Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dedicated to the One I Love


Sorry I have been so busy with Grandmothering that I have had little time to write. 
 I wrote this draft weeks ago but never hit publish since 
I was so sad and had such mixed feelings about Tyke's Bench.

 On October 3rd under the light of the Harvest Moon,
 we dedicated this bench at the 
Hamilton Reservoir, in Palatine. Illinois 
in loving memory of Tyke.

Penny cut the ribbon, as Kristen, Doug, 
Jon, Charlotte, Stevie. Irene, 
Mike, Amanda and I looked on.

We waited so long for the bench and plaque to be installed.  I started the process just a couple of months after losing my dearest.  Weather, delays, and finally Covid kept it from being installed.  I visited the Reservoir often, but no bench.  Then I sent a email to our Park District to see if we had any hopes of having it installed this year, and they replied that it had been installed just the day before!

I had the girls with me as I read the email.  I got them in the stroller and we walked over to see it.
There were people already sitting on❤❤ the bench.  I tearfully waited nearby, then asked if they would mind if I could sit down and explained why.  They were kind and left us to Tyke's Bench.  I can't even explain the mix of emotions.  Grief first of all.  The reason we had the bench was because I didn't have Tyke. I was  pleased with the location of the bench, and the bench itself.  Blue was the color of Tyke's truck, and I loved Tyke in the color blue.  I teased that it brought out the blue in his eyes.  His eyes were brown and soulful.

 This pic was on our next visit.  

This is Penny on her first visit.

Our Program. Penny rang Grandpa's serenity bell.  Charlotte read All is Well, a beautiful story about loss and life.  We listened to Andrea Bocelli and his son Mateo sing Fall on Me. Amanda read the words I included here.  Penny cut the ribbon on the bench and we listened and laughed to Shine on Harvest Moon sung by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  Tyke would sing this song and howl at the Harvest Moon and make dogs in the neighborhood howl and bark along.

We cried and laughed and the babies squirmed until we set them free to run in the field.  

Shine on Tyke.  

"We talk about them. not because we're stuck or
 because we haven't moved on, but we talk about them
 because we are theirs,
and they are ours,
and no passage of time
will ever change that."

Author Unknown

We are gratefully all well.  
The girls are growing, talking, singing and are my constant companions.
Penny is doing well in remote learning and my gang is my saving grace.
Everyone is working, Charlotte is doing well in her studies.
The house is rarely quiet,  never empty.
My Sister In Law Elizabeth is comforted by her family and we were able to 
have a fire with s'mores and apple cake and cider when  her girls were in town.
Things are very different.  Tyke and Greg were a big important part of our families, 
and they are deeply missed by us all.
Life seems to be in a holding pattern, but in fact, goes on.
We have each other and the best possible memories.
Love lives on in our hearts forever.

Thank you if anyone is reading.
I want to write, just hard to do  right now.

Hope you are all well and hope you can find something beautiful in today.

Love, Penny

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

My Brother Greg

I lost my Brother Greg last week.  I spoke to him on Sunday and on Tuesday he was gone.  Greg is the brother who always remembered our parents birthday and anniversary.  He'd call in the last year just to see how I was doing.  Greg had the best stories, running jokes with his beautiful granddaughters and my kids.  As if the world didn't seem empty enough without Tyke, now there is another void in out family that will never be filled.

I loved Greg and so did Tyke.  They would start watching a football, baseball game or movie and pretty soon they would both be sleeping. They loved a nap, followed by a good meal, then maybe another snooze.  Nothing made me happier than all the sofas, chairs and floor to be filled with sleeping guys, and a very occasional sleeping lady.  On a holiday or fall Sunday, the peanut jar was filled and they were happy campers. A baby was another excuse to nap, as long as they were holding a baby...  My dear SIL Elizabeth, Greg's wife and their wonderful kids and grand kids are suffering a great loss. The pandemic makes it terribly hard on them and all of us who would like to be there to comfort, cry and grieve together. 

I have my little sweethearts taking care of me, or is it the other way around?  This loss has brought back so many feelings, memories and thoughts.  When the girls see me sad they put their little heads on my lap.  It is the best comfort for me.  Greg lived a good life, was generous and worked extremely hard, He made friends where ever he went. He had just retired and had plans to travel.  We will miss him so. He leaves behind  a legacy of love and so many happy and funny memories.  Greg always said I was his favorite sister.  I always reminded him I was his ONLY sister ! 💔

Take care everyone.
Love, Penny    

Monday, August 31, 2020

Summertime Slipping On Away

The soundtrack is James Taylor, October Road. The song September Grass. Do your musical tastes change with the season? This album sounds like Autumn. Brings to mind many a car ride rolling down the windows when we saw the smoke from a pile of burning leaves. The evenings are cooler.

I went in search of a new scraping paddle for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I went first thing hoping to avoid too many shoppers. Williams Sonoma was open one hour before the rest of the stores in the Fancy Pants Mall. They were very helpful and ordered me a new part. With my errand done, I though I should check out the windows at Pottery Barn. Not too much inspiration. White dishes on a pine table. Not much decoration. I passed Anthropology and took a couple of photos of their windows
Leaves! Paper leaves, from colored paper and map pages, gilded with gold markers. 

The sky was dramatic, but we have had so little rain. Some trees in the neighborhood are dropping leaves, I think from the stress of a dry summer. The granddaughters got together for some sprinkler fun, so there might me one little green patch out back on our lawn..

Charlotte's friend has a farnstand and brought me home a zucchini. The little ones were the biggest fans of the spicy zucchini bread. It was delicious and added to the fallish vibe. My secret ingredients, a bit of nutmeg and orange zest. So flavorful.

Sent most home with Kris and some for Elizabeth and family. Sure is different without my main taste tester and biggest fan of my baking, Tyke. He would hold baked goods up to his nose and breathe in. He loved when I baked. So easy to please that man. 

I hope all is well with you and your families. 
Enjoy these fleeting summer days, fall is upon us.

"And all at once, summer collapsed into fall..."
-Oscar Wilde

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, August 24, 2020

What you see...

I mentioned that a bench was installed at a local park, in memory of my dearest.   I briefly told you about my first emotional visit.  I went back one morning with the twins.  It was cool and shady as we walked around the path.  I took the girls out of their stroller and set them on the bench. As people passed and stopped to see the babies, I mentioned that this was their Grandpa's bench.  I visited again, this time with Penny this weekend.  She was surprised that a phrase she suggested was included on the plaque. We are planning a small dedication service, just for our immediate family in several weeks..  Then I will share some photos of the bench and the plaque.  
"It's the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us.  The question is not what you look at but what you see." 
-Henry David Thoreau

What I saw through my window Sunday afternoon was a short lived but much appreciated storm. We had just come home from a ride to the Lake.   The bridge that has kept me from the Lake is still out,  Jon followed the detour and got us to our favorite spot. We could not find a parking space, anyway,  we saw her (Lake Michigan) and she was beautiful. The babies were at Grandma Roseann's with Mommy for the weekend.  Jon stayed home to finish up a few things, but was totally lost without his girls.  Penny came for a visit and she accompanied me on a few errands. The house was QUIET., until the storm.

 I ran to the back to see if there was a rainbow after the storm passed.

The air smelled all fresh and the trees sighed.  It has been a long dry spell for us this summer.

Love seeing the leaves drenched with rain.

A break in the clouds.

I hope all is well wherever you are.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

This Summer is a Bummer

No matter the spin you try to put on this summer, I can say without question it has been a bummer.
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for my family and our continued good health and happiness, but the ceremony and sacred of summer this year is all but gone. I miss having the freedom we all had just 5 short months ago.

Still, I try to do some things, like walking with my Penny on a local path. I was really stressed this morning and just had to get outside.  Penny found a small piece of bark that was smooth and told me to stroke it, that it would be comforting.  My girl is wise.

Of course these girls are my saving grace. They make everything fun, and their laughter is music to my ears and balm for my heart. Every kid ends up in this fountain, either getting in on their own or getting lifted in by a willing Uncle. I have to scrub it regularly, because I can't keep the little hands out of it, and because the birds depend on it as a water source. The chance that the girls will lose interest is not good.  They are water babies. They do have their own little pool and water table, they prefer the forbidden!

Our days are filled with walks and naps, snacks and Daniel Tiger.  Stevie likes to clean, and this stainless steel fridge hasn't been clean since delivery. What's the point?  Little fingerprints are cute.

 The oaks are filled with acorns, and the sidewalks crunch under my feet.  I talk to the girls and tell them about the trees, give them branches to hold.  Even the hottest days have cool nights.  We need rain badly, especially the trees.  We weathered the derecho that swept across the Midwest with just a few leaves and twigs to clean up and nary a raindrop.  In Chicago, hundreds of trees were lost.

Do you know about That Tree?  It is a Burr Oak tree that Mark Hirsch photographed everyday for a year using his iPhone.  Sadly, the tree was blown down in the derecho as it passed through southern Wisconsin.  Tyke and I had hoped that someday we would go and see That Tree in person when we visited Galena.  The tree was in a farm field outside of Platteville, Wisconsin.  Unfortunately that never happened and now never will for me.  I love trees, always have... In fact during our wedding our friend and celebrant of our Mass, Father Tom mentioned how sad I was that the tree right outside the rectory was cut down.  Wish I remembered everything he said.  I feel so bad for Mark, the photographer and friend of That Tree.  Trees are tremendous! 
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."  William Blake. 

My favorite weed the Queen Anne's Lace put on a great show this year.

Speaking of weeds, can you believe how big these girls are getting?

My house, is now our house and looks like mayhem most days.  These girls are full of life and love, and having son Jon and Charlotte here is a comfort. Charlotte started Law School this week.  I know she will do great. Kris and Doug and Penny are here often to help with the girls and visit.  Mike and Amanda get together with the siblings for sushi (as Tyke would say, "I don't eat bait.")  and eat other strange things and laugh and talk.   The fact that they choose to hang out together is sweet.  I know that Tyke would be so happy that their relationships have only gotten closer.

Yesterday when I wrote this I was waiting to hear about the installation of Tyke's memorial bench.  Then in the afternoon I received an email saying it had been installed on Friday. I got the girls, just up from a nap in the stroller and walked over.  I will talk about our visit and our plans for a dedication ceremony soon.  A couple were sitting on the bench when we got there.  It was a very emotional afternoon.  The path it is on was one of our favorite places to walk together in every season. My grief is still close to the surface, but I know Tyke would have loved being remembered this way.  This bench is a special place to remember him for me and the whole family.

Thanks for stopping by.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny