hope we pray for those that have been gunned down to serve some sick person's idea of revenge.  I hope we all conduct ourselves as human beings who realize that all lives really do matter...no matter what the race, religion, or beliefs may be.  We need to unite in peace and help each other and our communities to be safe and  be places where everyone can live without fear.  We need to stop the violence.  Amen.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Camp Week

Last week was a short work week.  I had Monday off for the holiday and Tuesday off to say bye to Mom and my sister.  Why then did it feel like the longest week ever? The workplace was busy and a bit crazy.  We even had a Doctor collapse on us and we had to cancel all his surgeries for that day. (He's fine now!)  Maybe because Jack was at Scout Camp all week and I'm not fond of being home alone at night.  I hear every bump and rattle and don't sleep to great.  But he came home yesterday and had a good camp week with the kids.  It was a hot one with  a teeny bit of rain the first day.  He survived however.   There weren't as many kids this year as in the past.  It's funny about kids these days.  It's hard to get them away from electronics and sports.  Only 2 troops participated in skit night.  I find that so sad.  No one can think of something completely silly to do? No imagination?  No letting loose for one night?  Anyway, the ones who did participate had fun and the camp had it's usual activities available for all who wanted to have fun and learn some things.
Welcome sign.
Beautiful setting with a fun lake for lake games and fishing and swimming.
Food served in the new dining hall.
Fun slides with soap and water and a hill.
Service projects are done all week by the scouts and also the leaders.
A crazy pinewood derby that made the guys use some imagination after all! I feature  camp posts most years.  They always go during July 4th week and I've gotten used to not having Jack around on that holiday unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.  I'm not sure how many more years he'll be going.  He wants to go next year to help the camp celebrate 50yrs at that scout reservation.  Scouting is changing and money makes it necessary to close camps and combine counsels.  It's a good organization that if parents and the kids would get behind it and really understand and enjoy what it has to offer, it would be a real benefit to the boys and their futures.  Not every boy makes Eagle Scout but no matter the rank they achieve it teaches valuable lessons.  I hope they all enjoyed the week and the activities and the time away from the phone, TV, and internet!

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4th Fun!

Welcome July! Along with that welcome we welcomed a visit by my Mom and my sister, Midge. 
They arrived Friday afternoon and will go home tomorrow. This visit was so nice and quiet for us.  Although my boys and their kiddos came by at different times and we had a few cookouts and runabouts...it was nice to have time to sit and chat and mostly just enjoy this wonderful weekend.  The weather has been cool and lovely.
We sat around the fire Friday and cooked our dinner and just relaxed until dark and chill drove us indoors.
We went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday.
No, we didn't come by buggy!
Or horse!!  We went downtown afterwards and saw the end of the annual "push 'em, pull 'em parade.
The kids in town all dress up in their red, white, and blue, and walk down the street and show their patriotism!  (They even bring their pets!)  It's fun to see the little ones in strollers and the bigger ones on bikes.  It reminds me of my own childhood when we always had a kid parade through the town.  While Mom was getting a Chiro treatment from Jack, Midge and I hiked downtown to a cute little place called "Downtown Perk". 
Lots of old Ashland pics, signs and good coffee and muffins! I don't drink coffee but the day was cool enough for a hot cocoa...yum! The day was filled with some shopping, and visits from Grandkiddos.
Sunday found us taking in the annual icecream social at the Historical Society. I didn't have my camera so no good pics there.  In the evening we went to the park for the "Pops in the Park" concert.  It's always a good time to sit and enjoy the music.
Just bring your chairs and sit and relax. That's me in the middle! Hehe!
As always it was fabulous! Lots of good tunes and patriotic songs and songs to honor every branch of military service. 
At the end the cannons go off for the 1812 Overture and the sparklers come out for "God Bless America".  Very small town fun! 
Jack left this morning for Scout Camp. He spent most of the weekend getting ready.  When the tent goes up, you know it's camp time soon.  Hope your week is a good one Babe!  So today it's just Mom, Midge and I.  Phil and the girls stopped by to shoot off some fireworks and visit with us.
Run guys!
Lex is getting good at driving.  They drove all over and picked up the remains of the fireworks.  Good, I hate when I run over the stuff  with the mower!  I think we'll pass on the fireworks tonight since the crowds get pretty heavy and parking is a challenge.  Mom's done really well tromping around town with us but I'd hate to put her through the paces tonight...she's 90 after all...although I have a hard time remembering that! I'll miss them both when they leave tomorrow.  Even Chubbs will be sad!
I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th and thanks to all who serve our wonderful country and who have served to make it possible to celebrate our freedoms!  Happy July 4th!  God Bless America!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pomp And A Lot Of Circumstances!

Today we celebrated our dear Summer's high school graduation with a party.  I need to mention that it was held at our house.  That being said, all the pomp in getting a house and yard ready was lots of work. So many projects got done and in the end...all good! If you've followed this blog for a bit you know I don't have a good relationship with the weather Gods.  It usually rains unless it's Winter, then it's a blizzard.  Well, no rain today! Yeah!  But...and there's always a But...it was in the 90's with high humidity.  Oh boy was it hot.  We put all the food inside and even made sure our finished basement was  in good order so folks could eat down there if they wanted.
Lots of good food!
In this corner we have pulled pork and shredded chicken for sandwiches.  (I made that and it was good!) Notice the mannequin?  Summer's majoring in fashion merchandising. I've featured her art on my blog and she's using her artistic talent in the fashion world.
Summer's other Grandmother brought these very, very yummy cupcakes instead of a cake.  They were a big hit and so darn good with filling in them! Thanks Kaye!
I put together this basket of cookies...a mix of homemade and store made.  Summer is one smart cookie for sure!
Now for some of the "circumstances".  Because it was going to be hot and partly cloudy we need some more shade than my yard offers.  I had many offers for these types of shelters. However,  all the offers fell through.  I must add, for my poor hubby, that I nixed an opportunity to buy one huge tent for a decent sum.  "We don't need no stinkin' tent" I said.   "We have 3 or 4 coming."  Flash forward to this weekend.  We ended up with only 2 tents only because Summer's Mom went and bought one and the Grandparents brought the other one.  Jack just shook his head.  Oops, sorry Babe! 
The gazebo on the deck served as a nice place to eat and chat.  And when things got too hot to handle,  folks meandered inside.  The most unfun part of this day was waking up to a power outage  that shut down our power as well as Wal-Mart and many other businesses.  Without electric we can't do anything...nada...nothing.  We can't even flush toilets! I had visions of folks walking cross legged to the nearest gas station for a bathroom!  I also had visions of no pulled pork or shredded chicken!  Thankfully the power came back on around 8:30.  However, it was on a low power.  My freezer didn't work and all the lights were dim and even the crock pots weren't  heating up.  But eventually even that was fixed in time.  The AC was just fine thank goodness! 
The kids didn't care how hot it was.  They played outside and had these water pump thingies that everyone loved.  A good way to stay cool!
So the pictures were taken...Jack, Evelyn and our Summer.
Summer and Cameron.
Summer with her dog Happy and her other "happy" Grandparents, Kaye and Jerry!
Jack found a comfy, cool spot on the couch.
Anthony is growing tall very quickly! Add to that, his voice changed too!
We put up a table outside with pictures and awards.  She finished her freshman year of college as well as her senior year of high school at the same time and has enough scholarships to finish her 4 year degree at Ashland University with minimal debt. Way to go Summer!  The party was a success, even with the few bumps in the road.  All is cleaned up and YaYa and PawPaw are plenty tired.  At least the yard is ready for the rest of the Summer season!  I know our Summer (Summie Days as I call her) is ready for her next season of life.
This is very good advice.  Good luck Summer!  We love you!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hazy, Crazy, Lazy Days Of Summer

It's here...the first day of Summer. It came around 6:30 pm and it brought with it a full moon on this solstice. That's a rare phenom that won't happen again for 70yrs.  I think I'll miss that one, so I made sure to take a good look at this full strawberry moon, as it's called.  The sky was hazy so the moon was shrouded in a milky covering.  The air is balmy with a slight breeze.  It feels like Summer with the temps in the 90's today and warm tonight.  I thought of the many things that remind me of Summer and the many things that make it feel like Summer has arrived.  When I was a kiddo it was the end of school and that first lazy day of just being outside the whole time.  No video games, tv, or other distractions.  The lawn sprinkler was the cooling off mode, or sometimes the public pool or a friends pool.  Oh that smell of coppertone!  Oh that smell of chlorine! Oh the first sunburn since sunscreen wasn't in our household.  We'd get tan eventually! Summer always was vacation time for our family.  My Dad bought a small house in Wisconsin about an hour away from our home.  He moved my Grandparents into it and he and my Aunts and Uncles worked together to make it a cute place for them and a good destination for us since there was a lake just down the road.  Dad and my brothers would go fishing and I learned how to swim in that lake.  I would stay with my Grandparents for at least a week during the Summer and enjoy my time with Grandma.  She and I had a good relationship and I loved her dearly.  She always made me doll clothes for my Barbies and there was always a new Barbie waiting for me!  She had a room that was full of the dolls she collected.  Heaven for a little girl!
Obviously this photo wasn't taken in Summer, but that's my Grandparents in the "house at the lake" as we called it.    Our Summer vacations also had many camping trips across the country.  I'll save those memories for another blog.  I'm sure everyone has their own way of ushering in this season.  Their own memories of Summer days.  I have many good memories of playing outdoors until it was dark, then watching and catching fireflies as my parents sat on the front porch and chatted with neighbors or my Aunt and Uncle who lived across the street.  Statue maker was another fun game we played as kids.  Time has replaced those childhood memories with memories of my own kids Summers.  We also spent time on trips and also time at my in-laws place that had a pond where my kids enjoyed swimming and fishing.  Again the smell of suntan lotion and chlorine and the sound of laughter and roasting marshmellows over an open fire.  Their games of ghosts in the graveyard and riding their bikes to the public pool.  Scout camp and basketball camps.
This pic is of a Summer many years ago with my oldest son, Jack, and I at a lake near my Mom's house.  I was 8mo. preggo with #2 son, Craig.  Now they are enjoying their own Summers with their kiddos...the circle continues.  Hopefully it will be filled with good memories, the smell of suntan lotion and chlorine and I know there will be roasting marshmellows waiting here at the Pines with YaYa and PawPaw during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of the Summer of 2016!  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Time Is Not My Friend

June's almost half over and I haven't posted even once.  Really, time has flown and I'm about ready to just sit down and let it fly on by!  We're having Summer's graduation party here in two weeks and Jack and I are doing our best to get the Pines in party order.  We always have projects on our "to do" lists but sometimes it's easy to say: "Oh, I'll get to that later."  Well, it's later and all those small things we put off are now bigger and need attending.  So it's cleaning, painting, trimming, organizing, and much, much praying that the weather will be dry and coolish and perfect.  OK, so maybe we're asking a bit much but I always say: "Go big or go home"....and usually it rains!
I've  had this little table set for a few years and it was just wood with no finish.  I painted it red....same red as my front door.  I like it!
Flowers are mulched and coming along nicely.
Roses are blooming!
Pink ones:
And even yellow ones!  It's a good rose year I think.
Chubbs checked out the back yard after it's mowed and declared it dog worthy. The weather around these parts is always a surprise.  Last week we had cool and even down right chilly with night temps in the 40's.  Yesterday it was 93de on my car thermometer and sunny as all get out.  Summer had arrived!  Today, it's in the 70's.  Sometimes our weather is like whiplash!
Ominous clouds.
Dark and scary.
A few minutes later it's back to big and fluffy! So we'll continue to get things done and of course I'll have pics about the party.  In the mean time, I'm here and probably won't have much to blog about.   Although, like our weather, blogging can changed at any moment!