Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Musings

Well it's Monday and muse I must!

We have some additions to announce at the Chairman's chalet.  "Happy, Goldie, and Beanie Bart Junior" joined us on Saturday.  They, as you may have guessed, are fish.  Two 'feeder' goldfish and one betta.  The goldfish so far look quite alive and thankful that they aren't being fed to a bigger fish quite yet.  The betta looks just a half-a-lap away from heading south into the sewer system.  We'll see what the next days bring.  Lucky for the girls, there isn't a huge investment in these little creatures.

I found candy this weekend!  Yes!  A bag of my favorite flavor of fun size that was leftover from Halloween!  And yes!  This discovery requires all the exclamation points!!!!  Or not.

I'm ready for advice.  I don't ask for much because I'm stubborn like that.  But I have pictures.  LOTS of pictures from November of '08 to present that are sitting on the hard drive of the computer I'm currently using.  Yes, a good portion of them are backed up.  But I want to print some off.  Like three or four from each folder for the past four years.  What's the best way?  What's the most convenient way?  What's the cheapest way?  Do I go set up shop in the local drug store and do it there?  Do I send them to a website on-line and have them do the dirty work?  Do I pretend I don't have four years of pictures sitting out there on a hard drive just waiting to crash and miss these years of our lives?  Help!

Saturday, we went to a funeral.  We didn't know the man much beyond his name and location and such.  But we know his family and wanted to show support for them.  You can call me strange, but I really like funerals - as long as it isn't mine.  Seriously, you see a large group of people gathered in quietness.  You are in the presence of death and all the serious thoughts that brings.  You listen to servants moved by the Spirit to share words of comfort and Truth.  I'm always overwhelmed with love for those sitting there in quietness.  I feel like we are all a large family gathered together.  And we are.  And I love that.

I wouldn't call myself a proud person.  I wouldn't even say I'm arrogant.  But sometimes, I get kinda comfortable in who I am.  I like to think that I have it all together sometimes.  I like to think I'm perceptive and aware and not missing many tricks.  Today I ate a big slice of humble pie.  I was returning from stopping at various stores and realized I had a check to deposit.  I looked on GPS for the nearest location of our bank and headed there.  Saw the drive through and drove in.  Popped the goods into the tube and sent it on its way.  The loud, big, green pick-up truck guy next to me was talking with the teller.  It seemed to me that it was getting long.  I looked over with most-likely slightly narrowed eyes.  MOVE ALONG BUSTER!  Then my eyes caught the sign.  The sign that said this wasn't my bank branch.  Uh-oh.  I push the "call" button.  Um.  I think I sent my check to you, but this isn't XYZ bank like I thought it was.  I hear a "HAHAHAHAHA" coming through the mic.  The duffer in the loud, big, green pick-up truck heard my predicament.  He's laughing with the teller.  Of all the nerve.  I shrug my shoulders and drive off to my branch that was within stone's throw.  So there you have it.  Humble pie.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thoughts on a Thursday

I must be having a lot of fun because time is flying.  I can't believe how fast the weeks go by.  And really, I'm not doing all that much except keeping the Chairman's family running sorta smoothly.

I liked a headline I saw in the local paper today.  "Raccoons are the main dish Saturday".  And by this they mean the annual coon feed at a nearby town.  We haven't attended nor do we intend to.  For some reason, gathering with a lot of other people to eat raccoons doesn't tempt me.  There's plenty of other options out there in my book.

You know your parents have been a very long ways away when they call from Hawaii and say they are safely in their hotel and you feel like they are almost home.

Three years ago, we hired a landscape company to transform our very Amish-looking yard into a yard with foliage and trees (not that I have anything against the Amish yards).  Anyway now three years later, they guy still drives by our yard very slowly looking.  It just happened moments ago.  Now it is January and most everything is completely dormant.  So why does he keep returning to look?  Must be my infectious personality.

Do you remember our microwave is on the fritz?  Well it was.  Yesterday, I was trying to warm up something and got quite frustrated as it would keep "clicking" and not actually heat.  So in my frustration I slammed the door shut HARD.  Figure if the door fell off, it doesn't work anyway.  I think I scared the bejeebers out of it because it has worked flawlessly every since.  Weird.

Someone referred to this clip that I found entertaining.  Ginger could give Lisi a run for her money except none of the options were being a writer.  Their faces look identical.  Except that Lisi got a bath/grooming today and today she looks like she was just at the sheep shearers.  Anyway, here goes.  And that's all I have for you today!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Musings

So how many times did you hit the refresh button wondering if I've mused?  Probably not many.  But I had MYP at my side most the day today due to no school, so not a moment of silence to sit quietly and reflect for the masses.

We did go to the bank today!  One of the MYP needed to deposit some hard-earned money.  And as I was waiting for her to do her business (well not THAT business), a man came up to me and said tentatively, 'Jackie?'.  I smiled at him and said, 'no, I'm not Jackie'.  He apologized and said I looked like 'Jackie' to him.  I just said off the cuff, 'well I've been called worse', (not that I have really).  Then he gave me a dreamy smile and said, 'well she's really pretty if you want to know'.  Now realize this man was just a year or so past 80... so maybe the glaucoma had set in.  But nonetheless, it made me feel pretty.

The Chairman has been burning the candle at both ends and sometimes right down the middle at the same time.  However, this weekend was nothing but a two-day Monopoly game, bowling, sledding, and more fun in between.  The MYP needed it.  I needed it.  And so again, another wonderful weekend with the family.

Except for the fact that yesterday morning I was all dressed up and nowhere to go.  The youngest of the pack laid listlessly on the sofa with several ailments.  So we had our quiet time.  Played umpteen games.  Baked a bit. And rested some more.  I missed spaghetti at grandmas and a couple wonderful gatherings.  But such is life as a mother.

Last night, we pulled out old video tapes to watch of our past days.  The kids automatically handed me a Kleenex box before we started to watch.  And so I had tears drip down my cheeks.  We were handed a very special baby in China that twisted her hands, looked pensively at us, and became our daughter.  We saw a little baby boy, that was a perfect gift, giving cock-eyed grins and trying in earnest to catch up with his big sister.  We looked at pastoral scenes of a 3 and 4 year old holding hands while their baby sister was being pushed in a stroller by her mommy with a beautiful dog named Lincoln at their side.  We saw the first steps.  The first smiles.  A lot of living room floor time with MYB(abies)'s crawling about.  Even though it was only eight and more years ago, it was stunning.  People commented to us at the time how busy we were.  Others said that our family was so special and so unique.  We didn't see it.  But now in a part, we do.  I keep thinking of something we sing, 'Looking back the long years over, 'twas a varied path and yet... all the way his hand has led us... and we finish out with the thought that he hath blessed us hitherto.  And so He has.  To those of you with those tiny people.  Love them and embrace them in all your fatigue and messiness.  It goes by quickly.  I think that one other aspect of it all was that the Chairman and I have both changed in looks a great deal from just that few of years ago.  We were a team then.  We are a team now.  It makes me thankful.

Son #1 said to me the other night, 'I sure hope my wife has fingernails like yours so the scratches on the back feel the same'.  I wasn't sure how to answer except that I hoped so too.

Daughter #2 had a presentation on India last week.  It was to be about a country of her origin, but she doesn't look very Asia-Indian to me.  However, we have very good friends that came from there nine years ago and she wanted to represent them in her own little way.

Think this is more than enough for tonight!
giving her 'schpeel'

marathon Monopoly

new chairs in kitchen sitting area waiting for you to come visit

See?  Winter can be pretty

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on a Thursday

Brrr.  It's -1 with a wind chill of -22.  Lisi still wants to go out for our daily walk.  So we will head out soon.  But think I'll try to dress appropriately.  Last night I was ready to take my shot of molasses (reason forthcoming) and it was so slow in coming out.  Then I realized it was doing what molasses is supposed to do in January.  

There was widespread panic and pandemonium here yesterday.  You see son #1 went to get the next loaf out of  the freezer and *gasp*, there was none.  I got strict orders to get the dough rising.  So I did.  And I put them out to raise in the living room by the wood stove.  We're classy like that.

Yes, it is cold outside, but the dog doesn't suffer one iota (not that you thought she did).  This is her accommodations as of late:
In a couple hours, I'll see if I have passed the test.  The iron test that is.  Another blood drive at the school.  Another chance to be humiliated for my lack of iron in my blood.  Last year after three pricks to my finger, they decided I truly didn't have enough hemoglobin.  Will see what happens this year!  And that my friends, is why I've been drinking molasses.  And eating black beans.  And beef.  And lots and lots of spinach.  

Our microwave is now receiving end-of-life care.  It takes approximately ten attempts to actually get it to work.  I see the end in view.  I don't think I use it much, and actually don't.  But I miss it when it isn't working.  So the quandary is, do I make certain that this appliance "matches" the brand of the others in the kitchen?  The Chairman feels that is necessary.  And maybe he's right (usually he is).  

Well time to take my thoughts to the miserable great outdoors.  I'm pretty sure my thoughts will be why it is so blasted necessary for the dog to get her walk and why my forehead feels like it is falling off...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Diary of 5

I bet you thought all I do is muse or have thoughts on Mondays and Thursdays.  Well to shake things up, I'll join in like others have on this.  It's been awhile since I've been spontaneous.  Don't get used to it though.  I'm not really all that fun under normal circumstances.
I am seeing  ~ A dirty tissue that no one has claimed.

I am hearing   ~  Howling January wind that I've experienced two times today while walking Lisi.

I am smelling   ~  A faint smoky smell from the wood stove.

I tasted   ~  barbecue pork, potatoes, corn, peas, and a spinach/orange salad

I am feeling   ~   content with just a touch of neurosis thrown in for the amusement of the MYP.  The Chairman is burning the candle at both ends today.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Musings

And we're back!  I must admit, I like musing.  Otherwise, these thoughts would just rattle around in my head and cause quite the commotion.  My side of the family sends out a weekly e-mails to each other each Sunday night or Monday morning since we live in KY, IN, IL, CA, MN, WI, and a few places in between.  I love them.  The family or the e-mails?  Well both actually.

It helps too as my parents are pilgrims on this earth.  They left last week for another out-of-the-country trip.  You know we always hear that we have no guarantees of tomorrow.  Well when they are over on the other side of the world, it is fun to know that tomorrow really is coming!  Because when they e-mail, it has already happened.  

I'm really enjoying my new washer/dryer.  I've done about six loads so far... and so far, so good.  I can't believe the capacity.  I can do double the amount in each load.  I notice that the amount of water being used is a fraction of what used with my old one.  I use less than half the amount of detergent.  And because I have connections with VIP's in the organization (thanks MB!), I have some insider do and not-do tips with front loaders.  The only complaint I have is about 'Gary'.  He left a cigarette butt on the side of the road where the semi was parked.  

The following is not a paid endorsement, but I think it merits mention.  I have ordered from this company in the past.  If you need baking supplies or what-not, they have good prices.  I did an on-line order of an assortment of things on Thursday afternoon.  Saturday noon, FedEx pulls up and in the box is everything I ordered just hours before.  I don't think it could have been faster if "Janice" personally packed it all and jumped in her truck and started to drive east.  Great service!  Maybe everyone from Nebraska is that cool.  I love everything I ordered right down to the screw off lids for 5-gallon pails that hold my whole grains for bread.

Friday night we said goodbye to this couple.  

They left today to begin a new chapter of their life on the west coast.  My first memory of them was when I went to my first g.m. in this area when dating the Chairman.  She turned around with a big smile and warmly chatted with me and made me feel comfortable.  Over the years we saw each other nearly twice a week for 17 years.  We share a love for walking.  Camping.  Dogs.  And life.  I kept it together when I hugged them goodbye.  But this morning as I thought of their plane heading off for the west I felt a tear come down.  I don't like changes or goodbyes.  But they are going where the job has taken them.  They are going where they feel is the right place to be this time.  And so we wish them well.  And we are glad that goodbyes can also simply mean 'see you later'.  If you want to follow along in their journey, you can go here.  Just don't go there and not come back!  Here's a few random shots taken the night of their party.  

sweet little girls


a mass of super-nice people
We are enjoying the snow that is now melting.  A couple shots from the last few days:
wishing she could sled

colorful friends

Last night I was trying to get the youngest of the MYP to bed.  I said, 'go to bed'.  I said it again.  Then finally feeling exasperated I said kinda loudly 'I said go to bed and now it is the third time and do you know what that means?' (thinking she would know I'm very, very serious).  She gets a big grin, pumps both fists high into the air and shouts, 'that I got to stay up later!'.  Tsk.  Kids!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh the weather outside is...

delightful!  Finally something white to look at.  I always wish we'd really get hammered.  But we live a bit too far south for a 36" blizzard I reckon.  I read about this town in Alaska and was wishing I lived there.  Call me crazy if you will.  Remember, I don't shovel or blow snow.  
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We got a Title Nine catalog in the mail again.  I'm not sure why they send me one.  I don't look at all like any of the models.  But it does kinda make me wish I could do cartwheels on a beach in Fuji.

We had a little cooking class thing yesterday.  Three of us participated.  My contribution was making bread (big surprise).  But I must say I was dreadfully nervous that it wouldn't turn out for some reason and all my friends there would "tsk tsk" and wonder why I thought I was good at something.  Luckily for my self esteem, it worked.  Or so I hope.

When you are married to someone, you learn unique characteristics about them.  I hate to admit it, but I probably am peculiar in one way or the other.  Just ask the Chairman, he'd might tell you.  One thing about him that I find fascinating is that when he kisses me goodbye each morning and leaves, he really doesn't.  He heads out the door.  And within about a minute or so he comes back in for his phone.  His work keys.  A slip of paper.  Or nothing.  I like to think it is because I'm still here and so wildly irresistible that he always comes back just to gaze at me in my over-sized robe and slippers.  But probably not.  In my eyes, he hasn't really left until I see the car cruising down the road.

I feel bad.  You see last post I made a comment about the MYP here.  I said they were fighting and I needed advice.  Well honestly, after I posted that, I realized that we all have our own lives and problems and issues.  Really, you come to read a blog not to solve my problems.  You come to read something encouraging or funny or something that Lisi wrote.  For that, I'm sorry.  And I'll try to not air petty things here.  That isn't what this medium is for.  But since you asked, the MYP have had a very good week!  And so have I.  And so I hope you have too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Musings

I was going to write "nothing" and that's it.  I felt like there was nothing to muse.  But maybe there is.  We'll see.

Just back from running some errands.  Lisi came along and rode in the back of the truck with her head sniffing in the breeze.  I'm not the only dog lover.  Seeing her elicits lots of big smiles and an occasional wave.  Today two ladies took it a step further and stopped me in Costco and asked if I was the one with the dog.  They wanted details and finished up telling me she was just beautiful.  I walked away feeling very tall.  Until... I happened upon the kindly middle-aged lady passing out small sandwiches to try.  She started giving me the sales job on how they'd be good for myself or even for the 'grandchildren when they visit'.  I looked behind me for the cute little old lady.  But she wasn't there.  I was who she was speaking at.  And so I wasn't feeling so smug and perky and cute anymore.  Maybe a bottle of brunette would be all it would take.  Or not.

In this day and age of penny pinching, I find it stunning how prices can vary so much from store to store.  Today I purchased dog food.  It was $16 cheaper/bag at the hole-in-the-wall place I go to then the fancy big box that has a 'treat bar'.  I'm into agave syrup these days.  Costco has two bottles for 30 cents cheaper than one bottle at another store.  Just sayin'...

Daughter #2 has a good friend at school born on exactly the same day as her.  She thinks that's neat.  I spoke with the mom.  Different hospitals and about three hours different in time is all.

We are no longer going to be agitating (didn't say agitated did I?!).  Bit the bullet on a washer/dryer set.  It'll be here in a couple weeks.  A full report might be forthcoming.  But it did generate some very interesting dialogue on FB!

Saturday, son #1 was at a friends for the day.  The Chairman was very busy with appointments, walking, and work.  And so the two daughters and I spent most of the day doing absolutely nothing.  We sat by the fire.  We played games.  We talked.  And a little less than that even.  It was so nice it was almost delicious.

But it always isn't that great.  I don't want you to see our family through rose-colored glasses.  Or maybe I do.  We've had a lot of sibling rivalry as of late.  Scrapping.  Irritability.  And down-right fighting.  I'm at a loss.  Since I was alone with the kids last night, I sat all three of the little gifts from above and started lecturing.  Then I decided to listen.  Some good points were made.  But how in the tarnation do you get kids to not fight so much?  Tips?  Tricks?  Thoughts?  I'm all ears.  But I don't read parenting books.  Sorry...

Here's a few pictures of the past weeks that I'll finally post.  I'd show you a lot, lot more, but I'm nice like that and will spare you the details.  * All the photos shown are published without consent of the subjects. *
John and Laura 

My 'big' sister and I.  She's as nice as she looks.
At gift opening.  Lost of cozy after-wedding time.  Super cool
guy behind R.

Hanging on grandma.  This kid is really special.

SUPER-glad for this nephew to be with us.  

The newlyweds after gift opening with  Punxsutawney Phil!
He has been photographed all over the US and has
been a big part in this couple's dating life.  Glad he
made it to the wedding.

My mostly-nice older brother doing work with some smaller
people watching.  I still like him I guess.

His lovely wife that feels exactly like a sister to me.

Waiting during the rehearsal.  Boys will be boys.

Just because someone took this of us.  We've been told
we look alike.  But she's way-prettier than I ever was.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday's thoughts...

Lisi keeps scratching at the window wishing I would come out and play.  Or at least take her for a walk on this balmy 41 degree day.  And I will.  But you my dears, come first.

So much for winter!  Or not.  At least this week looks nice.  I'm just hoping winter doesn't finally find us sometime in April.

I was running out of kitchen cleaner last night.  Did a quick search.  And made my own simply by putting a cup of water, a cup of white vinegar, and a drop of dish detergent in the same bottle.  Works like a charm!  I'm all for saving pennies.  So we can spend it on bigger things like...

Washers and dryers and microwaves.  Yes, I realize we don't have to have a microwave.  But they are handy.  And ours makes 'clicking' sounds and refuses to heat on a whim.  Think we've narrowed down the laundry appliances to two choices.  But we haven't pulled out the credit card yet.

Did you know when the toilet paper roll is getting near the end that everyone must simply use less so they don't have to replace it?  That's what happens at our house anyway.  And speaking of oddities, I notice when the kids are being obnoxious or loud or fighting to the nines, I tend to drive faster.  Not that our darling MYP would ever misbehave.

This week I had a physical.  It was what you usually expect.  She checked here and there and everywhere.  I tell her about a symptom I've been having for a few weeks.  She immediately pulls on a string that says, "PULL IN CASE OF EMERGENCY", or not.  But my scanning appointment for the end of the month was immediately changed to within two days.  Doctors have strings they can pull you know.  Anyway, I go in this morning.  I have my scan.  They take a couple more.  Finally, "Donna" (who I might add is about the nicest lady in our county) says that they want to do an ultrasound as well.  I haven't had one of those for nearly ten years and that was for a very good (and smarty-pants blonde) outcome.  This time it was because they see something.  I'm feeling a lump grow in my throat.  I'm now worried.  After a few minutes of looking and clicking and checking, she tells me it all looks like something that isn't cancer and wouldn't become cancer.  I am utterly relieved.  I text the Chairman.  And then I quietly get dressed and head out the door.  But two times I waited ten minutes alone in a room with over-used magazines.  For twenty minutes I was wondering if this was my time.  My time to have something wrong with me.  But it wasn't.  For some it is their time.  And there but for the grace of God, go I.  It makes me thankful again for good health.  And makes me want to love and care and encourage those that it is their time to fight something.  

And so I must head out for my daily dose of vitamin D, companionship with the pooch, and hopes of seeing the guy I saw yesterday blasting down the road in his convertible!  He did have a hat on, so I'm certain he was warm.  The upper-midwest.  Winter ain't winter unless it's below zero...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday Musings

Not a creature is stirring, except me.  I'm one of those people that hear about sleeping in and think it sounds so nice.  But I just don't do that anymore for some reason.

So it's been a week, and what a week it's been.  My mostly nice older brother and his lovely family came to visit for some days.  He minded his manners since I was holding the keys to his stomach most the time.  That guy actually looks like me.  He almost can predict with pinpoint accuracy what I'm going to say, or do, or what my reaction will be to something.  So he pushes the buttons in all the right wrong places and then... oh my.  But at this point, he will retain his 'mostly nice' status yet.

We experienced a wonderful wedding.  You all are paging up and down looking for where I posted the pictures.  Well keep looking as my camera is in Illinois and I'm not.  I hope to recover it before long.  There were moments during the time of the wedding days that I wanted to freeze a picture in my brain.  Freeze the sounds.  Freeze the feeling in my heart.  Yes, it was that good.  You see when you love your family it is nice.  When you actually feel love for the other family in the wedding party, that's special.  When you all share a common love for something greater, it's beyond words.  And so I'll leave it at that.  

If you want to get some good banter (insert the word argument) going on FB, just ask an opinion about something.  People are passionate about possessions - be it a washer/dryer, or a dog.  I actually solicited input on the appliances.  Front or side loading.  Which brand is best?  You get the picture.  After 17 and almost a half years, my washer has a rust spot on the drum.  So when you wash whites, you have to be vigilant in pulling them out immediately.  And beyond that, it decides on a whim whether it wants to actually spin the clothes before the cycle is finished.  The dryer thinks that two full cycles of drying time is nicer.  I think older people like to move slower too.  

We rang in the New Year's with flourish!  Or not.  I turned out my light by 10:35.  Gave up a silent thanks for another wonderful year, and set the alarm for quite early on the 1st.  Yesterday, was a very special day.  Most of you know what I mean.  And after that special time, we had all of my late sister-in-laws children and grandchildren here for supper with the folks.  I think I'm getting older, but I continually feel so amazed how just plain good these young people are.  Really.  

So it snowed last night enough to cover the grass finally.  And the wind blows strong.  And the temperatures have dipped again.  Yes, winter season is here.  And I must go pile some wood into the stove.

Happy 2012!  We know it will include hills and valleys, but the best part is that He will lead us safely through.