Friday, September 23, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A great night's sleep last night. I fell asleep reading shortly after 9 o'clock. I was exhausted and the weather was absolutely perfect for sleeping.

The fall equinox and the way the weather changed on cue, although not too drastically.

Lily was motivated to swim 4 nights this week. That's a record for her. On swim nights, she doesn't get home until 7:30 so it makes for a long day, but she's enjoying it.

A girls afternoon with Lily and my sister-in-law Saturday that ended on Windmill Beach.

Farmer markets and farm to table restaurants.

A GNO with Jess on Wednesday. It was my mom's birthday so we toasted her and talked about life. We had a delicious dinner at Sala on a beautiful night. The malbec was tasty and our seafood was too. The company...the star.

Quaint Italian joints that serve fairly priced wine and fresh pasta.

Earlier in the day I went to the mass C. arranged for my mom at our church, and then I squeezed in a much needed pedicure. It ended up being a pretty good day and eve for the body, mind and soul.

Peace and acceptance.

The birthday gift Jessica put together for me. I'm always grateful for a thoughtful gift, but what made this one extra special is that it was literally a box of my favorite things. I was touched.

This is Us. I liked the pilot a lot. The ending hooked me. Can't wait for next week now. 

Dancing With the Stars and Survivor too. When will I outgrow reality t.v.?

The debates start Monday. I love gritty political sparring from the podium. Ted's homework for his election class is to watch 3 of the 4 debates. (We always do.)

Thinking of the perfect debate night menu.

Mexico is booked for spring. I love having something dangling like a carrot.

I'm hosting a girl's night one week from tonight for some dear friends. I haven't even thought of the menu yet because these are the kind of friends I don't need to impress. Of course, they're the ones I care most to impress.

Soul sisters.

We're celebrating my dad's birthday tomorrow. As per usual...he's cooking. It sounds like a football Saturday menu and Badgers play at noon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dear Mom, Happy Birthday.

I woke this morning to the sound of thunder. The sky was still dark as ink. The booms weren't distant although my mind was off drifting. You were there. Then my alarm went off only a few minutes later catapulting me to consciousness, but I could hear that I wouldn't need to rise and shine just yet. While the sky was rumbling now rather than roaring, it was apparent that there would be no sun salutations from the shore or beach-side birthday conversations with you today. 

You know all too well how I dislike when things go astray. I'm not a big fan of Plan B. I intended to welcome the day on the beach as the star we know as the sun ascended from lake to sky only Mother Nature had other plans. If I'd just listened to the weather last night perhaps I would have too. But it's okay. The morning has been nice. Quiet. Communal. Cathartic.

I'm okay Mom. I miss you something fierce, but I also carry you with me all the time and everywhere. I feel you around me...shoring me up, shining down on me, brightening my life, leading me to light and what really matters. That's probably why I feel drawn to the beach and the sunrise on this particular day. Your 68th birthday. The eighth I've celebrated without you. Life is one big metaphor that's for sure. A lifelong test.

I won't be taking a long walk, picking apples with Lily this afternoon or having cocktails with Jess beside the river this evening. Life has a funny way of throwing us curve balls, but then you certainly know that and glowed with grace in spite of them. I don't like them, but these...these are the kind I can handle. I'll go to church instead of the park, pick apples another day and have drinks somewhere else tonight. That's nothing in the grand scheme of things...the grand scheme of losing you before I was ready. But then I can honestly say I would never have been ready, there is no such thing as enough time, I will always want more. I can also say that when I think of you now, I find myself smiling more often than crying. And when I see you in my dreams, you are happy and healthy.

This morning Lily wished you a happy birthday before she wished me a good morning. That granddaughter of yours already knows how deep and everlasting the mother/daughter bond is. She asked me if I was sad. I told her I wasn't at the moment, which seemed to offer her relief and puzzlement too. I shared that I feel so lucky to have had the time I did with you because we didn't waste any. We were close, connected and cherished and that hasn't changed. There are so many things I wish were different Mom, but even more that I'd never change and I can live with that. I have to live with that. I have to live without you.

I love you Mom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


this last official weekend of summer felt...summery.

it had all the quintessential elements and i'm happy to report that we enjoyed the last of the dog days to the fullest as well as the full harvest moon.
i love crawling into bed on sunday night with sand in my hair and sun-kissed skin exhausted in the and i should complain frame of mind and heart.
it is my guilty pleasure to finish one book friday night sitting beside the river just before a deluge while my girl enjoys some studio time with a friend, and then start another saturday afternoon sitting on the beach in the blazing sun.
i wrapped up sweetbitter and started in on patient h.m.

it's a treat to shop for dinner at the farmer's market to be enjoyed during a spontaneous overnighter at the beach, and then to stop for lunch with the ladies because we're so close to one of my sister-in-law's favorite spots.
the sheboygan market tempted us with so many fresh goodies, and we bought them all (although not the giant buckets of chilis pictured below) before our naughty and nice pit stop at field to fork.

it's always fun to relax or play (golf, football) on the beach even when lake michigan is so chilly that we need to have a bonfire before dark just to warm up.
somehow we all got in and stayed in and said it felt good.
i think the word for that is numb or cocktail.
courageous or crazy.

it's delicious to enjoy this view at gloaming on the beach, grilled burgers and corn at twilight on the deck and games after dark.
this place...this family time is so special to all of us.

it feels like such a blessing to wake up in time to see the sunrise and to take my morning walk along the shore with hardly another soul in sight.
the stroll in solitude is its very own powerful form of prayer.

it's cause for celebration when lily pitches her team's way to their first ever victory and we arrive just in time to see it.
i know it meant so much to lily for us (me + ted + sil) to cheer her on.
it's a blessing to have sunday afternoon to come down from the weekend and gear up for the week ahead.
ted finally got to golf on greens not windmill beach's sand traps, lily and mike had fast pitch tryouts, and i made my first stock of the season and shopped for dinner.

it's kind of funny that we decided to order pizza.
i should have known when i sat down with a glass of wine and a publication on mindfulness that i wouldn't feel much like motivating.
we didn't even make it through the packer game.
it was early to bed and sweet dreams.

Monday, September 19, 2016

On My Mind Monday

Memories make us. Everything we are is everything we were.

~ Luke Dittrich

After 100 pages, I'm finding Patient H.M. to be a powerful read. This story is intriguing and sad. It's also oddly relevant for me this month. September sort of fills me with nostalgia so I spend lots of time thinking of the past. This read has me contemplating...what if I didn't have one? 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Making it through the week. It was a rough one from start to finish, and I'm happy to see it end. I found my voice and then I lost it. I'll leave it at that except to say mom rant coming as soon as I can process exactly what transpired and how I really feel about it. I'm still stunned. Numb. Sad.

I'm not an almost teenage girl. It's tough and for this fact I am not thankful. The sad part is that it doesn't have to be if friends only would choose to abide by the golden rule.

A daughter who is beautiful inside and out. I'm truly awed by her strength during difficult times and her desire to be kind even when she's not being treated that way.

Teddy serenades after dinner the other night. He cued up his shower tunes and sang and danced around the kitchen. He's got quite the moves. Jess and I got quite a show. I didn't get a picture of that, so I give you this one instead as proof that I do have a son even though he doesn't really appreciate having his picture taken these days. Can you tell?

Browsing the art fair with my aunt last weekend. I found a couple gifts and a couple pieces for Lily's room. It was a beautiful day and it sure was nice to spend quality time together.

Lily was positive about her first couple fall ball games. Her team lost, but she played well, pitched consistently and had fun.

She's enjoying swimming too. She seems to have a renewed passion for it after taking spring and summer off.

Comfort food. A roasted turkey breast and mashed potatoes for dinner this week, a huge pot of homemade marinara sauce, and a batch of blueberry muffins too. 

When Lily said, "I love it when mom's home all day cuz' then the laundry is all done, the house is clean and she makes good food." (I love it too.)

70s by day and high 50s by night. Fall is in the air, but it's still summer.

A fresh cut. (The photo of Lily with the cute hair style above and the photo below were both taken this week, and yet she looks like a little girl in one and a young lady in another.) 

New toys for the boys. Halloween mice.

This story. I want her new cookbook.

This recipe and that soup season is upon us.

This quote...

Ted had a great race yesterday. A PR. He came in 5th overall and 2nd on his team. Now I know he's set on breaking 19, which is about 6 minute miles.

Tonight's harvest moon.

Parent Information Night at the middle school last night. As per usual, she's in good hands and much adored already.

Maybe I can sleep in tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Up Early

I had thoughts about sleeping in this morning, but between my boys (Tigger, Peanut and Ted in that order) it was out of the question. And when I say sleeping in, I'm hoping for 8 o'clock. Ah, but the cats were hungry and Ted was in pain. He's nursing a sore throat on top of blistered heals, and as I type he's out running like the wind again in he rain. Sounds about right. He needed me to dole out meds and cash for breakfast at the diner after his practice. The cats are curled up in their favorite spots taking their first morning nap. Really, you should know that the day is but one long nap for them. The rest of the house is still sleeping and I'm a tad envious. 

Last night I traveled to Mexico in my dreams. It was stressful, not relaxing. I was surrounded by drug lords not mariachi bands. Of course, this is because last night I (with my husband's enthusiastic permission) committed to spring break in Mexico with friends. Not in dangerous Mexico City or Ciudad Juarez, but peaceful and beautiful Ixtapa. I know it's a paradise because I've been there... many times...a long time ago.

My kids have never been to Mexico. They've never been on spring break. Not tropical paradise spring break anyway. I believe it's an experience they should have at least once. So we're going to Mexico with P&S&O. We've been to Mexico several times with P&S and we've always had an absolute blast so we're looking forward to doing it again. 

We spent some time reminiscing last night and decided that we'll be taking a family banana boat ride, eating hamburguesas at Reuben's even if it is commercialized now, spinning a few new Fat Tony stories and walking the streets of Zijuatanejo in the evenings. I'm already a little excited and it's only September.

So why the unsettling dreams? I think I know. Saying  yes is scary for me. Committing is definite. What if there's another terrorist attack? What will US relations be with Mexico after this election? What if I lose my job or change my mind? What if there's a hurricane and what about Zika? And I could go on and on, but that's not productive or healthy. It's time to start brushing up on my Spanish instead.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

I think I've finally caught up here, or as much as I'm going to.This blog is my family scrapbook. It's my memory, and I always feel a little anxious when I leave holes, but I suspect that's going to happen more and more as my kids age and I start seriously delving into some other writing projects.

Home. These two are especially happy to have us back. They're finally letting us out of their sights for a few minutes at a time. It makes me happy that even when we are away, they have one another.

This frog whisperer. She's a frog protector too. At the beach the other day, she rescued some frogs she felt were being over handled. 

This micro mini snapping turtle another of Miss Bit's captures. Isn't he cute? And why are all turtles he?

Ted got a ribbon in his race last week, and he finished his race yesterday without any medical attention. Numerous runners pushed it too hard in the heat and humidity and required medical assistance.

Evidence. He came (on the annual first day of school swim), he saw (the algae), he did not conquer (swim), but he was with us just the same.

Klode Beach no filter.

Plans tonight to catch up with a girlfriend. I'm looking forward to a little one on one time.

An impromptu date with my guy after Ted's back to school night this week.

Back to school night. I love meeting all the teachers and hearing about the curriculum. He's in good hands and he has some engaging projects and topics ahead of him this semester. The class I hear the most about is his election class. The school offers it every four years. This particular election is providing plenty of good discussion material fodder and foolery.

These sweet Candlewick serving pieces. They belonged to my friend P's mother. She recently passed away and he gave them to me. I will use them and think of Mrs. S when I do.

He has his driver's permit. He's been logging hours practicing all week. So far so good.

Memories of Webb Lake.

Rain. We needed it and now everything is green again.

The heat and humidity are supposed to break soon.