Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And to all... a good holiday!

Wanted to wish you all a good next two weeks! I might be MIA as we have lots happening (not that you'd miss me). My mean older brother flew in from CA with his lovely wife and 3 great boys. So I'll be dealing with his ornery ways for the next week or so. I'm sure a story will result from all this closeness.

We are celebrating the 50 years of my parents marriage this week. It is a few months early, but the only time all 18 of us could be together like that. They're an inspiration. And I think the fact that we all love each other is quite a tribute to them.

Lisi is going off to the kennel. But! She spends nearly every time in a playgroup there with a collie that friends ours board when they are gone. Sounds a bit 'soft', but I like that idea. I still admit to having a hard time leaving her. She's with me all the time and it feels like leaving a kid behind!

Do stormy days help bread rise? It is snowing and the loaves look great. I'm on to dinner rolls and the Chairman's granola next.

I've been frantically putting in all these little 'hidden helpers' in my baked stuff to keep the kids healthy. It has been working on everyone... except me. I've had a terrific cold/cough now for a week. My 2nd of the season. The kids? Nada. Not sick a bit. What gives.

I better get hopping. Stay warm! Stay dry! Stay cozy! And be thankful...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Painting Ponders

As some of you know I've done battle with a bathroom. I had a brilliant idea to paint a bathroom dark red. It is the main one upstairs that is mainly used by T-man and company. He liked the idea and so it went. I went to a local big box store that sells a multitude of things including a particular paint brand I like and have used before (and has reached #1 in paint ratings by Consumer Reports). This one has paint and primer in one. How great is that? Or is it? So the first coat goes on. Yuck. The second... still a bit yuck. Shadows. Streaks showing. Last night buy another gallon of just the paint thinking that it'll go over the last 2 coats dandy. But get this. "Loretta" who waited on me to get my paint mixed said with great authority, 'you mean you didn't prime with gray first? You must or it won't turn out right.' Thanks Loretta. You might want to mention to 'Carl' that he omitted telling me that when he sold me the paint/primer in one. So I rolled on coat # 3 this morning and it almost covered. But not quite. The Chairman is being quite positive on my ordeal (probably to keep me going). And so my paintbrush is drying. And after a couple of days, I'll look at it and not care so much. So... if you happen to graciously step foot into our home and spend the night and go into the red bathroom, please don't look too closely. It gets a good strong C+ for quality. But I'm exhausted. Bathroom - 1, Me - 0. (p.s. thanks to a lot of you for suggestions).

And I'm wasteful. I HATE cleaning out paintbrushes too much. I do wrap rollers with wet paper towels to keep them going. But rinsing them out for a very long time seem tedious after doing the actual paint job.

Do people actually buy the popcorn that comes in those tins this time of year? They usually have an assortment of butter, cheese, and caramel? Question is how old the popcorn actually is? And what type of preservative is put on it if homemade popcorn tastes stale in one day? And who actually buys it? Someone desperate for a 'gift' I reckon. And where do all these holiday tins end up? Goodwill? The landfill?

Did you know that in five days winter starts? That sounds weird. But! The days start getting longer. And that doesn't sound weird. Sounds wonderful.

I managed to do 11 dozen biscotti this week. It is for an annual cookie exchange. And it was putzy (spellcheck says that isn't a word). And time consuming. But the brunch is worth it!

Last night I trudged through Sam's with the three smaller people here. They were all so agreeable. Kind. Fun. And even funny. At one point I stopped and looked at all three circled around the mammoth cart and thought, 'I'm so incredibly lucky.' They looked at me and one said, 'what?'. Nothing. You know but you don't. If you had a clue how much we wanted your little soul. How much we yearned for each one of you for a different reason... but you don't. And you don't have to know. All you need to know is you're secure in our home. In our family. And you're loved. I am living the life I only dreamed about ten years ago. And it is so very good. Even the mess!

We have some very busy days ahead over the holiday time. There will be a lot of comfort and joy. And I'll love to share about it once it is over...

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Musings

Finally got out of my PJ's and showered by noon. Made ham potato chowder, two loaves of multi-grained bread, and three batches of almond biscotti (cookie x-change this week). Now the kitchen looks like a bomb hit on the counters and the floor. So that's next.

And laundry. I was throwing in dirty clothes in the wash. And some were folded. Neatly. And they were our dear son's who said he 'put his clothes away' last Friday. Yessiree he did! He put the basket right into the closet where it belongs and threw the dirty on top. We might need to visit.

Mira's trying to save me work though. I realized as she was stepping onto the bus that she had on exactly what she wore all day yesterday! And it gets better... she wore it to bed last night. As a mom... me bad. I think she'll need a shower tonight.

At what age do sons need to wear deodorant. After a particularly vigorous wrestling match with him last night, it smelled like a stinky guy. PU. Is 9 1/2 too soon?

We had one of the best meetings in my life yesterday morning. As I looked around the room and saw all these awesome souls gathered together from various corners of the country, I realized the reason people have to move away sometimes is the light would be too bright if they all stayed in one town. It would be blinding. And so... they move to where they are needed and the Sparkle is in other areas too.

I'm having a terrific battle with a dark-red paint job. I think I'll win, but it'll take some time. The girls keep teasing their brother that he has a pink bathroom now. It isn't... but they sure like to rile him up.

Well no more delays. The mop is calling. And so are the pleading eyes of the dog wishing for her walk.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last night I was addressing envelopes for our annual picture. It got me thinking about friends and pictures and such. We are blessed with friends. Good ones. We are a part of a faith that has a fellowship with others that makes them all true friends... so much that it is a family. And we are thankful that there are a lot of them. Dear friends. When we moved to this house over a year ago I wanted to update our bulletin board. At our other home the pictures over-ran the board and so I figured I'd buy a bigger one. It is now overflowing and I was thinking how thankful I am for that. A good problem. Too many friends? That's impossible.

I was thinking of those we receive pictures from. And I was thinking of those we don't receive pictures from. Good friends who don't have a picture to share. I wonder if they feel like others don't really care (we do! we do!). Or if they feel it is a hassle getting the family all together for a picture (it is! it is!). There are a few families that I send a photo off to year after year. They say they like them. And I believe them. But! I'd love theirs! They are special and kind and gracious. And I'd love to share a wee space on my overflowing bulletin board with them!

And I was also thinking of friendships. Many talk of a 'best friend'. It sounds nice. But as Don Williams croons... the Chairman is my 'best friend'. And I don't think I have another. My sister and sister-in-law are probably the closest. And then there are the others. Each have a special place. Some because of a job, a neighborhood, a shared experience in life (death, birth), or maybe our kids are friends. And some have become friends because of the gift of the web ~ cyberfriends if you will. Nonetheless... I'm glad for so many because each bring a very unique gift. A personality that no one else has. Sometimes I think I'd like to be a better friend. If I was like 'so and so' maybe I'd be nicer and more interesting and maybe even more funny. But I am me and with a little grace given, I will be exactly who I should be for each one.

p.s. thanks for being my friend!
p.p.s. did you send your picture yet?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stormy thoughts

I claim I don't like winter. Despise it actually. The cold. The snow. The wet. The muck. The dark. It all is unappealing. Or is it? I was watching the forecast a few days ago. It looked like a big one coming. And it was (although bigger just west of us I reckon). But 10" or so isn't anything to sneeze at (unless a cold is setting in). And it was a thrill again. The first big one of the year. Why is it we all scurry off to the grocery store to stock up? Well I do. Comes from the blizzards on the prairie as a child. You did need to stock up as you might be 'storm stayed' for days on end. But we're in Wisconsin. Milder here you know. But still stormy. So we fill the cupboards, button down the hatches, bring in the wood for the stove and voila! A storm! And it's wonderful and cozy and fun. And the 5:19 am call telling us there'd be no school today was annoying (for the hour), yet a joy. For the small fry. They clamored outside with pj's under their snow gear. Made some impressive forts. Had a few fights. A few tears. A bit of sledding on the mound, and then came in for hot chocolate and breakfast. Happy sigh. Winter. Don't get me wrong... summer is by far my favorite season. But this... is nice. And cozy. And special.

I filled the bird feeders yesterday so that our little feathered friends would have something to nibble on. But every time I look out I see a huge flock being chased from tree to tree by the dog. Maybe I should put her in the garage so that they can rest and eat. If someone did that to her while she was trying to eat her kibble, she'd be annoyed.

I like Christmas carols. Still enjoying "Christmas Canon" a lot. And the classics. Josh Groban does "O Holy Night" in a lovely way. But with my love of music and singing and softer sounds, why is James Taylor's voice so annoying? I can't stand anything he does. (sorry if you're a fan). But sometimes silence is better. Or a thought of a hymn.

So the crock pot is making our meal tonight. And four loaves of bread are on the rise. And once winter sets in, the hankering for good old-fashioned out of the oven caramel corn calls. Yum. But I think I better walk in the winter wonderland first. My waistline will thank me later...

Stay warm! And enjoy the season! Yeah right. Tell me that some summer night when the crickets are chirping and the soft breeze is blowing and the sun is setting at 9:30...

Monday, December 7, 2009

More on Monday

Sick of bullet points yet? I'm not. Lets see...

* It was Lisi's birthday on Saturday. And we didn't do a thing for her. You'd think with all the stories and glamor of her life that she'd be recognized for something. Nope. Just a big bone was tossed her way at one point. Maybe next year. We were busy on Saturday...

* With Rayna's 5th grade basketball team. She rode the coattails of success. Several on her team were good. Like real good. Like excellent ball-handling skills. And they ended up 3rd out of 13 teams at the end of the tournament. Sure was fun!

* And Trevor. My dear boy after my own heart was fishing for money with a hockey stick under the bleachers (you couldn't access them from either side, so if something was dropped into the abyss... well it was gone unless you went fishing for it). I've taught him well. He ended up with enough to buy a ring pop and some chips I think... I told him instead of doing that should just fish around in people's pants pockets to save them the problem of dropping the money.

* He's into guns. Hunting. Fishing. You name it. And pestering his sisters. But we won't mention that this time. Anyway, back to guns. I have never encouraged such. But it's in him. And so he found a website that shows you on a video step-by-step how to make guns out of paper. And so nearly a ream of our computer paper gone and a ton of tape, we have an AK-47 and an MP-5 sitting on the desk next to me.

* I'm fighting a never-ending battle with clutter. The aforementioned guns. The paper dolls. The junk 'won' at a local pizza establishment. I throw. Reuse. Tell them to figure out what to do with it. But it is building up. And I am not a clutter person. Period.

* Someone in our area is finishing their journey here. This dear lady full of grace could have been a queen. She has five very lovely grown children. And a host of other great relatives. But what stands out to me personally the most was that she was kind. To me. As a very little girl at a birthday party at her house. She saw that I hadn't 'won' anything. After it was all over and the cake was to be had, she called me out of the room. Told me I had behaved very nicely and handed me a little plastic doll. I was thrilled right down to my toes. Thankful. And never forgot her kindness to me. A little girl. Trying hard not to be sad. And so... 40 years later I remember. And I realize what an enormous responsibility we have to be kind to little ones. To the elderly. To our peers. And especially to those within the walls of our own home. Kindness goes a very long ways. And it is necessary. And good. And right.

* And so the bread is in the oven. The chili is waiting to be made. The washer is needing to spin. The house needs to be de-cluttered. And so I must go...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It started like any other walk. The big lady that yells but loves me anyway came out with those pants that 'swish'. Then she put on her shoes and her coat and her mittens and I knew we were in business! A walk in the morning. How good is that? And when she sits on the floor to put on her shoes or boots, I love to crawl up in her lap and lie upside down and show just how extremely grateful I am for her taking time out of her busy day to give me some fresh air.

And so we were off! A brisk breeze out of the west and fresh smells to be had. We circled around to the path (I think you readers know where this leads to because one time she took pictures of the journey), and then like she usually does, she took off my leash. Whew! I'm free. Now I can really get some good sniffs. Paw at some rodents. Chase a goose. And not far down the path, ohmygoodness, that dog is coming after the big lady! I could tell that dog was mean and so I got worried for the big lady I love. I got the hair on the back of my neck all tall and growled and that dog stopped running after the big lady. Then it came after me. I did what any sensible dog would do. I flopped down and exposed my belly so he didn't think I wanted to fight. He stood over me. He sniffed me all over. I was all a quiver with fear but tried not to show it. And then just like that the dog looked at my big lady and then at me and then took off back from where it came from. It was super scary.

The big lady that yells got down on her knees and put my leash on but the whole time she was doing it she was murmuring sweet things to me and rubbing me in just that right spot above my eyes. And then we walked quickly away. And I was proud that I almost protected her. And she was happy to see that there is just about 1/2 ounce of protection in me even though I'm a golden retriever. You see usually we'd just show the robbers around our house and point out to where all the valuables are kept. But sometimes, we know better and we can protect. And so I did!

Ed. note: Tonight an e-mail came from the subdivision saying that a 'brown dog' had attacked several walkers and actually bit one of them. And so... kudos to Lisi! I always wondered if she had it in her...