Archive for December, 2014

Safe and sound feet on the ground

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Listening to CD audio books on long trips is wonderful! We ate sandwiches and the picnic goodies that Renee insisted we carry (actually I ate the 2 pieces of chocolate rum cake….) and we have unpacked into the very messy Miami house! Pontoon boat will be floating at 4pm on a beautiful sunny day! God bless you and fill you with the joy that is Christmas!

Packing up…

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Hi dear ones. It is a very quiet time… Between Christmas and New Years. I hear a lot of kids outside playing and harried Moms taking them in for much needed naps! We will be on the road again today going home to put the pontoon boat in the water and enjoy some Miami weather and maybe make some noise on the lake New Years Eve before heading south for Dr Hill’s big New Year’s Day luncheon! Chuck wishes we could be on the road all the time as he found a cowboy movie channel at Renees and we watched the Alamo twice. One Alamo was directed and produced by John Wayne with John Wayne as Davy Crockett…. that did not work for me. John Wayne is not Davy Crockett. Billy Bob Thornton is. We watched a wonderful movie called The Christmas Cottage about Thomas Kincade and why he fills his paintings with light. Renee and I enjoyed it, and Chuck watched quietly…. (no guns, no horses, sigh he said). This is the end of movie time. Chuck said it is rainy outside… We watched the weather report last night and apparently there is some cold weather up north and on the national weather map, Florida was green… So dear friends, once again, stay warm and safe. Hope you do not get “the winter cold” I’m feeling much better and am relieved I did not have to fight the bronchial coughing and take antibiotics. My white blood cells listened to me. We’re still in Christmas until the Wise Men come so… stay vigilent! God bless you! Love and Happy preparation for New Year.

Celebrating the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

I sat outside after Mass this morning in Orlando; a wondrous circle of sunlight and high white clouds encircling me. The warm breeze filled me and I prayed that my cold would be healed! I’ve been snorting and coughing since we left the Paparellis and I hope I haven’t infected too many people! Today, Sunday of the Holy Family, we thanked God for showing us the beautiful Holy Family we will one day join when we will enjoy “the rewards of your house.” I pray today for those families who have been broken by death, by anger, by meanness of spirit, and I pray that we will know that we are destined for the arms of God. How do we know our destiny? Prophets, Apostles, and Jesus himself said so. Read psalm 98: “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God”. So, all we have to do is look! One of the readings in Mass was from Saint Paul to the Colossians and it described us as if we were dressing in layers: “put on …compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is the bond of perfection.” Beautiful, yes? When Simeon saw the child Jesus, Simeon said: “Now Lord you can let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation…which you have prepared in sight of all the peoples” Let us today bear witness to what we have seen and what we know in our hearts. Dig around deep if you need to, and come up with the love and warmth that is there. Let the darkness go; let the light shine! Happy Christmas and happy hearts. God bless you.

Family dinner

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Tonight Mark’s sister Mimi is visiting for dinner! Dog is very exited and ham and sweet potatoes are on the menu.  I’m excited too for that is a fav food of mine!  It’s cold out there and we will be packing up to go visit Sarah at her gallery in Neptune Beach tomorrow. God bless our dear families!  Love Susie

Cooking Chicken Stoup

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Merry Christmas week to my dears from Hilton Head, South Carolina! Karla, Chuck and I were mentally going through the fridge and freezer and Chuck said we should make chicken soup with the chicken we took as left overs from the fried chicken at Dillard’s restaurant.  “Add a little onion,” Chuck said “and that will do it!”  So Karla and I went out to the kitchen and poured a little wine and began to assemble “stoup”.  I fried up some chopped onion and celery, defrosted a little bit of left over soup from the freezer, chopped mushrooms, added broth and the leftover little bit of macaroni and cheese from last night…  some spices… stir and drink the wine.  When I next opened the lid, Karla said, “This is what Rachel Ray calls ‘Stoup’”.   It’s thick and smells wonderful.  There is a bald eagle in a tree right outside and 3 merganser ducks swimming in the rain.  We went out to lunch at a lovely french restaurant with a fire place and ate beautiful food!  Lucky me, I have jeans with elastic in the waist!    Happy Happy Christmas!

Wedding Bells and spiders

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

We arrived at the “cabin” where the bride slept on the night before her wedding and we began to set out plates and things for the wedding and then there was some screaming and the able groom rushed into where the ladies were and he valiantly killed a spider. OUT! the women shouted and off he ran. He disappeared and then the bride disappeared to get into her amazing wedding dress at a room with a fire place. Pictures, pictures, pictures as Kerri made the grand entrance. Kerri was a vision in a flowing white dress with a red sash and a red bow with streamers down the back. And red heels! Abby was lovely as maid of honor in a red dress and the groom and his man Nathan were resplendent in beautiful tuxes with red vests and black converse sneakers. Aunt Susie read the “unity cross ceremony” and then I read a meditation based on a verse from the 1st letter of Saint John; “Beloved, let us love one another as love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” Chuck said I projected well and all the rest of the ceremony was beautiful. We ended the day with another “all you can eat” dinner… burp and then Chuck and I went our separate ways back to our room. God bless the new couple! today we drive down to Hilton Head to visit Karla and Mark until Christmas Eve. Stay warm my dears. Love Susie

Baby it’s cold out there!!!

Friday, December 19th, 2014

We’re in “a meadows room” at Dillard House on the North Carolina line. We look out over a fenced meadow, then pine trees and some other leafless, brown trees, and then mountains! very beautiful. We left the heat off and snuggled, but Chuck had freezing feet this morning so I put on the heat. My sister Donna is due to arrive soon and then we are going to “all you can eat” lunch….. brrrrrr and Yum!

Say a prayer for my step Brother Bill Harlan who passed away yesterday surrounded by his children; angels sang him to his rest. He had colon cancer and survived about 10 years. Bill was a very happy man and he loved his children very much. God bless you Bill.

Is it cold?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

When dressing in a high rise apartment building one doesn’t know if it’s cold. It LOOKS cold…I stepped out on the balcony, and IT IS cold! so I got some long sleeved Izod shirts and have one on with a tee shirt, and I’ll carry several other layers… I absolutely hate to put on coats and scarves inside a building. So then I get out into the wind on the ground level and “whoooooooosh!!! whoa!” it’s the wind that gets me! I then put on the coats and scarves! That’s the trouble with living in Miami all my life. I run around in a tee shirt period. When I hang out the laundry the hot wind dries it in seconds… my mother said she left Pittsburgh because she hung out laundry and it came in frozen and dirty. I guess if everyone felt the way I do, Florida would be full of people and break off and float away. We ate coffee cake and coffee and are doing a final wash of sheets and then…. heading north on 441 into the mountains. Dillard House and “all you can eat dinner” here we come. Need elastic pants. Love Susie

Waiting for a wedding and Christmas

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Waiting for Christmas! It’s cold and windy here (NW side of ATL). We have been playing all day with Julia’s little 10 month old baby Charles (so we have under one roof, Chuck, Charlie and Charles). Kathy and I took Charles to the Ace hardware which I think is owned by elves as it has lots of fun stuff to buy and we bought Christmas socks for the baby! He immediately set to trying to take them off but he’s a little too little yet. soon, Julia! I took Julia’s baby stroller downstairs to her car and I went “woooooooh!” As it felt like the several times I went to the car to get stuff in Mom’s parking lot in Cleveland. Good grief! I haven’t seen weather report, but will check as we are headed to the Georgia North Carolina line tomorrow. We have boots, jeans, gloves, scarves and jackets with fur! Party tonight at the Paparellis and then… off to my nephew Michael and Kerri’s wedding in Dillard. Love and God bless as we await the amazing beauty that is Christmas! Love Susie

On the virtues of winter

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

I can’t think of any. South Florida flower that I am, accustomed to the dew of our 90% humidity and heat, I can feel my skin drying up from 50% humidity and 65 degree weather that our host and hostess heat against. Kathy and Charlie Paparelli’s new home is beautiful! The children have all left the nest, except for the final baby Nick who attends school at Alabama and is home now for Christmas break, but we haven’t seen him yet! Apparently young people sleep a lot in the morning. Here’s another thing I don’t really know about… teenagers and the quantities of sleep and food they consume! We are having a quiet morning, like on the cruise ship: fresh brewed coffee, sunny seats on deck 9 (Kathy’s condo is on the 9th floor), lovely deck chairs in Charlie’s den, plenty of good books to read. Can’t complain! Grandmother Kathy will be bringing her first grand baby here (Kathy is baby sitting until Julia retires to be a full time Mom this Thursday). We will then swing into full party mode playing with a 10 month old, then Kathy and I will have a Bible study this evening while the boys (Chuck and Charlie) go out. We’ve been playing with a new travel idea that has my mind reeling! Lisa (second Paparelli daughter) will be married here in Atlanta on July 18. We arrive in Tampa/Sarasota from our 2 ½ month vacation cruising and in England on July 16th. Our car will be at our cousins Laura and Dennis in North Port, Florida near Sarasota. Can you see what’s coming? Why not, while we’re at it, come straight to Atlanta for Lisa’s wedding and then… head north via Boone and New Hampshire to get to the submarine convention on Labor Day in Pittsburgh. Chuck actually hatched this idea when I told him we would have to miss Lisa’s wedding due to being on the trip… So dear readers, I’m not kidding, we are Peabody nuts. Someone should put out a product. Love and kisses! Susie

Crusin’ and Snoozin’

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

When you cruise, someone wonderful comes in twice a day and makes the bed and cleans the bathroom, makes little towel animals, and leaves clean linens. Someone else wonderful makes too much food…. and well, for those of us who imbibe… someone else wonderful provides too much wine. Coffee, lemonade, and soft ice cream are self serve. When you get home and get hungry about noon, you look around for that special someone who is going to make amazing salads, salmon with cream cheese, chilius maximus hamburgers, pizza… oh and he’s not there. Someone else is sitting on my chair, chaise, bar stool, in my bed. OH sigh. As “warm ups” go, this was wonderful. it of course is a warm up for May. Will we be able to survive this over indulgence for 29 days as we travel to England and Scandinavia without changing cabins? We decided to take some elastic waist pants… I carried a sketching book, colored pencils and a third graders paint tin of water colors and one paint brush that shed all the time. I sat and drew and colored and shared the tablet with a lovely little three year old named Olyvia. She can’t speak yet but she just got cochlear implants and her Mom expects her to catch up with speech by the time she is 5. She had the biggest smile and loved drawing!!! Aside from the fact that my water coloring skills are on a third grade level (matching my tin water color box and shedding paint brush) I created a fun little diary!
Dec 6 we started the cruise and I drew from the TV screen. They run music and pretty scenes 24 hours. Light delicate music makes up for the roucous music of the bands in the bars…. Now: every day started with coffee and rolls on the balcony! you can put out a little “wake me up sign” and magic happens with a quiet little knock and “room service”
Dec 7 was a sea day with beautiful flat seas and sunshine and white clouds (we ate eggs benedict with salmon)
Dec 8 - The Feast of the immaculate Conception. We celebrate Mary on a feast day because it was her “Yes” that enables us to make Paradise a reality because Jesus, a man, ended sacrifice for us! Mary’s grace was received before she was born as she was chosen to be the tabernacle of God. Our grace is received all our lives! Maximillian Kolbe called Mary “the Immaculate” and he stressed that Jesus recognizes himself, human, in us. Isn’t it amazing and wonderful that God sees his own eyes, heart, and spirit in us? We walked all around Cozemel and then we found a cute little bar on the water and drank local beer and painted 2 sailboats. Pray for a lovely lady named Carol I met who is taking care of her husband who is fighting ALS. His name is David and he is cruising and working hard to live.
Dec 9: Belize. Found a cute little bar named the Rum Shack and drew some ships that mysteriously either crashed into rocks or just were only 1/2 there. I’m not real good with drawing yet…. “Soup of the Day: Rum” The ship had great art so I spent some time guessing the price of a peter max and just looking at art. Also went to a Thomas Kincade seminar and an auction.
Dec 10: Roatan… a wonderful little beach where I sat and got a wet bottom from the wet deck chair, and drew and painted and drank beer in a little bar that might have been called “the mushroom garden”… I’m not sure if Chuck was teasing and meant my little grass huts I was drawing looked like a mushroom farm…
Dec 11: The 50th anniversary of the day Chuck and I met! Wow and wow - great day. Grand Cayman. Met Guy Harvey who was painting at his studio. I stalked him and watched over over an hour! He uses the same paints as I do and he paints with a tin pie plate as his pallette! uses water as his wetter. he answered all my questions and wished me luck with my painting. Chuck bought a painting on canvas and a shirt! Here’s some notes I wrote in my little book: 7 day cruises are too short. don’t have 3 regular beers and 2 helpings of lunch at 2pm and expect to be hungry for dinner. (take Tums). Formal night is still observed, and Chuck is still cute! Go to all the comedy shows; they are much better than stage productions.
Dec 12: a day at sea. Packing is the worst part… I went to an art auction and to Bingo where they drew for a free cruise. I didn’t win. boo hoo. Inspired by the art and a bottle of wine on the balcony I painted a hibiscus and the sunset. Thanks to God for our health and the good time! Love Susie

Dec 6 The Feast of Saint Nicholas

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

When you were little, did you put out your shoes and anticipate gifts in them in the morning? This was the way the Feast of Saint Nicholas was celebrated when I was little. Nicholas was a Greek Bishop in the 4th century so it is only legend that tells us that he saved a whole town from famine, he protected the wrongly accused, and he put coins into people’s shoes who trusted they would find his gifts. Today is a good day to start getting ready for Christmas when the biggest gift of all is given and that is Christ’s love. Do you remember when you were little, or have you seen a small child, shaking gifts under the Christmas tree, peaking under the scotch tape, anticipating what the gifts are, and after opening everything, the little one sits in the middle of all that tissue paper and weeps. “I didn’t get enough…” or “I didn’t get what I wanted.” Have you felt the sadness of “not enough” or “not what I wanted,” and you can’t say what it is that you want? When Christ walked on earth, it is written about him that he felt pity for the people who crowded in to see him. Why did he feel pity? Because they didn’t know what they were missing; they didn’t know what the “Kingdom” is. He told them to live in the present, giving, praying, loving, but they just couldn’t. Can we? Now those of you who know me intimately, know I keep a calendar that has very detailed plans out into October 2015 (and Chuck just reminded me that “after October 2015, you have to start planning Italy.” YIKES!). I often have to remind myself to “live in the present.” Enjoy today. Don’t be peering ahead to what I can’t see, and don’t be looking back at the disappointments and the sadness that dogs all our paths. Once I was dogged by a lady at church who didn’t like me. I was giving talks on Spirituality and Advent and Bible studies and she said, in front of people, “I won’t go to your talks, you don’t know anything because you are not a priest.” She actively spurned me. I was hurt and puzzled by her mean spirit towards me. I was angry, but then after prayer, I tucked my pride in my back pocket, and I went to her and apologized. “I’m sorry for what I did to you that made you angry with me.” That was very hard as I have to really pray hard to be humble! She quit being mean, and now greets me like an old friend. What did I do? Our prideful, “do right” selves might say, “I didn’t do anything; I’m too busy with my own things to try to fix that useless, broken relationship”…. but when we do go out and say “I’m sorry”, we free ourselves to receive the gift of love. Harboring old angers is like harboring little boats of meanness, anxiety, hatred, anger, and distrust in our hearts. There is no room for love. So today, on Saint Nicholas day, give a gift of forgiveness even if you “didn’t do it”, give a hug, give a kiss. Rebuild the bridge that is rotting between you and another soul. From my Advent meditation book: “It’s in giving that our demons are cast out. It’s in loving that we are healed.” God bless you this week. Chuck and I are off on an adventure today, and I might check in to this blog, so look occasionally to see, “Where’s Susie?” Love and kisses. and God bless you.