Friday, October 30, 2015

Freaky Friday

A bonus Muse!  And nothing too spooky here.  I guess I titled this "Freaky Friday" on account it is Halloween tomorrow.  There will be ghosts and goblins and goobers showing up at the door looking for handouts once again.  However, there will be something very different here at the Chairman and Co.  No one is frantically looking for costume ideas!  No one is trick-or-treating!  It's kind of depressing as I liked to be alone with the approximate 14 pounds of candy once the MYP had to return to school.  So much for my gaining weight plans.

Yes, we've moved on to the next chapter of life.  With two of the MYP gainfully employed, lots changes.  Like time together as a family of five.  I guess it is a part of the weaning process from your children.  But I don't like it.  I wanted them to get jobs and experiences!  I wanted them to flap their wings and explore options in life.  But I miss them when they are gone.  One of the MYP had a situation where they were scheduling her too much.  I think working 25 hours/week plus trying to do homework and eat and sleep is too much.  She thought so too and had to speak up.  Whew!  She keeps her job (which she does enjoy) and won't be gone so much.

I'm a slobbery sap though.  Yesterday in the car, some song on the oldies country station came on that had absolutely nothing to do with children flapping their wings or life changes or anything, yet it reduced me to bleary-teary-eyes within moments.  The reality of life changing and the eventual fledging of our family isn't lost on me.  Sniff.

Yesterday, I drove out to see my parents and met my slightly older sister there.  It was a lovely time.  We dined on liver and lefse and it was served up with a lot of love.  It was most pleasant.  Except the liver.  I had requested it since it was something I hadn't eaten in approximately 27 years and I know my mom makes it at times.  It still tastes like liver.  Good in a very awful sort of way.

I saw a post about separating your bananas so they don't ripen so fast.  I'm doing a test right now with some still clumped and some separated.  I see no difference.

So tonight, the Chairman and I are alone again!  We have an anniversary coming next week and were discussing what our plans should be tonight.  We could go out to a nice dinner in a quiet restaurant and reminisce about our past and talk about the visions of our future.  Or we could go to our local high school football playoff game that promises temperatures in the low 40's with a bit of a breeze.  I'm thinking we should put on our long johns and cheer on the team.

The Chairman made me chuckle right before he left this morning.  He said, "well if we go out somewhere to eat, I'm going to want to pick a place that serves food that tastes homemade.  Once you know a skill like cooking, you might as well use it."  Yes, my friends, that is my dear Chairman.  I couldn't have made up that quote if I tried.  He's such a lovable dear.  And yes, I'll probably cook up something that is his favorite and we'll head out to the bleachers after to celebrate our love.

Happy spooky weekend!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Musings

That doesn't sound very good.  Tuesday Musings.  I better stick to Mondays from here on out.  I was just a bit over-busy yesterday making pumpkin cookies and granola and chicken gyros and trying to finish up some yard work.  Then I realized I should have been blogging and decided I better redeem the time and actually work instead of type mindless blather.

Thanks for standing by!  And coming back again!  You're not alone.  I just checked the latest stats.  There's been 199,411 page views of this blog so far!  Kinda cool to be hitting 200,000 by the end of the week!  Maybe I should have a party.  Seven years ago on October 21, I wrote on Facebook wondering if I should 'quit the blog and just do Facebook instead'.  I'm glad the blog is still in my life.

So what's new?  I just found out bacon causes cancer.  That's really sad since I have a closet love-affair with Nueske bacon.  If you have not tried it, you must.  There's no substitute.

Here at the Chairman and Co. we believe in a work ethic.  We have encouraged our MYP to seek out employment as long as it doesn't drastically affect grades and more important things.  Well two out of the three have landed jobs and seem quite happy with them.  The third is only 13, so we'll give her a break for a bit.  She does babysit so that should count for something!

Last night her basketball team was playing a team from the town of Erin.  The team wears kelly green uniforms, have kids on the team with white-blonde hair or red, and one of the girls names is appropriately named "Kelly".  Me thinks they embrace their Irish roots.

We were invited to dinner the other night and there is a toddler that lives at that home.  I forgot how utterly entertaining and spontaneous and emotional and unbelievably adorable toddlers are.  It reminded me of this that I saw:
Here's a couple other things that made me smile:

There are so-called heroes out there.  People make heroes out of people that play sports or are on movie screens or save lives.  This lady I went to visit is one that I would love to emulate.  I won't say much about her because she wouldn't want me to.  She's a frail and small lady that is a pillar of strength.  She was happily married until her love passed away.  She had a very open home for years and years.  She has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that have chosen the best things in their lives.  She doesn't complain.  And she makes me desire to have what she has.  I think that's the quality of a hero.  But don't tell her I said that about her.  
Well the work never stops and so I must quit typing and actually do something.  I'm so glad you were patient and stopped by even on a Tuesday or Wednesday or whenever you happen to be here.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Musings

I purposed today that I wouldn't Muse.  I really have very little to offer up today, so this should be brief.  That is unless my fingers do the typing and get away from my brain that is quite empty.

I just got back from running a few errands for home necessities.  I purchased something for myself that I haven't used in say... 21 years.  What is it?  A planner!  No, not one of those feel-good ones that make you set goals on how you will be nice to people or exercise 400 minutes each day.  This one simply has day and monthly calendars.  Being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) is a tedious job.  You do the same thing day in and day out.  I think making lists each day will hold me more accountable to cross them off.  You see if I have written it down that some chore needs to be done that day, I really make myself do that.  I'm a bit crazy like that.

You know our cat Simba?  Well we are sure glad he has nine lives because he used up a couple last week.  He came home one morning with three distinct black markings on his back and neck.  He was scraped up all over his head and one ear.  He had a swollen eye.  I think he was hit by a car at low speed.  He seemed really sore, but nothing seemed broken.  He spent nearly three days inside and didn't want to venture too far away.  Well it looks like he's on the mend and down to about six lives left since he's been bitten or clawed twice already that required vet visits.  Cats.  Why do we like them?  I wish I didn't like the golden fur face so much, but I do.  

This past weekend we went south of the border (no, not to Mexico, silly!  Just to the the place where rivers gently glow and corn doth grow.)  I noticed something about people in Illinois.  They are not nearly as rabid of fans of their local sports teams as they are here in Dairyland.  You see here in Dairyland, there are oodles and oodles of people dressed in either red with Badgers smiling on the front or sporting some kind of sweatshirt, jacket, hat (or better still all three!) in the colors of green and gold no matter where you go.  You would think that's all people have in their closets.  

I had an annual physical last week.  The doctor asked if I had any concerns after she gave me a clean bill of health.  I hesitantly asked what my weight was exactly one year ago.  She told me.  Then I asked what my weight said this year.  She told me.  Well if I gain three pounds every year for the next 20, I will be a lot to love when I'm an old lady.  So therefore, I'm off to walk on this breezy day.  Have a special week!  

this is so me... 
you can't go to IKEA without eating Swedish meatballs!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I'll always remember... and I'll always love her

Today is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day.  The whole month of October is dedicated to those that have lost babies through miscarriage, premature birth, SIDS, etc.  We had more losses than you could count on one hand.  And the month of October is also the month that we lost our baby nineteen years ago.

I don't want to stir up feelings or solicit sympathies or make a mockery over loss.  I just want to say that each and every time we get to this time of year, I feel a small emptiness in my heart that only she could fill.

Today I was in a decorating store.  I saw a little saying about someone I love being in heaven and that is why we want to keep a little heaven in our home or something like that.  I stood there looking at it and my eyes welled up with tears.  Grief is weird like that.  It was a normal morning.  I had a few errands to run and was looking for a certain thing.  And there was this little plaque.  And here came my sorrow.  For our little baby that died.

Most of you know, little Amara Kay was born at 24 weeks back in 1996.  She struggled with all she had for three days and the bleeding on the brain was too much.  Her daddy and I wanted her so.  She had grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins all eagerly awaiting her arrival.  We held her tiny little hand.  We watched her struggle in the moist warmth of the incubator.  We studied her little face for familiar features and we saw them.  But life was too much for her premature body and she died.

I didn't know her really, but I loved her.  I dreamt about what she would be like when I carried her.  I felt her move within.  I couldn't wait to be her mommy.  But really, I didn't know her personality or her likes or dislikes.  But one thing is so completely certain.  I loved her and I still do.

The gifts of our subsequent children have filled nearly all the gaps.  We were completely blessed with our daughter, then our son, then another daughter.  We were completely blessed with having our family grow in a unique way of international adoption, domestic adoption, and then by birth.  I give thanks every day for these souls that are now housed in teenage bodies.  Yes, we are blessed.

Then there's an experience like this morning when I felt that gap.  A little plaque with a saying about knowing someone I love is in heaven.  We were assured of that at her funeral.  She never sinned and so her soul is safe.  But then it hit me once again that I am a mother of a baby that died.  She never got to live life and experience all the wonders and emotions and love that life can offer.  And she will never have to deal with the sorrows of life either.  It is His will and not ours.

Little Amara gave me some gifts.  She taught me that life is precious.  She taught me to value the children we do have.  She taught me that I was stronger than I ever thought I could be.  She taught me that her father is in incredible and thoughtful man.  And she taught me that heaven isn't so far away.

So we continue on in our journey of life.  We count our blessings.  We give thanks for friends and family that held us up when we could not do it ourselves.  We stop and are overcome with sadness on an ordinary day. And we give thanks for a wee little baby girl that was given and then taken back again so very quickly.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Musings

Is it just me or does the weeks fly by?  Feel under the gun to have some substance to Muse.  What's up in my world?

Well last week this happened:
If you can't read the fine print, it is Lisi ashamedly admitting she will nearly die for a treat.  You see the UPS man was driving by at approximately 15 miles an hour and Lisi bolted from me and jumped on the moving brown truck.  Why you ask?  Well our regular driver throws out treats to her if she's in our yard or if we are walking.  This time it was a different guy and he was completely shocked and seemed almost scared to see a big dog hopping on his truck as he drove by.  I got over there and Lisi immediately went upside down and it was nearly impossible to get her off.  And no, she didn't get a treat.  I told the driver to not offer one so she doesn't jump on moving trucks again.

There was a local funeral this weekend and I was again asked to be a singer.  Call me weird but I don't get one bit nervous about singing like that.  I'm not sure why.  My voice could crack.  My hymn book could fall down.  I could trip.  But no, I just don't feel nervous at all.  I almost find it baffling because I don't like to do any public speaking.  A job interview would keep me up at night.  But singing?  Not at all.  Maybe it is because I love to sing.  And I have such wonderful people standing by me also singing.  Yeah,  I'm aware it is kind of a strange aspect of me.

We have had spectacular, picture-perfect days of weather and sunsets and changing leaves.  I can't believe I used to not like fall.

Daughter #2 had in her mind to make some cupcakes the other night.  After working for awhile she told me she was done and wandered off to do homework.  I go into the kitchen.  Apparently as soon as the cupcakes are finished, the job is complete!
See the picture following?
It is a room full of people stamping cards.  At least that's what I think they were doing.  I did see some of them noshing on cake and talking.  But I think they mainly were there to stamp.  I felt like a fish out of water and so I safely stayed in the kitchen since that was what I was asked to do.  A friend of mine is Mrs. Big with the Stamping business.  Kudos to her!  And thankfully, our friendship isn't based on my creative abilities.

These young ladies were in our back seat yesterday.  I think one looks sleepy.

Well here's a couple things to part with.  Have a great week ahead!  I'm fully intending to.
took me a second to get this one... 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Whimsical Wednesday

Lisi and I just returned from our daily walk.  As we approached a humongous moving van on the other side of the subdivision, she perked up as there were a bunch of moving guys in there stirring around.  As we got closer, she started to walk closer to the trailer.  One guy in his 20's with strawberry-blonde hair and a ready smile said to me, 'wow!  Look at that cutie!'  Then he added 'the dog is cute too!'.  I honestly didn't know what to do.  So I said, 'sure... thanks!'.  Since our age difference would mean that he is old enough to be one of my children, I will not take offense.

What a beautiful fall day here in Dairyland!  It seems like each and every year I pause and take the same picture of the same tree that is beautiful year after year.  Nature is so beautiful.  And quiet.  And does what it is supposed to without trying to be noticed.

You can almost smell the pumpkin-spice in the air!  Have you noticed just how many things are being marketed with pumpkin-spice?  I think Starbucks probably started it.  This morning I was at a large grocery store and saw pumpkin-spice bagels and cookies and candy and tea and yogurt and coffee creamer and jello and Pop-tarts and ice cream...  Goodness!

I noticed recently that certain clerks are required to say the same thing over and over and over again each day.  Here is a sample from various stores:

"Would you like that on your Red Card?"
" Would you like cash back?"
"Did you find everything you need?"
"Would you like that sandwich as a basket meal?"
"Are you ready to check out?"
"Could I take that from you?"
"Paper or plastic?"
"Did you push the green button?"

I'm thinking when they interview people for positions, they should just ask those people to repeat their store's phrase 467 times in an hour to see if they have the stamina.

I'm a terrible homebody.  I marvel at people that get super-excited to go on trips.  I get super-excited when I look at the calendar and don't know when we would ever leave town next.  Maybe that's a good thing.  Or not.

Well this is enough for now.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Musings

Since the inception of this blog many years ago, I have tried to refrain from getting on the soapbox too much.  I've tried to keep my opinions of politics, world affairs, family issues, negativity off the typed pages of this website.  Well it is time for a change.  I am now going to air my dirty laundry.
There.  Now I feel better.  Plus a lot of it smelled really smoky, so it helps to have it all exposed.

We just returned from our annual fall camping venture.  Approximately seven years ago, we had some local friends that were campers and asked us to join them.  Well we did and haven't looked back (even though these friends moved away).  This year happened to be a good-weather year.

Each and every time we get ready for camping, I get a bit overwhelmed and stressed and just maybe an eensy-weensy bit crabby.  I want to ensure we have everything we need, but not too much.  I want to ensure that the house is tidy and clean before we leave.  I want to ensure that any pets left behind are cared for.  

Then we get there and get set up and settle our hinders into the camp chair round the fire and there's a happy sigh and it is worth all the effort.  

We went with several other families this year and that makes it so wonderful.  We share meals and cooking utensils and stories about life and stories about what makes life have meaning.  One bonus about the timing of all of it is that it is right after our season of special privileges, so there are thoughts shared that we haven't heard or maybe missed while we were listening to the same message.

Then there's the observations about camping.  Here are a few:

* State park bathrooms cleanliness rating is about a C- on a good day.  The showers are gritty.  The corners are filled with spiders and other creepy-crawlies.  And the dressing area is out in the open so you can see your fellow campers in their underpants.  If you are geared for utter cleanliness, squeamish about insects, or a private person, camping isn't for you.

* Campers in general are happy.  Hence - the term happy campers.  It is almost always function over fashion.  There's no place for pretense.  

* Campers love dogs.  Almost all of them.  We took Lisi and I was almost always was stopped by the person I'd meet on the trail wondering how old she was and to confirm that she was a golden retriever.  Lisi thinks these ventures are the best thing ever.  She's with us constantly, loved on by others, and gets to hike for miles and miles.

* There's always the eager-beaver campers nearby.  You know them.  The ones that set up flags for their favorite sports team, have holiday lights dangling around their awning, and have carpets set up all around their campsite.  This year one couple even set up Halloween decorations.  

* This year we took a hike that was nearly nine miles.  If we would have told the MYP we were going to hike that far just as a family, they would have protested and considered it nearly a death-march.  But with friends and a football to toss as they walked and lots of crevasses to cover and rocks to climb, it seemed like a jaunt to the mailbox.  Or almost.  

* The food tastes better when you are camping.  I think it is because you work up an appetite walking so much.  We had assignments for each meal and it came together beautifully and utterly delicious.  

* But really, the whole purpose of the camping efforts is because of the campfire.  There is something very primal about the fire.  It is mesmerizing.  It is warming.  It feels very safe.  For some reason, conversations just flow over the dancing light of a fire.  It is a wonderful bonding place for the middle-aged and the young.  

So there you have it.  I am ashamed to say I didn't get any decent family shots at all this year.  So here's what I can offer and I promise I'll do better next time.  
off on the venture!

Dairyland in October!

Lisi and me.  I like that someone took this of us.

the MYP

where to next?

so pretty

back home and fittingly, dog-tired
Well I'll try to keep this blog cleaner from now on.  I hope to not air out my dirty laundry again for awhile.  Thank you for your understanding.