Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I've driven over ten hours in the past three days. Few radio stations transmit 100 miles north of Madison. My choices included ministry sermons, country music, and the farm report. I had lots of time to think about...

1) Women hate to see the first sign of wrinkles around their eyes. After 40, you realize how much you HATE your NECK. (Eyes are far more prettier than necks!) Plastic surgeons can't fix your neck without a full facelift! (Note to the youngsters: Use a moisturizer with sunscreen on your neck EVERY SINGLE day!)

2) Why does bread remain fresh a LOT longer now than it did five years ago? Really - do you remember when even Wonder Bread turned into a science project after 2 weeks... but now almost all bread lasts for 3-4 weeks in my pantry?

3) Why is the cold water in the bathroom so much colder than the water in the kitchen?

4) I wish I had worn a bikini more when I was younger. After 40, it's hard... and you mourn the body you had at 25 and 30. I wish I wore a bikini for the full five years between 25 and 30 (yes, even in the house during the winter).

5) Why do we have an interstate highway in Hawaii? What state does it connect to?

6) I watched interviews of West Virginia voters last week. People said they didn't vote for Barack Obama because (1) he was of a different race and that "worried" them; (2) he was a "muslim"; and (3) They had enough "of Hussein".. Senator Obama's middle name. I am amazed at the small mindedness of rural West Virginia voters. Kentucky voters yielded similar results... WOW, America is still very much a redneck country. (BTW, Obama is a CHRISTIAN, not that it should really matter.)

7) Who moved my CHEESE? (See motivational book of same name by Dr. Spencer Johnson). Bottom line: We all deal with change in different ways. The "cheese" is our desire... and how we find it differs in the way we tackle (or don't tackle) change.

8) What do people see in Bleu Cheese? It sucks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Car + Me = Trouble

It's a bad week for automobiles. At least for automobiles and ME.

Sunday, I was a tool. I'll admit it. I was totally at fault and a tool. I was driving on "autopilot", and momentarily looked down to plug in my cell phone. BOOM! I hit the shoulder, over-corrected, and spun out BADLY. I ended up in the median of a 4-lane highway, putting large ruts in the grass. It's amazing I didn't roll over actually. Very, very, VERY lucky there wasn't a car in the left lane, or I would have been severely injured or dead.

Needless to say, I've been EXTREMELY careful with my driving ever since. Today, I drove to Eau Claire to see Cassie and meet one of my new employees. I was driving along, minding my own business when a county sheriff pulled me over. (BTW, I'm not a fan of Jackson County anymore..) Evidently, it's illegal to drive with only one license plate in Wisconsin. Now, we've had this truck for at least four years. And it's only ever had a rear plate. The auto dealer never installed the front plate. When asked in the past, my husband insisted that we only need a rear plate. Well, let me tell you... the Jackson County Sheriff Dept was adamant that both front and rear plates must be displayed on Wisconsin vehicles at all times. Drat. And, I was speeding... 73 in a 65 mph zone. Double Drat. The sheriff gave me a warning on both counts. Yea! I guess Jackson County isn't so bad after all....

Still a bad week for me and cars. Pray for me - I drive to Milwaukee tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

50 Miles in 3 Days - MS Challenge Walk

When the doctor told us last month that Ashley had MS, I vowed to complete the MS Challenge Walk in Door County, WI this October. Participants walk 50 miles in three days and pledge to raise a minimum of $1,500 in donations that help to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

One of my friends and coworkers asked me today about the event. Mary keeps telling me that we have to "train" for this walk. Hmmmm.... what did I get myself into? Well, the MS web site lays out a specific 18 week training program for the Challenge Walk. I begin my training today!

I found another walker online today. Check out her blog with a link to a video of last year's Challenge Walk in Southern California.

1 day down... 125 more to go.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Old Movie

Dialog I recently heard on an old 1940's movie of two sisters talking:
"I don’t know what you expect from a man. You know there’s a limit to how entertaining they can be."

"Well, they ought to be able to talk a little. Simple sentences."

"You told me he was good looking and danced beautifully. That’s all a woman’s entitled to. You can always read a good book."

"Dear little sister, go wash your mind with soap."

Today's scripts just don't compare with those written for Ingrid Bergman!

Baseball pics

My son, Adam, is a junior on Wayland Academy's varsity baseball team, and normally plays second base. He hates it when I compliment him, but doesn't he look good?

Who will miss us when we're gone?

I'm feeling quite emotional this evening. I've been watching a movie, "Catch and Release", which is a manipulative "love story". A woman's fiance dies, and she learns more about him after his death than she knew beforehand. Who will care when we die? Will it be the love we left behind? The person we support financially? Or the friend who attempts suicide because they feel guilt about our passing?

If I die, I hope my kids still retain their relationships with Lee and their stepsisters. If Lee dies, I hope Cassie, Natalie, and Jeff still want a relationship with me and my kids. I know it would kill Lee or I to lose the closeness of our stepkids... we both love eachother's kids as if they were our own biological children.

I really believe our family is MUCH luckier than most. I believe we truly do love eachother, regardless of DNA. But, the rubber meets the road when people no longer feel an obligation. I pray we never need to deal with a loss before we are all too old to want anything but death.

One's measure in life is not their material accomplishments, but the impact they leave on other human beings in this world.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stunning Beauties

Pics from Oregon's MicroBrew Festival.... Ashley and Natalie, two of our gorgeous daughters. In the first pic, Ashley was mimicing a standup comic, but I can't remember which one...

New Blog

You may call me a real blogger now. I've begun my SECOND blog. That's right, two blogs... count them.. one, two!

I started a second blog and dedicated it to the process of building a house. It's a lot of work, which I expected. It's fun, it's frustrating, it's worrisome, and it's exciting. But I recognize while it is a VERY time consuming event for me, it's probably incredibly boring for others. (I mean really, how many people appreciate the deliberations between wood floors versus tile floors?) The fact that I created a separate blog just for the house building stories is a testament to how much I care about those that read THIS blog. That's right, I'm that altruistic.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The best sister EVER!

Natalie is the "best sister EVER". (At least that's what she kept telling us last night after visiting the microbrew festival. :) Quotes from last night...

"Ashley and her crack babies can come live with me."

"Adam, I love you little bro. I hope you don't kill anyone. Please don't kill anyone I know. But if you do kill someone, I'll be your alibi."

"I love Cassie so much. She knows me better than anyone - even better than Jeff."

Seriously, Natalie is a great person and the best sister I've ever met in this world. She is always there for her sisters and brother. She is kind, intelligent, supportive, funny, and generous. I know all three of her siblings love her deeply and value her. And they should - because she is totally awesome!!!

I love you Natalie!!! I'm very grateful to have you as a stepdaughter.

Oregon MicroBrew Festival

I wonder if beer festivals are a Wisconsin event, not found elsewhere in the country.

We went to a microbrew festival on Saturday, and realized that beer drinkers have a unique sense of humor. Some of the shirts seen include:
  • Jesus Loves You. It's the rest of us that think you're an asshole.
  • I'm with Stupid. (Picture with hand pointing directly downward at the wearer's crotch.)
  • I got Totally Naked in New Glarus, WI.
  • Some people make bombs in the northwoods... We're sticking with beer.

If you've never been to a "beer fest" before, it's like a wine tasting for beer. You pay $30 for a glass, and then can drink of 100+ varieties of beer. Beers with funny names were there too -- Totally Naked, Mustache Ride, Woody's Wheat, and Lazy Mutt. You can buy food if you get hungry... or better yet, just wear your own! (That's right - I said "wear" your own food. Many people wore "necklaces" made with strings and pretzels. They get hungry, and viola!... pretzels are handily available for munching. :)

But the best thing to see at a bonafide beer fest is real BEER GOGGLES!! People wearing sunglasses shaped like beer mugs. Only in Wisconsin....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The teenage years

The joys of parenthood are phenomenal, but sometimes its hard to remember that during the teenage years. Daughters can be snippy, angry, full of attitude, and make mothers feel like they can do nothing right. Sons just seem to fade away. The daughters did "come back" from the dark abyss of teenagerdom... I'm hoping the son finds his way back too.

Adam is 17 and finishing his junior year in high school. I never see him anymore. It's sad for me because I feel him slipping away, but also very heartwarming to see him mature and grow. He's a GREAT kid, with a love of life, fun sense of humor, intelligence, and kindness. As he's grown into a young man, he seems to have kept all of these qualities and developed gentlemanly manners too. I know it's the high school activities that are keeping him from his family. (It's not just me.... all of his family complain of not seeing or speaking with him enough.) I hope he decides that it's worth spending a little bit of time and effort to nurture his relationships with his sisters and parents. I'd hate to see him become distant from his siblings now, as it can span into the rest of their lives. I regret not staying close to my sisters and brother, and wish better for my kids.

Anyway, on to the joy of the teenage years! Adam is so darn talented!! He's an amazing athlete, wonderful singer and actor. He just performed in his high school musical, "Back to the 80's". I was surprised at how rich his voice sounded during his first solo. I know I'm biased, but he really is a very good singer! I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear watching him laughing with his friends before & after the performance. He seems so confident and comfortable in his own skin, which is so rare for teenagers. I won't comment much about his second solo, because his sisters gave him too much grief over it. (Adam singing Never Gonna Give You Up). I thought his dancing and singing were very well done and in character. The only thing we could have lived without during the performance was Adam grabbing his crotch in a Michael Jackson sort of way. :) Of course Adam played the role of a high school jock... and he wore acid washed jeans!