Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Family Humors Me

And my obsessions!

As I've blogged before, I was a little nuts about Ava's surgery.  I know, I'm already nuts, the surgery just about pushed me over the edge!  Well, my family SO understands how unstable I am and how much I need a little hand holding.

So, during Ava's recovery, she received TWO get well cards!  Seriously!  With HER name on them and everything!   These were too precious not to share!  This is the front of Cathie's card to Ava:

And the inside of the card:

Sniff, sniff.  Can you FEEL the love?!  Well, wait!  There is more!  This card came to Ava from my brother Jim!  Here is the front:

And the inside of Jim's card:

That is the handwritten part.  Here is the printed part!

Ok, I am having issues with blogger the last few days with getting my pictures on a blog!  I supposedly have unlimited space available as long as my pictures and videos are under a certain size.  Grrr, some days even this blogging thing is too much for me!

Anyway, issues aside, one of the reasons I love my crazy family is because they humor me.  Issues and all, they love me!

Thanks for supporting me and my obsessions!  And, thanks from Ava too!  She is feeling the love AND she's much better because of it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Birthday Tradition

It's no secret that birthdays are my favorite holiday.  I especially like my birthday, but I will celebrate anyone's birthday!  I love birthdays!

My friend Edna came home for Thanksgiving from San Diego.  It was also her Dad's birthday last Sunday.  Since his is MY adopted father, there were two great reasons to visit them over the holiday weekend!  With everyone's schedule, it worked out that we were going to be getting together for breakfast on Sunday morning.  I was going to bring donuts, they were going to make the coffee.  That sounds like a party to me!

I don't like going over there empty handed.  We usually take a bottle of something over to Nick and it's usually a bottle of wine.  I thought that 10:00 am was too early for wine so we tried to think of a Plan B.  Too bad I didn't think of Mimosas since we have two bottles of champagne in the refrigerator at home!  No, that would have been too easy.  So, Saturday night while Ron and I were at the liquor store looking around, I saw a bottle of Rock & Rye.

Rock & Rye is a rye whiskey with rock candy and fruit in the bottle.  It is a sweet whiskey and will definitely warm you up from the inside out.  It's a great thing to sip on in the winter time, especially when you are sick.  Like I said, it warms you from the inside out.  Ron had never heard of this delicious drink before he met me, so I figured that Nick had never heard of it either.  That means that of course we picked up a bottle!

This is the brand I prefer but I can't find it in Ohio.  Here we buy the brand name Paramount.  It's ok, but I prefer Jacquin's.  Whatever, they are both tasty!  You can see in the neck of the bottle a wedge of orange in there.  Mmm mmm good!

Anyway, we started our new birthday tradition.  Whiskey and donuts for breakfast!!!  DAMN that's a good tradition!!  I had to sit and drink a few cups of coffee afterwards before I could go home but it was worth it!

Whiskey and donuts, for breakfast.  My birthday is coming up so c'mon over.  And don't forget the Rock & Rye and the donuts!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overheard at Dinner

True story.

Tonight Ron and I went to the Jin House in Amherst for dinner.  This restaurant has Japanese/Chinese cuisine.  If you haven't been there, go!  We think it's awesome.

Anyway, Ron and I are sitting at  the counter so we can watch the guy make the sushi rolls.  A woman comes in for a take out order.  While she was there, she said:

"You know, the last three times we took home sushi, the fish wasn't cooked.  Can you make sure the fish is cooked this time?


Uncooked fish.



I can't make this stuff up!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm Home!

Hi, everyone!  It's me, Ava!

Remember the last time I wrote, I told you that my new kitty mama had me someplace called "The Vet".  Man, I knew I wasn't going to like that place!

It started last Thursday.  My kitty mama again brought up that carrier from the basement.  I knew I was in trouble because the last time I saw that thing, "The Vet" came at me with needles!  There is NO way I wanted any part of that!  I fought my hardest trying to stay out of that carrier, and even bloodied my kitty mama pretty good.  I also got a little shot in at Uncle Phil!  That will teach him to help my kitty mama put me in that thing.

We took a little ride in the car last Thursday.  You should have seen my kitty mama!  All the time we were in the car, all this water was coming out of her eyes!  Wow!  I kept trying to meow to tell her I wouldn't be mad at her if she just turned the car around and took us back home.  But, her eyes kept gushing water and she drove us right to that bad place, The Vet.  Dr. Hudson gave me a quick once over and whooshed me away from my kitty mama before she totally fell apart.  Now I was all alone in a really scary place.

But, everyone was very nice to me and took very good care of me.  This time they gave me some happy medicine in one of those needles they gave me!  I was asleep before I knew it.  When I woke up, my front paws hurt and my belly hurt.  When I looked at my paws, I don't know what happened!  I tried to get a look at my manicure, but I couldn't find my front claws!  I think someone stole them while I was sleeping!  What kind of place is this?  Ridiculous!

My belly was another story.  You're not going to believe this, but they shaved my belly!  This is NOT a good look for any girl my age!  I'm sure my kitty mama knew nothing about this, because she never would have let them shave me like this!  My kitty mama knows I have such beautiful hair!  Oh my, I hope this grows back!

Now on my belly where they shaved me, I have four knots.  I do NOT like those knots!  I have been working on them and now I'm down to three knots!  Knots are not in this year, they are NOT a fashion statement and they need to go.  I'll keep working on them and hopefully will have them out before my kitty mama takes me back to "The Vet" in 10 days.

I had to stay away from home for a few days and I did NOT like that.  I am really starting to grow attached to my kitty mama and I missed her terribly.  I just wanted to go home.   They put some food in my cage with me, but they don't feed me like my kitty mama does.  No kisses to my head, no scratch behind the ears.  I just wanted to go home.

Finally, I heard my kitty mama!  My new friend, Jennifer, showed mama my belly and my paws and explained a few things to her about my care.  Trust me, mama, I'm fine!  Let's just GO HOME!!  I didn't even mind getting in the carrier this time!  Mama had even put one of her shirts in there so it smelled just like her!  I liked that!  I curled up on her shirt and was a happy little girl.   I saw her eyes were still running water but not like they were the other day.  Finally, we were back in the car and on our way home.

Mama took me inside and opened the door to the carrier.  I about had to knock that Benny down to get to my food bowl!  There it was!  Right where I left it!!  And it was full of food!!  My favorite kind!  The kind in MY bowl!  I was SOOO happy!  I ate almost the whole bowl of food and checked out two of the water bowls!  I do love my water!  Then, I had to argue with Benny a little bit.  He said I smelled funny and he was not liking me again.  I tried to remind him that it's ME and I was his friend.  It took a little while but eventually he quit growling at me.

I went and checked out all of my favorite places in the house and they were all still there!  I climbed the cat tree where mama took the above picture, I checked out everything I could.  I have a few issues with jumping on those front paws yet but it's getting better.  I climbed up on Benny's favorite dining room chair and he jumped up on another one.  We took a little nap together and that was nice!

I feel much better since I'm back home.  Mama's eyes quit gushing water.  I think it helped that all day yesterday, I stayed as close to her as I possibly could.  I figured out how to climb on her on the couch and I was golden!  She sat down, I sat on her. She laid on the couch, I curled up under the covers with her.  I wasn't letting her out of my sight! 

We had a long talk last night.  She promised me that all of the bad days are behind us now.  Now my job is to heal, to grow and to be happy.  I think I can do that!

Stay tuned!  Once I'm back to 100%, I'm sure there will be more stories!  As for now, I'm just happy to be home.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's A Tough Day Already, With Update # 2

Ugh, today is the day.  Ava goes in for her spaying and front declawing.  And I am a mess!

I am not emotionally stable to begin with and knowing it is MY decision to cause this beautiful little girl any pain is not an easy thing.

I had to take Ava's food away last night at midnight for her surgery today.  I can't take food from one without taking from the others, so all of the food bowls got taken up last night.  That part was ok as Ava and Benny were just finishing eating at midnight so they were good.

Penelope on the other hand is NOT happy right now.  If I am still in bed, any time after 4:30 in the morning, she will climb up on me and start meowing to tell me it's time for breakfast.  She keeps it up until I go downstairs and get them their spoon of wet food.  Yes, they have me trained well.

Penelope has been meowing for the last three hours.  Now Benny has joined her in letting me know that they are not happy that there are no food bowls around the house.  Do you know who's not pestering me?  Ava!  That poor little girl hasn't been in the house long and I think she's still used to the thought of no food being available.  She's like meh, maybe later I will get some.  The other two spoiled cats on the other hand are NOT happy.

Which means I'm not happy.

And Ava is going for surgery.  And I'm a wreck.  And Penelope and Benny are not happy.  It's not a good day in my house.

I have stocked up on tissues.

It's going to be a tough couple of days until Ava comes home on Saturday.  Hopefully she will forgive me for all of this.

Update # 1:  As of 3:30 this afternoon, Ava is resting, still groggy from the anesthesia.  Ava's kitty mama, not so good!  For real, they need to sedate the kitty mamas too when they work on their babies!

I was concerned when I took Ava in this morning that in my opinion, she drinks a LOT of water.  Or more than Benny and Penelope do.  I brought this up to the doctor and asked her to check Ava's sugar levels.  Dr. Hudson said she would check the sugar levels and the kidney functions.  She would call me only if anything was amiss.  While Dr. Hudson didn't call, I wish I would have thought to ask about it when I called.  I will make a note to ask that when I call on her tomorrow.  

It's going to be a loooong night!  I miss my new girl! 

Update # 2:  I've called to check on Ava a few times.  All they tell me is that she's doing "ok".  I'm beginning to not like those words!  Still no word on how her blood work came out, they can't tell me if she's eating yet.  Grrr.  I think that my baby and her kitty mama are going to do MUCH better on Saturday morning when I can bring Ava home.  Where she belongs!

I miss my girl.    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More of Cathie's Vacation

On to the next installment from Cathie's vacation!

On Saturday after breakfast at Pete's, Ron, Cathie and I went and did some touristy things .  We started out down at Hot Waters to see the remnants from Hurricane Sandy.  Who doesn't love to take a shot of the lighthouse?  The clouds that day were just phenomenal.  While the sun was out, a storm was still hanging out over us not quite ready to leave yet.

I was surprised that the water was as calm as it was since it was really windy that day.  Lisa told me about the dock being broken so I had to get a shot of that.  This is a launch for boaters to put their boats in the water.  Hopefully they get that fixed soon.

Then, since it was so windy, I thought I'd put my camera on the roof of my car to try to stablelize it.  I own a couple of tripods.  I didn't use one here as you can see.  While I didn't get the shot I thought I would get, I like what I got by accident!

From Hot Waters we headed over to Spitzer Marina.  I had read in the newspaper that the brick walkway was demolished and I wanted to see for myself.  Man, they weren't kidding.

No dead bodies here.  They just didn't want anyone walking down the pier.  Darn me and my fear of authority!  The police line tape was barely knee high!  I easily could have walked over it to get better pictures and I chickened out.  Boo!

From what I could see from here, the pier was devastated.

From what I understand, this is not the first time the bricks have been washed away by the weather.  A little to the right of where I am standing to take this picture were what looked like stacks of replacement bricks.

I hope they figure out a better way to glue them down before they put them all in again.  It's a shame, it was a beautiful walkway.  They will rebuild it . . . I just hope they rebuild it better than before. 

On Sunday after breakfast at Pete's (can you tell we love Pete's??  Go there and order the blueberry pancakes.  YUM!), Ron, Cathie, my brothers Jim and Phil and I headed out to do some more touristy things.  Since I've taken pictures at the raptor center and the waterfall behind the Elyria police station numerous times before, AND posted them to the blog, I handed my camera over to my brother Jim.  He was nice enough to allow me to use his pictures, and since he got a few shots that I never did, I am taking him up on his offer!

It was a gorgeous day that Sunday, a good day for being out taking pictures.  Jim was able to shoot a couple of the raptors that I've never been able to get good shots of.  So I am posting a few of his pictures.  It's really hard to get a good shot with the cage bars in front of the birds!

Then to the waterfall.  I was anxious to see this since all the rain we had with the storm, I knew this waterfall would be crazy!  And I was not disappointed!  Jim got a great video of the power of the waster.   Believe it or not, by the time we got there, the water level had already gone down some.  I can't imagine what it looked like a few days before this!

As you can see, there was still a little color left on the trees here.  Not much, but a little!

And now, a couple of chilly sisters!  I didn't know Jim was taking our picture, or I'd have smiled and waved!

Wait until you see the next installment!  There was blood shed!  And it was MINE!!  I'm blaming my sister for that, but I still love her!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cathie Came to Visit!

And she sure as heck beats our visit by Hurricane Sandy!

My sister Cathie has been in town for a visit.  I have a bunch of stuff to blog about, I just haven't had any time to sit down and blog about it.  Let's try to get caught up on all of the fun stuff.

To start with, I was to pick her up at the airport last Friday the 2nd.  I've done that many times before.  I've been to that airport a BUNCH of times and thought I knew my way around it well enough.  Believe it or not, I was wrong.

In case you haven't met me, I'm a bit of a control freak, aside from being anal retentive.  When I pick up Cathie, I expect things to go a certain way.  In my mind, the CORRECT way to pick up Cathie (or anyone else coming in) is for ME to get to the airport first and be waiting for my party at the bottom of the steps into baggage claim.  I would have already looked at the incoming board so I know on which carousel will be their luggage.  That's how things SHOULD go.

That Friday, things went terribly wrong!  I was at the airport on time, but somehow when I went to pull into the hourly parking garage, somehow I entered through the wrong entrance.  For real, of all the times I pulled into that lot, I didn't know it was POSSIBLE to go into the wrong door!  All I know is that suddenly I was on like the third floor instead of the ground floor.  I probably could have made my way into the airport from the third floor of the parking ramp but that is NOT the way I roll.  I know how to find my way from the ground floor so that is where I needed to be.

That was easier said than done.  I got LOST in the freakin' parking ramp!  For real, does this crap happen to anyone BUT me?!!  I couldn't find my way DOWN to save my life.  I can't call Ron as I didn't think he'd be able to help me from home.  I couldn't turn the GPS on because what the heck.  I was AT the airport, the job of the GPS is NOT to find me the ground floor!  I went through a half of a tank of gas trying to find the DOWN ramp.  I saw a ton of signs that said "to parking" but hardly any that said "exit".  When I did find an "exit" sign, the sign immediately after it was "to parking".  What a vicious cycle.  Finally, I found my known territory and parked the car on the ground floor. 

I walk the mile walk to baggage claim.  I look on the monitor to figure out which carousel I need, go there and see a few people milling around.  Good, I didn't miss anything.  I found a chair right by the carousel, sat down and texted Cathie with "I'm at the airport.  I am by carousel 4" to which she replied something like "good!  I'm outside having a cigarette!"  WHAT?!!  How could I have missed her!  So I went running back outside and taa daa!  There was my sister!  I am sorry, sister that I wasn't there to meet you in baggage claim as soon as you came down the steps.  Bad sister than I am!

There you have Cathie not even in my car yet, and I had a story for the blog.

Then the real fun started on Saturday.  I had planned for everyone to come to my house for a fish fry.  One of Cathie's favorite things is Lake Erie Perch which you can't get in California.  Ron worked hard all summer catching that perch so it was going to be up to us to eat it all! 

I had brother Jim come in from Erie and brother Mike and his wife came over for the party too.  We fried up a bunch of the perch and even some hot dogs for the non perch eaters in our family (I'm talking to you, Jim and Phil!!).  We fried up a LOT of perch!

That is a huge platter of some perch!  My thanks and this shout out goes to everyone that helped with dinner!  If I ever invite you over for supper, don't think you're going to come over and take it easy and just be fed.  Everyone had to help put this feast together and for that, I thank you.  Everyone seemed thrilled to pitch in to put this all together.  We had the perch, some spaghetti squash, some hot dogs and my sister-in-law brought a FABULOUS squash soup.  I have the recipe, so when I make it, I will blog about it.  That was too good not to be shared. 

First one ready to eat was Phil!  You gotta love a man who is ready to chow down!

Then a couple of shots of my whole family, getting ready to enjoy family time and a great meal.

That was a great start to Cathie's east coast vacation.  I would also like to thank Hurricane Sandy for getting the heck out of the way so that Cathie's trip went on without a hitch.  We were on a day to day basis to see if her flights were even going to fly.  Not only was she able to fly, she had nothing but good weather while she was here.  Can't ask for more than that!

Like I said, there is more to blog about so stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A couple of weekends ago, I asked Phil for a big favor.  Mainly I needed him and the room in his van.

I wanted to make a relatively big purchase.  Without going into too much detail right now (since this WILL be its own blog soon!) I asked Phil to take the back seat out of his car and take me shopping.  I wanted to buy something that wasn't going to fit in my trunk.

Phil, always happy to help, was in for my adventure.  As I've blogged before, if I'm spending any money at certain stores, I like to go to Giant Eagle first and buy gift cards.  That way, I can get fuel perks and then buy discounted gas at Giant Eagle.  If I'm spending the money any way, I might as well work it so I can get those fuel perks!  I just got $1.70 off of my last tank of gas, so I'm good at playing that game! 

Anyway, since I have Phil booked for a couple of hours for his muscle and for the space in his van, I thought I'd take full advantage of it.  We left the house and I wanted to head to Giant Eagle to go buy me some gift cards.  I bought the gift cards for Home Depot as planned, but I figured as long as I was buying and as long as we were going shopping, I'd buy another gift card for Kohls, too!  I deserved something new and I really needed new jeans!

I am in the check out line when it hit me.  I didn't have MY Giant Eagle card on me so I couldn't get the fuel perks!  OUCH!  That's why I had Phil drive all the way to Giant Eagle so I could get the dang fuel perks!  UGH!  I was so mad at myself!  I can't have the cashier look up my account by my phone number since I never put my phone number in the account.  That has been rectified since this fateful day.  AND, for being a good brother offering up his muscle AND his car, he got to suck up my fuel perks.  See?  No good deed goes unpunished!  Or something like that!

Oh well.  Phil got paid for running me around, I bought new jeans AND a Christmas tree!!  There, the cat is out of the bag.  My very first Christmas tree.  There will be more about this to come.  I'm excited!

Please Provide Shelter

We lived through our part of Hurricane Sandy.  I know we had the easy side of Sandy and my heart goes out to the people of New York and New Jersey.  Heaven help them.

One thing that needs to be talked about is our outside pets.  Lisa brought this up recently on our Lorain 365 blog.   I know I probably go to the extreme by bringing in the cats from outside, but I'll have you know I do practice self control here.  There are still at least four cats out there that I HAVEN'T brought in yet!

Anyway, your outside pets and/or friends need protection from the weather.  When Sandy was so bad on Monday, I brought Ava inside.  She was the youngest kitten out of the group I have and she was sitting against the house just shivering and crying.  She had me at hello!

Three of the others were off somewhere, hopefully dry and warm.  But, my Hemingway was sitting on my front porch, looking for shelter.  He has become very aggressive recently, so I am apprehensive about bringing him inside.  This will be his third winter on or around my porch.  But, I still worry about him.  He's proven that he can take care of himself, but since he has attached to me, it's my job to help make sure he's safe, aggressive or not.

I got the idea from the fact that Hemingway was trying to hide under the glider on the porch.  I just ran with his idea.  I knew we had some paint tarps in the garage, so I grabbed a tarp, threw it OVER the glider and tucked the ends under the legs of the glider.  I left the back open, but put the back close to the house so he could get in and out and turned the glider a bit to make sure the opening was out of the wind.  It wasn't the Ritz, but he would be dry and hopefully warm.  I did a good job, but Ron came out and helped and he did a GREAT job!  Here is our make shift shelter for Hemingway or any other of my outside cats.

I know at least Hemingway is using the shelter as I see him come out of it when I take his food bowl out there in the morning.

Don't let what happened to the dog that Lisa blogged about ever happen again.  We all need to be RESPONSIBLE pet owners.  The outside animals need help in surviving the bad weather.  We got through Sandy but we still need to get through the winter.  It doesn't take much to make a shelter.  A plain piece of tarp is doing a great job!  Of course, there is bringing them inside, too.  Ava is MUCH happier with her lifestyle now!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Aunt Mary's Birthday Weekend - UPDATED With New Pictures!

I know I am behind on blogging!  I'm trying to catch up!

On October 28th, I drove to Erie for a BIG and very important party.  My Aunt Mary was turning 90!!  No one should make that milestone without a big celebration!  Now, Aunt Mary was quick to tell you that as of last Sunday, she was NOT 90 yet, even though we were celebrating her birthday.  She didn't actually turn 90 until Monday the 29th.   As long as we all understood that fact, Aunt Mary was jiggy with the celebration.

Hurricane Sandy be damned.   Aunt Mary was important enough to face Sandy for the drive in to Erie.  Aside from some rain on the drive into Erie, I had an uneventful ride in to town.  The drive home was another story.  What a mess.  But, I digress.

Let me tell you a little about my family in Erie.  Growing up, we lived in a flat that was owned by Aunt Mary.  She and her two sons lived downstairs and our family lived upstairs.  Aunt Mary is one of my Mom's sisters.  My Mom and her sisters were very close.  We literally grew up with our cousins.  Aunt Mary's two boys, Aunt Aggie and her two kids. Aunt Annie and her two kids.  Aunt Helen and her four kids.  My Mom with her six kids!  We ranged in ages but each one of us was close with at least one other person in our age group.  Sunday dinners were HUGE.  Holidays?  Forget about it.  Aunt Aggie actually tore down WALLS in her house so that we could all fit in her house for dinner!  You walked in her front door and into her living room.  For a holiday dinner, a table would be set up starting right inside the front door and table after table after table would be set up so that you went from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen.  She easily sat 20 to 30 people for dinner!  Aunt Aggie had the wall knocked out that used to be between the living room and the dining room because she felt it separated the family.  It didn't feel like we were all sitting together for dinner!  Down came the wall, up went the tables and you had family dinner!

This is the kind of family I grew up with.  More cousins than I could count.

Then life happens.  People get married, they move away, you lose touch.  I think some of these people I saw at my Dad's funeral in 2007, others I haven't seen since my Mom's funeral in 1997.  Like I said, life happens.  And like most families, now we catch up at funerals.  That's one of the things that made this party extraordinary.  We were together to CELEBRATE for a change, not catch up at the next funeral.

Let's start looking at the celebration!  First off is the birthday girl herself, on her last day of being 89!!

I don't think I've ever seen Aunt Mary look so beautiful!  She absolutely glowed, especially when the great grandchildren were around!  God Bless Aunt Mary on her 90th birthday party!

Her siblings, my Mom's siblings, all came from near and far to celebrate with Aunt Mary.  Out of 11 children, here are the living siblings:

From left to right is my Uncle Steve from the San Antonio Texas area, Sr. Margaret Elaine, from the Pittsburgh area, Aunt Mary from Erie, Sr. Rose Ann from the Pittsburgh area and last but not least, my Uncle Mike from the San Antonio area.  What a lovely group! And, so nice of everyone to make the trip to celebrate with Aunt Mary!

The birthday girl was treated like a celebrity all day, complete with photo ops!  Everyone had a camera and everyone wanted group shots with the birthday girl.

First, Aunt Mary with one of her favorite nieces and some of her favorite nephews!

Aunt Mary was always a second mother to all of us, living so close.  She watched over us almost as much as our own Mom.  We love our Aunt Mary!

Here is Aunt Mary with the men in her family.

From left to right in the back row:

Aunt Mary's son, Bill.  Bill's sons Kyle and Sean.  Dan, Matt, Marty who are Aunt Mary's son Marty's sons.  My cousin Marty is on the far right.

At Aunt Mary's sides are two of her great grandsons.  Unfortunately, I know the boys are my cousin Marty's grandsons, but I'm really not sure which of his sons they belong to.  Once we get down to that generation, I am a little fuzzy.  But, I will tell you that Dan and Matt are my two godsons.  I can't believe these kids who's diapers I changed and who I babysat at every opportunity I could are now grown men.  It's amazing that these kids went and grew up when I wasn't looking!  Beautiful family!

I somehow missed the pictures with the women in her family!  Her daughters-in-law and the wives of the grandsons and of course the great granddaughters!  Sorry for the omission.  I'll try to go back through the pictures and add more later.

It's later!  And now here are the pictures of the ladies of the family!

First it's Aunt Mary and her son Marty and his wife Jeanne on the left.  On the right is her son Bill and his wife Sue.

And here is Aunt Mary and her girls!  I told you that I got confused once we got beyond my generation!  In this pictures is Aunt Mary, her two daughters-in-law, two great granddaughters and one granddaughter-in-law!  I know the granddaughter-in-law is married to Dan but I didn't get her name.  My apologies to my whole family!

So there you go.  Aunt Mary and the ladies of her family. 

I actually played the social butterfly which it totally out of character for me.   During the festivities, I ended up sitting at every one's table at one time or another!  I had a coffee cup sitting at every table it seemed!  We all hugged and tried to catch up.  I thought everyone still looked great!  Maybe a few gray hairs, maybe a wrinkle or two.  It was like I went back in time with everyone.  What was really hard to wrap my mind around is all of these people in MY generation that were talking about being GRANDparents.  WTF.  These people are MY age.  I remember all of their kids.  They were all small little ankle biters, some of them still in diapers.  How can THAT generation now be doctors, lawyers, get married and have kids of their own.  For real, that is mind blowing.

It was great to get face to face time with so many family members.  I have a ton of email addresses.  Now it's up to me to keep those lines of communication open.  I hope I don't drop this ball.

So, happy birthday to one of our favorite aunts, Aunt Mary!  I can't wait to see what happens at next year's birthday party!

Thanks to Jim and Phil who provided some of the pictures I used here today.