This is where I go out on a limb and ponder a while.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Past Revisited

Christmas past in our household has always been pretty much a Walton Christmas.  We were a good-size family with our children close together in age.  At one point, we had 4 children under the age of 8.  And we didn't have much in the bank because we chose to be a one-income family.  I loved being at home with my children, but that meant we didn't have a lot to spend on them for Christmas.  But I only have happy memories of those years, and so do my children.  The excitement in the house every year made it such a happy, hectic time.  And we created traditions that the kids grasped onto and fiercely protected year in and year out.  Heaven help the person who dared break from tradition and do something different!  We had to bake the same treats each year, decorate the same way, serve the same meal, etc., etc....

But I loved every minute of it.

And now The Four have grown up, and we only have one child in the house.  And it's lovely, but not quite the same.  I feel like E. is missing out on something.

But this weekend, it all came back.  Our middle child, T. and his wife moved out of state this fall, which nearly broke my heart.  They have two little ones, and we have been missing them something awful, of course.  But they came back to visit for Christmas.  Not only for Christmas, but for the WHOLE  WEEKEND!   So E. got the whole Walton Christmas experience.  The excitement building up for 2 days, whispering secrets behind closed doors, wrapping gifts in the next room, the heavenly smells of cooking meals and baking treats drifting through the house.  Little children running and screaming through the house all day long, filled with anticipation (and sugar).

Each morning, there would be little footsteps coming up the stairs, accompanied by the not-so-quite voices calling "Nana!".  Then I would hear the bedroom door close again, as their mother and father would try to grab a few more minutes of sleep.  Which was fine with me - I was usually just waiting for them to get up anyway.  Then they would both climb on my lap and we did jig-saw puzzles on the computer for a while - not an easy thing to do with 2 little wiggly toddlers!  But they had  my attention for the whole day, and they took full advantage of it ;)

And I loved every minute of it.

This is how a 2-year old says Merry Christmas in our house:  Merry Kibbus!  And this is how he says Happy Birthday Jesus:  Happy Burtday Jingas!

Christmas morning, checking out the stockings - totally the best!  Everything in your stocking is SO COOL, doesn't matter what it is :)  That doesn't happen when you're a teen or pre-teen, now does it?

So, I guess there is one good thing about having this little family of ours move away.  If they hadn't moved away, then they wouldn't be spending the whole weekend with us.  What a blessing.

On Christmas Eve, the WHOLE family came over, all of our children, their spouses and their babies - that's a houseful!  What fun.  I honestly don't remember what was in the gifts - it was just so much fun having everyone here.  After all of the gifts were opened, the littles decided to shred all of the wrapping paper and swim in it.  What a mess, but they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  I'll be picking up scraps of wrapping paper for days, I'm sure :)

I feel as if things are coming full circle.  This is what life is all about.

And I'm loving every minute of it.

That Bittersweet Moment

It's ok, I know the truth about Santa, Mom.

What do you mean?

I mean, I know who really fills my stocking.


Thank you, Mom.

For what?

For being Santa all those times.


I love you, E!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Different Perspective

A cold, cloudy day today.  We went to bed last night seeing a temperature reading of almost 60 degrees, had thunderstorms overnight with plummeting temperatures, then rain mixed with snow this morning.  But despite the dreary weather, looking through the lens of my camera always gives me a better perspective.  I love my camera because it helps me focus on beautiful little details that I would otherwise ignore. 

  I get so busy with my daily life, my chores, my constant rushing here and there.  I love that part of my life too, but I sometimes feel like life is passing me by and I might be missing something.

               So I get my camera out and take a stroll occasionally, which forces me to slow down.

Chickens are kinda relaxing to watch, don't you think?

One lonely pumpkin behind left on the patio table. 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Dinner Table

E. and I were watching a program on Nat Geo the other day.  It was about the African Wild Dogs.  Something caught my attention.  The dogs worked together as a pack to bring down a large herd animal.  They shared the meal peacefully and the narrator said that eating together was an important bonding experience.

Right away my thoughts turned towards the human family.  I couldn't help making a comparison.  Sitting down to supper each night helps keeps a family together.  I know it's not always possible, but it's important enough to make the effort.  Sometimes I have to hold dinner off until a later time if someone has to work late.  Sometimes I'm too busy too cook and we may just have scrambled eggs or sandwiches.  So it's not really the setting or the content that's so important.  It's just the being together.  Some people get too caught up in the setting - tablecloths, candles, flowers?  I can't manage that every day.  Our kitchen table gets used.  It's also my office, my daughter's homework center, and a catch-all for everyone's mail.  So sometimes we have to shove it all over to one side in order to make room for our plates!  No matter, as long as there is room for the food and we're all sitting down together.  We eat, then we make sure we stay at the table for a few minutes after we're finished eating just to visit.  We ask each other about our respective day's activities, and sometimes discuss events in the news, or family news - whatever is relevant.
I love all the beautiful "Tablescapes" that people post on their blogs, but I find it impossible to achieve in real life.  So I thought I would give you 'reality table' on my blog.  This is my table on a normal day.  Well, not really, because I don't normally have time to do a jig-saw puzzle!  I took time off to do a puzzle since my main squeeze is out hunting ;)

But the point I want to make here is, if it's important enough for wild dogs to come together for a period each day to bond, I can't help but think that we also need to continue to make it a priority.  The experts do recommend that families sit down for a meal together each day, and yet many families don't manage to do just that.  There are too many activities each day after school right up until bed time.  I don't have a solution for that and I'm not judging anyone who's stuck in that routine.  I know that most of those activities have merit.

Right now we're in the midst of hunting season, and we haven't had a family meal in a while.  I miss it.  It's just been E. and me every evening.  I'll be happy when the guys are finished hunting and life gets back to normal. And then it will be time to look forward to the ultimate family dinner - Thanksgiving!
Waiting for the turkey!

I wish for you to see all of your family around your table this Thanksgiving season.  All of my children are coming home for the big meal and I'm so excited.  I think I like Thanksgiving the most of all.  It's like Christmas without the gift shopping.  I always page through all of the decorating magazines and *think* I might use some of the ideas for decorating my holiday table, but in the end, I'll be lucky if I can fit all of the food on my table, along with all of my family.  It's all good :)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stepping Out

It's been a while, I know.  I haven't had a lot to say on this blog.  It doesn't seem to be the thing to do lately. You know - gardening, traveling, kid on summer vacation, all that summer stuff.  Now that it's fall and I haven't yet gotten elbow-deep into processing venison, I have some time to myself again.

I have started a new blog - hope you'll get a chance to check it out.  It's called Authentic Regards.  See it at   It's just another facet of me, giving myself a push to take my writing in another direction.  I need to prod myself sometimes, in order to get something accomplished.  I was a published writer at one time, but them E. came along, and she has been pretty much my whole life for the past 11 years.  I guess I need to wake up and poke my head out of the 'mommy hole' as one writer put it so eloquently :)

We took several trips this summer and it was great fun. Traveling is always a conundrum for me because I love to see different places, but I am basically a homebody, so it takes me way out of my comfort zone.  Love my own bed, need my own kitchen, you know?   This is a picture I took of a sunset on Lake Kabetogema, MN.  We spent a week at a resort there.  Lots of fishing, swimming, boating, and relaxing.

We put in a garden at the ranch, basically just as an experiment and it went wild!  We didn't fertilize or use any pesticides and everything produced heavily.  So I guess the soil is good there...  The only problem we had was with woodchucks.  Once again the apples orchard harvest was outstanding.  I'm still making applesauce and pies.  New recipe ideas are welcome!  I would love a new pie crust recipe - not happy with my old standard.  Seems as though the Crisco ingredients have changed and it doesn't turn out like it used to.

I have missed my blog buddies and plan on patrolling all of your blogs again!  Hopefully I will also find some new blogs to add to my list.

Here is a newcomer to our menagerie.  His name is Hairy (as of today).  He showed up one day in July, about one week after our dear Oliver died.  He looks almost exactly like Oliver did, only he's just a kitten.  Spooky, huh?  I didn't want another cat, but he refused to go away and he made E. feel better after losing her cat, so he stays.  That desperate look on his face?  It's like that all the time.  He's overly affectionate - almost annoyingly so.

Ok, this is me at the Harry Truman Library in Kansas City.  I'm a huge fan of Harry Truman.  We spent 2 lovely afternoons at the museum.  Oh, and I LOVED Kansas City!  We were there in September for a conference.  I just thought I would share a pic of myself, chubby legs and all, since nobody ever posts pictures of themselves on their blogs.  Maybe someone else will get brave enough to do it now.  Come on!  I know I'm not the only one who wants to see what her blogger friends look like ;)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

All I Ask

My youngest son asked me what I want for Mother's Day this year.  At this point in my life I don't need or want anything material.  So I told him I didn't want anything.  He wasn't satisfied with that answer, of course.

As I was driving into town the other day, I was having one of those days where I felt weighed down by the negative self-speak:  I shouldn't have said this, or why didn't I say that instead?

I think most mothers can relate to the second-guessing that goes on inside my head some days.  It's not constant.  But we all have days like that occasionally.  I just happen to be having a few more days like that lately with a beautiful little girl who is flourishing, yet struggling to become a young woman.  It is a difficult, tumultuous journey, and I have to remind myself to be patient and and understanding. 

So as I was driving that day, it came to me that all I really want for Mother's Day is to hear that I haven't totally screwed up as a mother.  And that my children, please God, be better parents than I was.

On a lighter note, I'm sharing these photos of a handsome visitor to my feeder this week.  Sadly, my hummingbird family did not return this year, but we have two pairs of orioles that are finding the hummingbird feeder to be just to their liking.  Aren't they gorgeous!  Have a great day! :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taking Care

I have a friend who is a body builder.  And she turned 50 exactly 2 weeks before me.  That's right, 50.  And what's more impressive is she was overweight and inactive just 2 1/2 years before and now this August she is set to compete in her first bodybuilding show.  I am so proud of her!   She inspires me to be better.  When I don't feel like doing my stretches or exercises, I think about the fact that she lifts every day, twice a day and sticks to a 'clean' diet.  Then I find the time and energy to do what I need to do, and it's not much, compared with what she does.  All I ask of myself is to get back my flexibility and strength that I had just a few years ago.  Surely I can do that if she can accomplish all that she has done in the past two years.  My PTA told me that the normal course of events is you get older and less active.  You become stiff from being inactive.  You feel some pain from the stiffness and you become even less active, and it becomes a vicious circle.  And that's how people get old in a hurry.  Don't let it happen!  Get up!  Get moving!  Are you with me?!  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dirty Monday

I'm so excited to finally get my hands dirty!  I've been stalking the garden section at WalMart for weeks, waiting for the herbs to arrive, and finally, yesterday I was able to purchase some potted herbs.  None of the local greenhouses are open yet, of course, because it's too early to be planting a garden.  But you can always count on WalMart to rush the season, right?

I love cooking with fresh herbs.  I've been growing them in my garden for the past 2 years, but I really miss having them over the winter.  I'd like to try to keep them in pots year-round.  Does anyone know if that will work?  Well, I'm going to give it a try.  Probably drive my husband crazy, having all these potted plants to trip over, but he does love my cooking :)

I've always had pretty good luck with this brand, by the way.  I've seen them at WalMart and Pamida.

While I was photographing the herbs on the kitchen table, this little lady bluebird showed up by the deck, looking for some breakfast.  The bluebirds are hard to shoot because they're always looking down at the ground for something to eat!

I caught her fluffing her feathers - it's cold here this morning.

And here is her 'significant other', also looking down at the ground.  A split second after this shot, he dove down to the grass and nabbed some kind of a meal.

Aren't the goldfinches gorgeous now that they have their summer plumage?  Sometimes there are 10-15 of them clamoring for the feeder.  They have to kind of wait in line on the branches above and take turns, although they are not nearly as polite about it as the chickadees.  They make a lot of noise - it sounds like the bird section at the pet shop.  

Well, I'm off the computer and into the dirt!  Have a great day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beauty Everywhere

I went up to the ranch last weekend with my camera, hoping to find some signs of spring.  But it's about 30 miles north of here, and just far enough that not much is happening yet.  No flowers, no bees, very few buds on the apple trees and lilac bushes.  That doesn't mean there is nothing to admire, though.  If you look for it, you will see beauty.

I like the contrast of the red maple buds against green the moss on this huge rock.  We pass by this rock on our walk through the woods.

These two always get impatient with us old folks and have to run ahead.  I love to watch them run and take countless photos of them galloping through the woods and fields like wild animals.

When we step out of the woods, this is the view of the house and the barns.  It's nothing fancy, but we love the spaciousness of it.  There's so much sky!  It's beautiful in every season.  A picture doesn't do it justice...

Old Buddy says, "You guys go on ahead, I'll just lie here in the water hole and rest a bit."  He's 13 years old.

We don't know what these are called, just that they have a little worm inside.  I always like the way they look.  Does anyone know what they're called?

And, of course, there's plenty of these around.  Everyone likes ladybugs, right?  Except when they get inside :)

Maybe next time I visit the ranch there will be some blossoms on the apple trees.  I'm kind of glad there weren't any yet the last time I was there.  People south of us lost a lot of apples due to frost because their trees blossomed early :(

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Books: Paper or E?

I am a confessed bibliophile, more commonly known as a bookworm.  I would rather spend the day at a bookstore than shopping for clothes.  As a matter of fact, I have to admit to my husband at the end of each year, that yes, all of those charges to Amazon and Barnes and Noble are for books.  And he is perpetually frustrated that I never have anything nice to wear on the rare evening that we decide to go out.  Because I just run to the thrift shop on occasion to grab up some jeans and blouses if my closet starts to look a bit lonely.

But now I have a new quandary.  He gave me a Kindle last fall on our Anniversary, which thrilled me to no end.

All those books in one little device that I could carry with me everywhere!   No more lugging around heavy books!  And anytime I wanted a new book, I could just download it instantly, rather than order it and wait for several days!  (Before I go any further, I know someone is going to bring up the library, so just let me interject here that our library system leaves a lot to be desired and rarely has the books I am looking for.   If they do have what I want, I often end up waiting months on a waiting list - too frustrating.)  So, back to the Kindle:  brilliant idea, but now comes a new problem - sharing books.  Amazon advertises that you can share books on your Kindle. But the drawback is that you can only share a book for 2 weeks. Wait a minute!  2 weeks?  How many people these days have the time to finish a book in 2 weeks or less?  So now I have this big debate with myself every time I want to buy a book:  "Is this a book that I might want to share with someone?"  For me, one of the joys of reading is sharing a with another person who has the same passion for books.

There is another thing I want to bring up, and I know that other bookworms feel the same way, because they have shared this with me.  And that's the physical experience of using a book.  Holding a book, looking at the cover, turning the pages, seeing the pictures, looking back a few pages now and then, even the smell - it's all part of the whole reading experience that I have to admit I miss with the Kindle. 

I am guessing some of you, my blogging friends, have to be bookworms too, because bloggers are usually writers, and writers are usually readers!  So, am I the only conflicted Kindle owner out there?  What are your opinions, paper or E?  I'm not giving up on my Kindle, but I'd love to hear what side of the fence you all are sitting on!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Time for Healing

I've been off my computer for a while.  I neglected myself and I paid the price.  I let a little stiff neck go for too long and it became a big thing to the point where I could barely get out of bed in the morning.   Dr. D. suspects it may have started with the illness last summer, but I'm pretty sure I made it worse by favoring it over the past several months.

Anyway, she sent me to Physical Therapy.  They taught me how to stretch and exercise those long-neglected muscles.  Then after the exercises they gave me massages.

This is not me in the pictures, of course, but this is what I mean by a massage - it hurts!  My hubby would say each day, "Did you get a massage?" and when I said "Yes", he would look envious, but I had to tell him that it's not what he was thinking!  The therapist would zero in on the spot where the pain is and dig in - OUCH!  No mercy!

After the massage they use E Stim.  It's electrical stimulation directed at the muscle.  It stimulates the muscle to contract and it directs blood flow to the muscle to aid in healing.  Sounds odd, I know, and a little creepy, but it works.  I had the same treatment a few years ago for my hip ligament from birth trauma.  

Between the visits to PT and doing my stretches and exercises at home, I feel like I'm really making progress and I am determined to NOT let things get so out of control again.  And I've learned a lesson here.  It's more important than ever as I get older to stay flexible and in shape.  It's not enough to just watch my weight.  It seems that stiffening up and getting out of shape happens more quickly and easily these days :(

So I just ordered a Pilates DVD (recommended by the therapist) and some exercise bands (looks like more fun than weights).  I hope I can manage to stick with it!  I still have an 11-year-old that I need to keep up with!  ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I couldn't wait to get out on the deck today!

I wiped the winter's worth of dirt off the patio furniture and leaned back in a newly-cleaned chair and just let the sun caress my face for a while.  Oliver meowed at me and jumped up onto my chair and slid into the space between my lower back and the back of my chair for a little catnap.  The chorus of birds seemed to get louder and louder, but I know it was just that I was finally sitting quietly enough to really listen for a change.  It was only a matter of time before E. came home from school, my husband came home from work and the boys returned from fishing down by the river.

Later, after everyone had returned home, I turned to my husband and said, "Funny how a little sun makes a person feel so festive!"

"I like that word, festive", said my husband, as we shared a glass of wine on the deck after work.

I knew just what he meant.  It is a word that makes you feel like sitting up a little straighter, doesn't it?

Just one day of near-60-degree weather and we're all a bit giddy around here :)

Yay, Spring!  Ok, see the mud splatters on the face and the shirt?  Yeah, she's not a girly girl.  She's been riding her bike in the mud :)

My better half makin' sweet music on the deck at sunset.  He's go-o-o-o-d! :)

It's going to be warm and sunny all week - see you on the deck! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lucky Rabbit's Foot

The sun is exploding.  But it does that every once in a while.  Actually, the whole sun is not exploding.  What we are observing is solar flares.  A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.  This is the result of a solar 'storm'.  And the largest storm in five years is due to arrive today.  This usually happens every eleven years.  And when it occurs, those of us here in the northern states are treated to some fantastic northern light shows for a couple of nights.  Which brought up an interesting conversation between my husband and me this morning over breakfast.  When I heard on the Today Show that this event happens every eleven years, I did the math, and gasped, "D. is going to be 22 years old this summer.  That means that 22 years ago it happened when I was pregnant with D.!"

He looked at me in surprise and said "You're right!"

Why is this a big deal?

22 years ago I had 3 other children.  Not so bad;  J. was 8, M. was 6, and T. was 18 months.  The problem was T.  He was SO active!  We didn't know it at the time, but he had ADHD ( he wasn't diagnosed until years later).  I just didn't know how I was going to manage with another baby coming so soon.

One night my husband went outside to take the dog out and he came back inside and told me I needed to come out with him to see something.  I could hear the excitement in his voice, so I quickly put my jacket on and went without hesitation.  I followed him out into the backyard and he pointed up at the sky.  It was a clear night and the heavens were filled with liquid green lights, constantly moving, changing and racing back and forth across the sky. It was the most eerie, yet beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I've lived in Minnesota all of my life, and have seen the northern lights many times, but nothing like this.  They seemed to be circling right around us, just over our house.  We stayed out as long as we could stand the cold, with our arms around each other. When we went back inside, we wondered how and why it was so different and seemed to be just above our house?  We decided it was a sign.  (Hey, we were young and romantic!)  I decided to take it as a sign that everything was going to be ok, and I was going to be able to manage whatever came my way with this baby.  And I did, of course.  Silly, I know, but I guess I just needed something to grasp onto to get me through a difficult time.

E. asked me once why people hang onto a rabbit's foot, and I told her that just believing that it will bring you luck tends to make people see opportunities and and go for them.  So this must have been my 'rabbit's foot'.

So now I know it was nothing more than a natural phenomenon.  I feel a little sad for that young woman so long ago - she was so scared and oh, so tired!  And yet, she had her whole life ahead of her with the promise of young life.  I wish she could have known how wonderful it was all going to turn out so she didn't have to worry so much!

By the way, I did survive my birthday party!  Just thought I would share one photo...

I can only show two of the grands with me because the whole photo would include some adults and I don't have permission to post photos of them ;)  It was a fun party, and so lovely to have my whole family and several friends here to spend the whole day with me!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Big Birthday

So today is my birthday.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about turning 50, but I'm really ok with it.  I have often heard people say that they still feel inside like they're only 20 years old when they're really 60, 70, or 80, and I can believe it.  I still feel 20 years old on the inside, but I get a little creeped out when I look in the mirror, especially considering I have an 11-year-old daughter.  I still have the desires and passion, and for goodness sake, when will my mind ever stop buzzing?  For as far back as I can remember, my brain has had a need to consume every written word within sight.  And I don't seem to be able to stay with one subject - everything interests me, so I'm involved in a different subject every week.  Thank goodness for Kindle, because now instead of piles of books on every horizontal surface, I have 'collections' of books stashed in my Kindle, all of them in various stages of completion.

I have noticed that within the past few years I have lost some amount of physical energy, but have gained a large amount of mental energy, and now have a fierce passion for some of the subjects that I am involved in.  My husband and I had hoped to move to the ranch sometime within this next year and live our dream of raising grass-fed beef.   But it's not going to happen after all, unfortunately.  However, I can't totally give up on this whole organic living dream.  So I'm focusing on learning as much as I can about the political aspects of it, and maybe I can make a difference somehow.  One thing I know is how to write, so maybe I'll be one of those pain-in-the-neck letter-writers that are a thorn in the side of the policy makers.  All I know is I want to do something to make a difference.  So now you know why I haven't posted here in almost a month.  I've been reading volumes of STUFF about GMO's and changing the labeling on our foods, and antibiotics in animal feed, etc.  There's a lot out there.  And it all started with one video I saw about a year ago.

Watch it.  Your life will never be the same.

This is what I REALLY want for my birthday.
But it's not gonna happen.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Introvert Update

More thoughts on the birthday party:  First off, German Chocolate Cake.  Oh my, it's the one thing I never indulge in, and it's soooo good!  So I'll be having a big slice of that! I think I'll ask M. to double the frosting on the cake, just for good measure.

Second strategy:  Remember the saying, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time"?  That's how you deal with a room full of people - one person at a time.  I may not deal well with a crowd, but I happen to be pretty skillful one-on-one because I'm a good listener.  So I'm looking forward to playing catch-up with some people I haven't seen in a while.

This morning I saw a story about hot-air balloon rides on the news and I told my husband that we should do that and he said "No".  When I asked him why not, he said it's too unpredictable because you don't have enough control over where you go and where you land.  Imagine that - it's usually me that's so overly cautious.

I've been invited to go to Las Vegas for a weekend with some gals to celebrate a divorce.  I know it's someone's way of letting go of the old and making room for the new.  But somehow, for me, it just doesn't feel right to celebrate, and even if I could afford it, which I can't right now, I don't think I could go.  Haven't figured that one out yet.

Still warm, wet, sloppy winter - I DON'T MIND!!! :)
Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Introvert Alert

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  I am an introvert.  No, I'm not shy.  It's not the same as being an introvert.  Shyness is defined as:  "Easily frightened by strangers, distrustful, suspicious, bashful..." and I am none of those.  People who are introverts tend to be uncomfortable in large groups of people for the simple reason that it is just plain exhausting.  We draw our energy from solitude.  I can take being around a large group of people for short periods of time, but then I need to escape for some quiet time, or I will get very tired and cranky.  And I have no desire to be the center of attention - ever.

So imagine how I felt about having a big birthday bash for my 50th birthday coming up in a few weeks.


Yes, that is an upside-down smiley face.  My oldest daughter and my husband decided to have a birthday party for me because it is a big deal, right?  And they are so thoughtful to do so, aren't they?  I should have been thrilled, but I wasn't.  What was I thinking? I'll tell you what I was thinking:

1.  I was thinking about a house full of people.
2.  Me being the guest of honor.
3.  Not being able to sneak out for some quiet time for the whole day.
4.  People paying attention to me for at least some of the time - usually my husband gets all the attention, he's an extrovert and he loves it.

So I said "No."

For a few days, anyway.  But then I remembered my New Year's resolution and then decided to go ahead with it.

 "As long as there's champagne involved", I said.

I still haven't thought of something really exciting to do in order to celebrate turning 50, but having a party is a start.  I may even let someone take a picture of me...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

9/11 (E.'s Take)

For a while I've been considering writing a post about 9/11.  I hesitate to write about it because it's been overdone, it's very controversial, and I'm not an expert on the subject of history.  

But what I'm pondering here is the different perspective that someone like E. has on this historic event.  She was not quite one year old when 9/11 occurred.  She's part of the generation that will have no actual memories of the event.  I remember standing in the middle of my living room on a weekday morning, holding her in my arms while watching The Today Show in horror.  I was feeling thankful that I had her safely at home in my arms, yet at the same time worrying about my other children at school.  Many parents remember having the same concern about the safety of their school-age children at the time:  should we go pick them up from school and bring them home, or are they better off at school?  There was an almost overwhelming fear of  the unknown.  This country had never been attacked in such a way before, and suddenly none of us knew for certain that we were safe.

But E. had no clue, and up until today, has not experienced any real fear or lack of security.  She knows what happened that day over 10 years ago, but when I tell her about it, she shows a lack of detachment.  I can tell the horror of it really doesn't register with her.  And how can it, unless she really sees it?  Perhaps I'll have to rent or buy one of the videos that documents the incident moment-by-moment.  I haven't wanted her to see any of them up until now, because they are pretty raw and difficult to watch, even for an adult.  I guess it's natural to want to keep her world 'all Disney'.  But maybe it's something she should see.  When I was her age my Social Studies teacher made us watch a film about the holocaust.  The visions of those victims still haunt me to this day.  Perhaps that's the way it should be.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".  ~George Santayana

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Resolutions: Part 2

Remember my New Year's Resolution?  I'm going to be brave.  I'm going to be brave enough to try new things. Well, today I want to add on to my resolution.  Now, don't panic, I'm not raising the bar - this is a good one.  In fact, you may even want to try it out yourself:  I'm going to be brave enough to let go of things that I'm not good at.  Ok, you're thinking, big deal, anyone can do that.  Maybe so, but for a perfectionist/optimist, it's a nightmare.  Not only do I constantly put pressure on myself to be able to do all of the things my mother/Martha Stewart/my friends can do, but I think I have all the skills and time to do it just because "I think I can"!  My cup is always half full! :)  Not such a bad way to be, mind you, but it gets me in trouble.  A lot.  Because I have a craft room/office that is filled to the ceiling with half-finished projects because I have neither the time nor the skills to see them to fruition.

Today I am working in the kitchen.  Here is where I shine.  I'm a pretty darn good cook/baker, if I do say so myself.  It comes naturally to me and I love doing it.  By the middle of the afternoon I've baked an apple pie, and some vanilla cupcakes with coffee buttercream frosting, then cleaned and stuffed 2 ducks and put them in the oven for dinner.  As I'm cleaning up the kitchen, I look at what I have accomplished and it hits me that I've been kidding myself for a very long time.  There is no reason to try to do all of those crafts and sewing projects, just because they're cute and everyone else is doing them.  This is what I do best and it makes me happy.  And when I take a really good photo and see it pop up on my computer screen, it makes my heart sing.  So, what I need to do is be brave enough to go into that room and clear out all of that stuff and give it away to make room for...what?  Yikes, it's going to be a big job.

Over the Back Fence

Friendships have taken on a new dimension these days.  I think we have created a new definition of  'friends' out of necessity.  We are all so isolated.  At work we do everything on a computer, rather than face-to-face.  There are very few phone calls made, fewer meetings are necessary, (just send out mass memos or emails), and rather than walk over to someone's office to discuss something, you just shoot them an email.  If you are a work-at-home person, in the past you may have had coffee with your neighbor, or visited over the back fence on a daily basis, but chances are, if you're like me, there isn't another person who stays at home for miles around.  So your only option is to reach out to people online.   My husband (gently) teased me at first when I got hooked on facebook and blogging.  But when I explained it to him this way, it made sense to him and he understands why I do enjoy it so much.   But he still doesn't pay any attention to facebook, and he's never read my blog!   He says he has to spend way too much time on his computer at work doing WORK, so when he's at home, he doesn't want to have anything to do with it.

A new blogger friend, Jill, from talked about this on her blog this morning, and that's what got me to thinking and writing today.  Go check out her blog - it's wonderful, and so inspiring!  She mentioned that when a blogger friend shuts down a blog, it's just like losing a friend.  And it is sad.  The circle of friends you collect online is very real.  You get to know them through their stories and photos.  You can almost hear their voices through their written words.

Thanks, Jill, for kicking my brain into gear this morning!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

A new baby!  Is there anything more exciting than a new baby in the family?  Our newest grandson arrived last night.  Mother and baby are healthy and the delivery was fairly quick and uneventful. The little fellow looks just like his namesakes, which delights my husband and son, of course!   And I know in their minds they are already planning ahead to the day they can take him out hunting and fishing.  This afternoon I'm going to visit him.  And take massive amounts of photos.  Poor thing.  ;)   Might as well get used to that right away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Stumbled

I stumbled, but picked myself up.  I thought I wanted a job, but thankfully realized it was a mistake before it was too late, whew!  I go through this about once every couple of years, usually during the January - March slump.  I get a little depressed maybe, or bored.  I want some excitement.  I want to get out of the house, have an excuse to dress up, meet some new people, try new things, socialize, whatever!  I lose sight of my goals, which are to take care of my health, my family, be good to the earth, and be available for spontaneous moments when they present themselves.  Yesterday, I saw how blessed I am to be able to work at home.  E. had a Knowledge Bowl competition at the school in a nearby town.  It started during the afternoon and lasted until dinnertime.  Would I have been able to get time off work?  Maybe, maybe not.  Fortunately I didn't have to worry about it.  My husband and I sat and watched her through each round and then took her out to dinner after.  It's a different sort of spectator sport (no cheering!), but interesting, kind of like being in the live audience at a game show, although we had to be totally quiet.

On the drive home I had time to think about what life would really be like day-to-day if I were to get a job:  What would E. do during the summer?  No more lazy days at the ranch.  No more spontaneous day trips with Dad.  I'd have to find someone to take care of her all summer and after school.  And sick days?  Perhaps Dad could take a day off and take care of her, but as much as he loves her, no one does it like Mom does;)  And what about all my lovable li'l critters!  Oh, forget it, I'm staying right where I am!  My thrift-shop jeans and sweatshirts are just fine, and before I know it, it will be spring again.  You know what I really think I need is a puppy...a Corgi puppy.  Man, I've got Corgi fever so bad!

E. and me.

       So, I just have to keep reminding myself of why I do what I do, I guess, and be very, very grateful.  I have a friend who goes through the same thing in the opposite way.  She, on occasion, thinks she wants to quit her job and stay at home.  But very quickly she realizes that she wouldn't last long at home before she would be missing the stimulation and satisfaction she gets from her job.  We all like to look over the fence once in a while, don't we?

Monday, January 9, 2012

How to Pay Your Bills

1.  Feed all of the animals.  No one can possibly work with furry little faces waiting to be fed :(

2.  Clean up the kitchen (can't work with the breakfast mess staring you in the face either).

3.   Have a lovely soak in the tub - my personal indulgence of choice. You can substitute something else here as long as it doesn't take more than an hour ;)  Maybe a manicure, or some online shopping?  It doesn't matter, the point is, you don't want to go into this task feeling deprived, do you?

(Sorry, no photos available on this one!)

4.    Make the bed and straighten up your room.  Everyone knows clutter is distracting.

5.    Light a scented candle.

Now you have no more excuses to procrastinate!  Make it as enjoyable as possible, I say.  And last, but not least, chocolate makes everything more pleasant!