Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Labor/Delivery Nurse

As Lilly was picking out the pictures of Uncle Ross for her collage -- this was her favorite!
Now that Ross is working as a nurse in the Birth Center,   it's time to remind him of HIS birth story...and, oh, yes, what a difference a nurse makes...

When he was born, he weighed 10 lb. 3 oz. Yikes.

Because we had no insurance, we were paying CASH for our hospital stay.  Which meant I was in a ward with four other brand-new-mothers-of-babies.

It was 1977, and I was the ONLY mother in that room who was nursing her baby.

Also, Ross was born with a high bilirubin, so they had to put him under the light, in an incubator. (a 10 pound baby looked ridiculous in there.)

On the second morning, nurses brought the other four babies into their mothers so they could get a bottle.

But nobody brought MY baby to me...and I asked two nurses...

When a different nurse came into the ward, I asked again, "Where's my baby? Is somebody bringing him to me? He must be hungry."

She looked at me and said, "Oh, you mean the Farro baby? We call him the Jolly Green Giant -- I just passed him in the hall. He's walking down now..."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Kids, Cakes and Celebrations

First of all -- HOW IS IT POSSIBLE I HAVE A CHILD WHO IS 40 YEARS OLD??!! Yikes. Where did that time go, eh? It seems like just yesterday, John and I were living in our first house in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. Ross was born on October 23, 1977. He weighed 10 lb. 3 oz. (more about that tomorrow).

Anyway -- last Monday was his 40th birthday. And I wanted to do something special. He is often on-call at the hospital, so I wasn't sure if he'd be home or not...

But -- you know the drill. If there's a Farro Birthday -- THERE WILL BE A CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH PEANUT BUTTER ICING...
I'd picked up Lilly and Warren after school that day so they could help make the frosting for the cake.
They also had made a special gift...
Mostly, Lilly made the gift...but Warren DID wrap it.
Lilly picked the photos from my computer, and we had them printed at Walgreens, then she cut them up and pasted them onto this canvas. Great idea, eh? (thanks, Kim!)
Lilly took a picture of us, to commemorate the day...
Lilly LOVES cake decorating...but the peanut butter icing is too soft to write with. But she WANTED to write Happy Birthday on top of the cake...so, hummm...there's always a way -- right?
How about using a carrot? I made some slivers, and some shavings, sliced a few circles...PERFECT!! (I like to think of this as my vegetable serving for the day).
Ross said he didn't mind turning 40. For him, turning 30 was bad. And I think that's because he likes where he's at in his life right now. He pushed the "reset" button on his life, went back to school, became a Registered Nurse, bought his first home...and he's in a good place.

And, I think being a nurse in the Birth Center is a job where you feel like you make a difference...like, for example, the nurse I HAD on the day HE WAS BORN...

I'm still telling that story, 40 years later...

(tomorrow's post)...
MMWI:  229.4  ugh.  Chocolate cake, peanut butter icing AND Halloween candy!!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Best Costume that did NOT win a Prize

I wrote this post two years ago...and it's a nice memory for me... ****************** My niece Kelcy is quite the DIY girl. For Mason's first Halloween, she made him this costume....
SO adorable....
They went to the Princeton Halloween parade, and he entered the contest....
And he did not win! I believe that year, the winner was a child wearing a Bratz costume from Walmart...
Although that seems like just yesterday...our Kelcy has been busy...
And I can't wait to see what she comes up with this year...
***************** On Monday, I should have pictures -- so I'll be able to write about Lilly's Creepy Clown Costume. And, of course, the role RITALUCK played in it...

Friday, October 27, 2017

John and Trick or Treaters

Because John always worked second shift, he NEVER, EVER had anything to do with Halloween, much less Trick or Treating.

I don’t think he ever saw the boys in their Halloween costumes.

Until the year Halloween fell on a Sunday, and John was home.  Alone.  Aye, yay yay…

Because, of course, I packed up the boys and our bags of candy and we went to Aunt Glad’s house in McCausland.  LIKE WE DID EVERY OTHER YEAR...

As near as I can remember, John was watching football when we left…

Aunt Glad was in her recliner, and we were just receiving our first trick or treaters when the phone rang. It was John (this was long before cellphones).

J: I'm getting trick or treaters. Where's all that candy? 
Me: (shocked, because I didn't realize our neighborhood had finally attracted trick or treaters!)   The candy is with us, because the boys are trick or treating here in McCausland. 
J: What am I supposed to do? 
Me: Turn out the porch light, and they’ll quit coming. 
J: I don’t want them to soap our windows. Don’t we have any candy in the house? 
Me: NO. I BROUGHT ALL THE CANDY TO AUNT GLAD’S HOUSE. If you want to give them something, go down to Casey’s to buy some candy.

I gave him two good options -- turn out the light or go buy candy. But, then -- at that moment -- he looked around and saw the bowl full of mixed nuts in the center of the kitchen table.


Yep -- that’s what he did. He started dropping a few walnuts or almonds or even Brazil nuts (all of them in their shells, of course) into the bags of incoming trick or treaters.

Three groups of kids had come up to the house, and he put nuts in their bags...John was very pleased with himself…and then this happened…

He was standing in the door when the last group of kids walked down the steps…another group was approaching.

As they passed on the sidewalk, John heard a boy in the first group say to the approaching group…

 “Don’t bother going up there. The asshole is giving away acorns…”


I haven’t thought about that incident in a long time OMG…writing it down just now sucked me right back to that night when I came home and John told me that story. He was SO PISSED OFF.

Honestly…I’m sitting here right now, AGAIN -- laughing so hard I have tears running down my cheeks… Since it’s Halloween week, I just had to share...
Many years later -- we get lots of Trick or Treaters, and John prepares little baggies loaded with snack sized candy bars...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Aunt Glad and Trick or Treaters

In 1981, we moved into our house in the Homestead Addition, just outside of Princeton, Iowa. It was a new neighborhood, but too far out of town to get any trick or treaters.

So, when the boys were small, they'd put on their costumes and I'd take them (and a bunch of candy bars) up to McCausland.

My Great-Aunt Glad was 80 years old and she'd get at least a hundred trick or treaters at her house. She couldn't do the up and down to answer the doorbell -- so I'd hand out candy for her while my boys went trick or treating around town with their friends.
Here’s how it worked….

I'd take four or five bags of snack-size candy bars -- Snickers, Kit-Kats -- the REAL stuff.  I figured it was the price I had to pay for bringing my kids into town.  Aunt Glad would have one bag of little Dum-Dum suckers.

When the candy was gone, we’d turn out the lights.

Aunt Glad would position her recliner so that when I opened the front door, she had a full view of the trick or treaters.

Here’s how the night went…

At first, Aunt Glad was interested in the kid’s costumes, and she’d ask them to step into the living room so she could see them better.

If she knew the kids, she’d have a conversation with them. If the parents were along, Aunt Glad liked to ask them questions. How long they’d lived in McCausland, who they're related to, where they worked, how much money they made, etc.
But, after a short time, it became clear to her that some of the trick or treaters were more deserving than others….and she’d start telling me who should get a real candy bar, and who should get a Dum-Dum sucker…

For example, there would be a group of four or five kids standing on the stoop. When I opened the door….Aunt Glad would say to me, “look at that big kid, honey. Ask him how old he is.” I’d try to ignore her…and hand out the candy…but she would be disturbed that the kid was too old or too tall to be trick or treating…so she’d talk louder -- so the kids could hear…”HEY -- YOU -- THE BIG ONE -- How old are you?” The more I tried to hurry the kids along, the more agitated she would become. She would push herself out of the recliner -- and, using her cane, point at the tall kid in question, yelling, “GIVE HIM A DUM-DUM…HE’S TOO OLD TO BE TRICK OR TREATING!”

Also, some costumes annoyed her. If a kid walked up her steps with a sheet over his/her head, she'd say "that's not a costume -- he's just begging for candy. If he can't do better than that, he should have stayed home. Give him/her a Dum Dum..."
Another one of her favorite lines of questioning (besides how old are you?) -- was ‘WHERE ARE YOU FROM?” She had a firm belief that McCausland was a destination for cars full of non-resident trick-or-treaters who drove to her town to take advantage of our snack sized candy bars (and her Dum Dum suckers).
There could be a group of adorable little kids standing on the stoop, I’d be putting candy in their bags…when she’d start her inquisition…”

“You there -- (pointing with her cane) -- you -- wearing that sheet over your head -- where are you from?” I would be PRAYING for the child to say “McCausland”…but even if he gave the right answer, because of the crappy sheet...the ghost kids never rose to the Snack Size Snickers level...

If she didn't know their parents, or if she didn’t have a good opinion of their family, she’d yell…”GIVE THAT KID A SUCKER, RITA…’

Oh, yeah, I miss those days -- and my little boys -- and Aunt Glad.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Before and After

I am getting my new workout wardrobe ready for the SECOND Round of the Rhonda/Rita Fitness Camp in beautiful Madeira, Florida. As I was looking back at some photos from last year, I am again completely shocked by how fat I was. And it is scary to think that I ALMOST DIDN'T GO...to Fat Camp, that is.
In September, we had a Sisters Sewing Weekend...and I'm sure I weighed over 300 pounds at the time (altho it had been over a year since I got on a scale).
At Ross's party in August, I remember sweating like a pig....(Deena, wearing her favorite top!)
Here, on the beach with Rhonda.  THIS was the first day of the rest of my life...(or, close to it).
It's been about a year.  AND I FEEL TERRIFIC!!
Everything is so much more fun now.  Clothes!!  Walking!!  Boisterous Sex!! 
And, yes -- I still go swimming almost every day.

Macon, Missouri Quilt Display

Like thousands of small towns all across America, Macon, Missouri has seen better days. Our bus whisked us into town, and we all trooped into their wonderful little theater. Most of our group didn't even venture into the rest of this little town. Because the bus loaded everybody up to go to the outskirts of town for a lunch buffet.

But, due to that "different drummer" thing  -- we stayed downtown and had an opportunity to do a little exploration after lunch.

So, is this a Moose? NO -- it's an Elk! Remember when every town in the country had a Moose Lodge or an Elk's Club. What was that all about?? AND WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE?
It's been empty for a long time...
Many of the storefronts look like this.
But, caddy-corner from the theater -- one of the empty storefronts was hosting a local Quilt Show!!
To honor "Quilt Show, the Musical" -- they put together a small hanging of local quilts. 
The best thing about this little show was that there was no theme. This quilt was from last year's Row by Row designs. I loved the train panel!!
The quilts were all casually hung, using rope and office clips or clothespins.
Every quilt had it's story, written out and pinned on it.
A 100 year old family heirloom, hanging next to a quilt just finished last week. They were all so different...
This quilt was made out of women's hankies...
One of my favorites was the Friendship quilt -- which was over 100 years old.
So interesting...
The embroidery of each name was different, and some of the skill was amazing.
I also think the NAMES themselves tell a story. I have never met a Eula.
What struck me during our visit to this little quilt show was that quilts are like the women who make them. We are all different...yet, the same in so many ways. And isn't that the beauty of it?

YOU are different from ME.  YOUR taste or skill level is something I can admire and respect.  What one quilter loves (hexies) -- another quilter hates (hexies).  But each quilt is as different as a snowflake...and there is no such thing as the PERFECT quilt.  WE ALL KNOW THAT!!

If only quilters were running the world, eh?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MSQ Saturday Afternoon

After lunch, we were headed back to the Maples Repertory Theatier.
As it turns out, the Jenny Doan trunk show was the morning event -- there was also a big special afternoon event...
QUILTERS -- the Musical!!
The Maples Repertory Theater is "Northern Missouri's Professional Theater" -- they have a wonderful season of shows. 
These professional actors/singers depicted pioneer women telling the story of their lives through song -- and, of course -- THEIR QUILTS.
It was just the PERFECT show for this fabulous weekend we were having!!
Honestly, this was SUCH A FABULOUS girlfriend trip, I can't even begin to tell you. And, looking back, I don't know how I got so lucky. It was sometime last spring when Sandy or Linda brought it to our attention at TMBC, and I just signed up, without really finding out what all was involved. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you...to the women in my life -- the TMBC -- Burlington Trailways, Missouri Star Quilt Company, Jenny Doan, the Maples Repertory Theater, my new friends Lisa and Gail, the YMCA, Fitness Camp (so I am ABLE to walk 2 miles in one day), the guy who turned antique dressers into sink bases -- everybody involved in this fabulous weekend.


Monday, October 23, 2017

MSQ Saturday LUNCH

After the morning program -- the Jenny Doan Trunk Show -- the plan was for us all to get back on the bus. Then -- out to the Pizza Hut on the edge of town for a buffet lunch.

But, the little downtown of Macon looked so charming -- we decided to pass on the pizza buffet and take our chances downtown.
We talked Lisa and Gail into joining us...
And -- only two blocks from the theater -- WE FOUND THIS PLACE.
So rustic on the inside.  AND PACKED WITH LOCALS!!
Our waitress took this picture of the six of us (BEFORE our food was delivered)
Sandy took this picture AFTER the food was delivered!
THE FOOD WAS SO DELICIOUS!!  Wow.  Just looking at this sandwich makes me want to DRIVE DOWN TO MACON MISSOURI again.  Maybe just for lunch??
Their smoker sits just outside the restaurant...along with a big pile of wood...
So -- lunch was a RIP ROARING good time. Holy Cow. This trip just keeps getting better. We were having so much fun...

But -- wait -- there's more.  No kidding.  What could possibly be happening in the afternoon?
MMWI:  When I got on the scale this morning, my reliable, expensive digital scale said "215.0".  OMG...I STOOD THERE, DUMBSTRUCK...THIS IS AMAZING...I AM DOING SOOO GOOD...FINALLY...THE BREAK-THROUGH I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR...

I swear to God, all those thoughts went through my head in a split second...

Then...still standing there...looking down at that number....the second rush of thought came...


So, I stepped off....tapped the damn thing...stepped on again.  And it said 227.0.

It said that three times in a row.  So that's what I'm going with.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jenny Doan Trunk Show

There were several exiting sections to our SATURDAY. When we arrived in Macon, Missouri, we went into the theater, got our tickets, and waited for the FIRST show to start.
Jenny's husband, Al, is her assistant. He helps her get things out -- and then, puts it all away as she moves through her program.
Jenny Doan will be the first to tell you she makes quilts TO BE USED, and she is not a fancy girl...Every quilt starts with a simple block pattern.
This is one example of her trademark technique...make a simple block...then cut it into four pieces and turn it around. Honestly...it seems like magic..
Another great example. Make a simple block, then slice it up and spin it around...
Turn the same squares another way -- and you get this..!!
After her show, Jenny came out into the lobby to sign books and greet people...
Honestly, she acted like she had all the time in the world...
Al took this picture for me. It could be our BEST PHOTO EVER..!!
THIS TRIP JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER!! But, hummm...we're hungry now...