Sunday, November 25, 2012

Updated to-do list

Thanks to Susan visiting and commenting on my almost-forgotten to-do list, I did some updating today. A lot has happened in the last four years that wasn't on that list.

It didn't say get a job.
It didn't say graduate two sons from our homeschool and send them to college.
It didn't say find your husband an apartment in another city so that he can spend five days a week elsewhere.
It didn't say plan and host a wedding. Or become a Grandma.
It didn't say buy a money pit and invest huge chunks of your timeinto tearing apart and fixing up.
It didn't say take some time almost every day in the summer to enjoy your pool. Or have a beer with your neighbor, or go for a walk with your sons. But I'm glad that I've done these things.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Litany

I love The Litany. I love the rhythm of it. I love the words.

And although I love praying it in church, surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ, it is good to pray alone, too. Often, on days like this when I feel anxious, I turn to this prayer.

P: O Lord,
C: Have mercy.
P: O Christ,
C: Have mercy.
P: O Lord,
C: Have mercy.
P: O Christ,
C: Hear us.
P: God the Father, in heaven,
C: have mercy.
P: God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
C: Have mercy.
P: God the Holy Spirit.
C: Have mercy.
P: Be gracious to us.
C: Spare us, good Lord.
P: Be gracious to us.
C: Help us, good Lord.
P: From all sin, from all error, from all evil; from the crafts and assaults of the devil; from sudden and evil death; from pestilence and famine; from war and bloodshed; from sedition and from rebellion; from lightning and tempest; from all calamity by fire and water; and from everlasting death;
C: Good Lord, deliver us.
P: By the mystery of Your holy incarnation; by Your holy nativity; by Your baptism, fasting, and temptation; by Your agony and bloody sweat; by Your cross and Passion; by Your precious death and burial; by Your glorious resurrection and ascension; and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter;
C: Help us, good Lord.
P: In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,
C: Help us, good Lord.
P: We poor sinners implore You
C: To hear us, O Lord.
P: To rule and govern Your holy Christian Church, to preserve all pastors and ministers of Your Church in the true knowledge and understanding of Your wholesome Word and to sustain them in holy living, to put an end to all schisms and causes of offense, to bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived, to bless the Church’s life-giving message that Jesus is Lord, to bring comfort to the sorrowing and hope to those living in fear, to beat down Satan under our feet, to send faithful laborers into Your harvest, and to accompany Your Word with Your grace and Spirit,
C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
P: To raise those that fall and to strengthen those that stand, and to comfort and help the weakhearted and the distressed,
C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
P: To give to all peoples concord and peace, to preserve our land from discord and strife, to give our country Your protection in every time of need, to direct and defend our president and all in authority, to bless and protect our magistrates and all our people, to keep in safety the members of our armed forces and to give wisdom to those in command,
C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
P: To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers and to turn their hearts; to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth; and graciously to hear our prayers;
C: We implore You to hear us, good Lord.
P: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
C: We implore You to hear us.
P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
C: Have mercy.
P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
C: Have mercy.
P: Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
C: Grant us Your peace.
P: O Christ,
C: Hear us.
P: O Lord,
C: Have mercy.
P: O Christ,
C: Have mercy.
P: O Lord,
C: Have mercy. Amen

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking for suggestions

This is something that I would normally put on my book blog, but since no one but me really reads that one, I'm putting it here. There are all sorts of book lists floating around out there, but I want to know what books people love.

What are your must-read books? What books have you loved for the story, the writing, or for some other reason? What books can you not imagine not having read? I'm looking for three, or five, or ten. . .whatever number it takes. I don't want The Bible. It's an easy answer. I don't want titles that you feel like you SHOULD suggest. I want to know the books that you've really loved.

To start you off, I'm going to list the first five that popped into my mind in no particular order:
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, . . . And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmeyer, The Little House Books (Yes, I know that's more than one), Katherine by Anya Seton,  and The Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell. These are all three books that in some way have influenced me, and that I have read multiple times.

I will list the rest of mine after I see what you all have to say.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Welcome Helen Irene

My beautiful granddaughter made her entrance on Saturday, September 1 at 5:18 central time. She weighed six pounds, six ounces and was 19 inches long.

I drove, perhaps speeding a bit, From Fort Wayne to Madison on Saturday, arriving at about 11:45. It was one of the slowest and fastest trips I've ever made at the same time.

Getting to spend the better part of a week taking care of my baby while she takes care of hers is a joy that I feel very lucky to be able to have.

Friday, August 24, 2012

White paint

I haven't painted a room white-ish in years. I think it was in 2000, when we were getting our house in Columbus ready to sell. My brother and I painted all night, painting several rooms white.

Since we bought this house we've used a lot of color.

There are also bedrooms that are forest green with chocolate brown woodwork (the woodwork was already painted in that room), a lovely ocean-y blue, and a warm orange-y color. I like color. The dining room is going to be a rich burgundy. I still don't know what I'm doing with the kitchen.

But since all of the main floor rooms open from the hall, I decided that it should be white-ish. So I put paint swatches up for several weeks and compared them at different times of day. It needed to be a clear enough white that it didn't look dirty against the blue and white in the butler's pantry, but warm enough that it didn't look stark.
I like it.

Next up: the main bath is about to be remodeled. And it's going to be mostly white. But I have a plan to get my color in there.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy, sad, strange, mysterious

When Andrew was little he would climb into my bed very early in the morning and while I was still trying to sleep he would play with my face. As he pulled on it he would create different expressions and say, "Happy, sad, strange, mysterious," to describe the contortions through which he was putting my face.

At one point today those words came to mind and I realized how perfect they are to describe the way my life feels right now. The back-to-school season is bittersweet as yet another of my kids begins college. Those lovely, hectic, stressful years of homeschooling four kids went way too fast. Two of my kids are full-fledged adults. The third is well on his way. And even my baby is a very self-directed, hard-working, almost 17-year-old, who is looking for a job and planning to begin college classes in the spring.

Being Grandma-on-baby-watch has me feeling at loose ends. I'm having trouble settling into working on any projects. I can't make set-in-stone plans for the next couple of weeks. I can't wait to see Helen. I think about her--and, of course--my Bepper, all of the time.

My house still has major projects to be done. And minor projects which we know will go on for years. There is also some regular maintenance and clean-up that needs to happen, and that pool leak to fix. All of this to do with sons who are busier than ever and a husband who is home less than 60 hours a week, about 25 of which are for sleeping. I think both of us--and our bank account--have project fatigue.

Life feels strange right now. The hubby and I are both in the medical tests/doctors appointments/referrals to specialists circus. The political landscape seems rocky. Our household budget is being severely tightened. Things feel slightly out of focus.

And yet, I am happy.  I think that Andrew, at two, was profoundly descriptive of life on this earth.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm not great about praying. I'm lazy. I forget. I get busy or tired or distracted. Mostly distracted. But I do still manage to pray  at least once a day. And I do lots of little, spur of the moment, situational prayers.

One thing that I pray on a consistent basis is that somewhere out there God is watching over three young women who will be as perfect for my sons as Evan is for my daughter.

Happy anniversary to my daughter and her wonderful husband.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Playing with pickling

I'm still trying to get over my cold, but I couldn't take sitting still today. I decided that being outside and getting my vitamin D would be a good idea. I did some more work in my garden and ended up with a lot of little green cherry tomatoes that had fallen on the ground or were growing in spots where they ended up sitting in the dirt.

Yesterday I found a recipe for basic brine and I pinned it so that I would be able to find it when I needed it. I decided that I needed it today. I like something zippy with most of my meals, so we go through a lot of pickles. I'm determined to fill as much of that need from my own garden as possible, so it seemed like a good time to get started.

I didn't have the time, inclination or energy to can today, so I just played a little with some refrigerator pickles. The big jar of the green tomatoes is just brined. The smaller jar has brine and red pepper flakes. I discovered that I had twelve pounds of carrots and part of them were needing to be used, pronto. So I sliced up a pound of them and combined them with some sliced onion, garlic pepper, and red pepper flakes. The cukes are just in brine and garlic pepper. I did them mainly to see how they would turn out.

Tomorrow, if time permits, I am going to do some bread and butter pickles and a couple of small jars of squash pickles and beets.

I love taking the goodies that are coming from the garden now and doing tasty things with them to keep them for the winter.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

I don't sit still

Come over here close. I need to tell you a secret.

You know the wriggly nine-year-boy whose teacher can't wait to put him on Ritalin? That's me. Except I'm a 40-something mother and grandma--I just haven't met my grandchild yet--and I haven't driven a teacher crazy for years.

But I don't sit still well. I manage in church, because I love it. I manage, barely, for other events like movies and concerts. I move around during Bible Class. And if I do have to sit, I doodle. And squirm.

Sometimes one of my sweet friends will let me borrow a child to watch during church, or Bible Class, or a Bach Collegium concert. And it looks like the child is the only wriggly one.

But he's not.

We had our family retreat at church this week. There were people who were concerned that I "never sat down" or that I didn't get to "enjoy the retreat." Believe me, I enjoyed the retreat plenty. I got to talk to friends, work in the kitchen, and talk about homeschooling, Lutheranism, and raising our kids. I got to sing some good hymns, plus the Te Deum and the Venite. I got to hear some incredible music. I got to see teens and adults and little kids dancing and laughing together.

It was good. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

But please don't make me sit still.

Monday, July 02, 2012

One bad barista can really ruin your day

The boys and I ran an errand to Sweetwater Sound for the church this afternoon. We were thinking of stopping at Zesto, but the desire for soft-serve was trumped by the need for more caffeine.

We stopped at the Starbucks out at the Village of Coventry, in our old part of town, for the first time in months. We went to the register, ordered, and happily paid the price for two iced double tall one-pump caramel macchiatos and a grande mocha coconut frappucino and stepped to the end to wait for our drinks.

I noticed that the young barista who was making drinks was really surly as she slid a venti shaken no-sweetener passion tea across the counter. And, as she plunked a venti shaken five-pump raspberry passion tea down, I thought that maybe she just didn't like passion teas. But she made our first drink--which I told Jonathan to take--slamming down a pitcher that she bumped as she moved toward the counter.

I watched her make my drink, seeing--from frequent experience--that she hadn't allowed for the double shot in my drink. Before she put the lid on I asked, "Could you please give me a dome lid so that that doesn't leak out?" She looked at me with a look that said, "You are stupid and annoying," and said, "It won't leak," as she put the lid on, causing it to leak out the hole in the top and down the side. I just looked at her, and she said, "It's only leaking a little bit," with another sneer. I told her that it was too messy for me in a white cotton shirt and she threw a fit, throwing my lid into the sink putting new caramel on--because it all stuck to the discarded lid--and handing the sticky cup back to me with a scowl.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. We waited 12 minutes for Andrew's frappucino while almost everyone who came in after us was served. I finished most of my drink. Several times she looked at us and ignored us. Finally the guy who came in five minutes behind us realized she wasn't paying attention to the waiting frappucino orders and asked her about it. She told him they were working as fast as they could. (They weren't very busy.) Then she made his frappucino.

Finally, she made Andrew's. As she handed it across I couldn't help letting the snarkiness out. I'm sorry. I said, "Only 12 minutes for a frappucino and service with a smile." She started yelling at us. As we left, her coworkers were still trying to get her under control.

I have nearly endless patience with bad service. I've done too much time in food service and retail to be impatient. I'm fine with slowness, ineptitude, being in the weeds, less than on-the-ball people, etc. What I can't stand is bad attitude. I was perfectly nice when I asked for a dome lid. I smiled. It wasn't an unreasonable request. Half the time, if the barista can see that they've filled the cup too full, they'll just do it. If they don't notice and I do they are more than happy to give me a dome lid. More than once I've had them offer to remake my drink when it leaked out. I always say no and wipe it off.

But standing there with my sons, either of whom would love her job, and knowing how many great teens we know who can't find one, her nasty attitude really got to me. And the boys. Afterward the subject just wasn't going away. They couldn't figure out how someone who had a job that they can't even get an interview for could have such a lack of concern about customer service. It really bothered them.

Jonathan mentioned that part of what you pay for when you go to Starbucks is the experience. The atmosphere. The friendly baristas.

So, no. Our day wasn't really ruined, but it did cast a shadow. Since I always have a goal when I leave the house of making someone that I don't know smile, the whole thing left me feeling rather bummed. I knew that I shouldn't have let her get to me, but there was something about the petulant, snotty attitude that really pushed my buttons.

So we'll stick to our usual Starbucks from now on.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Walking through other peoples' houses

Today was the homes tour for one of the neighborhoods near ours. This is the first home tour that I have been on since we bought this house and walking through several of those houses was very encouraging for me. First, there was the fact that a couple of them needed almost as much work as ours did when they were purchased. They are just a few years ahead of us. It was interesting to see what people had done.

I also enjoyed seeing the colors people had chosen and the places they chose to retain the old--or to update--and how each decision worked.  It reaffirmed some of what I am hoping to do and, I think, helped bolster my confidence in the colors that I am choosing. I love color, but tend to be afraid that I'll overdo it.

One house in particular was fabulously decorated. But not "decorated." Rather it was populated with a lifetime's collection of books and art of various kinds. His taste was incredibly eclectic and ranged from paintings to textiles to pottery to glass to photography to furniture pieces that were art in their own rights. Each piece was beautiful in its way, and the totality was breathtaking.

It was good for me to see that home, because I worry sometimes that my "I know what I like" style might not hang together. But, after today, I am fairly certain that as long as I keep choosing, carefully, those pieces that I find beautiful, it will be okay. My paintings of various styles can hang out just fine with my batiks, glass pieces, pottery, icons, etc., and it can all be beautiful together.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How do you read so much?

I get this question frequently and it came up at book group last night. I explained that I always have a book with me, read while I do mundane activities like blow drying my hair, etc.

But I forgot the biggest thing. I don't watch TV. I have watched less than 20 hours of TV this year, and that includes several nights of Gilmore Girls episodes while Bethany was here visiting. I stream Downton Abbey and Project Runway, usually while I'm fixing dinner.

I don't play computer games any more. I don't watch movies, except on very rare occasions as a family activity.

I used to watch a lot of TV. I used to play a lot of computer games. I didn't make a conscious decision to stop, but we got rid of our satellite a year ago and have not missed it. I didn't decide to stop playing computer games; I just don't really enjoy them any more.

I used to lose a lot of time to Facebook and websurfing, but I gave up on trying to keep up with every bit of news from everyone that I know. Now I check in briefly several times a day. I don't just go looking to see if I can find something to read. I check specific sites and then get off.

If I want to relax, I read a book. And I do read quickly. That's how I read so many books.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Internet friends

I often hear people decry time spent online as taking away from "real" relationships. I was reminded of that again this morning as our house and church basement are full of young people who we almost certainly would not have known without the internet.

These are my daughter's best friends. She met them ten and more years ago. They live in Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio. When she first started getting to know them we lived in Illinois. I originally met all of their parents online through a homeschool email list or two.  During their high school years they kept in touch via email and chat, seeing each other a couple of times a year. She has been lucky enough to live in the same town as one or two of them for a year here and there, but if they hadn't already known each other, their paths wouldn't likely have crossed. Due to the cliquish nature of the homeschool community we found when we moved to Fort Wayne, the hours she spent chatting and emailing kept her from being a very lonely girl.

Earlier this week my friend Jenny was here from central Illinois with her husband and daughter. I met Jenny on an email list a few years ago, and, when she came with a group of other moms for a visit, she met Bethany and decided that her brother needed to, too. So she brought him for a visit. Bethany and Evan kept in touch while he was in Iraq. Now they are looking toward their first anniversary in August and their first child in September. He graduated from college in Minnesota and was in the army. She graduated from college in Indiana and was working as a paralegal. But for the internet, their paths weren't likely to cross.

Email and message board friends saved us in the early years of homeschooling when I had no in-person homeschooling contacts. Most of my closest friendships have come about because of the internet. And old friendships have been renewed through Facebook. And even local friendships are enriched by sharing pictures, activities, and the little ups and downs online.

I have lots of in-person friends and "real-life" activities, but the value of the time that I've spent online--from the early social network of AOL, to later message boards and email lists, to Facebook and Twitter now--has paid me richly in relationships and quality added to our lives.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Books and reading

I am having a lot of fun with my various reading challenges this year and have started doing a few book reviews again. I also have some mini-reviews in my monthly progress report posts. Now that I'm writing again, my genealogy blog may be next to rise from its moribund state.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can we talk about bicyclists?

Drivers are constantly being told that we need to be aware of bikes. And this is true. But I would like to see an emphasis on bicyclists knowing and following rules and safety tips to go along with the chiding of drivers and the spending of tax money to give them bike lanes, racks, etc.

I like to ride my bike, too, but, in my awareness of bikes, in just one day yesterday, driving very little--just between the south side of Fort Wayne to downtown and back thrice--and mainly on busy roads, this is what I saw.
--An adult male cutting catty-corner across a busy street causing one car to have to brake quickly.
--A teen in the bike lane--bike lanes that caused a busy four lane road to be narrowed to two lanes with a suicide lane in the middle--popping wheelies and leaving the bike lane repeatedly.
--A cyclist going the wrong way in the same bike lane talking on his cell phone. (For my purposes, cyclist denotes someone in biking attire.)
--A cyclist running a red light.
--A cyclist riding in the suicide lane to go around a stopped school bus.
--A woman riding her bike down the sidewalk, on that street with the bike lanes, almost taking out a group of kids who were walking home from school.
--A woman riding her bike, pulling one of those baby carriers, at 9:15 p.m., in the dark, on the street, in dark clothes with no reflectors. ANYWHERE.
--A man in dark clothes about 20 minutes later, when I was on my way home from downtown riding hands-free down a busy street. Again, no reflectors at all.

All of this is just a little taste of the bike antics I see everyday. So yes, we watch out for them. but don't they have some responsibility, too? A lot of the riders I see are riding on either the wrong side--against traffic--or cutting in and out, using suicide lanes, etc. Saturday night the hubby and I were treated to the sight of about a dozen inebriated riders leaving a bar and climbing onto their bikes. That sure looked safe. Ummm. Maybe not.

So yes, ride bikes.  But do it safely.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pack it in

The next three weeks is going to be crazy. Cuh-ray-zee.

Wednesday and Thursday I'll be off on a road trip rescuing my daughter from behind the cheddar curtain. Friday I'll be busily preparing for the baby shower that a couple of friends and I are hosting on Saturday for another friend who is pregnant 12 years after her last one. We have ballgame tickets for Saturday night.

Sunday is an out-of-town trip for a shower for Bethany. Next week we will have out-of-town-company Monday through Thursday as we prepare for more out of town company Friday through Sunday. And another ballgame Saturday night.

Then there will be three days respite during which I will work frantically to get my at-work work done and my house somewhat sane before I leave for four or five days to take my Precious back to Wisconsin and help her and Evan make their first of two moves this summer.

In the midst of this I need to keep working on my pool, continue reclaiming my house from the great storage expulsion,feed people, and work on some web/social networking/marketing stuff for a friend's new business. And do my job that they pay me for.

When I come back it will be June. It will be four days until Jonathan's graduation party and five days before we begin demolition on our main bathroom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

...and it was still hot

Patrick posted about the death of Maurice Sendak. I am not surprised. In Patrick's childhood, which was in many ways an exercise in self-limiting of stimuli, the Wild Things cut through. They were admitted to his inner space like few things were. So I loved them, too.Reading him that book was a way that I could reach this child of mine who was so closed off.

R.I.P. Mr. Sendak.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Book club

It has been several years since I've been part of a book club and I have really missed it. I've been lucky to have an informal book group in my house--my kids and I have read and discussed many books over the years--but with Bethany gone even that is dying off. I read voraciously, but it is usually a solitary pursuit, and I'm not exactly the solitary type.

So you can imagine my excitement at having a book group again.

We met for our first discussion tonight. It was good: thoughtful, respectful, insightful. A couple of us liked the book better than the others, which is always going to be the case. That generally makes for more interesting discussion. I think we have a good mix of people. Everyone is well-educated, but in different areas. We range in age from mid/late 20s to late-ish 40s. We are all moms, but our kids range from 3-25. Most of us know each other, but there are a few people who aren't part of our usual group, and that adds something, too.

I think this is the start of something good. I like it.

The need to write

I've been scribbling on scraps of paper, doing scrapbook journaling--sans pictures--and working on a couple of posts for someone else's blog. Sometimes lately I feel that I am about to explode with pent up words. So I return to my neglected blog. I don't know if this will be for a day or a season, but for now I will write.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The new year's news

My exciting new year's news is that I am going to be a grandma.

All else pales in comparison.