• Celebrating Mom’s Way

    I was just in the kitchen putting baked beans together and it occurred to me how much of my Mom’s way of doing things I’ve brought to my own adulthood. Like, for instance, baked beans. Mother was always horrified at the idea of dumping a can of baked beans into a pot and warming it up right from the can. Instead, she drained the beans, put them in a casserole dish, added barbecue sauce, mustard, a chopped onion, and brown sugar. Then she placed two strips of bacon across the top in an X and put them in the oven. She baked them until they were dry enough that when…

  • I Can Do This

    I’m writing this on Fat Tuesday–we’ve been running moving-type errands today, getting ready for the movers to come tomorrow to pick up what Fred, our mover, (he rocks!) calls “the declutter load.” We’ve emptied closets, packed box after box, bin after bin, taken down photographs, and packed away tchotchkes and beloved knickknacks in an attempt to depersonalize our home in preparation for staging it and putting it up for sale. It’s been…freeing in many ways but also bittersweet, and I’ve discovered that there is no way to neutralize this house. It’s been too lived in, too loved in. Our rooms are cozy and warm and inviting, so I’m counting on…

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  • Getting Older or Better?

    Seems like this year, June is going to start out with an emotions overload. Yesterday was sister Kate’s birthday. She’d have been 67 and we lost her way too soon. I was so counting on becoming feisty senior citizens with my sisters, like my Nana and her sister Alice. They were so funny and got on one another’s nerves and loved each other with all their hearts. I thank God I still have PJ to make those kinds of memories with–we’ve promised each other we’ll live to an old age and drive each other crazy.  I’m counting on you, PJ! Today is the celebration of life service for my friend…

  • Best Friends

    Yes, it’s me, looking for peace again . . . You see, my dear Dee died on Monday–quietly and surrounded by her family, she moved on. I don’t deny I’m grateful that she is finally free from the cancer that has racked her body for five long years. I’m happy that she’s finally reunited with the love of her life because she’d been longing for that. I’m glad this horrible siege of illness is over for her sons, who can now remember their Mom as the vital beautiful woman she was, even when cancer stole that from her. Honestly, I’m even a little relieved that my life may return to…

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  • The Last 4,000 Words

    I’m in the home stretch with Saving Sarah, book 4 of the Women of Willow Bay series. I can’t wait to finish it, but there is a little bit of bittersweet involved, too. I’m not positive, but I think this will be the last WOWB book. I have another woman in the village who could have a story, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to close this one out. I have a new book already started and I like the characters and the setting, which is Indiana, not Michigan. Of course, we’re up in northern Indiana near the dunes and Lake Michigan because I can’t imagine a story without a…

  • Happy Mother’s Day

    Today is my rogues’ gallery of family Moms . . .this isn’t near all the great moms I know, but they’re ones I love . . .   My mom in the late 1970s–love that smile!               My darling daughter-in-law with Grandboy–she’s one terrific mom!             Sister Pam and her sons and daughters-in-law–she’s a terrific mom!           Sister Kate, who loved her kids and grandkids with all her heart and soul. Then there’s me, also a mom to a pretty terrific kid. You get a double dose of me because there’s also Grandboy . .…

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  • Happy Birthday, Mom

    May 13 is my mother’s birthday. If she’d lived, she’d be 88 years old today, but she died when she was only 60. I can’t even imagine Mom at 88 years old, although I can promise you, she’d be a totally unique 88-year-old. Picture dangly earrings, a long gypsy skirt, and a full-sleeved, colorful gauzy top. You see, Mom was born about 25 years too early. She should have been a hippie–she would’ve been great at it. I can so imagine her in Haight-Ashbury in the late ’60s, weaving daisies into her hair, dancing with bracelets and anklets jingling, and wishing peace and love to tourists and passersby–the ultimate flower…

  • It’s Real…

    So many times since December 19, I’ve thought, okay, now it’s real. Kate is dead. Seeing her just moments after she passed—my precious sister so peaceful and beautiful—was one of those moments obviously. Talking to my brother that same day and feeling the pain of his grief over losing our sister—that surely made it real. Not spending Christmas Eve with her was another. Her memorial service was a real big one—yeah, that was “it’s real” time, absolutely. But in between those kinds of moments are the ones where I can pretend that none of this ever happened. Kate never got sick, cancer didn’t destroy her. She’s at work, keeping Dr.…

  • Mother’s Day

    I’m not a giant fan of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or really, anyone day–only because I’m not convinced we need a special day to celebrate Moms or Dads or Grandparents. We should be celebrating family everyday. and with our actions and words, not with gifts/cards that seem to benefit only big business. But, I’m also not curmudgeonly about people who do celebrate these days. I’m very happy to wish all my friends who are moms a wonderful day. So, Happy Mother’s Day! In fact, to honor my own mom, here’s a post from a couple of years ago–entitled “Mom’s Way.” It’s about my mom… and me… and how often…

  • Still Here…

    …and I think what I learned from the 30 Days of Blogging is that I’m not really in search of clarity at all–I’m looking for relief from the sorrow, respite from the often-overwhelming sad of losing Kate. I’m wishing that writing might make the tears less imminent and the lump in my throat easier to swallow. I guess that has happened to some small extent, but I’m still teary when I speak of her or when I see something that makes me think of her or when people ask me how I’m coping. The good news is I am coping. Life is going on. I’m working, I’m writing, I’m lunching…