Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday's thoughts

It's been awhile. Here's my week so far.

* Two days of terribly loud noises from the cellar. Two guys working on building walls so we can actually use the basement.

* I think we have our fireplace picked out. But not the water heater. There will be 'heated' discussions. Tankless vs. a newer, bigger, supposedly more efficient tank. I'm learning about direct vents. And all other kinds of stuff!

* I put up a new wireless doorbell thingy for our doors. You see the fancy-schmancy ones that were there when we moved in never really worked. So I simply cut some wires and installed the new ones! Now I'll hear you if you come.

* A couple weeks ago my mom gave Mira a hideous (sorry Mom!) hat/scarf combo thingy that is red. I think she used it during prairie blizzards in SD. I hope for nothing else. Anyhoo, Mira has taken an extreme liking to it. In that she wears it to bed. And any chance she gets (hence the posted picture). She is fixated right now on the "Little House" books and tells me that she's Laura Ingalls Wilder...

* By the way, the other picture is Rayna desperately wanting to be in a picture. They are on a 'trip' tonight. And Trevor... well he told me he didn't want his taken. Sorry buddy! Got you!

* And! I put up 5 various types of window blinds. All but one screw went in well. That one the Chairman had to use his muscles on. The windows sure feel warmer now.

* T-man's first basketball game tonight! I love youth sports. I try not to holler but sometimes it just comes out of nowhere! He likes (needs) to be busy. He was fitted for baseball and those practices start in about 6 weeks. Hooray!

* I love and hate Sam's Club all at the same time. I find good deals there. Get enthused. Purchase my 'deals' and then come home with a huge load in the back of the van to put away. I would rather wash dirty undies than unload from Sam's.

* Time for my Awake tea. I vowed after my friendly kidney stone went on its merry way that I wouldn't be partaking in black tea in the afternoons as I read that can sometimes cause stones. Well, I fell off the wagon. I'm still drinking lots of water though! Is that good enough?

* There's so much else I'd love to post, but this is on the web for crying out loud. So I guess not...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time killer

(again) stolen from another blog. The highlighted in bold is what you have done in your lifetime so far. The others... not. Maybe some day! Maybe I don't want to do them someday! Anyway. Here goes nothing.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland (and World... both)
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (on a cruise off of the FL coast)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child. YES! and YES!
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not sick.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. (who hasn't???)
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (both IA and MN)
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to truly be satisfied.
38. Seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.(when we lost Amara)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing.(does Lake Michigan count?)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Been scuba diving or snorkeling.(ask Duane about this - a great story involving a clothes-optional beach)
52. Kissed in the rain.(my kids for sure)
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served in a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma.(why yes! just last week)
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check.(nsf count...?)
68. Flown in a helicopter. (out of the Grand Canyon)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. (thanks to John Mattison)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Been to the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (myself it was a '92 Integra. Since the Chairman is a car nut... many since we've married)
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the paper.
85. Read the entire Bible. (I wouldn't be honest if I highlighted this one. There's places I've not read in Leviticus...)
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had Chicken pox.
89. Saved someone's life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You know...

it's been a long winter when a child opens the door to head for the bus and says, 'Mom! It feels warm today!'. I checked after the bus came. It's 3 degrees (at least above zero).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mom of the year award

Just back from a blustery cold walk at noon, I am getting ready to make a little lunch for myself. I used to HATE eating alone. Now with the din of young people always around here, I love the quietness of my lunches. Me and the newspaper. So I'm thinking I'm going to soon enjoy the high point of my day (did I ever tell anyone I like Mondays? I think someone in NE knows). Anyhoo. I'm getting out my plate and thinking of some tantalizing tidbits. And then there's the drone. The drone of the bus slowing down. Wait a minute. It's only noon. Then I frantically think... it must be for the 1/2 day kindergarten kids. And out pops R, M, and T in that order. They come up to the house. Burst in and say, 'it was an early release day!!!'. Um. Really? Lucky for them I was home. I'm thinking I should maybe check the school calendar more often. You think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cheap thrill

She calls. Are you interested in going up to the Dells with us? Well maybe... when? This next weekend? Sure! Where? How much? You've got to be kidding! Free? Reeeally? Well of course! If you can put up with us. And so we went for 24 hours. And had a really wonderful time. These are ex-neighbors. Sounds harsh. But that's what they are. But what they really should be called are good friends. And the best dog sitters. And the greatest of baseball coaches. And the most talented photographers. We lived by them for six years. They were and still are Trevor's "bestest" of friends. They are personally responsible for us not moving sooner. It was hard enough when we did. And so we thank them for their kindness. For thinking of sharing their room and time with us. It is nice that time and location doesn't change how you feel about others...

I'll post some pictures. But unfortunately, I have none from the actual waterpark! I was too busy going down the rides myself!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I've been bugged... I mean tagged

By this person to participate in some silliness. Aren't my frequent blog posts enough? Why wrack my brain! But here goes. I'm to write 10 things I love about that start with the letter 'W'. Gracious. Wouldn't 'T' or even 'R' be easier? Oh well. Here goes nothin'.

1. Wisconsin! Maybe not all the time, but the majority of it. You could take the last week of Dec. and almost the month of January... and then I'd really love it. I'm happy this is where my love was at.

2. Woodhill Way (hey, does that count for 2???). That is the street we lived on for 14 years. To quote one of my kids, 'mom? I only have good memories of our old house'. That's how I feel. I loved our home. And I'm starting to feel it here too.

3. Walking. I just got back from my daily jaunt. Today was nearly ideal. Sunny. Melty. Sun in my face.

4. Woodstoves! It makes the house cozy.

5. Washing machines. Can you imagine the wash board? We complain about laundry duty, but what if we didn't have a machine to help us?

6. Weekends! There is no schedule. We're usually busy with friends or family. And the 5 of us are usually together.

7. Whipped cream. Especially lathered on thick with warm gingerbread.

8. Whole wheat. (another 2). Makes great bread and other stuff.

9. Waves. The sight and sound of them coming into shore. Jumping over high ones in the ocean. And even ones by a friend or stranger!

10. Wow! I'm at number 10. Whoooeee. Wowser. Whing ding! This was easier than I thought. So it should be words. I love them. Typing them. Spelling them. Talking them (as my rotten big brother would say I do too much).

So there you go! I will tag... hmmm. Stacy and Martha.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happiness for me today is...

* a sunny 20 something degree day with a light breeze. made for a delightful walk. that and the fact that Lisi is getting more obedient!

* four counter stools found for the kitchen at a brag price. never mind the fact in involved driving to four different locations between said chairman and myself.

* finding rolling backpacks for the kids at sam's at another good price.

* ordering all the blinds left for the bare-naked windows here.

* hearing that the heating guy can come tomorrow to tweak our wood stove and fix the air exchanger

* a resolution on a customer service issue with furniture. the promise is replacement in 4-6 weeks. finally!

* knowing what supper will be before 4:00. i should post it on michelle's facebook spot before i forget

* knowing i'll be encouraged and also see lots of people i love tonight.

* looking forward to a fun and busy weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nothings again...

* I just chased all the kids off the computer(s) so they get their homework/reading done before they crash. So now it is my turn! I think this is 3 posts for today. Some of you lurkers will think I get absolutely nothing done in a day. But this takes mere minutes and I like the outlet it brings.

* Lets see... today. A run to Wallyworld and the grocery store. And to Walgreen's too! In between was a LOT of laundry. Like I'm on huge load #5 as I type. One to go and then it's done. The kids put their own stuff away now which is a huge help.

* Then off for doggy obedience class. Lisi was just shameful the first few minutes. I was feeling all pompous and self-righteous on how good she'd do in there with all the very young dogs. Well, it didn't take long for me to eat humble pie. She was just neurotic at first. SMELLS! DOGS! PEOPLE! TREATS! Then she settled down and actually redeemed herself. She was used as a 'good example' of following on the longe line. So kudos to Lisi!

* Which I should add though is that she was with rough company earlier in the morning. You see we're in the process of getting our basement built out. One of the guys - good friend of ours brings his American Bulldog puppy that looks full grown to me. Well this dog is more curious, agressive you name it. I came home from the aforementioned shopping trip and am greeted by two dogs with completely white faces in the garage. The visitor dog ripped into my nice 5 lb. bag of bread flour and both were playing 'ghost' with it. Stoopid! I yelled a bunch and then locked them out of the garage.

* Our brother-in-law gets married on Friday. The kids were asking if the new wife would be a step-aunt? I'm not sure the legal terminology. But it was nice to see him again today. It is hard to believe it is 2 1/2 years ago since we lost our sister/sis-in-law. We wish them and the whole family well.

* I just got hungry for that really fattening caramel puff corn. Where we meet on Sundays... she's often had it in a bowl. I was thinking the other day, 'that sure would be good to have sometime', then realized I should just do it myself. But! I used half the caramel goop called for and it isn't so deadly.

* We say goodbye this week to two very important men. They'll be heading to warmer climate far away from WI. We're glad for all they've done for us the past years...

This is the end. There ain't no more. Unless I meet, that bear once more.... (remember that song?)

BBQ Ribs

I don't think I've ever posted this... if I have, pardon! If not, enjoy!

3 to 3-1/2 pounds pork spareribs (I usually use baby backs as I love the tenderness)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions: Place in a single layer in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes; drain. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour over ribs. Bake 50-60 minutes longer, basting occasionally. Cut into serving-size pieces. Yield: 6 servings

Note: I usually squirt a generous dose of bottled BBQ sauce into the sauce right before putting it on the ribs. Goes a bit furter and adds a bit of 'smoky' taste too. That my friendly peeps is the secret to it all!

Happy Birthday to my sister!

Happy Birthday to my 'big' sister. She was the leader of the Rowland pack. In some ways, she still is. I have friends without sisters. I try to be one to them. But I have always been thankful for mine. We shared a double bed the first many years of our life (and I HATED the fact that she'd sleep facing me and breathe on my neck). She was a shining example even as a kid. The moment I met her husband in '79 I liked him. He seemed good as gold at the time and proved that he really is through the years. Her three kids are nothing less than stellar in my book. I love them and love them for who they have become in life. And then there is my sister. She is a giver. To the core. Her home has a welcome mat 6 miles long (figuratively of course) and all that come are given the warmest of welcomes.

I just want to say, Happy Birthday Karne (mispelling intended). You are a very dear sister and friend to me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Chairman and the Squirrel

Hey everyone! Did you miss me? I haven't done much exciting for quite some time now. That rotten thing with pink flags just inhibits my freedom. Scares the willies out of me frankly. But I do get out and about at times. The big lady that yells at me but loves me takes me a lot of times in the van for stops. She gets in and out a bunch of times. Sometimes she even lets me get out and sniff around a bit. And then we're home. Nice, but not as great as good long walks with the big guy here. Yesterday he came up to me on my dog bed. I've felt stir-crazy the past while you know. Cold. Wind. Blustery weather. As a dog I can take most anything. But my poor paws get so sore with stuck snow in them. Anyway, the big guy comes up and was rubbing my ears asking if I wanted a walk. Are you nuts man? A walk? Of course! I want a walk. A walk. Lets go! A walk! Whoooeeee! I'm there. I'm gone! Get those boots on man! And so we're off!

The big lady that yells but loves me anyway has a route that she goes on with me. It's nice. But it isn't as good as the big guys (don't tell her I said that). You see the big guy takes me further and into woods. I've seen lots of stuff in there that moves and has good smells and sometimes I give a good chase to a deer or a squirrel or a rodent. We were enjoying the quietness of the morning together. I had some very good sniffs. And then what's that? The big guy was kinda close to me. But something was here! It wasn't moving. But I usually chase them. I pick it up of course. It is a squirrel and it is crunchy, hard, and deader than dead. The big guy is really grossed out. He hurries over. He starts to yell. 'Give! Give! GIVE!!!' He was really yelling. I thought for a minute he was going to grab that big ol' frozen dead squirrel out of my mouth. I wanted to play with it. He didn't want me touching it. And so I did what any sensible dog would do. I chomped as hard as my big ol' canines could and started to swallow. The big guy looked horrified. I chomped and chomped (now mind you a whole squirrel is no small feat going down the gullet of a purebred pup like me). But I did it! Tail and all!!! It almost felt like it was going to get stuck as it went down. No water in sight you know. But then I had an enormous burp. Then another one. And then... it was done. The squirrel was in my belly. The big guy couldn't take it from me. And I won the battle!!! He was so grossed out. He pulled out his ding-a-ling thing from his pocket and was saying into it that something 'terrible happened Linda'. Terrible? No way! I'm trying to ensure some nasty dog breath for days to come!

Stay tuned for my next adventure in Lisi-land!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The latest projects





Now what are the chances that they'll stay so clean looking???

I've had a literal parade of people coming through all week. Oh well... I'm not lonely these days!

I'd like a nap but there are five giggling girls in the house. I think the 2nd option is a strong cup o' Joe.

Girls Day In...

Instead of Girls Night Out.

We've got cancelled school because of cold. So! When we heard it after g.m. last night we did an immediate kid switcheroo on the spot (borrow a pair of PJ's) and T. went home with another family with the boys and we have girls. They are enjoying it all immensely...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt butter and then add all the ingredients in the order given. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (more or less). Enjoy!

I usually make a box of brownies, but this was really almost as fast as doing that. Try to overlook the sugar and butter amounts. Isn't that why we're eating them???

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More randomness

* Why do some people feel entitled to walk into open doors? An owner of a painting business just happened to be in the kitchen milling around as I just had exited the shower. The bedroom door was open to the kitchen and so I had to do some fancy legwork (wet and only draped with a towel) to get to my clothes. Egads!

* We're in the middle of a mess. The back mudroom stuff should be finished today/tomorrow. The island has granite delivered tomorrow. And I am continually vacuuming dust the workers leave behind.

* Why are electricians so much cheaper than plumbers? I was pleasantly surprised with my bill yesterday from an electrician. Is it because plumbers have to pass a more stringent test to be sure there is ample slippage on their britches?

* Dogs are forever imprinted. A couple months ago Lisi was acting a bit unruly and I was getting out a new garbage bag in the kitchen so I thought it would be fun to chase her with it while slapping it up and down making quite a racket. Well every time I get out a new bag, she slinks off in a very real fear to her dog bed.

* I could tell you how bitterly cold and windy it is out there, but most of you are in the Midwest and are experiencing the same or even worse. I must admit that I don't want to walk today, but I will do an abbreviated one if nothing else. What good would I be as a wife/mother with frostbite?

* I am frustrated with bad customer service with a furniture retailer. I must call and get a bit testy again.

* I added both leftover oatmeal and mashed potatoes to my bread dough yesterday and wowser did it turn out lofty!

Enough from the gallery. Time for peanuts.

The shirt

It's just a shirt. To the uninformed it looks like a simple muslin rag of multi-colored pink. But it isn't just a shirt. It is the shirt. The shirt that Rayna was found wearing when she was abandoned at 13 days in China. It is the shirt that had a note pinned onto it that told of her age. It was the shirt that most likely her birth mom put her in before she left her in the toy department of a store.

Rayna is doing a school project on her ancestry. She chose to do China simply because she told me she wants to learn more about that country. We were digging up things we brought home from China and then I thought of the shirt. I hadn't really shown her before. We were alone in the basement. I opened up the bin and pulled it out and asked her if she knew what it was. She nodded no. Then I told her. She asked a few questions. I answered. I told her this person loved her and took her to a very safe place. She was doing what she could because of the situation she was in. Rayna had a few tears fall (but mind you, she's quick with emotion... like me). The she said that she was so glad that she was here. With us. With Trevor and Mira. And she was glad as she wouldn't be going to meeting if she wasn't here. Then I welled up. She's so right. And she wouldn't be bringing 'Rays' of sunshine to our home. We are so thankful. Thankful for little reminders like this shirt. Reminders that life could have been so different for her and for us.

Friday, January 9, 2009

More of the same...

Sounds like the kids are going to break a bone or the furniture will take a spill from the sounds emitting from the living room. Crazy!

We're in a mess. No tings around here. Two partially finished projects waiting for the next step. Our dining room is currently our 'mud room'. Lovely, eh? I had thought of having company on Sunday. Um... I doubt it since the galoshes would need to be moved to make room for the guests.

I babysat a 2-year old yesterday. Not just your run-of-the-mill 2-year old. One that has partially red hair and the spunk to match. That wasn't what amazed me about her. It was the language. Wowser that girl can talk! A LOT! More than me! Maybe I'll post the pictures I took yesterday of her waiting for the cookies to come out.

Looking for cabinet hardware for the kitchen has been a... hassle. We're trying to mostly match what was currently there. I think we found it. Hooray! I'll post before and after kitchen pictures once it is done.

I need a massage. But I'm too tight to spend the money. My back has a nasty knot.

I almost hit a pickup today. I was on the phone (Bluetooth) with Chairman today. He was concerned about the driving conditions (horrible) and I was trying to tell him I was fine and only 3 miles from home. Tried turning into the driveway of the grocery store and kept going straight and almost hit a guy in a black pickup. You should have seen his face! Actually, you should have seen mine! I stayed calm and the Chairman had no idea what was happening. :-) Quite honestly, he still doesn't.

And lastly, I'm just thankful. For life. For health. For knowing what is right. For family. For friends. For... that's the greatest cures for the 'blahs'.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I've seen before, but got it in my inbox tonight and had a smile...

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.
How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms &dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power because that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.


So Rayna's friend Cara comes after school to do homework together. That was a ruse. They worked about 10 minutes and then proceeded to goof off with Trevor and Mira included. Lots of running, banging, shrieks of happiness. Then it was 6 and time for her to go home. I drove her to her house which is only about a mile away. A sloping driveway in and it was nothing but glare ice. Slick. Wheee! Egads! I'm sliding. And then I stopped. Whew! Cara gets out. Ally-oop! Down she goes. What was so funny as I saw her feet waving above the hood of my van was her response. She got up like absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened. So I roll down my window, 'are you ok?'. Sure. Goodnight. So I throw it into reverse. Back up about 10' and then I start sliding sideways. Now mind you there is a deep ditch/culvert business at the end of the driveway. So I pull forward. Give it again. Slide. Rayna jumps out to see if Cara's mom or dad could help. No one is home. So I sit there and then think, 'if the girls just gave me a little push I could maybe get out of here' (terribly unsafe and unwise I realize). And I'm thinking of the pizza that will soon be burning in the oven (Mr. Chairman is working late tonight and hence, frozen pizza for supper). Then there are headlights. Then in drives Cara's mom (who I might add had driven over to OUR house to pick up Cara, but somehow Cara forgot to tell me that part of the story). I digress. I hollar out the window, 'I can't get out of your driveway! (I'm thinking that she's going to kindly offer to get out and give me a little push.) She says, 'why aren't you driving into my garage space and turning around and using your front wheel drive?'. Um, because I'm stoopid and didn't think of that? Good grief! And to add insult to injury, the van drove out like nothing was amiss.

Now on to cleaning out my island and back entry! The new stuff is being delivered tomorrow! Hooray!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


* The Chairman has been teaching our kids how to play Rook. He was inspired when he saw our friend's just 7-year old doing very well on NY's Eve. So now he's explaining bidding, trump, sloughing... and they are getting it. All three of them!

* Tomorrow we're back to the schedule. Life is funny. For weeks I'd look at the calendar and feel excited and anxious for the kids to be done for two weeks. And now I'm looking at the calendar and feel excited and anxious that we have a month of school with no breaks! Variety is the spice of life...?

* We had no huge trip over the break. No grandiose plans. Just simply busy nearly every day with friends, family, fun... and it was nice. All of it. Again, we're blessed for many reasons.

* We got unexpected news a couple of days ago. Some expected. The unexpected makes me... melancholy. More sad than not sad. But usually, plans that are made are for the best.

* I have pretended for 14 years that I really don't care for the Vikings anymore. And in some respects I don't. But I keep peeking at tonight wondering what the wild card playoff score is. So I guess I do care. Don't tell anyone in Wisconsin that! But I see it really doesn't matter as they lost...

* A year ago we were on a cruise ship bound for Cabo. That sure was nice - especially with family on board with us. We'll have to wait a bit for our winter getaway this time...

* We have an eliptical set up now! I still prefer to walk rain/snow/sleet/hail. But it'll be nice to have that option anyway! I think the Chairman will use it more than I will.

* And speaking of which, I've been amused, pleased, surprised, and just plain in adoration of the big C. You see Trevor has had a project where "Amanda the Panda" goes to work with a working parent (my work doesn't count I guess!) and then they journal what they do together for a week and pictures are taken at the workplace and then the kids in the 3rd grade class learn all about different careers and it is 'fun' since Amanda gets to go along. Well, back in dating days I had no idea how Mr. C. would be with such frivilous stuff. But you know what? He takes it all very seriously knowing it is for one of our kids. The dedication I find very attractive.

* My mom brought my scrapbook over last week. It holds most all of my baby cards, hospital bands and the like. I was thumbing through the pages and came across one from "Robert, Laura, and Susan Debelak" that offered congratulations for the new baby girl. Isn't that just fascinating? They had no idea that I'd be a daughter-in-law, the wife of the son that wouldn't be born for another 3 years, the mother of their grandchildren. Life is just... plain... interesting!

* The bread just came out of the oven. Ahhhh... the smells. And ammunition for the sandwiches I soon need to pack for the week ahead.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Spent with good friends....

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More special company

Thanks Nathan for coming up to see us. Sorry for all the behavior issues! Kids have a way of knowing when their parents want them to behave and do all in their power to be sure it doesn't happen! They actually look mighty sweet in the pictures here. You'd never know they were driving each other and their mother nuts just moments before I snapped the photo!

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Wisconsin Dells

We went to the Dells with our friends Marlin and Gina. Their two kids are basically exactly the same ages as Rayna and Trevor. And what makes them super special is that their mom and dad went through the adoption efforts when we did and flew to the other side of the world to bring them home like we did with Rayna (although their country is/was Russia). I'm sorry I don't have a mom and dad picture! Anyway a great little getaway with them. Please note: the guy pulling up his shorts in the background a couple pictures down from here!!!

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