Friday, March 5, 2021

My Blogaversary 11 Years!

Sure I've only posted a couple of times this year but don't the previous years count? I only remembered about this anniversary because of a post that came up in my memories on Facebook.  Yes 11 years ago when I was a naive 55 year old I started this blog.  It was a brave and adventurous thing to do for me back then. 

 It was so much fun, making friends and having my techy hubby in the office next to mine.  My security blanket in the brave new world of blogging.  So much has changed.  I have changed.  I could say that the world has made me jaded. but that that would be untrue. I still am curious, full of wonder and  happy most days.  On others I am brokenhearted. lonely and full of memories.  Honestly, the memories are 99 percent good and happy.  There is that one percent where I dare not go.  Maybe will never be able to face.

For now my days are filled with giggles and fun.  Not unlike my days with my dearest.  We laughed all the time, and my girls make me laugh hard each and every day.  They are learning by leaps and bounds.  Their vocabularies grow by the hour.

I had to abandon my daily walk because of our constant snow cover, and the strength it takes to push almost 60 pounds of  stroller with the girls on board is more than this old girl could handle.  I feel my creaky bones yell OILCAN!  If it were only that easy!


I make dates with myself to have some time to think and remember.  Now that spring is at our doorstep and I have had my first shot of the vaccine the world will start to open up again.  I miss my extended family and my friends.  I miss thrifting.  Silly, because I don't want for anything.  It's just some thing I really enjoy doing.  There is so much I want to share with the girls.  They will be two in a week!    Missing my time to write but  loving my job as Ma, watching Mo and Dan Dan and dancing to our songs.  Life is good.  I am good, life goes on.  

Thanks for stopping by, keep safe and find happiness 
whenever you are able. Thank you for your kindness.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, January 18, 2021

How in the World Did We Get Here?

Just checking in.  This is where I sit and watch the news when I am not watching Elmo or Daniel Tiger.  My days are filled with my girls, my family and a weekly shopping trip to the grocery.  Since March of last year, things have not changed much here, but the world, well. just for historical sake, a raging pandemic, an assault on our nations capital, a inauguration in our nations capital that looks like a war zone.  Without the comfort of two strong arms around me, I am left to face this all, and it's been hard.  Still my spirit has not been broken.  I have hope that our future will be better.  There is a new administration, one that cares.  The vaccine, though mismanaged, is still a wonderful thing.  I would like to think being the ripe old age I am that it will be available to me soon.  We as a family have followed the rules.  I was alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  On Christmas Eve we all wore masks and opened the windows to be together.  Seven adults and three children.  We had a great time together, and missed the whole family that always gathers here each Christmas Eve..

I hope that all of you have been weathering the storms around us.  

"A good friend of mine said, "You are married to sorrow." And I looked at him and said, "I am not married to sorrow. I just choose not to look away."
And I think there is deep beauty in not averting our gaze.
No matter how hard it is, no matter how heartbreaking it can be. It is about presence. It is about bearing witness.
I used to think bearing witness was a passive act. I don't believe that anymore. I think that when we are present, when we bear witness, when we do not divert our gaze, something is revealed—the very marrow of life. We change. A transformation occurs. Our consciousness shifts.
     —Terry Tempest Williams 

We will all be forever changed by the events of the last year. Hopefully for the better, more resilient more compassionate and more appreciative of life.

Thank you for stopping by and for your patience and kindness to me.
Love, Penny

Monday, December 7, 2020

Back on the horse that threw me...

Oh I do love blogging and the almost eleven year history I have here At Home in English Valley.  Time alone is so scarce, and my office was in such a shambles that I never wanted to share the little extra time I have in here.  With the Corona virus out of control and my world, that has been small since losing my dearest, has become even smaller.  My life is a happy but lonely one without Tyke.  Not for want of company.  I have two beautiful, happy and wonderful constant companions in my sweet toddlers Stevie and Irene. We are not visiting as we had been doing with our bubble of daughter Kris, Doug and Penny or Mikey and Amanda.  We are all in the same boat, so no use complaining. 
 I just miss everyone.  

I made it a point this weekend to make sense of the mess I call my bedroom and office. We are bursting at the seems in this house.  Every nook and cranny is filled.  It was just a matter of a little sorting, purging and organizing that got me to the point that I am in my office, with a clean table!

I started decorating on Thanksgiving while I was home alone.  Jon worked, Charlotte was visiting her Mom with the girls.  I didn't even have to start dinner until 2:30 when I put our turkey breast in the oven. Very unthanksgiving like. I made care packages for Kris and Mikey.  Homemade pierogi and bread, sweets and even oranges with cloves for making pomanders, a holiday tradition that goes back to when I was a kid
 I purchased a Christmas tree through a website, since I could not imagine shopping for a tree in person.  It's the nicest tree we have ever had.  It's from Balsam Hill and it was on sale, but still a splurge.  It looked great just out of the box, three pieces fit together like butter. 
 I plugged it in and was done.

 I searched for a few pieces from my Christmas stash, put up the old tree in the family room 
and called it Christmas.

It's surprising how little I need to change for the seasons and how much things stay the same.  

Penny and I bought these sheep in the spring.  

This is a thrifted plate.  That is one vise I miss.  Going to the local thrift.  

This little display came out of a sack o trees and the little sign.

I am so rusty here, so much to say, really difficult to express all I feel during nap time.  I am so very grateful to these little ones.  They are so excited to see me.  This morning I got so many hugs.  Stevie wants to hold my hand and walk with me. Irene loves snuggles.  They love to laugh and sing.  I read the same book over and over.  We build with blocks, in good weather they love to get out.  They are past  being happy in the stroller, but are too fast for me to leave the yard without reinforcements.

My family is doing well, working remotely except for Amanda and Jon. Penny is  doing very well in school, though not happy about remote learning.   Looking forward to seeing the girls reaction to Christmas morning.  Not sure if we will be together with the rest of the family,
but our Facetime calls are pretty funny. 
 You can count on our guys for the jokes 
and the girls for the entertainment.
 This year will be different.  Nothing is promised to us, 
so I will enjoy today and every beautiful day
 I get with my wonderful family.

Take Care, Stay Safe, Be Well.
Sending love and hope and peace to you all.
Enjoy this beautiful Day.

Love, Penny 

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