Friday, January 31, 2014

It takes two

For 16 years (in March), these two sisters have lightened our lives.  Contrary to their appearance, they are litter mates!  For years, we have made disparaging comments about their mother's loose sense of morality (we believe they had two separate fathers) but as we were enjoying our company this past weekend and explaining our philosophy, our guest quite simply said, "Maybe she was raped!"  Guess there really are two sides to every issue!  Whatever the real circumstance, we have been the lucky recipients of the result.  But that's an FYI.   The real purpose  of the photo was their proximity.  With one bed completely empty, the two nestle in the smaller of the two, sharing contact and warmth.  How much better for all of us to share!  Life is better.  Life is warmer.  Life is more comfortable.  Life is BETTER!  Let me share with you.  You are loved!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Word cloud

Amazing.  The tv is on.  The story?  Road to the Super Bowl.  Okay.  Okay.  I'm busted.  Those who know me will immediately realize I'm sitting in Cath's room upstairs, because sports channels are rarely accessed on my tv.  Anyhow.  The story shows the newest fad in images...a word cloud.  You know of what I speak.  They take descriptors of a person or an event and then create an image where the size of the word listed indicates how often the word was given.  Kind of a fun little mapping event.  In this case, the word(s) were Seattle Seahawks.  I don't recall what words were largest, most probably because I didn't care!  The concept, however, piqued my interest.  If someone were to create a word cloud about you, how would it differ if the target audience were your co-workers, your friends, your family, your community?  Are there any overarching words that would loom large on all of them?  More importantly, what word would you want largest on each of these clouds?  Who/what are you to these people?  Would represent an image of which you are proud?  No answers!  Just questions.  Sort of like lying on your back on a summer day, looking at the clouds and finding all sorts of shapes.  I guarantee there will be a heart shaped one with a message underneath are loved!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

every face...

a smile.  Every hand, a wave.  Despite the fact that parts of my anatomy will not regain feeling for hours, this mornings jog heightened my belief that I live in the best place in the world.  I can't do a darn thing about the weather (well, I can hooch, moan, swear, and carry on, but to the best of my abilities, I don't believe I can change it!).  I can put on more layers.  Or I can just suffer.  The thing is, I choose my level of discomfort.  I also choose to live in a community where the people are friendly, the drivers move over for an idiot out in the cold, and this morning, every person behind the wheel smiled, waved, and in general made me feel like I belonged.  Now, I'm not sure they weren't laughing at how slowly I was progressing or how spastic I looked, but I choose to believe they were genuinely being friendly.  Why this would surprise me is the question.  I have written before how generous this community is.  I have written before how neighborly this community is.  Okay, we're not perfect.  We choose to disagree on issues.  We choose to go to different churches.  We choose to associate with different people.  But we respect each other.  We look out for each other.  And we believe that paying it forward just makes sense.  Watertown, as always, I salute and thank you.  I am proud and privileged to live among you.  Know that you are loved!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's get political

There are certain things that light up my "we have to do something about this right now" light.  One of hem is providing exceptional education for children.  The rewards of teaching continue to sustain me into my dotage.  The contact with former students is a blessing and a constant source of pride.  But I fear we are digging ourselves a hole out of which we will not be able to climb!  As I understand it, a majority of our legislature does not believe we are being impacted by a dearth of qualified educators.  They seemingly don't believe being last in the nation in teacher salaries has an Impact on keeping/enticing the best and brightest in our state.  We South Dakotans are an amazing people!  We work hard.  We endure extreme temperatures.  We embody grace under pressure.  We deserve to have our children educated by a qualified field of instructors.  It ain't gonna happen if we don't immediately recognize the lack as a problem and then do something about it!  The exceptional men and women who teach here now will not be here forever.  We need to find a way to continue our strong belief in education.  And it is economic, which makes it political.  But let's prioritize.  What could be more important than teaching our children?  Hence, the early nature of this post!  Cath and I will board a bus to Pierre today to attend lobby days--a chance for us to contact our legislators and attempt to convince them to identify the shortage as a problem and encourage them to see the need to address it.  Wish us luck.  And hey, while you're at it, why not contact them yourself?  Tell 'me bz said so!  Wish us luck, and know that you are loved!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The wind howls.  The sun intermittently shines through the blowing snow.  The temperature plummets.  In light of these circumstances, I have decided to avoid blowing away by increasing my center of gravity!  That's the reason for the half bag of Dakota style salt and vinegar potato chips.  That's the reason for the two freshly baked scones.  That's the reason for the humongous hamburger and fries, not to mention the tasting of the Pringles that we're calling my name.  Or, it's my birthday and I'm enjoying every greasy salty sweet thing I can!  May your ballast be good and you know you are loved!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


It's amazing to me.  Retirement is supposed to allow time for the people you love.  I guess it does...just not enough!  This weekend we have the opportunity to spend some quality time with two of our favorite people.  We travel with them.  We play games with them.  We eat with them (one needs to find the most important events!). And due to their schedule and ours, this is the first time in over two years we have found time to host them!  Now that's just too busy!  To say we anticipate their arrival would be an understatement.  Of course, I'm not sure the weather will cooperate, but we keep our fingers crossed!  We will laugh.  We will play.  And we will be reminded why other people make life so desirable!  May you be likewise lucky and know always you are loved!

Friday, January 24, 2014

hooray for the yy's

Amazing.  Women.  I have had the fortune to know.  But I’m ahead of myself.  We started the morning having breakfast with a good friend at Perkins.  Like all friendships, there was no dearth of conversational topics.  Eventually, the name of a particular female friend we had shared came up.  She is dead now, but was a force of nature when alive.  Bright.  Witty.  Capable.  A former teacher, entrepreneur, financial advisor, and heroine of my wife’s since ninth grade.  For those of you who remember Dee, you understand of what I speak.  It started me thinking, however, of the women with whom I have chosen to surround myself.  Of course, there were the two with whom I was sharing breakfast.  Not one person I know would argue how amazing the woman I married is.  She is a phenomenal teacher.  She is an amazing friend.  And she obviously has the patience of a saint, being married to me for over 40 years.  Then there is the woman whose idea breakfasting together was.  (Who says I can’t awkwardly construct a sentence?)  Likewise a former teacher, she has an amazing ability to talk on a plethora of topics and the uncanny ability to make you feel comfortable in her presence!  She is the epitome of a model when it comes to respect.  And the fun thing is, she doesn’t know it.  We are so lucky to call her friend.  She is today’s inspiration!
I thought this was going to be easy.  I would simply mention the characteristics of the numerous other women who have impacted my life.  Mother.  Sister.   Teacher.  Teacher.  Teacher.  Lifelong friend.  Lifelong friend.  Lifelong friend.  Lifelong friend.   Longtime friend.  Longtime friend.  Longtime friend.  Old friend rediscovered.  New friend.  New friend.  New friend.  Mature ladies.  Middle age ladies.  Young ladies.  Each of them willing to accept me for who I am.  Each of them willing to understand my foibles and help me work through them.  Each of them a “Dee” to me.  We are all, each of us, an amalgam of our friendship choices.  I have been luckier than most that “my” yy chromosomal friendships have yielded rewards beyond measure.  Guys, you’ll get your chance, but today, “let’s hear it for the girls”!  Ladies, you are loved!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The good people do

Tonight I get to speak to the board and their significant others from the boys and girls club.  It becomes a labor of love, because I so admire what this organization provides for our community!  A safe haven is an amazing thing to offer a child in meed, and a blessing for parents.  As I talk about attitude tonight, I will be speaking to the choir (okay, I know the saying is preaching to the choir, but I just can't see me as a preacher!).  Of course it won't stop's never that easy to shut me up!  The topic for the night is "The rules of this game called life" and I get to set them!  Cool, huh?  I have my megaphones ready, cuz every game needs cheerleaders, right?  We'll see what happens.  It does give me the opportunity, however, to thank all of you for the things you do for others.  It is those opportunities to give back that truly make this an amazing world.  You are loved!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A different hat

Should you see something not well toned, somewhat flabby and drooping following behind me, that would be my rump!  Just got home from a day of prepping and cooking for a private party in the club room at Hy-Vee.  Truth--I ain't as young as I used to was!  Understand, the club room is an amazing kitchen in which to teach.  It is set up so that everyone can see what is going on.  I love the time I spend there, partially because it gives me a chance to play with food, and partially because Kim, my boss, is an amazing young lady who sees to it that I have everything I could want in terms of equipment.  That being said, tonight was a bit nerve-wracking.  Demonstrating one dish to a class is different than cooking fifteen meals for people who have paid real money for the opportunity to eat what we prepare.  We were, in my estimation, a little ambitious given our grill space tonight.  Surf and turf with twice baked potatoes, a pear strata salad, and fresh blueberry sour cream almond crumble pie was a lot.  I think they enjoyed it, but it was hard work.  God knows what it would have been like without Kim and our helper Maggie.  But we survived, I ate lots of things I shouldn't have, and am now semi prone in the recliner.  Tomorrow is my speaking hat day, so we'll see what that brings.  One thing about it, I'm not going to be bored!  Thanks for "listening" to my rant and know you are loved!p

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Sometimes, I am astounded by what my camera discovers!  I'd love to claim credit, but the equipment just seems to have a mind of its own.  In Africa, the beauty was of the non-traditional kind.  Zambia is not noted for it's overly gardenesque landscape.  The beauty lies in the people, the wildlife, and the tenacity of the existing flora to survive.    The giraffes amazed me.  The lions astounded me.  I even found a primal beauty in the hyena.  But the "flowers"?  Not so much.  On one of our "walks", I stopped to look at a set of tracks, and my camera jumped into my hand screaming, "Look up!  Look up".  There in front of me was the most unique blossom I had ever seen.  Naturally, I took the picture and moved on, never giving it another thought.  It was when we were culling the 3000+ photos of giraffes, lions, hyenas, hippos, elephants (well you get the idea) when this picture appeared.  There in the middle of a seemingly desolate area was a thing of uniquity and beauty.
So, why you might ask, is he just now writing about this?  The answer is simple.  It's two below zero.  The wind is howling.  The snow is falling.  I'm cold.  I'm crabby.  And it sucks to be in South Dakota at this very minute.  So I went back to Africa and found once again, this picture.  It reminded me that in the middle of nothing, beauty exists.  We simply have to look for it.  The same is true with people.  May you discover an internal camera that finds and reminds you of this fact.  And may you always know you are loved!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday, Monday

The sky is gray.  In fact, it's 8:30 in the am and the light sensitive lights are still on!  The smoke in the chimney across the street heads horizontally as it leaves the confines of the home.  There is moisture in the air and the walking areas are frosted and slick.  Morning came early thanks to geriatric puppies.  And yet, it's the start of a new week, with new thrills, new challenges, and new adventures (not to mention another week of doing exactly as I want!).  There are obvious advantages to being a cock-eyed optimist and being thrilled with Monday is one of them.  May your day pass fleetly, your week pass sweetly,  and you understand that you are loved!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Once a teacher...

Running frees the mind, allowing it to wander at will (or, in my case wonder what the heck I am doing!).  Having wandered my way around town, my mind (what little there is of it) flashed back to my teaching days.  Tests.  I hated to take tests.  I hated to grade tests.  I hated to give tests.  But I did, and I did, and I did.  My favorite test was the debate final for ninth graders.  It was one question, and had two (and only two) possible answers.  The question?  "Why?"  I'll let you ponder that.  Then, in my career readiness class, in lieu of a test the students had to do an actual interview.  In their practices, they were all asked to explain what traits they possessed that would make them the best candidate for the job.  The follow up, however, had to be "prove it!"  They had to demonstrate that they possessed and could use the skill they espoused.  The most difficult of tasks for most of us to perform is to say something good about ourselves.  Self-effacement is a natural tendency, but probably won't land you the job.  So, having reflected on these two items, and having had time to quit sweating, I would pose the following test question to you.  What is there about you that makes you lovable?  (Must be something, because I do!)  Now, before you go to bed tonight, prove it!  Do that thing that makes you an important part of someone's life!  Rest assured, this is not graded.  But it is required!  And when I next succumb to the desire to run, I want to here a resounding response to the question, "Who loves ya, baby?", with "you do, bz!"

Saturday, January 18, 2014


It has simply been one of those rare days.  You know the type, when the ordinary becomes the extraordinary?  Morning started at the usual time.  Coffee and puzzles ensued.  Cath was off to a meeting and I shoveled.  Okay.  Boring.  But then, we were invited over to friends for lunch.  (I love being an adult.  It means you can have wine with lunch!)  The meal was delightful, followed by a white chocolate cheesecake with raspberries.  Not boring any more.  Lunch was followed by a most delightful combination of discussion topics, each in itself grist for continued conversation and thought, but one of those magic times when one topic led to another.  No lulls.  No discomfort.  Just four adults who mutually respect each other and see several things in a similar fashion.  We don't necessarily agree on all items, but are willing to listen to and consider opposite viewpoints.  Here's the thing.  The afternoon cemented in my mind what friendship is...the ability to spend time together and completely enjoy the experience.  It is that thing that makes anything ordinary extraordinary!  The day was not so much what we did, but with whom we did it.  Friends make the mundane exceptional.  And we are blessed with the friends we have!  I forget to tell them that from time to time.  Thank you, friends.  You make the difference in our lives.  And you are loved!

Friday, January 17, 2014


So.  I'm sitting here at the computer, look down on the desk, and see an Energizer battery, rechargeable.  It strikes me that human beings must have similar energy sources.  We go and go and go until we run down, and then we need to find a way to recharge the battery.  For some, it's travel.  For some, it's reading.  For some, it's quiet.  But we all need that boost (and I so do hate sticking my finger into an electrical socket!).  After a night of sick puppy, I find myself in need.  I would tell you there's nothing quite as sleep depriving as a dog with diarrhea, but I don't know how to spell it, so I will simply say, it's the poops!  Don't tell anyone.  Sh! It happens.  (Oh how I worked to get that in!)  The good news is, there's sun.  Sun does amazing things to my mood.  I ran.  Feeling virtuous does amazing things to my mood.  I'm about to take a shower.  Another plus.  But most importantly, I had a cold slice of pizza for starters at breakfast, and if that doesn't boost someone's energy, I'm not sure what will.  The world is a little brighter than it was at 3:00 am, up for the fifth time.  And when all else fails, there's always the nap!  While energy may flag, it will never ebb to the point that I don't appreciate you.  Tiredly, but totally, you are loved!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Current temperature--3 degrees. Check.
Current wind gust--37 mph.  Check.
Current feels like temperature-- -31 degrees.  Check.
Forecast--lower, higher, and lower.  Check.
Tickets to Fort Meyers, Florida for the last week in Febuary.  Check.

Sometimes you just gotta write the check!
Know you are loved!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So Miraculously an Undeniably Glad I finished my run for the day.  It was the shortest of my routes, which means it was the fastest pace.  Okay, maybe today it was half-fast.  It would only be appropriate since when I was growing up, my dad said I often did things half-fast!  I think that's what he said (he may have spelled it differently!).  Anyway, it is done and I can now skip tomorrow when the snow is supposed to come and the wind is supposed to blow 50 mph in a sustained pattern!  This means I can also skip the dreadmill and this is a good thing.  Why did I feel the necessity to run?  It seems that that experiment I talked about the other day was a complete and devastating success, and my averdupois has increased geometrically!  My feeling is this...some pain, less gain!  Unfortunately, my inner control says no pain, accept the gain.  Oh well, if I could eat and not gain, I'd truly be smug!  As it is, I'm fluffy, and you are loved!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Currier and Ives

From the warmth of the front porch, in the company of the woman I love and the two geriatric puppies we are blessed to call ours, the snow gently falls.  Of course this idyllic image is somewhat tainted by the fact that the snow was preceded by some freezing rain and now that the snow has increased in volume, one notices that it is actually propelled sideways by the 20+ mph winds...  Even the squirrel in the tree is hunkered down.  One could dwell on the nature of winter in South Dakota, but one would have to be a masochist to do so.  I'm warm and happy, so mssr's Currier and Ives, eat your hearts out!  Let me add a little warmth to your life.  You are loved!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fear of

failure.  As I was cutting fudge this morning, I noticed a bag of coconut sitting on the counter and said to myself, "Wouldn't that be good in a stuffed brownie?"  The thought lingered, long enough to grow legs and multiply in scope.  "Wouldn't it be even better to couple the coconut with some dark chocolate chips?"  Voila!  Stuffed mounds brownies!  Now you gave to understand, they just came out of the oven and I have no idea if they "worked" or not.  It doesn't matter.  It's bridge day and these bridge players, like all good teachers, will eat anything.  In my mind, I can't see them not working, but....  It started me thinking.  How often do we stumble on to an idea and simply ignore it because it might not work?  It's not how we've always done things.  We might fail.  Yeah?  So?  I believe failure is an event, not a label!  If something doesn't work, it's not because of who I am, it's because it didn't work.  Darn.  I probably won't lose my birthday because of it!  (Although I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I don't think it works like that!). As long as no one is hurt, it doesn't contradict my ethics, or it won't send us to the poor farm, who gives a rat's rump?  Don't fear something because it might fail.  Fear what you might miss if you don't try!  But the one thing that never fails?  You are loved!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Attitude of gratitude

I am thoroughly convinced that attitude IS everything.  I'd better be!  It was posted on my board every day I taught the last five years.  It was my mantra while my mother-in-law battled with cancer.  It is topmost in my mind when I am doing a presentation.  Rarely does a speech end where it hasn't been an admonition.  If you have been involved with the FISH philosophy, you will recognize it as one of the four guidelines of success as a professional and as a person.  Not only is it a personal responsibility, it is a team guideline.  And let's face it, nothing is quite as contagious as attitude!  Hang with Debby Downer for a while and you will see what I mean!
Here's the hard thing to accept.  Attitude is a choice.  Accept the obvious.  Life isn't fair.  When it hits the fan, it's not evenly divided.  (And that "it" may be missing a couple letters!). Sometimes you're the pigeon and sometimes you're the statue!  No matter what pithy saw you buy into, life sometimes sucks!  But we don't have to.  Miss Loosewheel used to tell me that pity city was someplace we all visit at times.  There's no reason to move in!  Bright woman!  Sometimes, however, we all need a reminder.  So here's yours.  Felling sad?  Feeling blue?  Feeling alone?  My guarantee!  It will get better, and if it doesn't seem to, regardless of anything else, know always that you are loved!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's simply a matter of degree(s)

Or maybe, a matter of comparison!  Having survived the treacherous, furrowed, frost covered streets on my morning run, I realized that while my gait may have been unusual, my derrière was not frozen when I got home!  Could it be the 60 degree increase in temp from Monday to Saturday?  YES!  And what better way to celebrate than sun worshiping in my Hawaiian clothing (not to mention my Underarmor compression shorts!) with an umbrella drink in my hand?  (During Cath's photo session, I'm sure the cars that went by were impressed!). Okay, so the umbrella wasn't all that subtle...sorry!  The point (if indeed there is one) is finding joy rather than accepting misery!  May you enjoy whatever you enjoy to the greatest degree and always know you are loved!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Random Ramblings

Weight and sin are a lot alike.  It takes so little time to take them on and so long to atone for the result!

In retirement, you know you are reaching the busy saturation point when you have a day on your calendar that is blank, and you check it every two hours to see if the scheduling fairy has added something!

Storing things for me is never a problem.  Remembering where they are is!

30 degrees without the minus in front of it is the preferable mathematical denotation of temperature!

Invariably, the last thing I find when washing clothes is something that should have been washed with the first load.  There is something to being said for seed...

Do we really need four different types of phone books?  Especially when none of them contains cell numbers?

Steaks for supper should not necessitate shoveling out a path to the grill.

There is something just darn pleasing about a freshly cleaned refrigerator!

And the ever IS good, and you are loved!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

wind and hills

In this man's mind, running with the wind, downhill, is, you'll excuse the expression, a breeze!  I almost don't hate doing it.  Almost.  So why is it, then, that I feel so much more virtuous when I finish running uphill into the wind?  The answer of course, lies in the old statement, "of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most!"  Insanity.  Or maybe, it's because I have met the obstacle and it was cleared?  I guess if everything were downhill with the wind at my back, I'd never realize how sweet the easy stuff is?!  John Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward says we can view those obstacles as stumbling blocks or stepping stones.  I realize in this case, I choose to put the blocks there.  Anyone in their right mind would find a level surface on a calm day.  BORING!  Give me some variety, some extremes, something to remind me that life is a challenge at times, but always worth the effort!  And the physiological gurus tell me that if I do the running thing, I will have longer to find that variety.  I have decided when I die it will be doing something I love.  I will NEVER die running!  May your blocks give you the strength to endure and your stepping stones the realization the effort was worth it!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

aroma therapy

To me, there are very few aromas that can match that of baking bread...unless of course, that bread dough is slathered in butter, cinnamon, and two kinds of sugar, rolled up, and placed in a pan of gooey caramel!  Such is the case at the zubke house this morning.  In fact, batch number two just went into the oven.  This time, however, there is no caramel...just a decadent cream cheese frosting awaiting their completion!  The first batch went with mi esposa to an early morning meeting.  The second batch will go with us tonight to our bi-monthly duplicate bridge group.  Nothing says I love you like freshly baked goods, shared with abandon.  Of course, that means I wish I could share with you.  Enjoy whatever is to come, and know that you are loved!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

it's all about...

So.  I'm in the middle of cleaning up after a fudge making extravaganza (okay, it was just four pans, but if I can't hyperbolize, what do I have left?), faithfully listening to SVU (it was noise, it was on, and I could drift in and out as necessary) when I heard the statement, "It's all about balance."  It struck a chord with me.  That's life, isn't it?  Mr. Albee had it right, life is "a delicate balance".  Literary allusion not work for you?  How about a biblical one?  Ecclesiastes--for everything there is a time and a purpose.  Or of course, there's the old saw, "all work and no play".  The point is this.  Any time we get so uni-purposed that A) we can't see anything else or B) we won't see anything else, we destroy that balance.  Any time we totally focus on ourselves, omitting those around us, we destroy that balance.  Any time we totally focus on others and forget about taking care of ourselves, we destroy that balance.  Any time we truly hold to the tenets we have chosen to support and don't see another side, we destroy that balance.  Granted, there are certain credos to which I am unwaveringly attached:  attitude is everything:  everyone deserves respect:  chocolate comes from a plant, therefore it must be healthy.  But in all things, balance is preferable to reeling carelessly and with no purpose!  Moderation.  Acceptance.  Forgiveness (both for self and others!).  Balance.  Now, if I could only find my checkbook!  And by the way, the flavors were chocolate, Andes Mint, pineapple, and orange.  Now THAT'S balance!  And I will never teeter-totter on are loved!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Life is like a book....

if you don't travel, you're always on the same page!  At least, that's what the poster in the book store in Nova Scotia said!  As I sit here, virtually frozen in location (-49 wind chill?), I revisit the places we have been, and realize how truly lucky we have been.  But not everyone can (or should) do what we have done.  Over-seas may not be a possibility for you.  Canada and Mexico may not be a possibility for you.  But a trip to the library is, and there is no place on earth you can't visit there.  Okay, you could use the internet as well, but at least the library will get you out of the house (and hence meet the travel requirement!).  Just be sure it's open!  And who says you have to visit a particular place.  Pick up a good mystery.  Pick up a gooey romance.  Pick up a little science fiction (a flight of fancy is almost as good as a flight via Delta!).  On a day like today, a little escapism is totally in order!  Aloha, adios, ciao, ta-ta, sayanora, so long mate, and know you are loved!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I've never won anything...

Until last night!  It was the Hy-Vee Christmas party.  Yup, I am an employee.  Actually, I'm the "chef" in the club room and teach classes on occasion.  As a result, I am an official employee and as such, invited to the Christmas/New Year's party, which was last night. Good food, fun people, and GREAT entertainment...Dueling Pianos with a phenomenal sax player/fiddler who blew my sox off!  All three were amazingly talented.  Anyhoo, just before the entertainment, the boss gave away eight 39" flat screen tv's and mine was the first name drawn!  Cool!  So of course, I've spent this abysmal weather day enjoying!  Life continues to amaze me, but not the fact that you are loved!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let me take you back

to a time when the thermometer wasn't below the 0 mark, when the breeze wasn't clocked at my chronological age, and when weeding seemed so much better than shoveling!  I have always found a serenity in flowers that soothes my soul.  Perhaps it is the brilliant contrast in color.  Perhaps it is the unusual juxtaposition between flower and background.  Perhaps it is the fact that my joints actually work when it's flower time!  Whatever it is, they are what I miss most today, the warmest day forecast in the next three.  And the feels like temperature rests at oh crap!  So here's the deal.  Concentrate on the pictures at the left.
Got it?  Good.  Now imagine if you will, a bright, sunlit day.  Nary a distinguishing feature (cloud) in the sky.  A perfect temperature (according to my espoused, that would be when you don't notice it!).  And just inside your field of vision, the flowers.  The beautiful thing about flowers is, they were gorgeous, and they will be gorgeous again!  Rest comfortably in the coziest of places you can find, enjoy this bouquet, and know you are loved!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Second time's the charm

You may not know this.  I was fired from my first teaching job.  It was Fargo North High School.  It was probably justified.  But if I hadn't been fired, I wouldn't have wandered down the interstate (okay, give me a break, there wasn't one of those then!) to Watertown and have found the most amazing career any person could have.  I loved the school.  I loved the kids.  I loved the people with whom I worked.  And face it, because I found my niche, I was able to retire nine years ago and do what I want!  How perfect is that?

You may not know this.  My wife was my second fiance.  The first didn't work so well.  Suffice it to say, there were things that precluded the eventuality.  Thank God!  I can think of no better pair of choices to have made in my life!

You may not know this.  I can't make a Bundt cake come out of the pan.  And here's the rub.  In this case, the second, third, fourth, and fifth times were not the charm.  In fact, it still hangs out there as a monumental failure in my cooking repertoire.  You want Bundt?  Get it somewhere else!

You may not know this.  One of my favorite books in the whole wide world is written by a minister!  John Maxwell is his name, and the title of the book is Failing Forward.  I taught the book to my Career Readiness class.  I try to live the book.  Here are the principles, as I understand them.  1) Failure is an event.  It is not a life style.  It is not a label.  It happens (and there are two letters missing from that pronoun!).  2)  Failure is not fair.  Good people fail.  Bad people fail.  It does not make the good bad or the bad worse.  It is simply a fact, and when you get to #3, it's not worth the worry.  3)  Get up.  Get over it.  Get going!  Maxwell suggests that there is no reason to pack our failures into our life baggage and carry them with us.  Fix what you can.  Learn from the mistake.  Move on!!!!!  If I hadn't moved to Watertown.  If I hadn't said no thank you and yes please.  If I could ever get a Bundt cake out of the pan.  Thank you Mr. Maxwell.  Thank you readers.  Know you all are loved!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What's for supper?

It was always the first question in the door after school.  You see, I live to eat, and it really didn't matter what the answer was.  I was just curious.  Of course, there was that one time when it was Chunky Beef Soup out of a can and I expressed my displeasure by running away from home.  I believe I was 20!  But that's a different story entirely.  The point is this.  It doesn't really matter what's for supper.  What matters is there is supper and we sit down to it together, as a family.  It was at the supper table that we discussed what had happened in school, or more importantly, how I had embarrassed my sister that day!  It was a time for reflection and a time to bond.  In short, it was truly the glue that held us together.  I don't see enough of that these days.  Fast food and conflicting schedules combine to decrease the time families sit at the table, and the result, at least to me, is pretty apparent.  The family unit as I knew it is truly a thing of the past.  With it, the sense of family ethic, or for that matter, family at all.  Okay, I realize I am old...fashioned...but rarely do I see anything that works as well as building cohesion as sharing a meal, at a prescribed time, in a prescribed place (like home)!  All it takes is a little planning, a little group consensus, and of course, a darn fine cook like Ms. Loosewheel!  Truthfully, maybe even a pizza or Chester's Chicken, but eaten sitting down at a table, with the phones off, the television off, the computers off, and some conversation on!  Amazing how easy it is to suggest how to raise children when you have none.  But I've had over 14000, so take it for what it's worth.  It's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it.  By the way, tonight's answer was left-overs.  And that's okay, because Ms. Loosewheel wasn't the only good cook I know!  Something to think about whilst you ruminate on the fact that you are loved!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Miss Loosewheel

used to espouse that there was nothing quite as over as Christmas.  That is especially true in the Zubke household today.  Being January 1, the rule says the Christmas decorations come down.  And down they came--all 18 trips to the shed!  We have initiated a new policy this year--if it didn't get used, it gets tossed.  Frighteningly, it still took those 18 trips!  You probably have guessed by now that we do like Christmas, and we have been known to extend the decorations a bit.  Now that they are gone, the house looks big...and clean...and a little lonesome!  But the heart curtains are up in the bathroom, the cover-me-up drape hiding the washer/dryer connections we will need to use when we get older is bright red with gold "love" written all over it, and the oh my god can't he aim a little better rug in front of the toilet is bright red.  Christmas may be over, but Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  You can't keep a hopeless romantic down!  May your new year be filled with love, romance, and an occasional hug from a friend.  Consider this your first, for you are loved!