Since I've been so busy lately and not blogging as regularly, I'm jumping out of
chronological order and going way way back
to chronicle about four or five months of family doings!
Way back in October, we celebrated my mom Shirley's 90th - a big year for her.
We all gathered in New Richmond, Wisconsin.
Shirley's friend Mabel, seated at her left, is now gone from us. She was 96.
Shirley enjoys a cookie in the late fall light, and Sherry hangs out with a bunch of balloons.
The Campbell and Keeley Yonda cousins frolic in the long grasses.
October magically turns to December, and I'm back again in Wisconsin for Christmas.
My brother Dan gives me a ride from the airport, and the snowless landscape
surprises us with one of his sculptures out standing in a field.
And here it is back in Brooklyn!
Okay, so you guessed that the magic of Photoshop has been involved.
The real piece is about 18 inches tall.
Here is one of his pieces in its current habitat, his office at WITC (Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, where he teaches welding) in New Richmond...
…and here it is up in the clouds, where it looks like a fantastic ship sailing upon the
vastness of the churning sea.
Speaking of clouds, when I land in Minneapolis, the snow I ordered seems to be on its way.
But it's a tease. It will take several days for the real thing to arrive, and then it comes with a vengeance.
Christmas, like all our American holidays, is full of cuteness.
I notice that half of the cards my mother received have red cardinals
on them. What could it mean???
This is one of the deep questions I ponder while hanging out
at my mom's current abode, a "full-care" facility.
Later, I am gifted with a glimpse of a real cardinal, hanging out at Angie's fabulous feeding station!
Another fun thing is to go to whatever events are offered at my mom's complex.
I see that there will be a Christmas show - Karaoke-style, so Shirley and I trek on down to the activity room. What fun, I think. Don't we all love to sing Christmas carols?
So my mom and I join the happy carolers and watch some cuteness flow across the screen.
And then the singing starts.
Follow the blue words, folks.
What kind of Christmas singing is this?
What does "harelip the pope" even mean?
Is this some kind of joke on the old folks, who, like my mother, don't hear or read that well anymore?
Unfortunately, the show doesn't get any better, so we leave halfway through.
I think I'm more disappointed than my mother - I love Christmas carols!
This is a travesty! I later speak to the entertainment
director (who didn't attend) who apparently had no idea about the content of the show.
Not that I'm a prude or anything, but come on!
It makes me angry enough to sharpen a candy cane into a fierce weapon!
Back to the cute stuff, here we are had back at the Cook residence
with the Campbell family...
(photo by Shannon Robinson)
….and Brett and Sherry hanging out with the flakes and the cat…
(photo by Shannon Robinson)
I actually wasn't at the Cook residence for this amazing fun, but I spend Christmas
Eve at Dan and Angie's, seen here on one of their recent fab ice-climbs…
(photo by Angie Wilkinson)
(photo by Alison Cook)
At Dan and Angie's, we celebrate with Ali, Shannon and Michael,
Shannon who lights up the room in true holiday spirit.
But my poor mom spends the early part of Christmas Eve in the ER.
And while she's in red, too, it's not such a fun holiday for her.
Speaking of red, who's more handsome than
Elliott in the Ninja Turtle pajamas that Shirley gave him for Christmas?
And what's more fun than a red snowsuit and mittens?
Or a red tangle of lights at the Keeley Yonda's.
Or a red Christmas tablecloth to mess with?
When Frank arrives, Elliott tells him what's what, and what's where.
Frank reads a good book with Elliott, and later catches him in a snowy afternoon moment.
And I catch Aaron on a snowy evening moment.
And Aaron catches his own snowy moment.
I'm loving the snow from country to city - New Richmond, above, Madison, below.
More fun in the Madison winter landscape.
We say so long to the Keeley Yondas, and to the snow in the Midwest...
Because once back in New York, I have to wait for snow again.
It's been bizarrely warm back in the big city.
On January 4th, the sidewalks are bare as a bone.
The Kingsborough Campus is bathed in early evening light but not snow.
It takes a while, but eventually an inch or so of the white stuff falls
miraculously out of the sky...
…and it looks pretty awesome at Sunset
in Prospect Park…
…and then we get blasted with Winter Storm Jonah!
Forget the umbrellas!
Sleds are what you need today!
The view from my window in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is amazing.
And speaking of amazing,
lest we leave wondering how Shirley is doing, here is a picture in February
taken by Angie after the ritual weekly hair appointment - Shirley and her snowy white hair
are looking pretty awesome.
(photo by Angie Wilkinson)
And also in February, I return to Madison for a visit to the Keeley Yondas.
Elliott, Liza and Willow play happily in the last remains of the snow.
Later Elliott gets dressed to go to Madison's model train extravaganza!
And here he eats in kingly splendor.
He becomes obsessed with staring at pictures of his cousins on my laptop screen.
He and I spend many long moments contemplating the wonder of it all.
But imagine his delight when he can experience the real thing...
…when we visit the Campbells in Milwaukee!
Later, at home, Elliott springs into action.
He decides to "clean" the shelves.
Different ones on different days.
This time, he informed me, his books needed a "time out."
The books below were the ones that his generous cousins gave to him, having a bit of a rest
behind the gate.
And then we discover that Elliott himself needs a time out, in the hospital, which is
just a bit scary! He'd had a fever and cough, and we took him to the doctor who thought from the X-ray that it was pneumonia. The next day it seems like it's getting better,
but on our follow-up visit to the doctor, we find out that
the oxygen is having a hard time getting into his system and that
he has RSV, a viral infection of the lungs that adults can handle (basically a bad cold),
but that kids can have big trouble with.
So he needs to be observed overnight.
But he has a pretty good time in his hospital room, eating gluten-free pancakes...
…and cookies from Starbucks! Wow!
He's the rocking-est kid in the place!
He leaves the hospital in style.
And is quickly back in the swing of things, pretty much, although this will take a while
to completely go away.
And on my last night we're all "Sorry" to see me go!
But time to get back to the bright lights, big city.
And no more snow! ;-(