Sunday, May 29, 2011


Beautiful flower.  Too bad it's name has such a tragic event forever linked to it.

This isn't Columbine.  I don't know what it is, but I like it and the dogs haven't destroyed it yet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The sign is in the yard

Here we go.  The house is on the market as of last night.  We hired the best realtors in town (the Suttons sold our last house), so hopefully the pain will be over soon. I have to admit, I feel much calmer going into it this time - I just hope that lasts.

When we sold our last house, we signed the sell papers the same day I accepted a job at Wildwood.  Actually, I remember the realtor sitting at the kitchen table (NOT the Suttons - there is something to be said for a GOOD realtor) when I got the call and said "I will" to Wildwood (and forget the rest of THAT fiaso).  Two major stress inducing things at the exact same time.  Yeah, I definitely cut myself some slack for that one.

So this time around, I have to deal with John being gone during the weekdays, both of the kids being home (although Hannah will be at camp for the most part), keeping the house in show condition and that mostly means dealing with the dogs.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Just like the Little Engine that Could, I think I can handle this.  Say I prayer for me.  I need it.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jesus on the Radio

Written by the man I love.

I was cleaning the attic yesterday and found a box, actually a Jack Daniel’s crate (very appropriate for the time I used it), full of letters and a few photos.  Then today I was listening to a song by Guster called, “Jesus on the Radio” and it started me think about the contents of the box in relation to the lyrics of the song.

You took a photograph of me
                           on your yellow bucket seat

At the bottom of the box was the plastic photo holder from my high school wallet.  Inside were senior photos of some of the prettiest girls in my senior class, I didn’t remember any of their names.  There was also one photo of a girl I dated in high school, she appears to be wearing a prom dress but we didn’t go to prom together, so I don’t know why I had that photo.  We didn’t go to prom because her old boyfriend just got out of jail and they started dating again, I stepped back from that situation.

Its too high, its too wide
You're so low you don't know
                           To get through, to go around

On top of the photos were letters sent to the address of the house I grew up in.  These were letters from Wisconsin and Wyoming, one girl I remember well another I vaguely recall.  By the way, these are all actual hand written letters; some in pen, some in pencil, some on stationary, some on lined paper.  Letters about being stuck in Wisconsin all summer and wishing she could come home, others about wanting to come visit me in Illinois. I wish I could see my letters because these would make more sense.

So don't look back
There ain't nothing there to see
                                  Was once like you

On top of those letters were letters addresses to my freshman dorm room.  Letters from girls, guys, and some family members. There were a couple cards from my Mom, true treasures.  There were letters from Sharon, Jan, and Lori, and Bob and Gregg and it was only yesterday and I forget the other names.  Funny letters, update letters, break up letters, angry reaction letters to letters I must have sent.  There’s a rejection letter to a request of mine to reunite (included in this envelope is a sarcastic version of her letter that I wrote that is really mean and awful and luckily is the one letter I never sent). 

Can't say I recognize that face
                          in that picture that you keep

Nearing the top of the pile were some letters to the house I lived in Junior year.  Be careful of who you meet at a Halloween Party.  The costume may hide a lot more than their physical traits.  She wrote quite a few letters and I can only barely remember what she looked like in the costume (Chinese woman, pre Political Correctness). 

Its too high, its too wide
You're so low you don't know
                           To get through, to go around

On the very top of all this,crammed in and barely fitting are napkins from Joanie and my wedding.  Also there are extra wedding invitations, the wedding cards we received most noting the gift received for sending thank you cards.

So don't look back
                       There ain't nothing there to see

I’m glad I looked back for an hour, I didn’t fully read any letter, and didn’t even open half of them.  So now I wonder, who was that guy written to in these letters? Why did all these people have such strong emotions, good and bad, towards him?  Did he choose to forget most of what happened 30 years ago or is that just what happens? What happened to the authors of the letters? I only stay in touch with one of the letter writers, Gregg (and now it’s through writing on Facebook). And finally, how did Joanie see what everyone writer didn’t?  How did this box end up covered in memories of our wedding that started a relationship that is still going strong today?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shutting down

I have a habit of "shutting down" when things get stressful.  I sort of freeze when things get intense.  And why is putting a house on the market THE MOST STRESSFUL THING  in the world to me?  Probably because I've had a blessed life and haven't had anything else to get ultra stressed about.

Don't get me wrong, being a parent, jobs, everything can be stressful.  But the fact that random people are walking through your house, critiquing everything you do from your decorating taste to the way you make your bed (or not, in our case) - sends me over the edge.

We have a very nice, little cottage-like house that, in my humble opinion, is in the absolute perfect location - walking distance to great restaurants, movie theaters (both new and retro), bars, shops, ISU campus, and the Constitution Trail.  I really don't want to move - so why wouldn't anybody want to live here?  Finding out that fact is The Big Thing.  People want big everything and they want new.  We don't have that.  I'm hoping they see more than the surface stuff.

I'm looking forward to the St. Louis area and all that it has to offer.  I just want someone to see what we have to offer here - and soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Meds before 5:00am

My allergies/ asthma/ bronchitis are so bad, I have

1) taken a Prilosec
2) inhaled 2 squirts of Veramyst
3) done 2 puffs of Symbicort
4) taken 1 Clarithromycin
5) taken 3 Prednisone
6) did a nebulizer treatment
7) drank an Airborne, because I guess it can't hurt.

Now I know what old people feel like when they have to take an entire meal of pills.  Wait.  I'm almost 50 and falling apart at the seams.

Hello Kettle?  This is Pot.  You're black.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eye for an eye, part II

From Kathleen Parker's column today...  I completely agree.

NEW YORK -- It seems nearly heretical to say so, but the termination of Osama bin Laden feels oddly anti-climactic.
Now what? And how to explain the sense that nothing has changed? The boogeyman may be dead, but the boogey is still at large in the world.
How, also, to explain my own discomfort as others have expressed jubilation? 'Twas a mystery.
Watching television coverage Sunday night when President Obama convened the nation to announce bin Laden's demise, I kept waiting for the telling detail, the little something that would put it all in perspective and bring "closure," even if I'd rather stub my toe than use that word.
It never quite came. Ten years of waiting and wondering where in the world was Osama bin Laden, the question nagged: Was he even alive? Then, voila. He was hiding in plain sight in a compound in Pakistan. We had been observing him for months. And now he was dead, said the president.
Whereupon the strangest thing happened. People began congregating outside the White House and cheering, celebrating the death of bin Laden. Young people, mostly, chanted "USA" and waved the flag. I wanted very much to share their joy and to feel, ah yes, solidarity in this magnificent moment, but the sentiment escaped me. Curiosity was the most I could summon. How curious that people would cheer another's death.
Not since Dorothy landed her house on the Wicked Witch of the East have so many munchkins been so happy. My 20-something son explained ever so patiently that OBL was his generation's Hitler and that of course he was happy. Why wasn't I?
I don't know. To me, the execution of bin Laden was more punctuation than poetry -- a period at the end of a Faulknerian sentence. That is, too long and rather late-ish. To the 9/11 generation, if we may call it that, OBL wasn't only the mastermind of a dastardly act; he was evil incarnate and the world wouldn't be safe until he was eliminated.
Would that justice were so neat and evil so conveniently disposed of.
Perhaps it is a function of age, but I find no solace in revenge. What I do experience at such times is overwhelming sadness about the human condition, our bloodlust and attraction to spectacle. I have felt similarly twice before in recent memory -- on the day when Saddam Hussein was hanged and, under drastically different circumstances, during the 1998 execution of Karla Faye Tucker in Texas.
In both instances, we millions tuned in to follow or observe the killings. No two people have more deserved the full force of earthly justice. Saddam's crimes against humanity are well known. Tucker murdered two people with an ax, for which she later apologized. Her remorse and conversion as a born-again Christian captured public attention, but were inadequate to convince then-Gov. George W. Bush to commute her sentence. Ironically, both deaths were on Bush's watch.
In watching these two dispensations, we became voluntary, if passive, participants. Co-executioner is not a role with which I hope to become comfortable. And though I understand society's need for justice and the individual's yearning for revenge, it seems we should be on guard. For the sake of civilization, the latter is to be conquered and the former tempered.
Inarguably, Osama bin Laden needed to leave this earth -- and perhaps it is just that he did so by the wit, sleuth and sure aim of our bravest men. Even so, discomfort is a necessary companion to any violence we commit, even in the service of good. There is nothing to celebrate in any man's death and I wish this had been the sentiment telegraphed to the rest of the world rather than the loutish hoorahs of late-night revelers.
Bin Laden was an icon and a figurehead. But he was not the sole proprietor of evil. For all of human time, it seems, there will be another one willing to fill his shoes and eager to find expression in others' suffering. Evil, after all, is a vagabond, ever on the prowl for a crack in the door.
Not to be one of those Debbie Downers who puts things in unwelcome perspective, but shouldn't we be slightly less delighted to kill? Triumphalism might play better on the day when we no longer have to kill each other.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Is there anything that doesn't go with pasta?

Kids, mine in particular, take note... almost anything goes with pasta.


John grilled shisk-a-bobs yesterday for Mother's Day.  (Thank you, Schweetie, they were incredible.)  But unlike than the beef and pork, the chicken kabobs can dry out when reheated.  I got a wild hair today, and decided to dump the chicken left overs in pasta.

It turned out AWESOME.

Here's the recipe..
Go to the grocery store and get any vegetable that flips your switch. I used mushrooms, a sweet onion, a zucchini, broccoli, pea pods and asparagus.  And I threw some sum dried tomatoes in at the end along with a can of regular diced tomatoes.
Saute the onions and then everything else in olive oil.
Cook the spaghetti
Throw your left-over chicken in with the veggies, along with a couple tubs of that new Philadelphia Cream Cheese cream - I used the Italian Herb.
Mix it all together and serve.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

My house.

When I can't sleep, I can't turn my brain off.  I start designing jewelry in my head.  And houses.  Over the past few years, my dream house has been conjured down to the last floor board.  (I have trouble sleeping.)

John has a major issue with the term "dream house."  But I think that's because the definition of the term for most people is big and lavish.  Mine is not.  Mine is smart.  Mine is convenient.  Mine is comfy.  Mine is a ranch with a walk out basement.

I've thought about actually drawing it out on paper and/or gathering images to illustrate my smart dream home, but haven't yet.  Jim's friend, Kyle, is going to be an architect.  Maybe we should have a sit down. But I'll just give you the highlights of what goes through my head at 3 a.m.

It's a pretty typical looking ranch from the front, with a prairie home/arts and crafts look to it.  3 car garage. Gotta keep the Miata someplace.  The style inside matches the outside.  All wood flooring.  Think black and tan colors (you can add any accent colors to go with black and tan).  The windows along the back of the house are all sliders or French doors that lead out to a covered deck on the main floor and a patio on the lower level.

Here are the only details I will bore you with:
1) The kitchen has 3 big slider drawers for recycling that push out into a separate little room in the garage.  Then on recycling pick up day, the bins can be taken from there to the curb.  This little room is just a little slice taken off of the mudroom.
2) I want heating coils under the the driveway and sidewalk.  Flip a switch = no shoveling show.  I'll be sure to omit this if we live south of the Mason Dixon.
3) Picture the kitchen, living room and dining room in sort of a very loose triangle layout, with a 2 sided stone fireplace in the middle - mostly enjoyed from the living and dining rooms.
4) Moving down the hall...  We have an office and a "project room" on one side of the hall, a half bath and the laundry room on the other.  The laundry room has a door that goes into the master bedroom closet.  Why do so many houses have the laundry at the furthest point away from where clothes are kept??!!  That project room can take a whole night of no sleep itself.
5)  Downstairs...  Like I said, it's a walkout.  Slider or French doors along the back.  Rec room with a bar area.  2 bedrooms down there with a jack and jill bathroom - but a door separating the toilet and sink from the shower, so it's sort of like a half bath with access from the hall too.
6) Workout room in the basement - double doors can be opened so you can see the TV while on the treadmill or whatnot.

Now if I can incorporate Jen's idea of the suction tube from the mailbox to my office desk, my dream house will be complete.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finished Jane Eyre

That was a really great book!  I guess it is a classic for a reason.  I still find it amusing to read a 150 year old book on my phone and an ipad.

Now I'm ready to watch the new Jane Eyre movie!  What?  Not playing in town?  We have "Prom", "Thor" and "Hop" on 12 screens each, but no Jane.  Go figure.

Ready for my next classic book and looking for suggestions!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eye for an eye

I need to vent about this, and I think if I say anything directly to anyone, they will think me an unpatriotic Al Qaeda sympathizer.

People are rejoicing all over the country over the fact that we killed Osama bin Laden.  There was a celebration at the university down the street, the likes of which have probably not been seen for 40 years, if ever.

I have very mixed feelings about this.

I know I would feel very differently if I had lost someone close to me on 9/11.  I know this one man put fear into the hearts of Americans and people around the world that will last an eternity.  We will never feel as secure as we once did.  But I can't muster the same glee in it that other's seem to possess.  It won't bring anyone back.  It will not fix things.

Don't get me wrong - it had to be done.  But what we could ever do to that man is not sufficient, and justice  simply does not happen here on earth.  He alone has to stand before his Maker now, and right now, that's all the assurance and celebration I need.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Here we go...

We're moving.

And not just moving across town this time.  We're moving to the St. Louis area.  Moving 2-1/2 hours away. Hubby just accepted a new marketing manager position there as of June 1 - his 51st birthday.  He will live down there with a co-worker, and I will remain here with the kids through the summer.  I will be able to leave work on a good note (if I left any sooner than August -September, it would leave them short-handed) and put the house on the market.

People who know me well, know that having a house on the market is #1 on my stress chart.  I don't know what it is about it.  I'm relatively OK with actually moving and I like looking for a new place.  So it must be the lack of privacy thing - strangers coming into your house, criticizing everything about your tastes, cleanliness and organizational skills - or lack thereof.  We're going to try listing the house for-sale-by-owner, which means there is no buffer between me and potential buyers.  I say "me," because I will be here handling most of what goes on.  Lord help me.  

This blog started out being about my first trip to Haiti.  You might want to stop reading for the summer, because it will probably turn into one big whine-fest over the next few months.  

Anybody what to buy a cute, little house next to ISU campus???