Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorials, Hospitals and Graduations

Last year my Mom told me, "If I am alive, I will be in Arizona for the graduations."

We laughed about that last week since neither of us knew at the time how true the statement was. Mom is here in Arizona although she is now two for two of being in the hospital during the graduation ceremony.

When Becky graduated from ASU, Mom was at Mercy Gilbert. When Ashley graduates on Wednesday from Basha High School, Mom will still be at Chandler Regional. And, tomorrow when our country celebrates Memorial Day, I plan to be at her side again in this hospital room.

Little did I realize how torn I would feel trying to celebrate such milestones and coordinate my mother's care. But, when family needs you, you do everything you can in the moment to ease their way. And, as far as be memories go, this month of May 2010 will stay in my mind and heart forever.
Photo courtesy of Duane Stabler

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I must share this picture...Dragonfly extraordinaire

even though it does not tie directly to family history. This dragonfly visits my backyard every afternoon. Beautiful to watch as it glides over the swimming pool, this dragonfly is one of a kind. First, it alighted on the toe of someone on a floating chair in the pool. When a hand was extended out, it quickly moved to the finger as you can see in the photograph.

The dragonfly followed this routine for the past three days. At one point when a swimmer assumed the Status of Liberty pose in the pool, this dragonfly again flew to and rested on the fingers. This is what spring is all about. Enjoying the outdoors, the pool and seeing beautiful life in Arizona.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take a deep breath...

When I originally made plans for the month of May, I had no idea how hectic my life would really be. Between my daughter Becky's graduation from Arizona State University and my mother' hospitalization and subsequent move to a skilled nursing center, I squeezed in my job and guests for the special occasion.

But, today is Saturday and my favorite day of the weekend. The graduation is over, although another one looms in the next week. Yet, today I get a dose of normalcy I missed so far in May.

While Becky enjoys her weekend away in Portland, I went to the Desert Botanical Gardens with Ashley and her Dad. What an exquisite walk. I have been to the gardens many times before, however each time is a unique experience as you can see from the pictures.

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow from the graduation party.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The highs and lows of life...

just don't keep themselves separated in compartments of your life. On one hand, this week has been sobering and filled with hospital visits. On the other hand, it has been a week of great celebration and joy.

My mother, who was truly the inspiration and knowledge behind my first book, Value Meals on the Volga for which this blog is named, remains at Mercy Gilbert Hospital. I can't count the number of visits, length of stay, numbers of nurses, doctors, aids or blood draws anymore. I can tell you that after nearing losing her, my Mom's vitals are back on track. Her heart is strong. Unfortunately, five days in bed have taken their toll and when she is discharged, likely later today, she will head for occupational and physical therapy at a rehabilitation center.

The other side of the story is my daughter, who after four years of college, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University last night. The ceremony at Gammage was a celebration of the graduates, the school and the late Walter Cronkite. My beautiful daughter, Becky, graduated magna cum laude. Could I possibly be prouder? Absolutely not.

So, to end the week, Mom will be discharged to a rehabilitation center for therapy, and I host a graduation party to honor my daughter's achievement. Like I said, the highs and the lows just blur together in life. You just need to savor each moment.

Friday, May 07, 2010

SaddleBrooke Genealogy Club: WRITE to the Heart of the Matter for Genealogists

I savored the beautiful views of the desert as I drove from Chandler to SaddleBrooke via highways 287, 79 and 77 yesterday. Desert wild flowers surrounded by blooming cacti provided the perfect view to relax before meeting a new group.

As I approached the Santa Catalina mountains, I was impressed not only with Mother Nature but also the SaddleBrooke community itself. To quote from, SaddleBrooke is where "stunning multi-million dollar country clubs overlook championship golf courses, sun-washed desert vistas and the panoramic splendor of the Santa Catalina Mountain range." I was also pleased to learn that during the summer months, the community is cooler than Tucson and residents "open their windows at night."

However, the best part of day was meeting the people of the genealogy club. They inspired me with their interest and questions about writing. I enjoyed all of their stories, even met someone with German-Russian ancestry like myself, and look forward to read what everyone in this group will write.

Genealogists who want to write are my favorite people. While genealogists think about birth certificates, census records, cemeteries and family history libraries, writers ponder plot lines. characters, points of view and best sellers. What a fascinating combination for those of us who can make the transition.

I extend an invitation to all aspiring family historians to write and contribute an entry of 400 words or less to the "Tell Us Your Best Adventure with Your Grandparents and Win!" Contest. It's a great opportunity to explore genealogical facts and expand it into a story of your family. Plus, you could win $100* and be published in a future Infinite Adventure book. Click on the link for rules and entry form at

Special thanks to Karen Hahn who invited me to meet with such a lively and entertaining group. What a pleasure for me to have been a part of their community.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

WRITE to the Heart of the Matter for Genealogists...Creating a Family Story Your Descendants Will Want to Read

Today I head to Tucson to join the Saddle Brooke Genealogy Club to discuss my favorite topic...writing. I look forward to meeting the group, learning about their club, and sharing my ideas on how genealogists can leave a written legacy of their family history.

It should be a fantastic day and I will update more later.