Thursday, December 12, 2013


Joyous Christmas greetings!                   December 2013

I don’t know about you, but the short span of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is making me a little crazy.  I’m normally terrible at time management anyway, so this year is even more challenging than usual, especially with the activity-halting ice storm we had earlier this month.  Still, it’s important to take a moment to enjoy the delights of the season and to reflect on this past year’s happenings.

Let’s start with the most important: THE KIDS!!  Everybody’s great—healthy, busy, and happy.  The Cribbies sold their home in Krum and recently moved into a larger home closer to Dave’s job.  Bonus: they’re a mile from Erika and her family, which equates to both daughters now living 15 minutes from us! Zoey is thriving in first grade while Ruby, Maggie, and Sam keep Jenni hopping at home.  All 4 kids enjoy Sunday School, and Zoey and Ruby are active in AWANA and gymnastics.  The Wiese 4 are also terrific.  Leo goes to preschool 2 days a week, and he and Etta are in Sunday School.  Both families take regular advantage of fun projects at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Calloway Nursery, and elsewhere.  The kids all enjoy helping in the kitchen, and they adore each other....which makes their new proximity to each other a special treat!

We took a couple of trips this year, one planned and one unexpected.  In March Tony and I joined our Endicott family in the celebration of the well-lived life of my uncle and godfather, 91-year-old John Warski.  Uncle John was very special in that he stepped in as father figure to my family after my own father left when I was 16.  Although a funeral would not be the preferred reason for a trip home, it was a wonderful time of fellowship with family members and church friends from my youth.  My sister Lisa and her husband Bob also came up from Florida, and we spent some lovely time with Aunt Olga Warski and our cousins Cathy and Pat and their families.

In September Tony, Lisa, Bob, and I took an 18-day trip to Europe in celebration of their 35th anniversary in July and our upcoming 40th next April. We spent 2 days in Venice before boarding the Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam for a 12-day Mediterranean cruise.  The cruise ended in Barcelona, where we spent an additional 2 days sightseeing.  It was an amazing trip and we had a wonderful time.  Eventually I’ll get around to posting pictures and travel highlights on my blog (the operative word being eventually).

The coming year will bring us to the Destin, FL area for a week with Erika and family in mid-May.  If anyone is in the area and wants to try to connect, let me know and I’ll provide details.  Then in mid November we’ll head to Jacksonville for our niece Erin’s wedding to Greg Taylor.  We’re very excited to meet Greg, visit with family, and participate in what promises to be a gorgeous, fun wedding at the Jacksonville Zoo!

We always look forward to hearing from you about your year, so please stay in touch.  May the significance of Christmas be meaningful to you, and may its joys bless you abundantly this season and throughout the coming year.  We send big hugs to one and all from Texas! 

Family photo, left to right: Dave Cribbs with Maggie Cribbs (almost 3) and Ruby Cribbs (4½), Jenni Leo Cribbs with Zoey Cribbs (7 on 12/28) and Sam Cribbs (14 months), Papa and Bammy (aka Tony & Mona), Erika Leo Wiese with Etta Wiese (almost 3) and Leo Wiese (5), Josh Wiese.  Contrary to speculation, we are not Duck Dynasty wannabees. The guys decided to do something different for this year’s picture.  The beards won’t be permanent (I think). 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Die, Gordo, Die!!!

On May 8, 1993 we took delivery of our new fridge, which Tony promptly named "Gordo" due to its gigantor dimensions -- much larger than any other refrigerator we'd ever owned.  It is now more than 20 years later and Gordo shows no signs of slowing down, much to my annoyance.  A few years ago we replaced our cooktop, double ovens, microwave, and dishwasher with new stainless steel appliances.  I would love to have a new, smaller stainless steel fridge to match the rest of the kitchen, but I am married to a wonderful, thrifty, practical man who for some reason thought it would be fine to replace our other still-living-and-working appliances, but not Gordo.  I'm having trouble convincing him it's time for Gordo to go.
The rest of the kitchen appliances--sleek, modern stainless.
See?  Gordo just doesn't fit in!
To be fair, Gordo does have many fine qualities.  He provides a large gallery for grandkids' art work, special souvenir magnets from our travels, family photos in magnetic frames, and assorted notes, lists, and business cards.  His refrigerator and freezer sides offer lots of space for produce, deli items, condiments, leftovers, treats, ice, and beverages.  Gordo has been a faithful servant, requiring only 2 brief, inexpensive service calls in his long life.  I'm sure he still has many years left in him.
But I really think it's time for him to retire.  His dingy white pebbled surface shows indelible grime (What IS that sticky stuff trickling down the side that no cleanser ever created can remove?), scratches, and rust streaks from his long-disconnected freezer door ice-and-water dispenser.  His icemaker has been AWOL for years, removed by Tony because we couldn't find a way to prevent distasteful black flecks from embedding themselves in the cubes (service call #1; service call #2 a few years ago replaced the refrigerator-side gasket).  We don't use a lot of ice, so it's not the end of the world to have to fill our two Rubbermaid ice trays occasionally.  It would just be nicer to have ice on demand again.  (fleck-free, of course)  The produce drawer has been hanging on by sheer will power for years.  One of the support pegs gave way almost as soon as Gordo came to live with us, but it's managed to hold on no matter how ambitiously we fill the drawer.  And dang it!  I just want a fridge that matches my kitchen!  Is that really too much to ask?

In truth, we do tend to keep things a long time if they're still operational.  Here are a few of our "antique" appliances we use all the time which show no sign of giving up the ghost:
 Hamilton Beach hand mixer.  My mother bought this for me (for $10) when I got my very first apartment in Cortland, NY at the beginning of my sophomore year in college--Fall 1969!!  Yes, we still use it, and it works perfectly.  We have a KitchenAid Professional stand mixer that we use for big batches, but this little hand mixer comes in very handy for small jobs --  44 years later.
General Electric electric knife. This was a bridal shower gift from one of my teacher friends at Mary McLeod Bethune Sixth Grade Center, Jacksonville, FL in the spring of 1974 (Thank you, Barbara Stubbs!!).  Note the tastefully dated avocado two-tone finish on this 39-year-old beauty!
 Betty Crocker immersion blender.  During my 5 stellar years as an elementary school teacher before I retired permanently to raise our daughters and later explore other career choices, Scholastic Books offered teachers free stuff to encourage book sales.  Very few of my students at Bethune could afford to buy books, so I'd buy bunches for use in my classroom.  These purchases entitled me to several reward items, one of which was this hand blender.  This item came into my kitchen some time between 1974 and 1976, and at age 37-39 it still gets used for soups, salad dressings, and sauces on a regular basis.
Oster Pot-Pourri electric chafing dish/fondue pot.  Another bridal shower gift (Thank you, Lynne and Ed Moroney!!), this 39-year-old gem has been used frequently and continues to be used regularly.  It's the perfect size for cooking all varieties of fondue, cocktail meatballs, marinara, and queso--and for keeping warm foods warm in a buffet setting.  Dig that burnt orange finish!

It seems I've unwittingly made my case for keeping Gordo around until he dies of natural causes, haven't I?  It does seem wasteful to retire such a dependable, steadfast, durable member of the household.  Am I frivolous for wanting all my major kitchen appliances to match?  HECK, NO!!!

Your days are numbered, Gordo.  Now, where's my gun......? 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Goodbye Grammy, Hello Bammy!

Ever since we first found out Jenni was pregnant with Zoey, I considered the special name possibilities my grandchildren would call me.  The best case scenario, in my opinion, is when the children choose their own names for special people in their lives.  But we had to have a starting point, so I selected "Grammy" as my grandmother name--the name I had always called my beloved Grandmother Nehlad.  As each grandchild came along, he or she would go through metamorphoses of Grammy: Dimi, Mimi, Dammy, Gammy, and--most recently--Bammy.  It was little Maggie who coined the name "Bammy", and it seems to have stuck.  Pretty much everyone calls me Bammy now, so I'm announcing to the world that it's Bammy from this point forward.

Unless one of the kids decides differently.

Bammy's treasures
 Etta, almost 2 1/2
 Zoey, 6 1/2
 Maggie, almost 2 1/2
Sam, 8 1/2 months
 Leo, almost 5
Ruby, 4 1/4

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Rocket Man!

Tony has always enjoyed building model rockets.  Years ago he started with kits, then began designing his own rockets.  He gave up the hobby for a while when our daughters grew older and started to lose interest.  But now that he's retired he has the time and patience to work on the models again, and with 6 young grandkids, he has an instant  captive, interested audience of potential future rocket scientists.
At home Tony has his own rocket/hobby room, sort of a man cave.
When he builds a new rocket, he fills the payload section with candy for the kids.  As the section parachutes back to earth after the launch, the kids go running through the field looking for their candy.
I suppose this stuff makes sense to rocket aficionados.
The design table, where the magic happens.
He likes to paint the rockets bright colors to appeal to the kids.
Some recent models under construction.
Um, remember a few pictures back when I said Tony had a man cave?  I neglected to mention he generously shares his cave with our baby paraphernalia.
Only a real man would allow a crib in his man cave.
Yeah, the room literally screams pure masculinity, alright!
Finally, launch day arrives. Maggie and Etta are ready to tromp through the fields in their protective boots.
Leo, Zoey, and Ruby love to explore together.
Sam obviously can't contain his enthusiasm.
The first rocket goes up flawlessly.
What goes up must come down, candy and all!
Setting up for the next launch.
Everything must be perfect so the rocket will go straight up.
Another successful launch makes it into the record books.  After cleaning up our equipment, it's off to McDonald's for ice cream cones.  Memories made!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Super Sam!!!

Our sixth and last (unless God decides otherwise) grandchild was due Oct. 20, just after my   scheduled trip to Disney World (see previous post).  Normally that wouldn't give anyone pause, but Jenni follows my time-honored tradition of always delivering early.  The race was on to see who would arrive in town first, baby or Grammy.

The last day of the Disney trip began uneventfully.  After getting ready and packing for our trips home, the Silver Foxes would spend our final hours at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, savoring one more time the sights, smells, and sounds of the world.  On the water taxi from hotel to theme park, my phone rang.  Jenni was in labor!

As enjoyable as the Disney experience was, my heart and mind were in Texas with my laboring daughter and soon-to-arrive grandchild.  We kept in touch periodically throughout the day.  I was even able to hear Jenni power through several contractions; like her mom, Jenni always labored and delivered naturally without medication or intervention of any kind.  At last it was time to head for the airport.

With Jenni's other three deliveries, I was at her house in a matter of minutes as soon as the call came that she was in labor, ready to help with the other kids.  This time I was half a country away, unable to help at all.  Fortunately, dear, dependable Tony and Erika were able to take care of things in my absence, and no one skipped a beat.  

Sitting at my gate at the Orlando airport, it was all I could do to keep from calling Jenni and Dave every 5 seconds to see how labor was progressing.  Finally, just moments before we were about to board, the call came: Jenni and Dave had a son, Samuel David Cribbs!!  It took every bit of my self control to stay in my seat the next 2 1/2 hours while the plane dragged its way to Dallas with agonizing slowness.  As soon as I landed and collected my suitcase, Tony hustled me straight to the hospital to meet our new grandson.  After a short visit and a stop home to pick up some necessities, we headed to Jenni's so I could send Erika back to her family and take care of the girls for the next few days.
The following day, three very excited big sisters responded to the question, "Who's ready to go meet your new baby brother?"!
The entire Cribbs family of 6, happily reunited at the hospital.
Big sister Zoey had the first turn holding baby Sam......
.....followed by sweet Ruby.....
.....and finally adorable Maggie, who was instantly in love with her 21-month-younger sibling.
Daddy was able to squeeze in a turn, too.
Samuel David Cribbs, hours old, 8 lb. 3 oz., 100% cuteness!
Papa thought Sam was pretty cool.  All the menfolk were ecstatic to have another male in our heavily female-dominated family!
Same was an exquisitely beautiful baby.  Of course, I'm not the slightest bit prejudiced.
He has the bluest eyes.  It will be interesting to see how they end up.  Zoey's and Ruby's turned brown fairly quickly.  Maggie's stayed clear ice blue until about a month before her second birthday, when they suddenly turned gray-green.
After 2 days it was time for Sam to come home!
This is a terrible picture of me, but I couldn't resist sharing the almost instantaneous bond between Sammy and Grammy. 
Sam quickly carved a permanent place in our hearts and lives, especially those of his precious sisters.  We think we'll keep him!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Happiest Place on Earth!

I've been so remiss in my blogging duties lately.  Life is very full these days and priorities (meaning our wonderful, delightful grandkids for the most part) keep us pretty busy, and happily so.  Well, there's nothing like a heavy duty case of bronchitis with a side of sinus infection to slow one down and give one opportunities for catching up with sedentary activities--thanks to Tony, who has imposed total bed rest this week.

This past October some of my dearest high school friends and I met for a long weekend at Disney World.  One of the group, Deb, is a member of the Disney Vacation Club and takes several trips to Disney every year.  A college professor with many commitments, she finds the Magic Kingdom her favorite place to decompress.  After our enjoyable mini reunion in Dallas/Fort Worth last year, Deb invited the same group of gals to be her guests at a beautiful suite in the Animal Kingdom.  Another high school friend who lives in Florida, Terry, met us there with his wife, Betty.  And the fun began.......
Our first day was spent at Epcot, enjoying the annual International Food and Wine Festival. It was my first time at Epcot, so of course I had to take the requisite sphere photo.
Here we are in our Florida finery.  Left to right: Deb, me, Terry (from Vermont), Bobbie (from Oklahoma), Terry, Betty.
That night we were treated to a concert by Starship.  Mickey Thomas still sounds great, and the female singer was a passable Grace Slick.  We were transported back a few years!
Later we saw some beautiful fireworks over the lake, a lovely end to a fantastic day.
The next morning we all donned our "M-E '68 Silver Foxes" t-shirts and headed for the Magic Kingdom.
Yeah, we're hot stuff!  As corny as it was to have match-y match-y shirts, we got a lot of compliments.
We stopped for a yummy lunch at the Plaza Cafe, and we didn't get kicked out for acting silly.
Well, Terry almost did!
After the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Bobbie channeled her inner Captain Jack Sparrow.  She rocked the dreadlocks!
We had to kick some little kids off this carriage in order to grab a photo op, but they were respectful of the granny Smurfs.
Day 3 took us to Hollywood Studios.  The last time I was in Disney World our kids were 3 and 5, and there was only one theme park.  It was staggering to see how the resort had grown in 30 years.  It's still extremely well designed, authentic, and clean.
Lunch at the Brown Derby was a fantastic experience, just like dining in Hollywood.
Deb's friend Garrett joined us for lunch.  He's well known at Disney so he scored us a celebrity table!
Our table looked out over the entire restaurant.
It's hard to believe you're not in Hollywood when standing in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater.
This is where we stayed......absolutely breathtaking!
The four Silver Foxes on the balcony of our suite overlooking the African Savanna.
Every morning we had coffee in the room while watching beautiful wild animals roam freely below.

The lobby of the hotel was absolutely exquisite.

Our last day at Disney took us back to Epcot for more festival.
Lunch was a lobster roll and a Samuel Adams beer sampler from the New England area.
This is for Ruby, our resident Cinderella.  I hope to be able bring all the grandkids here some day soon.  It certainly is a magical place where dreams come true!