Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Seeing Red

Aunt Tish's man Joe has a thriving business bringing heirloom tomatoes and such from the country to Louisville's restaurants.  Saturday night is leftovers.  Wow!

This watermelon was so good.
 And this mango salsa was sooooooo good.
And this salsa, oh my. I divided  it and added quite a bit more peppers for the Handy Man.  We ate it for most every meal till it was gone.

 Beyond what I needed, Joe had a ton of Roma tomatoes.  Noella uses tomatoes in everything I have seen her cook.  I brought home a box full.  I got fifteen quart bags for her. In addition to her not having to pay for them, she also doesn't have to drag them home on the bus this winter.
I want to give a big shout out to my family.  I've shared before that while Noella was more than happy having a mother figure, I wanted Ivonne to have some experience with people of different ages and with guys and cousins.  They all showed up to shower them with love in celebration of Ivonne's 2nd birthday.  He didn't quite know what to think of everyone showering him with attention.

 He loved his birthday banner with cutest pictures I've taken.
 The kids played and played with him.  So sweet.

 Since Noella had Easter with us, she has wanted to cook "African" for my family.  As best as I can tell, she is accustomed to turning whatever meat she might have- beef, chicken, dried fish, goat ( what she calls "maaa"), into stew. Always with onion and tomato, but additionally anything she might have.  Along with a little meat, a bit more stew, is a good amount of some sort of starch that I'm guessing is meant to be the filling part.  She makes several starches but the two she made for were from plantain and corn flour.  The consistency is much like playdough and is used as the utensil to scoop up the stew.  She is showing Gwen how it's done.  You have to beat the daylights out of that stuff.

With supper cooked, but a while till dinner time, we turned our thoughts to presents.  Ivonne had no idea  what to think. 

Ceece had a job to get to, but Noella wanted her to try her cooking, so she sampled first and liked the stew and edible spoon dumpling. 

I was proud of the kids for all giving it go, though different than they'd experienced before.  In addition, they were so great to show their appreciation to Noella for her hard work. 

It seemed the men folk agreed that the "maaaa..." (goat) was  a favorite and we'll probably laugh about what we all now call it, for a long time. 
 When it was time to light the candles, Pappy was behind Noella and Ivonne and when so grown up Giddy-Up struck the first match Ivonne wanted up in Pap's arms and away from the fire. That was a first.

 He wanted nothing to do with those little flaming sticks.

We then enjoyed cake and ice cream.  Noella said she wanted to come to all the family parties and was so thrilled with cake and gifts and banners and pictures.  
It is delightful to be a part of her joy.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Merrily We Roll Along

A busy time with starting back to school and all that it entails.
The weekend of Bean's birthday found us at the capitol watching his state swim meet.  I got to be there to see the event in which he was seated 17th in the state.  I watched the preliminaries and got to see him come in 7th, quite a jump. 

That meant he would return for finals.  Plans to lunch with a friend fell through, so I asked the Captain and Missy Bugg if they wanted to  do lunch and visit a nearby museum I had never been to.  I would have loved for Ceece and Bean to have joined us, but we have a teenager ya'll and that means you feed them and sleep them between meets if you hope to be able to tolerate them at all.  
So my trio set out and the Captain found a place on the canal for us to have lunch, which was a bit of a walk.  The day was flat out glorious and after the closed in humid natatorium, it really was a breath of fresh air.

I really enjoyed the museum as Native American culture has always been a love of  mine.  
We returned in the evening to watch Bean take 4th place in the finals.  Woo Wheee, so fun to watch.

I headed home, while he stayed to swim another day, his birthday.  Umm, already gone down that fourteen year old road, so let's move along.
A few weeks ago, Noella and Ivonne came for the day.  It was cute watching Ivonne check out Handy Man.  He was very interested in him, but a bit wary as well.
Sometime later it occurred to me that Ivonne really has next to no interactions with men.  I'm always wondering how best to serve in this mentoring role.  It seems for the most part, that these two sweet people are very on their own in this world.  Don't we all need a village?  Who would be their village?
I still open up an evening for playdate, though the kids are all so busy. Rae is usually the only one to make it.  After a summer of playdates and wood camps, I just miss them so.  Anyway, I asked Noella if instead of me coming a couple of hours in the week, would she like to do a whole day with family and she agreed.  I asked the kids to plan to be some part of the day if they would or could.  My hope, to give Ivonne some experience with kids of different ages and with dads, uncles, cousins and grandpas. Also, to give Noella time with other younger moms than me.
First we headed off to church.

 In a liturgical church, many scriptures, prayers, etc. are repeated.  I think this would be good for improving language skills.  Of course, they are both so smiley and cute and attract a good bit of attention.
How fun is it to show off  your sweet baby.

Then home to play with cousins.  A floury mess is a joy across the ages. 

While always smiley at Pap, he never lets him get to close. He slipped right onto to Michael's lap to continue his play.

He enjoyed a story with Rae.

Next week, we will celebrate his second birthday.

In other celebrations, this week marked forty years at Beach Mold and Tool for the Handy Man.  In that time, he missed one day when he had a kidney stone, but I think that was like 38 years ago.  
When it was thirty years, I sent thirty balloons. He barely got them home in his car, so I decided I'd better try something different.  I got one balloon with 40 on it and a cake.  I told him he'd better text me a picture from work, because I know him and he'd throw it in the dumpster on the way. in  He did with a message that the guys enjoyed the treat.

Having been involved with this refugee situation makes what this forty years of hard work provided for our family no small thing to my way of thinking.  Thankful for a roof over our heads, food to eat and the knowledge that medical care is available.  Lord, help those who have to help those who don't and thank you for your provision to do so! Thank you Handy Man for showing up each and every day. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018


Today would have been Kaye's seventieth birthday. If she had been able to stay, instead of hanging out and feeling sad today, I would likely have been a whirring dervish celebrating this day in style.
It is hard to believe sometimes that it has been seven years. Perhaps this birthday feels more intense so closely following the heels of the loss of David.  

When my own kids and I were processing, they brought up how loved and doted on they always felt at her house.  

I went back to look again at her eulogy.  

I believe though, her greatest strength was her love and devotion to someone in need. Particularly a child.  She was always smitten by little children and spoiling them gave her such delight.  I remember taking Adam to visit, just toddling and her taking him around the kitchen and her offering five or six different things before we left. “Here, you want Aunt Kaye to get you a candy bar? A sucker?  how about a Popsicle, I have a a cookie?  That was the norm. 
 Any suffering child, grieved her heart, and moved her to do whatever she might to fix it. I remember the night we had to have our collie dog put to sleep, her coming out  with donuts just to cry with us.
Her large family gave her room to love on lots of kiddos with forty plus  nephews and nieces, in addition to  her own beloved little chickens, Oliver, Annabelle , Emmeline and Everett and their Daddy John too. 
Though hairy, smelly beasts were never her strong suit, she even loved her granddogs, Rocky and Rufus.

I'm sad she missed meeting my littles who came after.  Toddlers were her particular love and I can only imagine how she would have delighted in Pixie and Mr. Smiley.

What ifs are wasted time and energy, I know. Still, I wonder if things might have turned out different for David if they had turned out different for her.

This picture marked the beginning of the end to the solidarity of this set of seven, in more ways than the loss of Kaye.   Life is certainly hard to navigate sometimes isn't it?