Thursday, April 30, 2015

Then there was Thursday

This week there is testing at the high school.  That means for this stay-at-home-mom I get to drive to the high school each and every day morning and afternoon!  How fun can it get?

I just saw the "Port-O-John" guy come to the neighboring home being built.  As he stuck his big vaccuum-like thingy down the portable outhouse, I wondered if he really thought that is what he'd like to do when he grew up?  He looked like a pretty decent guy.  I'm glad there are people that do those kinds of jobs.  And I'm sure construction workers feel more so.

Targeted ads are really wonderful and not so wonderful at the same time.  In the past weeks, there has been research done on outdoor ceiling fans, drivers for golf, personalized dog collars, and ways to trim up the abdomen.  And guess what?  No matter where the mouse-clicks turn, there are pictures and advertisements for just those items.  That can be good.  But once the purchase is made, then stop showing me all the other options I could have picked!  I might get buyer's remorse if it keeps up!  And please... I don't intend to go in to freeze off my belly fat.

It's nearly flower-planting time again here in Dairyland!  Here's a hint someone shared with me since I'm so clueless with colors and arranging flowers.  Buy a cheap hanging basket that appeals to you.  Dump it out into a larger pot with a lot of soil and voila!  You have yourself a pretty arrangement that can grow to its fullest instead of being a root-bound hanging basket that will die approximately June 24th.

I just read there are people camped out of the hospital in London where Kate is supposed to have their second baby.  Why would you do that?  I doubt they'll get to really see the baby.

I did a little survey on FB the other day.  What is your favorite food?  It told me a couple things.  1) people are very diverse.  2) some people say they just love fruit or kale chips as a favorite food 3) I think some people are fibbers 4) my favorite food (guilty pleasure) is a good donut.  It could be frosted or glazed or powdered or raised or cake or cheap or expensive.  Doesn't matter.  Delicious!

Several times in the past week I have either received a text, phone call, or asked in person and each time I heard the same phrase.  "I want to ask you XYZ because you know everything".  Thankfully, I had answers for them all, but it begs the question.  Is being told you "know everything" the same thing as being a "know it all"?  I hope not.

So the drum roll has started.  The glow of birthday candles is on the horizon.  Yes, in just a few days I turn a half a century.  Yes.  You read that right.  Fifty.  I spend a lot of time waiting for the MYP for various activities and have jotted down on my phone notes section fifty things about me or things I have learned at this point.  Should I post it?  It seems like too much to read and I don't want to bore the masses and cause retinal bleeding.

I've spent a lot of time reflecting this week.  And the other day, Lisi and I went to my kind of "gym".  It was lovely!  It's a glorious time of year.  Hope you can enjoy it too!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Musings

Well here we are again!  Feels like I was just here.  Wait.  I was.  I decided to post a bit on Friday which may or may not leave little to offer up on a Monday Musings.

I experienced a stunning contrast in boy vs. girl shopping this past Saturday.  Daughter #1 walked into a huge designer consignment shop.  I looked at her and realized that she could spend days hours in there.  So I said, we will go on and come back to get you.  Son #1 and I were actually on a mission to find some pants since his legs - for some reason - keep growing.  We walk into the mall and to a store that he's had luck at before.  He picks out a pair (yes, just ONE pair) to try on.  He quickly rushes to the fitting room.  Comes out in two minutes and says, 'they're good'.  I ask, 'don't you want to look at a shirt or another pair of pants?'.  He replies, 'I have three pairs of pants and that is enough'.  Then he looks at one shirt, likes it, and hands it to me.  Start to finish in the mall:  10 minutes flat.  We run a bunch of other errands and return to daughter #1 in 1.5 hours.  She's barely ready and seems distressed we came back so 'soon'.

I have often wondered how parents prepare for an empty nest.  I realize I'm a few years away, but the other night I realized that it actually comes gradually.  As our MSC (many small children) grow to MYP (many young people), they begin to have their own plans and agendas.  The other night the nest was empty due to a sports event, a friend sleepover and a babysitting job.  Yes, it will come.  And hopefully, I'm ready to leave my hand wide open to let the butterflies come and go.

After 20+ years of marriage, there's a weird phenomenon that occurs extremely often.  The Chairman has deadlines and says he'll be working 'late'.  Now that could mean anything from 7:30 til 2 am.  But somehow even without him specifically telling me the exact time, I have a good hunch when he'll be rolling in.  The other night I was throwing balls at the dog.  Then it hit me.  The Chairman should be coming home.  I'm guessing the very next car that I see will be him.  And guess what.  It was.  It happens that way often.  Weird.

Son #1 was bored the other night.  So I told him to make a dessert for us since we normally never have one and the meal was planned.  He loves cooking and baking.  So he pulls out a cookbook and remembers that our friend served us up delicious crepes a few months back and decides to make them.  They turned out perfect.  He stuffed them with gelato, homemade fudge sauce, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  I told him the next time we have company, he's responsible for the dessert.

I made these muffins yesterday.  They were healthy and delicious.  My modifications were that I added some ground flax, used a whole egg, and put in a few nuts.  Yum

Speaking of yum.  My mom is a peach.  Actually, the pie is peach.  And she brought it in yesterday to go with our supper.  It was kind of an early birthday cake.  She's the best and so is the pie.

Then there's this dog.  Her name is Lilly.

How do I know her name is Lilly?  Well on an extremely cold and blustery day I was sitting at the sidelines of a soccer game.  Lilly was there too.  Lilly was very well behaved but looked bored.  So was I.  I felt in my pocket and had some dog kibble in there that I give to Lisi when we are playing fetch.  So I look both ways and toss one of them in Lilly's direction when she isn't looking.  But what I did (I'm bad I know) was toss it just out of reach of her leash. She catches wind of the kibble and gets up sniffing around.  The owner was busy talking to the burrito lady next to her.  Lilly sniffs and sniffs and then starts pulling hard on the leash for the morsel of dog food.  Owner-lady says, 'Lilly what on earth has gotten into you?'.  She yanks Lilly to sit close to her again.  I feel bad.  Lilly is looking at me as I think she smells the other dog food in my pocket.  So I again look both ways and toss one right at Lilly's feet.  She eats it and looks appreciatively my way.  Just another way to fill some time at a frigid soccer game.

I've taken a few of those on-line quizzes that pop up on my FB feeder.  In the past few days I have found out:  "I'm 90-100% OCD (I take that as a high compliment), my parents should have named me "Emma", I act like I'm 26 (just shy of 24 years off), and I will only marry once (I'm sure the Chairman is happy to hear that).

So there you go!  Another Monday Musings posted before deadline!  Happy week ahead.  Make it a good one!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Feverish Friday

No, I'm not that busy - feverish.  It is because there was a couple days of fever here.  Our 'baby' succumbed to a bad stomach bug/fever/icky for a few days.  It was kinda pleasant to have her around during the day.  After day one she asked me, 'what if I lose weight?'.   To most of us, that is a pleasant side-effect of sickness.  Not to a skinny 12-year old.  One thing that was sweet was that at least twice when I would go up to her room and sit by her on the bed she would say, 'I like it when you are here'.  I like it that she told me that.  Really, as a mom, I didn't have much to offer but a cup of cold water with ice chips and some slightly-stale crackers.   But to a sick girl, it is perfect.  I  love being a mom.

I read a quote today that made me smile:

 "Cleaning the house with your kids home is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos".    

Last night I was thinking of a cartoon with a picture of a man with a thermometer and a hot water bottle on his head.  So I did a Google images and one came up.  I looked to see where the site was that it came from and it said, "The Chairman and Company".  WHAT?  So apparently I used that exact cartoon a couple years ago.  I went to 'visit the site' and there it was.  Also there was a post on that page about having 'blogging burnout' and I was going to stop writing.  Ha.  Guess that makes me a liar.  

I just was out mowing our lawn this morning.  When I mow, it looks like a happy home haircut.  When the MYP or the Chairman mows, it looks like the lawn went to a salon.  I'm not sure why that is.  But hopefully, they tell me I do such a bad job that they always want to do it themselves. 

I saw this video the other day.  Yes, time moves faster the older you get.  The one benefit to this awareness is that I find myself not wanting to squander time away.  I realize each day I live is one day closer to not living.  Morbid I know.  But that's reality.  It seems like lately, I've been wanting to do things that really matter.  Stop and smell that flower.  Take a deep breath of that fresh air.  Throw balls at the dog if she comes up with one in her mouth.   Put down that phone or iPad when the MYP or the Chaimran are present.  And most importantly, take the time for the most important things.  I fail at it so much, but at least I can keep trying.

Here was daughter #1 and me the night we were heading out to celebrate her "Gotcha Day".  Talk about time going fast... (wah!).  Almost sweet 16.  She's actually sweet 15 now... really.
Happiest weekend to you!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"The Coat"

Do you remember the phenomenon that swirled around "the dress"?  You know the internet sensation of whether the dress was white and gold or blue and black?  Well we have something unique related to an item of clothing in Dairyland.  In fact, right here at the Chairman and Co.!

I have always completely trusted the Chairman's judgement and choices.  I mean really!  He chose me to be the Mrs.  Chairman!  Heh.  Anyway, he's always seemed to me to be a very wise man and for the 22 years I've known him - to trust him for all things.  Except for one itty-bitty bone of contention.

Several years ago I made a purchase without his knowledge.  I found a Lands' End spring coat  for a ridiculous amount of money.  If my memory serves me right, it was just under $25 including free shipping.  A deal, right?  I thought so.  When I opened up the package I was delighted!  It fit like a charm.  It had lovely fabric.  And it was so cheery!  I was pleased as punch when I put it on to go somewhere.  The Chairman looked at it and said 'where is that from?'.  Then... 'how much did it cost?'.  Then... 'you can't wear that with anything but black underneath or it will look really bad.'.  Then adding insult to injury he added, 'you can keep it as long as you wear it when I'm not around.'

The bubble had burst.  Despite the perfect fit, the lovely fabric, the cheerful pattern, the Chairman didn't like it.  So I wondered if I really did either.  That is until I did wear it without the Chairman by my side.

Each and every time I went to a school function, to the grocery store, to the hardware store, to get my hair done (ok, I made that one up), I would get a compliment.  'I love your coat!'.  'Where did you find that?'  'You look like a breath of spring!'.  You get the picture.  So I harbored my love affair with my coat in secret.

It has been a year or so since I pulled out "The coat".  Today was a dreary, blustery, icky day.  It was calling for some cheer in lovely fabric.  So I ran downstairs and put it on (mind you I was wearing a knee-length black skirt underneath in case I ran into the Chairman at Costco).

I trudged around the store picking up items we needed.  I ran into a school mom there and we chatted a bit.  I was secretly wondering if she was going to admire my coat.  I was actually hoping so since I hadn't been stopped yet wondering just where this lovely garment had come from.  But no, she didn't ask despite her warm smile and friendly countenance.

So I finished up my purchasing and as I was heading out the door I began to second-guess my perfect coat.  This was the very first time ever that I had worn it that someone hadn't come up to say how lovely it was!  Hmmm.  Maybe the Chairman is right again.  It isn't that special after all.  It clashes with everything.  Maybe the green color isn't quite right.

After I loaded my $231 worth of Costco goods in the back of the van, I looked around to see where to put my cart.  There was a lady there with an older lady by her side.  She said, 'yoo-hoo!  Could we take your cart from you?'.  Of course!  I walk it over to her and just as I was getting close, she said, 'where on ever did you get that beautiful coat?  It is just lovely!.  I gave her a big smile and told her it was from Lands' End and I loved it too.

So I got into the van and I felt all smug and satisfied with myself.  Yes, the Chairman is wise and wonderful but maybe, just maybe he doesn't understand the loveliness of a perfect fit, lovely fabric, or cheerful patterns.

I'll continue to sneak out the door without him and just bask in the compliments as they roll off the tongues of those I come in contact with.  It's been quite the journey so far - me and my coat.  Looking forward to the next venture.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Musings

Well hello there!  It's a blustery, rainy, chilly spring day here.  I think my daffodils are blowing away.  I did capture this picture the other night.  It was pretty while it lasted.

So the good news is that my dreadfully sore throat of three days is gone.  The bad news is that my body said, 'lets move this virus to the nose and eyes and see how much liquid can pour out of them!'.  Colds are miserable.  I always forget until I get one again.

Don't think for a minute that I didn't try to stop it.  I took these remedies in random order:  apple cider vinegar mixed with water, hot water with lemon and honey, vitamin C, magnesium, Airborne, probiotics, and even drank green smoothies for lunch for three consecutive days.  I tried, but the virus was more persistent.  I hope it goes away fast.

Life is real and isn't all roses.  The other day I was crabby.  Like crabby.  Like I wish I hadn't said a few things that I did... crabby.  I felt like Lucy.
My human nature wants to blame it on getting sick.  My other nature wants to redeem myself and tell loved ones that I didn't like how I behaved.  Thankfully, I am choosing the latter and aim to make today a good day.

After I presented my family with Sunday dinner of spaghetti with all the trimmings, I started to wilt.  I realized I needed a big nap and so muttered something about the kitchen was left to the rest of them and wandered off to the bedroom.  I came out nearly two hours later and saw this.  My family had totally cleaned the kitchen.  Now that's what I call thoughtful.  Even after my crabbies.

Last night as I was saying goodnight to son #1, he walked by me.  Hey!  Stop!  Come over here!  I'm not sure when it happened, but he went from being about a half-inch shorter than me to a good inch and more taller than me.  I'm not sure when that happened, but it seems like it really took place in just a day.  I'm guessing we are off to the store to buy more pants again.

The other day, Lisi and I took a road trip to meet her cousin-dog.  Since dogs only identify each other by sniffing the back-sides, I'm not sure she understands the relevance of them being 'cousins'.  No matter.  They seemed to enjoy each other's company.  
There's something Lisi's expression that reminds me of this:

I brushed out the cat this week on the deck and as the cat hair was floating along in the breeze I saw some birds take it off to line their nests.  Isn't that kind of like resting your precious babies on the enemy?   Then I saw this cartoon.  That is why I brush out the cat nearly daily.
This weekend we acquired another daughter.  Her family needed to fly out of town and so we gladly swooped her up to join ours.  It was really nice.  Then another friend came over.  As I looked out at them all jumping on the trampoline it dawned on me what I was seeing.  There were five MYP.  Three were adopted.  Three different racial backgrounds.  Three different skin tones.  We read about celebrating diversity.  I wouldn't say we 'celebrate' it.  We just simply live it because to us, this is normal.  I'm glad of that.

Especially on days like today.  I posted this picture on social media.  This picture represents unspeakable joy to me.  The moment 15 years ago today in the city of Hefei, Anhui, China that our daughter was placed in my arms.  Yes, we intend to celebrate her today.  Not because of the diversity, but because she's our daughter.  Our love.  Our gift.

So happy week ahead to you!  Excuse me while I go blow my nose....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I need to get working  I have winter gear to wash and store.  Skis and snowboards to put in the back basement room.  A garage to sweep.  Laundry to start.  A meal to figure out.  And a dog to walk.  Typing words is easier for me.

Last night the Chairman did our taxes!  Yes, on April 14.  Yes, that is the day he almost always does them.  Unless it is April 15.  The Chairman has been burning his candle at both ends since we returned from vacation.  It's always like that.  There's a comfort after 20+ years of marriage of knowing what to expect.  Like a husband/father MIA after a vacation and taxes done the day before or the day of April 15.  I'm not complaining though.  He always feels family vacations are vital and wonderful.  I'm so glad he feels that way.  Even if it means little sleep the week leading up to and after the time away.

Clean sheets.  Aren't they wonderful?  I change ours about every 10 days or when I remember.  It always feels like a luxury to slip into the clean linens.  We're in the market for a new mattress pad.  If you have suggestions to what would be best, I'm all ears.  I've contemplated a cheap one from Costco or a nice memory foam one that costs lots more...  and haven't made a decision.

This morning I made a smoothie out of power greens (kale, spinach, etc), carrot juice, strawberries, half a banana, ground flax, and chia seeds.  It was a dreadful color and texture.  I may or may not have heaved while trying to drink it too fast like medicine.  Daughter #2 looked at me with fear in her eyes and I gulped and then heaved.

Yesterday, I got our screened porch ready and open for business.  It is a yucky job considering there was a late-fall/winter's worth of dirt that accumulated on light tile and white walls.  It reminded me of working on some yucky sheds during preps.  I worked top down and scared more than a couple spiders out of hibernation.  So come on over and have a visit!

I'm coming up on a big milestone birthday.  Apparently targeted ads are all the thing these days.  I researched some ceiling fans a couple days ago and now that's all I see on FB or other places.  The ads and snail mail are also targeting me because of my age.  This was in the mailbox on our return.  Isn't that great?  The Chairman and I are ready to retire!  I'm not sure what I'll retire from since I really don't have a job.  Maybe from the laundry.  Will see how long that lasts.  That couple sure does look relaxed though!

Friends and family warned me about metabolism and how it isn't your friend once you crest the age-hill.  I'm still working on it and walking and trying to limit myself on treats - although the Krispy bars have been delicious.  But here was another ad targeted at me this week.  Thanks for the boost in self esteem.
I'm super happy about the latest delivery from this place.  A shout-out to their wonderful wheat berries.  The 50 pounds I got will last maybe five months.
Look what it has produced in the last few months!  I need to stop taking pictures of bread me thinks...

Ok, I've procrastinated long enough!  Fun to chat with you again!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Musings

And once again, hello there!  What a difference a week makes!  Last week at this very time, I was sitting in a condo in Winter Park CO having a lovely conversation with two special ladies.  Monday Musings wasn't even on my radar.  I guess that's why vacations are nice.  To get away from the normal.  But I'm so glad to be sitting back in the author's chair and I'm excited to once again Muse.

We flew out to CO to attempt our first foray into skiing a bigger hill than the two-bit one five minutes from our home.  We joined up with another family from our own city.  And also joined up with some other families while we were there.  But backing up.

A shout-out to Southwest Airlines.  Not only would they ship out our ski gear for free, they were friendly, helpful, and timely.  The peanut pack could just be a teensy-weensy bit bigger if I had a beef.

We sat in different rows since the Chairman and Co. includes five people.  The Chairman and son #1 were in front of me and the girls.  As we were waiting to take off I heard the Chairman say to son #1, 'something stinks!  Do you think one of them did something?' (implying that maybe someone in our row had broken wind if you know what I mean)  The lady sitting with them on the aisle spoke up and said, 'I'm so very sorry.  I'm eating jerky and I didn't realize it smelled so much.'  The Chairman got very apologetic and said, 'well sometimes my family can do something smelly and I thought they just did something.'  So then the lady snickered and I sat horrified one row behind worried that the lady in front of me would think of me as just a big stink-bomb of a mother.  Or one of our sweet daughters.  It was super-funny in a very awful sort of way.

So we landed in Denver and headed out to the mountains under the glow of moonlight.  It was kind of surreal as it was so beautiful and hardly a car on the road as we wound around turns to get to the condo that was rented.  It was three stories.  It was lovely.  And I wish I had that super-fancy stove/oven in our own home.

The skiing was nice.  I'm only a two-year old skier and ski about as good as a two-year old.  Well maybe a touch better.  But I stayed on blues and was cautious and came home with all my body parts and no torn rotator cuffs.  That's worth something, right?  Two of our MYP are crazy-skiers and snowboarders.  We would just meet up once in awhile to make sure all their body parts were still on their bodies.  They were with their friends that rode the hills at the same level.  It was just crazy-fun for them.

I loved our times together in the condo.  We had delicious food.  Times to sing together.  Visits that lasted late in the evening.  All of those MYP together were a sight to behold.  So were their messy rooms.  Heh.  So was the Axe spray.  Cough.

I'll bomb you with some photos:

so pretty! 
our pad in CO
sweet families
B&A - CO residents with roots in Dairyland
after dinner music
another group shot
the views...
MYP and the Chairman
The Chairman and I
Having fun 
more skiing
our "friend" thought it wise to take our daughter down a double-black

games with friends 
old friends and new...
lots of MYP
reverse raccoon mask
so pretty
all good things must come to an end
And so back to reality.  I like coming home to our furry friends.  They were well cared for by a sweet pet sitter.  However, it was hard to get anything done the first morning home because every time I sat down, this was my view:

Yesterday was a momentous morning.  We have gone to this home for nearly 18 years.  They are moving next door, so it isn't too far away.  However, we have some deep feelings for this place even though it is just a house.  Thankfully, we are taking the feelings and the people with us to the next home.  We are confident it will be just the same.  But no matter.  Several wanted pictures taken and so here they are:

Happy Monday to you!  I'm glad I had this chance to Muse.  Maybe next time it will be more aMusing and less of a travelogue.  I hope so since I have no plans to go anywhere in the near-term future.

Monday Musings - a week old

I didn't forget you faithful readers.  Really I didn't!  In fact, to prove it, I will Muse not once, but twice today!

So here goes.  We had a very special week leading up to a special day.  It turned into an extra-special week because we had extra-special opportunities to be with extra-special people.  I say this not to elevate them - because I am certain they wouldn't want to be called extra-special.  However, to me they are extra-special and so I am at liberty to say that.

I got to see these two ladies at a lunch.  The one in the middle invited me to come over.  She is a independent, interesting, funny, and most importantly, spiritual dear lady.  She is a walking proverb and shares her bread unsparing.  And with lots of butter.
The one in red is one of our very own.  A helper with a lovely background of parents that have a very open home.

The one in green was a visitor from a cold place.  But she came with a very warm heart and countenance.  She was born into the same meeting place where my grandparents lived.  They were very close to her parents.  In fact, they acted as surrogate parents to this lady-in-green's parents.  And thus, their children were loved upon as much as grandparents could.  We would get letters telling us about things that were happening with lady-in-green's family.  The joys.  The sorrows.  My grandparents loved them dearly.
I spent nearly a week there one summer helping out the lady-in-green's mother.  It was a joy to haul around one of her brothers on my skinny teenage hip.  To ride ponies that ran away from me.  To be chased by some very exotic and noisy birds.  To pet the large group of cats that sunned themselves on the porch.  To pet a humongous dog that stood nearly taller than I did.  To help her mother make many, many apple pies for the freezer.  To sit and eat waffles around the table and hear her mother tell the older sister she ate way too much of the bacon.  Cozy family.  And so, many years later, it was a joy to see her so content in her special place.  Yes, they are missed and we are succeeding.  We are enjoying fruits of those that sowed in springtime.  And yes, we still are remembering for what they have done.

Then we had another couple of special visits with some other special ones.  One of these was in the same state as me many years ago.  We crossed paths here and there and as I went through a challenging experience, she was very helpful in encouraging me to be helpful to another.  She often brought up this situation over the years to remind me of maybe some good deeds.  It was appreciated and has encouraged me to want to be a helper in any way I can - even if it isn't the most pleasant.  I have lots to learn and have lots I should yet be doing.  But I'm so glad there are those that encourage us to be helpers.

Here are the annual special morning shots: