Monday, April 30, 2007

New Arrivals

Looking outside today to check on the two geese that we have nesting, I found a wonderful surprise! Our goose population has increased with the arrival of four adorable little yellow and black babies.

The proud parental geese keep close tabs on the little ones. We had quite a time getting pictures as any movement outside would cause the family to quickly go away from us. The babies stay close to mom and at times are underneath her when she is walking. The father goose is always on the watch, reminding me of the terminator, as he is constantly looking all around, making sure things are safe for his family to be out.

The Webb family spent a lot of time on our beach today, and in the evening they walked around the edge of the pond and swam from one side to the other--quite a workout for the little ones.

We will keep you posted on their progress, with pictures if we can get close enough. You might have to look closely to see the babies but I assure you that the family is all together.

If anyone has ideas for names we are open to suggestions as all critters on our property are given names.

Check back in to see what the little ones are doing.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pizza Day

While on the road to mending my broken ankle I have decided that all Fridays will be pizza day. Today I reached for the phone book, looked up the number for delivery, filled out the check, taped the check on the front door, and waited for the pizza delivery person to ring the door bell, letting me know the happy news that the pizza is here. I then used my crutches to get to the wheel chair, got in the chair, and wheeled over to the front door to bring in the pizza. All in a good day's work. Nothing too difficult about this. Nothing like last Friday.

About one o'clock last Friday I realized that I hadn't eaten lunch yet and my stomach was letting me know. I looked at the clock and decided that I didn't want to wait two more hours without eating, until my wonderful husband came home to see what I might need. While debating with myself on how hungry I was, an idea came to me in a flash.

Right next to the bed I saw the telephone sitting on top of the phone book. Then I noticed the checkbook and an ink pen next to the phone. I looked up the local pizza phone number, placed an order to be delivered, wrote out the check, told the pizza people to have the delivery person set the pizza box by the front door, ring the door bell, take the check, and leave the pizza outside of the front door. Perfect! With a lot of hard work I naviagted into the wheel chair to get myself around the house.

I knew I had to get the check and envelope taped to the front door, so I started my adventure soon after making the phone call in order to allow plenty of time before the delivery was made. As I was making my way around the house to accomplish this mission I realized that the easiest part of this task was finished and the hardest part was coming. Keep in mind that last week I was not very good at using the crutches so I did a lot of walking on my knees. Crawling around like a wounded soldier, I made my way out of the bedroom and inched my way over to the wheel chair, taking awhile to pull myself up, all this with a hurting ankle. After I got into the chair it was relatively easy to glide around the house, find an envelope, put the check in it , tape it to the front door, and wait for the delivery.

Once the pizza was delivered it was a matter of reversing the process to get where I needed to be to enjoy my lunch. As you can see in the photo, the mission was accomplished. Not only did I take care of having my lunch but my husband ate the leftovers and didn't have dinner to prepare that night.

Today all of this was done in half of the time that it took last week. The road to recovery is a slow process but each day is better than the last. Next Friday will be better yet! Yea for Pizza deliveries!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


All of us who live in Indiana refer to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as the BMV office. This phrase puts chills in the bravest of men and women. Going to the BMV is something to avoid at all costs, but the way this department runs leaves Indiana residents no choice but to venture into the office at least once a year for car plates.

My physician issued me the necessary paper work to receive a hanidcap parking permit to use while my ankle is on the mend. This is a good news - bad news situation. The good news is that you have a closer parking space when making visits to the doctor, etc. The bad news is that the only place to get the permit is at the dreaded BMV.

In my husband's profession, this time of year is one of the busiest. With the school year ending soon, preparation of tests, turning in grades, and attending conferences and meetings, time is an all important resource not to be wasted. Keeping this in mind, we both entered the BMV and noticed a long line of people waiting to check in with the receptionist. The second thing we noticed was the crowded room of people with unhappy looks on their faces. Many were complaining about the amount of time they had been waiting: anywhere from forty-five minutes to two hours. This was not a good sign, and not wanting to wait that long, I suggested that we head for home and try again on another day. My husband, never one to give up, said to check in and get things done.

I checked in with the receptionist and mentioned that I only needed a handicap permit. Since this was the case, my name was placed on an express list. Much to our surprise, after about five minutes my name was called! I had a quick thought as we approached a smiling clerk that a small riot might begin in the room as we zoomed ahead of everyone. I think that my being in a wheel chair might have prevented that from happening.

Pushing our luck after greeting the smiling DMV clerk, we made sure to take care of the business at hand and other things needed so we would not have to come back anytime soon. In addition to getting the permit we were able to purchase a license plate for our Corvette, renew my driver's license, and also renew my husband's driver's license, thus keeping us from having to deal with the DMV until next January! It was a great day for us at the DMV!

I do know that for expats living overseas, especially in Italy, the paper work you all have to go through is so much worse than maybe loosing two hours or so at the DMV. Remember, though, that we Americans are always in a hurry and any time spent waiting in line is something we cannot deal with.

If we are lucky and our state does the necessary work, we should be able to order the license plates for next year by mail. We won't be holding our breath waiting for this to happen. All of you Hoosiers know what I mean. [For those who don't know, "Hoosiers" is the nickname given to natives of Indiana.]

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Best Medicine

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and I am about to prove it. Scott, Emily, and Cara came up to my homestead this weekend to offer good company, TLC, and helping hands. As you can see our weekend included a gentle wake up call in the morning, a good book to read, family time with good food, fun, silly faces, and lots of laughs.

A big thank you for coming up this last weekend to cheer me up! I appreciated your help around the house and the good company. Cara is the best medicine; no doctor could have prescribed a better way to forget the injured ankle.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Grandcats

Growing up having only dogs as pets, I never really cared for cats. Now I have an understanding and appreciation for felines because of the time I have spent with three cute little furry boys. These cats have opened up my animal world to a whole new experience.

Opus and Roscoe are brothers. Born in the fall of 1995 on a farm in Indiana, they moved to Italy in November 2004 with their female human parent. Opus is the cat on the right and his little brother Roscoe is on the left.

Opus, we believe, is the first-born as he seems older, wiser, and more cautious in the ways of life. Opus has a gentle manner and is quieter than his younger brother. He enjoys sleeping in their human's bed, by the heater in the winter, or wherever their human mommie might be. He also enjoys cat treats sent over from the States and pasta sauce. Opus likes to sneak food items and get up on the table, though he hardly ever gets caught for these actions. He is wise as he knows his little brother is always tagging along and Roscoe forgets to get away from the scene of the crime when the humans are near, so it looks like Roscoe is the one doing the bad things. Opus does not like to be away from his little brother as the boys have always been inseparable. When his little bro has to go to the veterinarian, Opus always goes along to give protection and comfort to little Roscoe.

Roscoe is a happy go lucky cat! Like his older brother, Roscoe enjoys sleeping in front of the heater, napping in a stream of sunlight coming in through a window, and sleeping on top of his human mommie's head. Roscoe, believe it or not, does engage in conversation though we humans find it hard to know what he is saying most of the time. Roscoe is also protective of his brother and when Opus becomes missing, Roscoe will let his mommie know this. He will not stop until Opus is found then all is once again well in the home. Roscoe does not like a lot of company at one time and does not like storms at all. When these things happen he will find a good hiding place and not come out until it is safe.

Panther, who was born May 20, 1999, is the opposite color, as you can see, than that of his cousins but like his cousins he is also an indoor cat. Panther has an alias name a.k.a. "Scaredy Cat" and this name is said with love and affection. Panther is pretty much afraid of all loud noises, fast movements, and being held too close. When Panther was an only child in his household he would run and hide whenever company would stop by. He only liked to play with his human parents.

Panther's favorite thing to do is to run by and grab one of his mom's Boyds Bear and run through the house with it. It is a fun game and you can find bears around in different parts of the house. He also enjoys cat treats and when he hears any bag noises he will run into the family room hoping to find cat treats waiting for him.

Panther's world changed last summer when his mom and dad brought a tiny little human person into the house. He wasn't sure what was happening or who this person was but soon found out that he no longer was the only child. Panther noticied that company coming to see the little one gave her a lot of attention. It looked like a good idea to him so whenever anyone visits, Panther is more than happy now to enjoy a visit with all instead of running away to hide.

Panther is still getting adjusted to having a little sister in the house. Sometimes the little one makes loud noises, causing him to run into another room. He doesn't mind too much when the little one touches his fur but he does not like it at all to have his tail touched. Going from a family of three to four has not been too bad; besides, sometimes the baby with mommie's help will give him a cat treat.

Friday, April 20, 2007

#1 Daughter

Growing up as a child I always pictured myself marrying and having two children, a boy and a girl. The arrival of our second child made my childhood dreams a reality; in addition to our son, we now had a sweet little girl looking up at us with these big wide eyes, wondering who we were.

As a tiny baby, toddler, young child, and adult this little baby girl that we named Cynthia loved being right in on all of the action that life had to offer. Not a moment was to be wasted on sleeping and sitting still (unfortunately at times for us) as she might miss out on something fun and exciting to do.

Cyndi, when she was a wee one, was interested in doing the girly things: wearing pretty dresses, playing with Barbie dolls, being Princess Leia, and the like. It was fun to watch her trying to keep up with her big brother and as she was twenty-two months behind him you would think he would have had the advantage, but I am not so sure that this was true most of the time. She would try to bother him as much as she could get away with. Her interests growing up included tap and jazz dancing, a little ballett, and music. She also developed quite an interest in marine biology, especially anything to do with sharks, whales, and dolphins. In her middle and high school years she played french horn in concert band and particated four years in marching band. While in marching band she played mellophone for two years, was in the color guard for one year, and in her senior year took lessons and marched in the drum line, playing the quads.

After graduating from high school and living alone near where she grew up, Cyndi decided to venture a move to Indianapolis, Indiana. There she worked on an ambulance as an emergency medical technician (EMT), getting a real chance to know the city and its residents.

To make a long story short, while planning a vacation to Italy with her Grandmother Abbott, Cyndi corresponded with an Italian named Danilo for travel advice. After meeting Danilo in Italy, followed by many years of telephone calls, trips from here to there and from there to here, and meetings with the family, this Italian stole our daughter's heart and she his.

As you can see from the picture, Cyndi and Danilo are now married. The wedding took place in Italy in a small town next to where they now live. The wedding service was held in a church built in 740 AD. Relatives from the states and friends from Indianapolis flew to Italy for this special occassion. Weeks before and days after the wedding you would find the bunch of us touring from Venice to Naples and anything in between.

Danilo is an architct and teaches art history for middle school students. He is a wonderful person and is a blessing to have in the family. I must also say that Danilo's reading of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to our family on Christmas Eve several years ago was wonderful entertainment. I need to mention that this was read to us in Italian and the "us" included parents, grandmas, aunts, uncles, a brother, a sister, and cousins.

When I first met Danilo I said to him "There are three ways of doing things: (1) The right way, (2) the wrong way, and (3), the Cyndi way. The 'Cyndi way' doesn't necessarily mean the right or wrong way." Danilo looked at me with a big question mark on his face, not knowing what I was trying to say. After my last visit to Italy, Danilo asked if I remembered saying that to him and I repied "yes." He then mentioned that he now understands what I meant. For those of you who know Cyndi, you understand, and for those of you getting to know her, someday you will understand.

My mother gave me a saying that reads "A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be your friend." How true this is and how fortunate that my best girlfriend is my loving, wonderful, and treasured daughter.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

#1 Son

I would like you all to meet Scott, our first born. Growing up the in the midwest he and his family still reside there, living not too far away from us. His interests growing up were the usual boy things. One of the things I did with our children while my husband was in graduate school was to take them to watch the university marching band practice and also go to the football games. I'm not sure if this had anything to do with his interest in bands and music but in the 6th grade he started playing the trumpet. Many hours were spent practicing music and marching in many band competitions. Interested in music and maybe influenced by the fact that his father is in academia, Scott started his college days with the goal of becoming a music education teacher. Many more hours of practice and a lot of hard work his dream of graduating and teaching become a reality. He has been in music education for over nine years and is just as excited about his position now as when the first job offer came about.

While in college Scott met his future wife Emily. She majored in nursing and has been in her profession for over nine years as a pediatric nurse. Emily is a wonderful daughter-in-law, wife, and mother, and is always willing to lend a helping hand to others when the need is there. I could not have found a better person for Scott to marry if I tried, not that I would have wanted to.

This last summer our family was blessed with the birth of their beautiful child Cara. Cara is, of course, the most perfect and beautiful baby our famiy has ever seen. Now, I know there are some of you out there who might disagree with that statement, but after all this is my blog. Cara completes our family and none of us can ever remember a day that she was not part of the family. I don't know how we got along before Cara joined the family. Cara is a happy baby and enjoys every minute of every day. We are so fortunate that she and her mommy and daddy live close enough that we can see all of them on a regular basis.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Husband

I want to take this time to introduce everyone to my husband. He is my best friend ever and we have shared many wonderful years together. Luckily for us our interests run along the same pathways. So when you get to know him you will also get to know a little more about me.

For this blog he shall be called Ameridad. I do this as our youngest child now lives in Italy and when I sign in on her blog I sign as Amerimom, thus Ameridad is my husband. So much to say about him but where to begin?

Ameridad was born in Illinois and moved to California at a very young age. Moving back to the midwest pre-teen, this is where he still resides. We attended the same elementary and high schools though we never met until a year after his graduation. Through mutual friends we were fixed up on a blind date and as they say the rest is history. We dated, married, raised a family, and now are entering the wonderful world of being grandparents. Hold on a minute, for those of you who know our daughter, she doesn't have children or one on the way, but our son and his wife have a beautiful baby girl.

Ameridad has had many hobbies over the years: cars, biking, motorbiking, canoeing, photography, camping, geneology, radio controlled planes, and astronomy. His professionl work has been in academia for twenty-nine years and he is a shared author of a college text book.

These days his beautiful grandchild is the apple of his eye. The hardest thing for him about being a grandpa is trying to get the baby away from the grandma.


No, I am not talking about my wild life; as you will all remember I am still recovering from my broken ankle but I am talking about the real deal. These pictures were taken on Sunday afternoon. As you can see from the pictures the snow has melted, the sun is out and the temperature is warming up.

The pair of geese as I have mentioned before have a nest along the north side of our pond. They take turns sitting on the nest to keep the eggs warm. If my memory is serving right, last year I believe we were the proud parents of five baby geese. I expect the arrival of this bunch in about two or three weeks. The geese aren't too bothered by myself or my husband when we are out in the yard. If one does walk too close or in the direction of the nest they will get between you and the nest. I have never encountered a goose too closely but I am aware that they can really put up a good fight if they want to. We respect their area outside and give them plenty of room not to feel threatened by us.

If you look to the right of the tall swale grass at the edge of the pond you will be able to see a goose on the nest. Ok you probably cannot see the nest but it is there. This spot seems to be the favorite area as we have had many nests there in the past. The area is right next to the pond allowing the parent geese quick access to the nest if they are out in the water. Also, the shrubs along side the pond act as a wind breaker giving them some protection from the weather. We are starting our tenth year at this house and have never quite gotten used to the beauty of our backyard. A day doesn't go by that we don't step back to take a long look outside.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes

One day does make a difference in a life and eight days make a big difference. My healing is progressing. A week ago I couldn't use my crutches as my ribs hurt, couldn't eat much as my stomach was queazy, and had my foot propped up to ease the pain. Now I am getting up and about with the help of a wheel chair and crutches.

Yesterday was a big event in our household. In the afternoon my husband and I had a hot date: we ventured out into the world of two legged people for an early dinner. We went around 4:00 pm for what I call lupper (late lunch-early dinner). We ate at one of our kid's favorite restaurants (Casa Grille) and shared a stuffed pizza, the speciality salad and, for the grand finale, a slice of seven layered chocolate cake. Yes, not one, not two, not five, but seven layers of chocolate cake! I know what you are all thinking; please keep those thoughts to yourselves. We are two adults and know what is right and what is wrong, but sometimes it is just the right time to be wrong. What a nice afternoon this was: good food, great conversation and being with my best friend.

p.s. Cyndi you are my best female friend

Problem Solv-ed

Many thanks to my sweet husband for trouble shooting my missing post. The problem is gone and the post is back!! Yea!!!

Serious Diffficulty

Today I was happy to open my blog and find messages left from Stelle in Italy and one from Ellasdevil in Greece. I responded to both of my new blogger visitors when I noticed that I didn't have a title for this posting. I also had postings from my children which I happily left them messages also. I decided that I would put a title in and was so proud of myself for figuring how to get into the file I needed and making the changes needed. Then something went wrong with this process because as soon as I clicked on the key I thought was right the blog was deleted, pictures and all. Much to my surprise the second blog was gone.

Note: Due to technical difficulities (me) the second posting is somewhere (????) Hope my new blogger visitors will return and I shall do my best not to delete them. I was nice to hear from all.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Another Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day on our property always warrents stopping and enjoying the view. When I opened the curtains in our bedroom this morning a blanket of snow covered the ground and a gentlewind was pushing the water in the pond to the southwest, giving the appearance of a current you would see in a river.

As I was taking pictures this morning I realized that I was being watched. The curious observer was one of a pair of Canadian geese that we now have nesting next to our pond. The goose was searching for food along the bank of the pond and after awhile gracefully slid back into the water and headed back to the nest shared with his/her mate. The two geese take turns staying on the nest, keeping the eggs warm at all times. I am not sure when the eggs were laid but I will keep an eye out to see when the big hatching takes place. Last year we had baby geese in mid May. I have been told that once geese build a nest they will return in future years. I don't really know if this is the pair we had last year but they have built the nest in the same place the nest was last year. The geese will not share the pond with other geese; they will chase other geese away but will allow other ducks and coots to stay on the pond.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

First Blog

Today is the first I will post on my new blog. This is something I have been wanting to do but just never took the time to get things started. My sweet husband brought the portable computer to me tonight ready for me to start posting. I think this is more for him than me at this time as I am recovering from a broken ankle. As a matter of fact tonight is the one week mark since my unfortunate meeting with a garage floor. Yep I had a much too close encounter with a concrete garage floor and the floor won. I'm coming along as well as can be expected, I guess. Never having had a broken ankle before, I am not sure what to expect. I am passing the time reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching movies and watching it snow outside. You read that right: April 14 and winter still has a grip on not just our area but much of the midwest and heading for the east coast tonight.

The above picture was taken on Easter Sunday, less than eight hours after my encounter in the garage. My beautiful granddaughter brightened my day and made the hurt leave my thoughts for as long as she was near me. Pictured with me also is my wonderful husband of over 40 years, did I forget to mention that I was 5 when I got married. Ok that is a lie, I was older than 5 when I got married.

In the next few blogs I will introduce my wonderful family.