Saturday Smile: M is for the Million Things She Gave You

Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin. – Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Mothers are generally not only mothers. Mothers are always also daughters and sisters and wives and grandmothers and stepmothers and friends and employees and church members and neighbors and many other things. We all know this intellectually. But at the end of the day, they are simply our mom.

My mother passed away in 1995. I think of her almost every day and miss her like she left for heaven yesterday.

But I am blessed to have had a wonderful stepmother….

Celebrating Shirley’s birthday on her 80th birthday.

….and to have had a loving mother-in-law who joined my mom in heaven recently…..

Wilma and her great grandson Joseph.

All of my mothers have been all of the things I mentioned above. But I honor them today because they have been my mother. And that was and is no easy task.

Jen, Mom, and me circa 1990.

Dad and Mom with many of their grandkids at their home in Dillon, circa 1982.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mother’s in my life, and to all of my friends and family members who are mothers. It’s the most important job we have.

Thursday Thoughts

Hallmark Holidays
I have mixed feelings about both Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day. I, of course, am so happy to be a mother, but I must admit that each Mothers’ Day when the priest at Mass asks mothers to stand for a blessing, I get a bit sad for the women who don’t stand who wish they could be (or could have been) mothers. Perhaps they should just give the blessing without having us stand. Having said all of that, we had a wonderful Fathers’ Day spent with two of the three people who call Bill Dad. The third lives in Vermont, and would undoubtedly have been there if she were a millionaire and could afford to fly to Denver at a whim. He got a much-desired baseball glove and a card signed by his grandkids. Later on in the day, Court, Kaiya and Mylee Facetimed him to wish him a happy Fathers’ Day. All-in-all, a good day…..

Bill, McLains card


Fathers Day 2016 (2)

Fresh Paint
I’ve written on this blog that we have gone more than 23 years without painting much of our house. This summer we are determined to paint all of the rooms that are so desperately in need of sprucing up. So this past weekend, I picked out my color, and Bill and I painted the room which I use as my office…..

Bill painting

I actually did some of the painting too, though Bill admittedly did the bulk of the work, as usual. But I did some of the rolling, which took a lot more strength than I had anticipated. For the most part, my life is not challenged by the arthritis I have in my hands and wrists, but I will admit that it impacted my ability to paint a whole bunch. I love the way it turned out. Next, our guest room.

I won’t lie. One of the best things about summer for me is that I can ride my scooter. It’s one of the first things I ask Bill to do when we get back to Denver and the temperatures are warming up – get my scooter started. He’s got it down to a science these days. He charges up the battery, and then has some kind of spray something-or-other that results in the scooter starting after only a few attempts. I used to drive my scooter all the way to my office downtown, but now I mostly scoot around the neighborhood. I almost always take it to the grocery store. The box on back fits more than you would think, but I must admit I occasionally have the need to put something between my feet. Once I had a case of Corona between my feet on the scooter. Luckily, I don’t have far to drive. I’m pretty sure the police wouldn’t have been thrilled for all sorts of reasons.

Kris scooter 2016

All four of Dave’s and Jll’s kids are up at camp this week. It’s pretty quiet around the neighborhood, and exceptionally quiet at their house. Alastair has been gone since school got out. He literally got on a plane the afternoon of his last school day and flew to Montana, where he went RV camping with his Aunt Julie for a week. He got home, slept in his bed one night, and then left for Boy Scout camp. He got home from that, spent another night in his own bed, and left for this camp on the afternoon of Fathers’ Day. I asked him that morning how he felt about leaving again and spending another week sleeping in a tent. “I love it,” he said. That made me happy, but I will tell you that I would have missed my mommy when I was little. Golly, I was such a mommy’s girl.



A funny thing happened on the way to Mother’s Day. Well, a couple of funny things, really. A May snowstorm and Nana is speechless.

For the second year in a row, we had a snowstorm on Mother’s Day. Last year a snowstorm prevented Bill and me from attending our annual Mother’s Day brunch with my sister Jen, her son BJ, and his girlfriend Page in Boulder. This year I was determined that NOTHING was going to stop me.

We, in fact, got way more snow than we did last year, but it fell earlier in the day. By time we awoke at 7 o’clock, the snow was finished and the meltoff had begun. Last year the snow was madly falling right about the time we would have been driving to Boulder. This year, all we had to contend with were wet highways and a fallen aspen tree in our back yard. More work for Bill…..

broken tree Mothers Day 2015

The drive was painless and the brunch was delicious. Nothing says thanks to motherhood like refilling a plate three or five times, and eating four – count ‘em – four creme brulees. They were small. Tiny; really, really tiny.

Mothers Day brunchers

But the second thing that happened on the way to Mother’s Day actually happened on Saturday. We attended our grandson Cole’s first birthday party. I’m not sure when this became the practice, but parents now give their one-year-old birthday child his/her own cake and let them have at it. Not complaining; I think it’s cute as can be. In fact, the cakes now have a name – smash cakes. It’s hard to keep up. Anyhoo, it can be hit or miss. Some toddlers like the cake; some are totally and completely unimpressed. For his part, Cole apparently thinks smash cakes – or any cakes, really – are a great idea. He had a bit of a time getting started, but as his little hand hovered over his smash cake, his cousin Dagny helpfully smooshed his hand down into the cake, and it didn’t take long before he recognized the delights of chocolate cake…..

Cole and smash cake

So, I mentioned the other day that I was dealing with a cold. As far as colds go, I have had worse. Or so I thought. I was somewhat hoarse at the party, but fully able to talk, and even sang (well, croaked, really) the birthday song to Cole.

However, when we got home, I went upstairs to my office for an hour or so to do some work on my computer. I noticed we got an email from our neighbor, and I went down to show the email to Bill.

“Hey Bill, did you see this email from Bob?” I said. Or, I tried to say. Because nothing came out. I kid you not. I was completely unable to speak. I couldn’t even croak. That has never happened to me in my 61 years on this earth. I have gotten hoarse, but never completely voiceless. It was the strangest feeling ever.

For two days now I have communicated with Bill through notes. I discovered that he is completely unable to lip read. And because he is also unable to read anything without his reading glasses, conversation has been cumbersome to say the least. When we got into bed Saturday night, he said, “I don’t like when you can’t talk.”

I woke up yesterday morning hopeful that I would have a voice, but alas, nothing came out. So Bill found an app for my IPad that allowed me to write notes with my finger and erase the note so that I could write a new note. Sort of the 21st century version of the Magic Slate. Remember the Magic Slate?

We managed to get to Boulder, and managed to have a semblance  of conversation with our fellow brunchers. In fact, at one point, I even was able to talk a bit (I credit the champagne). But as the day wore on, my voice wore out once again.

Here’s the good news….it’s a temporary affliction, and I’m able to nag Bill even without a voice. I’m surprised he isn’t relieved as opposed to disappointed.

Thursday Thoughts

Ah Choo

I told you that I came home to grandkidarama. I couldn’t possibly be more delighted about seeing them again. The thing is, where there are school-age kids, there is often school-age-kids-related illness. Like colds. I went into it with my eyes wide open. I knew a few of the grandkids had sniffly noses. I could hear the coughs. I had a one-year-old’s drool on my sweater from a one-year-old who was later diagnosed with (count ‘em) two ear infections (he would likely have had three had he had three ears). So Tuesday evening when my throat began to feel scratchy, I had to admit to myself that I was likely coming down with a cold. Sure enough, I woke up in the middle of the night with a massively sore throat full of phlegm. My first cold of 2015 is upon me. The hugs and kisses were well worth the few days of sniffling that will ensue. After all, remember this?……..

Cole snuggling

and this…..

looking at disney pics

Mother’s Day Weather

Every Mother’s Day, Bill and I enjoy brunch at the Greenbriar Restaurant outside of Boulder with my sister Jen. Prior to marrying and starting his own Mother’s Day traditions, Court used to join us. BJ hasn’t missed a single one that I can remember. The brunch is magnificent, with tables and tables of goodies from a breakfast bar featuring omelets made to order to salads, prime rib and leg of lamb carving stations, oysters on the half shell, and all things in between. The dessert table alone is worth the price of admission. I remember one year when Court ate 10 or 12 crème brulees by himself. Ah, there is nothing quite like an all-you-can-eat buffet when you’re college-aged. Last year, an infrequent-but-certainly-not-unheard-of winter snowstorm prevented Bill and me from making it to the brunch. Six to eight inches of snow didn’t deter BJ, however, who has four-wheel drive expressly for such emergencies. For 12 months I have lamented missing that buffet. So I have looked foward to Sunday with great pleasure.

Except for the fact that Weather Channel shows a snowflake on their Sunday weather forecast. Be gone, Winter. I told Bill that I will simply not miss this year so that snowflake must go away. We listened to the weather news this morning, and it sounds like the snow will be above 7,000 feet.

Speaking of Weather….

We have had rain every day since we got home, except for the day of our arrival when Bill mowed our overgrown lawn after driving 450 miles. I’m beginning to think that I should start rounding up the animals. Friday we are supposed to watch 8-year-old Dagny sing the National Anthem (along with 100 of her closest Southmoor Elementary Choir friends) at the Rockies game. Unfortunately, the Rockies are having a HELL of a time even having a game because of rain and thunderstorms. Tomorrow’s forecast doesn’t look good, I’m afraid. Nor does Saturday’s, when Cole will have his one-year-old birthday celebration, which is designed to be held outdoors. Fingers crossed. And by the way, if Denver is supposed to have over 300 days of sunshine a year, the sun better get busy. I’m eager to begin cleaning up our patio and enjoying a drink in the evening sitting on my rocking chair that we hauled those same 450 miles.

Chihuly Glass Exhibit ala the Beverly Hillbillies

Undoubtedly many of you have had the pleasure of seeing a display of the amazingly beautiful glass designs by glass artist Dale Chihuly. I saw the exhibit a couple of years ago at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, and was lucky enough to see it again last summer at the display at the Denver Botanical Gardens. The colorful glass designs amidst the gorgeous foliage and as part of pretty water features are a sight to behold.

Last fall when we cleaned up our yard in preparation for winter, I threw our plastic balls into our own little empty water feature where they couldn’t blow away and I knew I could easily find them this spring. Because of the rain, however, our little cement pond is full of water. This morning, I looked at the pond and realized we have our own version of a glass exhibit. Watch out Mr. Chihuly.

Chihuly Glass exhibit at Denver Botanical Gardens

Chihuly Glass exhibit at Denver Botanical Gardens

The Beverly Hillbillies version ala our own cee-ment pond.

The Beverly Hillbillies version ala our own cee-ment pond.

Now if I could just find my umbrellas.