Category Archives: Family & Friends

MASCOTS: Water Play

What better time to mess around with your water toys than right after it has rained?!

2018_06 10 Mascots Water play


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MASCOT UPDATE: This Week in Buzz Land

Bunny composed a beautiful little story. I’m so impressed. It has all the elements of a good story and she’s only in kindergarten! Plus, they don’t even have a dog. 🙂

“I took the dog to the vet. The dog is sick. The dog has a medicine. The dog gets his heart checked first. Now the dog gets his eyes checked. The dog gets his leg checked. The dog is sad because he wants to go home. The dog is mad because he wants a treat. I am waiting for the dog. The dog is happy to go home. The end.”

Bootz and Buzz got painted.

2018_05 26 Bootz Buzz paint

(Bunny and Mama did too, but their photos show their faces, so I can’t share them.)

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Lil Buzz was a champ at the dentist today, getting an extra tooth extracted. He spent the afternoon sleeping off the drugs.

2018_05 17 Buzz tooth out

Bunny graduated from kindergarten. We’re so proud of our little autistic granddaughter, who did just GREAT in her mainstream class this year! Also, she announces at least once a day, “I can’t see with my eyes closed.” So, the x-ray vision hasn’t kicked in yet. Good to know.

Bootz has been helping Mama Buzz get the gardens looking nice.

2018_05 16 Bootz gardening

Daddy Buzz is being transferred to a new duty station this summer.

Mama Buzz is alternating between freaking out over all the work ahead and mourning all the good friends they will leave behind.

Grammy Buzz is jumping up and down with excitement because they will be FOUR THOUSAND MILES CLOSER TO HOME!

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Will you still be sending me a Valentine?

The Beatles – When I’m Sixty-Four

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The Greatest Gift of All

This is shaping up to be a good day. My usual breakfast with my uncles and cousins this morning, then this afternoon RJ’s Big Sis has a softball game at the high school. I haven’t seen them since RJ’s basketball season ended in March. The whole family will be there and I’ve really missed them. It’s hard when they all have activities that take them in all directions every day. That’s one of the problems with being retired. You get lonely when everyone else is busy. She plays on the varsity squad, but with a lot of seniors and she a junior she doesn’t always get to play. I could care less, as long as I can be with them. We plan to go to a neat little pizzeria in their town after the game. The food is good, the company is even better. Continue reading


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Crawling out from under AGAIN

2018_05 01 How my life is going

3rd time since April began. LOTS of hubby-in-the-hospital stress and my-body-being-my-body stress, then WHAM, I got Dearest’s cold, which was way worse for me than him, I’m guessing because I was just so run down already.

Anyway, his is just a cold that’s still hanging on a bit, but he only spent 1 day in bed. I’ve got full blown croup that kept me flat on my back for 6 days in a row and mostly on the couch for the past 3 days. I’m still barking like a seal and get tired quickly, but walked the dog twice so maybe I’m really on the mend.

My email boxes are so jammed and I’m behind with everything. ::sigh::  I have (mostly) got the dishes caught up, got caught up with Netflix and online library account, and made an appearance at the Facebook board where I’m an Administrator.  I still need to stick my nose into my 2 other groups so they know I am alive then … cringe … face down my 250 emails.

I really REALLY hope May is better but it’s not looking too good on the calendar. Building season is in full swing, so Dearest is really busy with work. He goes for his 2d eye lens replacement tomorrow, then the follow-up the next day.  It’s 2 hours away, so those are both all day events. Then, he has to take me to my doctor’s appointment on Friday, shortly after which he is leaving with this year’s batch of Rotary exchange kids for a tour of Boston over the week-end. The following weekend, he is boss of the Republican’s chicken BBQ fund raiser, a massive undertaking he does once or twice a year. Then the week after that, he goes back into the hospital for his second heart ablation procedure.

If his docs clear him for air travel, he’s going to the baptism of our seventh grandchild the first weekend in June. She’s due to make her grand entrance any minute now. We are SO excited!

His nephew is also graduating from high school this month. His family is super close, so normally we wouldn’t dream of missing a milestone event, but we’re both feeling frazzled just LOOKING at his calendar and think he needs to beg off. He’ll see them during the Boston trip anyway. Oh wait. I’m in charge of the gift and card. I need to get cracking!

Thankfully, he’s got a nice date night planned for my upcoming birthday. I’m going to absolutely insist he unplug all the phones so we can have at least one evening just for us.


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Sojourn to a Catholic Church

Miss Isabel was confirmed at Saint Mary’s Church in Dekalb, Illinois yesterday. Rumor has it I’m an Evangelical Lutheran, but that has yet to be confirmed. The last time I was in a Catholic church other than the girls’ First Communion may have been in the late 70s when my ex-roommate married one of my old girl friends. (Long story,don’t ask.) Both are full-blooded Italians and they were wed in a high mass that went for almost two hours. The reception was at the Lombardi Club, which is predominantly Italian. I never saw so many people equipped with gallon jugs of Dago Red wine (that’s what they call it, don’t yell at me). I can testify that there was so much delicious food it was almost obscene. My ex-roomie’s mother had been in this country for 50 years and could barely speak English, but every time we ate at their house she’d send enough food home to last for weeks.
Back to the confirmation:
The service was to begin at 1:00 PM. The front part of the sanctuary was reserved for confirmands and their sponsors. The rest of the pews were full by the time we got there at 12:15. The majority were Hispanic. We were fortunate enough to get chairs in the foyer. The late arrivals stood in the entrance to the church and they were backed up to the door. Some pews only had one or two people, but they were saving the entire row for late coming friends and relatives. Church is the only place you can get away with that without a fight.
David J. Malloy, the Bishop of Rockford, gave the sermon. He had to repeat much of it in Spanish, which he is fluent in. I joked to my stepdaughter that I could get us seats in the sanctuary. How? she queried. I said by walking in and yelling “Immigracion!” She told me to behave. I told her I’m going to hell anyway, so it would make no difference.
After the confirmands were inducted by His Eminence (don’t know if you address a bishop that way), they had Holy Communion for the entire congregation. The service was approaching 1 1/2 hours by then and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Mercifully, one of the priests was in the back of the church, next to us, and was also giving the sacraments. I was thankful they added an express lane or we’d have been there until supper.
There was a young Hispanic couple in front of us, looking through the window into the main sanctuary, who had three young children, not much more than a year apart. Apparently they took the Bible’s admonition to be fruitful and multiply very seriously. When they got to the part where everyone shakes hands with their neighbor, we did so. When one young man shook my hand then flashed gang signs, that was the end of hand shaking for me.
There were members of the Knights of Columbus there, dressed in their finery with swords hanging from their belts, obviously meant to be intimidating. When they passed the offering plate, I put some money in. I’m not Catholic, but I was taking no chances. Suffering from severe sleep apnea, I put my head down on the chair in front of me,just to rest my eyes. When I looked up, a priest was walking past who must have thought, ‘What a pious man!’… unless he’d seen folks drift off during a lengthy sermon, which he probably had.
The entire class of the newly confirmed took group pictures with the bishop, then some had photos taken with him one on one. We took our family pictures when we returned to the kids’ house. There’s an excellent Chinese buffet where we all met for lupper (lunch/supper). There was a beautiful cake and Miss Isabel got some nice gifts. As my grandfather would say, she made out “like a Jew in a junkyard”… haven’t thought of that one in years.
I bought a nice beef roast about a month ago and the family is coming up for dinner next week. Any excuse to see the grandchildren works for me. Hopefully my daughter will be out of group counseling by then.

There is nothing in the world so important as family.

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Bits & Bytes

I’ve been out of commission for quite a while, but I’m feeling somewhat better now and trying to get caught up. My email has a ginormous backlog, what with all the stuff I subscribe to and the multitudinous pictures from recent family celebrations.

The Buzzers got to spend Easter with their Texas cousins. Mama Buzz said the kids were super good travelers and they all had a wonderful vacation!

2018_03 27 A&A on plane

Most of the e-subscription stuff is just going into the trash, cuz I can’t deal with it all. But some is kinda interesting, so here’s a sampling.

TRUMP ECONOMY: The U.S. unemployment rate in February marked a 17-year low. The number of Americans rating the economy good to excellent has hit an 18-year high. Average job growth numbers in 2018 are the strongest since 1997. Since January 2017, more than 2.5 million jobs have been added to the economy.

CUTTING SPENDING: White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said White House officials and Congressional Republicans are putting together legislation to rescind spending from the $1.3 trillion omnibus budget they recently passed. A rescission bill could not be filibustered by Senate Democrats.

DEMOCRAT HYPOCRISY: President Donald J. Trump announced Tuesday that he will deploy U.S. troops to reinforce the Mexican border. Democrats acted like he had set a cross ablaze on someone’s lawn. But in 2010, President Obama deployed 1,200 National Guard troops and requested an extra $500 million to secure the Mexican border. One of my military kids who has served down there voiced disgust at the liberal head explosions. “We’ve had troops on the border for ages!”

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY WIN: Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon was on the verge of being promoted to a one-star general when he was suspended from command in 2017 for refusing to publicly affirm the same-sex spouse of a retiring subordinate. Thankfully, the Air Force has reversed its decision to punish this highly-decorated and respected officer.

ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIGOTRY: In 2016, after a young Muslim jihadist shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando, the Left Stream Media blamed it on Christians and Republicans, who allegedly have fostered such a climate of anti-gay hatred that this poor little Muslim jihadist could not help himself. But during the trial, it became clear that it was a terrorist attack, pure and simple. The shooter had originally intended to shoot up the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex and had switched to the gay nightclub randomly less than an hour before the attack. It is not clear he even knew it was a gay bar. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Left to apologize to the millions of Americans they slandered unjustly.

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How busy hands can alter our brain chemistry

Some researchers think busy hands may be key to making our brains very happy.

“When we engage in activities, we change the neurochemistry of our brain,” said Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond.

In the 19th century doctors used to prescribe knitting to women who were overwrought with anxiety, “because they sensed that it calmed them down some. And it sounds, ‘Oh, that’s simplistic.’ But when you think about, OK, repetitive movement is increasing certain neurochemicals. And then if you produce something — a hat or a scarf — there’s the reward.”

Speaking of busy hands, one of the things I really enjoy is making miniatures, like “Grammy’s Easter Workshop”, which is traveling to Texas on Friday. I’m hoping it will become a cherished part of the Texas Grandkids’ annual Easter celebrations.

March 21, 2018: This is going to Texas on Friday.

Posted by Chrissy Bravo-Cullen on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

“Busy hands” hobbies are becoming more important in our culture. Between 1980 and 2015, jobs requiring social and analytical skills — desk jobs — increased 94%, while jobs requiring physical skills went up a mere 12%.

And that has Kelly Lambert concerned: “We just sit there. And we press buttons. And you start to lose a sense of control over your environment.”

She’s been using rodents to study the hand-brain connection. Lambert said that rats made to dig for a reward showed greater signs of mental health, when compared to what she calls her “trust fund rats,” who got a pass on doing any physical work.

“So, when we took an animal that was really in tune with the environment and we just gave them their rewards, without having to work for them, their stress hormones went up high — they lost all their benefits,” she said.

Through the years, I’ve learned that, if I don’t have a “busy hands” project going, I get crabby. When I was a kid, I loved messing around at my dad’s work bench. One of my favorite Christmas presents EVER was a kid-sized, ALL PINK chest of wood working tools! When I got older, my folks got me a sewing machine.

I’ve had a pretty hard life, what with PTSD and various health problems. But I can honestly say that, besides my faith, it’s been keeping my hands busy that has kept me the most sane and balanced. Besides sewing, carpentry and building miniatures, I’ve enjoyed painting, drawing, sculpting, stained glass, stonework, gardening, beading, making jewelry, and keeping tropical fish. I tried knitting once upon a time, but found I prefer crocheting, which is my current passion.

When I read the article linked below, I couldn’t help thinking of all the angry young people demanding this, that, and the other. Methinks it would be a really good idea if our kids spent a whole lot LESS time pushing buttons and a whole lot MORE time making and building real stuff with their own hands.

2018_03 21 Busy hands


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MASCOT UPDATE: Visit to the Ice Park

One of the cool things about living in Alaska!

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