Monday, March 30, 2015

I love the man in brown...

Johnny Cash always wore black and even had a song called, "Man in Black".  Well I'm not sure who Johnny Cash is, but I do know this.  I love the "Man in Brown".

Hello!  This is your old friend Lisi!  Yes, I said old.  You see I'm still the sweet and sometimes spunky dog I always have been.  I am starting to get older though.  Kind of like the Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway.

Today, she decided to walk a little earlier than normal.  We started on our usual hike down a bike path.  She whispered 'sic em!' to me and I chased a few squirrels up a tree.  I love being able to be off leash as much as possible so I can race after rodents and sniff neighbor dogs.  Then as we got near a road, Big Lady looked at me like she was about to leash me, but for some reason she didn't.  Just after that I heard it!  I heard the big brown truck!  I love the big brown truck!  I love the man in brown on the big brown truck.  And I think he loves me.  You might even remember this post from awhile ago.

My ears perk up.  He's coming over to our street.  Big Lady stops us at the corner.  She tells me to sit.  The truck roars up.  The door is open!  The man in brown looks at me and smiles.  I forget I'm a trained dog.  In fact I forget I ever went to obedience school.  All I can see is the loving eyes of the man in brown and I know, I just know he wants to see me.

I rush up the stairs into his truck and sit down right next to him.  He says, 'well hello there big fella (silly man in brown must think I'm a guy like him) over the shrieks of the Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway.  She was really living up to her name today.  The man in brown pats me.  Scritches me under the ears in a perfect way and then says, 'I better give you a treat!'.  Well Mr, what are you waiting for?

The Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway said something terrible.  She said, 'the dog doesn't need a treat!'.  I gave her the stink eye.  The man in brown (love him so) didn't listen to the Big Lady.  He picked up a treat and threw it at me.  Did I say I love him so?  Oh I did.  Anyway, the Big Lady grabs me without a lot of love in her heart and drags me down the stairs of the UPS truck.  What a crab.  Doesn't she realize that the sole purpose of my being is to spread joy and happiness to mundane days?

The big brown truck and the man in brown roared off for their next stop.  The Big Lady that yells but loves me anyway muttered something about me being a disobedient and emotional dog.

So we continued on our walk.  She continued talking to me, but the tone got sweeter as the time went on.  Soon I was back off of my leash sniffing and chasing and enjoying the joys of life.  She can yell and be crabby and embarrassed about me, but deep down inside I know she loves me and always will.  Just like I love the man in brown, and black, and white, and blue, and...

Monday Musings

Has it been a week?  Where did the time go?  How was your past week?  Nice?  Scary?  Exciting?  Sad?  We all are marching through life.  I enjoyed a thought yesterday that was shared.  We all get wounded in life.  Sometimes it is our own fault.  Sometimes there are 'accidents'.  We get hurt.  We lose loved ones.  We can be robbed of joy.  But then there is care.  Children sometimes cry and carry on not because they are so hurt, but because they want to know someone cares.  Nothing feels better than to know someone cares.  We love to be well-cared for.  I know I do.  And I am.

Here are a couple pictures taken on the way yesterday:
yes, there is another girl added to the family 
yes, teenage guys don't like early-morning photos, but photo-bombing sisters enjoy seeing their brother not enjoy it.
A couple days ago, I decided when I got up that I wasn't going to accomplish a lot.  I decided it was a 'me' day.  I squandered along in the morning.  I took an hour nap in the afternoon.  I absent-mindedly picked up here and there and made supper, but that was about it.  And do you know what?  I felt icky.  I felt like I didn't do my fair share.  I didn't have that sense of accomplishment.  So I laced up my bootstraps and got three loads of laundry done and folded and put away.  Washed down the kitchen floor.  Cleaned out a closet and put away winter gear.  And I went to bed feeling much, much better.  Idleness isn't my friend and doesn't help my mood.

Do you use dryer balls?  I heard recently that they are good to help remove hair and lint and make clothes softer.  I bought a couple on a clearance a few weeks ago.  The verdict is still out, but son #1 finds them very appealing to throw at his sisters.  So maybe it was worth it to buy them.

I got the fundraiser goods done!  I think they were good enough to eat.

I often find little funny pictures online that I then send to send to the MYP.  Here were a few from the last week.  You probably have to be a parent of teenagers to see the humor.

I saw this on a pretty towel at a nearby fancy grocery store.  It made me smile:
So this week is a 'special' kind of week.  Lots of special things.  Special people.  Special food cooked  Special thoughts.

There's a bit of family rivalry going on this week.  Some family members are big Badger fans.  Some family members are big Wildcat (KY) fans.  Good thing we all like each other despite March Madness.  But I will add... On Wisconsin!  Here is our 'Wildcat' checking out the latest scores hoping the Wildcats lose...

We are soon going to find some snow to put our skis and snowboards to use in a very picturesque setting.  I may download a picture for you to see the view.  I may let you know if our limbs are still intact and that our rotator cuffs still go in circles.  I'm sure there will be blog fodder after the experience.

What is it about dogs and rules?  Lisi knows full well that she is NOT to be on carpet.  She knows that she has never been allowed in the living room.  Yet when I find her sleeping, this is what I often see.  Naughtiness.
 Finally, I saw this photo from 2008 recently.  It was taken just six years ago.  It makes me want to go catch my breath for how quickly little ones become young adults.  Now son #1 looks me in the eye.  Now daughter #1 drives me with her temps.  Now daughter #3 can outwit me in words.  We all are growing and changing as they age and we learn to parent differently than when they were little.  I guess that sums up life.

Happy week ahead!  And remember.  Someone always cares...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Musings

I was so happy to wake up this morning knowing it was Monday and I could Muse.  Actually, I awoke to the sound of steps pounding on the stairway and out the door.  I looked at my clock and realized I didn't set my alarm last night!  So the high schoolers got up and themselves out the door by 6:35 and that included feeding Lisi and letting the cat in from a night out on the town.  Kudos to them!

I feel like I have lots I'd like to Muse today, so will have to do a "Reader's Digest Condensed" version today so your eyes don't glaze over or start bleeding.

It was snowing again this morning.  The awe and wonder of the first snowflakes coming down in the late fall is replaced by grumblings and grimaces on March 23.

The un-official/official stats are in on the latest poll about favorite seasons.  Here are the favorites:
Spring - 34%, Summer - 30%, Fall - 19%, Winter - 3%, and liking all seasons the same - 11%.  What does that tell me?  Not much other than we are a very diverse group of people.  On a side note, I tend to fall with the 11% these days.  Except for February.  I still am not into that month all that much.

I tried the "My Fitness Pal" app a couple weeks ago.  As soon as lunch was over, it told me I only had 300 calories left to eat.  So I turned it off.  Ignorance is bliss.  And I was frustrated as I don't keep my phone with me at all times and probably walked 12,000 steps that were never recorded.

Speaking of weight loss.  I remember a friend some years older than me telling me about middle-age metabolism.  I nodded along in private skepticism as she told me how the body changes thinking it wouldn't happen to me.  Well it did.  When I was younger, I could think about losing five pounds and cut back one green bean and voila!  The weight came off.  Now I can avoid all sweets, limit carbs, walk an extra 20 minutes a day, refuse snacks, drink ballerina tea (a post all of its own), watch portions like a hawk, and then gain two pounds.

Teenagers would rather use a roll of paper towels to blow their nose than to walk down a flight of stairs to get a box of "kleenex" from the storage area.  I just discovered this has been going on for over a week.  And they never, NEVER would want to make two trips carrying in groceries.  Speaking of which, I had a nice shopping/supper date with this sweetie:

We have officially outgrown the tooth fairy.  Not only are the lost teeth not put under a pillow, there are no requests for money for the aforementioned lost tooth.

I had two social engagements last week.  I rarely tell all my friends how much I appreciate them.  But I do.  They are such a help to me in so many ways.

Except for the one that heckles me about my shopping abilities.  I just spent nearly two hours trying to decide which shoes to buy.  I got all hot and sweaty and then cold and clammy as I stood there looking at the aisle upon aisle of shoes.  Ick.  I would love a personal shopper but she would have to be as frugal as I am.

The last three times I've been to Aldi, I've passed my cart to someone else and they refuse my quarter.  So I've come ahead 75 cents in three trips.  What a deal!

I've been receiving medical bills for the small procedure I had two months ago.  The numbers are mind-boggling.  I cannot imagine what it would be for a major procedure.

A solicitor came to the door for a certain church.  As I opened the door she said, 'wow, it smells just delicious in here!" (I was making sauce for lasagna and spaghetti.)  She was so distracted she almost forgot to give me her pamphlet.

Sam's Club or Costco?  I have both memberships and like them both for different reasons.  So I am two-timing and am not ashamed.  Which do you like better?

I have a big order for cinnamon rolls and bread for a school fundraiser this coming week.  I cannot wait to get started since I love working with yeast breads.  But the lady that called again this year for my contributions was just in awe when I told her about grinding the wheat.  I could have told her I churn the butter too and I think she would have believed me.  Heh...  She wondered if I would show people how it is done.  Kind of like a museum display I reckon.  I could dress in period clothing.  Tee-hee.

We had a potluck yesterday with people that feed our soul each week.  I love the love we feel for each other.

Well this is not a condensed version!  I have a new poll up!  Happy Monday!  I hope you find some a-Muse-ment in your day and have a wonderful week ahead.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Musings

Good Monday morning!  I'm not very amused today, but will see if there are some Musings.

We've had just lovely weather if that interests you.  Ok, maybe not.  But I do want to quickly add (before you click yourself to something more interesting on the world wide web) that it is to be 70 degrees here today!!  I intend to soak up some sunshine between my chores.

We are not able to ski anymore.  However, what was left of our family (daughter #1 was working) went on a hike at a nearby park.

While we were sitting by the natural spring, two ladies walked up with bags of stuff.  Seemed unusual to carry bags around.  The Chairman asks what was happening.  The one lady replied that she was setting up a proposal scene as her future (or so they hope!) son-in-law was going to ask her daughter to marry him in just a few minutes.  They had candles and pictures and what-not.  We thought of just hanging out there to watch the whole thing, but figured our dirty dog and ogling eyes wouldn't contribute positively to the memorable occasion.  

Often on FB, I see pictures that tell us to share if your husband is the greatest, or your kids are the cutest, or your cat is the smartest.  My knee-jerk reaction is what if your kids are ugly or your cat is dumb?  Do those people feel bad?  Heh.  The other night I texted this picture I saw on FB to both my daughters.

I simply texted, 'wish I could share'.  The response, 'funny mom'...  I do my best to keep self-esteem in check here at the Chairman and Co.

I saw this in a store.  It made me smile, but not enough to fork over $5 to keep.
I noticed a continuing education class in our local paper.  It was a class for learning about cat nutrition and how to make cat treats.  The class costs $24.60.  I'm thinking that money could buy a lot of cat treats.  I'm thinking you could probably meet some crazy cat ladies at the class.  And I'm also thinking that if any of the ladies (yes, I doubt any guys would be there) had on dark slacks, they would be coated in cat hair.

Finally.  I just recently learned some people we know are experiencing tragedy in the loss of their little baby.  My heart aches for them as their depth of grief would be overwhelming right now.  Thankfully, sorrows are shared and that will comfort.  We've proved it true.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thoughts this Thursday

All's quiet here at the Chairman and Co.  Actually, there is a din of noise coming from the basement right now.  But with an active family, that is considered 'quiet'.  The Chairman returned to work.  Daughter #1 is watching a high school production with a friend.  And since we are down to 'just' two of the MYP and a neighbor boy, it's considered quiet.

I tend to be a little slow on the uptick of new things.  In this case it happens to be about steel cut oats.  I've seen the recipes.  I've heard the accolades.  Finally.  Finally!  I bought some organic quick cook steel cut oats at my favorite Aldi.  I'm hooked.  I love them and have eaten a serving each and every morning for the past week with a generous spoon of chia seeds thrown in.  Yum I say!  Maybe next time I see a recommendation for something, it won't take me a year or so to try it out.

I had a delightful day today!  Why wouldn't it be when I spent time with these ladies?  
We took our mom birthday shopping and had some success.  And some lunch.  It was nice and I'm once again thankful for family that lives nearby enough to drive an hour to spend time like that together.  When I married and moved to dairyland over 20 years ago, all my family was hours and hours away.  I like to think my irresistible personality led them to live closer.  Heh.  

Someone shared this picture to me this week.  It made me smile.  And my heart almost ache at the same time for how quickly children grow.
You're probably thinking, this doesn't look that special.  Well let me tell you what it is.  You see years and years ago when son #1 was approximately five, we were having lunch at a restaurant with a lively and fun lady named 'Grace'.  She was friends of my sister and son #1 didn't know her at all.  However, she had (and probably still has) a way with kids.  She would talk to them and be silly and just made them feel all good inside.  Well son #1 wanted to tell her in his little-boy ways that he liked her.  So he wrote on the paper (I'm correcting his spelling).  "For you Grace.  You are my favorite Grace"  She said it still is hanging in her pantry and it still makes her smile.  I'm thankful she shared it with me because it also made me smile and it also made me realize what a few years does to little boys.  Hopefully he doesn't end up with a girlfriend named 'Grace' or she'll have to take that paper down from her pantry.

Do you feel like I do about Spring?  I LOVE spring.  Even the mushy, muddy, murky spring.  Today I took an early walk this morning and suddenly I heard it!  The beautiful sound of a robin.  We've had bird chirps all winter, but not the melodic sound of a robin's song.  I had to turn around and look and look into a big tree until I saw him/her.  I must admit my eyes got misty (being the nutty, emotional person I am).  Knowing that bird has returned tells me spring is here.  We survived yet another winter!  It just added a spring in my step (pun very much intended) as I headed back home.

The other day, Lisi and I had to be out of the house for an hour while some floor guys came to do some work.  We walked for quite awhile and then I decided to stop under a tree and just hang out in the quietness.  Lisi thought something may have been wrong with me because she suddenly sat down and leaned against me and watched for whatever she was looking for.  I had to take a picture because I'm one of those people that think their dog is cute.
And finally, the poll!  I see 49 people participated so it definitely is a scientific poll.  Or not.  But here's what I discovered of the 49 that took the time.  71% know me or my family.  20% don't know me or my family.  6% may or may not know my family (you silly people).  And!  1% wondered why in the world they were at the Chairman and Co. website.  (hope you come back soon!).  I might put up another one now.  It might be lame so please don't judge. 

And finally.  Just because... 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Musings

Good Monday morning Musings!  I just checked my "notes" on my phone and this is what I saw:  nuts, paper towels, Italian bread, black beans, and spaghetti.  That was my list for Costco, not some notes I made for blogging.  Lets start over.

Happy Monday Musings!  What a lovely day here in dairyland!  The birds are chirping.  The cat is back to hunting.  And the snow is melting away.  Unfortunately in all the joy and anticipation of spring, there also is a bitterness of the ski hill melting away.  Until we really participated in winter sports, we never felt this way before.  I will say I'm 75% happy it is warming up though!  And I'm 75% happy there is a trip planned in the near future that will put us in the place of finding lots of snow to ski.

Show of hands!  Who likes changing our clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall?  I will admit I'm about 75% in favor of the changes.  (get the 75% pattern yet?)  You see I don't mind the darker mornings.  And I do love the longer evenings.  We hear often about not conforming to others, etc.  But with time change you must conform or you will the one always an hour early or an hour late.

Time changes are nasty with little ones.  I saw some posts on FB regarding their kids getting up too early and bouncing off walls and jumping off roofs because the time had changed.  Well I may have exaggerated about the jumping off roofs.  But you get the point.  I do remember those days and how I would watch the clock.  We always seemed to change our time the very weekend of our special meeting.  That was kinda icky, but guaranteed a nice afternoon nap during the meeting (for the kids, not me, silly).  Well now we have MYP in the house.  The time change doesn't affect us as much until the first day back to school.  It was like watching bears crawl out of their den after hibernation.  Meeshka they were testy this morning!  But they were heading out to the bus at 6:35 when it felt like 5:35 in their brains.  I don't blame them.

So it has been a very social last couple of days.  We celebrated a lovely young lady turning 18.  She's been the apple of my eye since the day she was born.  Her mom planned a scavenger hunt for friends of hers and kindly invited our family to join.  I had intended to drop off the MYP at the place in the mall and go sip coffee and pretend I was a laid-back, high brow lady that buys expensive coffee drinks.  Instead, I was handed a list, grouped with three teenage boys and another near-stranger guy and sent off to find what was listed.  I immediately decided I wasn't going to have a good time.  Within about two minutes I was having the time of my life and super-glad for teenage boys that are a mix of awesome and knucklehead.  The guy I walked around with was also pleasant, although one time he was overcome with emotion about finding something we were looking for and gave me a big hug.  Or maybe I'm just that irresistible.


These two...  they have been friends since birth.  Well actually not during toddlerhood as my sweet M would sneak and pinch the other sweet M when we mothers were out of the room.  However since the pinching was punished and she decided to be a better friend at the ripe old age of 18 months, they've been best buds since.  There are continual requests to snowboard together, to have sleepovers, to simply be silly.  These M&M's.  Sweetness.

My parents came in for a little visit and supper since they were in the area.  Son #1 is now passing Grandma.  And some games were played.

I ranted a post or two ago about greeting cards.  I may still feel a bit like they are an unnecessary purchase in the scheme of life.  However, something happened this week that made me change my mind.  I received two thank yous.  Why am I sharing this?  Am I looking for applause for doing something that caused me to receive a thank you?  Hardly.  Receiving those notes of thanks caused me to once again think of the person I did something for.  It made me think of their situation or their battle or what their friendship means to me.  Every time I glanced at the thank you cards that I placed near the kitchen sink, it made me happy that they were maybe a bit more happy by a deed or word.  It made me realize the utter importance of also penning a 'thank you' to someone.  To encourage our MYP to also write 'thank yous'.  It is the gift that keeps on giving...

Well the laundry needs attention once again.  And so does a multitude of other mundane Monday tasks that I would like to have 75% done before the MYP come back home.  Until we meet again!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Words this Wednesday

Just feel like a wee chat this morning.  I'm going to make some copycat Panera black bean soup in a bit.  Yum.  But first I need to find my reading glasses.  I have four pair now and they are never in the room where I need them.  I may need to go to the local drug store and buy a few more pairs and have they sitting in each room.  Kind of like having four pacifiers staged in the crib when our MYP were babies.

One of the MYP said last night, "when I picture you growing up in South Dakota, all I can picture in my mind is all of you sleeping in the same room and taking a wagon to town.  You know, just like 'Little House on the Prairie'"  I tried to explain what it was like in my day.  Even that was met with glassy eyes.  No computers or Internet.  No cell phones.  No Snapchat.  No air conditioning.  No convenience foods (at least I never saw any).  No pizza delivery (at least I never saw any).  Phones with long curly cords that got tangled if you stretched them too far.  No helmets as you rode your bikes.  Swinging on the neighbor's rusty swing set that would 'jump' if you swung too high.  Seatbelts?  Never.  We were totally inaccessible to our parents, yet they trusted us to come home alive and before it got too dark.  Life is so incredibly different now.

Last night I was sharing my memory of going grocery shopping.  We went to a store called "Prairie Market".  It only had the flatbed kind of carts where we could hop on and race each other ride even at the age of 10.  It was set up like a warehouse where the product was still in boxes.  What made it so memorable were the red grease pens that were in the front of the store.  As you shopped, you would write the prices on top of the can or whatever you were buying and the clerk would check you out entering in those prices.  Isn't that interesting?  No bar codes at that point in time.  If we were super good not crashing our racing carts , my mom would let one of us three kids pick out a treat.  Usually it was a box of cereal that wasn't healthy.  But if we were generous she would allow that 'treat' to be something for our dog Bingo.  I remember the deep satisfaction buying a box of Milk Bones and feeding them to him one by one until the box was empty.  The crunchy sounds he would make eating them was so very rewarding.  I'm certain we fed him to an untimely death.

After the grocery shopping we would head for the 'locker'.  You would go up some rickety stairs to a cold place with a wide refrigerated case of beautiful pink beef.  My mom would pick out fresh ground beef and a roast and sometimes liver (blech).  A fellow in a big white jacket with some blood stains would weigh it, wrap up the choices in white wax paper and tape with masking tape.  Then he'd check us out with an old punch-style cash register.  I don't think you can find beef like that these days around here.

Last night we were having a conversation about the future.  No, we weren't having a conversation about the future, we were having a conversation about a future husband.  She said (and I quote) "I want a husband that is intense, but not too intense.  He needs to be an easy-going husband who is willing to change his ways."  Good luck with that one sweetie.  (And yes, I ran to the other room to write that all down.  I may use it at the wedding reception if she ever does find Mr. I'm-willing-to-change Right.)

Someone texted this to me this week.  "Blessed are the flexible for they shall never get bent out of shape."  I like that.

I saw this the other day.  It feels so real as I think of my own mother and my current life as well:

And finally, you may notice on the upper-right hand of this blog there is a new poll.  Take part if you wish!  I may be switching it up every few weeks for fun.  Don't ever accuse the Chairman and Co. of getting monotonous.  Heh.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Musings

I know I've mentioned it before, but I will again.  I really like Mondays.  I know it is due in a large part of the fact I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home wife/mom.  I can get the house back to an orderly fashion, get the laundry started.  And think about a nice walk with the dog in a little bit.

However, I'll let you in on a secret.  I really don't like February.  It just seems to be a 'filler' month of more gray and cold.  I'm glad we've hit March because that means we are another month closer to not-so-frigid temps.  I just read that here in dairyland our average temp for the month of February was 14.3.  It was the sixth coldest in 100 years and that average does not take wind chill into account.

There is a good thing about February though!  It's my mom's birthday!  This year I actually had lunch with her on that very self-same day!
I was tickled when my dad told my mom right as I was taking this picture, 'smile like you look happy!'.  As if she usually isn't.... heh.

Speaking of birthdays.  Aren't birthday cards kind of a strange phenomenon.  It is expected to purchase a piece of heavyweight paper.  You stand in front of a rack of cards with flowers or scenes or obnoxious dogs and look for just the right saying for the person you are giving it to.  They can set you back from .99 to $6.  The recipient opens it, reads the prose, and then... what.  Put in a drawer?  The recycle bin?  I still buy them.  I still give them.  I still like to read a few until I get to one that almost makes me feel teary-eyed.  Then I know I've found the one.  But maybe, just maybe we should just verbally express or pen our own feelings about a loved one instead of spending time at the local store looking for the words someone else wrote that may or may not say what we are feeling.  Or maybe this is all just me....

We hit the slopes (if you can call it that) at the local hill again this past Saturday.  Daughter #1 and I smiled big for our selfie.
The other day as I readied myself for a shower I glanced in the fish tank and couldn't find "Styles".  I looked and looked and he wasn't in there.  I was secretly full of glee.  Finally the cat got the fish!  Now I don't have to clean that rotten tank anymore.  Nature took its course!  I rush out to tell the original owner that her fish had gone on to a better home (or the cat's belly).  She rushes into the bathroom to check for herself.  Then I hear something.  A wiggly sound.  It is coming from the slot where the filter motor is.  I shine a flashlight and there is "Styles".  How in the world?  There's a plastic divider.  There's a near-one inch jump he would have had to make.  A jail break if you will.  "Styles" was put back in the tank.  He swam happily around.  Daughter #2 looked at me through narrowed eyes and said, 'you were happy he was going to be dead weren't you?'.  Um....
Today is meatless Monday!  I decided that I wanted to start doing that.  Will see how long it lasts.  Today's supper menu is homemade potato/corn/carrot chowder with egg salad sandwiches and a green salad.   Will be interesting to see if anyone notices there's no meat on the table.

Well happy Monday to you!  I'm off to a really icky but satisfying job of gutting the fridge/freezer in the kitchen and seeing what is there that shouldn't be there and giving it a good scrubbing.  Exciting and riveting days here at the Chairman and Co!