Saturday, January 31, 2009

wicked(ly greatful)

we just drove in from a totally wonderful trip to nyc and a viewing of the broadway hit- "wicked".

i think it was the best play i've seen- acting, costumes,special effects, sets, but most of all the theme and lessons that ran through the whole production. i was completely taken away to oz and became part of the story. the beautiful, strong relationship between the 2 leading ladies touched me and showed that regardless of circumstances around you, love for others shines through.

how much influence do we have in the molding of others lives? this is a question that was raised in my mind and i am more aware of the possibility of this influence and of the influence of labeling. do we live up or down to the labels given to us at a young age?

what a wonderful story of different kinds of love.

the drive in to n.y. was great. we came towards the holland tunnel and saw the statue of liberty closer than i have seen it (except for actually going there). what was that lump in my throat? you can't deny the pride that you feel when you witness that symbol of our country and the freedoms we enjoy .... great day..

Friday, January 30, 2009


when i was a young girl, i had two close friends-lynn marquart and susie wooden. lynn lived in the upstairs apartment and susie lived a few houses away. being three girls, one of us was always on the outs (girls are like that!). whichever two girls got together first were best friends for that moment.
one day, lynn and i hooked up and decided to play a trick on susie. we found an empty candy box and stones that would fit in each little candy compartment. we proceeded to color each stone with colored chaulk to make it look like"real"candy... candy that susie would take a big bite of and hit a stone with her teeth. (were we crazy?) we ran to her house, set the candy box on her porch and hid behind her porch..... then the guilt set in- i remember having visions of her breaking her teeth and crying- i felt so terrible and ended up going over and apologizing to her.
i don't remember ever pairing off like that again. lesson learned.


when i see the interaction between my grandaughters and grandson it reminds me of many years past. we lived in an older house on central ave. in dunkirk, n.y. in the backyard we had a brick barbeque cooker. this was used as home base for many a neighborhood game. on this one particular day, a few of us were playing "pies". one person was designated as the "wolf "and the others would get together and come up with different pie flavors. each of us would choose a flavor- unknown to the "wolf" and then stand in a circle around him. he would then begin to say he was hungry and was looking for a pie- naming different flavors. when he said your flavor, you had to run away to try to get away from him. you were safe if you got back to home base- the barbeque cooker, before he touched you.
my brother, doug, was the wolf at one point and when he chose a pie and began running, he was so excited to almost have that pie person that he never slowed up and ran right into the cooker with his head. there was blood everywhere. my parents took him to the hospital and i stayed home- i remember sitting in the bench swing at the funeral home next door,with my two friends , crying and just knowing that he was dead. i can still remember the terrible sense of loss that i felt. a little later, my parents brought doug home all bandaged up and they let me see that he was ok. it was then that i knew that i truly loved my brother and all the squabbles we had or would have would fade in importance to that moment of realization.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

american idol

i am an american idol purist and i take this title very seriously...

i mean it!

the only phone calls taken or made during this 1 hour program take place during one of the many advertisement breaks and then i must be back on the couch before the show resumes. during the few months that idol is on, all tues. and wed. activities are put on hold and the phone stays by my side so that i can call the other idol fans to compare notes. the most serious season was 2 years ago when taylor hicks ultimately won the title.

my daughter, nella (who, by the way, is another idol purist and probably the only other one i know), made me a "taylor hicks" tee shirt. that was the year i turned 60. i will never forget it. oh yes, my family had a huge surprise party for me , my brothers flew in and shannon had a wonderful memory book made and managed to drive here with brian and gang and leave the same night as the party because of a winter storm that was headed in. that was SOME evening- unforgetable--but,being an idol purist, the party took second place to taylor's victory and the many nights of cheering and redial-voting - a true highlight of that year.

**do you like taylor hicks?...yes or no (circle one)

Monday, January 26, 2009

comment on jojo's post

i'm posting this one as i want you girls to read what your dad and i experienced our 2nd night of being married. also- i love the violin music that you had on your blog. check the comments on jojo's post on her wedding and honeymoon.

re-visited .. 3 green dresses

after visiting gram(my mother-in-law) yesterday in the nursing home, i needed to look back on some positive experiences with her. the past several months have been trying ones for me. because of a fall and fractured knee cap, she has taken a drastic turn and become someone i don't recognize anymore... and so the three green dresses come into view...
before i had katie, i was so fearful- could i do this again after 9 years?- not only the experience of painful childbirth, but the actual early stages of childhood- diapers, car seats (i hate them to this day- sorry, josie) diaper bags, NURSING(didn't know what i was in for-shannon was bottle-fed-ooohhh), and the wrangling around with a newborn and a 9 yearold who had been an only child all her life. the excitement of my mother-in-law, helped me through this time . she called weekly, and supported me in every way. she was a wonderful grandmother to shannon- even though she had only met her the year before. i think she was a light in the storm for shannon who was caught between two worlds.
time passed and katie was born. my fears seem to disappear and i was truly smitten! i would lay awake at night sometimes waiting for her to wake up so i could feed her. both grandmothers visited for several weeks to help me with our newborn . i don't really remember much about those visits, but one year later, gram returned and that is the memory i have. after she had unpacked, she brought out 3 little green dresses for katie as a 1st birthday gift. i remember she layed them out on my bed and smoothed them and flaired the skirts out. then she stood back and beamed. her irish blood was proud of, not only those 3 green dresses, but the tiny, part irish baby that would wear them. i knew at that moment that something had changed in gram's and our lives- we were truly a family...
there have been many a dress that have been sent to all of the girls since then, but the 3 green dresses will always stand out in my memory.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


i just read a post that my daughter wrote about her wedding week and honeymoon last week. i think i just changed her diapers and took her to donna barchie's for that horrendous haircut that shannon couldn't get over (she always had a thing about hair, anyway.)(picture to be added later.)wow! just you wait- the time will fly past you and those times that seem never-ending will be distant memories. i love it when all the girls are together now. it doesn't happen very often, but when it does, i could sit and listen and wish i could stop time for a few precious moments . to have such diverse and wonderful girls has been a true blessing for me. these are the times that i know Heavenly Father loves me because He has allowed all of you to be in my life. nighty- night, girls.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


"the saga of mr. catt"...

years ago, when i was a pre- teen i happened upon a gray tabby cat- gender unknown.

i don't remember if he/it followed me to my house(with a little enticing) or if he/it just showed up in our yard. i do remember that it was winter time (western ny. can have some wild winters, thanks to lake erie) . i was so excited - we had never had a cat as my parents were not "cat people". my older brother warned me that dad wouldn't be happy (and you didn't want to make my dad unhappy) if he saw a cat hanging around. my love for this homeless creature far outweighed the possible wrath of my father, so i proceeded to make a suitable sleeping situation for him/it on our porch. i found 2 boxes and put one inside the other with a blanket tucked inside and around the inside box. another blanket was placed around the outside box and a sign was made with the name "mr. catt". he now had an identity and a home. i'm sure i put some kind of food inside also, but that memory has faded. i spent much time petting and becoming acquainted with my new pet that day until my dad drove into the driveway and into the scene. one look at this new addition to our family and out he went. my dad kicked at mr. catt and yelled and the last thing i saw was a little gray furry back- end scampering off in the snow. i begged for allowance of my new friend, but to no avail. i didn't like my dad much after that .. hmmm maybe i'm still mad at him

nat'l pie day

well- i heard that tomorrow is national pie day-- what do you do with that one? make one? or eat one. i prefer the latter, but as i braved the scale this am (the one in our vet's office- meant for large dogs (oh my)) i realized that it registered like i HAD already eaten one!
years ago, when we were into the farm show scene, i entered the home baked category and attempted an apple pie...
i entered 2 years in a row and won 2nd place the first time- (1996) for a "blapple pie"- a combination of bluberries and apples. the next year i was determined to win and entered an apple crisp, apple pie. i don't have either recipe- one was completely faded off the card and the other wasn't kept for some reason- don't ask me why, because i won 1st place for that one!( i have a large blue ribbon to prove it). i could have gone to harrisburg to compete on the state level, but it was in the winter- too risky to travel across the state and too expensive. i accomplished what i set out for and so that was that.
i have tried many pie crust recipes- the winning one goes as follows:
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
2TBL. vinegar
1/4 cup milk
chill in frige overnight- ergo the flaky crust.
my grandma steele's tip was to really blend the crisco in, but work the liquids in with the least amt. of mixing. good luck future blue- ribbon pie makers...

Monday, January 19, 2009


shannon's post just reminded me of a time when i would walk through the fields near our house in middlesex rd., fredonia, n.y. i always loved those fields and wooded areas (totally built up now) and took many opportunities to explore. sometimes i would imagine myself as a pioneer- "what could i find for food to live on out here in the wilderness?" (no, i wasn't a mormon back then.) i also remember spotting various animal tracks- rabbit, deer, pheasant, and ones i didn't recognize. during a wet spring day- i found some interesting tracks and poured plaster in them, pulled them up and had some neat permanent animal tracks . what wonderful times i had outside as a kid. i would wish those simpler times for my grandchildren.

Friday, January 16, 2009

pre- wedding jitters

yes, the pre wedding jitters are being felt here by -of all people- the mom! we worry about our beautiful daughters finding that certain wonderful young man (of our dreams) that will honor and cherish them through whatever situations may arise . we ,as moms, know our daughters - their quirks, strengths and weaknesses as young girls and think we know what their needs are now, as young adults. we need to trust them that they are trusting their hearts in choosing that special young man who will fill in the gaps and help them become all that they may be.
sometimes it's the financial wizard with his feet well grounded, or maybe the sweet, hardworking, lover of children, or maybe even the young man who turned his life around and was so blessed because of this change. in the most current case, he came from around the world- his sweet \, calming nature is just what is prescribed and so on this note, i take a few deep breaths and thank my Heavenly Father for watching over my girls- placing certain young men in their paths and letting them make their own choices . nighty night, jojo i love you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

finally, my goal

nothing like dragging my feet and everything else before i chose my goal for the year. "simplify" is the much needed goal that i have selected. i think i draw everyone else into my "web" of activities. i have too many things and they are beginning to mean less and less to me. i want to be able to concentrate on the more important and eternal things in this life and so i will work daily on - first of all , eliminating physical objects in my home- i still have to have "stuff" for my shop- but i will be more selective with that, too- only things that I like and want to sell. i have already worked on this goal for several days and YOW!!! what a freeing experience!! this might be more than just a chore- the process itself will be the goal... wish me luck, girls...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


at a certain point in our lives we realize that we've lived more of our lives than we have left to live. after reading my girls' blogs i can see how just the seemingly insignificant incidents are the memories that we take on this journey. i have 61 years of these moments (not counting the first year of my life) and want to journal these as they come back to me. and so we begin...
the very first memory i have of anything is a short, but sweet one of my mother's brother- robert steele- uncle bob. i never really knew him, but i do remember being lifted up in strong arms and held with love- i can still feel that love- isn't that amazing?! my mom had taken my brother, doug, and me to nebraska to visit her mom- grandma steele. my mom said i was just a baby-well under 2 years old, and my uncle came to visit - it was evening and i was asleep when he came in. he always loved children - had 1 or 2 of his own, but they died at birth- his wife also died and he eventually remarried and adopted a daughter- sharon. he died in his early 50's- so i never was able to see him again (they had moved to california).
that memory was brought up because of a dream last night-. in the dream, i found out that uncle bob was here to visit and i was going to see him- i had such a great feeling of anticipation - i don't remember the rest of this dream--- rats- i hate those dream lapses- at the time, everything is so real.
i will try to "revisit" at least weekly or as the moments arise.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


first of all , i have to tell you that i have been obsessed with "clean house"- a program on tv. that goes in, earmarks items for a huge yard sale - has it , and then matches the profits and takes that $ and completely makes-over the areas in the house that were usually disasterous. i have become so inspired by this show that i have decided to become ruthless in my own disast-opps- home. ssooooo, i was cleaning the downstairs- stuffing various treasures- now junk- into black bags (so i can't see it and change my mind), and in the process, i went upstairs for something and happened to open the spice cupboard- yow! what has been going on in there and why haven't i noticed it before??? leaving the downstairs project hanging, i began to empty the cupboard. i filled a small trash bag with old spices, flavors and empty containers. i'm sure that all the company i'm having in the next week and a half will be so impressed! (did i mention that joanna is being married ,yay, in just over a week and her new inlaws will be here- along with shannon,brian and kids and nella)-soo-o you can see why this project (the spice cupboard) was top priority. AM I NUTS? you don't need to answer that- but, do you find yourself doing the same kind of things? and is your spice cupboard neat?