Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Okay...I'm Moving AGAIN!

I've taken these last few months off and it has given me time to consider my blog.

I had almost decided to quit- I felt detached from the whole blogging world.
But I also had time to realize that putting words together is just a part of me- its something I do better than singing or cooking or cleaning...

But the whole Blogarita concept gave the impression of a young, beachy, adventurous drunk gal who had a lot of fun things to share.
And I'm not any of that.
Not really.
(Plus- I found out there are other bloggers already using that title.
And here I thought I was being brilliant and original!)

So, I put together a new blog.
New title.
New header.
And it reflects a little more where I'm truly coming from.

Hope you'll like it.
And I hope you'll join me as I start the new year out with
Just The Way It Is .

Until then, may your Christmas bring great happiness,
small miracles,
good food
and loving friends.

And may the new year bring renewed promise...

See you January 2, 2012!!

LINK TO:   http://justtheway-rae.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Cold Shadow

There are lacy patterns of ice on the pond this morning,
floating like crystal doilies in a sea of calm gray.
The sky is a bleached blue, patched with wisps of winter clouds,
and naked branches reach up from the horizon to search for sun.

Where did the summer go?
How was it washed away like a watercolor dream?
What happened to the sweet perfumes, the intoxicating heat,
the euphoria that permeated the landscape?

I stand inside- looking out-
not even wanting to become familiar with this new world-
dismissing any intentions of being friendly.
I lock my door.
Turn up the heat.
Feel pity for everything that has died away with a flood of frost.

Suddenly, sunshine tickles the icy cattails,
makes beams of yellow amid the pine trees,
and pours it's golden treasure upon the surface of the pond.

The ice melts, its delicate netting breaks without a sound.
It dissolves like sugar flowers in the oyster-colored pond water.

A cardinal lands on the fence post like a fat, red kite.
And I celebrate its beauty.

I do not embrace winter,
but I will tolerate it.
And hold fast to dreams of summer-
forever plump with promises...

Monday, December 5, 2011

A December Day

The rain continues.

I'm thankful I can be inside today... Warm in fleece sleep pants
and sweater-slippers...
Pumped full of peppermint coffee, lingering snacks, and Christmas lists.

But, yet, there is part of me that feels lost.
Outside looking in...
I feel like this year is a big snowball that's rolling down the hill
toward an incinerator.

It's going to be gone soon.

Can I possibly slow it down?
Catch it?
Pull out all the good things and memories before it dissolves right before my eyes?

Can I?

I have missed my daily ponderings. I've found that I have less concentration. And my speech skills grow awkward when I go too long without writing. I suppose I need to exercise my brain...air those dreams...open my stuffy old heart and fly more often.

I've spent hours upon hours trying to design a better looking blog. I'm still not comfortable with this, but until I find better, this will do. I think it's more of a "foodie" design- with the spoon and fork....but I'm thinking for me it just signifies that I'm tasting life...trying to savor it...it's delicate moments...sweet...pink...laced with warmth...decorated with experiences and trials...
And hopefully in the new year- clean...new...bright...and soothing.
I'm not making plans or promises or "blog blueprints".
I'm just going to try to come here everyday and write what my voice feels-
but doesn't say aloud...
what my heart knows and needs to share...
what my days take from me, give to me, share with me.

The rain continues.

I sip my coffee,
stretch my legs,
and wander to the window to watch...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Making a Comeback Jan. 2nd, 2012

Hi, dear friends! Sorry I've been away so long...I just got sidetracked somewhere along the way and never found my way back.
But I'm tuning in my "GPS" and hoping to get back to Blogarita in January.
To me, the whole blogging process had lost it's thrill- and inspiration was few and far between.
On the other hand, I truly miss writing ...and also reading my favorite blogs. I've got to devote myself to it again to stay sane!

Here's wishing you a joyous holiday season ahead of time!
And I sure hope you'll join me when I return the first of the year...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Procrastination

I'd like to say that I'm writing this post today to share wonderful, humorous stories, awesome photos, delicious recipes and must-need info.

But I'm not.

I am actually writing this morning to stall for time. I'm putting off my mundane chores just a little longer. I keep telling myself I'll get started at 7:00. Then 8. Now I've convinced myself it will be warmer and more sunny at 9.

I spent Saturday afternoon priming some peeling woodwork around some exterior doorways. Today they need a fresh coat of paint. So does my back door, the inside trim... and my entire kitchen needs painted (which is NOT on my To Do List today).

It's kinda cloudy today. Gloomy. The kind of day that begs for an old movie, a bowl of chili and a comfy blanket. It's the kind of day that is great for staring out the window at the falling leaves, reading a new magazine, sipping hot coffee and wearing fun slippers.

It's the perfect kind of do-nothing you don't really have to do day.

But I have to.

Because I can't even think about getting ready for my Halloween party until this necessary stuff is done. That's always been an unsaid rule here.
"You want a party? Well, when everything else is done you can start getting cutesie with the decorations and details."

I really want this painting over with, too. I know I procrastinate too often. Snow will be flying if I keep going at this pace. It has to be done today! (At least get started by 10)...

The boys (son and son-in-law) helped me get my Halloween stuff down from the garage attic Sunday afternoon. Eleven trash bags and two Rubbermaid totes! Do you realize how much work it is to get these jumbled bags of tombstones, body parts, lights and pumpkins into some sort of proper party hosting shape?

And, I'm going to be very honest here....You know what makes me mad?

The people who have been invited to my COSTUME party that tell me they might come- but not dress up.
First of all, I tried to make it easy this year. It's a Vampire's Ball. Everyone must be a vampire. Easy stuff. Black pants, black shirt (or hoodie, even!), a little makeup to the face and - Presto-Change-o, you're a vampire!

Maybe I'm being petty, but if I'm going to all this trouble to have a big party, I think my guests should go to a little trouble to create a costume.

Or stay home.

Okay- on to other things...My loving husband turned 60 Sunday. We were married when he was 24. We've seen a lot of years together and hope to see many more. I love that guy!

I just wish he could retire today. I'm ready to move to the cabin (even as little as it is) and spend our days doing what we want to do. Seriously. I would sell everything I have right now if we could go there and stay...

But trim needs painting. Garden needs picked. Laundry needs folding. Supper needs planned.

Coffee break is over.
See ya all soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Frog Leg Friday At The Fish House Cafe

Every once in awhile, I get a wild urge to try and write a short story. And they usually end up being short. Like: 2 pages short. I never seem to finish them. I run out of steam and give up.
But I always have fun finding one that I started and put away somewhere.

And since I can't think of a blog topic today, I'm going to bore you with the beginning of a short story that I found stashed away in a mini-notebook. I stuffed it into a box of bills. Maybe it should have stayed there.
What do you think? Should I try to finish it?

   Josie applied the Pucker Pink nail polish with extra care that morning and added an extra boost to her red teased hair. And the "piece de resistance"- her leopard jumpsuit.

    It wasn't every day that her quaint little motel would have no vacancy. All the folks coming into town for the unveiling of the new casino had her booked solid for the next three months.

   Perhaps all her hard work had finally paid off. At least the few extra dollars had earned her the sexy black stilettos and the expensive "balconette" bra that she kept pushing up and adjusting.
Besides that, she looked marvelous. Although she still retained a bulge of stubborn love handles, her body had slimmed down nicely due to cases of Slim Fast and some little yellow pill a patron had recommended.

Josie felt sleek and beautiful. And she knew her customers would appreciate her fine sense of style. Was it such a bad thing that she flashed a little extra cleavage at the menfolk?

Of course, she wouldn't ever let it go further than a friendly tease- after all, she was a married woman. She and Stan had been married for thirty two years. And they had taken turns running the Two Rivers Motel for nearly as long. She worked day shift. Stan worked nights. They rarely saw one another except to arrange schedules and to balance the books. They had not shared a bed in over twenty years. Even at Christmas and New Years, the motel had to be open and running. They couldn't afford to close down for any type of holiday or refuse their best customers.

The motel was Josie's life. And one she knew she could never escape from.

However, now that the little town of Rebel was beginning to boom, Josie was excited about the prospects. She imagined new flowers in the window boxes, flat screen TV's in every room, and the stained shag carpeting replaced with a nice neutral Berber.

That morning, Josie stirred a bit of vodka into her coffee and took a long swallow. The sun was just coming up and she had awhile before last nights guests began to rouse and leave for breakfast.
The Fish House Cafe' was just a block away and known for their cheap, but appetizing breakfast buffet. Josie loved their evening salad bar and usually had Stan deliver her takeout before they changed shifts. And their All-You-Can-Eat weekend seafood specials were absolutely delicious!
Even though Patty Tyler's place was a bit run down, Josie knew that the casino would change all that. The vinyl chairs with their duct tape patches and the ceiling tiles with water spots would soon be a thing of the past. And once all the new business came pouring in, Josie hoped Patty would replace the plastic flowers with more sophisticated centerpieces.
Patty and Josie were completely opposite, but still good friends. Patty stopped by the motel a few days a week to share a drink- almost always some fruity, alcoholic mixture, complete with umbrellas and miniature swords for their cherries.
Josie always did everything with flourish.

Patty was not quite as flamboyant, shying away from any sort of animal print, tall heels, boob-age or flirtation. She had sensible style- preferring jeans, tee shirts and tennis shoes while working- as well as when entertaining friends. Comfort was a priority- besides, her customers came in the Fish House Cafe'  for good food- and nothing else. So far she had managed to make a profit and secretly hoped that her clientele would prefer home cooked meals over the ones being served at the casino.
Patty had never been married. In fact, her short hair and somewhat masculine manner always had customers questioning her choice of lifestyle. But those suspicions could never be further from the truth. She had just never found that special man. And at age forty, she had just about given up.

"Someday he'll walk right in that front door," she had told Josie. "He'll order a full stack of pancakes, black coffee, and leave a five dollar tip. Then he will come back and court me every day for six months. We'll get hitched at the Raccoon Creek Chapel, raise alpacas, and sell the cafe."
They both laughed.

But Patty had left Josie thinking about her own marriage. How weak and pitiful and unfulfilled it was!  She wished to Heaven that life could be as simple as Patty hoped.

She began to cry into her vodka-spiked coffee, as blobs of dime store mascara painted black lines down her face. How could she be so happy and so sad at the same time?

A red diesel truck disturbed Josie's pity party and she quickly readjusted her makeup, her jumpsuit and her smile- just as the jingle of the office door announced new customers. Two good old boys stepped inside- their young, muscular bodies tight beneath their faded jeans and J.C. Penny polos.
Josie licked her lips, smiled a toothy grin, and greeted them with a believably cheerful "Howdy!"

"What can I do fer y'all today?" she asked.
"Reservation for Montgomery", the short one said, staring at her atrocious garb.
Josie ran a glossy Pucker Pink nail down the ledger and verified their room.
"Two nights. Double beds. That will be $122. Cash or credit?"

Soon vehicles began pulling in and registering at the Two Rivers Motel. Josie was so busy that she didn't have time to brew another pot of coffee for the customers. Luckily it was a warm day and the patrons were toting coolers or taking advantage of the new soda machine that Stan had leased from his friend Roger Marriott. And Josie made a mental note to tell Stan what an excellent idea that had been.

By one o'clock, her rooms were completely filled and paid in advance. And most of her customers were already headed for the Nugget Casino down by the river.

Josie returned to her desk, flipped off her heels, unbuckled her bra, and collapsed on the pink daybed. There she fell asleep, dreaming of alpacas in leopard jumpsuits -eating stacks and stacks of Patty's pancakes.

Well, that's a far as I got! Feel free to leave an honest comment or criticism!
To be continued????

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lip Tattoos and Other Things

Indulge me while I focus on my one and only thought these days: Halloween.

For those of you that have hosted parties, you know the planning and stress that goes along with such an event. There never seems to be enough time, money, or perfection. And not only do the decorations and props need to be organized, but there has to be attention made to clean spaces, extra toilet tissue, and in my case, sleeping arrangements.
I'm encouraging any "drinkers" to bring their tents and stay overnight. We will have a big fire and tiki torches and staying up past midnight.
I just hope the weather stays like this. That's another worry- but the forecast changes daily. We will just have to make do with what comes our way...

I found a great black skirt yesterday at Goodwill- it's long enough for a lady vampire and just $2. I picked up a pair of black dress pants for the husband, too, for the same price. Now- to find him a nice looking "vampire" vest...A bit of jewelry, a lot of makeup, and I've saved myself from investing in an expensive ready-made costume.

There is so many new items out for Halloween and my daughter Erin brought this one to my attention:

Here's what their website says about them:

About Us

The ultimate form of self-expression, the Violent Lips Collection offers a statement-making line of Lip patterns that range from bold animal prints and fun polka dots, to sexy fishnets and picture-perfect Glitteratti sparkle.
This innovative line of Temporary Lip Appliques will keep the print and color on your lips for up to 8 hours. Vitamin enhanced with a smooth feel and glossy finish, the appliques are easy to apply to lips of all sizes.
Violent Lips was created by entertainment industry veteran Jeff Haddad and his daughters Isabella and Sophia. Violent Lips is a line of natural and vitamin enhanced temporary lip tattoos that stay put from the stage to the after-party. These FDA approved, vegan lip tattoos, are tested on supermodels, not animals and made in America.
One pack of Violent Lips contains 3 applications. Follow the instructions on the back of each application or watch our online tutorials to help apply the product. The applique itself is applied and sealed using water much like a temporary tattoo. The patent-pending applique removes easily with mineral or baby oil and a textured wipe.

How cool is that?

I've noticed that they now have temporary FACE tattoos for Halloween. They are like the press-on fake tattoos that kids wear, but they fit over the entire face area. Saves all that painting and makeup, and they clean off with baby oil. Plus, you won't sweat or rub it off during a hard night of trick-or-treating!

Have you all started planning  Halloween festivities or a get together? 
Well, don't be a party pooper! The work is worth all the fun!

...At least I think so....

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Party To Plan

Last year we were so busy working on the cabin that I didn't get to have my annual Halloween party. I was pretty bummed about it. Throwing a costume bash had always given me something to look forward to. (It also gave me the incentive to clean my garage and sanitize the bathrooms...)

But, this year, I'm reviving the tradition! Yay! Although I am excited about the end result, I'm dragging my feet somewhat on all the preparation. I've decided to not be quite so detailed as in years past. It's nice to add the little touches, but there are some things people don't really notice and aren't worth the money or effort.

However, I do try to "haunt" the Goodwill and thrift stores for party items or use common objects in creative ways. My problem this year is getting my creative juices jump-started before the big weekend arrives!

I always plan my parties around a theme and this year it's going to be a Vampire's Ball!
Everyone has been asked to dress as vampires. I figure it will be inexpensive to find used articles of black clothing, apply some makeup effects, and still be warm at the same time. I'm hoping my guests will get creative about it, though- and think outside the box.
I also plan to get everyone to drag their lawn chairs to the roadside and wave at the cars before it gets too dark. Wouldn't that be a sight? And a great photo-op, too!

To cut costs this year I have asked everyone to bring finger food. I think this will definitely reduce some of the stress of trying to afford and display snacks and treats.
We will furnish a keg of "Blood Lite" and hot dogs, though.

My sister Linda is looking forward to the "Skary-oke", It's been a long time since we got together to act goofy, relax, and belt out an horrific rendition of "Who Let the Dogs Out" !
And even though it is Halloween, we ask our guests to kindly refrain from "Boo-ing". lol
(Can't wait, Linda!)

I figure a lot of black bats, bloody heads, and wooden stakes will be easy enough to find.
It's just planning the parking, food, decorations and seating..Plus getting my house clean.

Do you think they'd notice a few real cobwebs?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Last Day of September

I can't believe it's the last day of September....seems like only yesterday that I was saying goodbye to August. Now, here comes October- and the final three months of the year...

I took my husband to work again this morning- cutting through the back roads in the last hour of darkness...I couldn't help but notice houses along the way...their kitchen lights glowing yellow...I imagined my Grandma Carr's kitchen- the smell of cinnamon cake donuts and fresh coffee ...the cool linoleum floor beneath slippered feet...a clean tablecloth, cold milk, and the belly of her chef-shaped clock ticking away the minutes of life...

I watched as the sun came up. The fields here are dusty gold...scattered with stalks of unclaimed corn..dotted with remnants of soybeans and sunflowers. And the treeline is just beginning to show signs of orange, red, and deep violet leaves. Today a cool breeze blows...rippling the pond in circles with its invisible hands- tossing the cattails into a dance beneath the sky. The sky....such an indescribable blue....

I love my life. I love this day. I love the blessings that I have been given.


My son Jake and his bride Cindy were married September 10th. I just wanted to share a link to their photographer's website...great photos of the two of them...
Made me cry....


And, hey- thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today is Hermit Day

When I was a little girl, often a traveling stranger would pass though our neighborhood. A stowaway from the local railway cars, or just a drifter looking for work, we all knew to lock ourselves inside the house until he drifted through.

Mom called them "bums", and I suppose that sounds cruel, but we knew no other name for these poor, dirty, (and probably hungry) men that had no home. And although we were afraid of them, we also felt sorry for them.

Today I wonder if they were simply hermits- choosing to live a solitary life of peace and simplicity. Perhaps they refused to accept the ways of society in order to focus on nature, religion, or their true identity. Their responsibilities were only to themselves- and consisted of two basic things- shelter and food.

How many of us nowadays wish we could pare down our possessions and needs into a more comfortable and less stressful lifestyle? Wouldn't it benefit our health as well as our purse to do away with credit cards, car loans, mortgage payments and frivolous spending?

That proves to be a difficult task in today's society. Our environment was built for constant communication with others- through cell phones, email, social networking, television, co-workers, education and sports. Not one of us could walk away from all of that today and really expect to survive.

One reason is- that we are spoiled. We depend on the electric company, the water company, the grocery store, our internet and cell phone provider, our boss, our vehicles, our bank accounts and our retail outlets.
What if those were to suddenly disappear? Would you have enough food, an alternate heat source, fresh water and a way to communicate? Would you know where to go, what to do, how to live?

Besides the obvious reasons to become more self-sufficient, there can be a bonus to becoming a "hermit". The days would be open and full of peace. The songs of birds, the rustle of wildlife, the feel of the sunlight, the color of the sunset...There would be less stress, more time, and a better appreciation for all that we have.

Thoreau is an example of a man who attempted to become a "hermit" from society. And his words are to be studied by those of us who rely too much on "things".

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. 
I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. 
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..." 

I'm not suggesting that we all run to the woods and live off nature. What I am trying to say is that we should all learn to "unplug" once in awhile. That we should weigh our choices and get a grasp of our finances. That we should take the time to study an alternate lifestyle in case our society was suddenly uprooted. That we should turn off the cell and the TV and the obligations to others- and learn to be a hermit- if just for one day....

"Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars."  ~ Thoreau

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blogging Game: 7x7 Link

Delores from the featherednest has graciously selected my blog as one of seven to participate in the 7x7 Links. Thanks, Delores! 
I hope it's not to late to be a part of the fun! It's a great way to highlight certain posts that may otherwise be buried somewhere in the bloggy graveyard and forgotten forever. Although this blog is rather young- I am pulling up some stuff from my older blogs. 
Sound fair?

Well, here's how it works: I must link my readers to seven of my posts that meet the following criteria: (Just click on the link to read the featured post)
Most Beautiful:

Most Popular:
The post about having a mammogram and being thankful for every day

Most Controversial:
Most Helpful :
The facts about holiday hangovers.

Surprisingly Successful:
Most Underrated:
Most Pride Worthy :
And then I must tag 7 other lucky bloggers to join the process!
I'm passing the torch to these seven bloggers: 
(who may or may not even know me)...but, hey-Go for it!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Weekend

Spent the weekend at the cabin...
"Braveheart" flowers everywhere...
Persimmons ripening in the morning sun...
A great place to meditate...
Leaves falling in the breeze...
I made a romantic anniversary dinner...wine... candlelight....
Autumn is coming...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Morning Rant

I am not a "shopper" anymore.
Sometime in the past few years I have lost the urge to plunder the local mall and to spend hours touching everything in Target.  I used to enjoy drawing out an entire afternoon into retail therapy. But now my shopping motto has dwindled down to, "Get it- and get the hell out!"

However, this morning I found myself in WalMart at 5:45. I had to drop my husband off at work, so I got an early start on my self-induced grocery torture.

It's really not so bad at that early hour. There are no groups of gabbers blocking the aisles, no rude cashiers having a bad day (yet), and no one else to grab the clearance items that are marked down to amazing dollar store prices.

Plus, at that hour, who's really going to see me? I doubt I'll bump into anyone I know. So fashion can be traded for comfort- (which is my other motto).

Anyway- so there I was- actually enjoying the bit of elbow room. I mean, I could have done jumping jacks without hitting some snotty nose brat, or performed cartwheels down aisle thirteen and not even hit a customer service rep.

It was that good.

I wandered across the store and looked longingly at the autumn displays- the burst of orange leaves and wreaths- fat pumpkins- and caramel apples sprinkled with colorful confetti . There were sweet little containers shaped like candy corn, miniature scarecrows bidding a "happy fall", and all sorts of home goods that reeked of a total home makeover...
But, all of a sudden- BAM!!
Right smack dab in front of me were- can you believe it? Christmas trees!!
Listen, people- the wicked witch hasn't flown over the harvest moon yet- or the Butterball been basted to finger-licking perfection! Why is Santa getting top billing?

I almost expected to hear holiday carols being played over the PA system. but apparently someone at WalMart realizes IT IS JUST SEPTEMBER!!! Please, give us a break!

And while I am venting my unsolicited opinions so eloquently, I must add another pet peeve of mine that I experienced on the entire drive home.

First of all, let me say this- the fog this morning was as thick as pea soup with ham hocks- and no one in their right mind would even venture out of their comfy little homes until the crazy stuff dissipated. (Except me, of course).

And, do you know what? There were people driving WITHOUT THEIR HEADLIGHTS!
Oh, yes, I think it's absolutely magnificent that you can see through the fog- BUT I CAN'T SEE YOU! When you pull that shiny new Camry out in front of me in this fog- YOU ARE INVISIBLE! And it just made me want to ram your sorry invisible ass!

Sorry folks...But, I suppose there are people out there who just don't have much sense. I try not to think about it.
It's scary.

Anyway- I made it home safe where I actually enjoy being a hermit.
I can make autumn last as long as I want here.
And save Christmas for December...

In closing, I just want to say, dear readers, that I hope you have a great first day of autumn!

(And, if it's foggy out there- turn on your headlights, please!)

Oh- and while I'm at it- let me add my internet service provider to those people on my poo-poo list today. Okay? Thanks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


If you asked me what I was doing thirty-six years ago, I couldn't really tell you.  You would think that day would be burned into my heart.
But, be it age and time, or just a lack of maturity, I can't remember the day. All I know is, life was about to change for me forever.
I was getting married.

I don't remember packing my clothes, sorting through keepsakes, picking out a nightgown for the honeymoon...
I don't remember thinking about how far the future went, how I would feel living in an unfamiliar house, what I would fix for dinners or what side of the bed I'd sleep on.

I just remember feeling that this man was "the one".
That nothing else in the whole, wide world mattered except him.
And me.

No one could ever accuse me of marrying for money, because there was none.
I didn't tie the knot because I was desperate-( I was only nineteen and not quite an old maid yet.) Plus, life at my parent's house was both peaceful and comfortable.

It was his eyes. The way they looked at me as though I was the only person in a crowd...

It was his smile- that drove electricity through my veins like a warm drug...

It was his arms- that held me in a tender embrace that felt like none I had ever known...

It was his kiss- those lips that made me forget everything around me, and just surrender...

It was his long hair and Earth Shoes and button fly jeans...
It was his old Datsun, his stack of record albums, his German Shepherd, his calloused hands...
It was his laughter, his goatee, his smell, his voice, his shoulders, the patches on his jeans...

It was the way that being with him felt... right. 

That sitting in bean bag chairs listening to Gordon Lightfoot and Jackson Brown on the old turn table, drinking beer, smiling at one another- and not even talking- said more than words ever could.
It was the way he held my hand- curled it around his like he was going to protect me the rest of my life.
It was the way he stroked my hair, touched my cheek, shared his past- and planned his future.
It was re-fried beans, fish sandwiches, blue jean jackets and waterbeds.
It was staying up after midnight, eating out for breakfast, changing the oil in the car, and parking under the stars at the lake .

Maybe I don't really remember it all so clearly because we didn't have a big wedding. I wasn't frantic trying to organize pictures and flowers and friends and food.

We just drove to the preacher's house on 23rd Street and was married for a twenty dollar bill.

His eyes are now framed with wrinkles, his hands have become more calloused, his hair is short and peppered with gray...
He drives a new truck, we have a little dog, and we rarely listen to music from the '70's anymore.
He's traded his waterbed for Memory Foam, his Earth Shoes for work boots, and his bell bottoms for overalls.

But his smile and laughter still fills my heart with such goodness-
and when he holds my hand I know for certain that I have found "the one".

And today nothing else in the whole,wide world matters, except him.

And me.


I love you, Eldon...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This September Morning

There is a misty fog this morning. A soft ghostly light that dances on the pond and obscures the trees in shadows. I can't help but feel autumn sneaking up on me- fragrant with the smell of sassafras and straw- blowing a cool wind that catches in my hair and makes me shiver.

I may mow the yard for the last time today. It's gone to seed. The wisps of tall stems bending after yesterday's rain- spots of Black-eyed Susan's popping up in the fence rows- maple leaves already turning  rusty on the horizon.

Wasn't it just yesterday that daffodils dotted the flower bed and grass grew as thick and green as a jungle? Wasn't I loving the heat from the sun, the song of the birds, the freedom from winter? And now, I am sliding back down the wrong side of the see-saw. The ride is over. Summer is leaving.

I've already washed my favorite sweater- my faded sweat pants. I've stocked the cabinet with hot cocoa, flavored coffee and pumpkin bars. I'm visioning beef stew, thick dumplings, cheesy chili and vegetable soup. I'm wearing socks again, buying new slippers, breaking out the soft throws and warmer blankets. I'm preparing for what I cannot change...

Yet, I love autumn. Like a palette of vibrant colors, it is a delight to the senses- filling my eyes with purple sunsets and my nostrils with hints of cinnamon and cider. I relax. Let the air surround me- embrace me- fill me with gratitude. I dream. Pause. Think upon my life and all that is in it. I grasp these mornings- these slices of miracles- these days that fade away all too soon...

I drink my second cup of coffee- see the glow of a sunrise just forming beyond the pine trees- hear a song bird awakening in treetop. A streak of orange breaks through the fog, followed by a shade of lavender. The neighbor's white cows dance in the field- their silhouettes still shaded in darkness-

and I begin my day.  

Monday, September 19, 2011


Today we are going to discuss some words that end in "tion".
First word- and the main focus of my post today- is the word "Inspiration".
Webster defines inspiration as:
1. stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity

There is something about this time of year that pulsates with inspiration. 
Maybe it's that "last chance" before winter to fluff your nest with warm, inviting and pleasant objects and textures. 
Maybe it's the realization that the year is almost gone and you've done nothing new to your surroundings- that you are in a rut- and something must be done quickly in order to avoid depression.

Maybe it's because we've been bombarded with greens and blues and cool colors for the past few months- and our souls now desire a warm red, a creamy pumpkin, a rusty cinnamon, a golden yellow.... 

I have learned that there is nothing quite like visiting a beautiful home to make you shift gears and observe your own home with a critical eye. I was at such a house this weekend. My talented niece Kelli played hostess to my sisters and I Saturday evening and we soaked in inspiration at every turn. 
Woven baskets, crisp, white molding, uncluttered corners, clever artwork, pristine bathrooms and bedrooms reminiscent of famous magazine layouts. 
What is so inspirational is that I know my niece did not go out and spend a fortune to get her house to look like a Pottery Barn clone. She simply chose items with character and enduring style.

Did she have hand soap, pump soap, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, q-tips, magazines, razors, and blow-dryers crowding the bathroom?
Did she have piles of newspapers, dusty corners, a desk of old bills, a shredded dog toy, an atrocious yard sale find, and a cobweb in her living room?
Did her landscape reek of bad taste, wilted plants, dead flowers, tacky ornaments and peeling paint?
No. No. No, she did not!

Her style is minimal, sharp, modern and classic. Which, in layman's terms means she doesn't have any junk! 
Her home flows with bright sunlight and uncluttered peace, but yet it invites you to sit awhile- have a cup of coffee and chat. Curl your feet up and relax if you want ...

I did just that. Yet, all the while, I added inspiration to my brain's notebook.

When I came home and walked in the door, my house did not smell good. It did not look good. It did not feel good. I saw things I do not need, will not use, should not have.
That, my friends, is what good inspiration does.
It may not make you go out and paint a picture, sew a pillow, or build a closet. It just makes you take what you already have, tweak it a bit, and come out with something better.

I don't have the money to shop at Pier 1, recover my furniture, buy new dishes, or remodel the bathroom. But I can clear off the top of the fridge, organize the bedroom , spruce up the entryway, weed the flower bed and toss out clutter. I can easily minimize, fluff, brighten and clean the surroundings that are so familiar that I sometimes don't really see them as others do.

However, there is another important element of inspiration- An ingredient that must be present in order for inspiration to work properly. 
That, folks, brings me to my other "tion" word.

How in the heck am I gonna get that?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wife Appreciation Day

Monday, September 18th, is Wife Appreciation Day.

And I, for one, plan to milk it for all it's worth.

I mean, it's not every day you get to rest between laundry, dishes, mowing, gardening, mending, cooking, cleaning, dusting, ironing and sweeping. Why not take full advantage of this one itty bitty day a year to fully enjoy the benefits contained within?

I'm already fantasizing about how the TV remote will feel in my hands. It looks so neat from afar- all those light-up buttons and controls...I'm even studying the movie guide to decide which chick flicks I'm going to be watching all the live-long day. Of course, the whole time I will be partaking in freshly prepared snacks from my husband's own hands- delivered to the recliner with a cold drink and a smile.

I just can't imagine getting out of bed Monday and not having to make it! How long will those sheets stay crumpled ?
Will my husband even attempt to smooth out the quilt and fluff the pillows?

And what about the dirty clothes? Does he even know how to run the washer? Will he find the detergent? Does he know to add the fabric softener and clean the dryer lint trap?
Will he separate the whites from the colors? Will he pre-soak, treat the stains and remove everything from the dryer before it wrinkles?

I'm letting him do the grocery shopping that day, too. Why not let him have the honor of an afternoon of pure hell?
Except I'm not sure he even knows where the grocery store is. Unless they sell hunting license, beer, and guitar picks- he has no clue.
My husband thinks you can still buy a gallon of milk for a $1.50, that Hamburger Helper tastes okay without the hamburger, and that dishwasher soap is a luxury that no woman really needs.

I'm skipping the vacuuming Monday, too.
I can't wait till he has to lug out that fifty pound, dust spitting monster and sweep every corner of this house while the cord is wrapping around his ankles and pulling free of the outlet every minute or so.

Cooking? I know he can do it. At least I'm fairly sure. I kinda remember an egg he fried back in 1978.

On second thought... maybe I just better settle for roses and a Hallmark card.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fridge Fright

What an amazing technological world we live in! There are so many new gadgets, devices and options to choose from that make our everyday chores easier and faster.

Thank God for the woman who invented the self-cleaning oven! Gone are the days of spending an entire afternoon sporting rubber gloves, an oxygen mask, and a can of oven cleaner that could eat the chrome off a Harley Davidson.

Or how about the cat lover who thought up the self-cleaning litter box? No more spooning out crumble-coated kitty turds or trying to mask the smell of a feline fiasco with industrial strength Pine Sol.

I heard that now they even make self-cleaning glass! It consists of a 20–30 nm layer of nanocrystalline anatase titanium dioxide deposited by an atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition technique onto soda-lime silicate float glass.

(Well- don't ask me how it works- I just think it's long past due!)

But although these great breakthroughs are fantastic, today I realized that there is a market for another product not yet invented.

The self-cleaning refrigerator.

I really needed one of those today.
I spent almost two hours by the light of the fridge bulb- wiping, scraping, spraying, scrubbing- trying to distinguish yesterday's spaghetti from last month's- pouring three mustard jars into one- dating my salad dressing, smelling my cottage cheese, and throwing out mystery meat.

At the risk of sounding like a slob- I tell you it was a job for the Hazmat team! I touched things no human should have to touch, smelled things that make vomit seem sweet, and went through a roll of paper towels and a 30 gallon trash bag.

I'm tired. And ashamed it took me so long to face up to that responsibility.

Who knew what was really lurking behind that milk jug?

How could I have known the applesauce was growing mold that would make Louis Pasteur seem like a weenie?

And how come no one ever told me that fresh cabbage won't last over ninety days?

The only thing that helped me get through the whole fridge-cleaning ordeal was the bottle of Bailey's that's been fermenting in there since Christmas. It was still cold and delicious. And by the time I had finished it off- I was singing yesterdays top 10 hits.

And dancing.

Yet, I realize that  a week  a month six months from now- it will all have to be done again. Unless  some woman sent from Heaven decides to invent a self-cleaning model that virtually eliminates Fridge Fright.

I'll be the first to nominate her for a Nobel Prize.

(And maybe even share my Bailey's...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Embracing Time

If you had a chance to turn back time and do things differently would you really do it? And where in time would you go? Would you return to your high school days? Your old neighborhood? Relive a special Christmas with your family?

I've thought a lot about time over the weekend. My youngest child (and only son) got married Saturday- and it seemed impossible to me that he could already be reaching this milestone in his life. Wasn't it just yesterday that he played with Ninja Turtles in front of the cartoon channel? ...that he had me tie his shoes, wash his hair, drive him across town?

Yet, there is a peace in knowing he has grown into a man who is independent, successful and kind. Even if that means I am older...Even if that means he no longer relies on me for his happiness.

Turning back time might alter the result. The chance to relive certain days could change the outcome. Would I really want to exchange my son's happiness for a few more years of selfish youth? Would I actually take the chance of my weekend being ordinary?

Because it's not everyday you get to dance with your son- to feel his square jaw and freshly shaven whiskers on your shoulder- to look into his eyes and see yourself and your husband-and a brilliant light that is unmistakably love. It's not everyday you feel satisfied that time has done it's job.

I am blessed that God's plan has seen me through this most wonderful of moments- that the future is wide and beautiful and full for him and his bride. I would never take that away from him for any trip back through time!
My happiness today surpasses any lost moments of the past. I am suddenly content with growing old- knowing he has the chance before him to live an amazing life.

Go back in time?
If I could simply go back without changing anything- to just relive the moments exactly as they were- I might.

I might go back to a day of Ninja Turtles and cartoons- and to a boy I loved with all my heart. A boy that grew up with dreams and hopes and a zest for life.
I would probably hold him on my lap again- squeeze him into a hug- kiss his soft, round face where there are no whiskers, and whisper to him, "Fly..."