Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is it!

So today is the day.  I am actually 60.  Who knew it would happen when I still don't feel grown up.

Had lunch with a dear friend yesterday.  We celebrated our joint birthdays - hers is the 6th - on the 7th.  Aren't we clever for old folks?  She gave me all these funny gifts; pink curlers for wearing in public, a terry lined shower cap for wearing in public, a razor to remove my eyebrows and a pencil to draw them back in, bright red lipstick with directions to overdraw my lips, a Rain Hat With Full Visor designed for bouffant hairstyles, a sleep mask, and a blue and gold thong for the cheerleader of 2010.  She is so clever.  I got her a card and a sleeve of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  So lame.  In spite of my lameness, we had a great lunch laughing all afternoon and ending with dinner with our hubbys.

So what am I thinking on this day?  I'd like to say something profound - but who are we kidding here - its me!  I have been so blessed in this life.  I've been a sister, wife (twice!), mother, step-mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, great aunt.... and I am still so annoyingly ordered that I tried to put the "titles" in order of occurrence and realizing how silly it is, stopped!

My sons are happy, healthy husbands and fathers (one is a grandfather!).  Any lasting and horrible mistakes Lew and I made raising them - they have been kind enough to keep to themselves - mostly.  So I don't know what they are - except I never let Dann play football.  Claims he was scarred by that :-).  I have been fortunate enough to be a part of Bill's children's lives, too.  They have included me in both their important life moments and their daily lives.  For that I am also very grateful.  Hmmmm, I wonder if there is any scarring there....... sure hope not.

So, that's it.  On this auspicious day, I am happy.  Life is good.  This blog is ended and a different one has started.  I was playing around with it about a month ago.  "One Year Left Before 60" only works until today.  Makes me think of the Plan Ahead sign where the e-a-d does not fit on the line.  Should have thought of a better title!  Then I wouldn't need a new one.

So this time it is "Life Happens After 60 Too" - who knows - I could live to 120!

Linda and Pepper circa 1953

Thursday, July 15, 2010


54 Days Left

I'm beginning to have a Tourette reaction to hearing water drip. I was sitting here perusing my favorite blogs when I heard a funny "drip-sploosh". Now I still don't know what it is or was, but I hear it about every 10 minutes or so. It can't be good.

We have had our share of leaks - I was going to say lately - but actually water has been an ongoing source of interesting problems since we've been married.  Soon after we moved in, we had hurricane leftover rain.  That brought about 11 inches of water in the basement.  So Bill, Bryan and Steve dug trenches around the house to create French drains to take the water away. 

The next basement flood was only about 3 inches.  This time we discovered that the sump pump was taking the water from the sump and pumping it to the other side of the house and dropping it next to the foundation.  So we had to re-route the sump outlet to carry it farther from the house.

The next time the basement flooded was about 1 inch and this time the sump wasn't able to handle the load of water.  So Bryan and Bill dug out a second sump well.  This is twice the size of the original and is now the primary pump.  Fingers crossed!

So the ground water leaking into the basement seemed to be fixed.  Imagine our surprise when the basement had water in it again.  After investigation we discovered no rain caused this, but it was a pinhole in the copper pipe.  It was a pipe we could get to in my garage.  So he cut back the drywall until he got to the little sprayer.  Bill fixed it.  We took everything out of the garage, fixed the drywall and painted the garage.  It needed it.

A couple of weeks ago I go to get in my car one Sunday morning and there is water dripping from the garage ceiling.  Had to cut open the drywall and find the leak.  I won't even tell you how many pipes were cut to find/fix the leak.  Nor how much drywall was destroyed.  We ended up staying in a hotel that night 'cause we couldn't turn the water back on.. The next day he struggled to get the pipes soldered.  The banging and grunting were memorable.  He got it fixed enough that we could turn the water back on.  The third day he got it all fixed. 

Then about a week later he came into the bedroom fussing about the cat peeing on the carpeted stairs in the foyer.  I cleaned and dried it up but was confused why the cat would pee on the stairs.  The next day we discovered it was actually a pipe with a pinhole...... again.  Back to the garage to cut open MORE of the drywall.  Pipes are fixed now - fingers crossed.  Soon we'll fix the drywall.

None of this includes running toilets, leaking shut off valves, dripping faucets and shower heads.  AAARGH!

The dripping, sploosh noise has stopped.  Well, the TV is on in the kitchen - maybe I just can't hear it.  At least there is no water on the floor - or in the basement.  I feel the Tourette tics starting again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


59 days left!

This is my grandmother Jennie Hillegass Slotter. This was taken on or about her birthday in 1960 or '61. As the story goes - Daddy gave Mrs. Bauman some money to buy Grandma a glass of wine at her birthday dinner. They, Mrs. Bauman, Lucy Bauman Kern, baby Mark Kern, took her to the Collegeville Inn for Dinner.

It is the first color picture I remember seeing of Grandma.  Lucy Kern gave it to me 3 months ago .  Notice the “old” cars in the background!  Grandma died around 1965.   
Lucy and I were talking about aging today versus then.  Seems people like Grandma and Lucy's mother was a lot older at 65-70 than people are now.  She was probably the age I am now when I would travel on the bus to Allentown with her.  We would go to Hess's where Grandma would go to the exotic foods counter and buy some candy.  Next was Farrs shoes where we would put our feet in the xray contraption that showed you whether you had enough room in your shoes!  At some point we took a taxi to Grandma's doctor.  I went in the room with her and watched as she got what I can only guess were cortisone shots in her hands and knees.  The doctor would massage the "shot place" for a few seconds - was it painful?  I think it was. 

I just remember a much older woman than I think I am.  Yet she came and took care of us after Mom died.  That had to be hard.  She stepped into a grieving household of her son and the five kids.  I'm sure we didn't appreciate what she did.  Heck - who does appreciate their parents?

Anyway, for some reason I was thinking about her today.  It is good to see the photo of her.  Many memories came flooding back.  I often spent the night at her house.  It was good.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


My husband took me to a nearby park for a quiet lunch. It was peaceful, romantic and delightful. We haven't done this since I worked near Valley Forge. He used to come down and we would go to lunch at the park. Sigh! It was really nice.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


70 Days

Sunday we had the closing of Vacation Bible School.  Nine of the 12 kids were in church to sing the song my helper Lisa Krause created.  I just spent about an hour trying to get a clip from the service DVD, but I have to buy software to do that. :(  So, no clip today.

I haven't taught Sunday School or VBS for many years.  So I wasn't exactly nervous, but I was unsure how I would relate to the kids.  First, I am new at the church so the kids don't know me.  Second, kids are different than the last time I taught (or so I thought).  Finally, I am significantly older than the last time I taught.  Would that be a problem?  After all, these kids are from 3rd to 6th grade.
Our lessons this week were about God's Heroes.  Now you'd think that would be Paul, Noah, Elijah, or Moses but no our heroes were generally unsung characters making things happen.  In our lesson one night we talked about God's plans and how often we don't see the whole picture.  As an example, I cut a small hole in the face of a file folder.  I placed a picture of something inside the folder so that all you could see of the picture was through the small hole cut in the front.  They were to guess what the picture was.  So some pictures were easy to guess, some were impossible and some were just a small view of a whole wonderful view. 

Also that night was a story about a teenager who befriended a poor girl.  Through her friendship, the poor girl got help she needed and other good things happened.  This is the kind of "quiet hero" story we taught about all week.  Encouraging each person to make a difference in some life.

Before we left that night, Lisa confided in me that the story about the teenager really hit home to her.   Her daughter did step up and defend a boy with cerebral palsy that kids were harassing and making fun.  Her "reward" was being physically attacked by 5 girls.  This was two years ago when she was in fourth grade.  She has been through counselling since and has come to terms with it.  She is coming out of a shell.  As I understand it, significant changes occurred in the school as well.

So I am driving home and thinking about the evening.  Lisa's daughter had been acting up a bit - not in a nasty way, but a bit disruptive. I was trying to decide what to do about it, if anything.  Here is my "AH HA" moment. I suddenly remembered the file folders.   We really can't see the whole picture, can we?  You never really know what is around the corner, or what someone else had lived through.  Here I was thinking about separating the giggling group, when it was a healthy sign for her to be acting up a bit.

Well the whole week was good.  I'm glad I did it.  Kids are kids but I must admit, some things they had to explain to me.  For example, I couldn't remember kick-ball rules or how to play it at all!  Amazing because we used to play it all the time.  The rules: The tree stump was first base, giant tombstone was second, flag was third and the flip flop was home.  If you kicked the ball into the street or if you hit a headstone it was an automatic out.  Most interesting to me - we didn't keep score!

So my days of studying and preparing the lesson are done for now.  I think I'll do it again next year.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This and That

89 Days Left.

Less than three months to 60 - but the more surprising thing about it is that when I turn 60 all the kids will be back in school after their summer vacation.  Most around here aren't yet done with school. 

My garden and bushes and trees have had no attention from me this year - yet.  We got the outside of our house painted which I used as an excuse to not do gardening.  It actually was a good reason, but now I have to get cracking. I am annoyed how quickly the weeds take over.  My rhododendron, azalea and iris flowers were still beautiful a week ago and now are shriveled, brown and icky. 

My/our biggest problem is spots.  These little black spots appeared last year at the end of the season.  They are on the deck, plastic hose box, my herbs, flowers etc.  I tried an assortment of chemicals to get rid of them to no avail.  So, I wrote to the Penn State extension.  These are called artillery mold.  Called so because they can shoot spores over very loong distances.  They can last years protected in the spots.   AND IT COMES FROM WOOD MULCH!  Probably most distressing - your best bet is to scrape them off - chemical cleaners have little or no affect on the spores.  ARGH!

So think of me sitting out there scraping dots off the stuff on my deck.  Of course, Homer will be watching.