Friday, November 27, 2015

The fullest I've felt...

There was an old Hefty commercial that talked about Fred and Freda Fuller after a huge dinner and one of the lines in it said, 'it was the fullest the Fullers had ever felt'.  I think they were trying to impress upon the audience that they could stuff Hefty garbage sacks really full.  Anyway, I feel like Freda.  Just full.

Full of thankfulness for the following:

~ A dishwasher - I ran it a record four times on Wednesday and I think three times yesterday with the crowd.

~ Butter - I went through about three pounds of butter in two days with cooking and baking and on the tables.  Anything fake here in Dairyland would be thrown out the window.

~ Close grocery stores - I made two dozen cupcakes.  Cupcakes that don't have baking soda in them are actually transformed into hockey pucks.  I had to go find another bar of German chocolate to make them the second time.

~ An open concept home.  Nearly eight years ago, the Chairman happened to be biking by our home when it was for sale.  We were just days away from building the home we had designed with a builder.  However, the Chairman walked inside and envisioned this one full of family and friends on days like we had yesterday.  So we gave them some dimes and nickels and made it our home.  It handles crowds well and I'm glad we shared the same vision.

~ Food - who doesn't like food?  Thanksgiving is all about eating with wreckless abandon.  The stakes are high.  People want the food both delicious and plentiful.  I'm glad that the feast that was spread met every need.  And I'm glad I like to cook.

~ Friends - I had a crazy thought yesterday.  I wanted to text friends and tell them why I was thankful for them.  My friends probably thought of me as a bit schmaltzy, but that comes with the package.  I got a lot of thoughts sent to this one and that but ran out of time.  I am thankful I did run out of time.  Why?  Because I have many friends.  And that makes me thankful.

~ Family - We had both friends and family with us yesterday for the big day.  I love the quote that says, "friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.  It was very evident yesterday.  Lines are blurred as far as blood.  It doesn't matter if they are friends or family.  They are all loved.

~ Willingness to change - anyone that knows me knows that I don't like change.  However one change that has happened to me over the years is what seems normal for holidays.  I was raised with an extremely small extended family.  I had no first cousins.  One grandparent died when I was six years old.  So our Thanksgivings would sometimes be only seven or at most, ten.  When I became part of the Chairman's family, holidays included extended family.  Italians like to talk.  Loud.  And sometimes it seems there is more talking than listening.  I'm glad that the very big gathering seems normal to me now.

~ A happy son.  Thanksgiving morning I get a text.  "Got one".  I knew immediately what that meant.  They were about the happiest two words son #1 ever texted.  He shot his first deer.  He was standing pretty tall after that happened.  Well actually, he's standing pretty tall anyway.  Goodness teenage boys can grow!

So that's about it from this corner.  I'm still full.  Full of happy memories and a few extra calories from my annual piece of pecan pie.  I hope you have lots to be thankful for too.  Picture overload following:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings

Good morning!  Or afternoon or evening or whenever you happen to be glancing at the Chairman and Co.  I'm not sure how much I'll Muse.  Depends on when the timer goes off to make the dough into rolls and bread.

After I had some thoughts last Thursday, the MYP and I headed into the city to do a return and shop a bit at some stores.  It was a brutally windy night.  We parked in the middle of the parking lot away from all cars (and lights) since I wasn't wanting a door ding.  We ran hurriedly into the store.  One of the MYP had an uneasy feeling being in there.  Suddenly, there were flashing police car lights and a lot of excitement next door.  So being the safety-conscious mother that I am, we all went over there to check some bargains and see if there was something worth looking at.  Sure enough.  One guy in handcuffs.  Lots of police people looking serious in their blue uniforms.  Apparently a theft had just happened.

We leave and get home just as the Chairman returned from work.  I see a message light flashing on the home phone.  I listen.  The Chairman starts saying, 'what is he saying???'  Apparently I left the car unlocked in the parking lot in our hurry.  Apparently there were three suspects, not just one.  Apparently the two suspects were running and tried the door to our vehicle to hide in it from the police.  Apparently they jumped in to hide.  Thankfully, the police saw them.  And apparently they are in custody and we didn't have extra passengers on our way home.  Whew.  I may or may not have thought this might be something to blog after it was all said and done.

Our high school team made it to the championship game!  We wanted to go cheer them to victory and so we did.  We were not effective because victory was not won.  However, we had a very suite (pun intended) deal.  It just happens that daughter #2 is friends with Mr. Bigshot's granddaughter in the place where the championship game was held.  Like there are books written on him.  He's often mentioned in our local paper.  And he has an office overlooking the entire stadium with a balcony, sofas, and other luxuries.  We know this because we were escorted in to meet him and other important dignitaries.  They gave us wristbands and an open tab to enjoy in the suite.  It afforded us to watch the game in a perfect climate rather than the snowy, frigid temperatures out there with the minions.  It all pays to know someone.  Heh.

it snowed! 
I am so very guilty of this:
I like this:
 This morning I looked outside to see if the bus had come yet.  It seems Simba was helping son #1 watch for it.  He's such a golden-retriever of cats.
I like to think I've taught our MYP something about bargains.  However, daughter #1 showed me she's far-exceeded my frugal ways.  She found a pair of Cole-Haan's that had a regular retail of $268 for... a penny.  Yes, a penny.  That's all she paid for her latest shoes.  I couldn't tell her they were out of her price range.
So I have a lot of ducks (or rather one big turkey) to get in a row before Thursday.  I'm so glad it is coming soon.  I'm so glad we can host it.  I will be so glad when it is over.  I didn't say that, did I?  Heh.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Image result for thanksgiving quotes

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

A bonus Muse this week!  Actually, I'm waiting for a painter lady to come to give me some advice.  And there are gingersnap cookies in the oven that have ten minutes left.  Lets see how far we we can go!

I'm seeing lots of posts about the upcoming Thanksgiving.  It makes me thankful and nervous at the same time.  You see we often host the big day for a lot of extended family.  When loved ones come to the Chairman and Co. home they say very kind things like, 'this is a lot of work', or 'we really appreciate you hosting this for everyone', or 'it sure is nice how everything comes together', or 'your house looks so nice'.  Compliments, schmopliments.  I always retort with, 'oh, it's easy', or 'we love to do this', or 'it's easy to do with a nice family'.  But behind the scenes, I'm kind of a basket case.  I worry about the turkey and dressing being done on time.  I worry about lumpy gravy.  I worry if everyone will remember what they are bringing.  I worry if I made enough potatoes.  I worry someone will see the smudges on the oven door and wonder if I've cleaned since the last gathering.

I saw this picture today.  It made me smile since there's a lot of Italian blood in the gene pool.  Don't worry.  We eat turkey and all the traditional fixings.
I read this morning that if you're in a pinch, you can cook your potatoes and apples in the dishwasher to help with the Thanksgiving dinner prep.  I'm thinking if you are resorting to that, you should start preparing a bit earlier.

We have some men in our area that are ones that care for shepherding our souls.  However, the next two weeks I think one of their purposes is to mess with our minds.  Our midweek time together is on Tuesdays and if that doesn't really mess up your thinking, nothing does.  Whew!  I even was going to put the garbage out on the wrong day.

I made broccoli-cheese soup last night.  The recipe was highly rated online.  It got only two thumbs up out of five here (and I wasn't one of them).

The painter lady came.  People like her boggle my mind.  She was holding about a gazillion (or less) color options on these strips.  She kept saying, 'don't you see the difference in these?'.  Um.  No.  They both look like white.  She said it was a 'no brainer'.  Glad she feels that way because she left here with me feeling like I had no brain.  Or eyes for differences in color.

Well tomorrow we are heading to the state capitol to cheer our our high school football team to victory (or so we hope).  The weather promises to be extremely cold, windy, and a strong possibility of snow.  I plan to look a bit like this:
Image result for funny wisconsin cold weather

Well that's a wrap for this Thursday's bonus.  Have a good rest of the week!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Musings

Well hello there!  Did you miss me?  I left Dairyland for a three-day weekend.  Like I mentioned recently, it was years since I last flew off the nest and went to find my own fun.  I could write pages and pages about my time up in the 10,000 lakes, but really the only ones it might be interesting to is me and maybe my mom.  So I'll just try to put it succinctly.

* Riding alone in the car for close to nine hours (including both directions) is most pleasant.  You can listen to whatever you want or relish in the utter silence.  And you may or may not pick up a doughnut and coffee when you get gas.

* I returned to the place where I became Mrs. Chairman.  That was in the Stillwater Historical Courthouse (1st one in Minnesota).  It still is beautiful.

* I walked into the room where we married and stood on the very wood where I nearly fainted while we said our "I do's".  I was honestly a bit overcome with emotion.  Twenty-one years later there I was again.  Completely happy and thankful for my choice and his choice in marrying.  Thinking of all that has happened with bringing our family to us.  Thinking of those that were in that room that are no longer with us.  And not knowing the unknown future before us.  I was just so glad to get back there and had to call the Chairman and tell him I loved him and our choice.  Swoon.
Where the table is - is where I made my vows til death do we part
* I'm not good with alone-time in a strange city.  I had four hours to kill until I needed to meet up with my friends.  I walked around a lot of stores.  Stopped and sipped some tea.  Then didn't know what to do anymore since it was dark out so I parked in a lot and crawled back to the back seat and took a nap.  Lame I know.  But then I was able to stay up until dark-o'clock with my friends.

* We celebrated on of our friend's 50th birthday.  But really, we were celebrating long friendships.  We were a diverse group.  Some single.  Some married.  Some career people.  Some volunteer people.  Some non-working people.  We hailed from IL, WI, MN, SD, KS, and CO.  And the beautiful thing is that it didn't matter our vast differences.

* Being gone twenty-one years makes a huge difference in roads and landmarks.  I kept thinking of that phrase, 'you can't go home again'.  I was utterly dependent on my GPS to get from point A to point B.
We all lived at this place at one time or another
* I got my first massage in nearly two years.  One of the many friends came with a massage table and shared her talents with us.  It was sublime.

* Only in Minnesota do you see this. I miss Ole and Lena jokes.
* I got to basically do a double-header of friendship visits since I stopped on my way home with another friend that used to like to live by us but decided another place was calling.  I don't blame her!  I loved where she is now at.  It just seemed so wonderful and peaceful and I can see she's surrounded by friends that care for her.  So the mom in me had an easy time to drive away - seeing her smiling as she waved me off.

* I was back home at the Chairman and Co. about a half-hour before the rest came home from g.m.  I was texted right before they arrived, "what's for supper?".  Nothing like feeling needed!  It sure was lovely to see these people and these pets.  They all looked cuter (and some of them taller) than when I left.

* I found it fascinating because as soon as I was home it was needful to be the cook and the counselor, and the time manager and the laundress, and the seamstress and the sweetheart all at once.  I love the many hats I need to wear here.  And even the full-blown meltdown about the unfairness of life was almost delightful to be a part of.  Almost.

So happy week ahead to you!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings

I didn't forget to Muse!  Well almost!  My day started out a bit different since my big sister needed to meet me to transfer some goods.  It was most pleasant to be with her.

Until.  We walked into a Culver's restaurant for an early lunch.  If you haven't eaten Culver's, you haven't lived.  Well maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but it is basically deliciousness and represents all that is good and right about Dairyland.

Anyway I will back up.  After I got dressed and combed my hair this morning, I glanced in the mirror for a second time (which I hardly ever do) and was feeling a bit self-satisfied.  I thought I looked half-way decent for once and set off on my journey.  We walk into the Culver's lobby and both took a different lane to place our order.  The twenty-something lady cheerfully took my order.  Then she was ready to give me the total and then said, 'oh wait!  I forgot!' and I glanced down on the register it said, 'senior discount'.  Um.  What?  I smiled cheerfully and handed her the money.  And walked away with a good deal and a touch of wounded pride.  Remember my new anti-aging serum that is to make me look 10 years younger within four weeks?  It obviously isn't working.

Speaking of food.  The other night I fixed, for the very first time, cubed steaks.  If you don't know what they are, they are most likely tough pieces of beef that the butcher whacks the bejeebers out of to make it somewhat palatable and sells them in neat little forms that almost resemble hamburgers.

I simmered them up in a mushroom sauce and had them with mashed potatoes, home-froze corn, and a nice green salad.  These were the comments after a bite.
"Is this prison food?"
"I'm sure glad I had some fruit snacks before supper so at least I have some electrolytes in my body."
"Don't the prisoners get served a nutraloaf if they have bad behavior?  What did we do wrong?"
"What ever inspired you to make this?"
"When you said steak, I was thinking the real thing that is pink in the middle."
"This is just awful."

Nothing like an honest crowd to cook for.

Speaking of which, I need to get the homemade pizza in the oven and the salad tossed.  I know I'll have happy people here at the Chairman and Co. at least tonight!

Later this week I plan to take a venture to the land of 10,000 lakes.  I'm most excited about it for a lot of reasons.  The last time I did something like this away from my family for a weekend was four years ago.  Yes, you read that right.  Four years.  So this is a big deal.  I can't wait to share it with you next week!

Until then, here's a picture of the Chairman and I taken yesterday in the brilliant sunshine.  Do I look like 60 years old?  Please be kind...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What I didn't know...

Here we are!  Twenty-one years ago today, this was the beginning of the Chairman and Co. 

For being nearly thirty and having been on my own for some time, I thought I was very informed and saw the future through rose-colored glasses.  And in some ways, I was right.  But in some ways I was very wrong. 

There were many things I didn't know that were in our future.  

I didn't know that moving to Dairyland would be so wonderful.  It took nearly a year, but my roots are deep and I love "home".

I didn't know that we would lose a sister and a daughter to untimely death.

I didn't know how my heart would enlarge and that the Chairman's family would be my own.

I didn't know I would have my own family living and mere hour or two away instead of five or nine hours away.

I didn't know about cell phones or social media or blogs or the World Wide Web.

I didn't know just how many dear friends of all age groups I would have when I moved. I am blessed with dear people.

I didn't know we would create our family through the miracle of adoption and that our family would be unique. 

I didn't know what a golden retriever was and that now we are loved by our second pooch. 

I didn't know that I would actually like skiing.  It seemed frivolous and scary.  

I didn't know the Chairman would agree to a cat in our lives.  

I didn't know that we would someday be happy campers with a trailer.

I didn't know how much love multiplies.  

I didn't know the Chairman would be be such a wonderful dad to our MYP.  I had a hunch though..

I didn't know how much more I would love the Chairman today than I did then.  Life's experiences can make bonds stronger.   

So as we look to the unknown future, we really don't know much.  But this one thing I do know.  Life's good days are brighter and sad days more tolerable when you have your love and best friend by your side.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Musings

Well good Monday Musings to you!

Thanks to loyal peeps, we hit the 200,000 page views by the end of last week.  You all deserve a coffee on me!  Sorry we live so far away from each other.

I just got back from getting a bunch of food to fill the shelves again.  Did you know young, growing people have hollow legs and sometimes arms?  Did you know I've always secretly wanted to be a check-out person at a grocery store?  Did you know that I almost always will choose the self-check line because I like to scan my own goods?  Did you know I have memorized a lot of the produce numbers already?  Wow!  I deserve a raise for a job I don't even have!

Well we had lots of ghosts and goblins and goobers show up at our door on Saturday evening.  In fact, we almost ran out of candy this year.  For some reason, the Chairman really likes to hand out the treats.  He answered every time the doorbell rang.  I even have proof.  The irony is not lost that the man who was raised on very little sugar and still thinks sugar is very bad for people is quick to jump up and put sugar-laced treats in the plastic pumpkins with a smile.
The Chairman says "I love you" in so many different ways.  Sometimes it is a verbal "I love you".  Sometimes it is a call that says, "did you make it home?".  Sometimes it is jumping up and helping me unload the dishwasher when he was settled in a comfy chair.  Sometimes it is telling me I'm pretty when I don't feel like I am.  And sometimes it is in a little gift left behind.  When we were close to running out of candy the other night, I heard him say, "I left something on the table for you that you like."  I found this.  He knows me well after three-days shy of 21 years together.
Am I weird to feel ambivalent about getting a different vehicle?  I like my tried and true van.  The Chairman likes to show me different options we could consider.  He even brings one or two home at different times.  They are beautiful.  They have shiny paint and glossy wheels.  The leather seats are blissfully comfy.  And I still love my van.  I'm not into changes and with nearly every vehicle trade, I've almost shed tears.  Well to be honest, I actually did shed tears once some years back.  But that's another story.

I just bought some new facial cream.  The package screams, "look ten years younger in four weeks!!!"  So if you see me a month from now and I don't look forty, please take me aside discreetly and gently tell me to get a refund.

Well this is enough.  Lisi has a way of 'knocking' on the window with her paw.  She's been looking through the pane giving me the dirty-double-dog stare as she waits for me to lace up my hikers.  The weather is promising to be beautiful the next few days so I better make tracks while the sun shines.

More Musing on another Monday...