avanta7: (Dora)
And so, meet my father.

Teenage Daddy, pretending to be Liberace.
And people wonder where I get my sense of humor.

And Daddy at Gulf Shores on my parents' 50th anniversary trip in March.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. Despite our differences, I'm grateful for your presence. I love you.
avanta7: (Contemplate)
Yesterday, my mother, sister, and I went shopping. At estate sales.

We wandered through the houses of dead people, picking and choosing and coveting and wondering why on earth anyone would choose orange velour upholstery for a chair. It's kind of sad, really: a person's entire life as revealed by the possessions left behind after death. I know that's what will happen to me and spouse after we pass on -- I sincerely doubt our nieces or nephews will want our stuff.

Sis bought a large antique mirror to use in her bathroom (they're remodeling); and Mom bought an enormous Lane cedar chest and an antique vanity. Although I had brought the pickup just in case we found something that wouldn't fit in a car, we had to call my brother-in-law. He brought his truck and my nephew, and they did the heavy lifting: the cedar chest in the back of my pickup and the vanity in the back of his. While we were waiting for them to arrive, we had to fend off many many many other folks who tried to buy the cedar chest and vanity. In fact, one couple went out to the garage and actually PAID for the cedar chest after my mother had told the woman inside the house she would take it. They came into the house and started to carry the chest out when the inside sales lady stopped them. Finally, the woman running the sale brought little "SOLD" tags to put on the pieces so we could stop being so vigilant.

I bought stuff too, by the way.

Santas, teapots, and a bowl )

And the best thing... )

(Flickr is apparently being non-cooperative today. If the pics don't show up, please click through to their Flickr page.)
avanta7: (Default)
I've been neglecting both of my blogs recently, and haven't kept up with you all either. *hangs head in shame* If I missed anything of particular importance in the last three or four weeks, please let me know...

So, the latest news and/or happenings and/or random thoughts:

Riverfest was at the beginning of June. BIL's employer is one of the corporate sponsors, so he got us tickets for Friday night. Spouse and I borrowed camp chairs from Sis and off we went to see Everclear and Night Ranger. First time I'd been to a rock concert in at least fifteen years. We found a good spot to park our chairs on the slope to the left of the stage, back about 100 yards or so from the apron. Close enough that we had a good view, distant enough that we didn't get our hair blown back by the sound system. Shortly after we got situated, we saw this guy; I was impressed by his sartorial daring:

Kilt at Riverfest

It isn't everyone who has the cojones to wear a kilt. In Alabama.

Riverfest )

Encounter with the Coosa River )

Spouse and home and life in general )

Our youngest nephew has been here for the past week visiting. He's stayed with Mom all week, but he came over Thursday on spouse's day off. They played Call of Duty and Halo most of the day, and had themselves a good old time. Bobby is 15 now, and getting so tall. But I look at him and still see the sweet five year old he once was (not that he's not a sweet kid now, mind you). I wonder if that's common to all parental-types -- no matter how old they get, they'll always be the babies they used to be.
avanta7: (Dora)
Spouse and I had a lovely day yesterday. I got up early and made a pumpkin pie. Then I made stuffing and seasoned the turkey; both went into the oven around 9:30. I grabbed the frozen cranberries and made cranberry sauce. Once the turkey was done (about 5 hours later), I quickly made the mashed potatoes, gravy, heated the corn and green beans and rolls. Spouse carved the turkey and we enjoyed our meal.

After the usual tryptophan-induced nap, we cleaned up the kitchen, carved the rest of the turkey, and put everything in containers. Some of the turkey went into the freezer, and the rest into the refrigerator. I'm thinking I'll have a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich here shortly.

Throughout the day, we watched a couple of movies; I knitted and he played video games; we chatted about stuff. He said some really sweet things about how much he appreciates me. It's good to hear that sort of thing. I need to remind myself to tell him the same thing more often.

I spoke to my Dad yesterday morning, as well. He's feeling very well after the surgeries (he had a cataract removed last week, a few days after his prostate procedure). Mom wasn't home. She was on her way to Little Rock to pick up nephew J and his son to bring them back to Batesville for dinner with the family.

Today I stayed home and puttered. Spouse left for work in the wee hours of the morning. The store opened at 6:00 AM today, and he had to be there several hours before opening to finish getting displays and product ready for the public. It's nearly 7:00 PM and he's still not home. When he gets here, I think I'll fix him a turkey sandwich too, and then put him straight to bed. Poor guy.
avanta7: (Default)
I know I said I'd write about Richard's funeral, but I'm not finding anything really special to say that I haven't already said. He was Catholic, and the service was at his church, but the priest didn't perform a full Mass, at least not like the Mass said at my uncle's funeral in January. Not being Catholic, I don't know what's considered normal for memorial services. At Uncle George's funeral, we prayed the Rosary, but not at Richard's. Anyway, as none of Richard's family was up to the task, the eulogy was given by the priest as well, and he said some lovely things.

The circumstances surrounding Richard's passing are just too awful. It was a stupid accident, and he bled to death in his kitchen, and wasn't found for four days.

The following obituary was published in the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record:

Richard A. Levesque, 63, of Hot Springs, died Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008. Born Feb. 21, 1945, in Staten Island, N.Y., to Odilon Albert and Josephine Dumont Levesque, he was a U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam, serving in Army Intelligence; a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus; County 76 Treasurer Master Gardener; and a national member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Survivors include two sons and daughters-in-law, Jean Paul and KaShonne Levesque, of Marietta, Ga., and Andre-Pierre and Alicia Levesque, of Ewa Beach, Hawaii; one brother, Raymond L. Levesque, of Aurora, Colo.; two sisters, Denise Mercurio, of Pine Bush, N.Y., and Jeanne Cullen, of Daytona Beach, Fla.; seven grandchildren, Adam Levesque, Cullen Levesque, Mia Levesque, Evan Levesque, Darren Levesque, Emma Levesque and Kay Levesque.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 29, 2008, at St. John’s Catholic Church with Father Erik Pohlmeier officiating. Pallbearers will be Gene Lichliter, Joe Yadron, James Lockwood, Duane Vandenburg, Bill Staton and Roger Giddings. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. today, Thursday, with Rosary recited at 6 p.m. at Gross Funeral Home chapel.

After the service, two long-time friends and I went out to lunch and had a nice long visit. After dropping off Cynthia back in Little Rock, I drove to Batesville to stay with Mom for a couple of days. As previously mentioned, we sprouted a wild hair and decided to go to Alabama. Next time I sprout a wild hair like that, I'm cutting it off. But I did get to see my sister and BIL and the latest batch of puppies. I fell in love with this little guy:

Meet Chance. Try as I might, I couldn't convince my sister he needed to go home with me. She thinks he's a show dog or something.

Phoebe, the cats, and I are on our own for the next few days. Spouse is attending a corporate convention in Las Vegas. He called a while ago and said the company booked him into a two-bedroom suite at the Mandalay Bay, with the convention going on downstairs in the same hotel. He will be sharing this magnificence with another store manager from somewhere. Spouses were not permitted to tag along. Hmmm. Sounds fishy to me.
avanta7: (Exermouse)
It's "Get Fit" time at my agency. Every spring, the agency promotes an exercise campaign designed to get us cube farmers out of our chairs and into motion. This year I decided to actually participate. Two colleagues and I try to walk together on each of our breaks. If we can't manage to take our breaks together because one or another is stuck in an interview, we go by ourselves. This past week, I walked Thursday and Friday, 30 minutes each day in 15-minute intervals. Saturday I mowed the front yard. I was a couch potato today, however. I haven't weighed myself in the last few days. I've been afraid to. Although I've been a fairly good girl activity-wise, I've been a very bad girl food-wise. *sigh* Old habits die very hard.

Yesterday I also drove into Roseville. The original plan was to have lunch with a girlfriend, but she called when I was halfway there to beg off with a migraine. Instead, we'll meet tomorrow after my dental appointment. (Stitches come out! Yay!) Even though lunch was out, I continued on my merry way after all, and went to see an old friend at her bookstore, where I promptly dropped waaay too much money.

My family escaped being hit by the massive storms in Arkansas this past week. Although they caught some major rain, the tornados and high winds blew elsewhere. Mom informed me Sis and BIL made an offer on a house in Gadsden, which was accepted. Their escrow should close by the end of the month.

Escrow on my house in Arkansas is supposed to close next Monday. If it does, that means no house payment this month, and we can start banking the former mortgage money right away. Woot! Again, however, chickens are not being counted. It just ain't done until it's done. But I can keep my fingers crossed.
avanta7: (Default)
Yesterday spouse and I drove to Ft. Bragg for an adventure. Our first adventure was discovering that on Highway 20, 180 miles does not mean a three-hour drive. It's a four-and-a-half hour drive, over twisty curves, through mountains and ranchland, by Clear Lake and across the Russian River. A beautiful drive, nonetheless.

Once we arrived, our first order of business was lunch. Then we found our way to Glass Beach and went for a walk. Here are just a few of the photos I shot.

Surf and rocks #8

My two favorite things


More photos can be found here.

[livejournal.com profile] rendiru was right. Ft. Bragg is gorgeous, and deserves far more time and exploration than our day trip allowed. We didn't have time to go to the Botanical Gardens, or visit the antique stores or craft stores, or historical downtown, or really see anything other than Glass Beach. I want to go back. I want to stay a few days in one of the nifty little bed and breakfast inns and really explore.
avanta7: (TempestTeacup)
Funeral )

Drive )

Storm )

The rain is back today, but so far without the wind. Spouse is at work; I'm enjoying a little solitude. There's laundry to be done (when isn't there laundry to be done?) and floors to sweep. Pillars of the Earth is calling my name; and I believe there's a can of Progresso New England Clam Chowder in the cupboard with my name on it.
avanta7: (BlackRibbon)
My uncle George passed away Sunday evening.

This is the beginning of the changing of the guard. We are at the age when the people who helped raise us start leaving us behind to carry on in their stead.

Uncle George was married to my father's sister, Geneva. Together they raised four boys, my cousins Jerry, Ed, Georgie and Scott, and had a hand in raising the rest of us through example, guidance, and occasional advice. Uncle George was proud of his boys and doted on his wife. He was gruff and intimidating, loving and stern. He had a smile that covered his whole face. He smelled of tobacco and Old Spice beneath the ever-present aroma of meats and cheeses from the family deli. He worked hard and expected no less from everyone else. He was always quick with a quarter for the soda machine. He loved family gatherings, and his practice of snoring through the football game after a big holiday meal and one Jack & Coke was a family staple. It just wasn't Thanksgiving unless Uncle George was sacked out on the floor of the family room.

His service is Thursday morning in Bakersfield. I'll be leaving in the wee hours that day to make the drive down there.

I wonder who will be next.
avanta7: (Yarn)
The UPS man brought a box of memories yesterday. My mother sent me my late grandmother's stash of knitting and crochet supplies: yarn, needles, pattern books, and other accessories.

Grandma's stash

Included in the box were some finished crochet items, which are now family heirlooms. My grandmother did exquisite work.

3 Doilies

You can see details of these doilies plus more of her work in the Flickr photo set, Grandma's work.

I remember when I was a little girl, watching my grandmother's needles and hooks flash as she diligently worked on her latest project. She made slippers and sweaters, hats and scarfs, pillows and doilies, all manner of yarn and thread work. As soon as my hands were dexterous enough to hold a crochet hook, Grandma taught me to use it. She and my mother also taught me to embroider and sew. Knitting, however, escaped me.

Last year I picked up a crochet hook again, after having abandoned the craft for some 20 years. And it was last year that I finally learned to knit. Although I have no hope of achieving my grandmother's skill with crochet (only coming back to the craft in the last year), I have aspirations, and Grandma's doilies as inspiration.

I will cherish these beautiful pieces forever.
avanta7: (Dora)
Following the lead of [livejournal.com profile] martip...

Go to Google images or wherever you go, and find a pic that most expresses, to you, what you think you'll be like when you're very old. Or maybe what you'd LIKE to be like. Post it in your journal, with or without explanation: your choice.

I want to be the beautiful woman shown below:

This is my grandmother. She was 92 when this picture was taken at my wedding. Her 98th birthday is in 2 weeks. She is very ill now, and will probably be gone from our presence by the end of the year. She will never be gone from our hearts.

(BTW, The user pic is her mother at age 15, circa 1905.)
avanta7: (Yarn)
Remember that afghan I spent a large part of last winter crocheting? It turned out really nice and cozy, and spouse and I shared many happy hours cuddled up beneath it, watching TV and saving on our heating bills. The cats liked it too, so much so that yesterday, with cooler weather approaching, I pulled the blanket off the foot of the bed where it had been residing and threw it in the washer.

When I pulled it out of the washer, I realized I had not used washable wool yarn. Yep, it felted. The blanket now has felted woolen squares interspersed with unaffected crocheted linen squares. Luckily, I had the presence of mind NOT to throw the thing in the dryer, thus compounding the felting and making the shrinkage worse. It's not so bad that the afghan is completely unusable, but still...I am a doofus.

In our ritual Sunday morning telephone call, Mom told me her right knee has gotten so much worse that the pain medication no longer provides any sustained relief. She needs knee replacement surgery in the very near future. Unfortunately, this is surgery that requires a three-day hospital stay, and then remaining off her feet for two solid weeks afterward. In other words, something completely impossible while she is the primary care provider to her ailing mother. My father's job requires him to travel several weeks at a time with only about a week at home between jaunts, and neither of my siblings hold jobs that accrue the kind of vacation time mine does. They're lucky if they get to take two weeks off in a whole year. So I told Mom that, if for some reason she can't put off taking care of herself until Grandma is gone, I'll take three weeks leave to come out there and take care of both of them. (Won't that just frost my manager's cookies. I feel soooo bad about it, too.)

As for planned activities today: Our bank's website is down for maintenance. *huff* So much for balancing the checkbook this morning. However, the week's menu is done, the larder is inspected, and the grocery list is made. Now I must make myself presentable for public view and do the shopping. The usual household maintenance tasks also await my attention: laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dishes, cleaning the soap scum and hard water marks from the glass shower enclosure. Naturally, all I really want to do is read. I'll make a concerted effort not to be a complete slug after the grocery store; I make no promises.

But I've added several new LJ user-pics in recent days! I'm still nowhere near filling all the slots I have available. Permanent account--I likes it. I'm a doofus and an LJ-nerd.
avanta7: (BookWorms)
Today is my niece's 4th birthday. The package containing her present went out Monday, and I kept my fingers crossed that it would arrive today. It did. And she called me to say thank you. Okay, she's four, so my mother dialed the phone for her. I talked to the birthday girl for about 30 seconds, because that's as long as she'll ever stay on the phone. She's much too busy playing to waste time talking to someone she can't see. *grin*

Anyway, spouse and I sent her books (of course) -- a whole bunch of books! About 15 or 20 Little Golden Books, like The Poky Puppy; and some pop-up books; maybe a Dr. Seuss or two...I can't remember everything I stuck in that box. Lots and lots of books. Mom told me my SIL was just shocked, because J kept pulling more and more books out of the box; my brother's reaction? "That's Angela..." Mom said, "He knows you pretty well." Well, um, yeah. I've had a book in my hand throughout his entire life.

I told Mom to tell J I'm glad she liked her books, and that I was sorry I couldn't be there to read them to her. Mom said she was sorry I wasn't there, either, because she was going to end up being the reader most of the time.

Mission accomplished.
avanta7: (Audrey)
I'm gonna have to have a yard sale before we move.

We have surplus furniture we don't want to take with us, excess crap spouse acquired for eBay that isn't worth the trouble of listing, not to mention assorted odds and ends that I have no memory of acquiring in the first place and don't want now.

Somehow I must locate my inner organizer and get this stuff pulled together. We're aiming for the sale to be March 30. We move on April 7th.

Any volunteers to assist with either?

(I can pay any helpers with pizza and firewood. How's that for incentive?)
avanta7: (TempestTeacup)
Today was my adjudication day at work, which means I had no appointments scheduled and I wasn't taking walk-in interviews. Adjudication days are desk days, when I'm supposed to catch up on all the stuff that has accumulated over the last week. Ha. I've been out sick so much the last several weeks that I feel like I'll never catch up. I made a bit of a dent today, but not nearly enough, between phone calls and other interruptions. I really need a couple of full days with no one bothering me at all. A Saturday or two would be perfect. Unfortunately, we have no overtime authorized, and none foreseeable, and our union contract says we can't work credit hours on Saturdays unless there's overtime available as well. Grr.

Spouse has been under the weather as well, not only with the cold he passed on to me, but with intestinal woes on top of it. He thinks he has a partial obstruction, enough to make him mighty uncomfortable but not enough to warrant hospitalization (the reason he was in the hospital in September 2005). He actually asked me to make him a doctor's appointment next week. I guess the reality of being over 40 and not in the greatest of shape has finally sunk in.

And the final crap for the day: Mom called to provide a Grandma update. My grandmother, age 97, has had chronic age-related leukemia for quite some time, which didn't cause her any problems, really; Mom just watched for excessive bruising and made sure Grandma took her vitamins. However, the leukemia recently flared into a more aggressive form (I don't know all the technical terms -- I just know her white count shot through the roof) and Grandma's doctor put her on chemotherapy. She's been on chemo for several weeks now and it isn't doing any good. Doctor wants to try another type of chemo, something stronger, which he thinks will work better but has more negative side effects. Mom discussed it with her brothers, and with Grandma, and they've decided to stop the treatment and "let nature take its course." Which means my grandmother has less than a year, maybe as little as three months, left to live.

One good thing happened today, though. My Lands End order arrived, and everything fits perfectly.
avanta7: (PinkWall)
I had a stack of books, all either challenged themselves or by challenged authors, labeled and ready to go, and I didn't release a single one this week. Get up, go to work, come home. That's the routine. And I'm so worn out by the time I get home each evening, I can't bear to go back out to commit random acts of literature. Same thing happened last year. *sigh* Some day I'll get my act together.

It's been a lazy weekend here in the avanta7 household. I went to the laundrymat today (and forgot to take those books with me). Spouse cleaned his office yesterday and discovered carpet under all that junk. He mowed the yard today. I finished two books and started a third. Thus is the sum of our accomplishments.

Mom called this morning. Grandma has chronic leukemia, which is common in elderly folks, Mom says. Grandma's doctors won't be treating it, just monitoring. Her 97th birthday is coming up in three weeks. And my sister is having surgery in three weeks to remove some benign tumors on her thyroid. My youngest nephew's birthday is Wednesday. He'll be 12. I can't believe he's that old already. And his baby sister turned three last month. Time passes so quickly.

The weather today has been cool and overcast. I've had the windows open to catch the fresh breezes and air out the house. It's been lovely.


Aug. 30th, 2006 08:55 pm
avanta7: (Leonardo)
Sissy's response to the answer to her question.

I knew I could count on you. Instead of Jeeves, they're should be an "Ask Angela"!!!!


Being the family know-it-all isn't such a bad thing.
avanta7: (Religion Back)
It never ceases to amaze me what people send out as e-mail to everyone they know, expecting the recipients to ooh and ahh and say "Wow! I never knew that!" and then send it on to everyone they know. I usually check on Snopes and send "reply to all" with the Snopes link debunking the latest urban legend to make the rounds.

This process has trained my sister to ask questions before sending anything out. Here's the latest thing she passed along:
The e-mail )
My response )
Okay, faithful readers, if I've made any errors of fact, please let me know. If my sister is going to rely on me to do the debunking, I don't want to propagate any further errors. Opinions, however, are yours to keep.
avanta7: (Default)
So naturally I called my mother, which went better than I expected. We chitchatted for about ten minutes about general stuff: I told her about spouse's recruitment interview and his follow-up interview coming up next week; she talked about taking Grandma out to a family friend's house Friday night to play Mexican Train (a form of dominoes). My grandmother was quite the domino player in her day, and had a good time, although they had a good laugh at themselves on the way home at 9:30 that night. Grandma said, "Look at me. I'm 96 years old. What am I doing out this late?"

Church this morning consisted of arriving much too early for choir practice, but being welcomed into the band rehearsal with open arms. The sermon was tangentially connected to the opening of The Da Vinci Code this Friday: a sermon entitled "The Christ Code." I can't tell you how much I appreciate the open-mindedness of this congregation. Not only did our minister have nothing bad to say about the novel or the movie, she said she and her husband have a babysitter for Friday night so they won't miss opening night. (She did make the point I always make when discussing this book -- it's fiction, folks: a rollicking good yarn but nothing more.)

This afternoon spouse and I washed our cars and cleaned the garage floor. Now, the washing machine churns away; a steak thaws on the counter, its destiny the grill; and the final episode of The West Wing airs in less than two hours.

It's been a lovely day.
avanta7: (PinkWall)
I sat on the covered porch in the back yard today, warmed by the sun and sheltered from the breeze, and thought about flying a kite.

One of the harbingers of springtime in California is the March wind. When the winter rains stop and the beautiful spring days begin, the breezes blow swift and strong for several weeks. When I was a child, the first blue sky day of the year, a breezy day such as today, would prompt a visit to the local toy store, where my parents would allow my sister and me to choose our springtime kites.

I loved choosing a kite each year, and each year I tried something different. One year I would fly a traditional diamond; one year a bat-shaped flying wing; one year I even tried a box kite. Some years we would make our own kites with balsa wood and kraft paper, painted with watercolors or tempera, trailed by elaborate tails of string and rag bows. Some kites were more successful fliers than others: some soared high into the blue blue sky, others circled and dived and crashed into the ground.

We had a couple of places where we flew. One was the football field of the local junior high, but our favorite was the flat open space next to the lake that gave our subdivision its name. My sister and I would tromp through the reeds and the cattails, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by a parent, carrying our kites and string and wearing warm sweaters with scarves wrapped around our heads. The sky above may have been blue, but the wind was sharp and hurt our ears.

My sister and I competed to see who get her kite up faster. We ran and played and shouted with pleasure at each successful launch, and sometimes sobbed in despair when all the effort in the world failed to send our beloved toy soaring heavenward. Sometimes, especially if Daddy were with us, we brought our fishing poles. After launching our kites, we'd anchor them to the bank, and fish and fly together.

Kite flying taught us resilience and patience and persistence. We learned determination and dexterity, and the simple joy of a job well done. And after an afternoon of running and playing and shouting and fishing, we'd reel our kites in and trudge home, exhausted and windburned and happy as larks.

Kite flying season arrived today. And today I wished for a child I could take kite flying.

August 2013

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