Saturday, September 16, 2017

One Step Closer...

Well, Anthony is down here now. He got a job down here two weeks ago, stayed with a friend to keep from having to commute every day, and on Friday he signed the lease to an apartment just a minute or two away from us.

They moved in some of his things last night and will be going back for the rest this afternoon. Thomas and I spent the evening with him and Eler Beth yesterday, helping to move things in, and we bought them dinner. This boy is serious!

I was having lunch with them a few days ago and I mentioned how he is making so many big changes all at once, and that, believe it or not, it's going to suddenly hit him. He's only 21, after all, and has always lived with his parents and worked for his dad's company. He is used to having a somewhat flexible schedule. And he has always gone to the same congregation all his life. So although he has many friends down here, and he loves our congregation, and he has us, he is going from his old life to a new job with more hours and less flexibility AND the responsibility of taking care of expenses that he has never had before -- and all this well BEFORE he has the joy of having a wife.  He told me he was more worried about Eler Beth getting stressed over the next few weeks and months, making wedding plans, saving for the wedding, working more hours, and so forth.  But then Thursday night I went with them to Columbus so he could visit his home congregation for their mid-week meeting for the last time as a member of that congregation. As soon as we entered the doors he was greeted with, "I hear this is your last night with us!" And then they made an announcement from the stage that it was his last night as a member of their congregation, and they wished him well as he moved on to his next assignment at our congregation in Jeffersonville. Then everyone gave him a round of applause. He hadn't been expecting any of that, and I could see it affected him. (It isn't as though he won't see them. He and Eler Beth will visit often, and they will see the friends up there on other occasions as well.) His mom and dad were there, of course, and I enjoyed having a nice chat with them. Someone asked Tom how he was handling Anthony moving away, and he said, "They all have to at some point, and he's ready. He's going to a good place and a good family." But he was their baby, and I know they'll miss him.

(FOR THE RECORD Thomas and I did not, even once, try in ANY way to influence them about where they would live. We assumed they would live in Columbus after they were married, and we had been steeling ourselves, mentally preparing ourselves for that eventuality, knowing that visiting them, only a little over an hour away, was not going to be a hardship, and that we'd get used to not having her nearby all the time. We never said anything about it one way or the other. But when Eler Beth told us that Anthony really wanted to live down here after they were married, inside I was going, "YAY!!!")

We went out to eat afterward with a large group of friends, (and his sister who lives a little further north joined us as well) and on the way there, I asked, "So...is it hitting you yet?" Then Eler Beth, typically the over-worrier, apologized to him for taking him away from Columbus, and he said, "Are you kidding me? I'd move to another country to be with you!"

So, yeah, that's how things are progressing in the "true love" department.  We have a general idea of when the wedding will be -- March or April, but no set date or other plans yet, and they have made no formal announcement because he hasn't got her a ring yet. But I heard some of the girls at dinner Thursday night offering to do Eler Beth's makeup for "the wedding" because they'd done his sisters' makeup and would be happy to volunteer their services to her as well. So it's pretty much established in everyone's minds. Everyone knows Anthony and Eler Beth well enough to know that they were serious from the get-go. 


They are young and hard-working and determined, and they have a lot of love and support. And I am so very sure that they love one another in the right way. Just as I saw Andrew and Alexandria putting the other one first I see that with Eler Beth and Anthony. So it is going to be an interesting next few months!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

0.053

Thomas had blood work done last week, four weeks after the last of his 45 radiation treatments. We went in today to get the results, and his PSA number was ZERO! Well, zero point five three.

They were so surprised. His number going into the treatments was 7 point-something. The urologist said that usually at the four week point after treatment they would expect that to be down to five. So seeing that zero was awesomely surprising. 

He will see them again the first part of October along with a follow-up with the radiation doctor right around the same time. They will be giving him another of the hormone shots, so he won't be saying goodbye to the hot flashes any time soon. But, like the doctor said, they want to be sure those little buggers don't have anything to feed on; they are going for total ablation.

We're very pleased and hope that his numbers will continue to be that good and that he can keep getting along okay with the hot flashes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Perambulating Wasps and Nonagenarian Mothers

~~ Letters From My Sister ~~


From my most recent letter from Barbara, dated Monday, August 7, 2017:

"...In Mom's little kitchen window, between the glass & the screen, is a perfect spiderweb.  It's been there for a while, & I've never seen a spider on it, so it may be abandoned, but I wonder what that spider was thinking when it built there. How much business could that web ever have seen? The window is almost never opened, & the screen seems to be intact.  

"The other kitchen window frequently hosts perambulating wasps on the inside of its screen. They travel endlessly, up & down, up & down, up & down, now and then moving into a large circle, in case there is something more to see that way.  Maybe they're looking for the way back out, but I'd think wasps would be better oriented than that.  Whatever little tear in the screen gave them admittance should have been mapped on the way in, shouldn't it?  I thought insects were pretty good with maps.  I would understand if they built nests between the screen & glass, as that would be a nice, safe place; they don't.  

"Continuing around the kitchen, and carrying this subject to a ridiculous extreme, wasps did build nests between the kitchen door & its storm door.  When is the storm door propped open long enough for wasps to scout the location, & then (presumably) dart in & out with nest-building material & no one sees it? They have to lay eggs, & don't they put something in each cell for the larvae to eat?  Paralyzed caterpillars, and so forth?  And all the time, we're going in & out through the door, & no one notices.

"This has so far been an odd letter, hasn't it?"

And then follows bits of family and pet-related news before she brings it full-circle (no pun intended) back to the insects.

"Mom is up & stirring now.  She's taken her pills & is ready for her coffee.  She's been doing her exercises better & walking around the house on the porches, out the back door & around to the front, then back down the ramp and around the corner & up the steps to the back door again, & then repeat.  (Now that I think of it, I wonder if those wasps walking up & down the window screen are just taking their constitutionals, after all.)

"For what it's worth, this odd letter has flowed along very nicely;...I hope you like odd letters."

I DO like odd letters. These are exactly the types of letters I so look forward to getting from my sister, who still takes the time to hand write or type out a letter to me and put it in the mail.  I really need to get on with my project of sharing bits and pieces from her letters (see tab above) on a regular basis.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eler Beth and Anthony

Hopefully I can tell this story and do it justice without it getting confusing. I want to tell the back story as we saw it happening on our end but also what was happening on Anthony's end at the same time but that we only found about later. So let's see how well I can do. This will be a long love story....

So this is Eler Beth and Anthony (I won't publish his last name here).


This picture was taken only twelve days after they had decided they considered themselves a "couple."   

Anyone still reading my blog from the old days knows my daughter and the type of person she is.  She is careful and smart and gives a lot of thought to any decision she makes. She turned twenty-one in January and has never really dated anyone. She has had a few crushes over the years but has let them all die a natural death either because she considered herself too young to do anything about them or because she realized that the object of her crush would NOT make a good mate -- and her self-proclaimed purpose for dating is marriage. Neither Thomas nor I ever dated casually, and Eler Beth feels the same way about it. She is a one-man woman and has stated her intention from way back of only seriously dating the one man she would want to spend the rest of her life with. That seems old-fashioned to many people; I know it does, because at least a dozen of them have told Eler Beth or me so in the past couple of months! So I guess we're just old-fashioned. lol  But what's wrong with knowing that you want ONE person and are willing to fight when things get tough (as they will) to keep that one relationship going?



Anyway, over the years Eler Beth and I have discussed dating and marriage, of course. The subject would come up naturally between us when a friend of hers began dating or became engaged or when someone had asked her out. When she was 16 her response to a good friends' romantic woes was, "She's too young to be seriously involved with anyone anyway. She should just get herself a good dog!" She kind of had a plan for herself that she wouldn't even think of dating until she was in her twenties and probably wouldn't want to marry until she was 23 or 24.  After all, she is a very busy young lady with lots of hobbies and interests and didn't want to take any chance of not enjoying her single-hood while she could. Well, the best laid plans, and all that -- (She jokingly said that Anthony was not on her schedule for this year!)

But, back to the discussions we've had over the years -- Each time we talked about it -- and I mean every single time over the past three years or so -- she would say to me, "Of all the guys I know at this time, the only one I could ever see myself dating is Anthony Y-- ." And I would have to agree with her. Of all her male friends (and she has always had more male friends than female) at any given time, Anthony was the only one I could see her with and would have no misgivings about. They have known each other for more than seven years, ever since his eldest sister married the son of a friend of ours who was also a friend of Andrew's. Eler Beth actually became good friends with Anthony's other sister, who is a year older than him and Eler Beth, and she used to spend a lot of time with her and their family. But there was never anything but friendship between her and Anthony.  

The sister with whom she is good friends married a couple of years ago and moved further away (Anthony's family lives an hour from us), so she and Eler Beth haven't seen a lot of one another for quite some time. But because Anthony is also friends with others of Eler Beth's friends here in Jeffersonville, we would see Anthony several times a year, either when he would come down to visit friends or at parties or get-togethers of one sort or another. Each time they would gravitate to one another, but, again, out of friendship and not in a romantic way.  He AND Eler Beth battle social anxiety, but they have always been comfortable with one another. And Eler Beth gets along better in groups of males more so than groups of females, with very few exceptions. They have a lot of interests in common, so it has always been natural for them to hang out together, in their "group" of friends, if that makes sense.  

A little over a year ago, though, she admitted to me that she had had what she considered a serious crush on Anthony for quite some time, but was not ready to marry and so didn't want to act on it. Besides, she said, she didn't want to risk losing the friendship. Well, unknown to us at the time, for about the past year Anthony has also been interested in Eler Beth but didn't want to risk losing the friendship and really didn't think she would be interested in him. Besides, he is SO VERY extremely shy. And that brings me to something else. If you met Anthony you would not realize he is shy or has social anxiety. He is SO outgoing, but it is because he MAKES himself be outgoing. He is also a dancer. He has been dancing since he was a little guy, and he is very, very good. (The pic above is from when he was about 14, I think.)  Both his sisters danced, and he is good at it and found that it is a very good outlet for his anxiety. He still helps his local dance academy out when they need a male lead, and he volunteers for them, teaching special-needs students. 

And Eler Beth, despite battling anxiety and depression since she was twelve, really goes out of her way to be outgoing and meet new people as well. I like that they have that in common. 


So there they were, being friends all these years, admiring one another but not daring to even hint at any romantic interest -- until this year.  (He told her that he has always thought she was such a cool and interesting person, but that he thought she was too "insanely beautiful" to be interested in him romantically, and she told me she always thought he was such a cool and interesting person but "out of her league."  And each is so self-deprecating that when they told each other these things, they were amazed that the other felt that way.)


Some good friends of ours host formal dances every year for the young ones in our congregation and their friends in nearby congregations. Eler Beth has been going since she was fifteen. In going back through photos from those dances I discovered a good many of her and Anthony either dancing together or near one another (or Anthony being goofy). It is still a little strange to me to see pics of them as young as fifteen and then to see them now, all grown up and "smelling of April and May."  These are a few pictures from 2013 that show the two of them in close proximity to one another.

 
So... back in the spring these friends hosted a dance, and Eler Beth almost didn't go. She reasoned that she would be one of the oldest ones there -- it's really more for the younger teens --, that so many of her friends wouldn't be there because they've moved away or gotten married, or whatever. I said it was up to her but that she always ended up having a nice time, and she could always leave early if she wanted. I also reminded her that her cousin, Jordan, would be there and that B-- (her and Anthony's mutual friend) would be there and that "Anthony Y-- will probably be there." She had got a dress and decided on accessories, etc., just in case, but she was literally undecided up until two hours before the dance. But she went.

When she got home I knew "it" had happened. She'd decided! Anthony had asked her for the first slow dance, and she told me later that she knew right then that he was perfect for her and that she was ready. She wanted to ask him to dance again but was afraid that it might "freak him out" and she didn't want to risk losing him as a friend. He told us later that he had tried to get up the courage to ask her for another slow dance all evening but that he really didn't think she was interested in him in that way and that he was afraid it might be "freaky or creepy" to her and he didn't want to risk losing her as a friend. Yeah. They are both just like that! Isn't it amazing?

Anthony spent the night at B's house (whose mother was one of the hostesses of the dance) that night, and we knew we'd see him the next day. I told Thomas my suspicions and suggested that we ask Anthony and B to go to lunch with us. We had already made plans to join some other friends of ours for lunch, and Jordan and her family were joining us as well.  So the next day we did just that. Eler Beth actually asked me if we could invite Anthony and B to go to lunch with us, and I told her we'd already decided to do that. She looked at me keenly and said, "You know I like him, right?" And I said, "Yes, I'd kind of figured that out." And she said, "And you're okay with that, right?" And I assured her that I knew she'd always kind of kept Anthony at the back of her mind and that I was perfectly happy with her pursuing Anthony if that was what she wanted; that he was the one crush I knew she had never let die a natural death. She told me that it had suddenly occurred to her that "what if I decided I was ready to date and someone had already snatched him up?" We were to find out later that Anthony had Eler Beth on his mind all that night as well and was trying to figure out how he could spend some time with her the next day. It's a good thing Eler Beth's parents were all ready on the job, isn't it? :) 

So the next day we met our friends for lunch. There was a large group of us, and the restaurant wasn't able to put enough tables together so that we could all sit together, so I suggested that the "young adults" (Eler Beth, Anthony, B and Jordan) sit in a booth next to us, and there would be room at the tables for us old folks and the little ones. Anthony was to tell us later that his eyes kept straying to Eler Beth and that he even took "a snapshot of the occasion" unknown to her. We old folks were having a wonderful time catching up, but Jordan wasn't feeling well.  Her dad wasn't really ready to leave, so B said he and Anthony could take her home. Well, Eler Beth had some things to do that afternoon before going to work, so I -- ever the helpful intercessor -- asked her if she needed to leave as well, and if she did, would the guys want to drop her off at home, too, since it was on their way to B's house anyway. That suited them just fine.

Then later that afternoon, before she went to work, Eler Beth took Remiel over to B's house so Anthony could meet him, and she stayed and visited for quite a while. I dropped by there to speak to B's mom on my way with Thomas to run an errand, and I was able to observe the two of them for several minutes. I told Thomas later that I was pretty sure each of them was pretty smitten with the other and didn't even know that the other one was feeling the same way. That night Eler Beth told me she was going to be staying in touch with Anthony and would probably go up to Columbus to visit him in the not so distant future. 

Beginning that night she texted him once a day, not all day, not long texts, nothing involved, just a hello and maybe talking about something of mutual interest. For example, Anthony likes to mountain bike, which is something that Eler Beth has wanted to do. So she began asking him what kind of bike she should get and how much she should spend and things like that. After a few days she didn't text him at all one day because she was afraid she might be bothering him. That night he texted her. And that night he told her that he'd wanted to tell her, but hadn't because he was so awkward (his words), just how pretty she had looked at the dance. (And yes, I know all this because my daughter tells me these things. lol) She showed me the text and asked if that was an opening. I said that that was most certainly an opening. For the next little while, then, they texted about everything under the sun.  

Now, shy my little girl might be, but! -- like her mother and every one of her aunts and her grandmother on my side, once she has made up her mind about something, she goes with it and there is no holding her back. So one Saturday she told me she'd decided to visit Anthony's congregation in Columbus the next day if I didn't mind. She wanted me to go with her, but I was really not feeling well that weekend. I wasn't sure if she'd go by herself, but she did. I told Thomas that night, "Oh, by the way, Eler Beth is going to Columbus' meeting in the morning, if that's okay." "Sure, that's okay." "You know she's not just going to visit other friends up there; she's going to see Anthony." And Thomas said, "Yes, and all I have to say is, 'Phew!'" And he wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. You see, both of us really, REALLY like Anthony, and of any young man she could possibly have fallen for, we were very, VERY glad it was he. (Anthony is smart and funny and sweet, with the same kind of sense of humor as ours.  He is quick-witted, with a high IQ, and is a very responsible and conscientious young man. He is a hard worker and has run his father's business for him when his dad had to be out of town for several weeks to care for an ailing parent. He is respectful, down-to-earth, and doesn't have too high of an opinion of himself. I think of him and Eler Beth as equals in so many ways.)

So she went to his meeting that morning; then they went out to lunch together, and then she went to his house and sat and visited with him and his parents for a while. She didn't stay late, as she had to work that night, but not long after she left his house she pulled off the highway and messaged me that she was just going to come right out and ask him out. She texted him something to the effect that she hoped it wasn't too weird, but she figured she'd just come right out and ask him if he'd be interested in going on a date. And he immediately texted back, "Can I call you?"  Unknown to us at the time, (but told to us by Anthony at a later time because he and Eler Beth are just so extremely open and communicative with each other and with us) he had called his favorite sister, Eler Beth's friend, right after she had left and told her he was going to ask Eler Beth out but that he was so nervous about it, she (his sister) was going to have to really boost his nerve. He was still talking to her when Eler Beth's text came through. He called her and said, "Yes, I would LOVE to go out with you." (And he still loves telling people that SHE asked HIM out first.)

Now here's where the "old-fashioned" part comes in again. He wanted to come down to ask Thomas' permission. This isn't something that is required. This isn't something that is sexist. This is Anthony being the respectful and mannerly young man that he is. He thinks highly of me and Thomas, and he knew, even then, just as Eler Beth knew, that deciding to date, for the two of them, was more than just "going out" together. And he knew that we would know that as well. So in effect, he wanted assurance that he would be approved of by Eler Beth's parents, and he wanted to show respect to Thomas by asking him personally if he would have no problem with that. Well, I thought that was charming when Eler Beth told me, and I told her not to assure him that Thomas couldn't be more pleased, even though that was the truth, because this was something that obviously meant a lot to Anthony and should be between him and Thomas. So on Tuesday he came down to see us, told Thomas that he and Eler Beth had been talking, and that they'd like to start dating if he had no objection. Thomas put him out of his misery pretty quickly. (Told me later that he had always looked forward to making a young man sweat if he started looking at his daughter, but that he couldn't do that to Anthony.)

So, since then, they have been a couple and getting on like a wildfire. So much has happened.  Anthony came to Andrew and Alexandria's wedding with us (pics at left, right, and below), Eler Beth is now an official employee of his family's business, he has showed up on our doorstep with a dozen, long-stemmed roses and two boxes of her favorite candy, he calls me Mamma, he has gone fishing with Thomas and Eler Beth, and Thomas has bought him his own climbing tree stand to use during deer season IF he decides he wants to go hunting with them, his dog, Molly, has fallen in love with Eler Beth and pouts and mopes when Eler Beth leaves their house, and Bryant, Eler Beth's dog, treats Anthony like he has always been one of the family. Andrew has always liked Anthony and thinks he and Eler Beth make a good couple, and after the first time meeting him and observing the two of them together for a while, Alexandria declared that they "mesh well with each other."




Some people, not knowing the whole story, have said that this is very, very sudden and have advised caution and that they take their time, but I have been putting it out there among our acquaintance that it isn't actually as sudden as it might seem, since they've been friends for many years. Seriously, what better foundation for a relationship than to have known and liked one another as friends for years? And thankfully, Anthony's parents adore Eler Beth and are supportive of the couple as well.


Thomas actually proposed to me after we'd been dating only two weeks, so perhaps our view of such a sudden romance is a bit skewed. lol  I actually made him wait a month before I gave him an answer, and then we were engaged for 10 months before we got married because I wanted a June wedding, but still!  They have already discussed just about everything that can be discussed by a couple contemplating marriage. They are not officially engaged. They do consider themselves engaged. I am pretty sure there will be no announcement until he presents her with a ring, but I expect that at any time now. (He has already got all the pertinent information out of me -- size, favored stone and metal, etc.) And I am so okay with it. I've been asked how I can be so okay with the suddenness of the prospect of losing my cherished daughter, my best friend, probably within the year, and all I can think to say is that it is because it is Eler Beth and because it is Anthony. They are so perfect for one another. They are still amazed with each other and with the whole situation, because in many ways it was sudden. But it is seriously as if they had been waiting for one another.







Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Little Girl is in Love!

I knew when she finally fell, she'd fall hard. Apparently he has fallen hard as well.

Their story to follow when I have a bit more time to write it.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thomas and Lori, Thirty Years

Today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It's a Tuesday, and we actually celebrated with family over the weekend, so tonight Thomas is cooking dinner for me. It's a simple, low-key anniversary day. 

I wanted to make a post but really couldn't think of much to write about. I mean, I'm amazed sometimes that we've stayed married for thirty years, but then after I think about it a minute, I know that I am not really amazed.  We've put up with a lot from each other, and we've been through a lot together, and we've made two very wonderful children together -- why wouldn't we still be married? :)

So in honor of our marriage I'm going to re-post a blog post from 2005 that I actually wrote about my father, but has to do with mine and Thomas' marriage.

Here it is:

"Letting Go of Prejudices"

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Closing Out April with Family and Creek Wading

The kids and I were able to get down to Mom's when my sister Maxine came in from Florida. Andrew and Eler Beth both happened to have that weekend off, so they and Alexandria could go down with me. Thomas had planned to go as well, but at the last minute on the Friday before they scheduled him to work all weekend. 

We had a great visit though. Maxine was the only one of my siblings who hadn't met Alexandria yet. I'd been hoping Alva, Alex's mom, would be able to go down with us, too, but she wasn't able to.  So maybe next time. But at least all of Mom's kids were there, all seven of us.

I surprised the engaged couple with a cake decorated with Alex's two favorite colors, and we had a wonderful dinner, with (eldest sister) Dennice doing most of the cooking this time. I still marvel at how well Alexandria fits into our family. 



I got a picture of the kids with Mom. Who knows how many more years we'll have with my Mother? I need to get down there more often. I managed to visit three times in April, and I'm going to try to get down at least two times this coming month. 

Andrew and Eler Beth wanted to take Alexandria to the creek where I learned to swim as a child, Dorridge Creek (called Dodge Creek, locally), and they wanted her to experience the winding, curvy, steep road to get down to it, so I obliged and drove them there. They waded in the creek and climbed up the banks a few times. Even Alexandria took off her shoes and socks and waded right in. 
  


Earlier they had taken a long walk down the road and were still gone when dinner was ready, so I took the car and went to get them. I put the passenger window down and told them to hop in, dinner was getting cold. Eler Beth promptly hopped onto the car door at the open window, and Andrew sat on the trunk of the car, telling Alexandria, "Hop on!" She looked dubious and said she'd ride inside, but then he said, "Hop on! This is how we do it in the country!" So she hopped on, and I drove VERY carefully back to Mom's house. (Didn't want to have to explain to Alva how I'd injured her daughter!)  It was funny because Andrew is very much a city boy, although he does love to fish and go exploring in the woods. But it just really sounded funny coming from him. I wanted to say, "How would YOU know how WE do it in the country?" LOL  But later, coming back from the creek, I drove a different route and he began noticing all the "Dowell" names on mailboxes and even road signs -- Coleman Dowell Road, Burton Dowell Road -- and I saw an interest in his roots taking root. Eler Beth has always been interested in her KY roots and has paid more attention when I talk about ancestors and relatives that are no longer with us that were a part of my childhood. Seeing those names caused a feeling of connection in Andrew that I hadn't sensed before. He was so very, very close to my Mom and Dad when he was little and still cries when he visits Dad's grave, and he adores my sisters and brother and the cousins that he knows. But I'd never seen him go deeper into a feeling for family and family history before then. He really paid attention as I pointed out where this or that ancestor had lived.  All in all, it was a nice weekend.

I went back later in the week, just me, and had a wonderful time playing music and singing with my sisters. Going to definitely have to do that more often.

Thomas is doing well. On the 19th he will have the CT scan to map the radiotherapy. Then approximately two weeks later, the therapy will start. We are expecting the best outcome, and so far he doesn't seem to be slowing down in any way, so -- so far, so good!

This isn't much of a post, but I kind of wanted to close out April with something, and this is it!

Hope everyone is doing well.

~~ Lori