It’s a Girl!!!

Introducing our new granddaughter, Jordan Rose. . . Born 3-27-17 at 2:21 pm EST, 7# 5 oz, 18.75 inches long and BEAUTIFUL!!!  Mom and baby are doing fine.

With our son, Ryan.

 

Meeting her Grammie and Grampie

Josie meets her new sister tomorrow.  More pics in the days and weeks to come.

It’s Been Awhile

Yes, it has been quite a while since my last post, so let me explain.

No, I haven’t given up on blogging or stopping by to read your posts.  We’ve had an incredibly busy several months.  In early summer we decided to move – to downsize!  I know, we did that before, but we moved to a large ranch with an equally large basement that we finished.  What were we thinking!  It meant double the work, plus gave us a large storage room (yes, I said storage room, not storage closet).  So our downsize turned into an upsize.

Downsizing meant sorting out what we could conceivably take with us, a very time-consuming process.  We had to deal with what furniture to take and decide what we could live without in that large storage room.  So we sorted, threw, and donated throughout the house.  Whew! But we still had way too much STUFF! We then decided to have an online auction through www.ebth.com.  They came in and sorted, tossed, donated all that we needed to get rid of, and photographed all that could be sold. Wow! Our sale was very successful.  They sold furniture, decoratives, exercise equipment, lawn care and gardening items, and more.

Downsizing also meant we needed to sell our home, but since our new home wouldn’t be finished until mid-November, we didn’t want to move until it was completed.  We had to find the right buyer.  No moving twice.

So we moved out of our large home and into a very small home in an over 55 community on November 18th, the Friday before Thanksgiving (no basement to store STUFF, no lawn to mow, and less to clean).  Our rooms were filled with furniture and boxes piled to the ceiling.  We had paths between boxes to move around.

Now, I had two goals in mind. The first was to have everything out of the boxes and the boxes out of the house by Thanksgiving (6 days). As we unpacked, we found we were once again sorting, throwing, and donating.

The second goal was to decorate for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend so I could do my Christmas shopping and wrapping, baking, Christmas cards, and enjoy getting to know our new neighbors at their many social events, all while having some quality time to spend with family.  Mission accomplished!

Now that everything has found a home in our house, I need to go back and sort and pitch and donate once again.  But even with all of that, I have more time for reading and blogging and checking in on various sites, that is until our new grandchild makes his/her appearance into this world on or about April 1st.

2017 promises to be a good year!

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You and Your’s

I can hardly believe Christmas is upon us, especially with this unseasonably warm and rainy weather we’ve been having.  The Christmas tree, village, creche, and other decorations are up. Breads and cookies are baked. Shopping done and gifts wrapped, and food purchased ready for me to prepare on Christmas day.

My wish to you is a joyful, peaceful Christmas, and a New Year that is happy and healthy.

I will be taking a brief break, checking in occasionally, and will see you in the New Year.

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Christmas Trees Around the World

Colleen of Silver Threading is hosting Christmas Trees Around the World and I’ve decided to join in.  Be sure to click the Christmas Trees Around the World link above to go to Colleen’s blogsite and check out other entries.

What I remember most about Christmas, even more than the gorgeous Christmas trees, were the villages my family placed under the tree.

Here is a photo from 1967 of the village under our tree. My mother used some of the houses, sleigh and fence that was part of my grandmother’s village, as well as some newer houses my parents had purchased.Christmas '67

Of course, the torch was passed and I set up a village with the help of my children under our tree.  This is from 1996

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My children are grown and have villages under their own trees.  I still do a village for my grandchildren to enjoy when they visit at Christmas.  Our village for 2015.

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Our Christmas trees have evolved over the years from short with few ornaments and lots of tinsel icicles to a beautiful tree laden with ornaments from vacations, gifts from our children, ornaments that were on my Dad’s tree when he was a child, and a few from my childhood trees.

Christmas 1969

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For our first Christmas my Dad gave us a beautiful crèche that I still put out each year. Quite a few years ago I stopped putting it beneath our tree and now put it in a place of honor where it is more noticeable.IMG_1779

One can’t talk about Christmas trees without a mention of the ornaments, so I’ve included pictures of two ornaments that were passed down to my dad and eventually to me.

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I hope you enjoyed a look at our Christmas trees through the years from top to bottom.

Thank you for stopping by.

A very Merry Christmas and a healthy
and happy New Year to each of you.

2015 – VACATION

Everyone needs a break occasionally, and nothing is more relaxing than visiting beautiful seascapes, especially when a visit with family is included in your plans.

This year our vacation took Northeast with a stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for lunch at Sander’s Fish Market. We had tuna sandwiches made of fresh caught tuna. Never has a tuna sandwich tasted so good.  Portsmouth was an interesting city with beautiful old homes nestled along the Piscataqua River.

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Sanders Fish Market - Portsmouth NH

From Portsmouth went on to Portland, Maine. From our hotel room, we had gorgeous views of the port.  We watched as the seagulls swooped in on the fishing boats unloading the day’s catch.

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A short trip Southeast of Portland to Portland Head Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth was a dream come true. My husband George and I love lighthouses and this one has long been our favorite.  It is more beautiful in person, but George’s photos are fantastic and they will give you a sense of the beauty that awaited us here.

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Our next destination was Bar Harbor, Maine.  Bar Harbor is a quaint seaside town with all the shops, restaurants, and cute little houses you would expect to find there.  We had a lunch of lobster rolls on the waterfront while enjoying the unusually warm weather.

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Lobster Roll in Bar Harbor, MA

Acadia National Park was spectacular! I can’t begin to describe it, so I will let George’s photos speak for themselves.

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In the photo below (an enlargement of the one above) you can see hikers making their way to the top.

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Our next stop as we headed south was Kennebunkport, Maine.  This little town offered so much in the way of souvenir shops where you can purchase George Bush memorabilia or other keepsakes.  No, we did not seek out a peek at the Bush home there.

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Our final destination, as we headed down the coast to Boston, Massachusetts (Needham, to be exact) included a stop for lunch and some shopping in my favorite town of all – Newburyport, Massachusetts. Situated near the mouth of the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean, Newburyport is a picture-perfect waterfront town. Surrounding a town square are quaint shops and restaurants with a short walk to the boardwalk along the river where there are more sailboats than you could count.

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Our final stop was the best stop of all. We spent several days with our son Todd, daughter-in-law Tricia, and grandsons Tyler and Taylor. Each time we visit, we try to see different sights.  This year we went to Lexington, Massachusetts.  The towns surrounding Boston abound with historic sites, and Lexington did not disappoint us. The area is rich in Revolutionary War history.  No matter what we do or where we go while visiting, the important thing is, we have a chance to enjoy our time with family.

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Me with Tricia

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Tyler and Taylor

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Tyler and his cat Taney

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Todd and George

 

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Tricia, Tyler, Taylor, Todd at Lexington, MA 9-6-15

Tricia, Tyler, Taylor, and Todd

No matter how long we visit, it is never long enough. Time flies and before we can blink, we are back home again.

Josie Discovered Makeup

My sweet little granddaughter found her mother’s makeup.  She looks beauuuutiful!

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My little sweetie turns two next month. Watch for a birthday post about her.

 

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog,

click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-aug-2015

The Continent of Ruby

By BB Cape

The Continent of RubyTHE CONTINENT OF RUBY is the tale of the author’s thoughts about her marriage and her divorce, her husband’s infidelity, and the terminal diagnosis of her friend’s cancer. It is about reconciling oneself to that fact that life goes on, and being strong.  It is about her friend’s courageous journey from her diagnosis of stage 4 gall bladder cancer until her death. Cape’s life journey takes her to Bali, where she finally understands why she never cried for her friend and why she never would – Ruby’s death “was not powerful enough to claim her spirit.”

This is not a traditional memoir in the sense that it only covers a period of about three and a half months in 2004, and then skips years to December 30, 2008 where B.B. Cape is in Bali.  This is a reflection time in her life and serves to tell the reader how she was able to reconcile all the issues we learned about earlier in the story.  June 13, 2004, the day Ruby got her diagnosis, until September 31, 2004, the day after the Ruby’s memorial in her hometown, gave us insight into the Cape’s life, while concentrating, largely on Ruby’s decline.

I had many issues with the book.  There were quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes to the point it became irritating. A lot of the book concentrated on Ruby to the extent I sometimes felt like I was reading Ruby’s memoir.  There was a lot of medical terminology that caused the story to drag. This would have been better if the author told of Ruby’s condition in more general terms that readers could understand.

Did I like the book?  Yes and no.  No, I did not like it for all of the above reasons. Yes, it was a heartwarming story of loyalty, friendship, love, and sacrifice.

Book Blurb

The true story of a woman who knew her life was about to come undone and let it come undone anyway only to find herself in the redeeming grace of the unknown.

Excerpt

The doctors have found a malignant tumor in Ruby’s gall bladder. They closed her up and designated her case terminal. Stacy calls me, shocked. She repeats the prognosis verbatim: the bile ducts are compromised. In the future, and for the sake of comfort, the ducts can be drained of cancerous cells. There is no therapy being considered, and pain management will be arranged. An oncologist will be consulted. “I am sorry,” the doctor said.

“Why didn’t they just take the gall bladder,” I ask Stacy, ignorant of the ambition of a malignancy, thinking that Ruby’s tumor can be excised with a knife, removed from its habitat, and banished to the hazardous waste bin. My mind is torpid; fear sets in. “Stacy, Stacy,” I call out when her voice trails off. “What else did he say?” I ask, and she repeats the prognosis.

That afternoon Stacy, her husband, son, in-laws, and my children and I stand around Ruby’s hospital bed. Everyone in the cancer ward at Memorial Hospital gets a private room with a view.

Stacy is talking on her cell phone. Everybody else in the room paces. We are the rowdy newcomers to the ward. We do not accept – nor do we plan on accepting – any of its lethargy, unlike the mother of the young woman across the way, who watches with patience and concern as her adult daughter tries to get back into the bed, moving as if her discomfort is the size of the entire room. Even the nurses are slow when summoned. Maybe they think there is no need to rush any more. We bring with us the robust outside world and will not accept the ward’s sluggish pace of feeling, being, and thinking. We resist it all – the children want to watch television, the in-laws need a soda and go in search of a vending machine, and Stacy’s husband needs to go home to walk the dog.

When we look at Ruby, we don’t see her any longer. Instead, we see her cancer. Initially, we think: “How can this happen to one of us? Yesterday she was …” More specifically, we look for physical evidence of the cancer, as if it will expose itself, flip us the finger, stick out its tongue, or howl with laughter right in our faces. But, what is happening is more ominous and technical than that:

FINDINGS COMPATIBLE WITH ADVANCED GALLBLADDER CARCINOMA WITH LIVER INVASION AND LIVER METASIS WITH MASS MEASURING APPROXIMATELY 8.5 X 7.5 CM, EXTENDING THROUGH HEPATIC SEGMENTS 4B, 4A AND TO A LESSER DEGREE, 5. SEVERAL LIVER LESIONS ARE DEMONSTRATED IN THE APPROXIMATELY1.5-CM RANGE.

CANNOT RULE OUT EARLY CARCINOMATOSIS ALONG THE OMENTUM ANTERIORLY EXTENDING TOWARD THE PELVIS.

DUCTAL DILATION IS DEMONSTRATED DUCTAL DILATION EXTENDS INFERIORLY TO THE LEVEL OF THE AMPULLA.

END OF IMPRESSION

On the phone, Stacy tells family and friends her mother has Stage 4 Gall Bladder Cancer. Terminal. Some of them speak with Ruby. Others send their prayers and well wishes. Still others are frightened by the sudden and tragic twist of events; they will call Ruby another time. At the moment, the information is too raw and incomprehensible to process – they were just sitting down to dinner, watching the evening news, not prepared for this news. Stacy is cordial. She says she appreciates their support. Any emails, calls, or cards will “lift the spirits.”

About the Author

BB Cape is a freelance writer and online instructor. Her short stories have appeared in Parade Magazine. She will publish her first novel later this year.

Type of Book: Kindle

Publisher: BB Cape

Publication date: 2/21/2015

Pages: 140 pages

Genre: Memoir

Twitter: @continentofruby

To purchase THE CONTINENT OF RUBY: click Amazon

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Happy Birthday Bear!

Greg (3 mo) 4-78 - NEWThirty-seven years ago today, I gave birth to this wonderful guy, our second of three sons.  Greg was always so full of hugs, smiles, and laughter. He loved life!

It has been ten years, three months, and one day since he left our world. I wonder what he would look like now – I have no current pictures.

Gifted with both intellect and an artistic talent, he was an emerging architect – I wonder what he could have created in those ten years.

He was the wonderful, loving father to our grandson – I wonder what amazing relationship he and his son would have now. Greg would have enjoyed watching him grow into someone who is so much like him.DSC00022 a

Too Cute - 5 moHe was a doting uncle – I wonder about the positive influence he would have had on his nephews, and how much he would have enjoyed meeting his little niece.

2-84 Todd Greg and RyanPlaying Pool 9-04 - CroppedHe was a caring brother who loved doing things with his brothers Todd and Ryan – I wonder about the all the great things they would have done together and the good times they would have shared.

Josh, Greg, Danny 12-01Greg was a good friend to just about everyone he met – I wonder how those friendships would have flourished.

Family Portrait 9-04He was a gentle, loving son to my husband and me. We are so blessed to have had twenty-six plus years with this amazing person. I miss him every moment of every day, but I have so many happy memories to bolster my spirits.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful son.