Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grandpa Gene

My grandpa Gene was quite the character.  He was such a funny guy, and you never knew what he was going to say or do, or how appropriate it was going to be, but you always enjoyed being around him because of it.  I remember when I was a kid and we were visiting Gene and my grandma Doris at their home in Saint Charles, Ill., we were eating a meal at the kitchen table and Gene fed one of his much loved black labs the food off of his plate from his own fork.  Of course my grandma was used to it, my mom was close to horrified, and me and my sisters laughed and talked about it for a long time to come.  He was a veteran, wore suspenders like no one else could, loved twizzlers and bingo and giving my grandma a hard time, enjoyed spending time at their camp site and fishing.  

I remember back in 2008 everyone from my Dad's side of the family went down to South Carolina for my Dad's surprise 50th birthday party.  Some people stayed at a hotel, but grandpa Gene and grandma Doris were staying at my parents' house, along with me, Rob and my sisters.  As funny and/or embarrassing as this may sound now, Gene and I had the same exact Verizon flip phone at the time.  One afternoon I could not find my phone anywhere.  I remember looking everywhere and asking everyone, including Gene, if they had seen it.  Finally I called my number from another phone and I see Gene pull out 'his' cell phone thinking he got a phone call.  I was like Gene!  That's my phone!  He still insisted it was his, and I had to go up into his bedroom and find his actual phone sitting on his night stand and bring it down to him.  I never really knew if he was pulling my leg or actually thought my cell phone was his.

Grandpa Gene passed away yesterday.  He had been ill for a few years now, so while it is always difficult to say goodbye and accept the loss of a loved one, I think everyone also feels a sense of peace knowing that he is now at peace and not suffering anymore.  More than anything I feel for my grandma.  The past few years have not been easy and she has been by his side every step of the way.  She visited him at the nursing home multiple times a day, every day.  They truly were a great pair.  

This weekend a lot of family members, including myself, will be traveling to St Charles, Ill. for the funeral service.  Even though we aren't getting together for a fun beach vacation, and funerals are never easy, it will still be nice having everyone together since it really doesn't happen very often anymore.  I'm even lucky enough to get to sit next to my sister Michelle on the plane from Charlotte to Chicago and back!

I promise it was a coincidence Gene is wearing the same Largemouth Lager fish sweatshirt in the picture from my Dad's 50th birthday party and the picture of him and Grandma Doris at dinner on the last night of our family trip to Mexico.  That was just his style, and he pulled it off well :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mom and Dad come to visit

The past two weekends we got to spend time with my parents, which was great since I hadn't seen them since the weekend after Thanksgiving.  They came the first weekend in Feb. to a) visit with us b) give us financial/budgeting advice at our request c) have a fun super bowl party with us and d) bring us stuff like a ladder, wheelbarrow and new TV for our office/living room that they got on black Friday at Walmart.  We had some nice meals out at our favorite Tapas place and a restaurant with great vegan options for my Mom, did some shopping at the Forum outdoor shopping mall near our house, saw the movie Argo Sunday morning (since it was sold out Sat. evening) and were pleasantly surprised by the leather recliner chairs in the theater, and cooked up a storm for the super bowl.

Putting my feet up at the most comfortable movie theater I've ever been to

Roxanne watching the Puppy Bowl

On Tuesday morning my mom flew to Texas to visit her brother Willie for the week, and my dad flew to Chicago to see his mom.  On Saturday they both flew back to Atlanta and stayed with us for the night before driving to Clemson to see Michelle on Sunday.  Saturday night we went to my dad's favorite- the Buckhead Diner- for dinner.  Rob and I had never been, though we have driven past it many times, and my dad hadn't been there in years but he remembered he loved the meatloaf the last time he was there.  He and Rob got the meatloaf again and both loved it.  I would definitely go back.

 Enjoying drinks at the bar before dinner

This weekend I have been nothing but sick with a sore throat and head cold, and Rob has been doing nothing but homework and studying.  Today I did take Roxanne to the dog park though, where she proudly barked at kids half of the time she was there, and I made a new recipe out of Rob's Runner's World magazine for dinner tonight.  We (well, mostly Rob) are trying to eat healthier lately and cutting out carbs.  I know Rob is serious about this because our neighborhood girl scouts delievered our cookies today while I was at the dog park and Rob didn't and isn't planning on eating any of them.  This recipe fit into our diet pretty well and was easy to make, except the prep work took forever!  Basically you saute onion, garlic and ginger.  Then add cut up broccoli, green beans, red cabbage and mushrooms.  Then add cooked ground turkey, followed by lime juice, soy sauce and hot chili sauce.  Then you add in a bunch of chopped cilantro and scallions, and top it off with chopped peanuts.  It did have a kick to it, which was a little rough on Rob but I enjoyed, and the recipe made a ton so we have lots of left overs which is nice. 

The finished product!