Category Archives: Family

Bearing and Receiving Gifts

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Last week hubby and I drove up to MI to celebrate my b-day watching the big screen 30th anniversary presentation of The Princess Bride with our middle daughter and son-in-law. Because it was showing on my real birthday date, it was like having a mini-family feast of words (we all know this movie by heart), laughter as well as food and table-talk.

The audience was an eclectic mix of elders (us), current parents of young children, 30-somethings (our kids gen), and college students…along with smatterings of other categorical diversity.

princess bride quote

The favorite scenes for hubby & our kiddos always begin thusly.

I was a bit concerned we as a family would be disruptive to those around us during certain favorite scenes…where we’d play act and/or get lost in wild guffaws.

For myself, I cracked up at the usual places: “Bye, bye, boys!” -  Mawage…a dweem within a dweem…”

Oh, don’t even get me started!

Thankfully this eclectic audience also had certain specific scenes that caused the same type of potentially disruptive explosive laughter. In that respect, we truly were in it together for the fun of it all.

Mother/Daughter Quilt - Our Quilt

Finally handing off our Mother/Daughter Quilt project! (started 2003, finished 2017)

Now we also went up to MI bearing gifts. We filled our Camry’s trunk with some special items gleaned from Dad’s estate and the finally finished Mother/Daughter Quilt Project.

My Michelle’s favorite color is no longer pink.  She has grown up, become a confident, professional woman and married a fine young man.  But our Mother-Daughter Quilt still speaks of the ties that bind: times past, present and future; the good times and the bad; what it means to love and be loved; forever and always…Amen.

Our Quilt Label - start 2003 finish 2017

Our Quilt Label (start 2003 – 2017 finish)

39 Years is A Loooong Time: lots of years to grow stronger and in love together

As I sit here sipping the last of my Pinot Noir from dinner, the eve of our Wedding Anniversary, I’m reflecting on 39 years of marriage to the same hunk of a man, my TWL. As mentioned before in a previous post, he’s my James Taylor of a guy back in the day when we first met and has morphed into my stalwart protector, staunchest supporter of my (he)art and deepest devoted Father and Grandfather of our progeny.

TWL is the ‘name’ we jokingly refer to in e-mails and snail mails to each other, letters defining his initials. It is also part of the name of a solo classical guitar piece I composed and dedicated to him on the first Christmas (out of three) during our between homes experience: Gift: for TWL (actually performed in context with the Goodwill Cultural Center Swimming with Swans: the music program presented on June 3rd).

In honor of our 39th I present to you a favorite youtube representing one of his special passions: sailing. Keep in mind that the video shows ‘motoring’ rather than actual sailing, regardless of the sung lyrics!

Enjoy and celebrate with us.

Ormai la frittata è fatta!

Cheers!

Happy Okay-Mom’s Day Musing

 “World’s Okayest Mom”

I saw that phrase at a blog I follow – she has the t-shirt and everything – I really related; albeit I’m not in the trenches of hands-on childrearing anymore, it still rings true. At least for me – an older gen Mom. Yeah, I’m a GrandMom, too, but not hands-on due to circumstances way beyond my control (sigh – it is what it is) so that’s why maybe memories of being a younger Mom still resonate loud and clear.  Here’s the poetic part of her blog post (be sure to visit it for the rest of the story)

World’s Okayest Mom, by Angelica Battista Bonin of Comically Quirky  Continue reading

Feeling Groovy-Alive

I guess it’s time for a current event post on the life and times of this blogger/poet/quilter/musician/cger/composer/granma/ma/good cooker/sister/aunt/cousin/wife/lover/friend/student of life/believer in miracles/dreamer/doer/getter-of hands in the dirt/ grower of plants edible and not/hoper through times of despair/vocalist for those without a voice/minister of his peace/21st century jesus person servant/sharer of truth/wise owlette/sojourner in this world/woman of faith/lover of science and mathematical conundrums/discoverer of the interconnectedness in all slices of life and heart desires/waiter of answers to promises given/wounded soul in need of rescue/rescuer of goats, horses, dogs, cats, turtles/elder lady with the spirit of youthful joy/enabler/seeker of better times ahead/contemplator of things past/keeper and hugger of loved ones gone, those still alive, those yet to be/builder of community and unity/laugher of hearty guffaws/cryer of deep tears…

Outer-by-outerbanksdotorgGuess you can tell I’m kinda feeling groovy…been working on my SwS project presentation/mini concert set for June and it’s all coming together so fine. Also just came back from a refreshing first time discovery visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One could call it an unexpected ‘Artists Date’ of the Julia Cameron kind. This trip turned out to be a truly freeing experience; perhaps due to it being ‘off-season’ but mostly because its wide open spaces are within a context of crowded eastern populations with a less touristy focus.  All of which are welcome to this wilderness Coloradoan displaced in the Carolinas of the Southern extraction. Going from the clear skies of the mile high to the claustrophobic swamplands has always been hard on my psyche. But this place – OBX – offers more of a balance of wilderness spaces and touristy places not easily attained in these parts and it’s just 6 hours away from FloTown… Continue reading

Shout Out: Bringing Music to Life

bringing music to life logo

Al Bruno - promo photo circa 1940 - 1950

Dad’s (Al Bruno) promo photo ~ Chicago, circa 1945 (?)

Shortly after my jazzman Dad passed away last year, I received a letter in the snail mail announcing a contribution had been made to the Bringing Music to Life’s instrument repair fund in his memory by one of my cousins* and her husband.  What a perfect way to honor my Dad!

Founded in 2010, this non-profit organization not only provides musical instruments to students in underfunded schools throughout Colorado, but refurbishes each donated instrument before being placed in their eager hands.

“If you take a musical instrument that is in bad need of repair or even partial need of repair and put that into the hands of a 4th or 5th or 6th grader, they’re going to be very defeated when they try to play that instrument.  They’re going to think it’s them – they’re not gonna know it’s the instrument.” (Dan Parker, pres. Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology)

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Introducing Maddy

Long story short, several years ago I fell in love with a National Res Guitar at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. At the time, I didn’t follow my gut (even though hubby encouraged me to just ‘get it’) but rather my more practical side.  Part of that practical side being financial, but mostly wondering how in heck I could keep from compromising my cg-nails in playing it (even if I could always just use a pick, but still…) and the whole heaviness of the instrument and well, I ended up talking myself out of taking the plunge and entering into its wonder-world.

Zoom to Thanksgiving 2016. Hubby and I drove up to Lansing, MI for the Family Holiday at middle daughter and son-in-law’s new home. The day after our festive feasting, son-in-law and I took an adventure trip to Elderly Instruments just a few minutes’ drive into town.  I like to think it was a great excuse for this mother-in-law and son-in-law to further bond as fellow musicians. We browsed the instruments, soaking in the eye and ear candy. Nothing much tempted me to pick up and caress until my gaze happened upon this gorgeous tenor resonator.

triolian national tenor resonator guitar

Maddy

Fascinated by the four strings on a res body, I lifted it off its display stand.  Son-in-law was playing a nearby steel body 6-stringer res but I was not impressed with its sound…curious as to tonal differences between the two instruments I sat next to him on the bench and began a simple strum on the tenor res.  And yes, she spoke to me. That long ago urging deep inside tugged, and this time I followed my gut!  Hubby encouraged me to take the plunge in honor of my folks.

I view this newest addition to my musical toolbox as a special gift given from my folks posthumously.

Because of that, her name* came easily to me:

                M(a) & (D)addy = Maddy.

 

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Hurting for Home

in honor of all those displaced due to all manner of circumstances

“Roots are best planted in the hearts of people rather than in a place.”
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno (Ma)

(Andrew York, ‘Home’)

Sharing a Double Grief

The day after my cousins and Aunt Dolores returned to Chicago from Dad’s funeral* in Colorado, my Aunt Betty fell, broke her arm and entered into hospice care within the week.

Unlike Dad, she and his other sibs were/are lifelong Cubs fans. And I confess I caught the cub-bug from them back in the day!  Freshly back from Colorado** hubby and I settled into a regular routine of watching 2016’s historic World Series. It helped ease re-entry into our life away from loved ones, life’s new normal and tending to everyday living in our little rental here in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, my cousins and Aunt Dolores had the television on for all the games, too. They spent time with Aunt Betty during her last ‘dream-sleep’ days listening and talking with her about all the exciting baseball action.

On November 1st, Dad’s sister joined the increasing Family party up in heaven.

When news spread over the Bruno Grapevine about her passing, I took comfort in thinking she had the best seat in the Universe to see those Cubbies take the World Series in all its victorious glory***.

The very next day, Terry and I took to the road again to attend the wake/funeral mass on Chicago’s south side.

Going back to old family locations, rejoining the cousins and the last two remaining of Dad’s sibs proved to be an unexpected blessing in the midst of my own raw grief.

I received an extra gift from my aunt – a chance to honor her – standing for Dad – and a chance to continue in the healing and comfort with Family – Coming back to my roots and laying Dad to rest there, too.

Surrounded by Family still in mourning over the death of Dad; beginning the trail of sorrow again with the passing of Aunt Betty – shared sorrow, shared support.

Joining joyful memories with the present shifting of Family ‘residency’ – sharing in the double grief – makes me think Aunt Betty waited to sit at that Family Table till Dad would be there, too.

Betty Jane (Bruno) Evans
2/7/1928 – 11/1/2016

Miss all of you…

Last trip to Chicago with Ma (2004) - missing only 4 oldsters. l - r: Adua, Dennis, Dad, Elmer, Betty, Frank, Rose, Ma, Dolores with Lizzy

Last trip to Chicago with Ma (2004) – missing only 4 Bruno oldsters. l – r: Adua, Dennis, Dad, Elmer, Betty, Frank, Rose, Ma, Dolores with Lizzy

 

*Dad died 9/22, we held the funeral mass, internment and celebration of life feast on 10/14 to enable more out-of-town family to attend

**Terry drove out of Hurricane Matthew on 10/8 in order to be with me pre-post funeral, and most of all to bring me back home with him; we left 10/21

***Cool tidbit: another cousin got to see the celebration parade up front since he has a law office on Michigan Ave