Monday, August 18, 2014

Hot Nights and Cool Tunes

Had to share this picture of my sister Nancy and her selfie with Daisy.  I had to laugh. 
She had posted it for a friend of hers who was having a birthday and apparently likes cows. Makes me smile even now.

David and I went to Brenham a few weeks back for a little get away. Brenham has music every Saturday in the month of July called Hot Nights and Cool Tunes. I have no idea how long it's been going on but we found out about it last year. They set up a stage on the square by the courthouse. All you have to do is show up, set up your lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the music. Oh and there are vendors with beer, wine, margaritas and food.  If you're so inclined you can get up and dance where ever you're at or go up front by the stage. Some how the weather has been simmering during the day but a breeze has found it's way to us during the concert. Last year we saw a group called Suede out of Austin and decided to back and hear them again this summer. They play 70's to the 90's music. They pretty darn good. Oh and the best part is it's free. This year we went up on Friday and stayed 2 nights at the Ant Street Inn. We used Friday as our day to search for property. We found a piece we liked and actually asked our friend and Realtor to check it out. Figures she found out it had a contract on it. In fact of the 5 properties we had put on our good possibility list to consider, all but one went under contract. Oh well the mission continues.
We stayed at The Ant Street Inn. It was built in 1899 and was a mercantile at that time. In fact it was the first place that Blue Bell Ice Cream was dipped and served. By the 70's the place was going into decline. In the 80's the downtown area began to revitalize and the buildings future was looking brighter.  By 1991 Tom and Pam Taylor bought the building with the dream to turn it into a 15 room relaxing and beautiful sanctuary.
 It took them 3 years to revitalized this old building. They did a great job. In 2011 the Taylor's decided to retire and sold it to the current owners Suzy and Keith Hawkins..You won't find any elevators here so you better be willing and able to climb the stairs.

This is the hallway upstairs. At the far end of the hall is a big room for guests to relax and play games or maybe put a puzzle together. You can even find movies to take back to your room and watch. Oh and one of the best things you'll find is in the common refrigerator..... complimentary Blue Bell Ice Cream ;o) and soda. 
Our room was vintage with a few modern conveniences of course. The lamps over the bed were cool. They turned on with a slight touch.
They have a really nice restaurant downstairs. As part of our stay we got free breakfast. We could choose anything off the menu. I couldn't help myself but I got the eggs Benedict both mornings. 
Our friends Ross and Sheryl joined us in Brenham. It was a fun time. 
They showed up Friday while we eating lunch at a really great place called the BT Longhorn Steakhouse
I order the Southwest Burger on the most awesome bun. I can't 
wait to go back and have another one. It was juicy, tasty, and just the right amount of heat. I'm not sure how they did the jalapenos but they were crunchy and very tasty. I found out about this place from a fellow blogger Christie from  Kiki&Me. She had written about their great steaks but we didn't get to try one. 
Maybe next time. Christie is always writing about great places to eat and stay.
Had Sheryl snap a picture of David and I on our last day there. 

And of course I snapped a picture her.

We had such a fun time! Sorry our friends Kathy and Mark couldn't join us.  Maybe next year.

Check out this big moth at the gas station. It was sitting by the gas pump I was using. It was huge and rather pretty. It almost blended into the concrete.

Last picture I'll share for this blog post. This is my Little Sister Jerri Lynn and our Dad. She's the one who has been there for the family. She has gotten Dad to his treatments which are about 100 miles from the house. All the responsibility has fallen on her and her family over the last few months and now she is the one who has had to step up and help Dad organize and finalize her Mom's estate.  I personally can't thank her enough for her selflessness. And her husband Kevin who has had to play both Mom, Dad, supportive spouse and Taxi when Jerri Lynn was taking care of Dad and Carolyn. I know my sisters Nancy and Barbara do their best but they are at least 3 1/2 hours away. As in most families it seems to fall on one of the sibilings to handle most of the situations that arise and in our case it was Jerri Lynn.

 I love all my sisters dearly. Don't know what I'd do without them.

Until next blog.....  Chance made us sisters...time made us friends

Friday, August 15, 2014

Too soon .....Carolyn

I have started a couple of other posts but never got to finish because on July 31st the world crashed for my sisters  and I. How could this happen? I'm getting ready for work when I realize my phone has been ringing. It's 5:47am and I've missed 5 calls from my little sister and niece. I'm thinking something must have happened to Dad. He goes to chemo treatment and has lab work almost every Thursday.  
Only when Jerri Lynn answers she says she's gone. It doesn't registered at first then I realized she's talking about her mom Carolyn /my step Mom is gone. How can that be? They transported her to the hospital for tests yesterday. As of today we still don't know what really killed her and will have to wait for the autopsy but they suspect a blood clot. 

So at 5:47am Carolyn Lee Heathman Whitney died unexpectedly of  unknown causes. The whole family is in shock. Carolyn was one heck of a woman I can tell you that. She loved listening and going to see The Gaithers a southern gospel and contemporary Christian music group. She got her picture taken with Guy Penrod from the Gaithers. She displayed that picture proudly in the house. I mean it ranked up there with her marriage to Dad and the birth of her girls. She had a heart of gold and did a lot of good deeds in the community.
She was a fun loving woman who always enjoyed a good laugh. 
The gentleman on the left is her X and the one on the right is my Dad. When visiting Houston one time my Mom picked her and Dad up at the airport for me and even took Carolyn shopping. It was this type of attitude that made it easy for all our families to get along and made it easier for us girls growing up and dealing with divorced parents.
She loved her family which was obvious from all the pictures hanging and/or sitting in her office. 

On Thursday I got another call at 10:30am from my Little Sister asking if I was sitting down. I was at my desk so yeah. My heart was pounding and she says "Dad is in full remission. The is no cancer in his body." OMG What glorious news!! But this isn't fair! Carolyn wasn't there to hug and cry with joy with Dad. I know she was there in spirit but it's not the same. Thank you everyone for you continued prayers for my Dad and family.

Pamela and I head to Missouri on that Friday. David wasn't able to join us on this trip to Missouri because he was headed offshore for work. When we arrive on Sunday I kept expecting Carolyn to run out with tears in her eyes as she would with her arms opened wide to give us hugs upon arrival. Only that didn't happen this time. 

Sunday Before the visitations we took various family pictures with Dad. Something Carolyn had wanted forever. 
This is everyone but my husband and my nephews girlfriend Hannah. These pictures were taken by Jerri Lynn's friend Michelle Vandevender. If you click on her name you can go to her Facebook page to check out more of her work.
And this one is all of us girls with Dad.  

Me  Barbara  Nancy  Jerri Lynn
 and of course dad.

I don't know who thought of this but my sisters, nieces, nephews and brother-in law all went to the radio station and recorded a CD with their tributes to Carolyn to play at the services. Pamela and I texted our thoughts and another family member read and recorded it for us. 
My sister Barbara probably got to me the most with her tribute.
"Mom, Mother, Momma" I don't remember the exact words but Mom is what she called Carolyn on an every day How ya doing call or visit. Mother is what she called Carolyn when she scolded her mom. I have heard Barb say Mother you need to calm down or whatever.. It made me smile at the memory. And last it was Momma when Barb was hurting emotionally or physically. Today was a Momma day. Barb said it well. My my niece Emily gave one that made us smile. She said the last question Grandma Carolyn asked was if she had a boyfriend which shocked Emily and she replied Heavens no.  Grandma's final word of advice was to ignore her two big over protective brothers and dad or she would end up an ole spinster. 
My Niece Shelby B. gave a beautiful eulogy for Grandma. Shelby was amazing.

On Monday August 4th my step-Mother Carolyn was laid to rest. She had over 200 in attendance to pay their respects.

Hold my family in your prayers as we work through our loss. And continued prayers for my Dad as he continues on his chemo maintenance and that the cancer stays away.
There was some lighter moments while in Missouri like when Jerri Lynn corralled everyone out the door and into cars for the luncheon before the service and off she went. One problem with that... she forgot me and Pamela. I called her and as soon as I said Hi she realized she had forgotten us. We got a good laugh out of that. My little sister knows we won't let her forget it too soon. Oh but wait it gets better. After the service a family friend invited the family over for dinner. So again Jerri Lynn was gathering everyone up and got in the car and started the car. As Pamela and I walk to the car I slide in and look at Jerri Lynn and ask her if she knows where her son Josiah is??? We all started laughing. 
She spins around in the seat and realizes that he's not in the back.
Josiah was laying on the couch watching toons.  I love you Jerri Lynn. ;o) Thank you for being there for Dad and Carolyn, for all that you do, have done and continue to do.
It's always so hard to say Good Bye when it's time to leave my Missouri family. An this time it was even harder and more emotional..As I hug Dad he says "Things are about to get real and everyone will be going home. I wish you could stay another week.
I hugged him harder and through my tears I whispered I wish I could stay another week too.

Thanks for letting me ramble on this post. Thank you for your kind words, support and prayers for me and my family.

'Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.'
~ From a Headstone in Ireland