Jul 20, 2010


Yesterday was my dad's 71st birthday. 
I am sure his heart was a little heavy yesterday seeing 
that this was the first birthday in 55 years that my mom wasn't there to celebrate with him. 
For his 70th birthday last year my entire family came to 
Raleigh and we took him out to eat. 

He has always been a strong man and this year I think even he is surprised by his strength. 

He is a kid at heart.
Kids away look forward to him entertaining them at family get togethers.
One year he taught them all how to play poker and they held a tournament in the garage
and used candy as poker chips. 
He supplied all of the hats. 

I am praying that he has many healthy fun years ahead of him. 
I know my mother wouldn't want any other way. 

Jul 18, 2010

Johnnye Mae

Aunt Johnnye Mae


Just when I thought I was back on track at regular blogging, we received more bad news for our family.

My Aunt Johnnye, my mom's sister, passed away Sunday. We got a phone call while we were unpacking #3 at camp and getting her all settled in. That began another whirlwind week for us. 

my mom and aunt in Italy

My mom and my aunt were very close. My mom was by my aunt's side through the death of some of her children and her husband. They traveled together (and allowed me to tag along), cooked together, talked often, laughed a lot and stayed up many nights playing Rummkib. When my mom was sick my aunt came and stayed and took her to several chemo treatments at Duke University. She held my mom's hand her last days in the hospital and calmed her. My mom's death was hard on my aunt. She told me a few times on the phone since, that she was having a lot of trouble with it. 
Little did we know,  she too was sick, wasn't telling anyone and would pass away just five months later.

My aunt was a one of a kind and you would not believe all of the things she has happily experienced and had to endure during her lifetime, including the deaths of three of her children.  She was a mother of eight, grandmother to eleven and great grandmother to twenty seven. She was still running the family business and keeping everyone in line and on their toes. 

this picture was taken just three days before she died
she is meeting, Jett, great grandchild #27

She lived in west Texas, but loved coming home to NC as often as she could. She was just here a month ago. I am so glad of the week she was here and the time I got to spend with her. She celebrated her last birthday (76) here with us. She knew this was her last trip home and the last time we would see her. We did a lot of laughing that week at old family stories and that makes me happy to know that she was able to come home, relax and reminisce. At home she had been burdened with a lot and was under a lot stress including her health.

June 20, 2010

After getting the news, we started immediately making our plans to go to Texas. The next day, we kenneled the dogs and all took our individual flights to Odessa. Some of us flew out on Monday and some had to wait and leave on Tuesday. 

My aunt was very active politically and in the community. She worked tirelessly for her candidates and was a long time friend of the Bush family. She spent many hours working for Meals on Wheels and other charities and received many awards for her services. Noone really knew about her many awards because she didn't tell a lot of people. She truly worked out of compassion for others and not for recognition.  At the visitation there were displays of some of her photos and accolades. 

an award received from Karl Rove 

The funeral was held the next day.

 one last time trip to the ranch

After the services in Odessa, we left for Sweetwater, Texas (2 hours away) for lunch at my aunt's lake house.  We stopped at a rest stop on the way and couldn't help taking a picture of this sign. 

You know you are in west Texas when there are signs like these.

my aunt's front door

the lake house

Burial was on her ranch, in the family cemetery, later that afternoon.  Let me just say, it was hot, really really hot. I am glad that it was just family and very casual because if it were formal, still and quiet it would have been even more miserable. 

you can see for miles

the chapel at the ranch's cemetery

a great grandson with "grandma" 

by her husband's side

a son

great grandsons

one last look back

Aunt Johnnye was an important fixture in my family.
 My husband considered her one of his mentors and my girls adored her. They always looked forward to her coming to visit. If she was in the house there were stories being told and a lot of laughter. 
When my mother passed away in February, one of the things that upset me the most was possibly loosing the connection with my aunt and knowing that apart of my life had ended with my mother's death. I was so at peace with things when she visited in June. It felt good for it to be like old times.
Everything was the same except my mom wasn't there. 
One week ago today everything changed again for me and my family. 
There is another hole in our heart, another piece of the puzzle is missing,there is silence where there should be laughter...

again, all too soon.


Jul 8, 2010



My beautiful mother passed away five months ago today.
 I knew I was going to miss her terribly and I have, each and everyday.
I wasn't sure how life was going to be without her.
One thing is for sure,
 it isn't as sweet as it used to be. 

My mother was a wonderful cook and nothing made her happier than to have everyone at her house
to cook for them. She never let anyone bring anything; 
She wanted to do it all, no matter how big the crowd.

(Cherries in the Snow Cake)

 She never let a special day go by without making something a little special for that particular person. 

She made a lot of wonderful things, but at the top of the list was her
Banana Pudding.
That was my favorite growing up!
I loved it hot, straight out of the oven.

(one of my mom's - made several years ago)

My girls LOVED it too and always called to make sure there was going to be a warm one waiting for them when they got to my parent's house. 


Sometimes she waited to make it so that they could be there to lick the pot. 

There is nothing like warm homemade custard!

They  bragged about it to their friends so much that when my mom came to visit us, she would make it so that their friends could come over after school for some. 
Nothing "tickled" her more than to see the face of a northern born teenager getting their first bite of 
a real southern banana pudding. 

My mom once came to Raleigh just to make banana pudding so that the Man of the House could take it to work for someone's birthday.
When she was finished, she turned around and drove back home.
That was the kind of person she was. 

We were all trying to recall the recipe and piece it together the other day.
My dad's birthday is coming up and we want to make it for him, just like my mom used to.
The recipe isn't written down anywhere 
and would have been lost when she passed away in February.....
except #2 found it saved on her phone! 

She had called grandma two years ago to get the recipe when she was staying with another family for spring break and was smart enough to put it in her phone. 

She made a banana pudding last weekend
it turned out just perfect!

From the homemade custard....

to spreading the meringue.....  

I know grandma is proud of her!
I know I am!
Life just got a little sweeter!!

Jul 5, 2010


I wish I had a lot to talk about,
but I do not.

 I guess, in a lot of ways,
that is a good thing...

a really good thing. 

I love my family and I am having a lot of fun just hanging out with them this summer
without a lot on our agenda. 

We will be heading the beach in two weeks and
we are really looking forward to that. 

# 1 has another week of summer school. 
She is really looking forward to being able to sleep in. 
I don't blame her. 

#3 is going to camp at the end of this week. 
She is a little panicky that we haven't already started to pack.
How hard is it to pack  t - shirts, gym shorts and flip flops?
I love how after we say our good-byes at camp she can't wait to take off down that path 
with her friends and never looks back. 
It does a mom proud to know that her children are capable and happy on their own. 

#2 is babysitting this summer.
She drives the family's car and takes their three year old places while the mom works from home.
I worry about that the entire time she is gone.
I don't think I would have ever let a nineteen year old take my car and child somewhere. 
Is this a sign that I am out of it and getting frumpy? 

The man of the house is extremely busy at work. 
His plate is very full and he wears many hats at work and in the community.
He does his job well and is on several national boards, appointed to some seats and is being pulled in many directions. 
It is a big crazy world out there.
We keep having to remind him that it is summer and that he needs to come up for air. 

I am headed to Chapel Hill this morning. 
I opened my mouth again with too many brilliant ideas and am 
now in charge (after being volunteered by  #1) of meeting with the landscaper for my darling daughter's sorority house. 
Seems the "sisters" have instructed him to do something BUT he has his own agenda and ideas. 
"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
is what he said to me after I questioned him about the sorority's yard being overgrown and left to run down. 
I will be telling him today that he is mistaken and that 
"beauty is in eyes of the parent's that are paying the dues"
and I am not paying money out of "my future beach house account" for the said sorority house to look
like Sleeping Beauty is inside and still waiting for Prince Charming to wake her.
Young liberal artistic landscapers do not need to be getting tangled up with mom's and their money.
They cannot win. 

I will let you now how the meeting goes.

Hope you are having a great summer 
are taking the time to come up for air!