Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Musings

Well hello there dear peeps far and near.  And so dawns another week ahead.  Happy Halloween.!  It's all basically done here except for the noshing of nougat.  First off, here's some obligatory pictures of the goblins at our house.  
army action something

a bee, a baby, an iPhone, and a pirate!  
One of the friends from was from near.  One of the friends was from afar - like from Canada-far.  Lovely young thing she was.  

So after a beautiful Saturday of three-hours worth of trick or treating, some of the MYP decided to go again last night in the driving 40 degree-something rain and get more for "Operation Sweet Tooth" a program a local dentist does for the service people overseas.  What a gig!  He collects candy.  Yeah sure, candy is the reason for his livelihood.  But it seemed like for a good cause.  They came home with about eight more pounds of sugar.  I'd call it "Operation Sore Tooth" or "Operation Belly Ache" or even "Operation Diabetes".  I always get a bit queasy when I see mounds like this on the living room floor.  
But they show a little bit of discretion luckily.  I'm hoping I do as well.  Because this afternoon, I'm alone with their piles.  

Braces are off for son #1!  It is a very bittersweet moment.  Braces cannot get misplaced.  Retainers can.  I went dumpster diving already for an expander at the beginning of this journey.  I'm hoping I don't have to for this segment... but I must admit - it scares the willies out of me that he is responsible for something worth $205.  

I had an eye check this morning after three years.  They told me the obvious.  I need reading glasses.  And my distance needs a wee bit of correction.  So I don't know what to do now.  Do I buy drugstore glasses for reading and pretend I can see distance ok without the correction?  Or should I get progressive lenses?  It doesn't sound very progressive when you need something because you are getting old.  

So the local Costco opened.  As promised, it was a zoo.  Hopefully, things settle down once all the hoopla has passed.  Do I like it?  Sure do.  Will I go there?  Of course.  Will I spend a lot of money there?  Unfortunately.

Very soon, I'm leaving my family for some time with 'old' roommates.  And to be honest, I'm a bit nervous about it all.  Why you ask?  I feel so utterly indispensable here that I can't imagine them living their well-adjusted lives without me for two whole days.  I think my feeling of self-importance was actually shot into bits when I heard yesterday all the fun plans they have for the time I'm away.  But I like to think they'll miss me.  And I like to think they'll be happy to see me return.  And I like the fact that anytime they ask for an extra hug lately, that I take them and give them.  Because I'll miss them very soon.  

I was at the store picking up Lisi's new bag of kibble and ran into a kindly-faced lady about my age with an 8-week old golden retriever puppy tucked in the crook of her arm.  I felt like people that want babies when they see them.  I cooed over that sweet little pup named "Joe".  I should re-read old posts of when Lisi was a pup and drove me bazonkers.  I actually nearly thought about returning her to the breeder at one point.  But a puppy... a golden puppy.  Hardly a thing cuter really.   He looked like this:
Altogether now... ahhhhhh.

Well the bread dough needs to get into the pans.  Lunch needs to be eaten.  And the now-good natured pooch needs her walk.  Happy week ahead!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The day started out with a glimmer of hope.  She had now lived three days.  We watched her struggle through the clear incubator.  We asked naive questions about her chances.  The neonatologists and nurses answered as best they could.  But it was up to her, but more so, up to a higher power.  He was in control and we were not.

We went home to rest.  And then the phone rang mid-morning.  Results have just came back of the brain scan.  A grade 4 (highest possible) on one side and a grade 3 on the other.  We think you should come to the hospital.

At the hospital, we rushed in to see her.  Amara was lying there like she had been. Her very tiny, fragile little being.  She would wiggle and twitch.  But mostly just lie there in her warm cocoon that was to simulate a womb.  But it didn't.  And her body wasn't ready for life yet.  The two specialists called us into a conference room.  The Chairman and I sat there holding hands.  Crying.  And listening to their opinions.  One spoke in medical terms.  She had charts and graphs and probabilities listed.  The other spoke to us like wounded parents.  His eyes brimmed with care and tears.  And so we were left to make a decision.  Please come back after you have decided what is best.

We went down to a vacant hallway.  We held each other.  We cried.  We prayed.  And we talked softly about how we loved her but we needed to let her go.  We called our parents.  One set was able to come in and see her beforehand.  One set sent love from afar.  And then we went back up to the NICU.  The doctors were waiting.  We told them that her struggle should be over.  They completely agreed with our decision.

Dad and Mom D came up to see her.  Then they left us to be alone with our very tiny daughter.  The nurses removed her from all the wires and monitors.  And they brought her to us in a quiet conference room.  I held her first.  Then her daddy held her.  And we hugged and cried and spoke softly and told her we loved her enough to let her go.  A nurse came to take pictures for our memories.  Then a doctor came in to check her.  He said it was soon.  Very soon.  And then... she was gone.  From her daddy's arms to her Father's.  I'm so thankful we were alone with her.  I'm so thankful we had that time.  Most parents get years and years.  We got an hour.  But it was an hour we won't forget.  Ever.

Yes, it is fifteen years ago today.  It seems like a thousand years.  It seems like yesterday.  But... looking back the long years over, twas a varied path and yet... all the way his hand has led us.  I share this not for sympathy.  I share this because I'm thankful.  I'm thankful for Amara because she changed me.  I didn't know empathy until I needed sympathy myself.  I'm thankful that Amara cemented a relationship with my husband that was already firm.  And I'm thankful to think of Amara in a very safe place free of wires and monitors and pain.  And I'm thankful for our dear children that give us an opportunity to nurture.  To guide.  And to love.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Musings

But that didn't happen!  You see our outside post lamp has had a sensor that thinks it is midnight at mid-day.  And so I went to the local hardware store and found a new thingamajig and came home.  Took the whole she-bang apart.  Matched wires for wires (with the electricity off mind you), and then put that puppy on the pole and covered the sensor so it would think it was night.  Kinda like putting a towel over a bird cage.  And you know what?  It worked!  I'm the most surprised!  So if you have any small electrical work you know who to call call someone that knows what they are doing!

We had a nice past weekend.  I'm not spontaneous.  In fact, past roommates of mine called me 'concrete sequential'.  In a nice way I'm sure.  The Chairman knows to never throw a curve-ball at me.  He gives ample warning for me to digest some new news and then respond accordingly.  Has worked for 17 years now.  But this weekend I was a tad spontaneous.  My slightly older sister of four years mentioned they were free.  We were free.  Say!  So we both packed parts of lunch (she more than me I must admit) and we met and had a lovely time.  A near-five mile walk.  A wonderful lunch.  Soaked up some sunshine.  And beyond all that, a good visit while the kids chased each other with sticks.

Son #1 gets off his braces this week!  It's been nearly three years.  I think we should have a sticky party to celebrate.  There's a rumor that there's lots of candy on a top shelf here waiting for trick or treating this Saturday.

Getting ready for my cup of tea.  You see every day around mid-afternoon, I'm overcome with a need for a cup of ambition.  Coffee is my cup of choice in the morning.  But in the afternoon it is my squeeze every bit of caffeinated goodness out of the Tazo Awake tea bag after it has sat for over five minutes.

This is enough.  I'm getting a bit bored with blogging quite frankly.  You see I don't have tiny kids doing adorable things around here.  They no longer say such cute things you have to share.  And so I'll continue to share.  Just no guarantees of wildly humorous stuff folks!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday's thoughts...

I put them up high in the closet.  It's October and I'm ready for the barrage of trick-or-treaters later this month.  But I keep hearing Snickers.  Sometimes it is so giddy it's like Laffy Taffy.  Or Almond Joy.  I'm not sure who is making the noise.  I reckon Mike and Ike.  The Three Musketeers.  Or even Baby Ruth.  But she's a bit little of a Runt to be laughing like that.  It could be the Air Heads.  Or even Nerds.  I think they are playing Twix on me though... because I keep them calling out my name.  I hope I keep up my resistance to not listen to those Smarties.

A new store opened closely to our home.  It's the grocery store that's bare-bones that you use a quarter to use the cart.  Grand Opening Day mind you.  I had a coupon and thought I'd have the original thought to go about an hour after the opening.  So did the other 7,457 homes that received the card.  The lot was jam-packed.  The inside was about the same.  I was fortunate.  Found a parking spot and got in and out of there in good time.  But... makes me a bit queasy about the big grand opening day that will be happening next week at the new Costco just five minutes from here.  I'm imagining it to be about a 1/2 a ring away from a full-blown circus.  I wish I could resist, but I won't.

People have given me verbal accolades of adoration for my diligence in walking daily.  I am going to have to fess up.  Some days I only walk because a big, brown-eyed thing stares me down until I succumb to her wishes.  Today was one of them.  My desire to walk was about 1%.  Hers was about 205%.  It is cold out.  It is gray.  There's a strong wind out of the northeast between 25-30 mph.  And on top of all that, the sky felt like it was spitting on me the whole way.  Mr. and Mrs. B. who live in our subdivision walk every day.  Without a dog.  Those kind of people I admire.  Not me.  I just look like I want to go.

But.  I would have missed a good 'tag game' with Lisi.  I would have missed a huge flock of bluebirds that were clumped on a tree (heading south like smart birds do).  I would have missed an incredibly huge raptor on a house that eventually flew off; revealing a wing span of nearly six feet (seriously!).  And I would have missed feeling refreshed.

Better go get some healthy nourishment ready for the starving MYP that will soon be here.  Lately, they've been clamoring for smoothies.  Here's what I've been doing in case you're remotely interested:

Get out blender.  Fill it up to 1/2 or 3/4 with frozen berries (strawberries, mixed berry blend).  I get them at Sam's (or soon Costco!).  Put in a banana.  A cup or more of vanilla yogurt.  A splash of vanilla.  A drizzle of honey.  And a scoop of ground flax (shhhh, don't tell them!).  Pour about 1/2 cup of milk over the whole mess of it and blend away.  Pour into glasses and serve with straws.  Yum.

I didn't take this picture, but this is what it looks like.  Really!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oops I did it again!

And no, I'm not talking about a song by a Spears lady.  I'm talking about my indiscretion.  Remember when this happened?  Well I do too.

Hi there.  This is your friendly pup Lisi.  I've been right-well behaving myself.  I've been a good doggie.  The Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway keeps telling me as much.  And I reward her murmurs of devotion to me with lots of dog purrs.  Did you know dogs purr?  Well I do.  If you rub me just right or I get to see you after a very long time away or if I just happen to feel my heart swell with adoration... well I purr.  It's kinda weird, but that's what I do.

I got lost there a  moment.  I was pretending to be on my back with the Big Lady or someone else rubbing me just in all the right places.  Ahhh...  Anyway.  I've been good.  Until yesterday.

The big lady got out these delicious smelling things with sticks on them.  I was terrifically curious.  So I wedged my way under her arm to look at exactly what she was doing.  I thought she'd like me real close.  But she said in a slightly mean way, 'LEAVE IT!'.  Leave what?  I'm just sniffing these happy looking people.  But I did what we dogs do.  I looked guilty and started to slink off so she would think that I realized the error of my ways.  But I didn't.  I didn't have a clue why she said to 'leave it'.  She gets Mr. October and Mrs. October and sets them side by side with his arm around her.  Then looks at me one more time and heads into the house.

Hmmm.  What to do.  I better go take a sniff again.  It's new and I'm very curious.  Yes, another cat-like quality I have.  But I must remind all of you, I still love to chase them.  So I sniff a few more deep sniffs and then wonder if it smells so good it certainly must taste good too, right?  So I slowly pulled Mrs. October out of the ground and decided to work her over.  Pretty soon it was finished for Mrs. October.  Her face was still smiling, but her body said 'ouch'.  Then I realized the Big Lady wouldn't be happy, but luckily she didn't notice.

The bus roared in!  The many young people raced in record time to the back door.  But then.  "LISI, NO!  YOU BAD DOG!"  The young guy yelled at me.  I felt bad.  Not sure for what.  But I heard him yell into the house to the Big Lady.  "Lisi was real naughty again".  AGAIN?  Are you serious?  I'm a good dog.  She tells me that nearly daily.  Out she came.  She surveys the damage.  Glares at me.  And that was it!  You see she learned in dog training that if she doesn't catch me right when I'm being bad, she can't really correct me.  Isn't that great?  The young people here haven't learned that trick yet.

So!  I did it again.  Mr. October lost the Mrs.  He's still smiling big.  Maybe she was kinda crabby and demanding like the Big Lady is.  I bet that's it.

Well I'll go back to looking cute and relaxing in the fallen leaves.  Thanks for being such good listeners.  I love it when I get attention - no matter the kind.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Musings

I started feeling a bit squeamish last night.  You see I was thinking about musing and realized I didn't have much to offer today.  Somehow though, something will come to me as my fingertips race across the keyboard.  It was a people-filled weekend.  The girls were at a birthday sleepover for nearly 24 hours.  It was wildly successful.  Except for the fact that the girls were both at a birthday sleepover.  Because you see they were not completely getting along at the aforementioned sleepover and one of them was supposedly omitting the other one of them from being with her friends in spite of six people total.  *sigh*.  A little separation and a couple words from mom and things seemed to be smoother.

Then we were invited to a fish boil.  Yes there was fish and lots of it.  And it was boiling.  Along with potatoes and onions and other good things.  But there was a potluck beyond all that.  Squash dishes and salads and about four kinds of apple pies and oh my!  Urp.  The food was excellent and the fellowship sweet.

And I was creative!  Sorta.  Fish boil.  Fishing theme...  it was creative enough to merit a picture taken by someone there.

This is pretty much what they looked like.  Except I didn't have them displayed on cute little pedestals.  And my frosting wasn't quite so vibrant.  But it's a start.  Sorta.

This past week I made spaghetti/eggplant for our Sunday guests.  Making it can be a real pain.  Three (sometimes 4) different kinds of meat in the sauce.  Eggplant requires a lot of time and olive oil.  But when you actually sit down and enjoy it.  Well.  Yum.  I'd share with you the recipe, but then the mafia would come and take care of you.  Because, well, you have to be married into the Italian family to know the deepest, darkest secrets of the recipe.  I wasn't really given all the tips until we'd been married at least 15 years.  Well maybe not quite that long.  But almost.  They wanted to be certain I was sticking around for good.

It is very windy here where we live.  So much that Old Glory in front of our house wasn't so glorious.  The second flag pole holder gave up.  Another replacement was bought and we hope for more glorious days.

The Chairman went to a class reunion this past weekend.  I went to #20.  I think I was polite and said the right things.  But I had no desire for #25.  Not even a thimble-ful of desire.  And you know what?  The other spouses felt the same as nearly none of them went.  But what I found amusing was that the Chairman said that all the 'guys' were a lot more interesting and fun without their wives/significant others around.  Somehow, I believe it.  Too bad that we 'ball-and-chains' wives make our spouses boring...

The MYP are getting to the stage now where I can be embarrassing to them.  I don't mind.  In fact, I secretly enjoy it.  They don't want me going out to get the newspaper if their friends are waiting at the bus stop at our corner.  I'm not sure why.  So one of them wanted to take a picture today to let me see what they see.  And this is it:

I'd show you the whole picture, but the unsurpassed beauty would make your retinas explode.  So I'll leave you to only imagine...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just some sentences

Was walking through a major craft superstore this morning.  No, I'm not going to get 'crafty'.  I'll leave it up to the rest of you.  I was merely buying a birthday gift for a special friend of the girls.  But it made me feel just... I dunno.  Inadequate I think.  I'm not looking for a ton of comments on how I'm so great at this and that or the other thing.  So don't bother.  I'm just saying I felt inadequate and out of place in that lovely store.  **sigh**

On my way back home, I stopped in at the grocery store and warehouse club.  I was right in my element again.  Looking for deals on meat and checking out the freshness of the eggplant.  **happy sigh**,  At least I can cook (or at least try to).

On my way home I saw this elongated white van racing past me.  He was weaving in and out of traffic.  The side of it said XYZ Casket Company.  Either he's late for the funeral.  Or he wants to try one of the puppies out first-hand.

Thinking I need to "Fly" again, so signed up for the nagging reminder e-mails telling me which appliance to clean which day.  I'll probably put up with that nonsense for a month or so and then turn the reminders off again.

I like having company.  It makes you clean in a way that's beyond the day-to-day stuff.  You look at it through the eyes of a person coming over.  And... as you are preparing foods ahead of time, it gives you time to think about friends and/or family and why they are important in your life.  At least I do.

We got a letter this week from a dear lady that is 90 years young.  But her body is slowly failing her.  She had the strength despite dizziness and weakness to pen a two-page thank you card to us.  Reading it made me feel very small.  I just read today that nice, young ladies become nice old ladies.  I better get started.

Was listening to some old country gospel this afternoon on Pandora.  "Farther Along" came on.  It reminded me vividly of a family member no longer with us that loved that hymn.  She's gone and I miss her.  I miss her mother.  I miss my grandparents on both sides.  I wish I would have listened more and talked less.  I would love another afternoon to just sit and chat with any one of them.  But they wouldn't want to come back.  I am certain of that.  But it doesn't make us miss them any less.

Cool, gray October always hits hard and makes me think of loss.  And that's ok.  Because when you realize what you've lost, you understand all the more what you've gained.  And that's the blessing in experiences.

Sorry these aren't funny sentences.  Just thoughts as I got the meatballs rolled and set on the pan.  Lucky for me (and for our guests) I didn't lose them when somebody sneezed. (the song, silly, remember?).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Musings

And a beautiful Monday it is!  We in the upper-midwest have enjoyed a spectacular fall.  Warm days.  Brilliantly blue skies.  And fall colors that cannot be replicated outside of nature.

We left on Friday for our annual fall camping venture.  I guess you could call it our 3rd annual one.  And this was the best yet.  The first year it hovered around the 20's with a touch of snow.  The second year was just plain cold with no snow and the upper 40's.  This year it was 80 by day and 60 by night.  And scenery such as this:
or this:

But really, what really mattered was being there with people like this:
Or cute little boys like this:
Or being thrilled to see a couple of the MYP enjoying each other's company like this:
And seeing another one of them trying to keep our campsite free of leaves like this:

And seeing this when you look across the way:
And then about an hour before it is time to leave you see she's dog-tired waiting in the truck:
Yes, a perfect weekend indeed.  There are many wonderful blogs where you can vacation vicariously in perfect conditions with perfect foods and perfect settings.  

But I'm not here to tell you all the perfect things.  I'm going to tell you that I spilled a full quart of olive oil right before we were leaving.  And it managed to splash all over the counter top, drip down and into three drawers and proceed to ooze all over my freshly finished hardwood.  Slippery-wippery icky stuff.  All right before we left.  

I'm here to tell you that when opening the back lift at the campsite that a full bundle of wood landed very painfully on my forearm and it bulged out in a spectacular fashion because my arm wasn't amused.  And it hurt.  

Or that a fuse popped before we even got to the campsite and we had to stop at a camping store to try to find another so the battery would work.  

And that after killing two mammoth spiders that looked like this:

I took my shower.  And then proceeded to dress all the while balancing on my flip flops.

Ahhh.  Camping.  Yes, "Life is Good".  In fact after we returned home and started to unload, the Chairman said in passing, 'you know, I almost like camping now'.  Um, really?  After twelve times he's 'almost liking it'?  Well that's nice!

So without further adieu, I must go clean out the camper.  Get it ready for storage through a very long winter here in dairyland.  It's almost a sad time for me... the finality of the warm days.  But that's life.  And we must remember above all else that, "Life is Good" - even when the darkness looms at 4:30 and the temps hover around ten degrees below freezing, and the wind is howling.  Summer will return.  Eventually...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why not on Wednesday

My mostly nice older brother thinks I talk entirely too much.  When we were kids, he didn't talk all that much.  Because he had a mouthy little sister nearly three years his junior.  And you know what?  I think he secretly liked it.  How do I know?  He keeps coming back for more these days via texts or e-mail even though he lives 2,054 miles away (that's an accurate mileage... I just checked).

But what I wanted to say about my mostly nice older brother is that he knows me like none other.  A text last night revealed exactly where I stood on a subject.  Exactly.  Genetics is a powerful thing.

I made some dirty rice last night.  It wasn't actually dirty.  That was the name of the recipe.  Someone recently mentioned eating it at a restaurant and it intrigued me.  So I looked up some recipes and used one.  It was nearly melt-your-lips-off hot.  The Chairman thought it was just wonderful and said so many times.  One of the MYP thought I was presenting poison at the dinner table.  Ya' can't win 'em all.

You know the saying, "bloom where you're planted"?  Well, these flowers could say, bloom where the seeds fell.  You see this pot dried up in July when we were out of town.  It was deader than door nails.  I neglected to dump out the dead dirt and plants.  Well I just recently discovered it and look what I found!

Lisi came and looked just like this after I took the picture.  So I snapped hers and then she left like she got her job done.  She always seems to have a 'proud' look when I try to take her picture.  Reminds me of a great-aunt I had.  A nice lady, but she'd get all stiff and look a bit like the Statue of Liberty when the cameras came out.

Had a feeling that a mouse was in the garage again.  Set a trap last night and within about 1/2 hour, Mickey decided that peanut butter was too tempting.  It meant his life.  And as I looked at him in his perfection, I felt a bit sad.  Almost wished that this could happen.

One of the MYP here has a boat-load of homework each night.  I'm still trying to figure out the reasoning behind homework.  Any ideas out there?  I'm all for down-time - especially a kid.  But that's not possible when there are assignments and projects and research to do.

We just recently had a short evening with this lady.  She's full of infectious enthusiasm about things we should be enthused about.  She spends most of her time in a place that is dear to our hearts.  And we only see her briefly about every five years.  But she's another dear friend in our journey of life.  I hope some day we can go see her where she spends her days.

On a side note, when I look at this picture I realize in just a year or so, that son of ours will be equal with me in height.  Where does time go?

This weekend promises good weather and beautiful fall scenery.  I promise to share it with you when I Muse on Monday.

Just saw a quote today.  "The reason a dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail and not his tongue."  Simple, yet true.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Musings

A beautiful day here in dairyland!  After nearly a week of Seattle-like weather, we are given a week of bright blue skies and lovely fall colors.  Happy sigh.

I don't like mayhem and mess.  But this past week, all our hardwood was getting a new coat of finish to hide the marks of daily life of five people, company, and an occasional dog.  So we schleped everything into the office or living room or our bedroom and the chicken farmer man went to work.  It was kind of bizarre to be "home", but not home.  I unloaded groceries into the garage fridge.  I peered into the windows a few times.  Took a wee nap and read the paper in the van which was sitting in the garage.  And got some very odd stares from our dog.  In fact at one point she whimpered a little wondering why our routine was so out of whack.

We ate in the living room and stepped over rugs and survived.  But by last night I couldn't stand the 'mess' any longer.  Got everything put back in its place and sigh...  I like order.

We got an invite to go to the apple orchard this weekend.  And it was a gorgeous day with nice people.  The trees were burdened down with apples galore.  I even got to cuddle the baby a bit.  You see I was quite 'babied out' after our three MYP came within two years.  But you know what?  It really feels good to hold a sweet little thing again.  Snookums!

I couldn't decide which pictures to put in, so I put most all of them.  Aren't the girls just colorful little things?  Kinda like their personalities too!

Have been looking for a lazy Susan.  Most all of the Susan's I know aren't lazy.  But we have a round table that makes things awkward to pass.  I found exactly what I was looking for at Amazon.  Plus no sales tax (which I hear might be changing).  On-line shopping is the best!

And did you know it is a great day to be a sports fan in this fine state?  Can you say four for four?  Baseball playoffs.  College football.  And NFL!  Not that it all matters a twittle in the big picture.  But it's fun to be a winner let me tell you!

And finally.  Last weekend we went on a pontoon ride through downtown Milwaukee on a very cold and blustery (think rain and cold) day that turned into a cold and blustery night.  It honestly was fun.  And turned into extremely funny when this happened.  That's the driver trying to figure out why it won't start again... (and no, that's not the back side of the Chairman).

And a picture of two of my most favorite guys...