Sunday, May 30, 2010


We all have them. And each friend we have is unique in their own way. We love that about people. Variety. Diversity. Wonderful characteristics that are theirs and theirs alone. I think that's maybe one of my struggles. I see so-and-so. I wish I could be a bit more like them for the qualities they have I admire. But we need to be just who we are supposed to be. And embrace the specialness of each one.

We have some friends that moved here in the spring of '03 from very far away. A job brought them here. They had a distinct accent. Unusual foods. Teeny-tiny children. But they also brought something else. A diversity to our somewhat bland lives. They kindly opened their home to invite us to their table where a feast was spread. Tandoori chicken. Vegetables and spices I didn't recognize. Unique bread. Our kids were googly-eyed. I tentatively ate my meal (not big into big changes you know). And time went on. They came to our house. We went back to theirs. We were both invited to other places. We went to Door County at the same time (several times actually). They became good friends of ours. I began to (and still do) feel fearful that they'd return to their homeland. Lucky for us, they bought a house. I think that means they will be nearby for awhile. Or if we're lucky, grow old together.

When we adopted internationally, it drew us to think about other cultures a bit more. It made us want to enjoy sitting at a table with food that we don't recognize (well not Mira). And hear about places and situations that seem like they are from another planet. It is healthy to think about other places. Some of them are rich. Lovely. Beautiful. And yet there are other places where there is filth, oppression. And poverty. We need to hear it. Our children need to be aware.

A few weeks ago, this friend brought me a beautiful tunic from her homeland. I asked why and she said, 'because you are my friend'. And today I wore it. With thankfulness. For a friend from afar (that is now near). They share our common faith which makes the bonds of care deeper and richer. And for them and for that, I'm thankful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The start of summer...

And wonderful memories to be made. Here are some shots taken last night after I nearly set our house on fire. But maybe some background first. We mom's are gifted at multi-tasking aren't we? It's the 2nd requirement behind love and/or nurturing our children. And so I multi-tasked. Got the grill fired up on high to clean it up. First time to grill this season you know... and walked away. And sat in the living room visiting with my dear mother. Then I smell something 'hot'. THE GRILL! It was beyond the 500 degree temperature on the dial. Like way beyond. And so I quickly move it away from the house. Oh no! The white house now has a black mark. I touch it. It's hot! Like really hot. Ugh. And just as I was wondering what to do I hear the Chairman's voice. What's going on out here? I tried to remain nonchalant. Oh I thought I'd just get the grill cleaned up before we needed to use it. What's this black mark on the wall? Um. Well. I think the grill got too hot. I might have been doing too much at one time. Frantic, futile cleaning measures ensue to no avail. It is stuck on the lovely fresh-painted-wall. And so he mutters it could have been worse and caught fire. And so... I will have to dig out the white paint. And cover the error of my ways. And try not to multi-task so much during important things... like trying to prevent burning down the house.

But all in all it was a lovely evening.... and we still have a house!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I wasn't truthful...

here they are!

the start of the window boxes...


last night's party - a few of the ladies there

the 'old lady' and her farmer husband

I have a reputation (especially with my mean older brother) of talking too much. And I think of nothings that would be fun to put down. The highest motivating factor is that I should be cleaning for b.s. here tonight. And I did some. But I'd rather let my fingers type a bit.

The babies are here. The five little ones on the front door. Dad and mom house finch are diligently meeting their every need. There's something comforting about watching nature tend to their young. They just seem to know what to do. So far the 'mess' is staying within the confines of their little nest. I'm guessing next week might be not so tidy. They'll get their feathers ruffled a bit tonight when people walk in through that door. They'll just have to hunker down a bit.

We also have a nest in the gutter. Those babies have been born as big-ugly-black dad and mom bird are taking worms down to them.

I sure love working out in the garden. So much that I realized I hadn't watered the houseplants in too long. I'd rather be outside now. Especially when there's a house to clean. My vegetable garden is planted. Now we hope for a gentle rain so I'm not hauling hoses all the time.

New rule here. If I have to repeat myself 3 times to get a darling child moving to take care of a responsibility and they fail... well... 1/2 hour of work to do at my beck and call. Two unnamed children had to do some labor last night. I think this might be effective! Some of my other options were not working.

We celebrated a 40th birthday last night! She doesn't look a day over 39 does she?

My dad is fishing these days. It is ominously quiet in my e-mail inbox. I miss hearing little things that come to his mind. And since he's gone, mom is coming to visit tomorrow! Happy day.

This state lost a true pillar yesterday. It brings a feeling of thankfulness for a faithful life. But it also behooves those of us younger to do what we should be so that there's still strength on the outer walls. I don't know what it is to be a pillar. But if I can even hold up a weary hand, at least that's something.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Probable hiatus...

I'm posting some "Calvin and Hobbes" that I enjoyed tonight. And the reason being is that it was a dinner conversation the other night with friends. Bill Watterson knew what he was doing. He left us wanting more. And there's wisdom in that. At some point you don't want to say something and just hear the proverbial crickets chirping. I love blogging. But I've lost my punch. Or maybe my enthusiasm. Or maybe I'm just plain busy since I have a yard and a house and a husband and three kids and a zealous dog and friends and schedules to contend with. Soon it will be summer vacation and I'll have three extra people with me each day with wants, needs, and desires. So... just don't plan on regular "Mundane Mondays" or "Thursday Thoughts". I'll pop on and write when inspiration hits. Or when there's a picture that seems to capture the essence of life here. Or a recipe that is worth repeating. Lisi might just pop on some day (hopefully not) with yet another tale to tell.

So enjoy your summer! I'll still be peering at blogs as I love to read. Love pictures. Love the friendships that have been nurtured over the world wide web. And I'll be back... sometime. And maybe sooner than later. Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday's something

Yep. Have been out in the yard a lot. Got a lot of edging done. A dreadful job, but necessary. Planted lots of flowers. I'm one of 'those'. I like annuals mixed with perennials. Some think it's a waste. I think it's beautiful. The vegetable garden has been tilled and waiting for my seeds and baby plants. I'll hit that tomorrow after it gets tilled a second time tonight. But... I'm trying to decide if I need a fence. And if so, what kind? We don't have many deer (at least not until I plant the beans). Hmmm. Hate to do the work with no results either.

Was at my annual physical yesterday with a new lady doctor. They all look young. And she was too. Great 'bedside' manners though. And she was from Iowa, so she must be nice, eh? Anyway, I got a tetnus shot. So bring on the rusty nails! The nurse said it would hurt a bit. Yesterday, it didn't at all. Today... ouch!

I fasted for my cholesterol check today. It isn't fun slathering on butter/jam on fresh toast when you're really hungry. The lady was 'all business'. Had a European accent (Ukranian?). Not into small talk. And poked me in such a way I hardly realized she did. So that was nice.

Some blackbirds have babies in a gutter. I have no clue how to get them out. But they wriggle and jiggle down the pipe right outside the office window here. And it makes quite a racket.

The babies on the door haven't hatched yet. What's the incubation time for house finches? I could look it up, but I'm too lazy.

This week daughter #1 informed us about an hour before a concert that there was one that night. Oh for Pete's sake. So I quickly showered and we all went. It actually was nice. But a bit of forewarning would have been nice. Maybe I'm an inattentive mother? Should I just know these things?

Tazo tea has an awesome iced tea blend that I just discovered. It's super-strong. Just the way I like it. And unsweetened please.

My dad is leaving my mom. Thought you'd all like to know. For fishing. And just a week. With some of his life-long cronies.

T's baseball team whomped the opposing team this week. Then they played again and got beat after a 9-0 lead. That was hard to swallow. And as I'm watching my dear son with a bit of pride mixed in with my emotion, I realize he's wearing the baseball pants from two years ago with a rip on the rear in just the wrong place. Luckily, he plays center field and I'm about the only one to notice.

School is out here in two plus weeks. I'm excited. Nervous. Happy. Worried. And thrilled.

This is quite enough. Time to dig again... unless Lisi beat me to it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bread recipe...

These loaves are hot on the counter as I type...

Bread. It is life to this house. They start out the day often with toast. They pack their lunches. It is an after school snack. And so, it is life. And it must be healthy so their little lives can be strong. If you know me or read this silly blog you know I bake bread. Nearly daily. And it keeps the many small children here fed and nourished. And so I'll pass along the recipe I've concocted over the years. It is what the Chairman and the children enjoy. And so I bake. And love to... for the loves of my life.

I do the dough in my ancient bread machine that holds 2 lbs. And then I put in two 1-lb (smaller) loaf pans and bake in the oven.

The "Chef's" Bread"

1 1/3 cups milk - warm in microwave about 2 minutes
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil (you can use butter instead)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sweetener (white or brown sugar, molasses, or honey) * I use a touch of molasses and the rest brown sugar
4 cups unbleached bread flour
3 teaspoons of yeast

2-3 tablespoons ground flax
2 tablespoons of wheat germ - none of these three are necessary, but it's what I do
a sprinkling of flax seed

Put in bread machine and set on dough setting. When dough beeps (often mine is ready before the dough cycle is over) take out of bread machine pan and let sit a couple minutes. Then knead it down and separate into two loaves and put in pan. Raise for 30-40 minutes (until it is over the pan rim). Bake at 350 for 24-25 minutes. Immediately remove from pans.

This recipe can easily be done by hand. And it can be doubled if you want four loaves.

"Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Muddy Monday

Well it isn't too bad. But I'm working in the yard trying to edge some flower beds. And parts are muddy... and I needed an "m" adjective. Right? Right.

I hope to plant the flower boxes today. More red impatiens. They do well. Blue lobelia. And some ivy that I've never used before. I hope it doesn't get out of hand in there. Last year's boxes were just plain purdy. So I'm hoping for a repeat.

And! A good friend (waves to the chicken people) is coming to till up a garden! How fun! I had a teensy-weensy yellow polka-dot bikini one at our old place compliments of the same good friend. But this time out in the 'country', I'll make it a bit bigger. Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Squash! Carrots! Yummers.

We had company this weekend and we were the company this weekend if you know what I mean. Again, about the best times in my life are sitting around the table with friends. Eating. Visiting. Sharing about life - the fun, the interesting, the good, the sad, and the deep things.

Trevor's first baseball game of the season is tonight. Actually it was last week, but it was rained out. And we'll enjoy freezing watching the boys take to the field again.

The girls had their piano recital on Saturday. Both were nervous as all get out. But they did well. And now I don't have to hear "Lavender's Blue" for awhile now.

I had a visit to the Women's Care Center today. The squished and scanned. And she told me to wait while the Dr. reads it. I thumb through a tired magazine feeling distracted. And she comes back in after about 10 minutes. We need to retake one side as there's a shadow. I try not to feel fearful. But I am. So off we go next door. More squishing. This time harder. I can't breathe while the machine beeps. And then it is done. And I wait again. Wondering. Worrying. And after just a few minutes she's back. The Dr. said it was just something normal. You're all clear. Whew! Thankfulness surges. Until next year. And I'll be back. Wondering. Worrying... until I hear an all clear.

The granola beeps. Time to stir.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just because...

I go soon. (not my 1st time though)

Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, but there's no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam, and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared. And you can do this right in your own home!

Exercise 1:
Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends slam the door shut and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds (while you hold your breath). Repeat again, in case the first time wasn't effective enough.

Exercise 2:
Visit your garage at 3 am when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn over and repeat for the other breast.

Exercise 3:
Freeze two metal bookends overnight.
Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together as hard as you can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year and do it again!!

Now you have nothing at all to worry about when you go for your mammogram!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Rayna's 5th grade combined school concert. I'm not sure if Rayna is actually on this picture!
My much older sister playing my much, much older piano...

This lovely lady likes dogs like her aunt does...

The guests of honor before departure...

I am so not computer savvy. I just realized today that instead of the cumbersome cable, I can just take my little memory card out of my camera and stick it into this little slot that is for memory cards and voila! The pictures get downloaded! I are stoopid.

Yesterday, some of us local ladies got together for lunch. psst. A very good friend turns 40 tomorrow. It was just such a nice time together. Happy sigh.

Looking forward to a great weekend! I need to clean this joint up a bit. Work in the yard. Piano recital tomorrow. Company for supper. Invite for Sunday. Ahhh... life is grand. Isn't it?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Streaming thoughts...

again. feeling frustrated with my camera. worked 2 days ago. now the computer can't detect a camera... yet it does a funny sound when i connect. what gives? software issues make my head hurt.

i'd like to post a picture of my much older sister and her darling daughter that calls kentucky home ("my old kentucky home"... get it? or not) never mind. i enjoyed their visit.

it's bone-chilling cold. i'm wearing my fleece-lined pants to walk these days. and the wood stove is going today. i was sick of hearing the furnace kick in. and we got the dog shaved down too quickly. she's curled up on her bed most the time these days wishing she had a pair of pants to put on. or a fleece jacket. i can see now why the neighbor weenie-dogs wear little jackets (that i might add are so cute on them). i think the reason i like dogs as i'm kinda a here-and-now kind of person. if it is warm today, well for goodness sakes it's going to be warm from here on out. well it isn't.

i think we domestic engineers enjoy blogs and FB so much is because this can be a lonely job. it's nearly exciting to hear that others are doing laundry too! oh boy!

kids have a half-day today. like their 15th this year so far. our teachers should be really smart by now with all their 'classes'. the morning goes (way too) fast. and i dread think about summer. at a much younger age i could fill up a sink with bubbles and they'd be there for hours. now... they want something to 'do'. i give jobs. and send them outside. and allow computer time. but they want to go somewhere. see someone... you know. summer will be interesting i say...

the house finch is sure content on her nest on the door. five eggs are being warmed by her feather fluff as we speak.

again, we hear about lots of diverse situations with others... struggles, sickness, sadness, and even the spectacular. hoping i can be what i should be in any situation...

Monday, May 10, 2010

My silly mom!

Here she is... in footwear we'd never see her in... for sure. Isn't this picture just cute of her? We had such a great time in Chicago. I'm very blessed with a much older sister, two nieces that are stellar both in their own right, two daughters that are blessings, and a mom that was and is the best. We ate and shopped and visited and walked and talked some more. It was wonderful. Hopefully, the 1st annual girls time together...

This was all capped off by a nice Mother's Day. Is kinda weird to have my birthday so close to Mother's Day. Seems kinda selfish. Lots of fuss over... me. And they did. And again I felt very blessed in a very deep way.

I'd prattle on, but I have company coming! So I must chase a dust bunny away before they come in the door...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guess who?

The first comment to guess wins... hmmm... a free subscription to this blog for a year?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Birthday bash...

presenting the cake...

Didn't know this was taken. Love Mira's face..

she didn't wrap hers, so she kept it 'under wraps'... or dress

Same with T... the socks are hiding under the shirt...

** Ed. note: Forgive the wild-I-don't-care-what-I-look-like-anymore style on the above pictures. We were just back from the walk!

It was such a nice day. Actually, pretty 'normal', but yet it was fun to get lots of phone calls, e-mails, regular mail, and FB messages. One of my gifts was a new I-touch. Totally new for me, but wow is it ever fun. Handy! So I spent some time at the nearby Caribou Coffee sipping my free birthday white chocolate mocha and playing with my new device. Supper out with my family. A very windy walk with the Chairman. And cake with the crew. The girls decorated it this year. Turned out cute!

It is fun hearing about the shopping experiences with the kids and the Chairman. If you remember, last year I received a Woman's size 1X shirt (size chosen because size 1 would be small, right?). This year I got an actual size small! Progress. But the new socks for walking were from the men's department. T was delighted that he now fits adult sized socks and so he squandered them away into his drawer.

The dog looks cold. Last night the Chairman commented that she looks like a very large rodent with the shaved tail. I agree. Poor thing.

No cooking tonight either! Hooray for an invite out for supper.