Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Musings

It looked like a recipe for disaster.  And a bad outcome it was.  Two parents board the plane with a 14-month old child "Nadia".  The mother sits down with the child in her seat.  Dad next to her in the middle seat without any opinion because Mom wouldn't listen anyway.  I take a mental note.  Just a sippy cup of water.  A little canister of Gerber cereal things.  And Not One Thing To Do.  And Nadia let them know it wasn't acceptable.  By about six minutes after sitting down.  It escalated to a full-blown out-of-control situation.  A distinguished gentleman with an English accent just stood up and was walking towards "Mother of the Year" and she says "shut-up!" before he even says anything.  **lovely**.  Long story short.  Other parents came rushing over with Benadryl.  A little something to do.  And Finally.  FINALLY!  Nadia fell asleep about three hours into the flight.  We heard once in dog obedience class that there is no such thing as a bad dog.  Just bad training.  Well in this case, it wasn't Nadia's fault.  She was bored to tears (literally).  She was hungry.  She was a good kid. Just bad parenting.

So then it gets better.  There soon is an urgent call.  We need any medical personnel to report to the back of the plane.  A lot of people were involved.  A younger man looking like something was amiss.  And a few minutes later we started to descend (to our destination I thought).  A bit later the pilot came on and said we were dropping Mr. Sick Man off about 45 minutes from our final destination.  And I must admit, it almost was 'fun'.  Not for Mr.  Sick Man.  But for those of us on the plane.  Those pilots just dropped the plane down from 35,000 feet like a banshee and we were on the ground and Mr. Sick Man whisked off the plane by paramedics within moments.  Daughter #2 thought it was a joy.  To be able to experience more take-offs and landings was as good as Six Flags.  Well enjoy my dear...

I think my mean older brother is mellowing out with age.  Or he feels in the corner in case he gets really mean and I write bad things about him on this medium.  Or maybe it is because we are in the company of a very special someone that has been here with us.  Nonetheless, he has been nice and I was almost wishing for some good blog fodder.  Some insults.  But no.  Just talking about days past.  A few references about my 'horse teeth' I had as a child, but otherwise, kindness.  I hardly know how to act.  The special someone is usually south of the border helping others.  But this weekend he's been with us.  Relaxing.  Eating.  And sharing stories of his very special life.  It has been a privilege.

And having family in distant places is... well... hard.  You go about your business and get the e-mails and calls and ways to stay in touch.  But when you are together again it is wonderful.  And sad.  Because soon you'll be far, far away again and you realize what you are missing.  I miss my mean older brother.  I miss my sister-in-law that is exactly like a sister.  I miss these three big 'guys' that are growing into fine men.  But as we heard yesterday, they are blooming where they are planted, and that is where they are supposed to be.

Yesterday, the Chairman and I had a hike up the hill with their dog here.  She's a lovely middle-aged chocolate lab that walks off-leash most the time.  Came around the bend and there were two ladies walking dogs.  We in unison yell, "LISI!  LISI!".  Then the Chairman says to me 'what's her name?'  Takes me a split-second... 'Mocha'!  So we yell that name and all the while she's walking just fine and avoiding the people/dogs.  The one lady asks us, 'is that a stray?  You don't know who she is?'.  Um no.  We just couldn't come up with her name in our panic.

I better stop musing.  Just some early-morning musings since my brain refuses to switch time zones very quickly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eleven years ago...

"You're just mad because you're not adopted."  Then a tussle broke out in the mudroom this morning.  Daughter #1 and daughter #2.  I was about to intervene and then it hit me.  This is a good thing.  It is 'better' to be adopted.  At least in their eyes.  Especially on a 'Gotcha Day' such as we are having today.  Eleven wonderful years ago we were in China meeting our daughter and loving her to the core the moment she was placed in our aching arms.  

I am thankful.  

I am thankful we have been entrusted with her life. 
I am thankful for what she has brought to our family.
I am thankful for who she is growing up to be.
I am thankful she is (usually) a Ray of sunshine.
I am thankful that we have the privilege in guiding her soul.

And I am thankful that she has siblings to squabble with. I'll let them try to figure out which is better - adoption or by birth.  Because I am certain I will never be able to discern which is better... because they both really are the best

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Musings

Well here we are again!  The Mondays roll around quickly.  Winter is still here in Dairyland.  Snow lined the grass this morning and was insulting the daffodils trying to urge us into spring.  I mean really... it's tax day and we're still facing this weather.  Talk about insult to injury.  Yes, the Chairman got them done.  He realized recently that he had three extra days to do them this year, so we had to keep tradition alive and do them on the 11:58th hour.  I hope the government enjoys our hard-earned dollars.

So the Chairman hacked into "my" blog again.  I'm not sure what gets into him sometimes.  Maybe he should start his own and call it "The Chairman and no company".  Or not.

So daughter #1 moved out.  No, she's not that old yet.  She moved to the next bedroom and will no longer be sharing with daughter #2.  And it is bittersweet.  The good is that we now have a comfy new mattress for her and for company.  The sad is that for 8 years and nine months our daughters shared a room.  I would lean over a crib and then a little bed and kiss their sweet faces good night.  Then it was the bunk beds.  And now, they are separated.  My babies.  Aren't.  I'll maybe even post a picture of the big happening here if I remember some day.

We were at a local mall on Friday night.  In the center court was the Easter Bunny with babies on his lap for pictures.  Then awhile later we walked by and it must have been 'break time' for the bunny.  But what was quite entertaining was that the photographer (a cute young thing I might add) was all cozy and chatty with Easter Bunny and EB looked like he was making the moves on her.  And maybe he was.  I think this is one of those 'you had to be there' moments...

The other night we were with some friends and there were a lot of teenagers there.  Like 10-12 for sure.  The kids all went downstairs after the yummy meal.  The next day while combing hair, daughter #2 says to me, 'Mom? Last night when we were at "thus-and-such's" house, there was a lot to watch when we were all in the basement.  Oh?  What do you mean?  "Well there are the people dating and the people that like each other and the people that were goofing off.  There was so much to watch I didn't know what to look at first.  And it was really fun."  (I might add that I know all these 'kids' personally, and they are nice ones at that.)

I'm still very 'enraptored' with this.  There are some lessons about life in my observation.  Nature can be cruel.  The flopping fish.  The decapitated rabbit.  It's the food chain at work.  And those big babies need to be fed.  The babies started out very cute.  Fuzzy-headed.  And vulnerable.  They are getting bigger by the day.  And  I might add a bit ugly.  (Not saying that big kids are ugly...  )  And they fight with their sibling.  But eventually, they'll fly the coop.  And be on their way.  The teamwork of the parents is beautiful.  He brings the fish.  She feeds the babies.  She moves on.  He continues to feed them.  Then they arrange the nest all cozy and cover the babies and wait until the next feeding.  Their instinct is amazing....  Yes, I'm 'enraptored'.

So tonight we go to a wedding!  You're thinking, 'but it's a Monday!'.  Yes indeed it is a Monday.  And it is the first Monday wedding I've ever attended.  It'll be a lovely event I'm sure.  The bride and groom have a bright future.  And we'll go with bells on!  Or not.

Happy week ahead!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Birthday greetings to the Queen of the home! What better way to celebrate the arrival of the Publisher than to publish a second installment of the review that was initiated in September of 2009. In the first segment, we covered the foundational meeting that placed the wheels of courtship in motion. Her apparent interest in me despite my low-key lifestyle was intriguing. Most vitally, her interest did not seem in any way to be controlling or smothering.

After the initial meeting in the arid Southwest, the early days consisted of a telephone call every two weeks. While the pace of the calls gradually increased, the initial conversations were helpful in discussing various matters. In addition to casual banter, serious issues were gingerly broached. Calls normally extended nearly two hours. First I would listen to events of the past week or two as summarized by the Publisher. After politely listening to both mundane and interesting events expressed in a lively manner, I would begin to get directly involved in the call. Sometimes I would step in once I noticed inconsistencies in the information being shared. During that era, I had no idea that what was important was the emotion being felt at that moment, not reconciling a discrepancy from a month, a day, or an hour ago.

The pace and direction of communication worked quite well for both parties. I noticed that the Publisher would grow quiet and listen in rapt attention as I would blather over a wide range of philosophical ideas. For me, the give-and-take of a conventional conversation can be mentally exhausting. Usually, I prefer to respectfully listen, then at some point, if the audience appears to be attentive, transition to dominate the discussion. My endeavor at verbal dominance can extend until I eventually realize I may have gone too far.

Despite the distance between MKE and MSP, sometimes we were able to plan work trips that allowed for personal visits. Beneficially, the Publisher was able to take me out on her expense account on an occasional basis. However, one of the first dinner dates between Chairman and Publisher went awry after I introduced one too many sweeping arm gestures into my growing conversation skillset. At the otherwise demure-yet-tightly-seated dining establishment, I vividly remember the female lead of a 50-something couple looking at me with an “are you for real?” expression as I confidently expounded on various topics. Regrettably, in one abrupt swing of the arm, I tipped over a full glass of water into the lap of the Publisher. Confidence was replaced with shame as I ruefully struggled to remedy the accident. The Publisher was more than capable of righting the ship without my assistance. After my filibuster at the restaurant came to an inglorious end, the disdainful expression of the lady at the adjacent table was replaced with a smug “that’s what you get” look. More importantly, I learned that the Publisher can be forgiving of imprudence if there is contrition. Note that, to date, I have not repeated the same mistake.

So then, as the season of the birth of the Publisher arrives, thanks again for what you have been and what you are (and what you will be). This concludes this segment of the review.

Oh, as an aside, I may have reported something untrue in my previous (4th) post. I stated I do not read any blogs. However, I have noticed that I am occasionally on economic, financial, political, historical, vehicle, or sports websites that are “blogs.” As such, my sincere apologies to all readers who may have been temporarily misled. Nonetheless, I continue to maintain that I do not read personal social blogs.

Next episode of the review: the dating heats up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yes, it's chilly.  Yesterday I was working outside and broke a sweat in a very light t-shirt.  Today - well the wood stove is back in business.  Gotta love the upper-midwest, no?

We're in the market for a new mattress for the aforementioned new bedroom.  Sounds simple enough.  But researching them is mind-boggling.  Every retailer has a different name for theirs.  Hard to compare one from the other.  We want a good one for a low dollar.  But then maybe everyone does.

And I'm in the market for a way to store homemade bread.  I use plastic bags like the next person.  But I've had a problem with too big of loaves for the bags I buy.  The next size up is 2-gallon.  I don't need that big.

This blog is not the place to air grievances within a family.  And I hope it has never been that.  But I wanted to portray a picture of the differences between men/women.  I recently was at a warehouse club and saw a screaming deal on arborvitae.  I had a friendly guy "Scott" help haul them out and put them in the back of the van.  The three I purchased completely filled the back of the van.  Got home.  And with every bit of strength I had, got them out of the van.  It was no small thing as they weighed a   ton lot.  So that evening as I was telling the Chairman my back was really hurting because of my noble efforts (and fully expecting a tender touch or a word of thankfulness), he said, 'well did you use your legs when you were lifting them out of the van?  You know it's the way you lift determines if you get hurt or not.'  Um.  Well.  Thankyouverymuch for your care and thanksgiving that I got a good deal.  Me?  I just wanted some applause.  Him?  He wanted to try and 'fix' what wasn't right.  Yep.  Men.  Gotta love them.  I might add he planted them all without complaint...      

So I was at a local discount store (not the one with the bullseye).  And you know what?  The 'myth' of bad parents in those stores isn't a myth.  I think the last five times I've been there I've witnessed dreadful parenting skills.  I wonder instead of Subway shops, they could put in a quick 15-minute seminar on how to be a decent mom.  Just sayin'.  Then... I decide to cut across down the soda aisle (or pop for you folks in MN), to another part of the store.  There's only an elderly man in that aisle.  And as I got close... well, PU!  He must have had beans or cabbage last night.  It was something else.  And somehow he thought that no one would notice.  PU I say!

And on a final note...  my mom just texted me.  (Yes, my parents really enjoy texting these days.)  A clean report from her oncologist.  After cancer has visited twice, you don't take good news for granted.  Some are not so fortunate.  So it's good to think of them.  And to be thankful when the news is good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Musings

Spending Saturday slurping with friends

Come on!  Drop that camera and throw this thing!

Lots of soccer going on here...

Teams are usually Chairman and daugher #2 vs. Son #1 and Daughter #1
The bread rises and ready for the oven.  A bit of mild panic set in the Chairman and company's household since we were out OUT! of bread.  Get going mom!

Was looking at some of the screens in the house last night.  They looked dusty and dirty.  Took a couple off and gave them a shower.  Wiped them down.  Washed the windows and put it all up again.  And then realized, the rest are dirty too.  I don't want to do it.  Really.  It's a lot of work.  But then it hit me.  If I were at 'preps' and someone told me my job was to clean all the screens in such-and-such building I'd count it a joy to help.  So why not here right?  Sorta.  So I have cleaned 12 screens so far and about 6 to go.  And a few windows to wash.  It's a privilege to do it, right?  Sorta.

The children had a major waterfight yesterday which happened to be April 10.  Isn't that great?  Eighty degrees in April is awesome.  We set up a small table in the screen porch and ate two of our three meals yesterday out there.  A picnic!  And the kitchen floor stayed clean to boot!

Maybe it is the way he said it.  Or maybe it was because the Chairman said it.  But he called my name out yesterday and I thought to myself, 'I like my name'!.  I didn't like it when I was younger.  I wanted to be Jennifer or Rebecca or  Rachel.  Not Linda.  I thought it sounded like a middle-aged lady.  And maybe it still does.  Because... well... never mind.  What did you want to be called instead of the name you were given?

So we've passed the impasse.  After some strong negotiation.  Some tears.  And even some outright hysteria. We've got a plan.  Daughter #1 will be moving out of the bedroom into her own.  She's thrilled with moving into a much smaller room with mismatched furniture, limited closet space, and no bathroom.  But hey, I won't argue.  Her current thought of bedding is this so we'll see what shakes out.

Well dear friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers, duty calls...  and I must go.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Words from walking

They come to me.  Thoughts to write down while I walk.  Not sure if/what I'll recall, but we'll see what my fingers do.  Walked next to a big swampy area and the songs the frogs are doing these days is nearly deafening.  It's one of my favorite sounds ever.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe the timing of spring.  Realized it is time to put away all the winter coats, boots, and all the other junk stuff that goes with winter.  Will help make the mud room look less muddled because well, I don't like muddles.

Yesterday, I got a bonus.  Another special day.  I put out my thumb and voila!  There was a van to take me north.  And special it was.  I heard something that I don't recall hearing before.  It was just for me.  And I'm thankful to have not missed it.  Was feeling a slight concern though as I didn't get home until a half-hour after the bus.  But when I got home the dog had already been fed.  The snack eaten.  And play was ensuing.  And you know what?  The many young people here hardly acted like they cared I wasn't home.  Of all the nerve!

So we still are watching the Decorah eagles.  Glad to see little eaglet #3 make it too!  I feel a source of identity with mother eagle.  She sits and sits and sits.  Then feeds them.  And then sits some more.  Then yells for dad to show up and do his duty.  And off she goes to come back to sit and feed and go through another day.  Then she pokes them underneath and shimmys on down to get them settled.  Eaglet #1 or 2 peek their little heads out and she pokes them back in repeatedly.  Last night I felt a twinge of utter sweetness after they were all fed and settled underneath that mama finally let her guard down and put her beak down to really rest.  Yes, creation is a beautiful thing.  I marvel that those fragile little eaglets are right underneath and next to those incredibly strong talons.  Wow.

I had an 'issue' with my i-touch yesterday.  Tried to fix it myself and couldn't.  Spent way too much time on it actually.  In exasperation I "Googled" the words that were showing up causing the problem.  And there was an answer within seconds.  I did what was told to do and hooray!  It works again.  We live in a mind-numbing era of knowledge.  Not sure about wisdom though....

The Chairman.  My dear Chairman.  If you know him, you know he is Mr.  Research to the 2nd power.  Seriously.  He used to read any consumer publication from cover to cover.  Now he does it on-line or from talking to people.  He likes to buy 5 kinds of deodorant to see which one works best.  And it can make me nearly want to run into the sunset screaming.  Or not.  But anyway, it usually pays off.  This week his super-keen ways of networking, talking, researching has saved us several Ben Franklins.  So remind me of this the next time we're looking at deodorant.  Never really thought of this before.  De-odor-ant.  So that's why it's called that!

This is enough...  Time to go wash winter coats!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Musings

this lady is special beyond words

gathering together before they head off to the next place

special people around the table

the group in bad lighting...

I think L, P, and K thought it was funny anyway...

The Chairman and company get a picture too...

Ready for sp. mtg!

Her too!

She loves "mom and me" pics... I do too!


Her leg keeps touching mine and it's on purpose (soon a fight breaks out)

rearranged positions and under dire threats, they smile (un)willingly

yowsers!  you're gone all day today?

trying to make antlers behind the dog...

Yes, special days indeed.  It comes up fast.  Happens fast.  And is over fast.  One 'little' thought that has stayed with me.  We all would like to do something great.  Maybe even splashy.  But what matters are 'little things'.  A cup of cold water.  A word in season.  Just one little thing can make a difference.  Yes, I hope it stays with me for a long time...

It was the first time I witnessed a fender bender during lunch time!  The dear folks next to us were settling into their seats.  Passed out the ham sandwiches and Diet Coke.  And then the vehicle lurches forward and back.  Heads bob.  And then they both look wild-eyed over to our vehicle.  Shrug their shoulders up and down.  Then a big grin.  And after the sandwich was eaten, slowly get out of the vehicle to survey the damage.  Just a small crack on the bumper.  The 'bumper' had no clue that he hit the 'bumpee' next to us.

Now the house is all quiet.  And has lemonade sticky drips on the floor from many young people that were here last night.  We were up to six under 11 years old.  But floors clean easily.  And the memories linger longer.

I'm riveted with a lot of other people watching the Decorah eagles on their nest.  I'm very glad that the bald eagle is our national bird.  Even if they eat dead, rotting rabbits that have been laying there on the nest for over a week.  They are regal and beautiful.  The parents work as a beautifully unified team.  And even though it storms and is windy and threatening, they stay put tending the little ones.

A couple things the kids said this week that I want to remember:  "Mom?  What was it like in the olden days for babies when I was little?" (spoken by an 8-year old)   And then leaning up to kiss daughter number 1 in her top bunk bed the other night she said, "Mom?  I just love how you smell."  Well what does it smell like (fearing she will tell me something that isn't good)?  "You smell like... well... a sweet tomato!"

Well the pictures will have to suffice for a lot of musings today.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Frantic Friday

Well it should be.  I've got a lot of cooking and cleaning that should be done.  It'll be frantic moreso later than now.  And April Fool's Day to you!  A few things that happened in our otherwise normally dull morning was toilet bowl water that was bright yellow.  Some stuff stuffed at the toes of shoes.  A booby trap made by an unnamed child for the Chairman.  I'm sure there'll be more tricks up some t-shirts later today.  It's a weird holiday if you think about it.  Maybe it was a result of people that were just crazy after too long of a winter.  Or not.   I had thought of posting a message saying this blog was going to be over as I thought it was too much work.  And was too public.  And not appreciated by others.  But I know you Peeps are more intelligent than that and would have caught on to the April Fool's thing.  See?  I give credit where credit is due.

Enjoyed my niece who is Smart and Sweet visit yesterday.  Her initials happen to be SS as well.  It was so nice to sit on the deck in the warmth of the sunshine watching our two neurotic dogs wrestle themselves into a stupor.  I've never mentioned her much before on here.  Let me tell you, when she was born nineteen years after me, it was the first addition to the family.  And being since I loved little ones and admired my much older sister... well let's say it was the best day ever when she was born.  I loved that little blonde-haired girl.  She followed me around like a little shadow.  A wisp of a thing really.  And now she's accomplished much.  And still is.  Made a wonderful choice in her mate.  And now she is my friend.  Life is neat like that.

Was just at the grocery store.  I think you rural folks have a misconception about life in a metropolitan area.  You think it is full of strangers and far distant places.  Well it is in a way.  And yet it isn't.  We shop at the closest stores.  We run into people we know all the time.  And today I saw lady in my checkout line looked so very familiar.  I racked my brain trying to figure out who she was.  Another mother from school?  A parent from a sports team?  My hygienist?  Ugh.  I stared at her off and on while she was paying for her things.  At one point she glanced at me wondering if I had issues (well I do, but maybe not the kind she's thinking of).  And off she went.  Looking familiar.  And I had no 'box' to place her into.  Ugh.  It might come in time.

Does anyone else thing about what they want for lunch about 10 minutes after breakfast?  I must be getting old.  Or enjoy eating too much.

So I'm going to try to make cookies again today.  Let me tell you.  I have a little self-satisfaction in my culinary ability.  I can whip up a mean pot of whatever with ease.  I can bake fantastic bread or cinnamon rolls.  My popovers are usually 4" tall at minimum.  And the cakes are as light as a feather.  But cookies?  I can't make a cookie that is really good.  The last ones turned out to look like... well never mind.  My much older sister tried to give me some tips this week.  So I'll try again and let you know what happens.  Or maybe not.  I'm busy you know.  So busy in fact, that I will call this a post.

the girls chose to match last Sunday... 

Now you can see... 

that we have messes here too!  Kids are working on projects - two model cars and some wooden things to paint.   And I'm supposed to clean around this?