Friday, April 27, 2012

Longest Game in History

Gerald and I just watched the longest softball game in both Georgia and Louisiana State University history. UGA won 1-0 in the 15th inning. The pitching duel between LSU’s Rachele Fico and the Dawgs’ Erin Arevalo was amazing, and as the announcer said as we watched Game Tracker, neither pitcher deserved to lose.
Until the 10th inning, Arevalo had pitched a no hitter. After the one hit then, she struck out 13 consecutive batters.

Georgia got several hits off Fico, but could not score and kept leaving runners on base. The announcer and everyone thought they had scored in the 14th when a runner came home from third, but then found out the batter was called out for hitting out of the batters box. So the game continued through the bottom half of the inning when Arevalo quickly shut LSU down again.

I was feeling sorry for both pitchers knowing they must be very tired, but the announcer kept saying that Arevalo just got better and better during those last record breaking innings.

There will be another game tomorrow and the next day, so they should be very interesting.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s softball team will be observing Senior Weekend at home when they play a double header against Northern Iowa tomorrow and a third game against them on Sunday.

We are hoping all the Dawgs win tomorrow—Georgia Bulldogs and Southern Salukis. In the meantime, Gerald has just put our little dog Jake up for the night, and we are heading to bed here at Woodsong. We are tired from all the excitement.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Busy Busy

A friend down in Florida phoned and indicated she had noticed my slowed-down blogging. That was good to hear. It is nice to be missed. Especially as a writer.

I like to stay busy. However, sometimes life throws you a series of activities, duties, and responsibilities that keep you not just in your chronically behind state but rather into a stop-and-take-care-of-the-most-important-things-now state. That seems to be where I am recently. Interestingly, just pausing and limiting my activities seems to sometimes feel less busy. Focusing on the necessary, I call it. I can’t say if that is good or bad, but what has to be has to be.

Our daughter Katherine has been very ill, and one of the causes of my busyness is sitting at the dining room table with papers spread out making calls to people on various caregiver lists. This is the second time since Christmas I have had this gig.

After my first efforts, Katherine had secured an excellent night worker who transferred her very well, but almost immediately that woman was hospitalized and cannot work at this time although she asked to be allowed to work again when she gets well.

The agencies that provide the lists of caretakers for their populations (Hospice, aging, disabilities) have no obligation to provide me the lists and are just doing so as a service, and I am very grateful. Nevertheless, although the lists have recent dates on them, they are hopelessly out of date.

One woman proudly handed me a new list and said it was all updated. When I started working with it, I could see it was almost identical to the list a couple months before with its many discontinued phones. Part of that particular problem, of course, is the trend toward giving up house phones and going to cell phones. But cell phone numbers are also often discontinued, message boxes full or never set up.

Calling these potential caregivers is an interesting experience. I had to smile when I called one number and the man answering said, “She has not lived here for five years.” I figured he was an exasperated ex-husband. Maybe not. I didn’t ask.

I also get amused at the people who are looking for work who may answer the telephone with a gruff voice and maybe just one lazy-sounding syllable: Lo. Then when you explain why you are phoning, they use a completely different voice. Not so amusing, however, is my learning that some people with a very pleasing voice turn out to have assault records. I have had to admit that I cannot judge character by voices. (At one time I thought John Edwards seemed liked a kind upright man. How else could he have won someone like his wife? Obviously I cannot judge character. At least, that was before I learned about the price of his haircut, which gave him away.) Sorry for my digression.

Many on the lists are people who merely sit with the elderly or ill person. That is a necessary service often times, but in our daughter’s situation, she needs care—not just someone to visit and serve as a companion or watch her sleep. But you cannot know what services a person is offering when all that is listed is a phone number. Some people do list one line of information about themselves in terms of their training and what services they offer. Those are the ones I called first.

People on the list are often now employed, and I am grateful for their sakes that they are. Many only have part-time jobs, however. If applicants want part-time jobs to coordinate with their child-care and homemaking duties, that is great. But most want more work; yet it is difficult to coordinate your needs with someone who already works MWF or from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

I think the majority of workers would like to work full-time for ordinary eight-hour shifts and be paid accordingly. Yet most people in need of a caregiver cannot afford to pay for even eight hour care, let alone the 24/7 care they may need—nor can the government agencies that help provide care. Consequently, these personal assistants and caregivers have great difficulty making a decent income.

I remember years ago when trying to help young mothers find work that many of them could only find restaurant work for two or three hours at a time and then have to drive back to work several hours later for another couple hours work during the supper rush. Driving to work twice instead of once a day ate up a lot of their income, and that was before gas was so high. These caregivers that I am calling often combine two or even three part-time jobs and, therefore, have these same gas concerns as they leave one home and hurry on to a second care-giving job in another town.

Often there is sadness in the voices of the women I call. (Most of the caregivers on the lists are women.) They need a job now because they have just lost their last job due to the death of the aged patient they had grown very fond of. Or they may be very aware that they will soon lose their client to death and consequently lose their income and ask me to call back later. There is no security in this line of work.

As wonderful as many caregivers are—and many are absolute saints—this seeking applicants for Katherine to interview has made me cynical. What many say they can do has no relation to what they really can. She has had some horrific experiences of being dropped, left hanging from a Hoyer, and other even worst offences.

I have been shocked at people who sounded as if they desperately want a job, and then that same person fails to show up for the interview appointment given them. Nor do they phone to cancel or explain. This has happened three times since Christmas. It is hard for me to realize someone could be that dishonest. The lack of consideration for my daughter’s time and efforts to get ready for the appointment makes me glad that person showed her true colors, however.

Suddenly right now Katherine does not need the care I have been busy phoning about. On Tuesday, David took her to an 8 a.m. appointment in Saint Louis with a Fellow working on a special Multiple Sclerosis study under Dr. Barbara Green with offices in the Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex. Unexpectedly, they asked Katherine to stay for tests and further consultation to see if they can stop the progression of this disease.

Today is Katherine’s birthday, and she spent it in the hospital keeping very busy with doctors and technicians in and out of her room all day. She missed the dozen roses her brother Gerry and wife Vickie sent to her home in Marion since they did not know she was in the hospital. Mary Ellen found out after she had ordered flowers to Katherine’s house, so she was able to change her order to Saint Louis. The best news today was that on Monday, she is going down the street to a rehab facility.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Our Little Lion

Our daughter Jeannie early on dubbed her first born her little lion. With her flowing blond hair and her lion-hearted enthusiasm for life,it was a fitting title for our Leslie. This past weekend Leslie’s family and her two grandmothers traveled from Illinois to Nashville, Tennessee, to enjoy Leslie’s senior recitals at Belmont University and to attend her bridal shower on Saturday. So did two of her high school girl friends—beautiful young women who prove that brains and beauty go together. Her fiancé Mike’s parents came all the way from Ohio, and her Uncle Scott’s family all the way from Michigan. We were not disappointed.

Somehow our little lion juggled all the out-of-state company, thrilled us with her singing, impressed us with her local bridesmaids who gave her such a fun-filled pleasant Saturday afternoon party, and I think she even managed to get her final paper done that was due this morning!

Jeannie and her youngest child, Cecelie, had been at Woodsong since before Easter. Her husband Rick met his mother, Rosy Eiler, and they picked up the only son, Elijah, at Illinois Normal. Cecelie was not only excited to see her daddy, brother, and grandmother, she was eagerly awaiting her first eye glasses that Rick was delivering to her. They were a very cute addition to her braids she has attitudinized in recent weeks. Since the group was arriving at Woodsong late Wednesday night, the plan was for everyone to sleep in Thursday morning.

I left breakfast on the kitchen table, and I was able to keep an early Thursday morning hair appointment before I ran by Katherine’s. So typical of her difficult life was the fact that the aide she had scheduled to go with their family so she could attend Leslie’s events had ended up in the hospital the week before. On top of that, her daytime aide’s daughter went to the hospital to have her baby. So that aide was off work unexpectedly on Thursday and part of other days. Katherine had made hotel reservations before any of us, and she had to cancel when all efforts to get another aide fell through. She has grown used to grieving so many things she can not do. We grieved with her that she could not make this longed-for trip to her old Nashville stomping grounds to participate in her special niece’s special times.

Back at Woodsong, we ate a hurried lunch, told Gerald and Jake goodbye, and six of us piled into the Eiler van for music city. Rick wanted to show the campus to his mother. Belmont in all its springtime glory was a lovely spectacle indeed. Rick found parking in the parking garage, and we had an excellent dinner in the university cafeteria with its many choices of entrees, veggies, and salads. There was no room for the enjoying the lavish dessert bar, although I think Elijah succeeded.

We did not want to bother Leslie while she was readying for the 6:30 rock ensemble recital, but she made time to greet us anyhow. Leslie had completed her ensemble of black jeans and boots with a thrift-shop T shirt that she deeply fringed. Her mother could not have been more pleased. Why? The shirt from someone’s school team proclaimed: Lion Challenge.

We were seated near the front of Massey Concert Hall as soon as they would let us in, and soon we were listening to the talented guitarists Cody Keener, Carter Murphy, Nathan Phelps, Logan Ramp, and Eric Shadrick. Sheree Pantuso and Matthew Roberts pleased us on their keyboards. Andrew Fleming and Bryant Lowry amazed us with their drumming. But, of course, for the Eiler gang, the star we loved most was the vocalist, our little blond lion. The only criticism was the concert was too short.

We took Leslie and Mike out to eat afterwards although Mike was getting up at 4:00 the next morning for an early appointment with a fitness client at his gym. Elijah and Cecelie went home to their sister Les’s apartment. Even though our desire was an early bedtime, it was quite late when we finally settled in our hotel rooms. But we could and did sleep in Friday morning before we started another afternoon of sight seeing and then meeting up with the Eilers coming from Michigan.

I had not seen Rick’s brother Scott since he ushered me into our village church at Jeannie and Rick’s wedding in 1987. Although I had never met his wife Susan and their daughters Stephanie, Madelyn, and Lizzie, I felt like I knew them from the photos and stories down through the years. It was nice to meet them in person. Cecelie was delighted with her cousin companions, and they started giggling and probably didn’t stop until we left Saturday evening.

It was funny that when Jeannie went to the Kroger store, where Leslie works part time, to get flowers for her recital, she not only met up with Les’s friend, the flower lady, but surprisingly she met up with Mike’s parents and his grandmother in the store. Soon we were all in Massey Hall for the 8 p.m. recital visiting until they allowed us in.

Accompanied by Rose Rodgers on the viola, Melodie Morris on cello, Carleton Coggins and fiancé Michael Thompson on electric guitars, Johnny Williamson on acoustic guitar, Sheree Pantuso on keys, and Paxton Williams on bass, Leslie looked beautiful and sang with her usual lion-hearted enthusiasm. I wished for more musical knowledge so I could really appreciate all the talent I was hearing. We were all glad to see Bryan Lowry again on drums although he was more restrained than the night before, and I don’t think he broke a single drum stick. Five numbers were definitely not enough, so our only criticism again was the program was too short.

We wanted to stay for yet another recital later, but we were hungry and were ready to enjoy the wonderful dinner Rosy treated us to. Part of the fun was watching Cecelie and Elijah at the booth with their cousins.

Saturday was filled with packing, check out, and various people meeting up before all the women went to the bridal shower. First we had all managed to go by Leslie’s apartment she shares with a roommate Bridgett after she tired of dorm life. I was eager to see this under-the-eaves place that Les calls “the shire.” There was generous back-yard parking, and we took an outside wooden staircase up to a generous deck looking out on a tree-shaded lawn.

As long as you are not tall, the apartment seemed amazingly large—plenty of room for siblings to bunk out. The two bedrooms were joined in the middle by a living room, with a small kitchen and bathroom in back. In front under a window, there was a cute little cubby hole with a couch.

We hurried from there to the bridal shower in “The Living Room” at Leslie and Mike’s church. Since one of Leslies’ many enthusiasms is British life, the theme was a royal tea with the invitation telling us hats and pearls were optional. The hats were definitely fun, and Cecelie decided instead of dressing up that she would go as the Royal Rebel with a British flag shirt and pigtails under a red bandana.

The bridesmaids, Jenny and Anna Catherine, had done an extraordinary job of filling the large room with beautiful flowers and refreshment tables with luscious hor doures in addition to the tea and punch on one end of the room with lovely decorated white tables and chairs on the other. There was a special cake for Mike (who was not present, of course) and special sugar cookies with British décor. After we ate, we gathered in the middle for games directed by Helen Bush, and then Leslie sat in her special settee to open all the pretty wrapped gifts for her entry into the role of homemaker.

She kept us laughing, and older women noted that this generation did not seem to even know the old custom of making much fuss about how many ribbons the bride-to-be might break—indicating how many children she might have. Obviously these bright young women have other goals in life than just creating children, but I do not doubt they will do a good job with the babies also. Jenny’s mother had driven from a town a couple hours away to help with food and dishes and to take photos. Another friend was also snapping, so there were photos to put up on the Internet for Katherine to see.

People were enjoying being together, but we finished final visiting at the party, and took off for the last item on our agenda—to see where Leslie and Mike will be moving in late June. They are near downtown on a tree-lined road going back into the hills. The apartment duplex is built into the side of a hill with a large staircase leading to their front door, which the landlord is going to paint red just for Leslie. There are new appliances waiting them in the living/kitchen area and place for a washer/dryer hook-up. They have an idea for putting a shelf above the laundry area to make more counter space. Everything is clean and inviting, and the landlord and landlady, who are holding the apartment for them, live next door and keep all the neat green lawns around the complex in good shape. As well as the master bedroom, there is a room for the couple to share as an office for some of the freelance music work they plan to do. After college housing, this new home is a step up in life for them.

All good things must end, and Rosy and Rick had to say goodbyes to their Michigan loved ones while Cecelie and Elijah hugged the cousins one last time. It was beginning to darken as we left for Woodsong for a night’s sleep before the Illinois Eilers left for the north end of our state on Sunday morning.

Unsuccessful efforts had been made both nights to Skype the recitals for Katherine, but Jeannie finally had to settle for putting the video tape on Facebook, which Leslie did before Saturday morning. You can watch it too by going to her Leslie Eiler home page on Facebook. If you do, I hope you enjoy hearing our little lion roar.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter and its Aftermath

Throughout the weekend, it was not uncommon for a dozen or more pairs of shoes to be kicked off in the front hall and several at the backdoor. (I never taught my kids to take their shoes off on entering the house, although Gerald always conscientiously changed into house slippers when he came in from the hog barns. I would never insist or even suggest folks take off their shoes here at Woodsong, but, evidently, my kids have taught the grandkids this nice habit. I am sure it has saved a lot of dirt being tracked onto the carpet, so I am thankful.) Yet the row of shoes lined up always amuses me, and I had Gerald take a photo of it once for a souvenir.

Jeannie and Cecelie were already here, and Gerry had come in Thursday for the memorial service for his high school basketball coach. Others also started arriving on Thursday and were coming and going all weekend. Elijah came down from Illinois State on the train, and Jeannie and the kids all met him in Carbondale Friday evening.

Saturday was our oldest grandchild Tara’s birthday, and although we would have loved to have had the Archibalds and those three little great grandsons here, we were happy for them that they were able to have quality family time together all weekend in Georgia without the pressure of travel.

Saturday afternoon a large number of the family attended granddaughter Erin’s SIUC softball game against Indiana State. And it was fun to see the Salukis win. That was where we met up with Vickie and her mother, Geri Ann and her friend Bridgett who’d arrived at Shirley’s from Georgia. We came home for sandwiches, but I did fry the nice mess of fish for Trent and Sam that they caught that morning. I was grateful that our son-in-law David took them home and cleaned them for us while we were at the game.

Later Gerry, Vickie, and others fished and caught a huge catch, which Gerry cleaned and put in the freezer. As in childhood, Mary Ellen was his friend and cleaned up the electric knife he used, and she put it in the garage with hopes of eliminating the fish smell before he cut the ham with it on Sunday. No, it didn’t work, but as Gerry explained, that is now our fish-cleaning knife. Ha. It is back in the garage still airing out, but I suspect I need to shop for another knife for Thanksgiving.

Despite getting to bed late, everyone arose Sunday morning for church. Gerald and I were pleased to have grandsons Trent and Elijah in our young adult Sunday School class at Center. Elijah sang for us in the worship service, and I insisted he play and sing again at Woodsong after dinner so his mother, who had been at Katherine's could hear him.

We were all eager to meet Erin’s boyfriend on Sunday because we liked the story that he had once been her third grade boyfriend at Harrisburg before their family moved to Johnston City. Sometime or other the two had re-connected on Facebook and ran around with the same group before they started dating. I won’t tell them that when they took their walk around the lake that one grandchild could not resist using the binoculars we keep for bird watching.

Later in the afternoon several were out on the lake without a paddle in the old ocean-going fishing boat that Gerry’s used down in Mexico. When the motor died on them, they had an adventure. I was never quite sure how it all ended, but I did look out and saw a crew in the paddle boat towing the bigger boat in.

The Georgia gang left later Sunday afternoon to go a second Easter meal that evening at Gma Shirley’s house. This was with my daughter-in-law Vickie’s siblings and their families. Then they were back on the road Sunday night to Georgia to be there for early morning batting practice—just as Erin was going to be at early morning batting practice at SIUC.

Brian and Mary Ellen were up at their new place and some of us followed Mary there to see the wonderful vintage barn. She had to go back to central Illinois yet that night, but Brian and Gerald had business breakfast plans in Vienna yesterday morning to meet up with some guys who gather there every morning.

After people started leaving, the remaining cousins and I went to Southfork to Sam’s other grandparents’ home where he had had Easter dinner. Katherine and David were there, and she looked very pretty in a new dress, which the necklace Jeannie took her that morning matched perfectly. Sam’s Grandma Darlene offered us carrot cake, but we were still much too full to indulge. After the kids visited there awhile and went down to their lake, we headed back to Woodsong for their final time together. They had a long agenda of last minute plans to carry out, and I went to bed by l0 or 11.

I slept in yesterday. So did Sam and Cecelie. When I got up, there were only two pair of extra shoes at the front door and two at the back door. That is because there were only those two grandkids left at Woodsong out of the eight plus a couple of their friends who were here over the weekend.

Jeannie had left at 4 a.m. to get Elijah to an 8 o’clock at Bloomington. She was back to Woodsong yesterday afternoon, but she took a nap rather than a bike ride. Brianna had already woke up on her own and taken her brother Trent up to Springfield for his early class.

However, there are three pair of shoes plus one suitcase in the living room left behind accidently by grandkids. They were so busy playing their games, riding the Gator, and doing their last minute visiting long into their final night together that they didn’t plan their packing up too carefully for yesterday morning. But eventually everything will get back to whomever it belongs.

Later in the morning yesterday, I took Sam back home to Marion because his break was over today. Now only Cecelie, our youngest grandchild is here. That is because Elijah and his dad and his dad’s mother are coming through tomorrow night to pick Jeannie, Cec, and me to leave Thursday for Leslie’s big weekend at Belmont in Nashville.

We are still eating boiled eggs that the kids colored. And ham and other leftovers--although I did fix fresh pork chops yesterday for dinner lest we get too tired of the ham. I will devil the remaining eggs tomorrow unless I get ambitious and serve creamed eggs on toast, which I have frequently done with Easter eggs in past years.
My friend Linda came this morning for a couple of hours and ran the vacuum for me. The plunger has been moved from the upstairs bathroom back to the downstairs one, where it was needed yesterday morning. A load of towels and a couple other loads of laundry have been done. Mary Ellen and I did most of the post-dinner clean up on Sunday, and I finished washing a couple of soaking pans yesterday.

Jeannie, Cecelie, and I were even able to run into Marion this morning and shop for vintage hats at Salvation Army for the bridal tea on Saturday. We lunched at Jasone’s so Jeannie could get acquainted with Marion’s newest bed and breakfast in case guests need it in June. I knew Jeannie would love this marvelous old house with lunch room tables covered with lace and where delightful fresh food is served.

I ran by Katherine’s after lunch, and Jeannie went on to do some errands for herself and for me in Carbondale. She had time for her bike ride this afternoon. Gerald and I watched the Georgia ball game against University of South Carolina on his computer and then the slide show of all the photos he took of the fifteen here for Easter dinner. We are winding down from all the fun and excitement.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Dogwood and Azalea Time

The red azaleas are blooming in the front lawn, and our little dogwood out there is so pretty. The garden is plowed and waiting for someone to plant something. The martins are back and more numerous than ever. When resting together, they fill both electric wires all the way down the lane to the mailbox. Their familiar swooping and swirling are a welcome sight overhead.

After our return from Erin’s softball game at the Southern Illinois University field at Carbondale on Saturday afternoon, we quickly tuned in to game tracker to see how Georgia was doing in their second game against fourth-ranked Florida. They completed their rain delay game from Friday night with a victory, but unfortunately lost that afternoon game.

Adjusting to the hot spring weather is draining, so though I wanted to stay on at SIUC for their double header, I was glad to get out of that hot sun. But I sure would have liked to see that second game that resulted in a win for the Salukis--as did Sunday’s.

I tried to stay up and read Saturday night until Jeannie and Cecelie, our youngest grandchild, arrived. But I kept falling asleep and dropping my book. Finally I woke up miserable and went on to bed at midnight. I heard them arrive shortly after. They are on spring break from Freeport. Everyone who visits here soon learns to find a bedroom wherever one is available and make themselves at home.

We visited at the breakfast table Sunday morning, and Jeannie drove on down to Paducah go to church and to visit with her special friend and neighbor, Carrie, from their Carterville/Crainville days. Cecelie went to Sunday School and worship with Gerald and me. Back at Woodsong, I hurriedly warmed leftovers so Gerald could fill his plate to go down and watch the third softball game between Georgia and Florida. (Sadly we lost.)

As soon as I cleaned the kitchen, Cecelie and I went in to Katherine’s. The new weekend and night aide we were so thrilled about, come to find out, had ended up in the hospital on Friday and was still unable to return to work.

Her day-time aide, who is wonderfully dedicated, had lost her father to cancer and was off at the end of the week. She had only begun to work for Katherine a couple of months ago when her father went to the doctor for what he thought was flu. He came home with the diagnosis of two Stage 4 cancers and an order for hospice. One of the things we have learned during Katherine’s illness is that many people have terrible trials and troubles, and that our lives are not the only ones with challenges.

I went in to Katherine’s bedroom to help her with lunch, and we did quite a bit of television watching. Cecelie had stopped off in the family room with her cousin Sam and his friend and neighbor Josh. Katherine explained that this was the day that Josh’s family were having their annual Easter egg hunt for friends in the park, which is just outside her window. So soon the teens had gone to Josh’s house to help prepare for the hunt when hundreds of candy-filled plastic eggs would be splashed in the grass throughout the small city park.

We stayed alert for signs of the hunt, and in late afternoon here came the teens and several adults with plastic grocery bags full of the bright colored eggs. We watched the hiding, which was more like sowing than trying to conceal. When we saw the number of wee little ones helped by parents in addition to all the older children, we knew why it was good the eggs were in abundance and everywhere for the picking. Mamas and daddies were helping the smallest children, some who were barely walking, while the older kids ran grabbing eggs here and there to quickly fill their baskets. It was a beautiful sight of adorable children running and scooping with excitement and joy.

Katherine and I realized it was also April Fools Day, and I guess for the first time in my adult life I did not spring a joke on anyone. She and I tried. We plotted, and she rang up Sam’s cell phone telling him that one of the little kids had escaped the park and ended up their back yard which is beside the park. “You better come and get him,” she texted. And we had a text all ready for her to send him when he showed up saying, “April Fool!” Unfortunately in all the activity, he did not answer the phone, and the joke did not materialize.

Cecelie and I took Sam to his church youth group, and she declined his invitation to go along for the evening. (I had been so proud of how she had enthusiastically participated in the egg hunt with teens older than herself, and I was sort of relieved she did not go on for an evening with yet another group of older kids she was not acquainted with. However, she is unusually poised for 13, and she has spent a life time coping and participating with her older sister and brother’s friends, so she probably would have been comfortable if she had gone with Sam. I was the one feeling shy for her.) At the end of the day, Jeannie was home from Paducah and had taken her bike ride and picked up Cecelie shortly before I had finished helping Katherine with supper and David had come in for their television watching in the family room.

So once again at Woodsong we gathered at the kitchen table to review our days while we snacked, talked about the coming week, and headed to bed.

Jeannie has a very long list of things she must accomplish during her spring break and her week off next week—including faxing plans, if necessary, to her substitute if the art substitute for some reason is unable to be there as planned. She has total confidence that the former art teacher sub will do a good job without coaching, but for a non-art sub to keep grade school kids on task for a 45 minute period is no easy duty. But that concern is next week.

The last two days, Jeannie and Cecelie have been going around town shopping and trying to pare down Jeannie’s list. Of course, Jeannie is also enjoying the beautiful weather and roads and trails in this end of the state as she rides her bike twenty or more miles a day trying to build back up and surpass last fall’s eighty mile achievement before winter weather stopped the riding until recent weeks. After her daughter Leslie’s wedding in our village on June 23, she has plans and hopes of taking her first major bike ride.

Tonight we indulged in the Mackey’s pizza that Gerald and Cecelie brought home from Harrisburg and their Rural King visit there to get a new pedal boat. Jeannie put the bike back on the rear of the van before she and Cecelie refilled the van with their suitcases, Lucky and Leah, and Cec’s violin. I hope they have arrived at Leslie’s apartment by now and get a good night’s sleep before they tackle such things as ordering the wedding invitations and planning Cecelie’s part in the music at the wedding reception. They will be back at the farm by Thursday night for the weekend if all goes well. That is when other family members will be arriving, and Cecelie wants to be here as soon possible after her cousin Brianna arrives.

Next week they will be returning to Nashville for Leslie’s two senior music recitals at Belmont and a bridal shower on Saturday afternoon, and I will be tagging along. Consequently, I began switching winter and summer clothes today as the very warm weather is demanding, I started planning what I will wear for next week’s festivities. What with Easter coming up and a shower gift to purchase, I realize I need to make a list or two also.