Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Week we Wish that Wasn't, almost

We were happy to see Thanksgiving week coming with all its promised deliciousness, family warmth and happiness. LM and I said good-bye on Sunday evening with happy hearts knowing we would have a short week apart and be together again on Thursday morning. When my phone rang at 5:30 am on Monday morning, I was awake reading the paper and having my tea. First thoughts were, it can only be LM, and maybe Ms G has done something else totally outrageous, OR, is something very wrong. I knew immediately that something funny was not happening. LM was on his way to bail his one and only son out of jail! We'd worked very hard and hoped so much that John would not re-offend. As our newspaper prominently wrote on Thanksgiving morning, "hapless thieves are caught redhanded." Suffice it to say there was B & E into a restaurant involved, they locked themselves out of the getaway car and were found with their cache of alcohol, cigars and CHEESECAKE! Craziness. John is now free on bail, back to work and facing a court hearing this week. We are feeling very devastated, sad, you name it.
Everything else from that call on, has had a pall of sadness over it. We are going through the motions of coping with total helplessness. We had hoped beyond belief that John would stay straight this time. It is heartbreaking!
Meanwhile, I'm working on a post about our turkey day, and we are spending time at LM's cleaning, therapeutically cleaning, moving things, making trips to the transfer station and coping as we can.
I'll be back in a few days. Hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Visit Back to Sandwich

Seeing I had some errands to do in Sandwich, the oldest town on Cape Cod, and my home town of 28 years, Saturday was a perfect time to meet up with Teddy and his daddy, my youngest, Jason. I picked up LM's daughter, Kristi, on the way so that she could have a day out. She was so happy to be with us and get to some places she infrequently visits.
Teddy says, forgive the hathead.....he had such a great time looking around at all the other little ones having lunch with their families.
Our next stop was Crow Farm. I do believe it may be one of the oldest family-owned working farms in the state. I used to live on property abutting this beautiful place and did find myself in deep nostalgia all day. Teddy turning to watch Kristi as she picks out some white Cape turnip and brussels sprouts. The scent of the holidays filled the farm stand as they were serving cider and making Christmas wreaths that day.
Teddy helps his Nana by choosing the squash I should buy. A head of that fresh cauliflower made it in to my shopping basket, as well.
All our purchases bundled up and stowed away in the car, we drove a short distance to Sandwich Village and parked so we could walk in the lovely day and Jason and I could savor a few memories of where we lived long ago.
This beautiful old church is now a B & B and a very upscale restaurant, The Belfrey Inne & Bistro. The buildings to the right and left are also part of the Inne complex, all lovingly restored and re-purposed.
Sandwich is famous for its beautiful glass made here in the 1800's. This was the home of the founder of the Sandwich Glass Works, Deming Jarves. The grounds are resplendent with an amazing collection of trees and Dexter rhododendrons. Jason and I were very fortunate to live adjacent to this lovely place for quite a few years.
The front walkway, and some azaleas, leaves turned to their Fall color, still blooming!
We found this busy bumblebee on the walkway post.
This is the building in which we lived from 1986-1992 or so. The first floor housed a chiropractic office where I worked in those days. The building is quite historic and the apartment where we lived on the second floor was formerly a dance hall. The first floor had historically been a department store. There were beautiful high ceilings and large windows & rooms. Loved it there. Today it is a wine store and they serve a little food, as well.
Looking up at the architectural details.
Next to the building were 3-4 huge dawn redwoods and I so enjoyed their beauty in all seasons. They shaded us in summer and the glowing red bark lit our winter views from the kitchen and living room.
The garden had many types of holly.
On the other side of our building was an antique store called the Brown Jug, famous for selling rare Sandwich Glass items. It retains the same name but is now an upscale food emporium, owned by the Wine Store. I've always loved this curved window.
Next building is an old apothecary, now a home decor store - The Spotted Cod.

Roses still blooming at the Dan'l Webster Inn.
At about this point, Teddy's little legs needed a break so we turned back. This is another very old converted church. Not sure of its current use but it was a function facility and had some lodging. Truly a spectacular renovation. When I lived nearby this building housed a doll museum and was sadly in need of some loving care.
That's about it for our little tour. Jason and Teddy left for home and Kristi and I continued poking through a few of the village shops, and had a nice time chatting as I took her home.
It really was a lovely day!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I will be very busy the next few days. We will be spending Thursday with my brother, Sam and family.

Friday, November 19, 2010


LM lives a few short miles from me in an adjoining town, and we are so blessed that both our towns have many, many large areas of precious land that has been saved through generous private donation and also purchase by our respective towns. These areas are marked well with signs and each time we pass them, we say we must walk the trails know how that goes....we have not even scratched the surface.
Last Saturday, I insisted we do at least two of these areas which are within a mile or so of his house. There was a bit of kicking and screaming (well, maybe only an "I have so much to do in the yard,") but I insisted and we set a time. All yard work came to a halt and off we went. First stop was "Coy's Brook" - about 30+ acres. We pulled way in off the road to a nice parking area and within 30 seconds we had this beautiful view out over a salt marsh. Our walk was through uplands with views from every point and just so quiet. Only some crows, the crunching of leaves under our feet, and a soft breeze in the treetops accompanied us.
Life goes on, with a strong will!
Us, it seems at times..Valiant and brilliant color.....a place for a fairy nap.
Next stop was the Lee Baldwin Walk - less than 1/2 mile from the first walk. Lee was a lover of the land and great preservationist. I remember in my early years here on the Cape that she lead nature walks. Sadly, I never partook. This area is just a short walk but has a lovely wheelchair accessible boardwalk leading into the beautiful woods from the parking area. We walked off that boardwalk/observation area to another wide path leading us to this gravestone all by itself. I've written to the Conservation Foundation to find the history. There appeared to be two stones, one very damaged, the other with the name Wilson and dated 1839. As we walked further it did seem that there may have been houses or buildings on the land in past centuries.
We came across a large area of "tea berries" and I dared to eat some, loving the deep wintergreen flavor and transporting me straight back to my childhood on the farm where we had beautiful woods to explore at anytime. LM was afraid to try them.....
Here's my scout....he went ahead at one point to see if we could cross a stream. Alas, we turned around, as the sides were too steep for us.
As we came back toward the beginning of the walk, we paused and sat on the bench at the observation area, soaking in the stillness of the late afternoon. My soul was craving that peace. I felt such deep gratitude to the Conservation Trust for providing this beautiful place to visit.
It was a lovely time out in nature, and after a stop at the market on the way home, we came back to our Ms G....she loves to avert all eye contact when we first come home. It is so funny. I took this photo from the kitchen as I began to prepare dinner. She has to watch what we are both doing but will not engage until she is ready! We call this back-of-the-chair spot the sentinel position. Whenever we are bustling about getting ready for a meal, a departure or just arriving, she is on full alert. Next she hopped from the chair to the dining table, right in my line of vision. My darling little one, you are a "cute" spirit.
It wasn't long before she was cuddled up with me on the sofa for the evening.

Meanwhile, almost a week has passed. I have been sewing every night and making lots of progress. The quilting bug has me in its clutches but I am loving it.

Yesterday morning another attack of TN hit me so hard that I had to leave work. This is the second one. Not sure what to do, I took one of the original anti-seizure meds and it helped somewhat. I am back at work today but the left side of my head is numb, very little vision in the eye, and a general heavy head prevails. This is the second attack in a 2 month period. The hardest struggle in it all is to keep my thinking in the moment and not far ahead, as I see that this chronic condition could interfere with my job; a prospect scarier than chronic pain. When it hit me yesterday, I had no choice but to go home as my mouth did not want to work, slurring my words and making it difficult on the phone.
Well, I am going forward as if I am fine....planning a nice weekend with LM. We are taking Kristi to shop for Thanksgiving veggies and have lunch tomorrow, and Jason and baby Teddy may join us for lunch and a walk.
Hope everyone will have a great weekend....I'd love to hear about your Thanksgiving plans. It sure is a lovely holiday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Visit with Timothy Leary

Topamax is definitely not in the realm of possibility of helping me with trigeminal neuralgia! I will take facial pain, numbness, burning and headache any day, over having my head moving to one side off my shoulders and my hands and arms looking like foreign objects, while I am seeing everything from inside a deep tunnel. Yup, I was tripping for over 24 hour last Friday into Saturday, and it was not fun. I struggled so hard to get through the workday Friday that I was completely exhausted and a ball of tension. I would look down at the keyboard and it seemed far, far away, as I tried to remember what I was doing from one minute to the next. IT WAS AWFUL. My tolerance for medication is zero to none, but I thought maybe this one time it would work. I mean, the Dr agreed that I should cut the lowest dose, 25 mg, in half, and that by taking it at night, most of it would have worn off by morning. No such luck. I took the 1 and only dose at 5:15 pm on Thursday, and by Saturday afternoon it was finally starting to wear off, and I felt I could walk without feeling like my head was tilting off my body, and that I could actually see what I was looking at in true perspective. I drove the one mile to work, and never should have been behind the wheel. Very bad!!!
Back to square one, but I think I will just continue with meditation and yoga and being very conscious of how I hold my jaw. So far another major attack is at bay.

LM and I had planned a weekend of yard work and for the first half of Saturday I raked like a robot, barely seeing what I was doing, but got a lot done. By 2 pm, we decided to take a break and go for a walk in several local conservation areas we've been wanting to explore. (a few pictures from the walk in a few days!) At the end of the second walk, there was a lovely bench in the woods and we just sat and contemplated the beautiful sky through the treetops, and savored the quiet while we watched a fry of insects dancing in the late afternoon sunlight.

Sunday was more raking leaves and we had great fun....with Timothy Leary at bay, I was able to really get a lot done. I also got out the heavy duty brush killer and after clearing away a lot of debris, got to the root of a HUGE wisteria tree, giving it a good spray. Hopefully, I will have killed the thing. As beautiful as it is, it is so horribly invasive. LM steered clear of me as I stalked around with my 1 gallon spray container. He was certain I would come after him, too. I really detest using those powerful chemicals in the earth, but the house would be inundated with vines if not. After two years, we finally have the English Ivy contained to one area on the side of the house where it is quite pretty and makes a great ground cover.
It's raining heavily here this morning and the temptation to crawl back into my cozy bed is almost more than I can take.....alas, time to go to work. Have a great day!!!
LM is already on a long car trip to NY today.
Wishing you all a beautiful day no matter the weather!

Cyclocross and Fun at Coonamessett Farm Falmouth

Veteran's Day, this year, found me working, and missing out on a fun Cyclocross event which brought my sister-in-law, Trish, and son, *Nate(15) to Cape Cod for the day. LM was able to feel well enough to take Kristi to enjoy the morning at beautiful, interesting and delicious Coonamessett Farm in E. Falmouth. It is a working organic farm producing top quality organic produce for many of the Cape's finest restaurants. They raise interesting animals, as well, and have a great farm stand and lunch room. My only request to LM was "PLEASE, bring me home a baby donkey." I adore donkeys and we have a running joke about having our own. Shortly after they arrived at the farm, my phone rang at work with a shrieking LM on the other end, telling me "they have DONKEYS, and they are walking toward me." Here is the one he told me he chose. Meet, Jazz.
The lighter colored donkeys began to come out of the pen as well until they heard the click of the camera opening and they quickly retreated. Jazz, though, was very friendly.
Jazz said, well, I'm ready to go home to meet Ms G, why are you not putting me in the car??? Alas, I guess you are right, this farm would miss me too much, and the Harwich neighbors may not like the way I "talk." Someday!!
There were turkeys, many, many turkeys.....and lots of other animals not pictured: chickens, llamas, goats and sheep.
Kristi and Trish bundled up for the cold morning, awaiting the start of the race.
Here they come from the start down by the greenhouses. The cyclists make their way around a course which is very rugged with many obstacles. At the finish Nate was #2. He did win an extra $50. for being the only rider to complete all the jumps. Trish says he practices jumping endlessly.
The podium! Nate, on the left.
A fun time, albeit cold, was had by all, and they enjoyed a delicious lunch to wind up the morning. In place of a donkey, sob, sob, LM brought me back some delicious organic squash from the farm stand.
Meanwhile, back at the would-be donkey ranch, Ms G waited at the door, but her hopes were dashed, too when only a bag of squash came home with her beloved LM. We girls do have a struggle to get what we want.

*Nate is a top competitor in National Junior Cyclocross. Here is a piece he wrote about winning the Providence RI championship in October (published in the Corner Cycle Newsletter.) So proud of you, Nate!

As reported by Nate Morse.

"Providence cross is one of my favorite races all year. It has the best venue and one of the best race atmospheres in New England. Saturday began early with pre riding the course before my dad's race. I loved how much the course was divided between technical sections and the power sections. At the start I had a quick acceleration off the line but took a bad line into the first turn and was about a quarter way towards the back of the pack. In the turn before the barriers, I was crashed by someone who got cut off and jumped off their bike for some reason. The bike went flying sideways and knocked me off my bike. Now I was at the back... I knew I needed to work my way back up to get to the leaders. On the second lap I had almost worked my way back up to the chase group right behind my biggest competitor, Curtis White. In the tight turns after the barriers I rolled my rear tire. Two races in a row!!! I was outraged. I was so far away from the pit I needed to pop the tire back on and ride carefully to switch bikes. After the pit change I decided I would just ride steady hard and save a little for the next day. I worked my way up to 6th in the juniors but I was still 50th overall. I was really disappointed with the mishaps so I wanted to do as well as I could on Sunday. At the start of the Sunday race, I had another super fast acceleration off the line and I was going to get the holeshot. Unfortunately I pulled out my pedal and had to regain speed. I was pretty far back in the pack, but not as far as the day before. In my head I was thinking that it would be another bad day. In the first four turns I made my way to top 10. I immediately got a smile on my face as I powered passed Curtis on the off camber parallel to the finish straight. I felt amazingly strong and powerful! I got in a group of five on the first lap with Curtis, Synjen, Adam St. Germaine, and another one of my prime cat 3 competitors Doug Kennedy. Doug dropped off with five to go so it was down to a group of four. With four laps to go, St. Germaine flatted right before the pit. He must have had to find a neutral wheel because he spent a while in the pit. I was at the front of the group and decided to pick up the pace a bit. Curtis got gapped a little and fell off the group. Synjen and I were together off the front with three to go! I kept the pace high to be sure Curtis or Adam wouldn't catch back up. Synjen got separated on a technical section and and road to a solo second place. As soon as I had a gap I went a little harder. I wanted to get as big of a gap as I could but I also wanted to stay upright and stay in the lead. With two to go I decided I would bunnyhop the barriers. I had been doing it consistently in practice so I felt confident about it. Around the turn before the barriers I got an image in my head of me crashing and flying over the bars. I quickly changed my mind and ran over the barriers. I kept it steady for the last two laps and tried to keep opening up the gap. Up the finishing straight I gave one final look back to make sure nobody had crept up on me. I gave a victory salute and put up my hands. It was my biggest win so far! I waited for Synjen and Curtis and talked for a bit about the race. This definitely made up for the mishaps I had the day before. I am looking forward to the Verge race in Vermont this weekend."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Neurologist

But first, several pretty photos I took last Saturday at my boss's house. This orchid was blooming beautifully on the living room coffee table. The room is south facing and has the most beautiful light. Even, though it rained and was dreary both days I was there with the doggies, the huge windows let in the maximum light.
A bouquet I gleaned from a garden of hydrangeas, garbed in their fall colors, and some giant and colorful leaves. These I placed on the table where we shared lunch with LM's sister and friend, Joe. It was a perfect day for chili.

I have a long medical history, much of it not pretty, thus, there have been lots of less than satisfactory visits with health care providers of all types. Yesterday's visit, for my trigeminal neuralgia condition, with a new neurologist, was what I hope is indicative of where medical care is heading. Everyone who worked with me was so incredibly kind and generous with their time. After a very lengthy interview with a nurse, during which she entered all the information into a computer, she introduced me to the doctor and he spent another long time talking with me, asking many many questions, all followed by a thorough neurological exam. He went over many options for me and then broke down those which he thought would be best for me considering my low tolerance to medications. He praised me for my choice to use alternative therapies to combat this, sometimes disabling, condition, and asked many questions about my body's reactions to massage, acupuncture and chiropractic, and was impressed with my incorporation of these therapies in seeking relief and as a general practice for good health! NOT, the usual reaction of the medical world. The conclusion is that I go on a maintenance dose of Topamax (still have some research of my own on this drug before starting it) which should help to keep another attack of TN at bay. His interest in me emotionally as well as physically was amazing. As we ended our long appointment, he warmly shook my hand and encouraged me to call him with any questions and my call would be answered promptly. I just about floated out of that office. The piece de resistance was finding my dearest LM and his awesome daughter, Meggie, waiting in the parking lot to take me for a cup of tea to hear about my appointment. After a nice cup of chamomille, we all went to pick up a few things at Trader Joe's. Sure wish they were closer to home.
The sun is finally shining, Kristi and LM were off on a fun mission today (details to be revealed in a future post) and I am planning to work on some quilting this evening.

Happy day to you all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hello.....pretty dark, dreary and rainy this morning in this corner.....oh, well, it is still a beautiful place to be.
The last few days have been a flurry of angst, urging and concern for LM. He was getting sicker by the minute and refusing, steadfastly, to see his doctor. Finally, Sunday, I forced his hand by telling his children. Once they got involved, he listened....almost. It took his daughter calling the doctor's office yesterday morning, to get him to make an appointment. He was seen at 3 yesterday and told that he does have an advanced case of the shingles, AND, if he'd come in 10 days ago he could have had the anti-viral med, BUT....we all know how that went. It is so hard sorting out when to be forceful on another's behalf, or to let said love-one have freedom of choice. It got to the point where watching him clutch himself in pain, face grayish pale, and not able to sleep for a week, got to be more than I could bear.
Now, there is some slight improvement, but the butterflies are still circling in my body and soul, as well as that of his daughter, and we are just hoping that our dear LM will take better care of himself. Last night he slept and tonight he is teaching.
We are still in the midst of a northeast storm and the wind and rain are going to persist for another 24 hours. I'll be relieved when the weekend brings us sunshine, and LM and I are together for some mutual healing and cuddling with Ms G.

Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment with a neurologist to discuss the recent attack of trigeminal neuralgia. right now I only have occasional shots of the pain, but I am interested is discussing the future and what I might do to deter another bout. I'll get back here about any light shed on TN.

From the just have to feel better somehow department, we have a "job lot" type store here that has a lot of junk, but once in a while they have leader items that are fantastic. When I read in their flyer that they had the cashmere socks again this year, I was there in a flash after work today. Two years ago I bought 3 pair, this year I got 5. They wear like iron, are warmer than the very thick socks and are perfect for work under dressy boots and clogs. Happy feet for the winter!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Ms G is not happy that I had the audacity to visit her last night after being with dogs all day. She had no inclination at all to sit on my lap, and only had eyes for her LM. Oh well, I'm getting conditioned to her traitorous behavior.

On a more serious note, LM continues to be quite sick, AND refusing to see his dr. It does seem to be shingles as he has a rash and is in a great deal of pain. He claims (promises) he will make the call tomorrow. In sheer frustration I told his daughter today. Perhaps she will be more successful in convincing him to seek treatment. I'm living with a heart-in-throat feeling knowing he is so sick.

The weekend with the dogs was uneventful. They were pretty well-behaved and did not do the early morning yipping which has been an issue in the past. Yesterday, LM's sister and a friend came for lunch and we had a lovely visit. Wish the weather had been nicer for the little tour around town we had.
Early this morning, I did some birding and saw lots of loons, seaducks, and a beautiful kingfisher. There is a huge storm at sea and it drives them in. Tonight we have heavy rain and gale force winds and it is so chilly that we may have some snow and sleet in the night. Not pleasant!
That's it from my corner of the world....hope yours is warm and cozy and happy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Haunch Feathers, etc.

I'm off to dog sit for the weekend at my boss's house, so lest I become labeled a dog person, I have to leave you with some funny pictures taken by LM last week. In his bedroom, there is a corner of oddly deep shelves built-in to the wall. Until recently, they were crammed with so much stuff that it was impossible to squeeze in a cute little gray furry body, but a certain woman who visits each weekend did some cleaning out and now there are a few open spaces just needing to be made in to cat nap locations. Hence these photos of Ms G making a spot for herself from which to spy on LM......the big turn around always precedes a nap.

Ahhhhhh, she really likes this pile of freshly folded t-shirts. Looks uncomfortable to me but it must be that they belong to her beloved, aka MY beloved, oh dear furry little girl.
and, we have some other funny cat behavior to report on here, as "godson," Jaxson, checking out the base for a lovely rug his Mom will hook as a wedding gift for her niece. It will be made in a log cabin pattern to match a quilt. One talented Mom you have, Jaxson. Now that a thorough inspection has been done, she can proceed.
The family felines are insisting on being represented here so may I present, Anne's Bella (L) and Theo as they helped David reconstruct the master bathroom recently. David swears that the project could never have been completed without their help. They were very attentive supervisors.Last but not least, this picture of Theo is at once so sweet and funny! Those haunches of his are just amazing. Very interesting cat.....he has himself parked on the kitchen counter looking his cutest. In the background is the pantry door where I do believe the treats are kept! Those haunch feathers leave me speechless....wish I could reach out to pat them.
Well, time to go to work, then to the dogs....I'll get some photos. We have company joining us there for lunch tomorrow...LM made chili. YUM.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall is Leaving

The sun has just about set on Fall here. We still have some lingering foliage in brilliant burgundies and yellows, and even this morning the sun lit a tree outside my bedroom window and the color was sheer pink - so happy I took the time to glance out and ponder the beauty of our first frost and the beautiful sunrise.
It does seem that I am particularly introspective right now; in slow motion; yet fully functional. Strange place but it is OK. I think my body and psyche are recovering from a lot of recent highs, and adjusting beforehand to the time change coming this week. Plan is to just sit within this feeling, and see what is revealed. Living with 4 distinct seasons seems to be another form of exercise, at least for one's spirit, and that can only be healthy.

LM is not feeling well - he claims it is shingles - and my pleas to see his physician have so far gone unheeded. He had a very painful night last night and promised he would make an appointment today. We shall see. Perhaps his body is reacting in a different way.

Meanwhile, he was busy in the kitchen yesterday morning when he snapped this photo of Ms G spying at him through a very large jade plant which sits on a table by the back door. She is such a character! We brought the plant in just in time last week, as we've now had a heavy frost.
Love this girl!

A lovely Family Day

We had only been home from our trip a few days when we were graced with a short but sweet visit from daughter, Anne. She came up from FL for just a few days while her husband David was joining some friends on their annual climb of Mt Washington in NH.
We picked her up on Saturday evening and son, Jason joined us for a delicious seafood dinner.
On Sunday, we all spent the day together at Jason and Alison's, and Teddy was so excited to share all his toys with us.....he loves the Etch-a-Sketch. I remember when his Daddy did, too.
We had a little preview of Samantha and Teddy's Halloween costumes...Samantha loved her cat ears. Teddy not quite changed yet, having a story and taking a cellphone call with a very special visitor (a photo coming up).
There he is, the cutest little chicken ever!
I love this shot....he was getting very tired, but not so much that he couldn't clutch on to LM's cell phone, waiting for a funny.
Mom and Teddy.....lots of fun.
The rear view of the outfit was so cute and poufy.
After a little nap, Teddy was ready to join us at the beautiful table for a lovely meal, prepared by Anne and Alison.
Our very special guest was Anne's best friend from grammar school, Donna. She was always a special favorite of mine and we were just delighted to have us with her on our "family day."
Sara and Samantha get ready to have dinner.
Teddy brushing his teeth after those little toes.
The BFF's enjoying the beautiful day after dinner.
Before the little ones "went south" we made an effort to get some family photos in the front yard. My BFF stopped by, too. That is Sue in the orange sweater talking with Teddy & Samantha. Don't I look just like Lurch from the Adams' Family with my horrid haircut. What a disaster.
Mom and wonderful son, Jason
Proud Mom, Jason, Anne & Sara
My three!
Taking it all in......
Sara and Samantha
Our generous hosts!
Later in the evening when all the "girls" were visiting, LM took the following pictures. He got some sweet shots....T handing LM his phone.
Anne's husband David arrived late in the day and it was such fun to have a little time with him.
Along with David came my grandson, Matt, and his mom, Missy who was just so kind to bring everyone down.
Nap time???
Samantha and Teddy really had fun playing and sharing very nicely.

I think this is one of my most favorite pictures of the day. Sweet cousins.All, too soon, it was time to say good-bye. Such a lovely day, and having all my children and so many grandchildren together made it all perfect.