Around The Bend
— Read on chocolatecastles.com/2016/04/07/around-the-bend/
Around The Bend
— Read on chocolatecastles.com/2016/04/07/around-the-bend/
As I sit here looking out the window and waiting for my sweet husband to come back from talking to the listing agent, my mind is swirling around thinking about so many things. Once again, we are boxing up dishes and linens. Christmas Decorations and out of season clothes are being sorted as we tape up box after box. After we left for a month this summer to Texas and California, we came back with a dream of selling the house and heading to Italy for 3 months. Quickly we began to sort out different plans and decided that before Italy, we would love to go stay a while in Florida by our daughter and her family. Since they live clear across the good ole USA, we don’t get to see them as much as we would like, so we called Christi and started planning our adventure. We learned last night from a friend that the Villages are only an hour from our kids there in Florida so we might stay there and learn square dancing or alligator watching while Kenley is in school during the day.
When we arrived in Arizona, we didn’t think that we would ever get the opportunity to head back to Italy, especially for 3 months, but as these last two years have taught us, you never know the possibilities that will present themselves.
Sitting on the beach at Newport in July, we listened to the waves and enjoyed the cool sea breeze as we discussed what was going on in our hearts. Neither one of us are ready to just sit and wait to get old. We miss the adventures which use to tide us from one season to another. As we sat here one evening quickly answering the questions to Family Feud, Randy looked over at me and said, “ok, this is ridiculous, we need to go to Italy and get away from the TV”. So we got out all of our Italy maps and books and began to plan our escape.
It is exciting, but yet a little nerve wracking to think that I will be without all my baking pans and cute dish towels that go with every season. Gone will be all my Christmas decorations, including the 5 trees that light up my house. What will I tell my Southern friends who decorate each and every room with a different themed tree, when all I will have is a Christmas bracelet and necklace because all my “treasures” will be in storage.
Then Valentines, when I love to serve decorated sugar cookies on heart shaped plates. Oh no, Easter! What will my short term lease house look like without Easter bunnies and Easter themed plates? Do not get me started on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. All I know is I will have to buy a suitcase large enough to pack some Christmas, Valentine, St Patricks Day, and Easter decorations dish towels to use where ever we stay. As we planned our adventure, we realized that we need a box of clothes for winter, since we will be going to Dallas in January for a few days. We need clothes to go to Mexico with friends in January. Clothes for Florida for two months, then clothes for Italy. Im not sure, but I don’t think I remember seeing a Walmart in Italy. So am thinking of trying to find a continuing education class on how to pack a suitcase for all the different seasons.
As seasons of our lives change, we are finding out that our thoughts and desires change as well. Selling the house will be bittersweet. We have loved this house and have many great memories of having family and friends over for dinner. Randy and I also enjoyed a season of sitting out in the sunroom most mornings with coffee (well I had my Diet Dr Pepper, he had coffee) all the while having a morning devotion and would just sit and talk to each other. It was a different season of not being in a hurry to get someplace, but to simply sit and talk. I learned things about him that I did not know. He learned things about me that maybe he didn’t want to know. But we have met some precious folks here that mean so much to us already. As we pack and plan, we are praying that whatever God has planned for us in this new season, we will be ready to serve Him, no matter where He takes us, or returns us here.
Yes, Seasons change and locations change. One think that does not change is our desire to live and serve according to His purpose and plan for our lives. We learned a few years back never say exactly what we are going to do. God has a way of sometimes showing us that His plans are different from ours. We have learned that the hard way. So as we continue to box up another set of dishes, this thought will end this post today…..
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6
Since the last blog, May 22nd, there have been quite a few lessons learned. We have discovered where the nearest Hospital in Mesa is located, we can eat for weeks out of paper plates and…Randy dislocating his shoulder with 2 fractures will not slow us down, ok, maybe a tiny bit, but he has learned that there are truly some things that cannot be done with just having one arm. He has learned that it does humble you quite a bit to have to depend on others to dress you, cut up meat, drive (which made me feel like my mom because she always drove since riding with my dad driving scared us to death), and some other things which I will not write about right now. All of this to say, both of us have had to repeat several different times, “for better or for worse” “in sickness and in health” to remind ourselves that marriage isn’t just about fun and games, which of course, we would like to think. There have been times this past 8 days which I had to remember that love is a choice, not a feeling, as some of the feelings which I was having certainly was not one of love (like all the multiple times he had to wake me up to go get meds or help him up or down). It is these times which we want to remember that we did indeed repeat in front of God and a preacher, words of love and affirmation, declaring our love “till death do us part”. Yes, there have been maybe one, ok, ok, maybe 2, no 3, ok, maybe 4 times these past 8 days, 7 hours and 36 minutes which tested my sincerity of those words. In the scheme of things, we both know that this temporary set back of having only one arm for the next 4-6 weeks is certainly nothing compared to what others have to deal with. And that is good for us to remember, that sometimes things like this make us more aware of what some experience on a permanent basis.
Because we have had to postpone our trip to Italy until further notice, we have to think that sometimes, things like this happen for our good. To not look at it as a negative, but see it for what it might be. God’s Hand of protection over us. As we sat last night watching the news and saw that Italy is now on the list of places which they are warning Americans not to visit until further notice, we both looked at each other and began to consider that, as we both pray and ask God to lead and guide us according to His will and timing, maybe Randy’s accident was something that was meant for our good and protection. Wen we discussed this last night, he looked at me and said, “well, I wonder why it had to be me and not you that dislocated their shoulder”? I’m sure it was the meds speaking and not really him. Life sometimes throws us certain little bends in the road which, even though we would never choos to have them, end up teaching us that even though “our ways are not Gods ways”, those bends seem to have lessons in them. Lessons, which, if we accept and not fight them, bring us closer to Him in our walk of faith.
Randy has had to learn to sit back and accept that he has had to humble himself to let me do things for him. I have had to learn that every day cannot be all fun and games. We have both learned that there can be laughter even on the bad days. We both were wanting something sweet, so we headed to Paradise Bakery, which is right around the corner. Randy gave me his order of 2 sugar cookies and an iced tea. I returned to the car with just cookies in a bag. When he ask me where the tea was, I had to tell him that I just could not pay $2.50 for iced tea when I knew I could get it at McDonald’s around the corner for $1. He looked at me and said,”oh my gosh, you are turning into me”. He was right, the old me would have never thought anything about paying $2.50 for tea and would have just bought it to keep from going to another place, but this new retired me, just could not bring herself to pay that much. You have to understand that I always have tea made and either cookies, pies or cake made, but since our dishes, linens and boxes of all of our stuff will not be delivered until this Friday, we have not baked anything since our stove and fridge was just delivered a few days ago. But because of the accident to his arm, the pod which had at least our furniture in it was delivered. Jodi and I hauled one of the beds inside, some chairs and a table so Randy didn’t have to sit in a lawn chair. We also knew that he would never be able to get up or down off the air mattress which we had been sleeping on. So lessons which I have learned since his accident are:
1. I can muster myself around Hom Depot and Lowes and actually learned to saw baseboards in half, load them through the the sun roof of our car.
2. I can paint rooms, remove kitchen tile and unload furniture like a pro.
3. We can live without cable TV, HGTV and water in the kitchen.
4. I have learned that people in pain have a much better disposition after you give them pain meds.
5. That to be woke up several times a night is better on young moms than grouchy old ladies like myself.
Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe by the next lessons to be learned his shoulder will have healed and we at least have homemade cookies baked and tea in the fridge. That will make it all better, I’m sure.
We have been in our house for 12 days. If I remember correctly from all the Bible Studies I have done, I remember that the number 12 (in Hebrew) meant “complete”. But in Mesa, apparently it just means, 3 more nights until we are out of the air mattress And into a bed. After these 12 days of having nothing but 2 borrowed lawn chairs to sit it, we have discovered how comfortable car seats really are. We go driving around just to sit in something besides the lawn chairs. We have also learned that around these many over 55 communities, couples have cards made with both of their names, their emails, phone numbers and last but not least, the couples picture. So Randy and I have been trying to come up with what our “business” card would say. We are thinking something like
Rickey & Trixie is our names, Bingo & Chicken Foot is our game!
Randy thinks we still need to work on it a bit. In the spirit of camping out, since our stuff isn’t here yet, we have been using plastic silver wear and paper plates. on Friday, because they delivered the stove top, we were so excited that we went and bought eggs and bacon and gave us a whole new reason for jumping off the air mattress Saturday morning. As I was using a sharp car key to open the bacon, I get my brand new Paula Deen skillet out that Amazon just delivered on Thursday, and began to fry the bacon. It dawned on me at that moment that I still had no toaster, but we wanted toast to go with our bacon and eggs. Well, they don’t call me little miss Pioneer Princess for nothing. I just got my other new Paula Deen skillet out, buttered the bread and proceeded to fry our toast. As the bacon began to cook on one side, I got the plastic fork out and began to turn it over to the other side. It would not turn over. As I began to get frustrated, I looked at my plastic fork and discovered that it had melted in the hot bacon grease. Well, it doesn’t take me more than 2 slices of bacon to learn that you cannot use plastic table wear for cooking utensils. I learned that if you use one fork to turn each slice of bacon, it does NOT melt. Bends a little, but it didn’t melt. I was planning on having fried eggs, but remembered that I had no way to turn the eggs, so we had scrambled. Note to self, Do not keep the plastic spoon in the eggs as they cook, as melted plastic does not taste very good with eggs.
As of Saturday afternoon, the plumber came to take the sink out so we have had no water in the kitchen. But for one morning, we had a home cooked meal, melted plastic and all. Was mighty good.
We have made a list of “friends” who have actually called or emailed us and told us they wish they could be a fly on the wall just to see us getting up off the air mattres in the mornings. Those so called “friends” will not be getting one of Trixie & Rickes new business cards, much less a Christmas Card. We want all of you to know that we have mastered getting off of the mattress very well, thank you. All you have to do is roll back a little two or three times, with your feet firmly planted on the floor, and then using your hands, push yourself up on the last roll. There have been only a hand full of times, when either of us have had to actually roll over on the floor on our hands and knees and pushing on the side of the mattress, push ourselves up.
When we were staying at the casita for the couple of weeks before moving in to our own place, the owner (and now new friend) told us about a drink that she had every evening when she came home from work. she invited us in one night and made us the most refreshing drink. She put 3/4 cup soda water, 1/4 cup organic apple juice and grated fresh ginger. Put it in a blender and pour over ice. It is so good. Randy and I have been drinking ever since. Also because of the grated ginger, it is very good for tummy aches. Plus, after the stress filled morning of picking out melted plastic our of the scrambled eggs, the drink settled my nerves.
We are already settling in, in spite of no furniture. Both of us have talked about how little we have had, the last few weeks but have still felt at home. It Has shown us that so much of what we have is probably unnecessary, but we realize how spoiled we are to all the “extras” that we have gotten so use to. Extras like, more than one towel, real silver wear, a refrigerator in the house and a television that you don’t need a magnifying glass to see. But by the end of this week, life will be returning to normal with all of our ‘extras” arriving on Wedneday. We will feel like we are living the American Dream, having a real bed to sleep in and a couch. Ah…..the good life!
Tonight is our last evening in Dallas, as we leave tomorrow for a new adventure of living in Arizona. We have been back in Dallas for 2 years since leaving California and will be residing in Mesa, which is close to our kids there in Gilbert. We feel it is only fair to spread our “oldness” around to all of our kids and since we owe Jodi and Eric some real fun and what better fun than taking care of old folks? We really are doing it for them. We feel that any marriage that can withstand taking care of parents can withstand anything. So We thought we would do them a favor and move close to them to see just how strong their marriage is. Every time we do a favor for them, (Like Randy cleaning out Jodi’s van or organizing her garage (at her request, we really do not just go out there and start organizing their house, ok maybe I do a little bit, but really their dirty clothes hamper really didn’t look good in their closet and the table runner that she had on the table was a little too contempary so of course I got one that looks perfect now) anyway, back to favors. When we do little favors here and there, like put the dishes in the cabinets where they really should be, Randy tells Jodi “that is just another diaper you will have to Change on us in a few years.”” She gags and walks out of the room.
So we are trading our furs, diamonds, limos and tux for shorts, turquoise, flip-flops and a golf cart. OK, I admit we didn’t have diamonds, furs, limos or tux but we are trading being known as a Texas to try to fit in with a lifestyle which is a little more relaxed. The last time I flew in to Phoenix I felt that when I walked into the airport from the plane, it looked like a nursing home, as there were so many wheel chairs lined up waiting to be wheeled onto the arriving plane. I remember thinking that Phoenix must be the place to live if and when I ever got old. Well, I do not feel old, but because we feel that the longer we live here, the harder it would be to leave. We always said that we would never ask our kids to move to take care of us, so we feel the right thing to do is to move and begin our next season while we are in good health and not waiting until we “”have” to.
Our car is loaded, we have made our last trip to Weirs for our favorite popcorn for our trip the next two days. We have gained 10 lbs this past week having family dinners. In the morning, we will put on our comfortable clothes, flip flops and make our way across the desert to our new destination. We are grateful for the last two years for the healing which has taken place in our lives. We have learned things about each other which only comes sometimes in seasons of discomfort. Because neither Randy nor I were expecting his retirement, we struggled our first year, learning to live together 24/7. We did learn that we truly love each other and enjoy being together, no matter the season, no matter the place. We have been blessed beyond anything we ever expected. We are trusting the Lord for His guidance, His protection and His faithfulness.
If you are ever flying into Phoenix, look closely at the old folks sitting in wheel chairs waiting to get on the plane, you might see Randy and I. You will recognize me. I might be leaving Dallas, but I’m taking my Dallas big hair with me.
I guess since I’m going to live there, I had better find out what it’s motto is. I bet it is something like, “OMGosh it gets hot here” or “Look at all the old people that live here” Seriously, any time I have flown in there to go see the kids, the rows of wheelchairs waiting to board the planes make you feel like you have just landed in a retirement home. AND NOW WE ARE MOVING THERE!!!! What are we doing? We have only 3 days before the movers come to whisk all of my baking pans and mixer away, only to be stored until we can get in our new house sometime in May. Already, it is exciting to think about some of the first things I will bake in the new kitchen. We are moving to Arizona where the air is crisp, the skies are blue and IT GETS REALLY HOT IN THE SUMMER! Most of my adult life I have dreamed of having a screened in porch where you can just sit in a wicker rocker and gaze at a beautiful green fern (which might have a chance since it will be indoors and not out in the 120 degree heat). Sitting beside the rocker is a plate of sugar cookies with a huge pitcher of almond iced tea (which the recipe is on the blog). So as I pack away all my baking sheets and vanilla, I look forward to what lies ahead. Moving is always so bittersweet. It conjures up so many different feelings; excitement, fear of the unknown, and sadness of leaving family and friends who will be left behind. Moving is easier for some than it is for others. It is interesting that for the first 45 years of my life, I only moved twice. In these last 20 years we have moved to 4 different cities and about 9 houses. I have to admit, I do love to move. It is an adventure to learn new places, meet different people and discover things which are new and out of our comfort zones. Am already planning on going Zip lining with my son-in-law and daughter. Have always wanted to do that.
We are moving to an over 55 community. Never would I have dreamed that we would do that. I always said I would never move anywhere that just had “old” people. But, now discovering that when we were there last week looking for a house, not one person came up to either of us and said, “my but aren’t you to young to be living here”? So we have faced the fact that we are now “one of the oldies” who gets excited about playing Bingo on Monday nights, learning how to lawn bowl or sitting in our new “Arizona Room” playing cards. Randy promised me he would get us a little golf cart so I can run around the community and deliver cookies to neighbors. One of my greatest fears of moving is “will I be able to pass a new Drivers test?” Studying for the California test almost had me on Zoloft. I kept thinking that I might not pass the eye test or be able to remember all the answers to the questions. And that was 6 years ago. The good thing about AZ license is that once you get it, it doesn’t expire for about 20 years, so I figure I won’t be driving in another 20 years anyway. So if I can pass this last time, I have it made. Knowing that AZ has many snowbirds which live there from about Oct to May, I told Randy that we have to do something to not look old, as I just don’t want to look like I “live in a over 55 community” so am thinking that maybe we need to get new haircuts and spiffy up our wardrobes. He has already been instructed that he is not allowed to wear black or white knee socks with sandals. He told me that I am not allowed to join the Red Hat Society. The first time I see him driving that little golf cart through puddles trying to splash someone, we are moving. He does have a mean streak.
We will be leaving for Florida, a few days after the movers pack us up. Since we cannot get in our home until about the middle of May we thought it would be fun to go see our kids in Orlando and then…Paula Deen Country! I cannot get that close to her restaurant and not go back there. From there we will go visit friends in Richmond before heading back West.
So here we go, off to another adventure. Hopefully as soon as I get away from all the wonderful Tex-Mex food, I will shed some weight. Nope, forgot, we are headed to Paula Deen country. Well, maybe when I get to Arizona, the heat will make me not want to eat. Nope, I will just eat more ice cream! Nevermind, I give up! Love me, love my stretch pants!
2014 is almost gone. So many memories, some good some not so good. I don’t like to use the word “bad” because some of the “bad” memories, in the end, allow new and exciting experiences that happen in our lives. This past year brought many changes in our household. Randy retired, we moved from California back to Texas, we have a new granddaughter, Payton, and I completed my first book.
Randy’s retirement, in itself, allowed us to travel from the West coast to the East coast. We visited our kids along the way and ended up marking one thing off my bucket list….going to eat at Paula Deen’s Restaurant, Lady & Son’s. We learned that we can be together 24-7 (or is it 365 days, 518, 400 minutes as it seemed when we were traveling in the car some days).
After 2 months of traveling, we both knew when it was time to put away the suitcase and find someplace to nest. And nest we have. We are so grateful for the time spent on the road and grateful for the new memories that we collected. As we look back over the last 12 months, we are grateful that we were able to live in California for almost 4 years and experience living where we could watch the Rose Parade set up. We learned that there are precious people who touch our hearts, no matter where you live. We learned to love Lebanese food, In & Out Burgers, the mountains, walking along the seashore (and yes, all the while I would be looking to see if anyone famous was walking past). God provided a dear precious friend who told me that she would do the behind the scenes work on the book, if I would complete it…I did and Kathy did as she said…she turned it into book form. I remember kicking and crying as we drove across the desert, back in 2010, when moving to California; never dreaming that it would be while living there that this goal would be accomplished. But God did and He used it to fulfill what He had ask of me.
We are now nested in our new place. We look back with such fondness for the people and experiences that were ours last year…but are looking ahead with excitement for what God has planned for us. We don’t know yet what that is, but we know that we can always trust His heart and whatever that plan is, may we grow in our faith and trust to fulfill what He wants us to accomplish. Living back in Texas has given us an opportunity to get to know the kids who live near us as adults. Looking back over the past year, we had no idea that last year would be the last year we would be living in Pasadena and how God orchestrated Cam, Mandy, Jodi and Eric to come out for the Rose Parade is one of those, “this is such a God story” times.
So here is to 2015…a new year, new memories and new adventures. May Randy & I both look expectantly ahead and allow God to use us as He sees best.
Thanks to each of you who have taken the time to read cbocolatecastles! That blesses my heart that it might be bringing a smile to your heart! Happy New Year to each of you…….
Moving should be an Olympic sport. We have been in our house now for a little over a week. We have had several close calls which would hinder us from ever moving again. We have been so busy unpacking boxes and hanging pictures that it just had not really dawned on me that this coming Sunday was Easter. We had one more box left in the guest room that had not been opened and when I did open it, there was all my Easter decorations. Several of them looked brand new to me. Randy accused me of making a last minute stop at Home Goods before the movers packed up the boxes back in California. Trying to empty boxes, we both have dropped into bed at night so sore we couldn’t reach up to turn out the light. We were so excited that out of a hundred or more boxes we found only 3 items that broke.
If we weren’t so old, we would think about going into the packing business, as we are getting pretty good at it, Well, other than the near death accidents. But we also have realized that we are burning calories in new ways other than just walking back and forth from the fridge. We have rewarded ourselves several times for all the hard work with ice cream, chocolate cake and two bags of cookies. Today both of us were in the bathtub. We weren’t taking a bath, we were trying to hang a 3′ by 5′ picture. While I had climbed on the step stool in the tub, Randy was trying to get between the shower glass and the picture. He fell and I started laughing so hard I dropped the picture. After several attempts to find the wire, we finally succeeded. We then moved on to the bedroom where we needed to hang the tapestry over the bed. Randy tells me that he’s got this, no problem. So he climbs onto the bed and begins to measure where the nail will go. Instead of moving all the pillows that I think make the bed look “chic”, he decides to use them to his benefit and uses them as his “ladder”. While he is trying to measure where the tapestry rod will go, his foot slips between the pillows ad he falls back on the bed, holding the hammer, almost hitting his head with it. I told him not to move that I would go downstairs and get the foot stool. When I came downstairs, I go to the pantry to get the stool, knocking over a glass dish that I hadn’t put up well and glass shatters all over the floor. I yell up to him that it will be a minute because I am sweeping up glass, but not before picking out several pieces out of my foot, I had come downstairs barefoot. We have come to the conclusion that we feel that our house is decorated enough. We want to live a few more years. The few unopened boxes out in the garage can stay there for awhile. Maybe I will “forget” to put the garage door down one night and someone will steal them. We are now sitting with a bottle of Advil and a box of bandaids beside us and going over our Retirement budget. We think that maybe the grandkids can do without Christmas presents the next couple of years so we can afford to hire someone to do all the hanging next time we move in two years. Maybe all our cuts and bruises will be healed by then.
It has been over a week since posting, since we have been busy setting up the new house.. We have finally found a house and was able to move in last Thursday and Friday. Yes, I said, Thursday and Fri, as it took two 28 ft trailers to haul our precious treasures from California. This is our second scale down, so more things will be given away or sold, to keep our kids from hating us. They had already told us some years back that whatever we had left when they put us in “the home” would be quickly hauled away as they certainly had no interest in our things. They didn’t say it quite like that of course. They used a little tact. I think the conversation went something like this, “we feel that it would be best for all of us if you went ahead and got rid of most of your junk, oops, we mean valuables, that way, we won’t argue over who gets what, when the time comes”. Besides, it would just make us sad each time we looked at something that reminded us of ya’ll.” Kids have such way with words, don’t they?
So Randy and I have spent the last 4 days sorting through and deciding which set of the 5 sets of dishes we should keep. We kept the dishes that have a better chance of survival, should they be thrown at someone. We have boxes marked “Treasures for Others” “Treasures for Grandkids”,(let’s hope that those precious babies have better taste than their parents) “Garbage No One Would Want” “Why In the Heck Did We Ever Buy This” and “Size we want to Be”.
We actually began the move in with a positive attitude, exciting about starting our new season of retirement in a new home, close to family and had determined that we would make this move with humor and grace. We did that the first day. By day two, after going to Walmart to purchase necessary items to help turn this house into a home, we were looking up “marriage counselors” on the ipad. Little snide remarks began to permeate the air. After he had unboxed the new vacuum, he brought it over to me and told me that “well, here it is, it’s ready for you to take for a spin around the block.” Since I had already unloaded about 30 boxes that morning, it didn’t set well with me. I shot back, “oh I hope you didn’t mind that I gave the movers all of your power tools”. It just went downhill from there.
When the lease is up in two years, if we have not had the opportunity to attend a “making your marriage work” seminar, we will just renew the lease. Marriages were meant to be able to survive trivial things, like sickness, financial trouble, kids, certainly never retirement or moving. Even good marriages have their limits.
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