The View From My Window

The world as seen from my window and through my eyes

Memories of Grandma Higgins October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 7:19 am

At long last I am back to the blog. I had promised in an earlier post that I would give equal time to the memories of grandparents. I started with the ones I grew up next door to on the farm, Granny and Grandpa Hamilton. This post is about Grandma Higgins.

Grandma Higgins was the grandparent who lived in town. I never knew my maternal grandfather, he died when my Mom was 13. Grandma finished raising the last of their 8 children on her own. During my childhood, she lived with my Uncle Kenny and my Aunt Pat, two of my Mom’s siblings. For many years they lived in a white house on Center Street in Fulton. Here’s what I remember most about Grandma Higgins:

  • When I was little, Grandma Higgins always wore house dresses. I never saw her wear pants until I was close to being an adult. This was very different from my other Granny who never wore dresses.
  • One of the things I remember most about Grandma Higgins was her spaghetti. It was different from Mom’s, but hey, I never met a noodle I didn’t like. When I ate lunch at her house, she always set all kinds of sandwich fixings on the table along with the main dish. That’s where I learned the significant culinary delight of crushed potato chips on top of my spaghetti. Mmmmm.
  • Grandma Higgins actually had a room in the front of her house that was the “company” parlor. The piano was in there and the fancier furniture. She also had the heaviest telephone I’ve ever seen in that room. It must have been from the 40’s or something. You couldn’t have possibly had a long phone conversation on it cause you couldn’t hold the receiver up to your head that long…
  • Seems to me that both sets of grandparents always called me by my full given name “Lori Ann.” Except for my Uncle Kenny who used to annoy me by calling me “Laura Ann.” Except, that is, when I was going through my Laura Ingalls Wilder phase where I thought it was cooler to be Laura than Lori. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Grandma Higgins always went on vacation with us and would ride in the front seat next to my Mom and Dad. Some of my best vacation memories were of Grandma Higgins being with us. In a previous post I told the story of the crabs. Yes, those were great Grandma stories.
  • She collected postcards from all her trips. I think she had quite an impressive collection.
  • I remember her talking a lot about her brothers and sister. They had really interesting names like Gus and Pearl. A couple of them were more common like Lawrence and John. I always felt like she was really close to her sister Pearl because she talked about her the most.
  • She had a really pretty smile.
  • Although I never heard her play or sing, I understand that she was my musical grandparent. She was in a band when she was young and played the guitar and sang. Makes me sad that I never heard her.
  • Her house always seemed to have some of her kids or grandkids around. My Aunt Rosie and Uncle Bo lived just up the street and my cousin Kevin seemed to grow up at her house. Or ours. We always knew there would be someone dropping in when we were there.
  • She cooked lunch for all of her grown kids who worked in town every day. (This is why she always had lots of variety on the table). My Mom and Dad were there and my Uncle Kenny and Aunt Rosie. Some of the others would drop in if they were in town. It was almost like a miniature family reunion every day!
  • Whenever I had a doctors appointment, I would spend the day at Grandma’s house in town. She had some ancient Lincoln Logs and a set of Chinese Checkers at her house. I always tried to remember to bring some of my own toys—I wasn’t a Lincoln Logs kind of gal.
  • At Christmastime she always had Russell Stovers chocolate orange sticks in the front living room. It was always really cool in there and she would let me go have one or two in the afternoon for a treat if I was a good girl. I was ALWAYS a good girl. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • She had a porch swing and that was my favorite part of her house.

Memories of Granny and Gramps July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 7:23 am

It was a typical ride to work conversation between my husband and me. We frequently talk about topics that range from politics to family issues to work to reminiscing about our childhood. Those chats that allow me to reach back in my memory for those precious little memories are my favorite. We had one of those this morning.

The topic: what do you remember most about your grandparents? Ahhhh, what DON’T I remember? Granny and Gramps (Hamilton-paternal grandparents) lived next door to us on the farm. Grandma Higgins (maternal grandparent) lived in town. I remember always having a special place in my heart, even as a child, for old people. There’s nothing in this world any better than growing up next door to them.

Today I’ll share memories of my paternal grandparents. What I remember most about my paternal grandparents and growing up on a farm in Callaway County:

  • Their house always smelled of apples. Granny cooked some nearly every day or so. They would save the peelings on the backporch and Gramps would feed them to the hogs.
  • Gramps would sit in his big red chair and peel an apple with his pocketknife. He would always end up with one long unbroken spiral. I was fascinated.
  • Granny always churned butter in her Daisy butter churn every afternoon at 4 o’clock. I knew it was every day at 4 because she started running the darn thing during the only 30 minutes of cartoons on TV every day…
  • Gramps and his Ford tractor, stenciled and painted with the words “Gramps Special” on the front, running around the farm. I used to get to ride on the tractor with him in ways I am certain would be against the law today. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Learning how to cook fried eggs (eggs I had helped gather) standing next to my Granny in her kitchen. I LOVED FRIED EGGS with lots of pepper.
  • Granny handing me an empty tin can and telling me to go dig a few worms and we’d go fishing at the pond. She’d wear a big hat and wasn’t afraid to get her hands messy handling her own fish!
  • The old 4 door Ford that always smelled kind of funny. My sister Vicki and I were playing with the kittens in the front seat one day, kicked it out of gear and rolled it down the hill till it hit the smokehouse. It knocked it partway off its foundation. No more playing with kitties in the car after that…
  • Playing house in their basement with the old iron cookstove and my Granny’s old dishes. Those same dishes now sell for a fair chunk of change on eBay, when you can find them.
  • Grandpa telling stories. Lots of stories. Granny complaining that he’d told them a hundred times and it was different every time he told them. Me looking up at him with big eyes, hanging on his every word and thinking he was the most interesting person I’d ever met.
  • Granny’s fried chicken. It was the best I’ve ever had and to this day cannot be duplicated no matter how hard I try.
  • Grandpa carrying George, his pet black snake, around his neck and completely freaking us out.
  • Granny’s pet sow, Patty Pig, who was big, ugly and would chase you round the hog lot with her mouth open and her teeth showing. When I was pre-school age Gramps used to put me on her back to see which one of us would squeal louder, me or the pig.
  • Picking blackberries with Gramps every summer.
  • Granny listening to the Cardinal baseball games on the radio. It was her passion all her life.
  • Playing baseball with Gramps and hating it. He was good—really good and could knock you off your feet cause he threw the ball so hard.
  • Granny’s garden was massive and she had flowers all over her yard. She had a bunch of honeysuckle growing all over the back corner of the yard and it was so big I used to crawl underneath and play, completely hidden. As I got bigger I decided I needed more space and borrowed the hedge clippers and cleared out some more room underneath. When Granny noticed the lower half of her honeysuckle was dying off, I was banished and told to find another place to play…
  • Gramps was a bee keeper. He had bee hives in the orchard at the far end of the garden. I hated having to go to the garden to help weed or pick veggies because I was afraid of the bees. But, the honey was divine.

Fat Chick reports on a visitor to the office May 1, 2009

Filed under: The Adventures of "Fat Chick",Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 4:10 pm

Fat Chick: “Guess who showed up in the office today? The Lady at the Desk made an appearance and caught all of her work friends up on all sorts of things! I listened in so I could tell everyone all about it!”

Hen on the Mend: “Excuse me Fat Chick. I hate to interrupt when you’re so excited, but, I believe that it is my job as a professional to report on any medically related news. After all, I was engaged specifically for that purpose, if you recall.”

Fat Chick: “Alright, alright, don’t get your feathers in a twist! I’ll report on the interesting things and you can report on how the scar’s healing.”

Hen on the Mend: “Well, I suppose that rather puts me in my place now doesn’t it? Well, let’s see if I can make the health report a little more interesting. I’ll list the things I noticed when she came in.”

  • I noted that while getting around very well, the Lady at the Desk isn’t able to get across the street quickly enough to avoid being hit by a car. Or a bicycle. In fact, most other pedestrians. Glad she decided not to risk it when the cement truck was coming down the street!
  • It was good that she was excited about walking up the hill between McReynolds Hall and Jesse. However, I heard that nice man who’s doing her work for her say that they had to walk really slow and stop a couple of times on the way up. She must not have been practicing her walking uphill lately!
  • She reported that she isn’t taking drugs anymore. I wish she wouldn’t put it that way. Sounds suspicious. She should say she is no longer having to take her prescription medications to make her feel comfortable. That’s really good to hear, especially since she was driving! I noted that when she parked she pulled way too far forward in her parking space. Wonder if her eyes are still dilated?
  • She also reports she’s continuing to lose weight and is very happy about that. However, she did have her usual work treat from Chipotle today, so I’ll have to stay vigilant when she returns to make sure that doesn’t become a habit again!

Fat Chick: “Okay, my turn!”

  • This woman has been closed in for far too long. All she could talk about was what movies she’s watched and, oh my gosh, if she referenced something from the Biography Channel one more time I thought I would have to lay an egg!
  • She was only here for about 5 minutes and already seemed to have broken her computer. That nice blonde fellow down the hall had to come and fix it. Good thing he was around. Wonder if he’s missed having to do that lately?
  • Let’s see, she was terribly excited to see Jason, Josh, Karen, Lisa, Nancy, Jamie, Jeremiah and Paul. She was really sorry to have missed Ryan, Genevieve and Dr. Smith. Isn’t Dr. Smith that man that’s supposed to be making the children behave while she’s gone?
  • She smiled a lot while she was here. She was either really happy or she’d been drinking before she got here.
  • She got all excited thinking several of the folks had dressed up in her honor. However, she soon realized that one had a meeting in Jesse Hall and that another said it was Friday and she hadn’t done her laundry.
  • She wondered who is living in their office and hanging their laundry in the ladies room? This is a new addition. She wanted to know if she saw anything she liked if she could wear it next?
  • She kept mentioning someone named Ana who was wearing a particularly cute shirt today and that she’s been missing the funny emails from Chris. She mentioned something about sick pigs and I personally couldn’t figure out why she would think that was funny, but, the Lady at the Desk does seem to have a very odd sense of humor.
  • She was thankful she remembered how to sign her name when that nice lady named Val asked for her signature. She tends to forget the most basic things these days. Like, for instance, that she had made an appointment to get her haircut this afternoon. I think she thought she’d just be at the office for a couple of hours, but, that woman just stayed and stayed…barely made it on time!

Hen on the Mend: “All in all, she seems to be doing pretty well. Wonder when she’ll be back in?”

Fat Chick: “She says soon, she hopes. I’m personally hoping it will be awhile. I’m just getting used to roosting in the big blue chair!”


Watching lots and lots of movies April 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 6:53 am

I just completed my first full week at home recuperating. The first part of the week was spent feeling somewhat miserable. In fact, there are lots of details that I don’t remember. However, I now seem to have fallen into a bit of a routine which includes a lot of rest (per doctors orders). This requires that I move from chair to sofa, sofa to recliner, etc. all day long so I don’t get sick and tired of any one position. I also take short walks around the house or up and down the driveway. I have my laptop on my lap most of the day and still read and respond to lots of email. Facebook has become a nice social diversion.

While doing so much resting, I find that watching movies seems to be the most fun for me right now. Last week I watched:

Lonesome Dove
Dirty Dancing
Pretty Woman
Becoming Jane
Miss Potter
We Were Soldiers
The Patriot
Run Silent, Run Deep
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The Golden Compass
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Amazing how many movies you can watch in a week when that’s about all you’re allowed to do.ย  I’m probably going to have to branch out and rent some movies soon. Even though there are hundreds of channels on DISH, they all seem to offer the same things over and over again. Any good ones to suggest?


Friday afternoon: End of week one at home April 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 5:48 pm

It was a rough start this week and I’m pleased to say that as it ends I’m feeling ever so much better. My hubbie’s been home with me all week and has taken very good care of me. As he likes to keep quoting “A man’s work is never done…”

He has taken care of my medication, my comfort my nutrition and anything else that came along this week. Everyone should be waited on as well as I have been!

I’ve been watching lots of movies this week. Right now I’m watching The Land Girls. The two men in my house are often distressed by my choice of movie. I love historical pieces and great chick flicks. My, how they’ll suffer for the next few weeks as they gallantly allow me to have my way in the interest of recuperation!

After one little setback yesterday and a return trip to the Spine Center, I have discontinued my big gun painkillers and am now managing with Extra Strength Tylenol. It’s amazing how much clearer my head is today. I haven’t taken any naps and have been relatively comfortable for the most part. I’m hoping that every day things will get a little bit better.

I hope the weekend and next week are pretty and nice. I’ll like being able to sit out on the deck a bit for a change of scenery.


Oh my poor aching back… March 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 8:10 pm

First week at home. Percoset every 4 hours, plus a variety of other pills and stuff throughout the day. Logrolls to get out of bed, logrolls to get into bed, deep breathing as I try to pull myself up out of a chair. Meals consist of about 3-4 bites of whatever is put in front of me. Losing weight won’t be difficult for me now!

I had such a good day today. I walked up and down the driveway several times. I sat up in the living room many times and slept less. That part was good. And then I hit my daily wall. By 5 p.m. I was begging my poor husband to let me have my next dose of Percoset early. I had 4 bites of dinner and had to go to bed. And then the spasms started. And the pain. And the waves of nausea. And the tears. And the embarrassment.ย  You just don’t know how much I hate having to ask for help. Thank GOD for my husband and my son. I couldn’t ask for any better help than they have been. This is one of those tests that tells you clearly if the two of you will make it through your elder years. I think I can safely say that we’ve passed that test. I would do anything for him and he has done everything for me. What a blessing.

While I was feeling good this morning, I sent a short note of thanks to my surgeon and his nurse practitioner. I couldn’t have asked for better care from the physicians, nursing staff and technicians at the hospital. In return, I received a note back from my nurse telling me thanks and to GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND REST! Then this afternoon, I got an email from my doc. It told me all I needed to know to make me certain I’d made the right choice of doctor. The note said:

Great to hear you are already noticing a difference.ย  Thanks for the update and please let us know if anything comes up.

God Bless.

Two simple words: God bless. Now I know everything’s going to be alright. We were both looking to the same power for help and guidance. All I can say is I am blessed.


My goals while I’m home March 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 12:52 pm

Since I am forced to be home and leading a life of leisure for a few weeks, I think it’s important to have some goals during my R&R. Obviously, there is the overall goal of recuperating after surgery, and physically getting stronger so I can get back in the swing of things as quickly as possible. However, I have a list of movies and books I need to get through while I’m home.

Today, I’ve been busy doing some housekeeping and making sure things are in good shape before hubby and son have to take over and bear the burden for awhile. The upside of having surgery is that your family waits on you hand and foot for awhile! While puttering around the house I’ve also watched The Parent Trap, That Thing You Do, and An Officer and a Gentleman. I’ll get to watch all the sappy movies that I always love and that make the men in my house gag. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll post my list of books and movies here in a day or two. If you have any suggestions for must-sees or must-reads, give me a shout. Always open for suggestions.


Hen on the Mend March 19, 2009

Filed under: The Adventures of "Fat Chick",Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 12:22 pm


Fat Chick: “What happened to the lady at the desk? And who’s the new chick?”

Hen: “I’m new. I’m Hen on the Mend. The lady at the desk has an owie and has to go to that people hospital next week to be repaired. She’s going to be away for awhile and left me in charge of things.”

Fat Chick: “IN CHARGE? I thought I was in charge!”

Hen: “When she needs someone to be assertive, Chick, you get to be in charge. When she needs a diplomat, Henrietta is in charge. When she wants to show off, Gregory Pecked is in charge and when she wants to make the world go away she pretends she’s a toad and Pigeon is in charge. But right now, she doesn’t feel very well and needs someone to be a nurse and that’s why someone nice brought me to her. I’m supposed to help her and let everyone know how she’s doing while she’s gone.”

Fat Chick: “Is she leaving her laptop? Can we play while she’s gone?”

Hen: “You’ll have to use the computer at her desk. She needs her laptop so she can send messages to us from home. She wants to hear from everyone though. She’s easily bored and hates not being here with all her people friends. And her chickens, too, of course!”

Fat Chick: “Okay. Well, welcome to the zoo and to the family. I guess we can always use someone to help make us feel better. Wow, did I just say something nice? I must be sick! Help! Hen on the Mend, make me normal again!”

Hen: “It’s just a little anxiety, Chick, you’ll be fine in a day or two. Things will be back to normal in no time!”


Happy 16th Birthday Allen! February 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 6:43 pm

Allen's 16th Birthday Present from Mom and Dad

We celebrated Allen’s 16th birthday a little early so that his brothers and sisters could take part. He was pretty excited, to say the least. He had no clue he was getting a car for his birthday. I think we kept the secret pretty well!

The happy new driver

He couldn’t believe it and kept asking “Is it really mine?”

The fancy birthday cake

He was spoiled further by his brothers and sisters with a new Pioneer Stereo System for his CRV.

Opening the new care stereo system

And to top it all off, he got his hoped for XBox 360 from Grandma and Grandpa Hamilton. I don’t know if he’s been THAT good this year, but, you only turn 16 once. I think I can safely say this was a birthday he’ll never forget!

Happy early birthday Allen!


My ten favorite kitchen things February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntlelo @ 8:45 am

I was inspired to write this after reading another list like it from one of my favorite blogs:ย  The Kitchn. I’m sure many of the rest of you who cook have similar lists. Please share some of your own favorite things. I may have to add a few more to my own list if you inspire me!

1. An old sheet cake pan like my Mom’s that actually doubles as a lid to a roaster. I borrowed hers so often that when she saw one in an antique store she bought it for me. It is the perfect pan for my carrot cake recipe!

2. My Mom’s iron skillet. Again, I borrowed it so often she finally gave it to me since she didn’t use it anymore. It’s well seasoned and the perfect size for cornbread and oven pancakes.

3. My set of Wustof knives. Don’t know what I did before I had them, but, don’t think I could live without them now.

4. My family cookbook. I set about the task years ago of collecting the favorite recipes of my Mom’s and my grandmothers, adding them to my own and making copies for my other close family members. It sure did save a lot of phone calls and digging through tupperware boxes full of clippings searching for them when I needed them.

5. My Pampered Chef garlic mincer. It’s a newer addition to my kitchen and, again, don’t know how I lived without this one!

6. The KitchenAid Artisan mixer with dough hooks. Now that I have a husband that makes bread, this is an even more important kitchen tool. However, I think it’s time we graduated to the next model up in both power and capacity.

7. My walk-in pantry. This one should have been at the top of the list. I don’t know how any avid cook manages without the storage space this pantry provides. My husband did a good thing building this for me. He even finished out the interior in oak to match my kitchen cabinets!

8. My spice rack. It’s oak, has a moon-phase clock built-in and tons ofย  shelves and drawers for all kinds of spices. The best thing about it is that my husband made it for me as a wedding present. We designed our kitchen to leave a special space just for hanging this spice rack. Yes, it’s that important!

9. My deep-dish Longaberger pie plates. Beautiful, functional and they fit perfectly in my Longaberger pie basket that I take to church dinners.

10. My custom-made oak cabinets. They’re beautiful, they’re roomy and my husband built them for me when we built our new house. I especially love the silverware drawer that fully extends with extra heavy-duty slides and has 8 sections built-in for all kinds of silverware items.