Thursday, April 26, 2007

To Mother on her 90th Birthday, April 24, 2007

I have always enjoyed hearing your stories about your past--learning what you experienced during your childhood and young adult years, and thinking about what you were like as a girl and as an ambitious, adventurous young woman.

As I have grown older, I have gained more and more admiration for your courage and determination. I think your life has been a remarkable and inspirational journey. I see a lot of you in me. This apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, though sometimes I wish I were even more like you! I am always aware that I have a long way to go to live up to your high standard.

I’ve been amused by the stories of you as a young girl reading books in the trees while you were supposed to be watching the cows. I know how much you have always loved reading, and I know how much of my childhood I spent with my nose in a book. I’m glad no one expected me to watch the cows at the same time!

I’ve been inspired by the stories of you working in the clothing factory as a teenager, dreaming of a different life, working hard to have a chance for an education. I am awed by the courage it must have taken to leave home and travel half way across the country at twenty-one to attend high school. Would I have done the same?

You dreamed of studying literature, art, and music—and made sure your children had all the opportunities you did not. But you married this handsome fellow, and had these five children, so not all of your dreams came true… I’m not sure I’ve ever said thank you for that.

When I look at this photo I can hear you say “What a bunch!”

My own Joseph and Alex have helped me appreciate all you did for me.

If I’ve learned anything as a parent, it is that children don’t always do what you want or expect! You must have been pretty frustrated to watch as I wore jeans everyday when I could have worn beautiful clothes. I had great music teachers, and a wonderful education, but I didn’t always have the self-confidence to make the best of my opportunities.

I think I’ve learned most of the lessons you were trying to teach me, just a little later than you hoped!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Mother dear. I love you!

Monday, April 23, 2007

More Creative Meals

I want to report (although my honesty may jeopardize my Domestic Disaster status) that I made two new recipes over the weekend. Both were given favorable reviews. I made “Lentil Barley Stew” out of the “More with Less” cookbook ( Dave thought it was great. Alex told me it was delicious. (We let Joseph leave the table and I forgot that he had not eaten. He found a giant candy bar I’d bought from a neighbor’s child for a school fundraiser and ate the whole thing… So, I guess my DD status is secure.) And I made a Bisquick pizza recipe off the back of the box. I thought it was bland, but everyone ate it—even Joseph.

The fact that Dave ate lentils and barley without a bit of whining is a miracle. I’ve had a great influence on him during our years of marriage! (Okay, I guess some might think that he was, in fact, better off eating pepperoni pizza every night.) The fact that Alex ate lentils and barley without whining is a testament to what a great kid he is. I guess I balanced the lentils with pizza and Bisquick the following night.

So, the pantry purge continues…

Friday, April 20, 2007

Identity Theft

Well, I've been pretty complacent about the whole identity theft hoopla... I shred my bills, and I shred anything with my SSN on it, but I've felt like it was the least of my worries. It still feels remote, but 14,000 OSU folks had their identity information hacked this past week--and I'm one of the lucky ones. The University gave us all a year of credit monitoring via a professional company. I guess that is great. I still hope someone else on the list looks more attractive to the bad guys than I do. After years of ignoring the problem I now have to admit I'm a bit worried. It would be a royal pain to deal with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Working at home

I'm working at home today--and falling asleep. This is why my new job will be such a good change for me. My current job puts me to sleep!!! I need the stimulation and presence of other people to keep me engaged. The new job will have a more demanding "face time" element, andinvolve much less "work at home at your own pace by yourself" stuff... The later sounds great in theory, but in practice, I just doze off.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Creative Meals

You are all going to get really tired of stories about packing and moving--but I work, and I pack, and I try to keep up with the boys.

This week's challenge--How do I make decent meals out of all the various stuff we already have in the pantry? I could just move all of the random cans and jars and boxes, but once I got the idea that if I used everything up, I could start with a empty pantry at the new house and stock up on fresh basics. That sounds so nice I'm trying to finish up everything in the freezer and pantry. I'll move whatever is left, but...

Maybe I'm so excited about the move because I think the stale parts of life will be left behind and I'll get to start again with some fresh supplies. Doesn't that sound great? Maybe it is why I'm so happy to be sorting and recycling and giving away the old. I'm ready for the new job and the new house and new challenges. Yes, I AM taking the same old husband and the same old Joseph and the same old Alex along with me. They don't get to trade me in for a fresh new Mom or wife. We all just get fresh pasta, and fresh spices, and fresh frozen food.

I was sitting in the backyard last week, enjoying a few minutes watching boys play, thinking about our 12.5 years here. Some pretty big things happened in this house--The best years of my life happened here. The hardest years of my life happened here. It will be hard to move, but we aren't leaving the important stuff behind--all of that goes with us...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Digital Boy and My Social Boy and ramblings

Okay, I'm struggling again with how much digital stimulation is too much. Joseph is so happy and so easy when he has TV, computer, or his PSP football game. It gives me time--it gives me a bit of space--But it also creates a need for more and more. Once he has a little, he just wants more.

But for today, and for this week, we are indulging. We will pay for it later.

On the other hand, Alex is only happy with a friend by his side. It is spring break so I'm home more than normal and Alex is enjoying his friends when at home and tolerating my meetings and classes when he has to go to school with me.

Meanwhile, I'm still packing and sorting into the donate pile and the recycle pile and the save pile. Dave is buying boxes for me--I told him fifty... I sure hope that is enough with what I already have. How did we get so much stuff? Can it all really be necessary? How do we simplify our lives in the 21st century? Do I need all these books? All this china? Does Dave need to save his stamp collection? His art project from 4th grade? Do I really need my baby doll?

Obviously, these are all retorical questions--but planning a move certainly makes one sort through the storage places in our houses. Thank goodness no one ever makes me sort through the storage places in my mind--Those are filled with even more obscure and useless stuff!!!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Snow for Easter

Yesterday was Good Friday, tomorrow is Easter, and we are having serious snow flurries and cold, cold weather. I had a church gig last night and felt like I should be playing "Oh Holy Night" instead of "Oh Sacred Head now Wounded." (Seasons and holidays are all about the music for me...) The grass needs to be mowed and it is a nice bright green, but there is snow. I brought all the tulips and daffodils inside lest they all freeze, and we are enjoying spring indoors.

A few days ago I told Alex that God must be confused that the weather is so mixed up. Alex latched onto that phrase and started repeating it--"God is confused." Now, I didn't quite think all the theological ramifications of that one through before I said it. I don't really want to teach Alex that God is easily confused... Maybe I'd better start saying that I'm easily confused by some of the things God does. (That would be true!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I love the word awkward. Its meaning is so like its spelling.

Now, that being said, I just spent a very awkward 45 minutes. Most of you know that I am starting a new job July 1. I’m excited for new challenges, etc. etc. The man I’m replacing is not happy about the transition. He is being replaced because he didn’t work well with current leadership. So, I spent the last 45 minutes talking to him about the transition. Methinks that will be all the time I get to pick his brain, learn the ins and outs of the position, figure out what and where and who… In other words, he is doing all he can to make it hard for me to succeed. Well, darn it… I don’t take that from anyone. I’ll do the job well without your help, and I’ll do it better than you did!

Yes, and work still feels easy compared to home.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Well, if we were feeling sad about leaving our city neighborhood and moving to the suburbs, we are starting to feel better and better about it. I noticed about two weeks ago that our bikes were gone from our garage. It must have happened during the February snow and ice. It was very hard to close the side door on the garage, so we didn't for about 5 or 6 days. A few days back Dave noticed our 20-foot extension ladder is gone. So we looked more closely-- also missing: a gas powered edger, a blower, a string trimmer (that doesn't work--joke's on you Mr. Thief), an electric hedge trimmer, and Dave's toolbox full of tools. (No power stuff, but lots of wrenches, screwdrivers, hammer, etc.) At first we were not going to report the theft to the insurance, since our deductible would cover everything we lost, but now it is really starting to add up!

Alex talks about the bad person that took our stuff. So we have issues other than the monetary.

I think the ladder is the thing that hit Dave the hardest. It was a ladder his family had in his childhood home. The toolbox and tools also feel very personal to him.
The only upside I can figure is we won’t have to move the stuff. But we will have to replace most of it. I certainly want a bike in the burbs.

Thankfully they left the lawnmower! With the current balmy temps in Central Ohio, we will need it soon. Although the forecast is for snow later in the week!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend with Sarah

We had a delightful weekend with Sarah, Rob, Jonah and Isaac. The weather cleared enough for a trip to the zoo. We watched basketball, played with boys, ate, shopped, and had a fun time.

I'm facing another week or two that looks insane. One day at a time. Today, I won't see the boys until it is time for bed, and I left before Alex even woke up. That is never a good thing, but, it happens. Sarah commented that I was an example of a Mom who was doing it all--working full time and raising children, but I'm still not sure I'll ever be comfortable with the sacrifices I've had to make. And I'm leaving a lot of the child rearing to Dave and others.

I will also miss my bookclub this evening. I have a dinner for work that starts at 6, probably won't end 'till 8. At that point I'd be late to book club. AND I'd want to leave bookclub early to watch a basketball game at 9:00. So, I'll just go home after dinner so I can help tuck the boys into bed and watch B-Ball.