Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Holidays! (Finally!)

Well it's New Years Eve and I've been meaning to write this post since Christmas! I don't know where the week has gone since Christmas-but I think that it took the whole week for me to recover and at least two days to put it all away! We had a busy, holiday and of course, received the best gift of the season in that Mom was home from rehab. in time for the holiday! She's recovering at home and getting stronger every day-of course not fast enough for her. She says she's never come home from the hospital feeling so exhausted, but then again she's never been sick for so long. She went to the hospital November 9-home December 16-that's a long time. She had a followup doctor's appointment Wednesday and checked out well. The doctor said for each day she was hospitalized it will probably take a week to regain the strength she lost, so she will probably be all winter getting back up to speed, but at least she's on her way! We are all very proud of the strength and grit she's shown! Go Mom!
We had Christmas all together at our house. It was crazy, loud, chaotic and fun! We decided not to try to have a sit down dinner-way to much for my house, so we all made a number of dishes and had a few crock pots, so people could just eat whatever when they were hungry. Tons of food-meat and cheese platters, lasagna, homemade macaroni and cheese, sausage, meatballs, scallops, about a thousand desserts-the list goes on and on! If anyone left hungry-it's their fault! Some pictures of the fun...

I'm sure that most of you reading this recognize the usual "cast of characters". The last picture is of my daughter-in-law, Erin's parents, Carolyn and Dale Shaw. The very last picture is of Dale Shaw and me. The significance of this picture is to represent survivorship! Dale battled pancreatic cancer this year and of course I continue my fight with ovarian cancer. We both have a lot to celebrate!
With the coming New Year I have been reflecting a lot on 2009. I am ever so grateful to be in continued remission. Tomorrow is the start of a new year, a new beginning for each of us, and it is a time to take stock of our lives and what we would like to see for the future. For me, I am thankful to be alive and in remission, and I am thankful for my wonderful husband, family and friends. This year, I will try to find a way to deal with life's stresses, I will pray more, and I will live my life to the fullest. I will love and laugh freely. I wish for all of you a very happy and healthy New Year, filled with love, laughter, and hope! Nancy

Monday, December 28, 2009

an early Christmas gift

...a new grandchild! Rob & Wendy are expecting in July 2010! We can't wait!

Robert, Wendy, Brian & Rob Lawson

Monday, December 21, 2009

Now you can search the blog!

Look to the right of your screen and you will see the new SEARCH feature for our blog. I tried it out and it works! Want to read about yourself or a relative? Type in the name, hit "search" and up will come any blog entries in which you or that person were mentioned. Want to read about a place (Wells Beach, Bayberry Hill, Black Mountain...)? Just type in the place name, hit "search" and any blogs about that place will come up. It's cool, it's fun, and it WORKS...enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas with Great Friends

Tonight Aaron and I hosted our "gourmet group" as we celebrated Christmas early. Our group is a little more scattered than Cheryl's. We don't get together as regularly as they do, something we need to work on, and our food isn't really gourmet. We don't care if it's take out Chinese or pizza, we just love catching up with old, dear friends. Our group consists of Aaron and I, Betsy and Sted Seavey, who have been best friends since high school (over 35 years!), Joanne and Hank Metz, and Debie and Mickey Chabot, from Wells. I first met them when Kit went to be babysat in their neighborhood in 1979! We shared a lot of good times as our children grow up together. They were my support during my divorce, and more recently as I travel on my cancer journey, and Kit's "other adoptive families". Hank and Mickey were also my "go to guys" when I needed something fixed or had an emergency as a single Mom.
Tonight we decided to make it an English Christmas dinner. It was a lot of work, but a great time. We decorated the table places with ornaments with each guest's name in glitter, and had English "crackers" on each plate.

For those who haven't ever popped a cracker, you pull the two ends, it makes a loud noise, and a sprinkle of confetti and treats fly out. Everyone gets a paper crown, a small toy, and a fortune or riddle.Here are a few shots of us in our fine crowns.

For dinner we served roast beef and gravy with Yorkshire pudding, an English and family favorite,which reminded me of the fun we had when Hilda visited from England and give me a lesson in preparing "authentic" Yorkshire pudding (miss you, Hilda). We also had potato, and corn. It was great!
For dessert I made a Mint Mountain White Chocolate bundt cake. It is a recipe I got this fall, and Hank made for us to try for Thanksgiving. Thanks, Hank, for sharing. He bought a bundt pan that makes it in the shape of mountain peaks/trees. We also had vanilla ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce.

It was a great night. It really reminded me of the true meaning of this season of giving. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of buying, wrapping and decorating that we sometimes forget to celebrate whats really the best gift...the gift of support and life-long friendship. I hope you all receive these "gifts" this holiday season. Merry Christmas! Nancy

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kristen did great today!

Kristen had ankle surgery today (fractured tibia) at MMC and did a great job! She is a lot braver than her mother...I needed Hank and Nancy there to hold me up while Kristen just smiled right through it. Her blue teddy bear got a hospital ID bracelet just like hers and, when we met Kristen back in the recovery room, her bear's left leg had been bandaged up in the operating room, just like hers. Thanks to Dr. Barr, Julie from Casa, and everyone at the MMC Surgical Center for a job well done!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mom is home!

After five weeks and 2 days in the hospital, Mom came home today...just in time for Christmas! After a nice dinner - prepared by Nancy - she is sound asleep on her new mattress with Tabby cuddled up by her side. Finally!

Here's the picture, Joanne

I think this may be the photo Joanne mentioned in her comment to the "Hilda" post below.

Mom, Joanne and Hilda in front of Joanne's house, July 2007.

Monday, December 14, 2009

In memory of Hilda

Hilda Boocock Ritchie
1927 - 2009

We love you, Hilda...Godspeed

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Penny Rugs

I finally finished some holiday embroidery projects, thanks in part to time spent in waiting rooms at MMC while Mom has been sick. These are called "penny rugs" because they are made from scraps of felted wool, some only the size of a penny. They are not really "rugs" either...most are made as table runners or candle mats. The one above was the rug I learned on at Fiber College at Searsport Shores in 2008. The plan was to get it finished by Thanksgiving of 2008...that didn't happen... but it was done just in time for Thanksgiving this year.

The "rugs" below are really candle mats and will be gifts for special friends on my Christmas list this year. Mom watched me work on one of them in the hospital so I thought she would like to see the finished products before I wrap them.

Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to work and could have more time to "play" with craft projects?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tree Hunt 2009

Every year (20+), Hank and I drive up to Scott's Tree Farm in Waldoboro to cut down our Christmas Tree. Saturday was the "big day" this year.
Here's our tree "before"...that's Scott holding the tree while Hank does the honors with the saw.
After walking through the woods in the cold, we stopped for the traditional lunch at Moody's diner.
And here is the tree all decorated and ready for another Christmas. Now it's on to getting the cards written, the gifts wrapped, the house picked up, the cookies baked...does the fun ever end?
p.s. Today marks four weeks since Mom was first admitted to MMC. All of the cards she has received have really cheered her up. Mom is getting stronger every day with all of the physical and occupational therapy she is receiving at New England Rehab. Hospital. She looks so much better than she did! After all she has been through, I know she is really looking forward to being in her own home for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Always Something but Getting Better

Just a quick update...Mom was discharged from MMC today after 22 days in the hospital, 5 of them in intensive care. She looks and feels much better but now has to regain her strength. To that end, this afternoon she was transferred to New England Rehabilitation Hospital, Rm. 112, 335 Brighton Ave. Portland, ME 04102. After the move, she is tired but comfortable and ready to begin the rehab. that will prepare her to go home. The CDC has identified the ground beef that made her sick as part of the September Fairbank Farm recall throughout New England and New York. She purchased it at Shaw's and froze it until just before she became ill. Mom has been a real fighter through this thing and we are all really proud of her. We put up her little Christmas tree at the condo and can't wait for her to get home to enjoy it.

p.s. Kristen is still recovering from her broken ankle and being very patient with not being able to walk at all. She sees the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and we should know more about the prognosis at that time. In the meantime, she LOVES to get mail (hint!). If you would like to send her a card, her address is: Kristen Underwood, 29 Wall St., Portland, ME 04103.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Thanksgiving

Thought I'd drop in a few more shots of Thanksgiving that I took--including Mom enjoying her "feast" at Maine Medical! Probably the most expensive Thanksgiving dinner of them all!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


What a windy day! The power went out as I was finishing my last blog entry so a few of the photos did not get posted. Here they are... Hank frying our Thanksgiving turkey outside...

What's a movie without a large butter popcorn???

I walked into the bathroom to find Toshi combing his hair in front of the mirror...too cute!

Giving Thanks

Well, another Thanksgiving is over and I'm exhausted...but thankful in spite of all the craziness of the past few weeks. Hank is out in the woods on this last day of hunting season (I'm on Bambi's side), Rob and family are on their way back to NYC, and the house is unusually quiet. Before I vacuum up the remnants of Thanksgiving dinner and start unpacking the Christmas decorations, I thought I'd take advantage of these few quiet moments to remember all I am thankful for at this time of year. goes...I'm thankful that Mom's health is improving after her bout with e coli. This is her third week in MMC but she is now well enough to be out of ICU and seems to be feeling better every day. She is anxious to get home, sleep in her own bed, and be back with Tabby.

I'm thankful that Kristen was able to join us for Thanksgiving in spite of her broken ankle. And I'm especially thankful for her wonderful caregivers at Casa, without whom I don't know how we would be managing all this. Did I say I'm also thankful for Kristen's ability to smile through every challenge she faces???
I'm thankful for a husband who cooks...and who has stuck by me through it all.

And I'll always be thankful for our family...

...and my amazing sisters...

Nancy...who can always make me laugh...
Andi...who cares if you can cook??? Joanne...who reminds me that it's OK to take a break once in a while and have fun...
and my "adopted" sister (my "little sister" at Russell Sage College and former sister-in-law), Carolyn...who has found her calling with the UCC church and been a source of spiritual support to Mom in the hospital...
And I'm thankful for old friends...

happy memories of simpler times...

and our home at Winn Farm.

I'm thankful that Taka and Toshi could be here for Thanksgiving...

and for the best Dad in the world. Daddy passed four years ago on Thanksgiving and we miss him every single day. Andi placed this arrangement on his grave and Nancy left the rose.

And I'm especially thankful for the good a rainy afternoon eating popcorn at the movies with our grandsons Toshi and Taka...

I'm not very thankful that I've put off the vacumming so it's time to end and get to it. Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and that a much healthier holiday season awaits for Mom, Kristen and Aunt Barbara. Love to all...

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones afterall." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder