Friday, October 31, 2014


My ovens died last night.  Yes, ovenS...plural.  The last supper was a perfectly roasted chicken stuffed with stinky garlic, fresh rosemary and bright, juicy lemons.  It was beautiful and delicious.  I suppose I should be thankful that the bird was cooked through before the ovens decided to conk out, but I'm having a tough time seeing that silver lining.

The truth is that most everything in this kitchen is on borrowed time, and I've known it.  Most everything is on, has been on or is mysteriously recovered from the fritz.  I'm always saying a little prayer before I turn appliances on and then a little ode when they comply.  Last night's turn of events has forced my losing hand.  Who can go into the holiday season down not one, but two ovens?

I had to dash plans to make biscuits, and instead quick thought to heat naan in the toaster.  The kids laughed because our American toaster is not configured for our favorite Indian flat bread.  I could only toast half the bread at a time.  Luckily 2 1/2 burners on our stove top still work so I was able to steam the broccoli.  Last night the ice maker was working and the sink was only dripping a little just for the sake of full disclosure.

I must admit that I prayed to the Whirlpool Gods before bed and  hoped to wake up this morning to see the lights on in the control board.  My pleas went unanswered: it was still lifeless.

I called the repairman first thing this morning.  When I described the situation sound effects and all, I could hear him shaking his head through the receiver.  "That DOES NOT sound good," he agreed.  In fact, it sounded so bad that he shied away from a service call not wanting to charge me for units he was pretty convinced were unserviceable.

I surmise, it's time to giddy up on this elusive kitchen redo that we've been dreaming about for a decade and putting on the back burner for a good five.  What has happened is just what had to happen.  Apparently, nothing lights a fire under me in quite the effective way ovens without fire do.

Soon we are headed out to buy a countertop convection oven because even if we start this process tomorrow, it will be many months before we complete the project.  I think it's optimistic to say that we'll be christening our new ovens on Thanksgiving 2015.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

two day pass

1. sunset on the farm. it was beautiful just like all of the almost summer weekend.

2. this friday she rode so hard she came home with blisters, and more confidence.

3. a lone bloom in the bramble reminding me that there is beauty everywhere and always.

4. evidence: i am the chicken whisperer.

5. sit upright, heels in, arms steady.

6. my little sous chef this weekend. she chopped, stirred, cooked, baked and tasted with complete joy.

7. these little owls were one of her creations.

8. coach and i cheffed up for our halloween bowling night. i love costuming. it was a fun night with old and new friends and lots of creativity.

9. the girls were ready to trick or treat at 12:59 sharp!

10. lily was a nerd and her friend was a scary clown. they were the most lovable looking geek and goof I've ever seen.

11. "kick me."

12. they were also our first trick or treaters. lily picked out our candy to her liking just sayin'.

13. mike was a good sport and an excellent guy fieri for a night. most of our friends didn't recognize him at first.

14. guy got a great deal of mileage the next day too. my brother couldn't resist.

15. reluctantly t. bone guyed up, but for trick or treat he went as a golfer, which is to say he put on the clothes he wore the day before to the course. all of his soccer playing friends went as soccer players.

16. we had a fun and delicious family dinner sunday that included: perfectly grilled steaks, jaleo spinach, wedge salads and an entertaining game of speak in this accent. my brother made us laugh speaking jive, coach was the only one who could speak pig latin. lily is still speaking what she calls british, and t. bone has pretty much mastered the australian accent as he hopes to live there some day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A 19 year! long and loving marriage, and a husband who not only puts up with all my quirks but maybe even loves them. 

Two amazing kids.  Conferences were this week and there was not a single negative shared about either one of them.  Both their teachers gushed and praised.  Lily came home exalting how happy she was, and Ted didn't say anything, but I could tell.

Dedicated teaching teams and a school community that is strong and supportive.
I'm beyond grateful to have them in the same school again too.

The Judge.  Despite less than stellar reviews, Coach and I both enjoyed the film.  I think the cast was brilliant, and I appreciate a good family drama that isn't all happily ever after since rarely is it so irl.

Books.  Still have my nose in The Goldfinch, and still a fan of Theo Decker.

Pumpkin seeds just a tad burnt and for breakfast.

A glorious weekend forecast.  This fall has been perfectly perfect.
Tonight's spectacular sunset on the farm.

The way her instructor is amazed at what she is already doing.

Getting up a half hour early this morning to put the banana bread in the oven just because I know the way they like it best is fresh baked and hot.
Our costumes are ready for the weekend all except for T. Bone. 
Halloween spirit.
Long midday autumn walks.  Slightly cloudy and somewhat cool days.  Tree lined paths and geese lined ponds.
Also known as gratitude.
Knowing life is not perfect, but it is good and full and meaningful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A little LOVE Story

Once upon a time there was a boy named Mike and...

a girl named Kristin.

They grew up and then went to college in Madison where they met although not on the train tracks as it appears in this photo.
They travelled to Hawaii for graduation and fell in love in island paradise.
Mike asked Kristin to marry him in beautiful Mexico on the beach although at sunset and not the heat of the day as the photo below intimates.  Despite the fact that two of her friends strongly suggested Mike's matrimonial intentions, she was surprised.  And overjoyed.  And she said YES!
The two of them...

became one on October 21, 1995.
Then they had two beautiful children.  Theodore Michael was born December 27, 2000, and Lily Kathleen joined the family August 7, 2004. 

And then they all lived happily ever after.
 The end, but really only the middle.
Happy Anniversary Love!  Obviously, without you none of this would be possible.  Wink Wink!

Monday, October 20, 2014

two day pass

it was a long weekend.
we had an extra day which we made sure to put to good use.
thursday night was what has become a biannual gathering of kathy's Gals, and just what I needed to get the weekend off to a happy start.
i love each one of these friends individually, but there is something bigger and better when we are all together.
friday i woke to a quintessential fall day.
the sun was shining, the breeze was warm and colors were peak.
i started my day off in the best possible way logging miles in the park.
t. bone spent the day with buddies playing football.
i took miss bit and her friend shopping and out for lunch.
then the girls carved pumpkins.
they are at the age where that can be a mostly independent venture.
mature enough to handle carving tools and immature enough to like the slimy pumpkin guts.
at the end of the day we made our friday trek to the farm.
ellie came to watch and jess too.
my brother and sil were waiting for us in the horse barn.
they had already met winston.
and admiral.
we savored happy hour on the farm.
 the critters too because i came with more than cold ipas.
i had a bag stocked with apples and kibble.
miss bit put on quite a show for her audience cantering around the ring like a pro.
on the way home, the girls decided it was not time to yet part.
so we had a girl's night in.
i ordered Chinese, opened a bottle of wine (for the big girls), and roasted the pumpkin seeds they gathered earlier.
ellie's mom came to get her, and joined us too.
the word for the day was spontaneity.
saturday the sky was saturated and the air cold.
t. bone had a soggy football game and miss bit had acting class.
then they spent the day with their cousins at another farm.
they did a corn maze and spent some time in a petting zoo.
miss bit was smitten with the baby chicks she got to cuddle.
ted had the attention of an angry, not amorous alpaca.
we came together for family dinner at my in laws.
sunday we decided to go back to sleep after a 7 o'clock sharp wake up call.
sunday school was cancelled.
that sort of set the tone for the day.
lily and i intended to see a performance of alice in wonderland, but we decided that we would rather have a lazy, cozy day.
shamelessly, we did just that.
we read, raked a ridiculous number of leaves, watched football and carved more pumpkins.
then i set the dining room table, lit candles, cued up frank and served chicken caprese with garlic bread for dinner.
the kids each confessed that they wanted just one more day.
if only.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The kids were out the door by 7:15.  I was ready to get out for a walk by 7:30, but the sky was spitting.  Still is.  The day is dark, dreary and tinged with notes of nostalgia, and I'm just not sure I'm up for weathering the weather today.  Pandora is on in the background, but it keeps becoming my foreground.  I'm easily sidetracked today by one song or another.  Some I have to sing along with like Fast Car or Hallelujah, and others like Helplessly Hoping and Dust in the Wind  I have to cry through.  Blackbird  plays. I find myself dusting off my guitar only to put it back in its case completely discouraged before the song is over.  Who am I kidding? 

This is what can happen to a day when best laid plans don't pan out.  This is what can happen to coveted free time when I get in my own way.  I want to do everything and so I do nothing.  I want to write, but I am going in one hundred directions and the words are firing faster than I can even make sense of them.  I want to create, capture and express, but I have zero focus and only building stores of frustration.  That little naysaying voice in my head is no longer faint or distant.  It has a bullhorn.  It broadcasts all my failures and shortcomings.  It harps on my weaknesses and deficiencies on repeat, and it sure knows how to strip me naked of all my defenses and armor.  I am exposed as a fraud.  Who do I think I am?

The thing is: I know who I am. I 'm stronger than this voice in my head.  Just as resilient too.  I know how to turn it down until it's only annoying background noise again.  I quiet it by doing the very thing it accuses of me of not being able to do.  If I just start writing, the words eventually flow and come together to tell this story that lives inside me because I am a writer not a fraud.  I am a writer because I write.  It's all up to me.  I'm only kidding myself.

Monday, October 13, 2014

On My Mind Monday

I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.

Meryl Streep

She took the thoughts right out of my head right down to her sentiments on animals, and that's exactly why I would love to have coffee with Meryl.