Friday, November 26, 2010

A Day of Surprises, Food and Family

The Boston family gathered here yesterday, although we were missing a key member, my son, The Writer.  He will be here for Christmas, so we will not despair.  However we had a decent family turnout:

 Back row:  Me, Mr. Tennis, his brother Kurt, Pete and Cristine (my neice and her hubby).
Front Row:  The Maven (and Darcy), Valerie (my neice), Orlando Grandma and my brother, Richard.

Pete, Cristine's husband treated us all to Butterbeer which is from the Harry Potter books and sold here at the Harry Potter section of Univeral.  I was so busy with all the food prep, that I neglected to take pictures, but Pete did a great job of recreating this very SWEET and tasty treat.

Earlier in the day we were lucky enough to get a visit from little Miss Anna.  She stopped by with her parents, Elliott (The Writer's very good friend and my second son) and Brooke.  My daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting them in Oklahoma City during our cross country trip this summer. 

A fun, tasty, exhausting day.  And yes, the Bostons were here, but this day the people had to take center stage.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours

Our Aunt Dot's platter is ready to be loaded up!  I hope everyone has a wonderful day of thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Among The Things to be Thankful For: The Angels Among Us

Me and my father 1961
November 22 is my father's birthday.  This year he would have been 92.  I thought he'd still be here at that age, but that wasn't to be.  Last year I did a long post in honor of his birthday, click here on   quirky if you'd like to know a little about an extraordinary man. 

His birthday was immortalized in history in 1963 when JFK was shot.  I was too young to understand the significance of that co-incidence, but it was a tragedy that he would forever recall each year.

This year I choose to remember something wonderful, or should I say someone wonderful, in connection to my father's birthday.  Mysteriously I have no pictures of him, just many fond and grateful memories. 

The last year of my father's life, he had an angel attending to his needs.  Not your everyday, white robes, wings, glittery angel, but a REAL angel.  In the form of a 6'4", retired Air Force, "nothing phases me" angel. An angel with a huge smile and a sincere, deep laugh.

My mother had recently passed away and my dad had gone downhill a bit after that.  They had both been living in an assisted living facility and I think my dad always felt that he was totally outnumbered by all the women around him.  Including his bossy daughter.  Mr. Tennis and I felt that my father could use some male companionship as well as some extra help with the needs of everyday life. Man-style.

I contacted a local nursing agency and explained the parameters of our needs and the person I spoke with said they felt they had the perfect person.  Into our lives walked Johnny Ferguson. 

My dad accepted Johnny right away as his friend and Johnny seemed to know just the right way to make sensitive suggestions to my dad in terms of hygiene and behavior.  Pretty soon they were a twosome, three times a week.  They had those female nurses under their control and they ruled the halls of the nursing home that my dad eventually had to enter.  Johnny was there every step of the way.  He not only gave my dad companionship, he provided me with a couple of days a week off from coming to make sure all was well at my dad's place. Every Friday the three of us, Johnny, my dad and I would meet Mr. Tennis at The Piccadilly Cafeteria for lunch.  Sometimes we would be joined by my son and daughter, or Uncle Larry or Orlando Grandma.  Then Johnny, my dad and I would drive home via the local executive airport where we would stop and watch the small planes take off and land and my father could remember his days piloting his own small plane.

Johnny never missed a day even though he had to take a bus to work each day, rain or shine. Over time he got to know our whole family.  He was always interested to hear about The Maven's latest basketball game and  I still remember how he gave my son a lovely pen set for his high school graduation. And politics.  Johnny loved to discuss politics.  He was an avid newspaper reader and I would have to make sure I was up on the latest happenings so I could keep up with him.  Johnny never seemed to tire of hearing my dad's stories and that gave my father great joy, a new pair of ears to take in his life's adventures.

That summer after graduation,  Mr. Tennis and I took the kids on a vacation to California for a week.  Knowing Johnny would be there every day for my dad allowed us to go and enjoy ourselves.  We would call them from various locales when we knew Johnny was there and he and my dad got a kick out of all the places we phoned in from.  I had given Johnny our itinerary and when we arrived in San Francisco the front desk clerk said that we had telephone message waiting for us:  "Welcome to San Francisco, from Dick and Johnny"!

About a week after we returned, as usual we all met at Piccadilly on a Friday for lunch.  The Writer and The Maven were able to be there as well as Mr. T.  In two weeks The Writer would be starting his freshman year at college.  It was at that lunch that Johnny gave him the pen set.  We had a great lunch topped off with my dad's favorite, cherry pie.

The next day I got the call from the nursing home.  My dad had passed away peacefully in his sleep. It was a shock to everyone because we had just had such a wonderful day with him the day before.  Mr. Tennis made the call to Johnny, who was just speechless.  I asked him to come to the family service, but he said that he did not want to remember my dad that way.  I asked him to please pick one of the paintings my dad had in his room that he admired so much. No, that was not how he wanted to remember my dad.  He said he did not want any physical reminders of my dad, that he would carry his memory in his heart. He did agree to meet Mr. T and I for lunch one day.

He told us during that lunch that he had come to regard my dad as a father figure and that this was devastating to him, but so meaningful, because knowing my father had influenced his life for the better.  I asked if he would continue his work in nursing.  He said no.  My dad was his first patient and his last.  He had never done that kind of work before and that he felt that his time with my dad was meant to be. I thought Johnny had been doing this work for years, but apparently we were the first ones he worked with.

That's the last time I ever saw Johnny.  I tried to convey to him how much he meant to my dad, to me and our family.  Johnny saved my relationship with my father.  Before Johnny, I was the "bad guy" who was making his life miserable. After Johnny, I was able to be my father's little girl again. The last year of my father's life was a gift. He was happy and content. Johnny was a big part of the reason for that.

Johnny Ferguson, I hope you know that you are an angel.  I still hope that I will run into you one day and be able to tell you again, in person, how much you meant to our family, especially to my father.

Friday, November 19, 2010


The latest Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Chania at  RAZMATAZ  is to feature photos of something or things handmade.

I have chosen to photograph some pieces of pottery my daughter made while taking a pottery class her junior year of high school.

The first one is one of her first attempts, before she learned to use the wheel.  It is a favorite of mine and I like to display it because I find it whimsical.  Can you tell what it is?

It's a bird in a birdhouse, of course!  I like the rustic/primitive look to it.

There are many in-between projects I could show you, but one only has so much time, so I will time-travel to the point when my daughter learned to use the wheel and refine her pottery a bit more.

I love this mug. I love it so much that I haven't used it to drink from.  I love the color and the way the clay breaks through the glaze.

Most of all I love that I can look at it everyday on my desk as it holds my pens and pencils.  And provides a playspot for my visiting "grandkitty", Darcy. (Give me a break - I don't have grandchildren yet)

For Mother's Day the year my daughter, known on this blog as The Maven, took her pottery class, she presented me with this:

It was her final project and is a good representation of how far she progressed, but also of  her thoughtfulness towards her mom.  Yellow is my favorite color and I think this glaze is just so pretty with the flecks of brown and the unevenness of the color.

This piece actually gets used in various forms:  gravy pourer, syrup holder and always, decor for my home.  Handmade pottery is always special, because it's just as is it is described, made by hand.  When it's made by someone you love, it is even more special.

So, there you have it.  Handmade.
Boston Lady out.
Everyone have a grand Thanksgiving in the U.S and we will see you in two weeks for Chania's most interesting challenge:
Photograph a vignette and then the larger picture of which it is a part.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yikes! Another Sikes Desk Chair!

Oh, yes. 
I was perusing a local thrift when I spied my favorite type of desk chair.  This time with the swivel legs and tilting seat.  But, it looked like it had been through the wringer:

But, Yikes, it was a Sikes!

The man following us around the thrift mumbled something about it being "antique", so I knew he was going to ask a ridiculous price for a piece that was in just awful condition.  Imagine my surprise when he said "ten dollars" when I asked how much.  He even loaded it into my car for me!

It's been sitting in my carport for the last week and today I decided to tackle it.  I had borrowed an electric sander from my good friend and fellow blogger  KarenSue  to use on another project and decided while I had it to put it to work on my "new" chair.

Lots of sanding, dusting and using of my handy finish restorer and I think the initial results turned out pretty well.

I applied some sealer, let it hang outside for a couple of hours while I worked on my other project and then wheeled the Sikes into my office.  I think it looks quite at home with my desk.

I will still add some more coats of sealer, but I'd say the first stage of the process went very well.  As for my other Sikes chairs, well, now I have two terrific side chairs for extra seating.

BTW, when I went to the store to buy some WD-40 to loosen up the hardware on the chair, I was carded!  Seems you need to prove you are over 18 years of age to purchase it these days.  What will it be next?


Monday, November 15, 2010

When Celebrities Visit Your Home

Well, no it wasn't George Clooney, but I suppose he could be considered the George Clooney of the Blogosphere.

Think you know who he is?  Well that's him in about 1981.

I've known him just as long as I've known Mr. Tennis, in fact this blog celebrity (by way of his talented wife) served as an usher in our wedding.

He used to housesit for us and take care of our dog, Ziggy when we went out of town.  See here he is paying proper respect to the great Ziggy.

He even helped me celebrate my first birthday as a married woman.

Then he grew up, joined the Air Force, became a sophisticated world traveler, married (the real celeb), became a dad, lived in Europe with said family and then finally settled back in the US.

Every few years he shows up here in Orlando with various siblings and children in tow and we visit for awhile.  And then he's gone again.  Woooooosh.  Back to Arizona to his lovely wife, Laura.  Now, Laura, I don't get to see much of at all except through the blogosphere where I religiously follow her wonderful blog, Decor to Adore and her new venture with  Andrea, at Metis Linens.          .

Yes, my friends.  Mr. Decor was in my house today.  In all his handsome glory.  And everything Laura ever says about Mr. Decor is absolutely true, he is a wonderful husband, man and father.  And Mr. Tennis and I always thought, and still think, he's a pretty fantastic little brother.

His sister, Lisa and Orlando Grandma were here today as well.

Thanks for stopping by Mr. D and Sweetboy too!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

That's MISS Darcy to You!

We had a special visitor stay at our house for the second half of the week.  Some members of the household were less than thrilled.


Others were curious, but kept their distance.

I was happy as a clam to have a sweet little kitten named Darcy to follow me around like I was the most important person in the world and help me as I worked at the computer.

She even learned eat from the "big kids" feeding station and drink from their waterer.

She's gone back home now to snuggle with her mom, The Maven, and keep her company in her apartment.

Sleep tight Darcy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Patterns Around Boston Manor

This week's photo challenge at RAZAMATAZ is pattern (click here). This one had me stumped right up until this morning when I woke up.  Then while drinking my coffee I noticed that indeed I had many different types of patterns in and around the house.

Pattern doesn't necessarily mean it has to be the same thing repeated over and over again.  It can be a sequence that forms it's own pattern.

Or it CAN be the same shape or item or sequence of items repeating it's self over and over again.

Or, as I mused while sipping my coffee, reading my paper, just as I do every morning before the day commences, a pattern can be the same act repeated over and over again.  And again. And again. And again.  Heh, heh.....another pattern.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Better Half!

In addition to November 11 being Veteran's Day it is also the day Mr. Tennnis was born!

That's him on the right blowing out his birthday candles when he was three.  His brother, Tony is on the left and in the middle is the ever fashionable and chic, Orlando Grandma!

As if he wasn't cute enough as a little boy, his charm and irresistable personality had me hooked early on.  I mean is there any doubt in your mind why I wouldn't find this man a great catch:

Or was it his athletic prowess?  I mean, not everyone can do THAT!

The best thing about him besides his handsome looks and athletic ability is his good nature, sense of humor, intelligence (hey he was smart enough to marry me, right?), honesty, patience, generosity... Well, I could go on and on.  He would be the first to humbly dismiss all those compliments, but those who know him best know he is the real deal.  He always says he's the lucky one, but I've known forever, that I'm the lucky one to have landed him.

A lot has changed in the 33 years we've known each other.  We look quite different and we have a ton more life experience, but really, we are still those two crazy college students who still can make each other laugh (and know what pushes each other's buttons too - we're not perfect!) and like to enjoy new adventures together.

Happy Birthday to the best man I know, Mr. Tennis!  And thanks Orlando Grandma for producing such a wonderful man.

Anyone feeling nostalgic can visit my much more "wordy" birthday tribute to Mr. T  from last year, click here. I was new to blogging at that time last year, and man could I rattle on!  But I had such great subject matter, so, what the heck!