Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year Meme

The New Year’s Edition from The Blue Door.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Ate a J-Dawg.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't usually make resolutions. I set goals and they are on-going. Ever on-going.
3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
At home, alone, doing things around the house, watching a movie and going to bed whenever I feel like it.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my dear friend Jack and my best friend from high school. Bummer.
5. What countries did you visit?
I didn't leave the country. I did manage to leave the state.
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A trip to the temple.
7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Mother's Day. It was the day my friend died. The end of a huge learning experience.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving? Staying sane?
9. What was your biggest failure?
I try to not think about my failures. And if I think about them, I am certainly not going to publish them. That's not the way I roll.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No. I had a very healthy year.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We bought some Amish kitchen chairs. They are oak with a cherry-like finish. They are gorgeous!
12. Where did most of your money go?
Groceries, utility bills, the usual.
13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
I can't think of one.
14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spent times with friends.
15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spend money.
16. What was your favorite TV program?
The Big Bang Theory
17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone.
18. What was the best book you read?
I read some books but nothing comes to mind.
19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Andrea Bocelli's Sacred Arias.
20. What was your favorite film of this year?
Star Trek stands out. I saw lots of good files from Netflix.
21. What did you do on your birthday?
Turned 50. Yuck!
22. What kept you sane?
What makes you think I'm sane? Actually, it is my faith that keeps me sane. No doubt about it.
23. Who did you miss?
I miss my sisters, I miss K sometimes, I miss friends who are far away.
24. Who was the best new person you met?
My daughter's room mate. (The one in charge.)
25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Life is fragile.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Cool is That!

I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations and heard the coolest thing!

All of the radio personalities on that station took turn reading passages of the Christmas story from the Bible.

It brought a little tear to my eye.


It's a Christmas miracle!

The baking is done.
The wrapping is done.
The stocking stuffers are sorted.
Everything is delivered.
I only have to work until noon today.
Life is good.

Now it is just food, family, and fun. (And music and laughter and joy.)

I am so thankful for the greatest of all gifts, the One who came to earth as a baby in the humblest of circumstances to show us the Way.

May God bless us, every one!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Baking

This is what we (well, mostly K, but I helped) baked for our Christmas goodie plates:
  • Snowballs, both with and without "snow"
  • Steve's SF applesauce raisin oatmeal cookies with walnuts
  • Thumbprint cookies
  • Fudge with walnuts
  • Dipped pretzels
  • Dipped double stuff mint Oreos! (First time we have ever dipped cookies)
  • and a new recipe we made up ourselves: White chocolate chip cranberry cookies.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Update

The sorting of gifts has been done, some wrapping has been done, some baking has been done. Progress has been made!

And, in honor of that, an old Ten on Tuesday, 10 Great Things About the Holidays.

10. The day off of work.
9. The chocolate.
8. The traditions.
7. The lights.
6. The presents.
5. The food.
4. The tree.
3. The music.
2. Having K come home.
1. The opportunity to more fully focus on the wonderful gift that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


This is my one year bloggiversary.

Happy Bloggiversary,
Happy Bloggiversary,
Happy Bloggiversary,
Happy Bloggiversary!

When I was thinking about what real bloggers do on their bloggiversaries, it came to me that they did give-aways for their readers. And after I was done laughing, I got up off of the floor and went about my day.

Yea for me!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Christmas Meme

This is another Christmas meme I ran across.

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate. My new fave is Stephen's Hazel Nut. Yum!

2. Turkey or Ham? For Christmas, it is ham. We have a new thing though, of doing a turkey dinner for New Year's Day. I get a turkey for Christmas from my boss and his wife and that has become a good time to cook it.

3. Do you get a fake or a real, you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree? Real, cut-it-ourselves-tie-it-to-the-top-of-the-car-drive-home-hoping-it-doesn't-fall-off tree. This year we cut a blue spruce, which is one of my faves.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house? No. All we have in our yard are huge 20 foot tree and no fences or railings to decorate.

5. Snowball fights or sledding? Neither. I’ll stay inside, drink hot chocolate, and watch "It's a Wonderful Life."

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? I do. I went to Chicago one year and shopped downtown there. The place where we live, however, doesn't really have much of a downtown.

7. Favorite Christmas song? "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Silent Night," "The Christmas Song." I could go on and on...

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? I have a specific list:

  • Miracle on 34th Street (the old one)
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Affair
  • White Christmas
  • Home Alone
  • It's a Wonderful Life.
I don't actually sit down and watch them from beginning to end but I have them on while I am decorating, wrapping, cooking, writing cards, etc.

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? I like to hear it starting around Thanksgiving week. But, truthfully, I listen to my favorite Christmas recordings occasionally all year round.

10. Stockings before or after presents? Before. We do stockings, breakfast (due to a diabetic husband who needs to eat, then presents.

11. Carolers, do you or do you watch and listen to them? I went caroling with our youth group. We sang outside. I haven't had carolers come to my house in recent memory. If they did, I would listen to them from the doorway.

12. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you? Neither. No one comes, we don't go. Not on Christmas day or Christmas Eve, anyway.

13. Do you read the Christmas Story? Yes.

14. What do you do after presents and dinner? Mostly relaxing, picking up a little and watching any new movies we may have received.

15. What is your favorite holiday smell? Cookies baking, I guess.

16. Ice skating or walking around the mall? Neither. I try to stay out of the mall, and I don't ice scate.

17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? Christmas day. K has off and on opened one on Christmas Eve.

18. Favorite Christmas memory? I have a lot of great Christmas memories. The one I usually reference when asked this question was the last Christmas I was with all of my siblings at my parents' house. It was the year we were supposed to light a candle for Poland. (1981, 82?) It's Christmas Eve that I really remember, playing games, eating chips and dip and Christmas cookies...My brother blowing out the candle. "Helga???" Good time, good times.

19. Favorite Part about winter? Does not compute.

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? Yes. A few times.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Practical Presents.

Ten Practical Presents.

1. A purse.
2. Hand lotion that really works.
3. A big stock pot.
4. Slippers.
5. Is chocolate practical? Because I could do a list of 10 kinds of chocolate that I would like:
*See's Raspberry Creams in dark chocolate
*Queen Anne Cordial Cherries in dark chocolate
*Terry's Chocolate Orange in dark chocolate
*Bavarian Mints
*Russell Stover Assorted Dark Chocolates
*Ferrero Rocher Assortment
*McDonald's Homemade Candies pecans covered in dark chocolate
*McDonald's Homemade Candies orange gels in, you guessed it! dark chocolate
*Reese's mini Peanutbutter Cups in, I know this is getting redundant, dark chocolate.
*Stephen's Hot Cocoa Mix--any flavor, they are all delish!
You're welcome!
6. A casserole insulated carrier.
7. A good can opener.
8. A new flannel nightie.
9. Black gel pens.
10. A livingroom chair.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Countdown

This past weekend, I accomplished two big items on my Christmas To Do List. I got the Christmas cards in the mail (50+) and I got the decorating done.

I have collected enough Christmas ornaments over the years for about three trees. (I did find a few things to take Goodwill when I went through everything.) This year I used some things I haven't used for a few years, and the tree has more of a homespun, handmade look than it has in years past. It has red wooden bead garland, some fabric ornaments, lots of wooden folk-art-looking ornaments, and a couple dozen red felt hearts. There are also the usual favorites, but I left almost all of the Shiny Brite, retro glass ornaments packed away this year.

The red felt hearts were made for me by a student 18-19 years ago. I used to staple them to my construction paper cut-out bulletin board Christmas tree when I was a teacher. They are still as cute as ever. I was going for an old fashioned, homey look for the tree this year, and I think it turned out really well.

I still don't have any wrapping done.

I realized a few minutes ago that if I get the one and only package that needs to go in the mail ready tonight, I can have my husband mail it tomorrow when he is running errands in that same part of town. If that's not motivation, I don't know what is!

I just have one more gift to buy and just a few stocking stuffers, so that part is pretty well under control.

I need to finalize the Baking List.

I also need to fit in the usual cleaning and grocery (produce/milk) buying.

I think I'm doing pretty well.

Did I mention I still don't have any wrapping done? Some things never change.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Christmas shopping is best when done.

Friday, December 11, 2009

100th Post

In honor of my 100th post, I will do the four things meme. Because I can never talk about myself enough!

Four jobs I’ve had
1. Cashier (A & W, Fashion Fabrics, Ranch Shops)
2. Girl Scout camp cook
3. Telephone solicitor
4. Teacher

Four movies I can watch over and over
1. Casa Blanca
2. Chariots of Fire
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. While You Were Sleeping

Four places I’ve lived
1. Pocatello, Idaho
2. Logan, Utah
3. Spearfish, South Dakota
4. Carson, Washington

Four TV shows I love (Well, love may be a bit strong of a word. Let's say "really enjoy")
1. The Mentalist
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. The Amazing Race
4. Survivor

Four places I’ve vacationed
1. Honolulu
2. Disneyland
3. Manhattan
4. Traverse City

Four of my favorite foods
1. Tacos
2. Macaroni and Cheese
3. Chicken Brocolli Casserole
4. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Four blogs I read religiously
1. Say La Vee
2. cJane
3. Scribbit
4. Like Mother, Like Daughter

Four places I would rather be right now
1. Home
2. At my sister's house
3. Somewhere warm and sunny
4. In Wyoming


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yea for Me!

I was proud of myself when I got to work this morning! We are under a blizzard warning, and all of the schools are closed. (Actually, winter driving is better when the schools are closed because there is less traffic and no busses to have to stop for.) I didn't get nervous. I just got all of my chores done and cleaned off the car. I have learned that it doesn't do any good to hurry getting ready. I'm going to get there when I get there.

I drove slow but stayed in the right lane so idiots people who wanted to drive faster could get by, but I really wasn't going much slower that most everyone else. There were a couple of dicey places but I did ok, and I didn't get freaked out, and things were fine. Well, until I pulled into where I work. I almost got stuck because of the frozen junk from yesterday covered by the drifted snow from today, but I just kept moving until I got to my spot. That did make me kind of mad, but after I got here, the plowing got done.

I don't want to bring any bad luck down on my head for the above post, but I am just thrilled to not feel the terror that I have felt driving in the winter in the past.

Now I just have to get home!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Grocery ads

I do most of my grocery shopping at Meijer. For the last two weeks, their grocery ad has been really sparse. First of all, they changed the format from the full-sized pages to the half-sized pages so it is not so obvious that there is less stuff being advertised. Second, the items are spaced farther apart, and some are pictures of the food rather than the package. (What's that about?) Third, they are using ad space, at least one whole page plus other items interspersed, to advertise their everyday low prices rather than stuff that is on sale. How chintzy is that?

Do these companies think that the consumers don't notice? Well I notice! Meijer? Busted!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Meme

A holiday meme I found at The Blue Door.

1. Candy cane or peppermint patties? Peppermint patties. I'm not a candy cane fan.
2. Sugar or gingerbread cookies? Um...Thumbprint cookies, actually. I'm not a fan of the roll out and cut out kind of cookies.
3. Tinsel or beaded strands? No tinsel! As part of our marriage vows ;o) we have neither tinsel (I don't like it) nor blinking lights (S doesn't like those). That was one of our first big compromises. Sometimes I put on some red wooden bead strands. We also have a few little glass icicles on our tree, and I love those.
4. Multi-colored or same-colored lights? Usually multi-colored lights. Last year was the first year I used white lights and that was to coordinate with the new multi-colored LED lights I had in the window.
5. Flashing or still lights? Still. See #3.
6. Wreaths or mistletoe/holly? Mistletoe and holly, though I rarely decorate with either.
7. Rudolph or Frosty? Rudolph. I'm not a big fan of snow, and Frosty actually has nothing to do with Christmas.
8. Sledding or snowball fights? Did I mention I'm not a bit fan of snow? My main snow activity is, unfortunately, shoveling.
9. Snow or ice/icicles? Gently falling snow, especially if I have no where to go. Icicles brings up a whole other topic.
10. Snow hat or earmuffs? Hat, although it has to be really cold for me to wear a hat. I'm much more likely to tie a scarf around my head.
11. Getting or giving? Giving. I wish I were better at it.
12. Snow days or plow trucks? I long for the days when I could stay home for a snow day.
13. Stockings or presents? Both, baby! Sockings are a big deal at our house.
14. Cookies & milk or letter to Santa? We always leave cookies & milk, and carrot sticks for the reindeer. Never left a letter.
15. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? I love them both for different reasons, if the wrapping is done! We open presents on Christmas Day.
16. Log Burning Channel or real thing? There’s a log burning channel? I grew up in a house with a fire place complete with formal mantle where we hung our stockings, but we don't have one now.
17. Cards or emails? Cards. I do cards every year. 50-60 of them.
18. Shoveling or cleaning off the car? We do both around here.
19. Hot cocoa or eggnog? Hot cocoa. Stephen's. The hazelnut is my new favorite. Never eggnog. Blech!!!
20. Jack Frost or Little Drummer Boy? I'd say those two are scraping the bottom of the barrel for Christmas music! How about "Mary Did You Know?" or Bing singing "White Christmas."

Sunday, December 6, 2009


As, I mentioned previously, my husband's "uncle" Ed passed away. He was actually my father-in-law's cousin, but my husband regarded him as more of an uncle figure.

We went to the funeral on Friday. It was held at the country club in a nearby town. Odd, but fitting venue.

I must say that for a funeral not of my faith (because my church has the best funerals,) it was the best funeral I have ever been to.

I can sum it up in two words. Humor and Love. Ed was a funny guy. He knew how to tell a joke, how to turn a phrase, how to write a ditty, how to deliver a punchline. The minister wasn't too preachy or too optimistic, and the other speakers talked about Ed's humor, so there was lots of laughter. When his son spoke, the feeling of love in the room was palpable. When his granddaughter spoke on behalf of all of the grandchildren, the feeling continued and was carried on by the friend who spoke. It was incredibly moving.

It has really made me ponder how the choices we make, the little everyday choices, affect the legacy we leave.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A (Stolen) Saturday Six

These are six things I am not doing for Christmas this year:

1. Putting lights in my window--The tree will be lit and in the window, but there will be no lights put up in the window. It's a tribute. Don't ask.
2. Drinking eggnog--But then, I never do. (Blech)
3. Over-spending--It's a new concept. It's called the Christmas Budget. It is an acknowledgement that we buy a $500.00 plane ticket so K can come home, and the money has to come from somewhere!
4. Entertaining--But then I never entertain anyway. No room in this house.
5. Going to the Church Christmas party--It is at 10 am on a Saturday morning in December. I work full-time. I need my December Saturday mornings for Other Things.
6. Staying up late on Christmas Eve to wrap presents. It's going to be done early. Really!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Postponed Thursday Thoughts, Edited

  1. The past three days I have talked to a life-long (that's better than saying old, isn't it?) friend and the two siblings I communicate with the least. That's the upside.
  2. I am feeling fairly relaxed about Christmas, at this point. I recently read last year's Christmas post and I think I have a better grip on things this year. It could be the lack of snow (so far) or the lack of the (happy) stress of a major life-changing event in the offing.
  3. The two major stumbling blocks of Christmas preparation for me are Christmas cards and gift wrapping. Baking used to be in there too, but now, since K can help (or just take over and do it) it is not as much of an issue.
  4. I have a hard time getting other stuff done if my Christmas cards are not done. I have lived in seven states, and have friends all over the country, and this is the once-a-year attempt I make to keep in touch with most of them.
  5. I rarely, if ever, wrap Christmas gifts ahead. First, I have usually had no place to put them. Stuff takes up lots less room all stuffed together in shopping bags. We don't usually get our tree as early as we did this year either. Second, I don't ever have time to wrap early. It's the thing I do when everything else is done. Which sometimes is never. So I'm up late on Christmas Eve. Wrapping.
  6. For as long as I can remember, I have always called the span of time from Thanksgiving right on through Christmas, New Year's and my husband's birthday, The Holidays. At our house, we celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas, have a Christmas tree, give Christmas presents, send Christmas cards, say "Merry Christmas," and I resent that I am maligned for using the generic term "holidays".
  7. There was something else I was going to snark about, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. EDIT ALERT: Here I am, two and a half weeks later, and I remembered what it was! I was going to complain that radio stations who play Christmas music play the song from The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things. My Favorite Things is NOT a Christmas song! Nothing in the song indicates Christmas whatsoever. What is up with that?
  8. I have big plans this weekend to get my Christmas cards done and to stay home all day Saturday and get one or two big projects done that have been on my list for months that I really need to get done before I decorate. However, I may have to sneak out for the Meijer Saturday sale, but maybe not.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skipping Today

I'm not going to post my planned post today. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I found out today that my friend's funeral is tomorrow. Many miles away from here.

My husband's "uncle" has passed away, and his funeral is also tomorrow.

My sister-"in-law" is in the hospital with transverse myelitis, paralized from the chest down. Prognosis, generally poor.

And it is snowing for the first time this winter. Blah.

Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Lists

Stolen Inspired, as usual from Blackbird at Say La Vee

Things I like:

  • Dark chocolate covered pecans and dark chocolate orange gels from McDonald's Homemade Candies.
  • My black every day shoes.
  • Blue skies in December.

Not so much:

  • The thought of the snow that is on the way.
  • Aggressive drivers.
  • Spending all of my prime time at work.

Things we did yesterday:

  • Cut our Christmas tree.
  • Sorted through a big pile of books and puzzles and boxed up 5 boxes to donate.
  • Ate wings and pizza at a little neighborhood place.

My radio stations on Pandora:

  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Anton Webern
  • Nickel Creek
  • Dave Matthews

Things to be happy about:

  • Christmas shopping is almost done, or at least under control.
  • I have no plans/need to leave the house on Saturday, so I can get a couple of big projects done before I decorate for Christmas.
  • K will be home in 16 days!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

From Ten on Tuesday

Ten things you want but won't buy for yourself.

1. An iPod.
2. An expensive leather purse.
3. A dress coat.
4. A flat screen TV.
5. A comfy chair.
6. A DVR.
7. A new dress.
8. A pair of leather gloves.
9. A laptop.
10. A new bed.

Monday, November 30, 2009


When there is an unusual call on the voicemail and then your mother calls and asks if you are sitting down, you know it will be bad new. I just didn't know how bad.

My best friend from high school has died. She was hiking in Zion National Park in Utah and fell several hundred feet to her death. I read that in most places on the steep, narrow trail where she was hiking, there were chains to hang on to. But not it this particular spot. She was by herself, but nearby hikers saw her fall and called 911. Her husband was supposed to meet her at a certain place at a certain time and when she wasn't there, he went to the ranger station. She fell around 2 pm on Friday, and they recovered her body around 6:30 pm.

Her daughter called me late last night. That was a tough phone call.

We had kept in touch all these years. I was her maid of honor 30 years ago, and she drove over 600 miles and slept in her car to be at my wedding 21 years ago. I could always be sure I would receive at least one card on my birthday every year and it would be from her.

We met in junior high when her family moved into our district. We were best friends in high school even though we had different interests and different activities. She forgave me when I did a bad job streaking her hair, she forgave me when I did a bad job making her a dress out of a beautiful cream color brocade fabric, she forgave me whenever I acted like an idiot, which, as a teenager (oh, who am I kidding? I still act like an idiot on a regular basis) I was wont to do.

And now she has passed on, leaving a husband, three (grown) children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends. And me.

A Month of Gratitude #30--The End

I am grateful that I gave myself the challenge to write a post for every day of November to express that for which I am grateful. And I did it! Yea for me!!! And I didn't even dip into the shallow end of the pool and talk about things like chocolate, or Simon Baker, or YouTube. It really made me examine my life and ponder all of my blessings. Now, what will December bring?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #29

I am grateful for the power of prayer; grateful for the knowledge that God is mindful of me; grateful to know that He will direct my path; grateful to know that my prayers will be heard and answered in God's own way and in God's own time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #28

I am grateful for things that make me laugh. My daughter, my husband, commercials, The Big Bang Theory, my friend Roy...all of these can elicit a hearty belly laugh on occasion. Laughter can ease a sad or tense situation. It can help healing. It makes things easier. Life is better with laughter.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #27

I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. "I'm proud to be an American..." Politics and problems aside, this is a great country, and I feel extremely blessed that I live here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #26

happy thanksgiving!

I am grateful that I live in this time and in this place of great abundance. When I see scenes of people in places less priviledged that this, I wonder how they would react to see our big grocery/mass merchandise stores like Meijer or Walmart and see all that food, all that stuff, all in one place. It is no wonder that people think Americans are rich. We are, I am richly blessed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #25

I am grateful for my calling in the church. To anyone who knows what it is, stop laughing! I mean it. First, I am grateful that there are people who even think I could do it and actually called me to the position. Second, I am grateful for the people with whom I serve. Finer people you will not find anywhere. Not even in Utah. (That was a joke, by the way. The Utah part, I mean.) Third, I am grateful that I am struggling along the best I can to get it done. It is rather all-encompassing. There is really not a time I can sit back and take a break because there is always something else to do and something else to plan for. Fourth, it is actually kind of fun sometimes. Whew.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #24

I am grateful for internet shopping. Especially at this time of year. Sit down at the computer for an hour, a few days later, packages magically appear at your door. Shopping done. Is that great, or what? Not to say that I don't shop locally, because I do a lot of that, too. But for certain items, for certain people, internet shopping is the way to go. Especially if you can snag free shipping. Bonus!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #23

I am grateful for our health insurance. It is the best coverage we have ever had. It rivals the best health insurance we had when we were teachers back when it wasn't a crime for teachers to have good health insurance. K is getting braces, mostly paid for by the insurance; we all get new glasses every year, mostly paid for by the insurance. It is excellent, and we don't take it for granted. Not one little bit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #22

I am grateful for the people in this community who are committed to make good music available for free, donations accepted (and encouraged, but still, free). There are two groups who come to mind whose musical offerings I have enjoyed over the last few years. They both provide wonderful musical experiences of top notch quality. And I love live music. I really love big music.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #21

I am grateful for teachers. I have had many, many wonderful ones and really hardly any not so wonderful ones. I don't know when, I don't know how, but at some point between the time I graduated from high school and the time I finished my own first year of teaching, teachers became the bad guys. They get paid too much, their health insurance is too good, they only work six hours a day, they have three months off in the summer, they have too many days off during the school year, blah blah blah. Well, let me tell you what. As someone who actually did teach school for fifteen years, let me tell you, being a teacher is a difficult, isolating, mostly thankless job. And the better you are at it, the harder it is. A teacher is not just working when she/he is with students. There is the planning, the correcting and grading (oh my gosh, the correcting) and, in my case, the shopping. Anyone wonder why I'm not a teacher anymore? I wish that anyone who criticizes teachers on a wholesale basis had to do the job for a week. The real job.

This reminds me of something funny (true/funny) that I read in Gourmet magazine back when I was a teacher. The quote was, "I used to be a middle school music teacher, which had nothing to do with either teaching or music." Any teacher can relate. Especially those wonderful souls who do teach middle school.

Not only am I grateful for the teachers I had, I am also grateful to the excellent teachers who taught my daughter. I was, with very few exceptions, very impressed with those who taught her. Thank you!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #20

I am grateful for good examples; those people who do things I want to do and do them well and those people who have characteristics I aspire to have. The world needs heroes, especially the quiet, kind ones who don't expect thanks or glory. I am thankful to these people, both real and imaginary (like those on the internet.) ;o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #19

I am grateful for good books. And the ability to read those books. I have always loved to read. I am thankful for all of those talented people who have written good books to educate, to enlighten, and to entertain.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #18

I am grateful that I know how to sew. I has brought me much pleasure over the years. It is a great life skill to have, it is a great frugal skill to have, it is a great service skill to have. I would wager that I have done way more sewing for other people than I have for myself. And I always have more projects than time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #17

I am grateful that, although she is 1600 miles away from me, my daughter is getting to know my family and seeing how a functional family works. For example, my family gets together once a month for dinner, each taking turns hosting and bringing part of the meal. They have traditions for most, if not all of the holidays. They get together the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving for Dessert Night (because they are always too full after Thanksgiving dinner to eat the desserts.) Is that cool or what?

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #16

I am grateful for music. It is a powerful influence in my life and the source of much enjoyment. Music can amplify feelings of joy and good will and spirituality. I always have a song in my heart. Well, at least in my mind.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #15

I am grateful for the freedom to worship how, where, and what I may. I am grateful for the Church and the blessings my membership has brought to me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #14

I am grateful for the technology that allows me, even though we are separated by 1600 miles, to be able to talk to my daughter anytime, anywhere. It sure makes life a lot better.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another Friday Fill-In

I'm on a roll! Click the button on the sidebar to play.

1. The last band I saw live was the local high school marching band. Oh, that's not what you meant? Then I guess it was maybe Crosby, Stills and Nash. If that doesn't date me, nothing will.

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is going to Michillinda Lodge. Fabulous food, wonderful view, no cooking, and no cleaning up.

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is started.

4. Thoughts of spending time at home doing things around the house fill my head.

5. I wish I could wear sexier shoes.

6. Bagpipes make me wish to visit Scotland.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending time at home, tomorrow my plans include doing some volunteer work, and Sunday, I want to watch The Amazing Race!

A Month of Gratitude #13

I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know it can work miracles and change hearts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #12

I am grateful for my sisters. I have two, both are younger. The sister just younger than me married much younger than I did and had children way before I did, so she is someone I have gone to for advice and counsel many times. My younger sister is, and always will be, the baby of the family. She is lots of fun to be around and keeps everyone on track. I regret living so far away from them, but I am glad that my daughter now lives near them and is getting to know them. (And they store her stuff in the summer when she come home!) At some point, I would really like to live closer to them.

Note: I also have a brother who is (much) older than I am :0) who I also love, but he isn't, you know, a sister.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #11

I am grateful that I live in a time when there is the knowledge available to correct bad vision. Is it weird to even think about that? I think about it on occasion. I have worn glasses since I was in the third grade. It's not like I'm almost blind or anything, but my vision is bad. If I lived in a time when corrective eye glasses were not available, there are a lot of things I would have never been able to do. Or see. So I am grateful for my glasses!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #10

I am grateful for the beautiful world I live in. "I am happy today for the sunshine..." We have had nicer weather so far in November than we did in October. Although I love a rainy day at home, I am generally happier if the sun is shining.

I am grateful for all of the beauties of nature. I love, love, loved driving across the country with Star the August I took her out to college the first time. It was so interesting to see the way the landscape changed as we left the shoreline of Lake Michigan and headed West. I am looking forward to taking that same trip by train in April.

I am grateful for blogs on the internet that post pictures of beauty around the world and for The Amazing Race that shows beauties of nature I may never see any other way.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #9

I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for the friends I have now and the friends I have had over the years. I am grateful for the friends who live close and for the friends who are far away. I am grateful for my imaginary internet friends and for my telephone friends. I am grateful that I have had a diverse group of friends and for the different perspective they have given me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #8

I am thankful that the program I was in charge of last night, Young Women in Excellence, is over. Done for another year. Overall, I am pleased with how it went and learned some things to apply for next year. We have some lovely, talented, amazing young women. And some really wonderful leaders. I feel blessed to be serving where I am.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #7

I am grateful for my heritage. I am grateful for the family I was born into, for my grandparents and the wonderful examples they have been to me. I am thankful for all of my ancestors and the things they did and the people they were. This heritage has been my rock, has grounded me, has given me depth, has strengthened my faith.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally, A Friday Fill-In

I haven't done one of these in forever. Click the button on the sidebar to play along!

1. Plans and schedules are what keep me on task .

2. I'm happy when things go along smoothly .

3. The last thing I drank was water .

4. One of the most valuable things in my life is my family .

5. I like almost anything on my pizza.

6. Dear November, lets just keep things on the warm, dry side. Save all that cold, yucky stuff for December, or better yet, January. Ok? Thanks .

A Month of Gratitude #6

I should back up a bit and say how grateful I am for my daughter. Not just that she is 19 and, for all intents and purposed, "raised."

I am so grateful that if I were only to have one child, which is exactly what happened, that the child would be a girl. At every age and every stage, I have said, this is such a fun age! And it truly was. Not that life was perfect, but it was good! And fun.

I have never been a perfect parent and have made a lot of mistakes. But in spite of all of that, things have turned out quite well.

My daughter is smart, creative, hard-working, funny, fun to be around, a good cook, and talented in many ways. She is not afraid of a challenge. In fact, she continually challenges herself in most areas of her life. She knows how to work hard, she is not afraid to work hard, and she does work hard.

I am also extremely grateful that, after receiving her first proposal of marriage this past week, that she said no!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #5

I am grateful for my husband. He is smart, funny, and fun to be with. He is a wonderful father and a great cook. He works hard and puts his family first. He has taken a huge leap this past year, and I am so amazed at how well he has pressed on and taken up this new adventure with gusto. He is the heart of my heart and the light of my eyes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #4

I am grateful that my husband and I are both employed. Although we don't have our "ideal" jobs, we are thankful that we have jobs and can take care of the necessities of life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #3

I am grateful that my daughter, my only child, is 19. I am thankful that we were led to the place where we raised her, because I think she was able to have a unique set of opportunities that led her to be who she is today. We are very blessed by the people who were put into her life to help shape her character and personality. We were lucky to have dodged some of the situations all parents worry about when raising teen-agers. I pray every day that things in the future will go as well as things have gone in the past.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #2

I am extremely grateful for the changes that have happened in our family in the past year. It was a long time coming, and sometimes I thought it would never happen. But it did, and progress continues to be made. Goals we have in sight seem to be coming closer. A major one will happen on Sunday, if all goes well.

Yea, us!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month of Gratitude #1

I am grateful that we have had such a beautiful Autumn. It has been, in spite of all of the rain, breathtakingly beautiful. It is my favorite time on the year, in spite of the rain. The Coach and I did manage to take our annual Fall Tour, in spite of the rain, and had a wonderful time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday (Saturday) Five

This is my Saturday post of this week's Friday Five from The "Official" Friday Five Website.

1.What’s your favorite sports movie?
Chariots of Fire, Field of Dreams
2.What’s your favorite romantic comedy film?
While You Were Sleeping
3.What’s your favorite animated Disney movie?
101 Dalmations
4.What’s your favorite non-Disney movie musical?
The Sound of Music
5.What’s your favorite stranger-in-a-strange-land / fish-out-of-water movie?
It's a Wonderful Life

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Stolen Meme

From Blackbird at Say La Vee.

... reading--Another Goldie (the caterer) mystery. I hadn't checked out a "fun" book from the library in a long time!
... listening to--radio streaming on my computer
... watching--The Mentalist. I'm not at all into police shows but this is a fun one. Lots of eye candy, too!
... eating--my husband's yummy cooking
... drinking--green smoothies most mornings for breakfast (usually as I drive to work)
... making--plans for a couple of sewing projects--baby blankets to donate and an apron or two for my daughter
... waiting--for the weekend!
... wondering--if my boss is going to retire and leave me unemployed
... hoping--to see some sunshine this weekend
... thinking--about all of the things I would like to get done

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Blogger I would most like to be like:
Blackbird at Say La Vee

Blogger whose posts I most look forward to:
(Auntie) Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Bloggers I miss:
Meredith at Like Merchant Ships
Katie at Happily Average

Blogger who makes me laugh every time:
Amy at The Lawsons did Dallas

Most informative blogger:
Annette at The Lyon's Tale

Blogger with the most interesting ideas:
Lara at The Lazy Organizer

There are others, many others, but that is all for today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


In an attempt to start blogging again, I have decided to try to write something every day, even if it is just about the weather.

How many people do you know who have said, my grandmother kept a little diary, and every day she wrote about the weather. I've heard it a few times.

So, just for the record, we have had one of the wettest Octobers on record, and it has not hit 70 at any time this month, which is also unusual, I hear. At least it hasn't snowed!!! I also heard on the weather report this morning that we have only had two total hours of sunshine in the last 2 weeks but we are supposed to get some this afternoon. Yippee!

Autumn is my favorite season, and it has still been spectacular in spite of all of the clouds and rain.

Well, there you go! I'm baaaack!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Ten

10 favorite places to eat.

From Ten on Tuesday.

1. The Old Spaghetti Factory
2. Hires
3. Fricano's
4. Fredrico's
5. Carrabba's
6. Longbottom's
7. Ivar's
8. Chen's
9. 7fifty
10. Hobo's

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Random Fill-Ins

From Fridays I missed.

1. It's cold and dry (as in not humid) for July. Yippee!
2. I would kind of like to try my hand at canning tomatoes. You know, if I had all of the stuff...and the time...oh, and the desire to do all that work.
3. My favorite health and beauty product is Crest Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste.
4. Taking my daughter to college and back last year was a nice long ride. 3600 miles is a nice long ride, right?
5. Well, first of all take your shoes off.
6. I would love to own my own home.
7. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Original Italian.
8. A nice long walk along the beach sounds nice.
9. I could really use some good news.
10. When all is said and done, I've usually said more than I have done.
11. I grew up thinking girls are smarter (and more spiritual) than boys .
12. The Lawsons did Dallas was the last website I was at before coming here.
13. Why don't you bring me a tall, frosty glass of lemonade?
14.Reading helps me relax.
15. Thanks for the work you did in the bathroom in the attempt to unclog the sink and for calling the landlord when it didn't work.
16. Stinky feet are very off-putting.
17. All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting the absolutely worst thing that could ever possibly happen.
18. Show me a good loser and I will show you a person with humility.
19. Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy running other enterprises and don't want to have their lives drug through the mud.
20. I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine sugar and egg whites.
21. She had a great summer and is ready for a great year at school.
22. My family is by my side, always.
23. I know this: love is the answer.
24. Enjoy the quiet moment and be still.
25. These words apply to me: I have not yet lived up to my potential.
26. It was a good day when the sun was shining.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yippee! It's Friday!

A Friday Fill-In! Click on the button on the side bar to join the fun! we go!

1. The last thing I ate was cereal and bananas.
2. Ground turkey is something I recently bought.
3. When it rains, it is a great time to curl up and read a book!
4. My husband was the first person I talked to today.
5. Hugs are the best form of communication.
6. More pillows = extra comfort.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out at home, tomorrow my plans include shopping at Aldi and Sunday, I want to watch a movie with my daughter!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blackbird Meme II

This is another meme I stole from Blackbird at Say La Vee. Check it out. It's a great read!

I am adicted to:

1. Mouth2Mouth with Scott and Michelle.
2. Nut Crunch Bars from Nature Valley.
3. Handsome voices.
4. c jane.
5. Cherry limeade.
6. Unconditional friendship.
7. Blue sky.
8. Fluffy summer reading.
9. Interesting music.
10. Chocolate.

I am avoiding:

1. Sunscreen.
2. Cooking.
3. Buying new bras.
4. Talking about yard work.
5. Buying shoes.
6. My boss.
7. The pile of Goodwill stuff in the livingroom.
8. Money discussions.
9. Construction zones.
10. Teenage drama.

but I'm interested in:

1. Joining a book club.
2. The upcoming Harry Potter movie.
3. Eating healthier.
4. Blog stalking.
5. Getting an iPod.
6. Going to the beach more.
7. Fresh raspberries.
8. Doing some canning.
9. Working on a quilt.
10. Word puzzles.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend Friday

From Friday Fill-Ins. Click the button on the side bar to join the fun!

1. When I heard my boss might lay me off, I was secretly excited.
2. It's still true that laughter IS the best medicine.
3. It's late, and after a long absence, but I am finally posting!
4. Love, always.
5. My eyes have seen amazingly beautiful people, places, and things.
6.Sometimes, but not always, my husband insists on something strongly.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing some blogging, tomorrow my plans include staying home ALL day, and Sunday, I want to hang out with my family and have a great holiday meal!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blackbird Meme

This is a meme I stole from Blackbird at Say La Vee. I adore her!

10 things I like right now:

1. Long hours of daylight.
2. Spending time with my daughter.
3. Dreaming about a beach vacation.
4. Chocolate Chip Cookies.
5. The beach.
6. RuthAnn's Ice Cream Shop.
7. Air conditioning.
8. The new Alpine book.
9. Having help with the household chores.
10.Going barefoot.

10 things I do not like right now:

1. Humidity.
2. Grouchy people.
3. Sunburn.
4. Thinking about winter.
5. The plumbing in our house.
6. Aggressive drivers.
7. Lack of time at home.
8. The pink chair.
9. Dwelling on the negative.
10. See #9.

10 things I do not care about right now:

1. Sarah Palin's future plans.
2. Michael Jackson's music.
3. Plastic surgery stories.
4. Complicated recipes.
5. Clothes shopping.
6. Summer festivals.
7. Anything Disney.
8. Educational reading.
9. Makeup.
10. Reruns.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday All Day Long!

From Friday Fill-Ins. Click the button on the side bar to join the fun! we go!

1. Moving is hard work.

2. The best things in life are free. Except chocolate. That is not usually free.

3. My best quality often remains hidden.

4. I am good at handling all of the details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I might be a grandma.

6. Sleep is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing at home, tomorrow my plans include shopping with my daughter for quilt fabric and Sunday, I want to take a nap!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stolen Meme

On my bedside table: Ensigns with quotes or pictures that I want to take out before I throw them away.

On my TV: The last season of The West Wing that we need to finish.

On the menu for tonight: S is roasting a chicken on the grill. Rice pilaf and a tossed green salad on the side.

On my To Do List: Buy groceries and return cans and bottles.

New recipe I tried last week: Actually, K made hummus for the first time. Yummy!

In the craft basket: K wants to make her first quilt. We are shopping for fabric on Saturday.

Looking forward to: Not having to work on Monday.

Homemaking tip for this week: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!

Favorite blog post of the week (mine or other): This was totally hilarious. The Lawsons Did Dallas is always a great read.

Favorite photo from last week: There is no photo.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Random Ten

Today I'm doing a random ten because the topic today (a few Tuesdays ago when I actually started this post) at Ten on Tuesay is 10 awesome bands. Huh? Well, uh...there's The Eagles and...uh...The Beatles and um...well, you get the idea.

1. My daughter just got home from her first year at college (1600 miles away, as anyone knows who read this blog. Oh, never mind.) And can I just say, because nobody else will, that I did an awesome job sending care packages. I sent one every month. And for holiday months (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter) I also included little treats/favors for all of her roommates (and she had five roommates) and for her visit teachees as well as plenty of chocolate to study by. Yay for me.

2. I had two baby showers to shop for yesterday. Two Target gift registries to juggle. Two lists to keep tallied in my head. Can I just ask when diapers got so complicated? I was mind boggled by how many varieties there were of Pampers alone. One whole side of one whole aisle there were a different kind of Pampers every two feet. Yikes!

3. I went to a concert the other night of a men's choral group to which a friend belongs. They sounded wonderful! A very strong, rich sound. An eclectic selection of music. My daughter went with me. We went to the following reception to tell my friend how fabulous he is, and it was all very nice. I didn't run out of small-talk or anything! It was perfectly lovely.

4. I didn't know how much I needed to write until I started blogging. It is very satisfying. Very cathartic. All of those soliloquies running around in my head now have a place to go! Both blogging and writing in a journal have been essential in processing recent events.

5. There is a stand of trees, a kind of woodsy area, next to my office. I have been trying to do a four seasons photo study of it. Autumn went really well. I took tons of pictures. Not so vigilant the other two seasons so far, but I have taken a few pics.

6. This is my only five day work week in five weeks. Hopefully I can get caught up a little and maybe even have time for some of the long-term stuff.

7. I am feeling quite pathetic in the friendship department. I could go into details but like I said, pathetic. My last attempt to take a sort of casual friendship to the next level? Pathetic. The current offer of friendship isn't going to go anywhere either. Pathetic. Sensing a theme here? I could go on but, you guessed it. Pathetic.

8. Some days are diamonds. Some days are more like today. Did I mention that my mother-in-law is coming over for dinner?

9. Monday I am the only one in the family to have a day off. I will also not have a car for most of the day. I am going to go do a couple of things early and then will be home for the rest of the day. I should have a couple of stretches of "me" time in between everyone else coming and going. I am hoping to have a productive, restful day.

10. There is no ten.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good-bye, Dear Jack

Today was the memorial service for Jack. It was sad. Necessary but sad.

Tonight I am doing what I need to do to mourn for Jack. To get it all out there. To seek closure. To make the way to move to the next part of my life. I have written quite a bit in my pen and paper journal but I want to do this as well.

If I were to stand up in front of a group of people and talk about Jack, this is what I would say:

I was drawn to Jack because he was:

Charming and

He showed us many kindnesses and reached out to us in different ways, sharing magazines, cartoons, quotes, articles. When I read the magazines he sent over, I would on occasion, find little notes he had written to me in the margins. I had never met anyone quite like Jack.

He loved reading and never stopped learning. He had a wonderful way with words. His writing was eloquent and entertaining.

Jack and I shared an unusual relationship for neighbors who lived just across the street. He wrote to me: Thank you notes for any small favor, funny observations, and little notes about things going on in the neighborhood. He called himself our self-appointed neighborhood block watch captain. He added appropriate comics and little quotes which I understand have been christened “Jackisms.” And whenever he wrote to me, I wrote back, and so our correspondence and friendship developed. He never failed to cheer me up and bring a smile to my face. I kept everything he ever wrote to me.

He was always kind, always polite, always wanted to help. He was very conscientious about fulfilling any perceived obligation.

He loved the four seasons in Michigan even if it meant putting up with the Michigan winters. When he was able, he would be out in his driveway several times during a snow storm, shoveling or sweeping away the snow, setting a good example for the rest of the neighborhood.

In closing I would like to share the following quote:

“I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ‘She is gone!’ Gone where? The loss of sight is in me, not in her. Just at the moment when someone says, ‘She is gone,’ there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes!’

“And that is dying.”

So I am very happy for those who have seen Jack coming and take up the glad shout, “Here he comes!” I am comforted to know that I will see him again. And I am happy for Jack to be in a place where he can be free of pain and free of the restrictions of a tired body, but I am sad for those of us here who will miss him so much.

I love you, dear Jack, and I will never forget you.

And that is what I would say. I don't think there will ever again be anyone in my life like Jack. I am so thankful that I was able to know him and be his friend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Sad Sunday

My friend Jack passed away Sunday morning.

I was with him on Saturday, and I knew that he would not be with us for much longer.

Not the happiest of Mother's Days, but my family did their best in spite of my tears.

More later.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fun Day Friday

Finally, another Friday Fill-In. Click the button on the sidebar to join the fun! we go!

1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is be polite.

2. I like fried clams.

3. When I think of carnivals I think of blog carnivals.

4. Daffodils are my favorite spring flower.

5. Things on my desk include a water bottle and an electric calculator.

6. Seeing the empty house across the street makes me wanna cry.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing in a hotel room, looking at the waves, tomorrow my plans include shopping with my daughter and eating in a couple of fun restaurants and Sunday, I want to have a picnic with my family looking at an amazing engineering feat (a long suspension bridge) at a historic fort!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday--Ten Words

From Ten on Tuesday.

10 words people would use to describe you.

1. Dependable.
2. Organized.
3. Friendly.
4. Quiet.
5. Intellegent.
6. Kind.
7. Honest.
8. Seamstress.
9. Chef.
10. Crafty.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Five Blogs

And now, an attempt to return to regular blogging activity. This is a post I had in the works way back when, that I finally finished.

For today's Friday Five, I am stealing an old topic from an un-named blog which has good Friday Fives on occasion, but I can't really recommend otherwise. I'm sure it could be found if someone really wanted to. I'm probably breaking all kinds of bloggy rules here, but there you go. I'm a rebel.

The topic is five blogs you visit regularly and why you like them.

I'm not going to include family and friend blogs here because none of them know I blog, as of yet, and I don't want to make the connection. I will list what I call "public" blogs. Not sure I can limit it to five though.

1. Like Merchant Ships.This is the blog that made me fall in love with blogs. And it is through this blog that I found almost all of the other blogs I love. When I found it, I went back to the beginning and read every single post. The photography is beautiful, the writing is entertaining, and the subject matter is helpful and down to earth. I love reading about her projects and challenges and especially about her decorating. I also enjoy reading about the challenges of cooking for a diabetic husband because I have one, as well. She is my imaginary friend.

2. cjane. This is a very entertaining blog. And she lives in the same city where my daughter goes to college, 1600 miles away from me, so I feel a certain connection. Courtney (I can call her by her real name because if I knew her, we would so be my imagination) is a great writer. She can really turn a phrase. It is artistic writing. And she has great photos and lots of spice. Don't let that angel on the header fool you. She can bring the snark.

3. Like Mother, Like Daughter.This is a beautiful blog with gorgeous pictures and genuine wisdom. It is a family blog (and I want to be adopted. Maybe a distant cousin?) It is a little glimpse into a home in a different place and culture than mine but there is so much to learn here. Great values, sound advice, and a lot of love is what I see when I visit.

4. Happily Average. This is a great frugality blog about getting good shopping deals and using those skills to help others. The blog has a nice clean look and is happy. She has a very cheerful outlook and is encouraging to all who read. I really appreciate the emphasis she puts on helping others and being a responsible citizen. She has encouraged me to do better in this regard.

5. Say La Vee. I saw this blog listed at another blog I follow, and I read it a couple of times, but I was not going to put it on my list. It was not a blog I was going to read on a regular basis. It was not the "kind of blog" I was going to read. (I don't know. Sometimes I am just kind of dense that way.) But then I kept finding myself drawn back to it and find it very entertaining. This is someone who lives in a different part of the country than I do, experiences a different culture, and has a different perspective. I get the impression that we have somewhat similar jobs, but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Great writing, great eye for detail, and overall a great read.

See, I knew I couldn't limit it to five:

6. The Extraordinary Ordinary. This is another blog, that when I started reading blogs, I wasn't going to read. I wasn't going to read a lot of mommy blogs about people's cute little kidlets. Well, she's a mommy and she sometimes writes about her kids, but her blog is way more than that. It's not a cutesie "scrapbook" blog. The thing that keeps me reading is the quality of her writing. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it has become a part of me...She is wise and honest and enlightening. She is another one of my imaginary friends.


  • In the previous post I said that I had not talked to Jack about his military service. In the two months since I started that post, I did talk to him about that. He was drafted when he was 18 in 1953. By the time he was ready to be sent to Korea, the war ended, and he spent the rest of his two years working in the mailroom on a base in Georgia. It was during this time that he learned to golf and remembers it as an enjoyable time in his life.

  • I don't think it is a coincidence that my blog went dark around the time that Jack went into the hospital this last time. I had originally planned, once I got the post done about him, to back fill with Friday Fives, Ten on Tuesdays, and random posts to make it look like I was blogging all along. However, now I have decided to just leave the gap in posts, as a kind of tribute and a recognition that I had more important things to do.

  • They moved Jack to the Critical Care Unit on Sunday for a couple of days to try to get his blood pressure regulated. When they did this, he had his daughter bring one of his bouquets of flowers to me at my house. (Which is when she told me that he would not be coming home.) When I visited him in the CCU on Monday and thanked him for the flowers, he told me they were from family in Arizona but they were stuck up on a high shelf in his room and hard to get to to water. I also saw that they did not allow flowers in the CCU rooms. He told me that he wanted me to have them for Star's homecoming and that they were given with lots of love.

  • I talked to Jack's daughter last night. I had to hear her say what I already knew. I had to hear her say it. His heart is working at about 20%. He knows he is dying. He is depressed about it but he is coping. He could go at any time.

  • I have cried more tears this past month than I have for the last several years of my live put together. And they just keep coming.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been having a bit of a bloggy block. I had been determined to get this post done and posted before I moved on with other posts, but it has taken some time because I wanted to go back and reread the things that Jack has written to me. Before I got that done, however, Jack's health took a turn for the worse, and he has been in the hospital since March 31. I have tried to see him or be in touch every couple of days, so that has kept me busy along with juggling the rest of life's responsiblilites.

Jack is my neighbor across the street. He writes me letters. Really. Real pen to paper letters. I kid you not. He has a wonderful way with words. It makes my day when there is something from him in the post.

He is a widowed veteran (I am guessing Korean War era although I have never talked to him about his military service,) a retired personnel manager. And a wordsmith. Ah, the words...

When we first moved into this house, he visited with my husband at the mail box, telling him how happy he was that we had moved to the neighborhood, replacing the drug-dealing crackheads that used to live here.

That year at Christmas we gave him a plate of our homemade candies and cookies. He responded with a delightful thank you note. It left me agog, the way he wrote. It was amazing. An amazing thank you note. Seriously. The man is amazing. I mean, how many men do you know who write thank you notes? And use beautifully picturesque language?

And then after that, on occasion, he would write me funny little notes about my husband parking in my spot while I was at work or things going on in the neighborhood. And he would share magazines that he thought we would enjoy. And cartoons. And quotations. And clippings. I always wrote back to him, responding to his notes or thanking him for whatever he had sent over recently. He joked that we were having a “love affair” because of our letter writing. I think we had found in each other a kindred spirit. I think he kept writing to me because (a) he is a writer, a wordsmith and (b) I wrote back. (And, just for the record, there was nothing unseemly or improper in anything either one of us ever wrote.) He once commented that it was strange that he wrote to me, just across the street, more than he wrote to his relatives in Arizona. I think it was because I wrote back, because we recognized something in each other that we hadn’t found in anyone else.

As if the writing wasn't enough, he endeared himself to me early on when he yelled my name across the street by way of greeting. Like "Hello the house!" Except, my name. Cracked me up!

He is also very kind-hearted. Last winter (actually two winters ago now) we had a huge storm and Star and I were out shoveling. So was Jack. HE (the then 70-something year old man) tried to come over to help US (a then 17 year old girl and shovel snow but it was too, too deep, deep for him to get across the street. But he wanted to help. Because he is just a nice, nice person.

When K left for college, for one thing, there was a lot less activity going on at our house, and for another thing, there was one more serving of soup left in the pot or one more dessert left on the plate. We started sharing soup (homemade, of course) and baked goods once in awhile and visited a little more often. This also led to more thank you notes and correspondence back and forth.

So this is where I would have written a pithy conclusion,and where this post was supposed to have ended when I started it over two months ago, just a regular blog post about an unusual relationship between neighbors. In the mean time, as I mentioned in the intro, Jack's health has taken a turn for the worse. It now appears unlikely that Jack will come home.

No words.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

To Do List

From Ten on Tuesday.

10 Things on Your "To-Do" List

1. Set up a system for my scrapbook paper.
2. Go thru the boxes in the office and sell some stuff.
3. Clean out the China cabinet and put in the good dishes, etc.
4. Exercise.
5. Scrapbook.
6. Work on finances on computer.
7. Catch up filing.
8. Finish red and blue quilt.
9. Finish comforter.
10. Re-organize pantry.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


From Ten on Tuesday:

10 things you like to do on vacation

1. Relax.
2. Hang out with my family.
3. Read.
4. See the sights.
5. Shop.
6. Eat at fun places.
7. Search out unusual places to visit, off the beaten path.
8. Watch HGTV.
9. People watch.
10. Take pictures.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday All Day Long

Friday Fill-In! Click the button on the side bar to join the fun!

1. Why do we have to work to earn a living?

2. My morning routine chores are now habits.

3. I have Spring Fever (too bad it is still tax season).

4. I had never heard the phrase "this economy" (used so much) and it is driving me crazy.

5. I taught my daughter to do things the way I always do.

6. How was I to know all the stuff no one ever told me.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to just hanging at home, tomorrow my plans include a brunch at church and Sunday, I want to talk to my daughter on the phone!

Yippee! It's almost the weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fast Food Favorites

A while back, Michele at Scribbit did a post on fast food favorites and I thought it made a good meme so I am going to do one, too! (I learned another new bloggy trick. When you steal an idea from another blogger, if you call it a meme then it is totally okay! Cool, huh?) That makes this my Tuesday Ten this week.

1. Wendy's Homestyle Chicken Fillet with cheese and everything (except pickles.) This has been my absolutely favorite fast food item for over 20 years! Except I have to order it with cheese and everything, period, and then pull the pickles off. If I order it with cheese, and everything, and no pickles, that seems to be one too many instructions for the basic fast food worker and my order gets messed up so I have learned over the years to just pull the pickles off.

2. A & W Rootbeer. My first job was at an A & W Drive-In. The older folks would call it a rootbeer stand. (Anyone?) On a hot day in the summer people would line up with their gallon jugs to be filled. And we made floats and freezes (like a milkshake but with rootbeer instead of the milk.)

3. Wesco's Wild Berry Smoothie. This is the best smoothie I have ever had, hands down. It is blueberry and strawberry, I think. Normally, blueberry is not my favorite of the berries but in this combination it is wonderful. And they top it with a generous dollop of whipped cream. This is only available at the Wescos with the food to go counters and, luckily, the one nearest where I work has one!

4. Subway's Oven Roasted Chicken with pepper jack cheese on Monterey Cheddar with lettuce, tomatoes, a little bit of onion, light mayo, and honey mustard.

5. My other favorite at Subway is the Turkey Breast and Ham with provalone on wheat with the same fixings as above.

6. Quizno's Honey Mustard. I could eat it with a spoon. Well, maybe not but it makes a great chip dip. I especially like it on Quizno's Ham and Cheese in all of it's toasty goodness.

7. Arby's Regular Roast Beef with Arby's sauce and Horsey sauce. That is all. Well, actually, I like their Market Fresh sandwiches, too. I'm a sucker for a good sandwich.

8. Fry Sauce. Which seems to only be available in Utah and some parts of Idaho. If there were fry sauce in Michigan, I would eat a lot more fries. Maybe it is for the best. I can, however, make pretty good fry sauce at home.

9. Hires Cherry Limeade. Well, and Hires burgers and Hires onion rings and Hires fry sauce. Did I mention that I like fry sauce?

10. I also like Burger King's Whopper with cheese. I have maybe one of those a year. And I like McDonalds' Sausage McMuffin with no egg. Out west we like Taco Time but here in Michigan we very rarely eat fast food Mexican food.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Friday Fill-In

Click the button on the sidebar to join the fun!

1. When I look to the left, I see into the hall and the kitchen.

2. The kitchen is the room that has the best view in my home.

3. Let it work itself out.

4. It is a lot of work to get things done dirt cheap!

5. Unfortunately, paying taxes is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

6. If you have any time feel free to give me a call and we can go out for breakfast.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to visiting my neighbor, tomorrow my plans include going to Aldi for my monthly stock-up and Sunday, I want to go downtown to a concert since I can't celebrate my daughter's birthday with her for the first time because she is 1600 mile away at college!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Many years ago I used to use Clinique toner, which I loved. Then my husband lost his job, and I looked for a more frugal substitute. I had heard that witch hazel worked well as a toner. I tried it, and it worked pretty well but I didn't like how it smelled. I said it made me smell like steak tartar, but that was a lie because I've never smelled steak tartar. I've never even seen steak tartar. But I didn't like how it smelled none the less.

My solution to this problem is to buy the cheapest store brand toner I can find and to mix about two ounces of it to about eight ounces of the witch hazel. (I don't measure, I just eyeball it in the bottle I refill.) It makes the toner smell good and gives a more refreshing feel.

Oh, and one more thing: witch hazel is cheaper in the first aid aisle than it is in the beauty/skin care aisle.

There is my frugal tip for today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


From Ten on Tuesday :

Things you won't miss about winter.

Ahhh, this should be easy!

1. Ice dams on the roof.
2. Water dripping into the house.
3. Icy roads.
4. Shoveling.
5. Scraping.
6. Cleaning off the car.
7. Icy sidewalks.
8. Icy parking lots.
9. Wearing a heavy coat.
10. Boots, scarves, gloves, and hats.

Looking forward to Spring!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Fill-In

Click the button on the sidebar to play!

1. Stopping by to visit my neighbor was my last random act of kindness.

2. Another place to go out for dinner sounds like fun.

3. Too many people are clueless in matters of the heart.

4. Coffee, tea or water.

5. All of my old friends have taken separate paths.

6. Our weather reminds me that there is still some winter left.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing housework (strange, I know!), tomorrow my plans include baking a chocolate cake and Sunday, I want to relax and enjoy The Amazing Race!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Ode to the Banana

I accidentally found out how I can have the whole bunch of 6 bananas all to myself. Well, almost.

On Saturday I was doing the self-checkout thing at the grocery store. I wait until toward the end of my order to ring up the bananas so they don't get hit with a bunch of stuff and get bruised as everything rolls down the checkout lane. So this time, that's what I was doing, only as I was taking the bananas out of the cart, I fumbled them and dropped them on the floor. The line was long and people (I imagine in my paranoid mind) were watching. I rang them up, finished up and left. And got home with some seriously bruised bananas. My husband is very picky about his bananas and wouldn't touch these with a 10 foot pole.

I wanted to use them up right away before they deteriorated any more. The first thing I did on Sunday morning was make strawberry jell-o and poured it over the worst two bananas, which I had cleaned up and diced. This is my favorite jell-o thing: Strawberry jell-o with bananas. My husband ate his share without comment. Well, actually, he enjoyed the whole dinner and was very complimentary about the whole thing but the jell-o was not the focus of the discussion.

The second thing I did Sunday evening was to make a banana sundae. Think of an ice cream sundae with a sprinkle of (75% off clearance Valentine) M&Ms and a drizzle of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Now in your mind's eye, substitute two more bananas, trimmed up and diced instead of the ice cream. Yummy!!! And healthier, right? than an ice cream sundae. I think I invented this. A banana sundae is really good with caramel sauce.

Another favorite snack is just a small amount of M&Ms (about 1/2 of the small single-serving size packages) in a small bowl, peel the banana, break it in half, and dip the flat end into the M&Ms so three or four stick to it, take a bite and repeat until it's all gone. Yummy again!!!

The last two bananas of the ill-gotten bunch were trimmed up and cut up to go with my cereal on Monday and Tuesday.

And just when I thought I had the best banana story of the week? My daughter called and said that her bunch of bananas took a suicidal jump from the top of the fridge to the floor and only about the top 10% of each banana is edible. It's been a bad week to be a banana!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

This Tuesday I am going to attempt one of those free-association, off the top of my head, random blog thought Tuesday Tens.

So, some random thoughts:

1. After I went to the dentist, had my teeth cleaned, polished, scraped, flossed, and endured Chinese Water Torture, (gag) guess what the first thing was that I sunk my shiny clean teeth into later that day? A Rice Krispies Treat. Yeah. Cause I'm perverse like that.

2. I lost some scrapbooking tools. It was a gallon ziplock bag with all of my paper punches, corner rounders, tape runners, refillable cases for tape runners, and stuff like that. I may have lost it as early as December! And I just figured it out on Thursday. Am I an idiot or what? I hardly ever lose stuff so it is really bugging me.

3. My one of my favorite public blogs is Like Merchant Ships. It has a great look and even better information. Dang! Now I have to complicate this post by putting in a link to the blog. And I thought this would be an easy post. Silly me.

4. If I need to spend some extra time at work, I would much rather go in for a couple of extra hours early Saturday morning than stay late on Friday. I am much more productive in the morning, and then when I leave at 9:30 or 10 AM, I have that fun feeling like I am playing hookie the rest of the day. Is that how you spell hookie? Rhymes with cookie? I don't know that I have ever seen it in writing before.

5. I learned that the correct way of referencing giving things up for Lent is the term "lenten disciplines." So instead of saying, "What are you giving up for Lent?" you say,"What are your lenten disciplines?" Interesting, no?

6. My daughter won't let me join Facebook. She says it's not for old people. She says having a blog is fine, it's age-appropriate. Did I mention that my 78 year old mother is on Facebook? And my 58 year old brother? (My daughter rolls her eyes.)

7. Do I have to learn how to Twitter? Is it mandatory?

8. I learned from Josh Groban that I like it when people sing to me in a foreign language.

9. I am hoping today is the last day of the single digit temperatures. Four degrees when I got to work this morning. Three degrees yesterday morning when I was putting gas in my car.

10. It takes me way too long to think of 10 things to write. Part of the problem is that some of the random things I think of, I decide need a whole post. But nothing wrong with that!

11. Bonus! A question: Why does my post spread farther and farther out each time I edit? Drives me crazy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rick Beckett

The airwaves in this part of Michigan are lacking today. One of my all-time favorite radio personalities passed away last night of a heart attack. Rick Beckett of the Rick and Scott Show on WOOD radio has died. It is a sad, sad day.

Rick could be funny, crazy, rude, or nasty, but he was great fun to listen to. And if you really listened, you could tell that he was a kind, caring individual. If someone had suffered some kind of loss, he was always the first to express sorrow and to ask about the situation. He cared about animals, children, and anyone in difficult circumstances.

Good-bye, Rick. You will be missed.

Scott, you are in my prayers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent Observation

The church I am a member of does not observe Lent. It is not part of our religious practice. I didn't know what Ash Wednesday was until I was a senior in high school. I did not know what Lent was until I did some research on it a few years back. I had heard people talking in passing about what they were giving up for Lent, and that sounded like an interesting concept.

For the past three (?) I think three years, my daughter have done our own Lent observance. Starting on Fat Tuesday with Paczki's--a local tradition. This year I am over-nighting Paczki's 1600 miles so she (and her roommates) can have them on Fat Tuesday. Am I a great mom or what? haha! You would think so if you knew how much it cost! Oh, my!

She is, as she had done every year, giving up sweets. And she actually does it! For six whole weeks, with the exception of one day, her birthday, which is always during Lent. Amazing!

I have my own admittedly secular goals for Lent. I understand the spiritual aspect of giving something up for Lent, but my goals are not spiritual, more of an effort to change habits and do better.

Anyway, this is what I do, or rather, what I don't do.

During Lent, I do not buy:
  • Candy

  • Ice cream

  • Ice cream toppings

  • Cookies

  • Desserts

  • Muffins

  • Pop/soda

  • Little Debbie's or anything like unto it

  • Fast food/convenience store hot chocolate, slushies, smoothies, chocolate milk, milk shakes, ice cream, frosties, desserts, donuts, Danish, sweet treats, etc, etc, etc.

(Except for shopping for Easter Baskets, which I don't start until shortly before Easter, and Star's birthday.)

I can make any of that stuff, I just can't buy it. And, during Lent in the years past, I have been very successful with this challenge. I just need to challenge myself (and maybe reward myself!) to continue on past Lent and add other goals to the list.

Disclaimer: I hope this post does not offend those who keep Lent in the traditional way. I just wanted to write about my light-hearted, admittedly secular goals. 'Cause, you know, it's all about ME!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ethnic Foods

Today's list from Ten on Tuesday, from whom I have not yet figured out how to get a button. Because I'm computer-challenged like that.

10 Favorite Ethnic Foods

I think most ethnic foods I have eaten have been highly American-ized but here is my list anyway.

1. Tacos--I don't know how "ethnic" tacos are but they are hands-down my favorite food.

2. Baklava--This is the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this topic. I have made it several times and it is delish!

3. Schezwan spicy pork noodles--My husband makes this, and it is fabulous.

4. Taiwanese onion cakes--I had a Taiwanese roommate in college who made these and I loved them. Haven't had them since.

5. Indian tacos--When we lived on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, this was the most popular food in town so I am going to count it as ethnic. Taco fixings on fry bread. Yummy! (I won't talk about one of the older traditional foods I heard about ((but didn't eat)) when living there. Yuck!)

6. My favorite Italian dish is Mezzaluna at Carrabba's. (After the appetizer of calamari.)

7. Is Boiled Dinner ethnic? Irish ethnic? Glenn makes the best. I really miss him.

8. I don't think cheese enchiladas are exactly ethnic but they are my second favorite Mexican food. My mom makes these the best.

9. The other Chinese food I like is sesame chicken. And lemon chicken. And Hula Beef. And chicken on a stick.

10. My other favorite "Italian" food is Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

I think I need to expand my ethnic food horizons. Just sayin'.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, Friday

This week's Friday Fill-In. Click the button on the sidebar to join the fun.

1. Give me a sow's ear and I'll make a silk purse.

2. Whenever it snows I want to stay home with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

3. I wish I had some closer friends. (Sorry, pathetic.)

4. The salmon I had at the Marquette Room was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world takes a lot of faith.

6. Other than this one, say la vee is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a scrapbook night at a friend's church, tomorrow my plans include making cookies and Sunday, I want to stop over and visit a neighbor recently out of the hospital!