Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sidelined but Not Out of the Game


   Apparently I am not Superwoman and I can't leap buildings in a single bound or even keep up the pace that I had been.  Today I am having a major crash/flare.  I had great plans for the day but have been "sidelined" by pain, stiffness and extremely low energy.  Since it is one of those days, I had to put some of my plans on hold, ask for help and do other things that I could do that do not take up as much energy.  So here is what I did do.

~I had planned to wash the laundry and get it all hung outside to dry.  That was not going to be possible so I washed it and put it in the dryer instead.  I'll have Jeff help me fold it all later.
~I did manage to get the 2 loaves of bread made and make croutons from the rest of the loaf that was leftover from last week.
~I ran my points programs in the background on my computer while I made the bread, did laundry and blogged.
~There were some shirts that needed to be mended so I worked on those while I sat back in my recliner.
~The strawberry plants that escaped the strawberry bed needed to be transplanted back into the strawberry bed.  I knew there was no way I could do it by myself today so I asked Rachel for help with that.  Between the two of us we managed to make quick work of it.
~I had planned on making Lo Mein for dinner but think we may just have the leftover meat that I was going to use in it along with some leftover brown rice and call it good.
~I did manage to drive down to the library today and pick a up a book on hold there for Steven.  That was as far as I was going to even attempt to drive today.  There was no way I was walking down there like I usually do.

   So you see, I may not have been able to do all that I wanted to, but I was still able to get some things done and that makes me feel good.  I am also learning to ask for help when I need it from someone other than Jeff.  That is a HUGE step for me.  I never want to feel like I am burdening anyone.  Rachel is very sweet and offered to come up and help me with whatever I needed.  Since my priority was the strawberry plants, that is what I asked for help with.  I am learning...albeit slowly. 😜

Monday, April 23, 2018

Little Things that are Making Me Happy Lately



Sometimes we all get so bogged down with the stresses of everyday living that we forget to just take the time to look around and appreciate the little things in life that bring a smile to our faces.  I was thinking about this very thing this afternoon as I sat on my back porch enjoying the warmth of the sunshine after a very long Winter and cold and wet Spring.  I began to think about what it is that has brought me joy over the past few days and thought I would share it here.

~Clean bed linens drying on the clothesline and the fresh smell they all had when I got them down and folded them later in the day.
~A talk across the fence with my much loved hanai sister Shannon.
~Watching the scrunchy nose look my youngest grandson gave me when I sat him in the grass.  He was not a huge fan of it but it did keep him in one place and not crawling off. 
~Taking flowers from our garden next door to Aunt Norma and seeing the look of delight on her face as our grandson Steven flirted shamelessly with her.  
~Eating some of our meals out on the back porch.
~Patches kitty crawling up onto my chest while I was sitting in the lounge chair outside enjoying the warmth of the sun.
~Seeing the bees fly from dandelion to dandelion collecting the pollen.
~The raspberry patch all pruned and staked up by my amazing hubby.
~Relaxing in the hot tub and talking about just how blessed we are with our kids and grandkids.
~Taking a walk and seeing that Steven feel asleep in the stroller.  He had been fighting taking a nap earlier that day.
~Pictures that our Heather shared online of our oldest grandsons, Bradley and Isaiah, helping to pull nails from fence posts at their property.  They were taking great pride in their work!
~Great news being shared by our son Josh.
~Phone calls from our son Chris.
~Spending time with our Rachel and her blessing me by taking me down to Costco with her.
~Jaysn showing up with cupcakes that Rachel had made.
~Our neighbor's cat, Caspian, coming over to visit Steven and I while we were outside on the lawn.

   None of these things cost us a lot of money.  Even the Costco run was budgeted for but what blessed me most about that trip was spending the time with Rachel and Steven.  Most were even "free".  How many times have we been too busy to slow down and actually watch the dance a bee does when it is pollinating a flower?  It is fascinating!  Do we sit still long enough for a beloved cat to crawl up into our lap or onto our chest and just enjoy stroking it's soft fur?  Are there ways we could spread joy to our elderly neighbors by bringing them flowers or something yummy to eat?  When I feel joy, I want to spread that joy to others.  I want other people to feel the warmth, love and caring that do.  I want them to experience the little joys that are all around us if we slow down and take the time to notice them.  

   My plan is to try to take time each day and soak in those precious moments as they happen.  I want to breath in the fragrance of line dried laundry and freshly baked bread.  I want to soak up the warmth of the sun.  I want to play with all my grandchildren and listen to their laughter and the older two tell me all the wonderful things that are on their minds.  I want to watch the baby as he continues to walk and say new words.  I want to spend more time just enjoying my hubby and surprising him with little treats.  While the world continues to go "crazy" all around us, I want to focus on my home, my family and my friends.  I want this to be a safe haven and one where the little joys in life are experienced and appreciated for the truly wonderful gifts that they are to all of us.  My prayer is that my friends will all join me in doing this and that they too will both find and spread joy in the beauty and love that surrounds us all.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 4/14-4/20 2018

~Saturday Jeff and I stayed home and even took a much needed nap.
~We watched popped some popcorn and watched to movies, "Lucy" and "Red 2" that we had borrowed from the library.
~I made a pork and mushroom stroganoff and served it over baked potatoes.  Rachel was still busy at their old house finishing cleaning it all up for the new owners and would not be home until late that evening so we had Jaysn and Steven come up and join us for dinner.  We knew Jaysn would not be able to get any cooking done with Steven being so "busy". 😉
~Sunday Jaysn, Rachel, Steven, Heather, Bradley and Isaiah all came up for a bit and we had a wonderful visit.  It was so much fun watching all of my grandboys play together.  It just melts my Grammie heart.
~We had some leftover baked potatoes so I made a loaded baked potato salad with those, some green onions from the garden, Greek Yogurt (in place of sour cream), some shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cooked turkey bacon, salt and pepper.
~My pineapple was finally ripe so I got it all cut up and ready.  It was so sweet and delicious.  I love having fresh fruit all ready to go!
~Jeff rotated our mattress and I took that opportunity to take the bed skirt off it and get that washed too.  Our old mattress cover had given it's all so we replaced it with a new one that my mother had previously given us,  While doing that, I found my long lost reading glass under the bed...darned cats!
~Jeff mowed the lawn before the next rain and snow (yes, the "s" word) was due to hit later in the evening.  Our lawn was looking like a jungle.
~I got out the old outdoor broom and "swept" the spiderwebs off the house that had formed on the Fall and earlier this Spring.
~We took a long walk as a family...Jeff, Rachel, Jaysn, Steven, Caesar and I. We visited with neighbors along the way.  I was feeling pretty good and since we were taking it slow, I was able to go longer...that may have been a mistake...
~Monday was a HUGE crash/flare day.  I was up during the night multiple times due to pain and IBS symptoms that just would not quit.  I had trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep and then could not manage to get out of bed until about 1:30 p.m.
~Jeff brought home lunch for me and I had half for lunch and the rest for dinner.  Jeff had leftovers for both meals.
~My plan for the day was to respond to comments on my blog and get caught up on reading my friends blogs and also check my email...none of that happened due to Fibro fog so thick in my brain.
~Tuesday I slept in until 10 a.m. after another rough night but did find that I got just under and hour of deep sleep, which is a major win for me.
~Jeff took me into town because I was having bad cabin fever.  The yucky weather had made me very antsy.  We went to the Dollar Tree to get some things there and I found they had three more jars of the pesto sauce that we love.  I got all three of them.
~We also went to Palouse Treasures thrift store and since it was Tuesday, they had their .50 clearance rack.  I was able to find some shirts for Steven who is growing like a weed, some shirts for me including several Loft brand, a silk scarf for .99, a cake decorating idea book and some lotion.  Jeff found a movie for Bradley and Isaiah, some fence hardware and a pair of work pants.
~I used some of my "allowance" to treat Jeff to dinner.  He has been working so hard and I just wanted to do something nice for him.  The service there was terrible so I messaged the owner about it on their facebook page (we have been loyal customers for over 30 years).  She was very apologetic, is going to let the manager know and get the staff retrained and is sending us a gift card.
~We went down to visit Jaysn, Rachel and Steven once we got back home.  Steven was very happy to see us and had a great time playing with G-pa. 😊
~I was hungry late in the evening so I fixed myself a small bowl of fresh pineapple chunks and some cottage cheese.
~I watched several shows online as well as a relaxing video on YouTube.
~Wednesday was an at home day.  My hanai daughter Tiffy came over with her two little boys and we dug some strawberry plants up for her to take home with her for her garden.
~Rachel and Steven came up also.  She did some laundry and hung it out on the line to dry.  It has been so much fun having them close.
~Dinner was choice of leftovers, a sandwich or salad.
~I borrowed 2 movies and a book from the library.
~Thursday I cooked up some elk steaks for an early dinner since Jeff has bowling league on that night. We were able to eat our dinner out on the back porch because we had warm and glorious weather.
~My outfit that I wore cost me all of .75.  I bought both the capri length DriFit yoga pants and the long t shirt off the clearance rack at one of our local thrift stores.   I was comfy and looked pretty well pulled together.
~Rachel and Steven came over for a visit in the morning so she could use our land line phone.  Cell service can be spotty out here.  She told me that she was going to try to find a movie to take over this afternoon when she and Jaysn head over to Chris and Heather's to watch the little boys while Heather and Chris go out on a date.  I sent 2 of their favorite movies with her.  I'm not sure if they will get a chance to watch them because when the 3 cousins get together they have so much fun just playing which I think is great!
~I made 2 loaves of bread and some croutons.
~I froze 4 bananas and put the peels around the rose bush stems.
~Friday Rachel and I headed down to Costco.  She has a membership so she took me with her so I could also shop there and pick up some things that we needed and wanted.  Let's be real...we didn't need to pickled asparagus, but I sure wanted it. 😄
~We had lunch at Costco.  I really enjoy their polish sausages and Rachel loves their hot dogs.  You can't beat the price either!
~We also stopped at the Franz bakery outlet store and picked up some bread, bagels, and english muffins.
~We skipped going to the Grocery Outlet store because poor Steven was exhausted and feel asleep upon being put in his carseat while we were getting ready to leave Costco.  Rachel and I took turns going into the bread outlet store because we did not want to wake him.  I did not need anything there so it was all good.
~Steven woke up as we got close to Pullman, so we stopped at Walmart so he could get a diaper change, have a bottle and Rachel and I could pick up a few needed things there.  I found lemon poppy seed muffin mixes marked down to $1 a box. I bought 4 of them and some small boxes of jello.  I will make the muffins to take with us to Montana for breakfast next month.
~After a long day of shopping, I was thankful to have a 4 cheese self rising crust pizza in the freezer.  I baked that up and we had a salad with it.  The weather was so nice so we ate on the back screened in porch.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Two Week Frugal Friday Wrap Up 3/31-4/13 2018


   Jaysn and Rachel are finally totally moved, their old house is cleaned and they sign the final papers this Wednesday.  It has been a long process and they, along with Jeff and I, are all exhausted.   We have been trying to take care of Steven as much as we are able to have been having the kids up for meals also.  Today Heather, Bradley and Isaiah stopped by and Jaysn, Rachel and Steven came up so we could have some family time.  Chris was at home sleeping after a very long overnight shift at work.  This afternoon I went down to take care of Steven for a bit while Jaysn and Rachel got some things moved into storage.  Poor little guy was beyond exhausted and could not fall asleep until Mommy came back to hold him.  Hopefully, now that they are getting settled in, Steven can get back on a regular schedule and that will help everyone, but especially him. 😉 Yesterday Jeff and I rested and watched movies for the most part.  We did have Jaysn and Steven come up for dinner since Rachel was finishing up at the old house and I knew that Jaysn would not eat a good dinner without her since he was so busy with Steven.  Steven managed to escape the baby gate so keeping him corralled is getting harder and harder.  We sure are enjoying having them close and it was so good to have all the grandboys here earlier and watch them thoroughly enjoy each other. 💓  Now nto the two weeks of savings...

~Saturday I was not feeling well so I stayed home while Jeff went in and worked on Jaysn and Rachel's house getting some things done there that the home inspector said needed to be fixed.
~I sent a bunch of the pasta salad I made on Friday in for Jaysn and Rachel.
~We hot tubbed later that night.
~Easter Sunday we both stayed home and rested for the most part.
~I did make 2 loaves of bread that day and Jeff worked on some laundry.
~Monday Jeff and I headed into help Rachel with a few more items on the fix it list.  I watched Steven while they ran into town to get some supplies.
~Jeff picked up 2 discounted foot long sandwiches from Walmart's deli and I cut them up into 6 pieces.  Rachel and I only had 1 piece each so Jeff was able to have some for lunch and also took the rest for his "lunch" while he worked overnight.
~Rachel gave me a beautiful tortilla press.  She and I will be experimenting this Summer with making flatbreads with it and adding garden veggies to the dough.
~I found some marked down seeds at the big hardware store.  They were clearing out that line and going with a new vendor so I got 10 packs at .25 and 6 packs at .50 each.  These were all things that we love!
~Monday early evening, I finally got the taxes done and filed.  That is a huge relief. We are able to file for free since we are under the income guidelines.
~I froze the leftover taco meat for a future meal.
~Dinner Monday night was another sheet pan meal of sweet potatoes and Italian sausage served with crisp Fuji apple slices.  I put the leftovers away to have for my lunch tomorrow.  I have really been working on cutting down my portion sizes.
~More free magazines came in the mail  including the Lego magazine I get for Bradley.
~Tuesday I worked on my points programs.  Swagbucks had their I Spy extra points that day and I try to get as many of them as I can along with running some of the other point earning programs in the background.  I find the point earning programs work better for me in Microsoft Edge rather than Chrome, which is what I mainly use.
~A menu plan was finally done based on what we have here and needs to be used up ASAP.
~Leftovers were my lunch today and boy did they taste good.
~I managed to get 2 loads of clothing, sheets, towels and all the throws washed.  I am debating on putting away most of the Wintery themed throws away and breaking out the more Spring looking ones but the cats have been kneading on the Winter ones and making little pulls and I really don't want them doing that to the afghans that usually come out at this time of year.
~Jeff told me that I needed some more supplements so I again went through the link at Swagbucks to Vitacost, got in on a B1G1 half off for one of them and was able to use a code for 12% off and get free shipping.  I should get point for my purchase that will translate into more swagbucks.
~Dinner was Lemon Chicken Pasta made with one chicken breast (cut up into bite sized pieces), one bell pepper, half a zucchini, whole wheat linguine, garlic, butter, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, mushrooms, salt and pepper.  I thought I had made enough to have leftovers but Jeff was very hungry and had 2 large servings of it.
~Jeff built a kitchen drawer to replace the one at Jaysn and Rachel's that had fallen apart and Rachel threw out.  He thinks we have the right color paint to match the cabinets here on hand also.
~Wednesday I borrowed 3 movies from the library and bought 4 children's books @ .25 each from their book sale.
~Jaysn and Rachel fed us dinner since we went in to help them get the rest of the home buyers list of fixes done (well I played with the baby and Jeff did the work).
~I got some homemade smoked turkey soup out to thaw.
~Thursday was another "at home day".  Jeff did pick up some milk and bananas on his way home from work in the morning for me.
~I had some coleslaw mix that I needed to use up so I made a large Asian style salad for my dinner.  Jeff had bowling league so he had something to eat before he left for that and took and extra sandwich in his cooler bag to have before he reported for work later in the evening.
~Friday we celebrated Rachel's sister Michelle's birthday and while we were there got the official word that their house was now under contract!!!  Rachel's mom Joyce came up too and it was wonderful to visit with them both and to see Steven enjoying his Grandma and Auntie. He got really wound up and silly with all of us there and was going as fast as he could back and forth making sure that everyone got some snuggle time with him. 😊
~I raided my gift closet for a beautiful smelling candle and a nice birthday card for Michelle.
~Jeff and I went to Safeway and got a free roasted chicken from the deli, a free candy bar, a free yogurt, some Romaine lettuce, a can of cream of mushroom soup (marked down to .50), some dog food, cottage cheese (used a .50 off coupon) and 2 huge cantaloupes at $1.50 each.
~Dinner was homemade smoked turkey soup that I had previously made and frozen.
~I worked on my points programs.

~Saturday Jeff and I stayed home and rested after a busy week and to make sure we had the energy to help Jaysn and Rachel move the next day.
~I made meatloaf, brown rice and sliced apples for dinner.
~Sunday we helped Jaysn and Rachel move.  She made pulled BBQed chicken and a nice salad for everyone that was helping.  Baby Steven spent most of the day with me at his old house or up at our house.
~We had leftovers for dinner.
~Monday Jeff and I took Steven for a walk in his stroller that we have here.
~I kept Steven at his apartment for the afternoon while Jeff slept here.  I managed to get him to nap and I was able to get some rest too.  Poor baby has been a bit confused with the move.
~I started reading a book I got at the thrift store.
~Dinner was the free chicken I got at Safeway on Friday served with leftover rice.
~Tuesday I made a chicken salad and some homemade chicken and rice soup with the leftover chicken and rice.
~Rachel was at the old house taking care of a few things and Jaysn was at their apartment getting things unpacked there.  I invited Jaysn and Steven to come up for lunch because Jaysn got so busy and forgot to eat.
~Jeff picked up some pastrami at the Grocery Outlet when he headed up to get my car back fromt he dealership where it was being repaired.
~Dinner was the soup and/or chicken salad.
~I renewed some things that were due at the library the next day since I planned on just resting on Wednesday.
~Wednesday I did not have Steven here for the day so I was able to rest.
~I've been working my points programs on the few days that I have actually been online.
~I cleaned out the refrigerator and made a menu based on what I have on hand that needs to be used up ASAP.
~With University of Idaho's Mom's Weekend happening this coming weekend, Jeff and I decided to go ahead and get all of our running around and shopping done so that we could avoid the crowds and chaos Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
~We stocked up on .87 a pound chicken thighs and now have enough to feed our huge family at our family reunion next month.  My chest freezer is packed!
~We found more huge boxes of the Honey Nut Cheerios at the Dollar Tree along with Amope pedicure kits.  We also picked up large boxes of Scotties tissues, applesauce, a .25 bag of jelly beans, sausage, crackers, snack bars, and Q-tips.
~Walmart has the cheapest unscented kitty litter so we got some there along with a phone card for Jeff, and some baby food items for Steven.  I also found a 3 pack of chain extenders for necklaces on clearance and I had been needing some.
~Winco had some great deals on produce so I stocked up on apples, strawberries and bananas.
~Thursday I made scrapple.
~I watched Steven in the afternoon for a bit and we had a great time.  Rachel brought up the large baby fence with gate and we now have it across the opening to the kitchen so we can keep him out of the dog food and water, the cats can escape from a very curious little one and it keeps Steven safer.
~Jaysn used our hot tub to try and ease his sore muscles.
~Friday was a major crash/flare day for me so I put on a soothing video that I found on YouTube that helped me get to a more calm state.  Here it is if you want to check it out...Stunning Aquarium & the Best Relax Music.  It reminds me of the magic of the underwater world when I would go snorkeling as a child growing up in Hawaii.
~I managed to get 2 loaves of bread made.
~I pulled another bottle of creamer and some pork chops out of the freezer to thaw.  I love having a fully stocked freezer so that I don't have to make so many trips to the grocery store.
~I ordered Jeff and TENS unit from Amazon that had really good customer reviews to see if that will help with the pain he is having in his hands and back.  I want Jaysn to try it out too and see if it helps him.  If it does, I will buy him one also.  I got the unit for under $30 with free shipping included.  I'm going to see if it works for my fibro pain too.

   My plans for this week include making a Costco run with Rachel.  Her mother gave her a membership there so we are heading down to pick up a few things.  I was very blessed to see quite a few items that I was planning on buying going on sale the day we are shopping there.  She is driving so I will buy lunch for us.  I'm not sure if we are taking her car or mine yet.  It will be nice to spend the day with her and Steven.  Here's to a great week for everyone!

Friday, April 13, 2018

When Grammie is Running Low on Spoons

   This Grammie is running low on spoons.  No, not literal spoons, but metaphorical spoons, as in "spoon theory".  If you are not familiar with spoon theory, it is a term that a wonderful woman came up with to explain to her friend what it was like to have a debilitating illness that severely limits your energy and the choices that you have to make daily on how to use what little energy you have.   Here is a link to explain it: spoon theory .

   I knew I had been pushing myself beyond my limits and I knew that I was going to end up paying for it sooner or later.  I have been trying to help Jaysn and Rachel with baby Steven while they finish getting moved and still trying to keep my own home running smoothly.  Couple that with being in lots of pain that is not allowing me to sleep, my normal insomnia, and you have a recipe for disaster.

   The last time I looked at the clock last night after crawling into bed and trying to get to sleep for hours it was 4 a.m..  According to my Fitbit, I finally feel to sleep about 4:30 ish.  I got a total of 25 minutes of deep sleep and a little over 4 hours of light, deep and REM sleep combined, most of that was light sleep which is not the restorative sleep that all of us need.  This meant that I had less "spoons" then normal to work with for the day and choices had to be made on how to use those spoons.  In spoon theory, you need to try to always keep a "spare spoon" because you never know when you may need it.

   Most days I figure I have about 10 spoons to start with.  Today that number would be about 6 at the very most.  Taking a shower and washing my hair used up one of those spoons and was exhausting and painful.  I decided that blow drying it was NOT going to happen today because that would use up another spoon and I was not sure I could even do it.  Getting dressed took a spoon also so now we are down to 4 spoons left. My husband needed bread for sandwiches, so I made 2 loaves of bread...there went another spoon.  Steven and Rachel were coming up later so she could do laundry, so I needed to sweep the floors...yep, another spoon spent.  So we are sitting at 2 spoons left for the day and it is only 12:42 p.m..  Remember it is imperative that I keep 1 spoon in reserve, so that means I have only 1 spoon left for the rest of the day.  I need to choose wisely on how I use that spoon.  Do I use it cutting up a bunch of fruit or do I use it to play with my grandson later?  I'm sure you know which I will choose because family always comes first with me.  I just hope that I am able to play with him because right now I am hurting so badly and feeling like I have nothing left to give to anyone.  I foresee a weekend spent in my recliner or bed for the most part to rest and recharge a bit.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Helping our Kids Move, Watching my Youngest Grandson and Fibro Flare

   I know I missed posting my Frugal Friday Wrap Up for last week.  We have been busy helping our kids move, get settled and I have spent lots of time watching the baby.  I'm so glad to have them right down the street from us now and it has been great to see them every day and be able to help with Steven.  

   The moving and helping has been exhausting though.  Tomorrow they are going to have someone else watch Steven while Jaysn goes to work and Rachel does the last of the packing of miscellaneous items from their old home and then starts deep cleaning it for the new owners.  Steven is a total delight, but he is a very busy, curious and smart little boy and keeps me running.  Anyone who knows me know that I do not run well. 😜

   Today I worked on a few things here at home trying to get caught up including making some homemade chicken and rice soup.  Jaysn and Steven came up for lunch and Jaysn had some while Steven kept us hopping while he chased the cats down.  I was already in a crash/flare so about an hour was all I could handle.  Jaysn and Rachel totally understood.

   I don't think there is a part of my body that is not aching at the moment.  Everything hurts.  Tomorrow I am going to just take care of me and rest.  SJ, I did not get to reading your email (or any other email yet) so please forgive me.  I will try to get to all that that tomorrow.  My time on the computer has been severely curtailed this week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

It All Started with a Tiny Book


   I am blessed to be part of a family of very creative and talented people.  We have musicians, dress makers, gardeners, quilters, stone masons, blacksmiths, and writers.  Today I am going to focus on one writer in particular who inspired her some of her grandchildren to become writers about what they were passionate about also.

   Awhile back, while visiting with my Uncle Mo, I mentioned a book that I remembered that his mother, my Grambunny, wrote.  I told him about how the book she sent my mother had somehow gotten lost when my parents moved to Montana and that I had been looking online, but could not find a copy of it.  He told me that he had multiple copies of it and would love to send me a few.  Saturday, a package arrived in the mail with three copies of the tiny book. 😀  

   I went on facebook and thanked my uncle for sending them and told him that I was going to see if my mother wanted one of the copies.  My mother saw the post and said "YES, she does". Gotta love my mom.  I put one of the copies in the tote that I am taking to Montana next month so that I don't forget it.

   My Grambunny, always looking for a creative outlet, decided to write a small book and self publish it about pumpkin carving.  She wrote this little book in 1971 and it sold for .25 at various little stores and fruit and veggie stands in her area.

   The book itself was written and illustrated in Grambunny's wonderful and quirky style.  It's like having a conversation with her and how where others may see imperfections, she sees possibilities for creating something unique and fun.  Grambunny saw people in the same way, we are all flawed in one respect of another, but that is not a bad thing.  Everyone is unique and has something special to offer the world.

   Grambunny was a survivor and no matter what bad things were thrown her way, she handled them with grace, on her own terms and made the best of it.  She left a bad marriage with her 3 young sons and then got remarried to my Grandpop.  Always one for an adventure, they moved to Hawaii and pastored a church there.  My uncles grew up being some of the few "white kids" living there at the time and quickly fell in love with the people, the music, the food and the lifestyle Hawaii offered.  So did Grambunny!

   Later in life, when my Grandpop became an alcoholic, my Grambunny tried to help him overcome it and when things got too bad, she bravely made the decision to separate from him until he got his act together and stopped his self destructive behavior.  We were all very supportive of her for doing so.  They later reconciled when he finally stopped drinking.  After he passed away, Grambunny, in her own wonderful way, filled her home with music, friends, family and laughter once again.  I always made sure to have a layover and spend some time with her when I would fly back and forth to college from Hawaii.

   I will never forget a letter that I got in the mail from her that started with "Do you want to see my scar?".  In it she told me that she had lung cancer and that it has spread.  She knew that she had little time left and had opted not to have any chemo or radiation that would prolong her life but leave her too ill to enjoy what time she did had.  So, in typical Grambunny style, she decided to do a "farewell tour" while she still could and visit as many of her friends and family possible.  She came to see my husband and I and meet her great grandchildren.  She took such delight in playing with all 3 of them.  Jaysn was a toddler and the twins were just babies.  I watched her soak in all those moments and make great memories for herself and also for my husband and I.  As I hugged and kissed her goodbye, I knew it would be the last time that I saw her in person.  I told her how much her visit meant to all of us and how much she enriched my life, how much I loved her and how much I would miss her.  She told me that she had led a wonderful life, full of adventures and love and that this was just the start of a new one.  She wanted me to focus on all the good, soak in every beautiful moment that life had to offer and to create the kind of life that I wanted for my family.  She left me with a hug, kiss, lots of I love yous and told me she was so proud of me.  As she pulled out of our driveway she did so with a huge smile on her face as she was off to see my Uncle Mo and his family.  I will never forget that, her or the gift that she was to all of us.

   Her willing to take risks and pursue her passions were not lost on the rest of us.  She inspired two of my cousins to not only pursue their passion about food, but to write about it.  My cousin Andy opened Thai restaurants across the country, is a James Beard award winner and has published 2 cook books with another on the way.  He has also created a line of Thai foods and drinks that are now available to buy to use at home.  My cousin Marissa is a canning food expert and teacher who has also published 3 cookbooks and just finished another one.  She started out as a blogger and built a huge following and got book deals out of that.  She was someone who never let fear or shelf doubt hold her back, she just plowed on forward and did what she loved, found a way to make it happen and set a wonderful example for the rest of us.  As for the writers in our family, Grambunny paved the way with just a tiny self published book.  It was yet another gift that she left for us and for future generations.

   I think this last paragraph in her books sums up the way she lived her life so well...