Monday, June 02, 2014

New day

This morning has a strangely first-day-of-school, New-Year's-Day feel for me.

All of my kids have graduated from high school. Yes, this is normal and expected, but when you've homeschooled for 18 years, it's a big mental adjustment. I've just lost a big chunk of my identity. Of course, I've known this was coming and have been mentally preparing for a long time. And although the boys still live here, they need very little from me.

I've thought about taking on a second job. I considered just finding a full-time job, but I think that  leaving my job at church would probably be the change that would tip me over the edge. And in the end, no job that I would find would allow me the flexibility to run off and be grandma whenever I want.

So I've made a few decisions.

I'm going to spend some time during the rest of this year catching up with friends and family that I just haven't had much chance to connect with over the last several very busy years.

I'm going to get back to consistently walking, taking my vitamins, and eating better; all things that have gone by the wayside as I've dealt with my eye issue, the back pain from the accident last fall, and the stress that has been almost eating me up.

I am reviving my business, which has been languishing for about ten years. It's been sitting there waiting for me to be ready again.. More about that later.

I'm going to spend some time enjoying my sons while they are still here.

And I am going to soak up every bit of sun, pool time, fresh produce, etc., that summer has to give.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still adjusting

I love to entertain. I love to have a couple of friends over for a glass of wine, several couples for a nice dinner, whole families for a weekend, or big shindigs for whatever occasion I can drum up.



I'm not Martha Stewart. All those cool party ideas on Pinterest are merely aspirational for me. When we invite friends over to hang out at the pool or the fire pit we throw together a plate of cheese and crackers or bowls of chips and salsa and a roll out a cooler full of beer. Even my big parties aren't much on decor or presentation.

But I enjoy them. Colin enjoys them. Our friends must enjoy them, unless they just feel compelled to show up out of politeness. We always have tasty food and plenty of it. And although it's work, it's also--in a weird way--kind of effortless.

Except for this time.

We have a graduation party this weekend. This is our fourth and final graduation party. Our oldest son has graduated from college. Our youngest son has finished his homeschool studies. And their cousin has also graduated from high school. It's outside-party season, which is my favorite.

This should be a breeze.

But it just isn't clicking. I've flip-flopped on my menu 87,000 times. I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around what needs to be accomplished. And then, suddenly, this weekend, I figured out what my problem is.

I don't have my Beppy.

This is the first major party that I've thrown without the help and input of my daughter. I try to bounce menu ideas off of my sons, and they stare blankly. I think about favorites that I would like to make, but realize that I can't do that much last minute prep alone. I dread Saturday morning with a crew of three--very helpful--males for last-minute party prep, and not another female in sight. (Because, you know, there are some things that we just KNOW need to be done.) She has been my right hand in  party-throwing since the first birthday party that we had for one of her brothers, probably around 1995.

 I may never manage to serve olive cheese balls again. It's another in a long string of adjustments to  my oldest child/only daughter/cooking-shopping-scrapping buddy abandoning me growing up and having a life of her own.

Oh, I'll survive. The party is slowly coming together, but things won't be quite as good as they would have been. No one else may even notice. (Please God!) But I'll know.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Times to remember

So, for the last 11 days I've been in Tucson. This is a new adventure for me.


I'm in Tucson because my beautiful daughter lives here now--thank goodness not permanently--and she is having a bit of a busy time, having given birth to our first grandson, John Ronald, a couple of days after I arrived.

My main occupation, joyfully so, has been chasing after, feeding, playing with, bathing, etc., my 20 month old granddaughter Helen. Between this activity and spending lots of time with my daughter, this has been the best two weeks I have had in a very long time. Sure, I miss home. But I have spent most of the last two and a half years missing my daughter, and, after this visit, I am sure I will be missing my granddaughter nearly as much!
Today we were out running a few errands and had one of those moments that make you think, "This. I want to remember this feeling." We were driving north toward the Catalina foothills on a slightly windy, pretty road. We had the windows down, enjoying the breeze of the sunny, mid-70s afternoon. We had our Starbucks drinks and Helen was enjoying a bit of a cheese danish and the feel of the wind. And we were all rocking to "Sweet Child o' Mine," with Bethany and I both singing out loud.

Yep. Happy.

It reminded me that even if we're apart most of the time, we're still us. When we're together, we still laugh, sometimes until we cry. We have all of the memories from the 25 years that we lived under the same roof. And now we have Helen to share them with.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Plannin' some meals

You would think that with two sons in college and working and with one son who is, for all practical purposes, finished homeschooling and is also working , I would be feeling like life is getting less complicated.

Ummmmm. No.

It will help when we have another car. We've been down one since that unfortunate event in the Menard's parking lot. (Can I just take a moment to say, "Sven, I miss you!") Jonathan, Andrew, and I share a car. Or rather, Jonathan and I share a car, and I chauffeur Andrew.

And then there's my job. Which I love. A lot. If I didn't, I would quit, because last year it cost us more in taxes than I made, so it's really more like a hobby. But, I will just think that I am really caught up--or even ahead--and then things happen. Like musicians.* Or Sundays unobserved in recent memory. And this always happens during holidays when I have extra stuff to do in the rest of my life.

And then there's my business that I am trying to resurrect. (I seem to lack the energy and ability to roll with the changes** that I used to have.)

So I am doing something that is going to shock those who know me well. I am going to simplify my life by planning our during-the-week meals. Starting after the holidays, Monday will be roast chicken and vegetables. Tuesday will be something with ground beef. Wednesday will be pasta or some take on mac & cheese. Thursday will be soup. Friday will be left-overs/fend-for-yourself night (since I'm usually the only one here.) On the weekends I will continue to cook what sounds good to the hubby.

I think that this plan will simplify my grocery shopping for the next couple of months. It will cut down on food waste. It will save money. The leftovers will be used. But it still leaves me room to make a dinner that will please my palate any given night.

* I LOVE MUSICIANS. I love it when they play their lovely music. But they tend to complicate my job. Not mentioning any particular names here.

**REO Speedwagon, where are you when I need you?
This could work on a Tuesday. Sweet potato shepherd's pie.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This is definitely what you call a first world problem

I know that some of you are going to think that I'm crazy, but this has been bugging me.

I want to go someplace that requires me to dress up. Really, really dress up.

We used to have some fancy holiday events to attend for Colin's job. At one time there were some fairly formal events for the Bach Collegium. But since Colin's job left town there are no more parties or events, and the Collegium events are far more ordinary than they used to be.

I dress nicely for church, concerts, the theater, and any other chance I get, but I want to get REALLY dressed up. Long skirt, sparkly jewelry, cute little clutch bag, the whole bit.

Maybe it's because really dressed up usually means we're going out and doing something fun. It's possible that my real desire is to go out and have fun with my husband. (And preferably some fun friends, too.)

But I still want an opportunity to get really dressed up.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Anthropologie knock-off hat rack

Last year I saw this hook rack on Anthropologie's website.

I liked the idea, but I knew that my hubby could make me a rack for way less than $88.

We spent about $22 on wood and hooks, and used stain from several old cans in the garage. It turned out exactly as I hoped.

Since the men in this house are regular hat wearers, this is a really, really useful thing to have.

Thanks, honey!

Friday, December 13, 2013

The first decorations

My Gaudete tree.

Really, I just fell in love with this little tree when I saw it at Target, but what better time to put it up?!
What a reminder it will be to rejoice!