Monday, May 29, 2006

Away From the Rest of the World

Everyone needs their own little hideaway - - a place where they can get away from all the stress and pressures of the world around them.

For Steve and I, it's our patio and garden.

A couple of years ago, our dear friend Jerry (yes, the same Jerry in the previous post - - who married us again) helped us design a garden off our patio. He worked many long hours - - digging, hauling dirt, and getting the design "just so". He and Steve and I then made sure the walkways were laid out straight, and were evenly set in the ground. We set around concrete benches, a wrought iron archway, and a fountain. Jerry then helped me select planters and flowers, and we had our garden!

I then picked out patio furniture, added a few more planters to the patio, and our own little personal paradise was complete.

Here are some pictures of our "hideaway" - -

View From the Patio:

This shot shows the walkways and the layout of the archway,
the fountain, and planters along the retaining wall.

My Mom and Grandmother always loved Hollyhocks,
so I planted some in their memory.
They are doing great! A couple of them are as tall as I am already!

The Fountain and Fu-Dogs:
This is an Antique Cauldron Fountain, complete with river rock accents.
It's a beauty - - and believe it or not, I found it on "Clearance" at K-Mart!

An Angel for My Mother:
My Mom absolutely loved angels, and had quite a large collection of them.
I put this angel statue in my garden in her memory.

View From the Garden:
This is the patio, as seen from the garden.
You can't really see the umbrella table very well, because it's a little dark in that corner.
We usually have the gas grille to the left of the umbrella table, up near the retaining wall.
We like to cook out during the summer months,
and it's nice to eat outside in the shade of the big umbrella!

The twin swing on the left also has a canopy that goes over it,
but it's inside for repair at the moment - - a slight tear that is being mended.
The seats on the swing also fully recline!!

Another View of the Patio:
This view shows the steps leading up to the yard.
The yard is higher than the patio and garden,
and the retaining wall goes all along the back of the garage and house.

The pole light (center) was an actual street light
from the Square in Downtown Taylorville, Illinois,
where I spent a lot of time when growing up
(we had family friends that lived there, and visited often - -
I also lived there after high school).
It's really bright, and lights up the whole back yard!
It really sets off the park bench and hanging plants up there.

Well, that's our little private personal space. We love it, and enjoy entertaining friends and family members back there.

Thanks so much for stopping by and going along on my little "garden tour", and as always, comments are ALWAYS welcome!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Will You Marry Me . . . Again?


Twenty years ago on May 24th, Dear Hubby Steve and I professed our love to each other in front of our loved ones. We promised to love, honor and cherish each other, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for the rest of our lives.

The past twenty years have shown me that LOVE and MARRIAGE are not for the faint of heart - - it takes real effort and a willingness to work hard to make it all work out. There have been some bumps and rough patches along the way, but our deep love and respect for each other have gotten us through. We are stronger now than we have ever been. And when we look back on the past twenty years, it is totally amazing to us just how much we have grown - - how far we have come - - how much we have accomplished . . . TOGETHER.

So here we are - - twenty years later. Steve and I
decided to do something special for our Anniversary . . .

We decided to renew our vows, and re-affirm our love for each other.

So, Saturday evening, in the formal garden in our back yard, in front of a small group of dear friends, we did just that.

Our dear friend Jerry, who is a bishop in an independent church in Springfield, officiated the ceremony. He did a wonderful job, and made it perfect for us.

Our dear friends Curt and Judy were our witnesses. Steve and I could not imagine anyone else we would want standing up there with us. Their presence made it perfect.

Our dear friends Jan and Cindy created a wonderful reception for us, complete with a wedding cake (with a topper and everthing!), punch, nuts, mints, candles - - the works. It was absolutely beautiful, and their efforts made it perfect.

Jerry's parishoner Jeff, and Jan's friend Don, also were in attendance, and their presence and friendship helped make the evening - - well - - perfect.

What else can I say? The WHOLE EVENING was a dream come true - - we were there with dear friends who love us, and we love them. Steve and I are truly blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives!

So - - in closing, I have a couple of pictures to share with you:

THEN - -

And NOW- -

Here's to the NEXT twenty years - - I'm looking forward to the journey. As long as Dear Hubby Steve is by my side, I know it will be perfect!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Today is a very special day - - it is the 20th Wedding Anniversary for Dear Hubby Steve and I.

TWENTY - - LONG - - GUT-WRENCHING - - YEARS . . .. :-)

(Sorry, just had to do that!)

Actually, it hasn't been all that bad . . . I mean, there have been some bumps and rough spots along the way, but who hasn't had them??

The important thing is, we are together, and we are happy, and even more in love than we were 20 years ago. That's what happens when you are married to your best friend.

Twenty years - - doesn't seem possible . . .

Looking forward to the next 20 years! I love you, Steve!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


It's been over a month since I posted here. I know - - and I'm sorry.

It's been a rough trip down a very bumpy road this past month. A lot has happened. I'll try to summarize it and make it as short as possible.

The last part of April is always a pretty rough time for Dad and me. Mom passed away three years ago the last week of April, so I try my best to spend even more time than usual with him, because it hits him harder than usual at that time.

For some reason, it was harder on me this year. It's always pretty rough, but for some reason this year was worse. It was pretty difficult keeping on a "brave face" for Dad when I felt I was just dying inside. And what made it even more difficult is Dear Hubby Steve's extended work hours, including weekends. SO - - I was feeling pretty much like the "Lone Ranger", and it wasn't too easy.

But I made it through - - *whew*

Getting into the first part of May is always quite an adventure. Spring Semester is always the most hectic at the College, with faculty receiving tenure status, faculty promotions in process, the Institutional Data Book (my 185-page baby!) being readied for presentation to the Board, Outstanding Student Awards in each discipline, starting end-of-year budget close-out AND starting the next year's budget process . . . and of course the Reception for the graduates, followed up by the Commencement Ceremony.

This past week was a lot of those things - -

The Reception for the graduates was Monday, with 2 sessions - - one in the early afternoon, and one until 6:30 p.m. Of course, then there was clean-up, so I didn't get home from work until close to 8:30.

The Data Book was presented to the Board on Tuesday, which meant there was a HUGE last-minute push to make sure everything was accurate and looking "pretty".

There was a Committee meeting on Wednesday, which I had to take minutes for and then work on getting everything completed before the faculty members of the Committee took off for the summer.

I was in Springfield for an all-day training workshop on Thursday, which was actually pretty interesting. It was a PIC workshop (Political Involvement Committee), and was to train us how to find out more about our legislators and how to approach them about issues important to us and our community, such as our State-funded Pension Plan, which has been "raided" so many times to pay other bills, I'll be lucky if anything is left by the time I retire! SO - - instead of sitting on my dead backside and bitching about it, I decided it was time to get involved and try to do something about it. If I expect somebody to help me out in this situation, I better be willing to help myself, right? :-)

Commencement was on Friday. We were down at the Civic Center by 10:00 a.m. to help set up the stage, place program booklets on over 2,000 chairs, and make sure everything was a "go". Then at 11:00 a.m., the usher volunteers and a good-sized group of graduates came in for rehearsal. That was all finally finished up around 12:15 p.m., so a bunch of us headed off to lunch before heading back to Campus. I left work around 4:00 p.m. and headed home to change clothes (including COMFY shoes!) and headed back to the Civic Center. We all met there around 5:15, and got ready to help the students, faculty and staff with their caps and gowns. Those things are a ROYAL PAIN to get on right - - and the fabric doesn't "breathe", so by the time they march in, they are already sweating profusely!! Then you pack them in that already crowded arena . . . it's a VERY uncomfortable time! They are SO happy when the ceremony is over and they can peel those things off!

After Commencement, we cleaned the dressing room, went back to the arena and helped clean up signs, discarded programs, etc., and finally headed home.

My day had started at 530 a.m. I finally got home from work Friday night at 9:30 p.m.

My feet STILL hurt!

But - - I made up my mind last month that I was just going to keep my head down, concentrate on what needed to be done, and do it. I knew there must be a light at the end of the tunnel - - once I made it around that long curve. Once I reached it, I would be able to catch my breath and get on with other things.

I can FINALLY breathe. It feels good.

Thanks for stopping by. The next post won't be so long in coming as this one was. Promise.