Tuesday, November 6, 2007

November 6, 2007

There have been so many special moments in our lives this year that I wanted to share with all of you, but often I was too involved in the moment to take time for writing about it.

I have thought about starting a blog so many times in the last few months: when we had a house-full of wonderful friends before we even had a house; while Scott was visiting us and transforming our garden area in March and April; when we planted the grapes; when we finally moved into our new casita; when we traveled to Mazatl├ín to visit friends; when my new grandson, Grayson, was born on May 10th; when we went to Alaska for some Blue Poppy Time; when we traveled across the United States on Amtrak TWICE visiting family and friends – we called that experience the Great Granddaughter Tour; when our hearts were so heavy with the news that our good friend John Bondy had passed away; when my mom had hip replacement surgery that appears to have improved her life dramatically; and most recently, when we traveled to Italy for a three week “dream come true” excursion to Toscana, Umbria, Marche, and Roma.

Well, none of that is breaking news anymore, but the result is that I was finally motivated to quit wishing I was better at communicating and to start writing. Welcome to Episode One of Day-by Day! Don’t let the title scare you. Once I get going, my plan is to update this about once a month so as not to bore those of you who may be interested but not passionate about the trivial details of my life. That will allow space for more frequent entries in case of events slightly more spectacular than usual, but not of great enough importance to make the newspaper.

Some news stands up to the passage of time better than others – like the arrival of a new grandchild. Sarah and David are the parents of another wonderful boy. Zac doesn’t really know quite what to think of his little brother yet, but I’m hoping that someday soon he’ll discover that Grayson is quite wonderful! At six months, he is at the “something new every day” stage. An advanced squirm-swim-crawl on dry land and giggle fits are two of his latest. I was there for all the excitement when he was born and to help out for a while after Grayson and Sarah came home. That’s just one more fringe benefit of retirement! To bring you up to speed as quickly as possible, I started off with a photo of Grayson taken on Halloween. No tricks - just treats!
Our trip back and forth across the United States in August and September was wonderful. Although we enjoyed every aspect of the trip, the granddaughters took the spotlight.

Our first stop was in Alpine TX to visit my two granddaughters, Emery and Allyson. It was really Emery’s invitation to help celebrate her 15th birthday that got this whole trip started.

Second stop was in Elizabeth IL where we attended the wedding of Stanley’s older granddaughter, Cassandra. Picture a cornfield in rural Illinois on Labor Day Week-end. Now, picture a lovely bride in a very formal, very full wedding gown walking through that field toward a hand-made, flower-strewn altar under a perfectly blue sky. It was pure romance and we wish Cassie and John a wonderful life together!

Third stop was in Pittsburg PA where we visited Stanley’s younger granddaughter and her parents. Rowan is a spectacular kid. When we saw her in early September she was still less than a year old, but she already had more personality than many folks develop over an entire life-time. Our time in Pittsburg went by way too quickly, but it’s just as well. If I had stayed around much longer, Rowan and I might have gotten into all kinds of trouble.

We also stopped for several days at a resort in Tucson AZ to celebrate Stanley’s birthday; in Los Angeles for a two hour lunch; in Maryland to visit our good friends Walter and Ila. (My favorite memory of that stop – even better than the time in Washington D.C. exploring our favorite museums – was the picnic Ila arranged on the bank of the Patuxent River.) Finally, there was an overnight in New Orleans where we did our annual evaluation of progress since Katrina. I regret to say that although some progress was visible, evidence of the devastation is still overwhelming.

Great trip all the way – cozy little sleepers, comfortable lounge cars, dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer. Training is a much more civilized way to travel than flying and so much easier than driving.

We returned to Mexico the middle of September and were back in San Antonio on October 24th to be with my mom for a couple of weeks before flying off to Italy. Those are stories for another time. This was great fun. Now, if I can just figure out how to get the word to everybody, I’ll be in great shape. Until next time.