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. 

2 day pass

when i come here to catalog our time together,
i find that these fall weekends contain so many of the same elements...
farm, football field, stage, pew, park, path or trail.
i begin to feel like a broken record and for a brief moment i consider skipping this part of the story.
but brief it be.
because in putting the pictures together and finding the right words to accompany the images,
i quickly realize what i have known all along...
there is plenty of extraordinary in the ordinary.
even what seems like just another saturday or sunday is anything but.
and that's one of the things i love about the ritual of showing up here:
it encourages me to celebrate the small stuff that is so easily overlooked.
the bagel date, shopping date and movie date with my girl all in the same day.
saying yes to an impromptu stop at the park because why on earth not?
snapping a selfie with my partner in crime.
picking up a porch full of pumpkins because she feels strongly that they all need a home and especially the odd and imperfect.
loving her even more for her endless empathy and kindness...for her constant championing of the underdog.
picking him up from his bar mitzvah party and chatting all the way talk is the best with a teenage boy.
he waited all day and night long to tell me he threw an interception in his morning game.
i love him even more for his vulnerability.
walking along the river and up on brewer's hill with coach.
he was gone all day saturday in madison for the badger game, but he still got up to walk beside me.
he did leaves and took the kids to a party i was not in the right spirit for too.
 watching an entire episode of homeland for a second time with me because i fell asleep the first.
i love him most for the way he always takes care of us...puts us first.
the way that it doesn't matter where i am or what i'm doing so long as i'm with one or all of them.
and this message...
it never gets old or overused.
and that's why i come here every week...
to remind myself that life is good and we are blessed beyond measure...
as long as we are together.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Reading The Goldfinch and finding myself captivated right away.  I think it's smartly written.  Sometimes a bit wordy too, but I'll take my time and take them all in.  Also Paradise in Plain Sight for my daily dose of Zen.

Wondering when the Ebola virus will mutate to become airborne.  It is a virus and that's what they do.

Noticing the way that night is falling earlier every day.

Watching Homeland Season III with Mike, How to Get Away With Murder with lots of fast forwards with Ted, The Middle and Modern Family with Lily, and The Walking Dead when I work out.  I saw Gone Girl with my SIL this week.  It was sorta lackluster and long.  Ben Affleck was flat.  The book was better, which, of course, usually is the case.

Listening to the Stevie Wonder station on Pandora.  Somehow his music fits no matter my mood.  Also The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks when I walk.  I am far from a Sparks fan, but my Dad spoke highly of this title and he is less likely to turn to Sparks than I am.  Jury's still out.

Eating pot stickers better than any Chinese restaurant, and the best beef stew the recipe for which I finally mastered.  The tricks are balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and deglazing the pan with a glug of good red wine.  Still eating an apple a day from our orchard stash.

Drinking not nearly enough water now that the heat and humidity have headed south.

Dreaming about a month on an island to do nothing but read.  I have a stack of books I need to read, and like so many other bibliophiles, I add more titles than I take away.  It's a constant nagging fear of mine to die with books in cue, or to lose my eye sight, which might be worse.

Feeling like everything is going just a little too fast.  Soon October will be over.  The holidays are quickly approaching.  Next year T. Bone will be in high school. 

Wanting to be less indecisive.  I have been unable to pull the trigger on several big decisions.  I know it is fear that keeps me from making a choice, but not doing so leaves me with a soaring level of anxiety.

Wearing slippers again in the morning.  Brrrr.

Hoping I get to spend some time with my friend who is coming to town next weekend.  It's impromptu and for family matters, but I'd settle for even an hour or two.

Thinking that today is going to be a 3 caffeine day.  I was up before the sun on this chilly Saturday morning to see T. Bone off for football.  I thought maybe I'd go back to bed until Lily's acting class, but the heat kicked on and the coffee kicked in and the sun came up so now it seems rather pointless.

Enjoying the extra hour I have to myself now that Coach takes both kids to school in the morning.  I meditate or fold laundry or a read chapter or two...or all three.  Sometimes I even just get into work early, but I start the day so much more relaxed thanks to those 60 minutes.

Loving fontina cheese in a frittata, cat cuddles, the fact that Lily bought her BFF the same leggings she owns and a best friends necklace to share, getting organized, Pinterest again and Instagram still.