Saturday, November 19, 2011


Tomorrow my sweet Mama & the rest of my family are celebrating the life of my brilliant, kind, compassionate, funny, patient Grandma, Frances M. Burroughs who left this world and embraced the life eternal after 90 well lived years. Unfortunately I wasn't able to join in the celebration of her life, but I wanted to spend a little time to reflect on how her life changed mine for the better.

My Grandma was the most impossibly beautiful woman. She was always perfectly polished and accessorized. Looking at her was like looking directly at the most beautiful of days gone by. She had the most exquisite things & for her, every day was a reason to get dressed up. I used to play with one of her old "pocket books" where I kept my crayons & coloring books. It was a black velvet handbag with gold closures & a very short gold chain link shoulder strap. Even as a child I remember thinking that bag was the very essence of Grandma.

My Grandma & I were best friends. We had sleepovers all the time. I don't remember where my parents were ever "going to" when I got dropped off at Grandma's, mostly because I was just happy to be at her house. Even though she sold that home when I was little, I still think of that place as hers. I could draw a picture even today of what that house looked like. I have very little memory of the front part of that house, except for a memory I have of the day my Aunt taught me how to spell my Grandma's last name. Other than that, my memories are of the "back" of the house. On our every day visits to my Grandma's, which was located in the backyard of St. Petersburg High School, we always entered through the back door. The back door of course led into the kitchen, which is where the most important "happenings" took place. Although I don't remember the lessons, I do remember that's where I learned what it was like to cook. I watched her closely as she carefully constructed whatever my dinner would be, which was usually hot dogs, mac & cheese & green beans. I remember seeing her open that can of green beans & even though that can looked just like the one I open at my house even to this day, the green beans Grandma made tasted different. No matter how hard I try, I can't get a can of green beans to taste the way hers did. The back of the house was also where her bedroom & my bedroom were. Although she has many grandchildren & at the time of her passing, she was Great Grandma to many sweet little ones, including my genius nieces, she & I had a special friendship. I was the only Grandchild that lived in Florida with her, so I got her undivided attention on a regular basis. My bedroom at her house was just the back room. My bed was a twin sized pull out couch & when it was all made up it was covered with Raggedy Anne & Andy bedding. I remember feeling safe there, and like that was exactly where I belonged. My parents might not have actually gone any where, but I had gone to Grandma's & that was very special to me.

My Grandma listened to every word I said. I used to complain to her about my Mom & at the time I wasn't aware that she wasn't just my Grandma, she was also the mother of the woman I was complaining about. But Grandma never let on that it bothered her. She patiently listened & she'd offer a lifetime of encouragement, feedback & "coping mechanisms" for how to understand my Mom, who at the time was very confusing to me. She nudged me gently in the right direction, but once I reached the destination she had in mind, she always let me believe it had been my idea all along.

My Grandma picked me up from school & took me to all of my activities. I remember riding in her car when the residents of South St. Pete were rioting over police brutality. When I think about that now I think about how frightened she must have been, but also how committed she must have felt to get her grandchild out of harm's way & how even then I wasn't afraid because I was with her. She picked me up from school even into high school. In fact I got my driver's license at the end of Sophomore year of high school & I didn't drive 1 day that year. Even though I was qualified to operate a car in Florida, I still let her pick me up. I don't know why, but I think it was out of a sense of duty or vocation. Taking care of me & making sure I was ok was her calling, & because I knew that job filled her cup,  I think I let her do it even after there wasn't a real need.

That's the thing about My Grandma. She was exceptional at a lot of things that were totally unrelated to me, or my brother, her other grandchildren, or even her children, but she made it her business to make sure we were ok, no matter what. Even in the last few years of her life, when the love of mine came along, she made it her business to ensure that he would be a part of our family forever. She didn't remember much those days, but she never forgot that he'd promised her we'd get married. And we're keeping that promise, just a few short months from now.

I could never express my gratitude for having known & been educated by a lady like Frances Burroughs. She was the picture of polish, patience & love. I can only say that if I do my very best, & I'm careful to honor her memory, I'll be half the woman she was.

Frances' Grandaughter

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are those sleigh bells I hear?

I am a celebrator of Christmas. When I was young I was excited because I knew I'd get gifts. NOW I'm excited because I get to GIVE gifts. I've got the annual Christmas Gift Excel sheet going & that thing's already 2/3 full. In fact...3 packages were delivered to my office today, full of Christmas gifts for family & friends. Oooh I just LOVE IT!

Speaking of sleigh bells...although this doesn't exactly qualify as a "Christmas gift", Greg kindly replaced my much loved digital camera after it met it's untimely end on the Wacker street bridge, downtown Chicago the day AFTER my bachelorette party. I had begun to think about transitioning that camera into the "trip" camera & was thinking of upgrading us sometime in the next 6 months, but one of my greatest loves is to take photos of the people & puppies I love, & sweet Greg knew I couldn't live without another camera. So today he got us a knew one! Just in time for Gypsy Thanksgiving 2.0! 

Finally, even though there's still 3 weeks to go of this semester, I really can't think of a BETTER Christmas gift than some serious free time with my Mister & the Chicago residents we love. All of this premature holiday cheer is really getting me in the mood to get AHEAD of my homework & push through to the end of the semester. 

Heeeeeere GOES! 


P.S. - No matter how excited I am about the Holidays I will not embrace or participate in any kind of Holiday decorating until the day after Thanksgiving. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful for Silliness

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I am deliberately NOT participating in this daily FB thanksgiving...just like I don't participate in the secret breast cancer awareness Facebook statuses that double as inappropriate, nor do I participate in whiny "my team didn't win" post-game commentary or soap box political banter (except for right now...a little...ok I'm getting off the soap box)...but My best lady, that Cooper girl just dropped another little funny nugget on me, She said "You know what I'm thankful for? Gchat. I'm thankful that even when we're not together we can always chat online"...and that got me thinking. I bet I'm thankful for a few things that others might think are silly...but silliness is ok with me. So here's my list:

1. Gchat. I too am grateful that when texting first thing in the morning, talking on the phone periodically, posting on each other's facebook & seeing each other 3 or more times a week isn't enough...Coop & I have Gchat to fill our cups.
2. Caller ID. I'm thankful that I get to talk on my own terms.
3. "Sort by: Price Lowest to Highest". I'm grateful that when I am shopping for something, I can always Google what I'm looking for & have the least expensive option at the top of the list. Maybe I don't always get the least expensive option, but it's nice to know what the spectrum is.
4. Amazon Prime. I'm grateful that I don't pay shipping anymore.
5. My NEW laptop battery. I'm grateful that I can actually unplug my laptop & use it as it was intended...a portable computer. Although I would like to say it's the 3rd one I've purchased...which is annoying.
6. Google docs. I'm grateful that I can share favorites, budgets, & contact lists online with whomever I choose...and exclude others from looking at my Christmas gift list...and access it from ANY COMPUTER IN THE WORRRRRRLD.
7. I'm grateful that they make my friends & me laugh whilst also pointing out dysfunctional social customs & behaviors without anybody really "noticing". 
8. The favorites button on Etsy. I'm grateful that I can keep track of all of the handy crafted things I love & refer back when I'm in the market...for example, all of the wedding stuff I saved 2 years ago!
9. My iPhone 3. I'm grateful that it's still marginally functional & the screen isn't cracked.
10. FOR REAL...I'm grateful for all the people I love...A brilliant & talented future husband, family, friends,class mates, mentors, neighbors, teachers, nuggets, sisters & brothers. All the silliness aside I'm grateful for the people in my life who challenge me, and help me see just how good I've got it (whether I deserve it or not), & push me to help make it better for others.

Humbled, Thankful & A Little Silly,

Monday, November 7, 2011

November already?

I can't believe the last time I posted was the middle of last month...& here it is November 7TH! Let's see what's been the latest? 

We went to Florida, but for a little longer than we expected. My sweet Grandma passed away a few days before we were scheduled to go to Tampa for homecoming. Sigma Chi graciously let us both leave early the day that she passed & gave us some extra time off so we could be home with the family. My Mom planned a really sweet memorial service & everybody involved really made it nice. If you sent love, prayers, encouragement, or support to my family & me during that time, Thank You! We all appreciate it very much. 

Although there were some bittersweet moments during our trip back home, some of the sweetest ones were getting to spend time with our favorite parents-to-be Lauren & Paul. I even got to hear baby Frederick's little heart beat! We also got to visit USF where we attended the annual Homecoming parade & stopped in the USF Alumni association to catch up with some of our favorites. Naturally we went to the homecoming game, which was a great time despite the fact that we lost. Ugh.

Usually leaving home is hard for me because I got "used to" seeing some of my best friendlies & family while we're there & then have a hard time readjusting to life without them...but THIS TIME I had the following weekend to look forward to. Some of the girls traveled to Chicago for Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party Part I & we had a really great time. Greg & I got some really sweet & thoughtful gifts & Coop & the girls put on a really nice shower (minus any silly games...which I appreciated). Later on the girls & I went downtown to get ready for our 80's for the ladies night out. The 80's veil that I wore was totally authentic & completely over the top. Everybody's 80's outfits were just right. I'm sure we were a sight to see. It was a late night but we all had a blast! I wish we could do that over & over again. Although leaving Florida wasn't as hard for me this last time because I knew the girls would be back the following weekend...after they left it was even harder to adjust. 

Since then it's been a steady stream of school deadlines, events, meetings, & juggling. We've only got 5 weeks left in the Fall semester so we're both looking forward to the Holiday break & some free time! We're officially staying in Chicago through the Holiday season (our 1st Christmas in Chicago!) so hopefully we'll get caught up on rest, fun projects & wedding planning...oh yes, about that...120-ish days until the wedding. YIKES! In fact, I think the flights for the Wedding trip are getting booked today. WHOA! 

Ok I think that's it for now...hopefully I can keep up with this thing a little more now that most of the crazy school deadlines are behind me. We shall see...

Happy Monday lovers & friends,