Tag Archives: family

Thinking Out Loud #7

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone! I’m linking up with Thinking Out Loud again which has become my Thursday routine.  TOL is sponsored by Amanda at Running With Spoons.  If you have time today, stop over there to see what everyone else has on their minds.  If not, just book mark it and go back tomorrow instead of spending all of your money on-line!


I feel I’ve been grumbling a lot in my Thinking Out Loud posts, but today there’s none of that.  This post is about thanks and gratitude.

I have so many things this year for which I am thankful that I’m not sure where to start, so I may jump around a bit as things come to me.

~I am so very Thankful for the amazing gift and opportunity I was given this year.  This time last year, I was not feeling very well.  The cold and damp of the impending winter were starting make me feel the beginnings of the degenerative joint disease that got worse and worse through the winter and spring.  As the winter progressed, so did my pain and discomfort.  Finally in March, I could barely walk.  I was so very lucky that I was able to find Dr. Richard Rothman at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia.  He changed my life by giving me two new titanium hips (yes I AM bionic!)  and I will always be grateful.  Besides, he told me I looked like I was in my 20’s…of course he was wearing glasses!

~I am so grateful to my best friend, Gail.  Not only did she come back to New Jersey from her vacation in Maine to spend two weeks with me while I got on the road to recovery, but she opened her home to me for almost three months while she went back to Maine.  Her house was more conducive to my recovery than mine was.  She let me stay there and only laughed when I referred to myself as her “squatter.”  She couldn’t be better.  I’m so lucky to have her as my friend.

~I am so grateful to my sister, Ele.  She visited me almost every day while I was there.  She supported me and encouraged me and always made me feel I could get up and get back to normal.  She was an especially welcome visitor when Ralph went West to his Army reunion and then on to New Mexico.  She was great, but then she always is!! I’m so lucky to have the best sister in the world.

~Finally I want to say how lucky I am to have Ralph.  He was admittedly a nervous wreck before during and after the surgery.  He tried not to show it, but it’s hard for Ralph not to show his emotions.  That’s one of the best things about him.  He fed me (too much at times!) kept me company, worried about me, cared for me and encouraged me.  He is wonderful and I’m so grateful that he came into my life.

Ralph and Fran Thanksgiving 1993


I wanted to share this picture of Ralph and Me.  We don’t look Too Happy, do we?!?  This was taken on Thanksgiving 1993.  I don’t know this because I was smart enough to write it on the back of the photo.  For some reason our family Never got that concept.  We have tons of photos with nothing written on the back and we have NO idea who the people are.  Most of the people who could identify the photos are gone.  So Ele and I are left making up stories about who they are.

I know when this was taken because we also have a video that my niece, Mary took on Thanksgiving 1993.  In that video, you can see this photo being taken.  It is the coolest thing to have something like that.  It’s almost a little creepy, almost like it’s the paparazzi!  It’s fairly long and Mary narrates the entire video.  We lost her in 2007 so it’s wonderful to hear her voice and experience her sense of humor again.  It is a  gift and I’m thankful for that.

~My thankfulness is boundless today.  I can’t show enough gratitude to these people who have made my life so full this year.  So have just come into my life recently, others have always been there.  There are many others, but this is long already.  I’ve always been lucky.  I don’t know if I’ve always been grateful or thankful enough.  I am now.

Be sure to stop over at Running With Spoons to read the other Thinking Out Loud posts.  I bet you’ll find a lot of thanks and gratitude there, today.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

50 Years And More To Come!

Wednesday afternoon we had a great time at a small Anniversary lunch for Ralph’s sister Kathy and her husband John.  They’re celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  That’s 5-0!!  Amazing!  They’re both great people and you may remember them from John’s birthday party a few weeks ago.

Our usual collection of characters from Ralph’s side of the family were present.

Kathy and John the Couple of the Day!  They were much happier than they look in this photo, my camera is slow in low light and they were too excited to sit still!

Cousins Kathie and Lynne!

Brother in law George, Ralph, sister Maddie and sister Kathy!

Me and Ralph!  Yes, he was waiting for an important call! 😉

Ralph’s artwork.  Kathy and John’s last name is Warren, hence “Warren-ty.”

Party favors made by my niece, Penny!

The artwork and the cake!

Of course there was real food too!  This is the delicious Greek Salad I always have here.  Very filling, but it’s so big, I’m always the last one eating!  I don’t care, I order it every time.  So Good!

My tiny piece of cake…

Very tasty and I felt completely in control!

I love when we have the chance to get together with Ralph’s family.  They’re such a great group and we always have a good time.  We probably won’t be seeing any of them before we head out to New Mexico so we left with lots of hugs and well wishes.  It was a great day!

Happy Thursday!  Happy 50th Anniversary, Kathy and John!  WoW!!

Vistiting Celebrities

Thursday started off with my 2 mile walk.  Today was the day that my body finally got the idea that I had been walking for 5 days!  Boy, was it a slow and stiff start but about half way through (when I reached the hill) I started to feel looser and pick up speed.  I’m really enjoying this and I’ll be keeping it up!

It’s always fun when my nephew Michael comes to stay with Grummy Ele.  He is such a cutie and we have a good time with him. Jim is still visiting from DC.  After Michael was dropped off by his Dad on Thursday morning, we all made a mad rush for our favorite breakfast stop…Why Dunkin’ Donuts, of course!

I had my usual favorite breakfast at DD…

The veggie flatbread and iced coffee!!  It is just so tasty!  I was bemoaning the fact that there are not Dunkin’ Donuts across the country and on our trip I’ll have to settle for less satisfying coffee.  I’ve decided that I’m going to go to the local DD before we leave, get an iced coffee and Freeze it…then keep it in the cooler and when it defrosts, I’ll have my DD coffee!  I have no idea if this will work, but I thought it was worth a try! 😉

Michael struggling with his very large breakfast thing-y!

A very nice shot (if I do say so myself!) of Michael and Grummy.  Ele is gripping Michael’s arm because he was insisting on doing bunny ears for the photo…didn’t happen!

A  great shot of all of us, kindly taken by a lady sitting at the next table.  I Like It!

An afternoon trip to Barnes & Noble found me grilling the girl at the Nook desk again.  I’ll probably Eventually break down and buy one, but today was not the day.  I even had my gift cards burning a hole in my pocket, but I wouldn’t make a decision yet. 

Iced green tea and a freebie about Philadelphia writers groups.  Took the barista 2 tries to get my tea right.  It was very tasty once it was not excessively sweetened!  Proud of myself because I didn’t buy a thing! I looked all over, but couldn’t find any books for 49 cents!! 😉

After Barnes & Noble I got dropped off and spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing.  My favorite pastime!

Happy Friday!!



Just As I Thought

As expected, Saturday was a bit of a whirlwind.

My results at Weight Watchers were about what I expected I gain 1.8 pounds.  I knew I was off track and I now I get to work on fixing it!  I was disappointed, but it’s much easier to accept a gain when you have an idea that it will happen.  I get frustrated on the weeks when I’ve been SO good and I get a gain.  Hey, it gives me another project to work on…Like I need another!! 😉

After WW, Gail, Alice and I headed to breakfast, our last one for quite some time. They’re off to Maine early this morning and won’t be home until October.  Thank goodness we’ve gotten the whole Skype thing worked out.  We’re trying to figure out a way for me to get a short visit up there at some point, but it’s still a work in progress.

Breakfast was very satisfying…

Big old bowl of oatmeal at the diner.  I asked for cinnamon.  Unfortunately they gave me cinnamon sugar.  Guess I need to be more specific.  It was good anyway!

Lunch was planned as a birthday celebration  (another one?!) for Ralph’s Aunt Marie.

Isn’t she beautiful!!  She is such a sweetheart, too.  I keep telling Ralph that when I got him, I got a pretty terrific family to go along with him.  Great gift!

Family shot…Ralph, Maddie, Me, George and Aunt Marie in the seat of honor!

Oh yes, the food…Finally found something I really like at this restaurant…the Greek Salad.

So delicious.  I love that I figured out to ask for grilled Portobello mushroom on it. This was huge.  I actually had to take part home. (That may have been due to the 2 pieces of bread I had while waiting…)  I didn’t take a photo of my piece of birthday cake, but that was because I forgot, not because I was hiding it.

Late afternoon we went to a barbecue to see some friends.  It was a very nice time, mainly because there weren’t a lot of people there.  Some we knew and a few new people. Got some of the lowdown on the wedding we’ll be going to in August.  Not being a huge crowd, we actually got to get to know the new people.  I like that.  There were actually connections to other people we know.  Truly a small world.  We sat and talked until about 10pm.  I never ate a thing…still too full from lunch, just kept the iced tea coming.  A very enjoyable evening.

It’s a drizzly Sunday Morning now…Not sure what the day will hold.  Got my fingers on a book I’ve been wanting to read…Snagged it from Kristen

Uglies (Uglies, #1)

Kristen is becoming my Young Adult fiction book connection.  She’s the reason I got to read The Hunger Games.  Thanks, Kristen! 😉

On such a dreary day, I’d like to snuggle with my book and a cup of tea.  That won’t likely happen, but hopefully I’ll get some reading in.

Happy Sunday!




Another Happy Birthday!

It seems like we have a lot of birthday celebrations in our family.  That’s a good thing, actually!  It’s great to get together with family with a reason to celebrate.

Although I’ve titled this Another Happy Birthday, I came close to using the title of Crappy Birthday.  I have really not been feeling well the last few days.  Nothing I can put my finger on.  It feels like there a war zone in my abdomen!  Loud noises and things moving around.  Very spooky…I was afraid I was in a new sequel to Aliens!  I had to make the effort to go to our planned lunch but boy I didn’t feel like it.

A big cup of mint tea usually helps when I’m having this kind of discomfort.  It actually reminded me of the upset stomach I used to get when I was still working and people were driving me crazy.  The tea did a lot to make me feel better.  We were set to meet everyone at 1pm.  I didn’t take a lot of photos because I wasn’t really on my game.  I wasn’t sure what I’d choose to eat either.

You’ve got to have balloons for a party!

My wonderful Sister-In-Law Maddie and her husband, George…the man of mystery behind his Foster-Grants! It was George’s birthday we were here to celebrate.

My lunch was what was called a specialty vegetarian panini.  Mozzarella cheese, Portobello mushroom, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.  There was a little too much of the vinaigrette, it made the sandwich a little soggy. It would probably have been tasty if I had felt better.  I ate about a third of the fries.   Not because I wanted them, but because they were there.  A good reason to ask for them left off the plate, but again, I wasn’t really thinking that way.  Seltzer with lime in the background in hopes of settling my raging tummy!

The Birthday Boy blowing out the candle on his cake.  I don’t know why I think this photo is so cute, I just do!  George is such a sweetheart!

My little piece of cake that looks much larger in this photo than it actually was!  Now this actually tasted good!

We had a great time together, I just wish I’d been feeling better.  However as we said our goodbyes and were walking to our cars we noticed a beautiful sight.  The rose bushes along the side of the building were all in various stages of bloom.

So pretty!  It’s been a beautiful spring with all of the flowering trees and I haven’t gotten any good photos. I’m glad I caught these beauties to share with you.

We’ve got an annual doctor’s appointment for Ralph this afternoon.  Before and after that, I’m just going to be resting and trying to feel better.  I’d almost rather be Really sick than Semi sick.  Good excuse to finish The Shadow of the Wind.  It is so good.  I know I’m going to be sorry when I’m finished.  Love it when a book is that good that I miss it when it’s over.

Happy (or Semi-Crappy) Thursday!

R is for Ralph

The Blogging A to Z Challenge today is brought to you by the letter R.

I didn’t have to think long or hard to decide what would be my subject for the letter R.  I’ve been using a lot of the letters in the Challenge to talk about family members.  So you know that R needs to stand for Ralph.

Those of you who have been reading BCDC for a while know that Ralph is my wonderful husband of almost 12 years.  He’s been in my life for almost 21 years.  We’ve been through a lot together and intend to keep going.  One of the first evenings Ralph and I spent together talking and getting to know each other, he told me that he wanted to spend our 50th anniversary together.  He doesn’t remember that of course.  It could happen.  Why do you think I eat all of this healthy food?! 😉

I’ll start with little Ralph.  He was known as Micky to his family back then.  But don’t tell him I told you that!  Isn’t he Cute?!

The comment on the back of this photo, carefully written by his Mom says that he is 6 years old.  Hard to think of a cuter child.  His grandson Patrick looks so much like him back then.

Thought I’d give you all a few laughs with some of these photos.

This is us, early 90’s at the wedding of our friends Karin and Charlie.

This is us, Thanksgiving 1993.  How do I know that?  Not because I was smart enough to write it on the back of the photo.  While going through boxes, my sister Ele recently found a video from that Thanksgiving and in the video you can actually see this photo being taken.  It’s actually a little spooky.  This is one of my favorite photos of us.

I haven’t really said that much about Ralph.  I don’t really know where to start.  He is a kind, considerate, caring man.  In the years I have known him, he has been so good to me and my Family in ways I can’t even begin to recount.

This is us the day we got married…October 1, 2000. You can read all about it here.   Suffice it to say, I’m a very lucky woman.

As much as I love Ralph, I love what we’re hoping to have together even more.   It won’t happen as soon as I’d like, but we’ll be moving to New Mexico.

Here we are on the deck of our home.  Love the mountain view!

I’ve used this photo before, but it is one of my favorites.  I can’t wait to be there and I want to be there with this Guy.  When Ralph’s Mom was still with us I used to thank her every time I saw her for the Wonderful gift she had given me.  She would just smile at me.  She knew what a great guy he is.  I love you Ralph.  Thank you for Everything!

Happy Thursday!  “S”omething interesting coming up tomorrow. (I Hope!)

N is for Nephew

In the Blogging A to Z Challenge today the letter is N.  The word is Nephew.

This is the story of Michael.  Michael is my great-nephew but it’s just easier for me to call him my nephew.  Regardless of the word you want to use…he’s Mine.

I can’t put my fingers on any tiny baby pictures of him at the moment.  Suffice it to say that on the day he was born when visiting the hospital, Uncle Ralph was going up and down the hall calling strangers into the room for them to see the most beautiful baby ever born.  Ok, so I guess he’s Ralph’s too!

This is chubby little Michael at about 2 I would guess in the traditional Christmas picture.  Too cute.

In spite of everything, he’s always cheerful.

He’s about to throw a ball here, but he’s really more into hockey these days.  He plays on a team and is very talented.  Not that I understand anything when he plays.

He’s 9 years old now and he can be a bit of a teaser as in this photo!

He made an appearance on my very first post on BCDC…

Still one of my favorite photos.

He is smart and sensitive and talented and kind-hearted.  He is the best thing that has happened to our family in a long time.

Michael with his beautiful mother, Mary.  We don’t have her any longer, but we have him and it is truly scary how much like her he is.  He is the best.

If I could have chosen a Nephew, I couldn’t have  chosen better.  I love it when he guest stars on BCDC and so does he.  We don’t see him as much as we used to, but I try to include him whenever I can.  He is simply the best.

Happy Monday!!  “O”, I wonder what we’ll do tomorrow?!

The Celebrations Continue

Today is our planned day off from Blogging A to Z.  I’ll be back with the letter N tomorrow!

For today I want to share some of the continuing celebrations for Ralph’s birthday.

It all started last Saturday with the duel birthday for Ralph and Jim which was great fun.

Friday, Ralph’s sisters, their husbands and two of his cousins took us out for Ralph’s Birthday.  Their favorite choice is Adelphia in Deptford.  I must say that the staff there is wonderful and our waiter this day was especially attentive and fun.

Happy Birthday Balloons!

I’ve learned that my best choice at Adelphia is their Greek salad.  I asked for a grilled Portobello mushroom on it and that really added to my enjoyment.

Their dressing is very light and delicious.  I have to remember to ask for them to leave off the anchovies.  I always forget.  Regardless it was very tasty and after removing the anchovies I finished every drop!  I even got compliments on that!

Our waiter, Moe had some fun with the candles we brought and reversed the numbers.  Interesting, todays’ cake was brown and blue and so was the one last Saturday!

Ralph and Me!

Ralph with his sisters Kathy and Maddie.

And with his cousins Lynn (who gave me her cheesecake recipe!!) and Kathie.

My slightly mutilated slice of cake.  Not too sweet, but very chocolate-y.  We always bring our cakes with us.  I can’t remember where this came from but it was tasty!

It was a lovely afternoon and we all enjoyed ourselves.  The folks at Adelphia couldn’t have been nicer!  More Birthday celebrations to come soon!

I have to share a pretty shot of the azaleas in my front yard.

Today is actually Ralph’s birthday.  We’re off to celebrate again today!

Happy Sunday!  Happy Birthday, Ralph!

Adelphia on Urbanspoon

M is for Madeleine

The Blogging A to Z Challenge today brings us to the letter M.

I wasn’t sure where to go with the letter M.  I thought of Men, I thought of Money, I even thought of Makeup.  None of them were right.

Today Ralph’s sisters and cousins had a birthday luncheon for him.  I got to spend time with my Wonderful Sister-In-Law Madeleine and I knew what I should talk about.

From the first, Maddie and I have been fast friends.  I don’t remember when I actually first met her, but if I had to choose another sister to add to my fun with my sister, Ele…it would be Maddie.

She is the sweetest, kindest, most sincere person you’ll ever meet.  She’s honest and you’ll always know where you stand with Maddie.  Lucky for me, she’s very happy that I’m with her brother.  She likes to tell me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  I say that he’s lucky to have her as a sister and that she’s one of the best things that’s happened to me.   She has a heart as big as they come and would do anything for her friends and family.

That’s Maddie with her wonderful husband, George.  He’s lucky to have her too, but then he knows it.

Ralph was lucky to always have Maddie in his corner.

Now I’m just as lucky.  Thanks, Maddie…pretty good gift I got for no extra charge when I got Ralph!

Happy Saturday!!

H is for Home

Welcome back Blogging A to Z!!  I enjoyed a break from having to come up with a theme letter.  A blogging friend commented that I still blogged when I could have had the day off!  I needed to get rid of some of these darned food pictures!

H is for Home.

Home has always been very important to me.  I grew up in a warm and loving home.  I always felt like I had two homes because Gram and Pop lived in the house right behind us and we were there as much as we were in our own home.  One was really just an extension of the other.  A wonderful thing to experience.

I currently live in the house where my parents and sister lived when I was born.  I often refer to it as my Grandparents house but that’s just because they lived here before me.  Life is a circle, especially in our family.

You’ve heard me mention lately that I’m going through a lot of things, sorting and packing for our move to New Mexico (it’s hard to type with my fingers crossed!)  What I’ve found are some wonderful old photos of this house as it used to be.  Not that it’s in great shape now, but from these photos, I think I feel a little better!

This is my house! More than sixty years ago, I would estimate.  You can see the addition being put on the back.  Unfortunately the front porch is gone, it became part of my living room.  Interesting that the front door you see here is currently my front door.  My family grew up in the depression…we didn’t waste anything!

That’s Mom supervising the digging of the basement before the addition went up. Not sure who that is in the white shirt, looks too bulky to be my Dad, but that’s definitely my Uncle Andrew, Gram’s brother in the cap.  Yes, they dug a basement under the existing house and the addition.  My basement is literally as big as the house.  I could build an apartment down there!

Mom resting from her supervisory duties while the addition is in progress.  Again, Uncle Andrew is there.  He was always building something.  He lived in the house across the street.

Yes, that’s the fuel for all of this heavy lifting.  We were always a family that likes to keep track of its drinking.

I don’t have any photos of the finished product, but this has always been one of my favorite photos.

That’s Mom and sister Ele in the front window.  As you can see, there’s no longer a porch.  The entrance is on the side of the house now.  I think I’m actually in this photo too, because I think Mom was expecting me when this was taken! Can you see me waving?!

So that’s my little house.  It’s a little worse for wear now.  From what I know it was originally built in 1920, so it’s allowed to be a little worn at the edges.  I love it anyway.

I am however very much looking forward to living in this little beauty…

My own little mountain top home!  I can’t wait.  Can’t wait to fix it up and make it a home for Ralph and Me.