October 31, 2011

31 Days of Words {Day 31}

We made it! That was a difficult challenge - I like to write when I feel like writing, and when I have something great to share. On the days when I wasn't feeling it, it was hard to let go and post something I felt was mediocre. But I made it to the end of the month.

Here's a look back at all the words of the day. Repeat, Creative, Quiet, Accomplishment, Compassion, Golden, Home, Reconnect, Routine, Individuality, Stifle, Chocolate, Dreary, Catch-up, Pasta, Challenged, Pink, Fleece, Scraps, Blur, YoMama, Planning, Nada, Yankee, Tunes, Patchwork, Rainbow, BFF, Homecoming, Sisters... Finally.

October 30, 2011

it's kinda creepy

Yesterday we went to my sister's house for some Halloween fun. My sisters and I change our hair color a lot, and were all a little lighter over the summer. All three of us showed up last night dark - completely unplanned. Freaky.

October 29, 2011

pay attention to the signs

Sometimes life is busy and confusing, and I forget to breathe. And then a beautiful sign helps me pull it together again. I stopped and pulled over into a parking lot - a church parking lot, no less - to take this pic.


This is what my oldest has been doing since she graduated from high school.

October 28, 2011

my BFF

In grade school I was tall and awkward, with glasses and eventually braces. Although I got along with everyone by high school, I only had a few real friends. I am a lot the same as an adult - my circles include dozens of people on the surface level, but it takes me a long time to open up and share enough to build those real friendships (the awkward part is still just the same).

This week, and today especially, I am so grateful for my best friend from grade school who is still my best friend 25 32 years later. :)

October 26, 2011

there's more to it than sewing...

Last weekend when my daughter was home, she decided she wanted to make a quilt over the winter. We chose a patchwork pattern, pulled out the fabric stash, and washed a load fabric. I don't think she realized how much quilting involves ironing and cutting.... good thing I like both!

October 24, 2011

warm smells

We burn candles all winter. They seem to take the chill out of the air just enough that we can keep the heat a little lower. This time of year is my favorite because I love the fall scents like cinnamon, hazelnut, mulled cider, and caramel pecan!

October 22, 2011

just follow the crowd

Today was one of the final cross country meets heading into the state competition. Beautiful day and the course was close to home. The kids were hoping for some personal records, and good finishes to move forward with.

I don't know who planned the course, but what a mess. Most of the course was too tight to pass, in some places the leaves had blown back over the course leaving no indication where to go, and I have never been to a race where the runners have to stop on the course and wait for cross-traffic runners to pass. God help you if you got separated from the pack at this one....

October 21, 2011

no, YOUR mama

Why do so many of my posts deal with food? There is a new frozen yogurt place in Milwaukee - serve yourself, soft serve, with all the fixings. Thank goodness I have my kids to find these places for me....

October 20, 2011

coffee, coffee, coffee

Some days go by so fast. One thing to the next, taking in new info and tossing out old, going from little things to big things and back. You get to a point where you just say whatever... and then you get more coffee. That was today.

October 19, 2011

scraps and lists

My mom was a list maker. She wrote on little scraps of paper, napkins, the back or receipts - and she stuck them everywhere. And I'm just like that. Today I wrote a grocery list on the cardboard sleeve from a coffee cup. I purposely slip them into books, drawers, and stacks of papers sometimes - I like the surprise of coming across them later!

October 18, 2011

60 seems warm in April...

I gave in an turned the heat on - I swear I only turned it on for a few minutes. I am trying so hard to get to November without it.

It's not even really cold outside yet. The sun isn't strong enough to keep the ground warm overnight. Later in the year, when we have all adjusted to the cold, this will seem wonderful, but today 60 degrees in the house was not nice to wake up to. The house had such a chill that no one could get warm. Thank God for fleece.

Grown-up Gummies

My co-worker forwarded a story about a new trend in teen alcohol use; they are soaking candy like gummy bears, candy corn, or Swedish fish in vodka overnight. The candy absorbs all the alcohol and becomes portable and really un-suspicious. It's difficult to control the amount of alcohol being ingested, and the hazard to little kids is obvious. They are referred to as boozy bears or drunken gummies. Google search it - there's a ton of info on it. Still, I'm not sure if I should be serious or joke about this....

This is freaking brilliant - a huge step up from jello shooters. I would never have thought to try that on my own. My guess is that someone was throwing gummies around at a drinking party, a few landed in the wop and the next morning, voila.

I told my sister about it. Her kids know to ask before they drink out of someone's glass if this is "kid juice" or "grown up juice." We had a good laugh about now them having to ask if this is kid candy or grown up candy before they just pop them. And it gives a whole new perspective to grown up trick or treating.

I told my kids about it. I might be giving them ideas, but at least they will not be caught off guard if they were ever offered some, and they know that I know.

Sing along

We are in the car and the youngest keeps singing to the radio and the middle keeps changing the station. I'm not sure, but I think they might be doing it to purposely annoy each other.... :)

October 17, 2011


My oldest found this t-shirt for me.

October 16, 2011

i want my t-9

Today I switched phones with my middle daughter. She wanted a flip phone again, and I thought it would be good to learn how to text on a QWERTY keyboard so we switched. I can type on a keyboard - I should be able to type on a phone keyboard right? RIGHT?!!!! How long does it take to learn how to type on a damn phone keyboard? I mean really, this is easier than T9 and I learned that.... Geez.

October 15, 2011

family dinner

When the kids were little we used to eat dinner together as a family all the time. Then as they got older and schedules got busier, we ate together less and less. Some nights we would find ourselves eating dinner at 10pm. For a while we actually ate dinner twice - 4pm and 9pm because everyone would be starving between school and sports and I didn't want them snacking on junk.

Tonight, for the first time, I think since school started, the whole family was here for dinner.

it's progress

They added groceries to our Target store. The new frozen food cases have lights that time out and turn off when no one is near them - a huge energy saving feature. So why do I still feel guilty if the lights come on in aisles I don't need when I walk by too close....

October 14, 2011

pacing myself

Nothing interesting or extraordinary. A little bit of work at home. Then an early start to the weekend by cleaning the house and getting dishes and laundry done. Picked the oldest up at school and went to the middle's cross country meet. I even had some time to go for a run with the youngest and watch tv. It reminded me of the very short time when the kids were little and I stayed home with them. What a different pace.

October 13, 2011

yep it's October

I work downtown, about 20 miles form home. When conditions are right, the fog comes in from the lake to the downtown area. This morning the fog covered the tops of most of the buildings. Driving in, the sky went from sunny to overcast in less than a mile - like driving into a dream. By mid-morning the rain rolled in and stuck around all day. The drive back out into the sunlight was beautiful.

October 11, 2011

i can't come to work today...

Part of my life requires me to attend some very formal meetings, like parliamentary procedure formal. This has been challenging for me in many ways for example sitting still, not swearing, and resisting the urge call people names. Every once in a while something will happen that makes me laugh, and unfortunately, that's not really formal-meeting appropriate either. Tonight I had one of those moments. I was mid-sentence when I realized it. You have no idea how hard it was to contain it... worse than the giggles in church.

at least she's good at it

I could start a blog just with pictures of this kid falling asleep in the middle of things....

October 10, 2011

college fair

Tonight my middle daughter and I went to a college fair at school. It was interesting to see how she approached the school reps, what questions she asked, and how she explained what she was thinking about studying. It was a completely different experience than attending college events with my oldest daughter.

It amazes me that all three of my kids have been raised in the same home, and are nothing alike.

It's tradition - you have to....

October 9, 2011


Today was just a regular Sunday; doing wash for the start of the week, grocery shopping, cleaning the toilets. Bet you wish you were me.... Oh, yeah, almost missed the highlight of the day - took the dogs to the dog park.

I have failed as a parent.

I live in the same town I grew up in. My kids go to the same high school I went to. So it was no surprise that our 25th class reunion was held at the favorite hangout a few miles from my house. I had the middle kid drop me off so she could keep the car to go to a friend's and I didn't have to worry about getting home safely. So apparently I have failed as a parent because when she came back to pick me up, she walked in wearing a t-shirt from the rival school, a detail which did not escape my former classmates. I'm not sure, but I think I might have some explaining to do...

long shadows

October 8, 2011

has it been that long?

Tonight was my 25th class reunion. I was talking to one of the spouses, who mentioned something about not knowing any of the people at the party, and I said, "that's ok, neither do I."

Except for the 2-3 close friends I have kept, most of my former classmates are not people I know, even if I was friends with them in high school. There are some that I know about through the magic of Facebook. But most - their families, their jobs, where they live - I know as much about them as I do about some of my neighbors or co-workers. It was really nice to get to know them again - or for the first time.

October 7, 2011

is this what they mean by dog days?

Today I picked my oldest up at school, and we spent the day at home. The weather was beautiful and we ate lunch outside, opened all the windows, and watched Law and Order reruns while napping. I don't remember the last time I had such a  lazy day.

Today's word: Home.

golden day

I spent a few hours driving today, and a lot of it took me through part of the state forest. Everything is yellow and brown, not our usual fall colors, but still so vivid. Maybe the colors are exceptional this year, or maybe they just are to me. Today was one of those days I will remember as content: no rushing, no conflicts, no drama - just a regular day. Today was a golden day.

saving Chip

My oldest daughter moved about an hour away to college over the summer (more on that later - lots more). She texted me at work today and asked if I could call her as soon as I got a chance. I knew it wasn't an emergency but was important, so as soon as my meeting was over I called.

Turns out she found a chipmunk on campus with a broken paw, so she scooped it up and put it in a box of blankets and took it to her dorm room. She called several vets in the small town, but none were equipped to deal with wild animals. She finally reached a wild animal rescue an hour away who could take it but could not come to pick it up, and she is car-less.

Through the years we have had numerous small creatures, and have been late for school and important meetings to capture stray dogs and return wandering turtles to the pond. There was really no debate. I was driving an hour to pick up Chip, and take him to the vet, another hour away. Unfortunately, Chip didn't make it, and he is now buried in the yard with our family pets. But it makes me happy that my kids realize the value of a life - of any kind, and will go out of their way to save one - even a little, scruffy one.

i don't run

I have never been a runner. When I had PT tests and stuff for the fire department, I always came in right at the time limit; if we had to run an 8 minute mile I did it in 7:58. The longest I ever ran in one single stretch was a mile and a half. Ever, in my whole life.

This summer I decided to start running so that instead of dropping my middle daughter off at cross country practice I could stay and work out too, maybe even participate in one of the community run/walks they do during the year. Well I made the mistake of mentioning this to the kids, and the oldest asked, "so which run did you sign up for?" I had a lot of excuses. She was relentless.

I decided I better find a training plan and get going. There seemed to be two choices (other than "just run"). Both plans were based on running for a set amount, then walking for a set amount - then repeating and increasing the intensity. And that's where I got stuck. Did I want the plan that went by miles? What if I added a quarter mile each week like it said but couldn't do the whole 5k by the event? If I chose the plan that went by time, what if I built up my time to run for 40 minutes, but that turned out to be only 2 miles? All you runners are rolling your eyes and laughing at my dilemma - just like my sister did.

I decided I needed to map out a 5K and go running. I really had no concept of how far that was to run or how fast I could walk it. Turns out, I was worrying over nothing. Not only did I run the whole thing, I did 3 miles in 36 minutes... 12-13 minute miles. A few weeks of that, and I'll be all set to go for the November event. And I found out I actually kind of LIKE running.

October 3, 2011

it's so quiet

About a year ago I tried something we'll call the Wake Up Early Experiment. This experiment started because of a beautiful idea about enjoying a cup of coffee while getting a few things done in the peacefulness of the early morning - from Remodeling this Life in last year's 31 Days of Living Simply.

Anyone who knows me can predict how this went: Wake Up Early - Attempt 1 and Wake Up Early - Attempt 2. The experiment was canceled at the request of all involved.

Just a year later, and I have been waking up at 5:00 am for a whole month. And it is nice. The house is quiet. Better yet, the neighborhood is quiet, so I can sit outside with the dogs or go for a run - alone.

Funny how sometimes when you stop trying so hard, some things get easier.

October 2, 2011

sorting through the stash

The last few weeks I have completed some of the things on my gigantic to do list. Just this week I am finding some space in my life to think again.

Maybe it was sorting through the quilt fabric and craft supplies, or deciding if whether to keep or refurbish the worn out garden art. And maybe it is just this time of year - you know all the crayons and glue floating around. Whatever.

October 1, 2011

31 Days of Words

One of the best ways to build a habit is to commit to repeating the activity every day. So, I thought participating in the 31 Days series would be a great way to get back into blogging mode again. The concept is simple... pick a topic and blog about it for 31 days. Check out all the 31 Day participants at The Inspired Room.

Welcome to my 31 Days of Words. Not new super-smarty pants words, not the four letter ones either. Just a word that describes my day. Simple and manageable - another key to successful habit-building.

Want to see the whole month in one place?