Monday, December 10, 2007

LaDawn's List

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I don't think so.




5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 2 Sons, 1 Daughter


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Do you think?





12. DO YOU THINK YOU'RE STRONG? yes, sometimes



15. RED OR PINK? Red


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Mother, I missed her a long time before she physically left us.

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black pants, dark lavender shoes


20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the keyboard, the furnace


22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Lavendar and Sage


24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes, she has an interesting life

25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football, volleyball

26. HAIR COLOR? Brown

27. EYE COLOR? Brown


29. FAVORITE FOOD? Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll




33. SUMMER OR WINTER? Need to have both


35. FAVORITE DESSERT? ice cream sundae

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb



39. FAVORITE SOUND? The way Alex says "Gramma" and "Grandpa"


41. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Been to both coasts and I don't know which is the farthest.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It Is November After All

When I got up this morning and saw the fog, that was my first thought. It is November and this looks more like it. The warm pretty fall days are going to be just a memory real soon. I hear the wind as I speak, no make that type. It is getting cold and the days are looking gloomy.

But we have much to be thankful for. Florida isn't underwater yet due to global warming. But that might be something to hope for with 2008 election close at hand. Am I clever or what?

Seriously folks, I am thankful for family, friends, our health, and new things everyday. Happy Thanksgiving.

According to my daily read of the Writer's Almanac, this week is the birthday of George Gallup who was born in Iowa and attended the University there. His first poll was for the college newspaper on who was the prettiest girl on campus. That was someone named Ophelia Smith and he later married her. Now you all learned something today, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

For My Birthday

I had a great birthday weekend. On Saturday, Bob & I drove to a wildlife refuge in Missouri to see the migrating waterfowl. On Sunday, Bob made dinner for the whole family, and we had cake and ice cream. Then Adam & I went to "Spamalot". It was so entertaining. It was part of the Broadway in Omaha series and was here for a week at the Orpheum. Live theater is so fun.

On Monday, I had lunch with a couple of friends. We went to a place called "Come Into My Kitchen" It's a very chic little lunch place in a cottage on Leavenworth St.
After we were seated, a waitress came by carrying a vase of flowers and asked if anyone was named Shirley. The flowers were for me. Adam had sent them. We had a great lunch and much laughing and fun.

Oh yes, and wasn't it nice that the Huskers won this week.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday Weekend

Hello -- I am having a birthday weekend because as luck would have it -- I was born right by a legal holiday. So I get a 3 day weekend for my birthday. Isn't that neat?

First -- remember all veterans please. I work with quite a few Vietnam vets and others, too, and have made a point of saying something to the ones I am around on this day each year. Saying "Happy Veterans Day" sounds pretty lame, so I don't do that. On Friday night as I was checking out, I told coworker, Jim, "have a good weekend, a nice Veteran's Day, and thank you for defending our country." He simply said "your welcome." That was humbling.

We had some cake this evening and Bob made us dinner. Then Adam and I went to see the Broadway show, Spamalot. It was all good.

Tomorrow for my birthday -- I am having my teeth cleaned, lunch with friends, and a committee meeting in the evening.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Time Change

Last Sunday is one of my most favorite days of the year. The day when Daylight Savings Time ends and we get to "fall back." I don't change my clocks until at least the evening, if not the next day, just so I can look at it, and think "huh, it's really not that late."

Now -- in contrast -- today is one of my least favorites. Because it's the day to go back to work after the time change. And -- all day -- I think, " it feels like it should be later." And of course, it gets dark pretty early now, too.

I think Mother used to say "you can't win for losing." What does that mean? Is it applicable here?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gender Lesson

As I am writing this, my husband is talking to the dog as if she is human. (We like our animals here.) He is asking her if she really needs to go outside right now and is telling her that if she is just going out to mess around and not go potty, there will be consequences.

While Cassie and Alex's cat was living with us, there was some confusion with the animals. You see Bob does not use the right pronouns to describe the animals. Which really doesn't matter, because everyone is fixed anyway. I'm not sure of the criteria he uses to determine what animal is he or she -- most of the family has just gotten used to this.

Alex is not going to go along with this. He knows who is what and has illustrated this for us and posted it on the refrigerator. (See drawing.) Note: the cat with the striped tail is our Milo and he is "he". The cat without stripes or coloring is Harley-Girl and is "she". The animal saying 'bark" -- that's Maggie --"she".

Alex is an artist like his mother, isn't he?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Sad Anniversary

I got a new purse for an anniversary years ago, and I often think about the events of that year when fall comes again, and we add another year.

We lived in Virginia that year. We were going to be there for a year because of Bob's work. We were off on a year's adventure, going to live in a new place, see all the sights, and experience new schools, new cultures, and then move back home. Home -- where nothing would have changed. Not much.

We spent our weekends visiting anything we found might be of interest. On that first weekend in October, we found an arts festival to go to. It was great. I love art festivals..all the artists and craftsmen were new to us. We had the best crab cake sandwich in the world that day. I bought it right from a vendor in the park. No restaurant sandwich has ever come close to matching up to my memory of that sandwich. I don't recall what town or county the festival was in. It may have been in Maryland. They claim home to the infamous Blue Crab you know. But I remember what I bought at that fair. One item was a plush, handmade Bald Eagle. This was to put away and give to Jonathan for Christmas. The other purchase was my purse. A handmade, leather, compartmentalized, multicolor, perfect length shoulder strapped purse. I spent more than I ever thought I would for a purse. But I said it would be my anniversary present since it would be our 15Th coming up the next week. Fifteen years should be a milestone worth a little extra.

On Monday we were back to the routine of school, work, etc. That evening Bob had taken the kids on an errand, and I took the call from Donna, his mother. Bob's folks had just completed an auction at their place in Wisconsin and were to be moving back to Nebraska to be closer to family. I thought the call was just going to be to let us know they were on their way and all was sold and packed and ready to go. It wasn't. Bob's father died. Harley wouldn't be moving back. He was to be buried in his home state of Wisconsin.

We hesitated only a bit, before deciding we would all go to Wisconsin, and the most economical way to get all five of us there was to drive. So we packed up and off we went. Just as we were going out the door, I grabbed my new purse which was still in the shopping bag, as I hadn't put it to use, yet.

The drive to Wisconsin was rushed, but without any problems. The landscape was beautiful in the country. It was an October when the trees were at their best all along our trip. I had never seen such great fall colors. We were all pretty quiet that trip, the kids keeping themselves busy with Walkmans or books, and whatever they had brought in their backpacks. I remember watching the trees go by and the sun shining so bright, and being on the verge of tears nearly every moment. I was thinking that back in May of that same year when we had said goodbye to Harley it was the last time.

On the day we were to arrive in the little Wisconsin town, it would be our 15Th wedding anniversary. I don't think we even mentioned it to each other that morning or even during the day. We just both knew it, but had to keep on the tasks at hand. I did get my new purse out of the bag, and as we drove along, I put it to use, cleaning out the old one and arranging the new one. It was just between me and the purse that this was my present. No need for other celebratory remarks or actions, there were other things to attend to.

We arrived to find all the family and more relatives gathered having eats and drinks at the lodge on the lake. There was to be a visitation and prayer service later that evening at the mortuary. We hugged and sat and visited for a while. Then Bob told me to come with him and Candy, his sister. I just followed them out, and we went into a cousin's apartment next door. Candy said she had other bad news. I could never have imagined what I was about to hear. She said my brother, Bob, had died.

When one is on the verge of tears for a couple of days, another shock can really send it pouring out. I don't know how I got myself composed enough to deal with the rest of the day. I suppose because I had a husband and three kids to look after, and they to look after me, falling apart could just wait. We would just have to find a way to get to Nebraska for another funeral.

We attended the short service for Harley that evening. It was a gathering of friends and relatives to say goodbye and offer condolences and fond memories. Afterwards many relatives and friends gathered at one of the pubs on the lake near where Donna & Harley had lived. Our kids were allowed to play pool on the bar's pool table, and a lot of people gathered around visiting in small groups. The atmosphere had a nice small town feel to it, and anyone who happened in the place knew it was Harley's family there and offered a word of sympathy to one or two family members.

Bob & I were sitting with his brothers and some cousins and their spouses. At some point talk turned to weddings and how long ago some had married. Then some talk about upcoming anniversaries started to come up. As people started to compare years and dates, I looked at Bob, and he didn't say anything, just a bit of smile to me. I wondered about saying it was our anniversary, but thought of why we were there and where we had to go, and I knew if anyone would even ask about our anniversary date, I would certainly burst into tears. I thought how wrong this was for us. Now the events of this year would always be there between the anniversary and the wedding.
I guess a breakdown would have been totally understandable by all those present, but it just didn't need to happen.

The following day was the funeral mass and burial for Harley, complete with Veteran's honors. We had lunch at the church and it was mid afternoon when the family again gathered at the lodge where we had spent the night before. We spent a couple hours talking and took a walk in the woods to enjoy the fall foliage, and to honor Harley as he did love the woods. By late afternoon Bob and I and the kids had repacked our minivan and were ready to go to Nebraska. We have never been fast travelers, and we were going to be driving at night for the whole 500 miles.

We did make that trip in record time for us, with only a few stops for necessities. It was really the middle of the night as we were driving through Sioux City and decided to make a stop. We just needed a break, get some coffee and something to eat at a truck stop. It is just weird how people can react to what is going on within them at a given time. Something triggered a giggle from one of the kids, and they started laughing nearly uncontrollably as the waitress tried to take our order. They really could not stop. The waitress obviously thought it was something about her that they were laughing about, and looked puzzled and a bit hurt. I could hardly tell her to just ignore them, that we were just coming from their grandfather's funeral and going to an uncle's funeral the next day. That would not explain this behavior and make her feel better. I think I said we were all a bit sleep deprived. That made them laugh even more. I never knew what was so funny, maybe it was the waitress. I do think she was glad to see us go.

An hour later and we arrive at Mother's house. She is obviously relieved to see us and is ready to give us food and a resting spot. Our family gathers a couple of times in the next two days. Most of us in shock and trying to figure out how we could get our heads around losing a sibling just like that. A sister and daughter made a trip much like ours from the West coast. We are together and it matters. Our bright spot and welcome distraction is the baby, Seth. Seth is our brother Bob's first grandchild and the only one he would meet on this earth. Seth was just a few months old, and we admire him and try our best to make him laugh and smile.

The funeral procession to the cemetery is led by the truck Bob drove at his work. The big yellow-orange state truck shines in that October sun. It seems too bright for the sad day it is. But it is so fitting. Bob's coworkers and friends liked him a lot. They want us all to know he'll be missed. Then for the second time that week, my family hears the 21-Gun Salute and Taps.

Now again after a funeral our family needs to pack up and head on our way. It is hard to leave everyone so soon after, but we have far to go. We spent the night at our home in Omaha, and as we got up the next day, the neighbors were up getting ready to deliver the Sunday papers. We were glad to see them and the kids were happy to touch base with some happy faces at home.

Our trip back to Virginia was tiresome, but went smoothly. Traveling through Iowa, I remember stopping to eat, or for gas and thinking I could not get out of the Midwest too soon. It seemed every stop I would see my brother. There was always a guy with a seed-corn ball cap and a dusty orange sweatshirt getting his coffee or lunch, or gassing up his truck as the harvest season was in full swing. I would get a glimpse of the guy, turn and look again and then know it couldn't be brother Bob.

Again the drive was a mix of fall colors along the way. The trees in the East were peaking now, and it was a great year for fall foliage.

After arriving back to the apartment and getting kids into their own beds, it almost seemed unreal. The week must have been a dream. But we woke up the next day and went to work and school knowing it had not been a dream and things were different. We had been changed by some important life experiences and it happened very fast.

We have had 14 more anniversaries since the October of 1993. Mostly good ones. I carried that purse for 10 years, it was so right. I haven't found a just right replacement. Probably never will, because the purse came from a time just before some big things happened. To remember buying the purse and the best crab cake sandwich ever is a revisit to that time when we were not missing a parent and a brother. It's a visit to a previous chapter, and it's good to go there sometimes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today in History at Our House

Alex got his cast off today. He is supposed to take it easy on the arm now for three weeks. I hardly think that's gonna happen. He already fell on it while taking a shot batting a baseball with Grandpa this afternoon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


We are taking our fall trip Saturday. The kids will be here, and we have our phones, so we'll keep in touch. Maybe we can get a photo posted on here now that Bob figured that one out. Everyone have a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bob's Birthday

Bob's birthday was last Monday. As usual time crept up on me, and I was not prepared for the day. On Sunday I quizzed him as to what he had in mind for his day, and got very little in response. We were going out to do our estate-saleing and I offered to do the driving as a sort of b-day gift. He liked that idea. So I did that and asked for some more ideas. He thought out loud about whether he really wanted me cook something for dinner or go somewhere. I asked what he might like me to cook. Nothing came to mind. I'm not insulted by this. Finally he decided that he wanted a whole lobster. So we will go somewhere. In the meantime, I am driving us around to a record 5 estate sales on one Sunday afternoon. I get one big headache. Don't know what triggered that, but it hurt. I spent the rest of the day at home. I could not even get out of my chair to go get a card, so there would be no shopping before the big day.

Well, Monday morning came and I still had the headache. Bob did some errands and I finally got to moving around by noon. Then Cassie called. She was on her way to pick up Alex who had "taken a tumble at school and needed an x-ray." A couple hours later we are picking up Alex at the Village Inn and Cass is going to go back to work.
We walk in and he says "I have a broken bone in two places -- here and here." He points to his arm, which is in a sling in a temporary cast. Then he asks us if we have ever seen a picture of our bones. He has. And for someone who has to take a listening skills class, he sure had a lot of information for us.

Well I am thinking we are all going to be sitting around encouraging Alex for the evening and there won't be much b-day celebrating. Not at all. The family gathers at Red Lobster and we all admire Alex's cast and the big lobster.

Oh yeah -- the headache subsided enough for me to go to the store and buy a card and a little cake.

Alex is doing fine. He will see an orthopedic doctor on Tuesday, and I suppose get the real cast. He is not letting this slow him down much. In fact Cassie got a note from the PE teacher saying she had not explained to Alex that he would not be able to do PE, and that he had been quite upset.

The birthday dinner was fine -- well I hadn't cooked it -- and the cake and card well received. And our little boy has his first broken arm.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Well -- I guess we don't need to concern ourselves with setting aside that lst Saturday in December for a football game of any consequence, huh? Don't comment on that -- that's all I'm gonna say.

We did some work on the house this weekend, mostly chased Alex around for my part. I have done some painting. For all you looking for pictures -- be patient -- I only concentrate on one thing at a time. Bob told me not to multitask anymore -- to leave it to the young people. That was after the day I had stepped in a paint tray, and left the freezer unplugged, and dropped a can of stain that wasn't quite lidded properly. Thank goodness this all happened in the basement. I think I was cleaning it or something and also trying to do some crafty stuff that involved paint and stain, but no sharp objects that time.

We are working on getting some vacation time in October. Probably go for a fall drive to an area that has some trees and cool weather. Work has started to pick up and we are getting called in for overtime.

This Saturday is our Craft show at church and Bob & I are on that committee, so we help with it.

We are still going to the estate sales on Sunday afternoons. It has become a whole family activity some Sundays. We have to take two cars, and use all kinds of gas just to find these great bargains. Do you think we should all find a better hobby.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Labor Day Weekend

We spent our weekend and the days leading up to it, moving our children around.

Adam has moved to an apartment -- not too far from us -- it's on the first floor of a big older house.

Cassie and Alex are staying with us while we work on their new house. So we had to get her moved out of her apartment by Friday night. her house is not far from us either. It's a house that's just about like our first house on shirley street. The remodeling we are doing should make it really nice for the two of them.

Now since I have sworn off all remodelling in my house -- I always found myself in a mess all over the house while working on one room -- how does that work that way -- and now here we are working on a house that's a few miles away and my house is in chaos again. We should have some details on the remodel at some point, as April is keeping a journal and Cass takes photos all the time.

Oh yes -- we have Harley Girl, Alex's cat with us, too. Milo is not too happy about that and is missing Adam.

We took time out from working yesterday morning to take a hike at a nearby nature trail. Jon and April's dogs and our Maggie went, too. Alex loves to hold the leash on the dogs.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Question #6

What is the best and worst about being a woman?

In the 70s women were becoming empowered, but not to the extent of equality. Instead of a split of responsibilities, women were being told take it all on. Work and family. Mass media promoted the image that "a woman can bring home the bacon, fry it up in pan, and never let you forget you're a man". Sure -- but how about paying for daycare out of the less-than-fair wages. I get angry with myself for buying into the culture that gets created by our media. That's my entry for the worst -- being gullible and believing all the hype.

The flip side -- maybe not the best thing about being a woman -- but my entry for being proud of it -- When the Nebraska Volleyball team won their National Championship last year, I was invested in the thrill. And not just because we do that here in this state. You see--there would not be women athletes competing at these levels if not for the girls in the 60s and 70s who wanted to play sports. And those parents and teachers saw possibilities and demanded time and money be appropriated to girls as well as boys. I feel a part of that -- I participated and by doing so, helped pave the way for the sisterhood. I do feel glad to have lived in these decades of a lot of changes for women.

Kodak Moments

There are a couple of moments in my head that I wish I had on film to share with everyone.

The first one is the instant that Jonathan and Cassie saw their brother, Adam, for the first time. It was in the hospital, and they were wearing those child size hospital gowns over their clothes and hopping all over the room acting very excited and goofy about the new surroundings, and I'm hoping glad to see me. When the nurse rolled in the baby cart, they froze and watched as she wheeled in Adam. She parked the cart right in front of both of them, and they stood there staring with amazed looks on their faces. Like they didn't expect him to be real at all. It was just awesome watching them.

The second photo I wish I had is when we were in the pet store looking for a cat. Adam was carrying the little kitty towards me saying he wanted that one. And Milo just hanging there looking as if this was just fine.

Well -- two weeks ago there was another moment. On Saturday after work, I headed to Cassie's new-old house. Cassie's family and friends were going to start work on her renovation project. I walked in and was greeted by my three grown children and one daughter-in-law. They were wearing old clothes, had bandanas covering their heads, gloves on their hands, and holding tools of some sort. Each was covered in a film of the 100-year-old dust that the house was coughing up as they knocked down paneling and plaster. And they were all smiling and looking as if they were having fun. This would be a great photo to have as the renovation continues and the problems arise. Just to remind them of the optimism that we all felt at the beginning.

Ok-- Question #5

So what is the best surprise of married life and the worst.

For me this needs a time frame as I think I am surprised and "taken back" (for lack of any good word for a worst moment) all through married life. Certainly one of the best things has been not going through tough things alone. Waiting for Jonathan to be born was a rough time. I didn't know how sick I was and how dangerously close I came to having a stroke, etc. For several reasons, I just didn't think the baby would ever be born safe and sound and healthy. Bob was there and never seemed to waiver or be scared. He stayed on track with thinking the baby would come along and everything be all right. Except for the part when he almost fainted in the delivery room after they handed him the baby.

For the worst -- well now let me tell you -- I remember one time in our first home --
shortly after we finished new wallpaper and paint in the living room and we got our first computer. Well with no den or family room, the computer was going to have to be in the living room. And as we discussed what kind of a desk we should find and where to put it, Bob thought it would be fine to put a gray steelcase desk in my country decor living room. I was astonished that I could be married to a person who could think this way. A little shallow maybe? But it was one real moment.

Best and worst -- these moments still come and go. Just don't ever think that this is "as good as it gets."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Question #3 and #4

What is the best $ ever spent. Another struggle for an answer. Probably money spent on education. For myself, and the rest of the family. I certainly can't name any material item that I would label the best.

And the biggest waste of money. More than a few things come to mind on this one, but the biggest has to be that first pack of cigarettes years ago. Because that led to so many more packs. After quitting years ago, I added up each day how much I did not spend on cigs. By this time the amount could have easily paid for the sunroom we added to the house.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What The?

There has been some welcome rain this past week and with it a few thunderstorms. Some nights ago after a big flash of light and a huge clap of thunder the radio in our bedroom turned on. It's the middle of the night, and my radio is set on the public radio station. In the middle of the night the programming is from the BBC.
That is -- Britains morning news. So imagine to yourself -- half awake, half asleep, a loud bang, and a man with a deep voice and a British accent is talking to you in your bedroom in the middle of the night. You might want to think it's Sir Paul McCartney come into your dreams, but more likely you're gonna want to wake yourself up and make sure God is not an Englishman.

LaDawn's Question #2 - Advice

The one piece of advice I wish I'd been given as a young person. I've given this a bit of thought and I just can't imagine really taking a piece of advice and going with it. Seems all young people have to figure it out first, and reflect on "who told them so" later. My kids do, so I guess I did, too.

It would not have hurt to have someone say --"here's some Berkshire Hathaway Stock, it will be good, buy some." Of course this would have been when I was 2 years old and had $1000, and it would be a billion now.

Seriously I can't think of any advice I was not given that I wish I had been -- I just wish I had taken more.

LaDawn -- are these reflecting questions supposed to lead to something? Can I quit if I have a revelation? :)

Fallen Soldiers

I read Sue's blog entry about the fallen soldier's funeral procession in Norfolk a couple of weeks ago. I was not aware of the Patriot Guard's role in this and now I understand what I witnessed here that same week.

On that Sunday I was driving home from an errand and as I approached 60th & Center, there seemed to be too much activity at the intersection. I saw a police car or two and figured I'd be making my way by an accident. Then I got closer and spotted the idiots with the signs on the corner. The signs said "God hates America" and "God hates Nebraska." I wish they didn't have the right to be there.

Further down Center I saw a hundred or more ordinary people holding flags and lining the entrance to the mortuary. Their motorcycles were parked in the lot. I'm glad they were there.

I've read that the idiots do this because they say America is too accepting of gay and lesbian lifestyles and that the war deaths are a punishment. This is so absurdly wrong. The idiot's actions disgust me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

When I was 18

How did I see my future when I was 18? I don't think I had a clue. I am sure I never even imagined being 50. I didn't see options or choices to make. I guess I thought someone would just tell me what to do next. I'm not sure who did tell me to go to business school...maybe Mother, or Suzie. It had worked out for Suzie, so I guessed I could make it do for me, too.

Before anyone just assumes here that I was a total airhead, which I would have to admit to a bit, I do state in my defense that I turned 18 just about 6 weeks after Dad died. That pretty much muds up any memories of what I may have been thinking about anything. I have wondered how my life would have been different had that not happened. I can see Mother's life different and in turn, mine. Who knows.

The second part of the question comparing the 18-year-old's vision with the reality is tough. I know I did not see this reality but I like it. There's bumps and adjustments, and things to fix, and worries to wonder about, but my family fascinates me and makes me laugh and cry and wonder.

A quick note

After having been away for a bit, I think I got up-to-date now on everyones blog and I will try a be more attentive.

Glad to hear that LaDawn's flooding problems subsided, and Emily is doin ok.

Just a note about the Potter books. I didn't even get to handle an advance copy in the mail -- they were being guarded like registered mail until the delivery date. And I am not a fan. I bought and read the first one, decided it wasn't for me, and gave it away. When I watched the first movie, I fell asleep, so much for that. I am a bit fascinated at the author's real life story. There was a note on a newsletter to which i suscribe that said it was her birthday the other day, and she is the only woman author to have achieved becoming a billionaire based solely on her writing. Obviously that will not happen to me as my sentences seem to defy all rules of structure.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The 1st of August

Well I guess that last month flew by.

We celebrated Jon's birthday on the 7th with pizza at Sortino's. April likes to have the family gathered there. She can invite all of her family and still have room to move about. I ordered a set of golf instructional videos and we gave Jon them for his birthday along with a new waffle iron he had requested. As of last Sunday, the waffle iron is still in the box, and Jon reports that he used a new technique he had learned on the video. And on that day -- he added 50 yards to his drive. I don't play but that sure sounds pretty good to me.

And the big day -- the 21st for Alex's #5. Bob & I were instructed to take Alex to lunch while Cassie decorated our sunroom and then surprise him with a party upon our return. We had to stall at lunch for a while, and Alex was getting anxious to get back home, but we managed our part fine. As we drove up to the house, Alex saw all the cars then said, "what the? Hey I know who's car that is. Oh man.. all these people are here for my birthday." He was surprised but not fooled at all. He stood on the sidewalk and carefully sounded out the sign in the window reading "hap--py birth---day Alex. 5.

Cassie had invited some friends from work, and introduced us to her boy friend, Jeremy.

Bob has been fishing and I have been working. I am reading about digital cameras, as I am getting close to going that route now. Not that I will ever give up my beloved Pentax.

I read Mary's book. A good story -- it was very clever in taking a couple turns I didn't expect, and I liked the light hearted tone -- gives the reader the safe sense that you'll be happy with the ending.

This should be an interesting month -- Adam is going to move to an apartment.
And Cass is buying a house. It is an old house with potential -- I don't know if I'll be able to keep my hands off and my mouth shut. Bob says I have to though.
But I am such an expert!!!

Oh yes -- a note to all who waited for the Potter book. According to an inhouse news bulletin --- 1.7 million went through the mail. We even had a few that had to be forwarded. Handled with the utmost care of course.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The 4th of July

As planned we stayed home for most of the holiday. I trimmed bushes and watered and pruned. Bob was puttering around the house. We went out for lunch and then took an afternoon nap. We planned to go to Donna's and have some coffee and cake and watch the fireworks around the city from her balcony. As we were enjoying our visit, Adam called. He said he stepped on a log in the river and was kinda bleeding and should he go get a docter to look at it.

I talked to him for a while, Bob talked to him and to one of the parents who was there. When I talked to the parent, she said Adam seemed much better now, and that he probably passed out because of the blood. First I had heard of the passing out. I told her that he had done that before while having blood taken in the office, then I told Adam to come home, and we would go to emergency. So Bob watched the fireworks with Candy and Donna, and I went to the hospital with Adam.

They cleaned his foot and didn't find anything in it, so he got it bandaged and a prescription. His tetnus shot is up to date, so all should be ok. He stayed home today, and says it hurts when he walks. I hope it heals up for him. He is going on the mission trip to New Orleans this month.

Note to Sue -- Earl May gives you the coupon because they know I am right -- we should not be planting in July and they still have stock. But you go girl. Get some more -- I'll cheer for ya.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Midweek update

A very nice weekend by most standards. And a day off in the middle of the week, too. I think our Independence Day will be celebrated by a simple dinner at home with whatever children decide to join us.

The big fireworks show tonight just seems like too much of an effort to get there and manipulate the crowd to get a view, so we skipped it. The lightening bugs in the back yard will do.

We found the couch for our sunroom this weekend, and I bought 2 more plants to add to the landscape. Bob says he stops using minnows for bait on July 1 because of the heat, and that I should use the same date to stop adding plants for the same reason. I agree with him on this one. The dog days of summer are coming and it is time to stop digging and concentrate on the watering and weeding. That's the rule now. Don't let me forget it as I drive by the garden centers wishing for one more stop.

On Monday when Alex and Bob were drawing and coloring, Alex asked Bob to add something to the drawing and Bob said, "yes, hand me the black magic marker."

Alex said " I don't have one."

Bob says, "yes you do, we've been using it."

Alex says, "well, I have a black marker, but it's not magic."

Do you recall when we stopped calling markers magic?

Hope the 4th is happy and safe for all of you and yours.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back from Vacationing

Well -- I had a great week off and enjoyed all the family time we shared with the reunions and games and such. And had no problemn slipping right back into work. It was a nice quiet there with all the computers humming and machines buzzing. I put on my headphones and forwarded the mail. By the end of the week, the job was boring, and I was missing the fun of cruising around the next couple of counties looking for relatives.

This last weekend we did our usual Sunday routine of Church, estate sales, lunch, and some laundry. Alex was with us on Monday, and we lunched with the pastor and some friends at HyVee. We made a stop at Crossroads for a haircut for Bob, and then to the Westroads for a haircut for me. Alex and I waited for Bob in the Barnes and Noble book store. He found the books with the "sound keys" on the side and probably tried every one. If he couldn't get it to sound, he asked me to try. I'm sure glad they encourage book browsing there. While I got my haircut, Bob and Alex played miniature golf at the Westroads. When we left there, we decided to try the Whole Foods Market nearby and pick up our makings for dinner. That was fun, too as we tried all the samples in the store. We ended up with a roasted chicken with sweet corn for dinner. How creative we are, huh? I'm sure next time we will find something new to try.

There are not too many Mondays left before Alex will start school. I'm feeling a bit sad about that. He is such a joy. (funny I made a typo there and it read "such a job") Even though we had to say he will never see the inside of a Toys R Us with Grandpa or Lowes with Grandma again.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

June Birthdays

Cassia's birthday was nice. We had dinner and a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake. That's her favorite. She wanted a gas grill, so that's what we gave her. Since Bob is the homemaker here, he handles all the gift buying and birthday preparations now. He says I should not be multi tasking anymore, that we need to leave that to the younger people -- but you should see him in the kitchen sometimes. It isn't pretty. But we put together a dinner for the family and sang the happy birthday song. We did have to sing the song twice, though because we decided the first time through was pretty lame and we all needed to pep it up some.

Next week we will celebrate Adam's b-day. Exactly one week later. I chose that. Since it was going to be a scheduled birth, the docter gave me three days to pick from, and like I could really have cared in the shape I was in at the time, I said, let's get the b-days a week apart. It has been a wise choice. They never had to share their day --

Monday, June 4, 2007

The First of June

We are having a fine weekend. Tomorrow is our day to gather for Cassie's birthday. Alex was with his dad this weekend, so tomorrow works better.

Bob & I did pick Cass up for lunch and took her with us to a couple of Estate Sales. We have been into these estate sales or "tag sales" for months, now. I don't really even know what makes us keep going, we don't buy too much anymore. Wandering through the vastly different houses and looking through other people's stuff sometimes strikes me as being a really weird or morbid pasttime. I even told Bob, I don't want to do this anymore, just as he was parking in front of one. But then I found a copper tea kettle, that was a perfect addition to my collection of copper stuff, I started to perk up. I ended the "saleing day" with winning a bid on a cute recliner for my sewing room. So we probably won't give up this hobby anytime soon.

I did not go buy any plants this weekend -- not yet. I am so encouraged -- a guy in church stopped me this morning and said, when I am ready to leave my day job, I could become a landscaper. He said our yard is looking really good. My latest addition is an old kid's wagon planted with annuals. Just as cute as can be. And we have had good rain around here lately, so lucky.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Good Weekend

I took advantage of the extra day off on my weekend -- which for me was Saturday -- and did a bit of work around the house. I did NOT buy any new plants this weekend. I am still working on the last bunch. We had a thundershower today that was perfect for a bit of water on all the new stuff.

Bob made some steaks for our dinner tonight and Cass, Alex, and Adam joined us. Then Bob & I went to a movie -- The Wild Hogs movie.

When I told Alex good-bye, I said it was nice they had joined us for a Memorial Day picnic meal. He told me Memorial Day is the day you remember the people who have died. I looked at Cass, and she gave me a look as if to say "didn't you know that?" But then she explained that Alex had asked her about all the flowers and people that he had seen at the cemetery as they drove by.

Yes, Memorial Day is a day for remembering. We don't do the remembering in our family the traditional way I guess. But we do remember.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I Thought We Lost Milo Today

Milo is the cat. Of course, what else would be named Milo. We are his people. He is nearly 17 years old. He spends most of his time sleeping or just watching Adam do whatever Adam is doing. I have told Adam he can't move out as long as Milo is alive, because sometimes Milo walks around the house crying while searching for Adam. His crying is annoying.

Milo does allow time for bonding with us, though. He sits on Bob's lap every evening while he is watching TV. I am surprised the dog allows this. Maggie, the dog, spends her time watching Bob, but that's another story. My time with Milo is any morning that Adam gets up before me. When I hear Adam turn on the shower, the next sound will be Milo pushing open the bedroom door and slipping in if the dog is out. He jumps up to walk on me and lets me pet him and scratch his head. I can't hide my face under the sheet to muffle the purring or avoid the face rub. He will paw at it or try to get under it. When I do get out of bed, we go the kitchen and get Milo's breakfast. I have to serve this in the sewing room, so I can exit and close the baby gate that keeps Maggie away while he eats. When he's done, he walks through the baby gate and Maggie dances around trying to convince someone to let her in the room to finish the breakfast. Again -- I guess that's Maggies story. But Milo goes along with it and always leaves some for Maggie.

I think the rest of Milo's day is spent napping in various favorite spots around the house. If one would like to find the most recent favorite spot, all one would need to do is put on a pair of dark slacks and start sitting around the house. At some point, someone would ( or should anyway) stop one and say "what's all over your pants?" It would be red tabby cat hair, of course. One would have found the spot.

Years ago Milo would chae a rabbit's foot when we tossed it for him. For a while he would fetch it and bring it back to be tossed again. Then it seemed to occur to him that wasn't a proper cat game, so he stopped bringing it back.
He still seems to enjoy watching Adam toss and retrieve the rabbit's foot himself.

Milo knew right away that whatever was in the bundle Cassie brought home almost 5 years ago, was gonna be trouble. He sat across the living room and hissed at the baby blanket that held baby Alex. He had that figured right, and for most of the past few years has managed to keep out of sight and reach of Alex. But he has gotten to be a heavy sleeper and a bit slower, so now and then
Alex does sneak up on him and carries him around. Milo will hang over Alex's arms with a look of helplessness, and Alex's eyes will be wide and bright and very proud that he has outsmarted the cat. It reminds me of a Kodak moment I wish I had on film -- we were in the pet store in the Westroads and Adam was
Alex's age, when he had the little orange tabby kitten hanging from his little hands, saying, "Mommy, I want us to get this one." Our little kitten hung there with that same look of "I'm gonna need help, here."

Well this morning, Milo did not come into my room. I wasn't bothered at first, but when I got downstairs and Bob asked if had seen the cat, I sensed something was wrong. We called and made our own cat sounds and searched every favorite spot we knew of and did it all again. I stood outside and called for him and looked in street hoping I wouldn't find him there. But I was becoming pretty convinced that he had got out somehow the night before and become frightened by the thunderstorm and ran wildly until he was lost. I was about to phone Adam and question him about where and when he had last seen him.
Then I heard Bob talking to someone upstairs. Since he and I were the only humans in the house, I knew he must have found Milo. Yes, there he was -- he had created a new sleeping spot in the corner of Adam's closet. I had walked by him at least twice in my search for him, and my calling hadn't awakened him.
He must be losing some hearing and sleeping even sounder. He woke up real slow, so we kept on eye on him for the day, just in case he was getting sick. But all seems fine.

He is a good cat. I am glad we still have him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Gardening, Too

Yes -- I have been diggin in the dirt around here, too. You don't even want to know about all the plants I am finding and putting out in the hot sun. Or really I just can't remember all the names right now. So far they are surviving. And a good rain for them tonight.

And Adam brought the biggest hanging basket you can imagine from the flower shop for Mother's Day. We really can't figure out where we might hang it. It is so heavy, it may have to become the focal point on the front porch.

Also for M-Day -- we had a mid afternoon lunch at a new place -- Granite City.
The kids got me a gift card from a camera store. Cool, huh? I believe they think I should enter the digital age. They are probably right. I have boxes and books of photos galore, and Bob just comes home, sits at the computer, and edits his photos the same day. I have a new screen depicting a bird or tree or something in nature every time I sit down here. Anyway -- back to M-Day --we also did a couple of Estate Sales as is our usual Sunday routine. And I found something big this week -- a kitchen island/serving stand. it's neat.

I am working on my lists like you all have posted -- and I do know what the phrase is that I over use --- "Really?" or "Really!" or "really now?"

Friday, May 4, 2007

For This Weekend

I took a day this week to do some gardening -- got lots of plants put out and moved some that were in the wrong places. That was on Wednesday -- we went to our local cafe for dinner and a quick run to the discount store. Well while I was there, I bought about a dozen more plants. Of course i did not have time to put those plants out, so thought about getting up early and doing it Thursday AM. Like I can do anything early in the day. Well it started raining. and it is predicted to do a lot of raining these next few days. So when I got home from work tonight with one hour of daylight left and no rain -- I planted and dug around in a lot of mud. And I dug in the dark to get as many of those plants in as I could before the rain starts again overnight. I wonder what they look like out there now. I guess I'll see in the morning.

The same sort of thing happened to me last fall, as I ordered bulbs from the Holland catalog and they arrived right on time to get planted before the ground froze. I was working a lot of overtime -- enough to think spending $90. on bulbs was a smart thing. Well in the Fall, working overtime is working all the daylight hours. I had to get those bulbs in. -- $90. worth of bulbs could not be wasted. I was out digging around until after dark one night with those bulbs.

Now along comes our early spring -- so warm and things are greening up so fast and yes -- up come little shoots from my precious bulbs. It gets warmer -- the little shoots get bigger and then . . . . record low temps for 10 days. . . what's up with that?

I am not about to let my first tulips -- imported from Holland and planted in the dark, cold fall night --- and (overtime is harder to come by now) costing $90. ----- let my first tulips die before I even get a glimpse of a bloom. No, that can't happen. So every night we ( Bob is helping me now -- I told him about the $90.) cover our little tulip plants with old towels. And it works!! I had wonderful tulips. Some great colors and some stately black and white ones.

Well, I am hoping these weather people are right about this weekend, and my new plants get plenty of nice rain, and since May 5 is our official last frost date,
I will not have to be out covering my new plants this spring anymore.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

This is a test

I have completed the exercise in blog creation -- is this working.