Tag Archives: my kids

The Last 10,000 Miles

Anticipation:

Around this time last year, I noticed the odometer on our 2003 Toyota Camry read a little over 290,000 miles. And I remember thinking, “Wow, almost 300,000!”  Okay, that’s an obvious, yet  normal reaction.  Along with it came a heightened sense of wonder each time the car was driven.  Would today be the day it’d get to 300,000?

We do a lot of driving.  We figured it’d get to 300,000 in no time.  Feelings of tingly anticipation for the imminent occurrence of the momentous event were close to the surface of our emotions. And yet, those 10,000 miles seem to have taken longer to accrue than ever.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville. Impressive.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014). Impressive.

Michelle and the Smokin Thighs food truck, Nashville

Kicking around town with Michelle during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014)

Even after our trips to Atlanta, Nashville, and crosscountry to our roots in Colorado and back, that odometer just didn’t seem to budge. Soon, we left our vigil, but not our curiosity of when it would occur.

 

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Everyday mileage:

While driving back and forth to work, daily errands and events, along with weekly commutes to exits 131 (Wounded Warriors horse therapy) and 98 (Camden Writers critique group), the miles just kind of tagged along and tallied up slowly but surely.

Laura Bruno Lilly and Dennis Bruno (Orlando 2014)

Me, my cousin Dennis and Wizard Mickey (October 2014)

Thrown in for good measure was a trip to Orlando, Florida with cousins Chris and Dennis which added some mileage as well.  Oops, they drove, so those miles don’t count.

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Visits from the kiddos meant excursions to the Lynches River/Swamp, Pawley’s Island and even a trek to the stables.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle (November 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darn, but that odometer stubbornly hovered slightly above the 295,000 mark.  Not much closer to the big 300K.

Startled into alertness:

It wasn’t until I drove to Camden one fine morning in April for Brenda’s celebratory luncheon that I happened to glance at the odometer. It’s 298plusK didn’t quite register, until my math-mind insisted upon doing the numerical calculation.  Something clicked – we were a mere 1500 miles from the elusive 300,000 milestone. Again with the “Wow, almost 300,000.”  Note the fact that there is no exclamation point.  Aside from the fact that the Camden writers routinely point out they should be used sparingly if at all, it also reflects the fact that I was more keenly aware the big event wasn’t as imminent as it looked numerically.

“Almost” is still not enough:

Shortly thereafter, the car ‘got a new pair of shoes’ as hubby says.  Woefully in need of new tires, we splurged and got a great deal on a set of Michelin’s complete with a 90,000 mile warranty.  This baby was gonna get closer to 400K in no time…Ahem. Let’s just get to 300K, ‘k?

Anxious to break in those ‘new shoes,’  hubby got out the map and plotted a spontaneous day trip to St. Augustine, Florida.

Lighthouse St. Augustine, FL

Lighthouse St. Augustine, Florida (May 2015)

We thought for sure that adventure would tip us over the 300K mark.  It did not.  The following weekend was Mother’s Day.  I wore my new top purchased at a little boutique in the historic district of St. Augustine.  Surrounded by cards, gifts, phone calls of love and a doting husband, my day was made even more special by the prospect of the turning of that darn odometer.

Laura Bruno Lilly Mother's Day 2015

I am loved…Mother’s Day 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s the day:

Well, we almost blew it.  Last night after filling up the car with the old guzzleline (gasoline) master mind hubby looked down on the odometer.  “What are you planning on doing tomorrow?  There’s only 34 miles left to go.”

Nursing this puppy to greet 300K with both of us in attendance was top priority so I stayed home doing this blog post along with music related items on my Swimming with Swans project.

299,999 miles 2003 Toyota Camry

Before…

After work, Terry picked me up and away we went to countdown the final 8 miles left after a day of frugal driving.

Mileage300k

…After

 

 

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Laura and Terry sitting on the bumper of the car

Happiness is… journeying together for another 300K

 

Tattered and Torn, Loved and Worn

One day, years ago, Amy-next-door came to call. She often came to visit with her two little girls in tow to play with my youngest two kiddos as they were all around the same age. This time, she stood holding two paper grocery bags.

“Look what I found!” Amy said as she thrust the two bags into my arms.

Feeling light as a feather for all their fullness, I immediately knew they were filled to the brim with fabrics.

“I found these at a garage sale for $0.75 and I thought you might like to use them.”

More than just neighbors, Amy-next-door and I were enablers…always on the look-out for each other’s vices: she and her buttons, I and my fabrics.

As I began rummaging through the brown paper bags, I noticed they contained more than just scraps or random cuts of material.  There was a huge piece of white cotton flannel, a stack of pre-cut 10 ½ x 10 ½ flannel squares, a handful of 3 ½ x 3 ½ ones and miles of uncut flannel fabrics of varying designs and colors.

This was someone’s UFO (quiltspeak for ‘UnFinished Object’). Continue reading

On Rewards, Reaching 25K and Mr. T

Note: this entry was written last year, but never posted.  I thought it appropriate to send it out On Day 12 during NaNoWriMo 2014.  Heck, it was fun to write; so it should be fun to read.  Enjoy! (ahem, notice my current word count in the sidebar!)

Day 12 (NaNoWriMo 2013)

Today as I took a short procrastination break after reaching a little over the halfway mark on my noveling, I opened an e-mail sent to me within a few minutes of my landmark word count victory.  My middle child, Michelle, had inadvertently sent on an appropriate reward for having reached 25K.  Sent as an encouragement and motivation in lieu of our normal lengthy conversations, her timing was impeccable.nanowrimo

Milestone indeed, but I’m not really one to bribe myself with rewards in order to reach personal or business goals. Continue reading

Here’s to the Nines!

Here’s to the Nines:
Entering
and
Exiting


2014: my year for exiting the Nines.

Of course, by interpolation, 2013 was my year for entering into the Nines.

Joe and Michelle with GranPa (9/14)

Joe and Michelle with Dad/GranPa (9/14)

Dad turned 90 in April 2013 and I turned X9 last October 2013.  We got to share life in the Nines for an entire year.  As well, I’m blessed to have visited Dadland for a goodly portion of these past 12 months.

My times in the Nines have tended to be fraught with trepidation.  Starting with the one where I joined Jack Benny in declaring to be eternally 39, my journey through the Nines can be a bit rocky.

Okay so it’s not like Dad where he’ll be in his version of the Nines till he reaches his 100th b-day.  But still…

My Decade Cake

Count the layers on my decade cake*!

Once flipped over to the other side and into a new decade, I usually find it’s not such a bad age progression.  Ah, but those Nines…both entering and exiting…are a perilous roller coaster of highs and lows; ohs and nos.

Ironically, the number 9 itself has been loads of fun for me.  Perhaps I should focus on that…number 9, number 9, number 9…anything’s easier to tolerate when George, John, Paul and Ringo (my personal order of preference) sing about it.

That said; I am an October baby. Continue reading

Look What I Found!

Unfinished Mother-Daughter Quilt Top Center

Look what I found!

Roaming about the unpacked boxes in my studio space, I came across this unfinished, but not forgotten WIP.  Carefully set aside to be finished at a later date, this Mother-Daughter Quilt Project was started when my middle daughter was in High School.  We worked on it through her first two years of college getting the entire quilt top center finished, with only the borders and binding left to sew.  It got put on hold as our business of over 17 years was going through bankruptcy and major changes were shaping the course of our lives. Once we packed up stuff to go into storage a few years later, it was definitely a WIP that I figured would never get done.

Borders, Backing & Thread: Ready to Go!

Borders, Backing & Thread: Ready to Go!

What’s so cool is that in its recent re-discovery, I know that now is the time to finish it.

Moreover, packed alongside the rolled-up quilt top were the materials needed to complete the project; all cut and ready to go.

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.

Fun with Sourdough

I love to cook and bake.  Since I have featured my homemade sourdough breads in two previous articles (click on recipe name for article or here & here), I thought it appropriate to share my original recipes.  Also included is a muffin/quick bread recipe that I adjusted to help use up excess starter.  (Which is great with a cuppa joe!)

The following recipes assume one has sourdough starter on hand (Mother).  If not, there are numerous ways of obtaining some, including starting one’s own via bread cookbook recipes.  However, sourdough starter is kind-of the ‘zucchini’ of the baking world.  When one begins baking with homemade starter, it usually overtakes the kitchen!  Hence the infamous ‘Friendship’ breads make their rounds among neighbors periodically with an accompanying ziplock baggie containing 1 – 2 cups of starter. 

Are you ready to have some fun? Continue reading

Celebrations & Inspirations

Note: In keeping with the theme of this previously written Swimming with Swans vignette (2012), we celebrate in spirit with our daughter Hava as she receives her J.D. degree this weekend (2014).

Celebrations and Inspirations

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three journey between homes
May 2012 (Westminster, CO)

In honor of this time of year: a time of graduations, weddings and new beginnings.  It is a time of celebrations and inspirations.

  • Bobby is graduating College with a BFA in Studio Art this weekend.
  • Our daughter Michelle is getting married in September.
  • Our son Joe is in a few new bands and learning to balance work, play and school as a bachelor guy.
  • My husband and I are faithfully walking the life-path before us regardless of its many mysteries.
  • A colleague and friend Bill, has survived two years of intense cancer treatment and is entering into a new cancer-free life.

And there’s more, oh so much more to be thankful for and to celebrate… Continue reading

Killer Tune Shoutout: “Give It To My People”

The dreaded drought season in the life of a working musician…while it can be excruciatingly hard to bear at the time, the good news is that it does not last forever.  Also, during that period of seemingly non-productivity, the brain on music is constantly firing on some level or another.  For myself, this period of non-performance, my ‘dry spell’ has been filled with more opportunities to compose, arrange, explore other instruments, actively research and listen to tons of music.  Sifting through various genres, with piles of notes heaped high one on top of the other I have entered into a myriad of musical worlds; hence gaining insight into diverse approaches to the artistic need to create and express what is deep within…

That said, when fellow colleagues share audio clips, videos and good sources of musical material for listening and consideration, I eagerly attend to their suggestions.  And, when a piece is presented to me by way of my son, I take even greater notice and engulf myself in its offerings.

Take a listen, folks.

A-MAC DZ – ‘Give It To My People’ from Rise Above c Alex Mackenzie-Low 2014

Alex Mackenzie-Low: vocals, acoustic guitar

Alex Mackenzie-Low: vocals, acoustic guitar

How’s that for an in-progress EP rough mix? Let’s analyze it a bit…first off did you notice the voice?  Who is this guy behind the Rod Stewart voice?  When I got the mp3 from my son who plays on all the sax tracks, I started out listening only for his parts: the voicings, the integration of the instrumental tracks, compositional components; totally disregarding the normally banal lyrics of newer bands.  Just my usual way of delving into the musicality of individual recordings.

But the guy behind the Rod Stewart voice was quite compelling.  I couldn’t ignore the voice or the message. Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part one)

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” –Steve Martin

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac:  The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice days are the days with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year.

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak.  Perhaps this, then, is a good time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.

2013 Reflections: December 2012 – December 2013

~ 12/5/12   Jazzman Dave Brubeck died at the age of almost 92.  Almost.  One day short of 92.  I remember that really hit me hard as my Jazzman Dad was ‘almost 90.’  Almost.  Was he going to make it to 90?

~ Our first Christmas after weathering three-Christmases-on-the-road-between-homes was super charged with getting to share it with our daughter and new son-in-law.  Gathering together in our little rental home blessed our ‘first Christmas’ with their first Christmas as a married couple.

David, Michelle, me & Flash (above my head) Christmas 2012

David, Michelle, me & Flash (under lights) Christmas 2012

Unpacking a few decos from the boxes that survived three plus years in the storage unit and the move from Colorado to South Carolina that year was like mining truths of traditions past. But even while in the midst of that newly unlocked comfort and sentiment, our first thought was to find a place for Flash.

Flash

Flash in our car-home

Flash gave his all for us during our lonely holiday times while on-the-road-between-homes…traveling 24/7 with us dangling from the rear-view mirror, faithfully swinging from side to side and blinking festive blue&red lights inside his white plastic snowman physique.  Flash now graces a place of honor inside our little rental home 24/7, blessing us and reminding us we were not alone during our three-year-journey-between-homes. Deuteronomy 31 vs 8 script

~ Watching Les Miserables, the movie, with my cousin Chris.  Experiencing the quality acting on screen, and being submerged in the surround sound scoring of the classic Victor Hugo novel; bonding over the inequities of life, past and present; the power of God, hope and dreams while living in a world of harsh realities…all contributed to strengthening and deepening our relationship.

Not much has changed about society’s perception and treatment of those less fortunate. Continue reading