Sunday, November 30, 2014

In years gone by...

We would have been done decorating on Friday.  Trees would have been up and lit.  All the peripheral pretty would have been placed, and we would have enjoyed the fruits of our labors.  It is now Sunday, and there are two rooms left to go.  And we are enjoying the fruits of our labor--with a little less intensity and a lot more enjoyment!  If the kitchen doesn't get done until tomorrow, so be it.  And my room is started--at least the tree is up and lit!  Who knows.  It may be finished as well!  The process was interrupted by an insane plan to clean the paint room so we had room for things.  Like all good cleaning processes, the contents of the paint room threw up onto the basement floor.  There were coats to go through, mittens and gloves to match, single gloves to cause questions and then be disposed, and of course, for the remainder there was the decision of keep, throw, keep, throw, throw, throw!  Entry to the paint room has been achieved.  Access to the back wall is much less perilous.  And we now have a zoo for the giraffes to winter, whilst shepherds and wise men and little drummer boys take their place.  Give us another week, and we'll be ready.  Or not.  But all is good, and you are loved!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

sometimes all it takes is one

For some reason, I have entered that contemplative part of the day--you know--where for no reason, thoughts occur to you.  And of course, since I blog, I am required to share them.  Today, I speak to the response.  Whether it be to a question or to an action, there is really only one chance to "get it right."  Wrong expression?  Ouch.  Wrong initial response?  Ouch.  Unexpected negative response?  Double ouch.  And we have all been the giver and the recipient of each of these.  Unintentionally, we have popped a balloon, increased stress and decreased worth...with a simple response.  Unless, of course, we have done it intentionally, in which case, shame on us!  Likewise, we have been the popee, the stress increaser and the self abaser based on our interpretation of that response.  Unless we simply like to feel bad, in which case, shame on us!  Granted, we usually don't have time to measure each response.  That would truly eliminate any spontaneity at all.  Therefore, I have a proposal.  When confronted with a reaction option, a positive approach to life will help you avoid the negative consequence.  If you begin with the belief that attitude is everything AND attitude is choice, we certainly can work on making it positive, can't we?  And then perhaps the answer to that all important question, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" might not be an eye-popping, jaw dropping, "Oh my god.  Huge!"  Instead, it could be...well, I haven't figured that one out yet!  But I know it'll be based on attitude!  Respond well, and know you are loved!

Friday, November 28, 2014

What would you do?

Let me set the stage.  We ordered a personalized product early in November, hoping to have it by Thanksgiving.  Imagine our surprise when we received notice that it was shipped the next day!  Wow.  We received the tracking number.  After three days, we checked the tracking of the parcel.  It had been delayed due to the blizzard out east.  Understandable.  We checked a week later (now he middle of November), and it was en route.  Cool.  Well, what with the rush during the holiday, we just kind of placed it in the back of our minds...until today, when we both remembered it wasn't here.  Back to check the tracking, only to discover that it had spent at least one day in Watertown, but wasn't delivered because our name wasn't on it.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  The address, that would be our legal address, was correct, but since the addressee's name wasn't ours, the carrier arbitrarily marked it for return to sender.  It now resides in Greenville, North Carolina!  Billy consumer was upset.  I call the company to see what could be done.  Spoke with Willette, who was apologetic and immediately re-ordered the personalized objects and shipped them rush delivery.  At no cost to us.  Even though it wasn't their fault.  Customer service at its best.  HOWEVER, I still had a problem with the delivery (or lack thereof).  I contacted the postal service.  They said the carrier was "being trained".  Then they said we should have our name listed as the addressee.  Hmmmm.  Wonder what happens when someone visits and should receive a letter.  Apparently, although the legal address is correct, the carrier can arbitrarily choose not to honor that address.
Sometimes, face to face is better, so Billy gets on his broom, er, I mean in the car and heads for the postal office.  I allow all other patrons to go before me.  I speak to the delightful former student who is tending the window.  He seems surprised that delivery wasn't attempted, gets on the phone, and calls  for the supervisor.  Out comes a young man who says the supervisor sent him to take care of the problem!  I introduce myself and shake his hand.  He does NOT tell me who he is.  I explain the situation.  He tells me our name should be on the parcel.  I explain to him that I really don['t care whose name is on the package, I object to anyone not delivering mail to a legal address.  He goes back to get the supervisor.  He comes back...alone...and tells me "they" have made a note to deliver all parcels/letters to us that have our address.  Imagine that. They're going to do what they're supposed to do!  His parting shot?  If we get mail not for us, we'd better not call to complain!  Before I can say anything inappropriate, I choose to leave, fuming but thankfully quiet.
Rarely does one experience diametric opposites concerning the same item in the same day.  Both speak volumes.  The company--amazing.  The Postal Service?  Not so much!  Hopefully, the supervisor at the postal service will some day realize her purpose is to serve her customers.  But I won't hold my breath.  If I did, I might turn purple, have my photo taken, want the picture personalized, and have to deal with her again!  They ticked me off, but you?  You are loved!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Everything's just fine!

It was an amazingly enjoyable day.  16 people for dinner.  We missed our niece's family who is expecting her third child quite literally any day, our niece who lives in Louisville and spends her special days caring for special people, and our nephew's family in Missouri as he continues his policing, making St. Joseph a better place in which to live.  Then of course, there are those who have gone before.  We did channel Ms. Loosewheel this morning when we ran to the grocery store to pick up something we had forgotten.  The food worked.  The kids worked to clean up.  As I said...enjoyable.  Now, it's time to convince my expanded stomach and active medulla oblongata to prepare for the day dedicatied to bringing the Christmas spirit indoors!  As I sink into the stupor that the quantities of food produce, I will smile and give thanks for a day of joy.  And tell you you are loved!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 kitchen is a mess.

And it is a good feeling!  It means I have accomplished something.  The pumpkin pecan pies are in the oven.  The cranberries are macerating in the refrigerator (frisky little devils that they are!).  The coffee is on the timer, and the kitchen upstairs has been cleaned of the turkey, potatoes, gravy, and dressing residue created by pre-preparing tomorrow's dinner today.  Cath has beautifully set the two tables and as soon as the pies are done, mama in her kerchief and I in my cap will settle right in for a long winter's nap.  Oops, I just jumped a holiday.  Sorry about that.  The paper with the Black Friday ads has come and gone...I refused to look at them.  There is absolutely nothing in the world that I need, much less to shop for on Thanksgiving day or rise early on Friday.  No temptation = no temptation!  In short, let the feasting day occur!  And know the answer to the question, "For what am I thankful?", is you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Food frenzy on the horizon!  Christmas lights waiting to blaze!  Relatives coming to visit!  Lord, how I love this holiday!  Guess you could say I'm thankful.  And you are loved!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Minute 14

I received a questionable call from "the IRS" this morning.  I was directed to call a particular number.  I didn't.  First, the call was a recorded voice.  Second, the call came through on my cell phone.  Third, they said they had been trying to contact me.  Red light.  Red light.  Red light.  Being Billy Consumer, I immediately tried to contact the IRS.  They didn't want to talk to me.  Literally.  I called the Aberdeen office.  They don't take calls.  I called the Sioux Falls office.  They don't take calls.  I went on line.  I went to  After perusing several menus, I found a number to call.  I called.  I went through seven menus.  Some were repetitive.  I finally got to the part that said if I didn't hear what I needed, I should remain on line.  I am.  The approximate wait time was 15 minutes.  That expired 8 minutes ago.  I'm still on hold.  As I understand it, I provide the funding for these offices.  I would appreciate a little customer service from the local branch.  I would appreciate a little customer service from the national branch.  "Our representatives are still helping other customers.  Please continue to hold." is not my idea of effective customer service.  Alas!  Cath's suggestion was to call the Better Business Bureau.  Tried to get that number.  All I got was a form.  Submit it on line.  I'm just trying to be sure no one else gets this "threat" (and that's what it was)!   I shall continue to hold until it's time for yoga.  I shall then hang up and medicate (Freudian slip.  I meant meditate!)  Time to consider the universe in total will probably reduce the import of this issue.  But right now, I'm ticked!  I'll let you know how this turns out, because I love you!

Quick update.  I just spoke with Mrs. Wilson.  I was informed that the IRS does not handle issues in this manner.  That's what I thought.  And for the record, Mrs. Wilson WAS very courteous and polite.  It was nice after the wait!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The real tree

Should you drive by, you will notice the tree on the front porch has been changed.  It is now a 7 foot blue spruce, purchased and hauled from Menards this very afternoon.  As of yet, it is not lighted.  Something to do tomorrow.  The thing is, it's real.  It looks real.  That is to say, imperfect.  The trunk is crooked.  There are spots where the foliage is a little sparse.  But there's something just right about a real tree.  It's what we had when I was a child.  It smells wonderful.  And it fits outside.  I think the major attribute of the tree is it reminds me of the friends I love.  Not perfect.  Different shapes.  Different foliage.  The term is unique.  Despite their "flaws", they are real.  And that says it all.  So as I look at the tree, I will remember those friends, and thank god for the imperfections!  The season, after all, is about love!  And you are!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The family we choose

I have been amazingly blessed indeed in the family department.  Genetically, I have been supported, loved, and encouraged.  Had I chosen rather than been so blessed, I could not have done better.  In-lawly (I can't wait to see what spell check does to that one!) the same would be true.  Wisdom in choice or just blind luck, I can't say, but I am extremely blessed!  That being said, it probably is unfair (I've witnessed far too many people who are not "familially fortunate!) that we have also been "adopted" into two other families, and how richly they have added to our lives!  We're included at family reunions.  We're selected to sit at the "family" table.  And we are supported...and loved...and encouraged.  As the week before Thanksgiving comes to a close, I need you to understand this...if you can say you are loved by friends, be thankful.  If you can say you're loved by family, be thankful.  If you can say you are loved...and you thankful!  I am!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tis the season

There are things that just jump into my cart.  Wal-mart.  Pointsettias.  Red.  White.  And then...

Never had seen the orange.  Had to have it.  After all--it fits at Thanksgiving.  And I do.  Give thanks.  That we can afford to buy it.  That we will have family to enjoy it.  That we will over eat, and over laugh, and over love--all three of which are darn near impossible.  I know it's a week away, but give it some thought, and know you are loved!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


So...I'm out on my walk today, heading home, when I notice I'm on the same route as the garbage truck.  Just as I pass it, I notice a four block stretch of garbage cans waiting for up picking and say to myself, "I can reach 10th street before the truck does."  My pace picks up, my spirits pick up, and the garbage truck picks up!  My primary goal?  10th street.  My secondary goal?  To keep at least one garbage can ahead of the truck.  A little winded, a little elated, I reach both goals.  By the time I get home, I start to analyze my behavior.  I'm not ordinarily extremely competitive.  But I was.  I like to think of myself as goal oriented.  I now spell that OCD!  But I did win, and you are loved!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The height of....

It was one of those days.  Early breakfast with Aunt Edith.  Yoga.  Yoga holiday party at Willy's.  And the afternoon.  Oh, the afternoon.  As busy individuals, we rarely get to see our favorite shows during their airing.  Enter the DVR.  Then we can watch them at our leisure.  Yah, right!  Leisure!  Well, this afternoon was one of those rare occasions.  Hunkered down with our blankets at hand (okay, I was buried in mine!) we watched four episodes of NCIS!  Four!  It was simply amazing.  There was popcorn.  There was sparkling water.  There were no naps.  None!  It was the right thing at the right time.  Sometimes, the mind and the soul need escape, and the boob tube was just the vehicle.  Probably won't see NCIS again until the next such afternoon.  By then, we'll have NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New Orleans to supplement our DC adventures!  I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  Life is good for this old fart, and you are loved!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finding Sleeping Beauty

It's cold.  It's snowy.  It's definitely blowy.  In the terminology never allowed in my classroom, the weather sucks!  Yeah, it's pretty...pretty white.  And it keeps coming.  Thankfully, when one looks for it, there is usually a saving grace--an upside if you will--to every crappy situation.  As I was bemoaning our fate this morning I happened to look around our front porch.  And there they were.  In the middle of winter, a reminder that beauty does exist.  And since I'm the kind of guy I am, I will share.  Find yours, and know you are loved!

Monday, November 17, 2014

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Hear me now Oh thou bleak and unbearable world,
Thou art base and debauched as can be;
And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled
Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!
For some reason, every now and again, the score to Man of La Mancha swirls through my head.  It's been darn close to 50 years since we sang it in choir, and yet, I can hear the melodious air, I can image the tilting at windmills, and I am transported to a Broadway stage that I shall never see to be Don Quixote!  You see, in a totally unprepossessing way, I believe every teacher is Don Quixote.  Our destiny called, and the wild winds of fortune took us onward to something akin to glory.  To make the difference in a mind, an attitude a life.  Granted, at times the outlook was bleak (remember in-service?).  But never unbearable.  For there was always the challenge...always the reward.  As I told my kids, life ain't fair!  But I followed that up with the fact that I personally hoped I never got what I probably deserved!  I seem to be rambling.  Probably not one of those nights where my prose with move someone to rhapsodic criticism.  Sometimes, you just gotta share.  So tonight, I shall dream the impossible dream, fight the unbeatable foe, and reach the unreachable stars.  Or, I will dream I've gone to school naked.  Either way I will go where the brave dare not go!  Find your windmill, kiss your Dulcinea, and know you are loved!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

memory jogger

I am always amazed at how a little thing can create a big memory.  I was cleaning the kitchen in the basement.  I needed room in the cupboard.  There was something precluding the Pam from moving far enough to the back to shut the door, so I took out the offending items.  And there it the back of the cupboard...a time of my life that changed my world.  And it was basically an innocuous thing.
Back story.  The year...2000.  The event?  Our first meeting of the 2000 state teachers of the year in Dallas.  I was overwhelmed, to say the least.  Dallas.  In January.  In the presence of amazing teachers.  On the night before we were to leave, a group wanted to head out and see the sights in the West End.  I demurred.  I was tired.  But they talked me into it, so I grudgingly went.  It was a riot.  We ended up at Dick's Last Resort.  The whole concept of the place was unruly servers insulting the guests.  And they were good at it.  Of course, I rose to the occasion and gave back in equal doses.  Bonds were formed that night.  Bonds that distance and time simply can't erase. 
As I finished cleaning, I was laughing and crying at what impact that night--that whole year, had on my life.  And while the award was momentous, the people so overwhelmed its impact that to say it was life-changing is understating!  15 years later I can remember little things about all 55 other teachers.  Give me a state and I can give you a name.  Give me a name and I can give you a story!  I hope some of them read this.  Heck, if they show up, I'll pour them a beer in Dick's glass! 
We are the result of our choices!  And I made the right one.  May you be so lucky.  And know you are loved!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Food, glorious food!

It's a gourmet club night.  Looking forward to Hungarian!  For those of you who don't know our process:  each couple hosts once during the year.  That couple gets to pick the theme and the recipes.  Those recipes are distributed to the other five couples and that is the dish they bring.  Fantastic concept.  We get to try new things, both in the creation and the consumption.  Some have been better than others.  Truthfully, some recipes don't need repeating, and that's okay, too.  You see, it's never been about the food.  It's always been an excuse for the 12 (11, 10, 9, 8 depending on busy schedules!) of us to be together.  Six of the twelve are former students!  All 10 of the non-Zubke's are amazing individuals, with diverse interests, occupations, families and have an amazing relationship with their spousal units.  We've watched their kids grow into outstanding young adults...literally.  We will laugh.  We might sing.  We will drink a little (?) wine.  We'll probably belch and fart (the latter surreptitiously!).  And we'll revel in the fact that there is a love that binds us together--more as a family than as friends.  Life for me is about the food...and the people with whom you share it.  The gourmand in me anticipates new tastes.  The friend in me anticipates good times.  And the appreciative writer in me thanks you!  Know you are loved!

Friday, November 14, 2014

It was the weather

Everything else is blamed on the weather.  It was too hot.  It was too cold.  It was too windy.  It was too moist.  It was too dry.  Choose one.  Any one.  That's the reason I didn't blog yesterday!  Truth is, with everything that we did yesterday, I just plain forgot.  Until 3:00 am this morning.  Then, as the dog and I did what old dogs do in the middle of the night (sorry about the visual), I remembered.  And thought about writing.  And promptly said to myself, it's 3:00 am.  Go back to sleep.  So I did.  But not until a title for a blog passed through my head.  This, I can remember.  So before it slips into the nether regions of my minimalistic gray matter, here it is.  I celebrate the right to write.  I have always loved manipulating words.  It doesn't mean I'm good at it.  It means that I love to play.  There's something about the cadence of pairing certain words that strikes a chord in the rhythmic learning section of my brain.  There's something deeply satisfying in those rare occurrences that I find just the right combinations.  And there's something real about putting them on paper.  So I write.  And you, thank read.  So for those of you who even realized I was absent yesterday, thank you!  And for those of you who could care less, thank you!  (You are reading this now, aren't you?!)  And "weather" or not you believe it, perhaps the best juxtaposition of words is this.  You.  Are.  Loved!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The joy of surprise

Vodka bottle reclaimed and in hand, I was ready to leave the parking lot when my phone rang.  An old friend was passing through town.  Would I like to have a cup of coffee?  Of course.  Lock the booze in the car and proceed to drink coffee and reminisce.  We head home and he decides to spend the night.  While he and Cath catch up, I take the dog to the vet and we head out for supper.  In preparation for tomorrow, fudge is made and pie is baked.  Time for old people to go to bed, but there's this movie we decide to watch.  It wasn't Robin Hood.  Here's the point.  The day could have passed like any other, but the surprise of friendship made it special!  May your days be interrupted by that which makes them memorable, and know always you are loved!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Robin Hood

There's something intriguing about a story about the robber who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  There must be for I sit here watching yet another remake, enamored with the story.  Perhaps it has to do with my belief that right will out.  Perhaps it has to do with actually having been to Sherwood Forest!  Or perhaps it simply comes down to the fact that I am a hopeless romantic!  Whatever the reason, I'm loving it...and you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

I love SD

8 inches of snow.  Cold temperatures.  High winds.  And snow plows that do their job, which means I need to do mine.  Not exactly setting the stage for the title line, am I.  And yet, it was due to all the above that I reached this conclusion.  You see, I had blown earlier during the day.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Went out to play bridge.  Came home and the plows hadn't been by.  Watched an episode of NCIS we had taped.  The plows went by.  I quickly went out to clear out the driveway.  First thing that happened--the snow blower plugged up with the leaves I hadn't raked.  Epithets later, I took the handle of the shovel and extricated said clog.  When I turn around, the neighbor across the street was there, shovel in hand, breaking up the snow so it would blow more easily.  And while he was at it, he threw a few shovels out of my way.  I am embarrassed to tell you I can't call him by name.  Gabriel would be my guess based on the good he did!  I managed to finish the driveway, clean up the neighbor's driveway, and as I moved down the block to help the neighbor to the south, I was met by her neighbor to the south who came with his snow blower and helped her clean her driveway.  (Both neighbors to the south are former students.  They must have been learned good!)  Now here's the point.  This is exactly what South Dakota is.  Friend helping friend.  Neighbor helping neighbor.  It's always that way.  Always has been.  Hopefully, always will be.  We're a proud, hearty people, and dag nab it, we know why we're here--to help someone!  L.A. might be warm.  But I love S.D.  and I love you!   

Sunday, November 9, 2014


When I was a child (just a few years ago) and the promise of a blizzard loomed on the horizon, I would hold my breath waiting for the glory that is winter.  Blizzards meant no school.  Blizzards meant snowball fights.  Blizzards meant everything would be clean and white.  Now, no longer a child, and the promise of a blizzard looms on the horizon, I hold my breath waiting for the worry that is winter.  Will everyone be safe?  Will people use common sense? Will the snow blower start?!!!  Amazing how age adds perspective.  I do hesitate to say this, but there is that child-like part of me that also anticipates the fun.  Since we don't HAVE to go anywhere, and since I trust the wisdom of those around me (I told you...child-like!), the anticipation to actually relive those past excitements reappears.  And when, after three days promise of the event and it doesn't materialize, there is that part of me that is disappointed.  Because, you see, the snow blower does start!  Enjoy whatever is to come, and know you are loved!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Customer service

So, we were having some issues with technology (surprise!) so we head out to our provider...A T & T.  As we hit the parking lot, we get a phone call, so our entrance into the store is delayed.  As we sit there, three customers go in before us.  Rats.  We enter, totally prepared to wait our turn.  There are three techs on duty.  Combined age?  Lucky to hit sixty!  Oh goody!  My socks were completely blown off.  All three greeted us.  One called us by name.  (We've been there before!  Often!) The first young man without a customer (Taylor) waited on us.  He fixed all our problems.  He graciously spent the needed time to make us feel as if we weren't stupid.  From one problem to the next, he never made us feel as if we were wasting his time.  I happened to notice the other two techs, (James and Gabe) doing the same thing with the customers they had in front of them.  We have had the opportunity to deal with each of them before, so we were able to chat while they were working.  What an amazing atmosphere!  That's the way I would expect to feel when dealing with people my age.  These youngsters make me smile.  There is no doubt that I will be contacting A T &T to let them know.  These three definitely put the service first!  Our equipment is ready for the blizzard!  Enjoy the upcoming polar plunge, and know you are loved!

Friday, November 7, 2014

The pit...

Old house.  Traditional basement.  Holes in the ceiling for wiring.  Painted cement floor covered with old carpets no longer least in part.  In others, vinyl that is cracked, broken, and just plain worth what we paid for it.  And in some cases, displaying one of the three shades of paint (or all three) that have been used.  In short, a utile space but not open for inspection!  Readers of this blog and/or my Facebook page will recognize that quite frequently, I am forced to pick things up that have accumulated so I can access the things that I need.  I am convinced that as long as there is nothing that is placed in "storage" somewhere on the basement floor, there is no problem.  However, once one item isn't put in its appropriate place, like Gremlins, a plethora of items appears.  I truly believe that a-sexual reproduction occurs on the floor.  You begin to visualize!
Well!  Let me share with you the most exciting news.  I have redecorated part of the basement.  It is bright.  It is cheery.  It is I!  And it obviously was time.  I can't believe what a difference it makes.  The pendulum has shifted in my pit.  What was drab and depressing is now exciting!  Who would have thought it possible.  And yet, there it is.  May you find joy in the small things, and know that you are loved!

Showers of color!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stuffed brownies

It's bridge day for the Mrs. Zubke.  She is entertaining (as she always is) three of her PEO sisters for a marathon bridge game.  That is probably more information than you thought you would ever need to know.  Well, here's why it is important.  As hostess, she must serve a "goodie" at the end of the game.  Today, it is stuffed brownies.  This particular batch is stuffed with dark chocolate, and divided into half peppermint pieces, half cream cheese.  The amazing thing about stuffed brownies is, one can be creative.  They don't have to be done the same way every time.  In fact, they rarely are.  And it seems to me that it makes them a little more adventurous.  I'm sure sometime I will discover a blend that just doesn't work.  But at least I will have tried.  Ah, there it is, the life lesson.  If you do the same thing in the same way, you may be successful, but you will never grow.  Experiment.  Switch it up a little.  Should you fail, it's an event, not a label!  And is often the case with brownies, if you start with a good product, you can't go far wrong.  Enjoy the sweet things in life and know you are loved!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Back to school!

I know I've told you about getting to play with college teacher wanna-be's and how much I enjoy it!  As I was preparing to do that again tomorrow, I found myself at a loss for a tactile representation for one of the points.  Let me set the stage for you.  Topic...making school work--by the numbers.  Rip off of David Letterman's top ten.  Number three is "teach them the RMB's."  Respect Must Be...Lost.  Responsibility Must Be...Accepted.  Reputation Must Be...Earned.
What could they touch to emphasize these three concepts?  It hit me!  A bulletin board!  So today, I designed a "bulletin board in a folder".  It has foam cutouts.  It has matching colored posters.  It even has a diagram as to how I would put it together!  Pretty spiffy, huh?  And I learned as I worked.
-->Sharp scissors should be a supply item for all teachers!  I'm sure they won't run with them.
-->You can't get exact duplicates by cutting three of the same letter at the same time.  They shift!
-->I am soooooo glad I don't have to do bulletin boards any more.
Hopefully, they will not see me as a dinosaur who should have died years ago!  What I want them to learn is this: no matter how common the core, an uncommon teacher can make it more interesting!  I will report back!  Know that you are loved!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Today it was my privilege

It surprises the bejeebers out of me.  How can it possibly work?  Letting every person have a say in how our country is run.  It's insanity!  And yet, it has worked (more or less) for over 225 years!  Today, we exercised our right to select the people who will represent us.  Orderly.  With pencils instead of weapons.  In a safe and hopefully inviting environment.  And as I wait to see how my choices faired, I understand that even if I'm 100% wrong (according to the vote of those around me), I have done what millions of people do not have the ability to do.  I have made a difference!  Oh, not because of the results.  But because of my action.  I have demonstrated the acceptance of my responsibility as a citizen.  I have made my choices.  I have had my say.  Now, we'll wait and see.  With anticipation.  With hope.  And with no small amount of pride.  Not for me, but for a country who once again proves a representative democracy still works! And if you happen to hear Kate Smith singing in the background, good for you!  God Bless America!  And god bless you!  You are loved!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Different people mark transitions differently.  When I turned 21, I transited to legal.  Exciting, but no big deal.  When I turned 23, I transited to married.  A very big deal!  When I turned 40, I transited to middle age, at least chronologically.  No big deal.  When I turned 55, I transited to retired.  A big deal.  When I turned 62, I transited to government assisted.  No big deal.  Next year, I will transit to Medicare.  A big deal.  Each of these transitions was/will probably marked by a milestone event, as well it should be.  Now, however, we need to get real!  The most important transition that faces me now is...shorts or sweats?!  Then, the question: good shorts/sweats, or grubs?  The first choice is made simple by the calendar and the thermometer.  If the day falls between March and November and the temperature is 40 or above:  Shorts.  If not, sweats.  From November through February, the question becomes; what color?  You have to understand, in either case, I have saved/worn either piece of mentioned wearing apparel since I transited to middle age.  Do the math!  Comfort or class;  that's the question.  Tonight we celebrate Aunt Edith's 95 birthday.  We're taking her out for supper.  I am wearing my GOOD gray sweats with a black turtleneck and a gray sweater.  I look mahvelous!  Hopefully, I will transit from hungry to full.  And look good doing it!  Be comfortable in all your transitions, and know you are loved!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

they're lit!

I have adhered to the rule!  The sixteen trees in the back yard are officially wired and lighted!  Understand, they will not be lit until Thanksgiving, but the aforementioned rule says this process must be done in shorts!  Being somewhat reticent to dressing in this apparel choice when the weather is inclement, today seemed like a good idea.  Of course, the previous statement is a bold faced lie!  I have been known to shovel snow in my shorts.  But this was a bit more comfortable!  Now, for the front porch.  I love the holidays...and you!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

appearances can be deceiving

At first glance, this may seem to be a poorly spaced, simple welcome, complete with rolling pin and measuring spoon.  In fact, this artistic endeavor was the result of a tandem effort taking close to 1/2 hour.  You may notice that it appears on a pastry cloth.  And, you may also be able to discern that the letters are formed using flour.  It was, after all, a course in making pie.  A little less judgmental?  Now understand what you see is actually a reflection in an overhead mirror used to demonstrate techniques from behind the stove to the students sitting in front of the counter.  That means the welcome had to be created in reverse so as to show correctly.  After experimentation, consternation, and an occasional epithetical retort, success was reached, and each student was greeted with the appropriate message.  Of course, not one of them noticed it pre-mention.  Hence, being unable to garner the expected awe and admiration of the class, I decided to post it here, hoping that at least non-verbally, I would elicit a few smiles, some affirmation, and a heart felt "atta-boy!"  
I have always maintained that cooking and philosophy are inextricably joined.  Actually, I've never thought that but I need a segue into my deep thought process.  Sometimes, when we don't know how they got to where they are, we judge people on initial appearance.  They don't look like they were spaced with any planning.  They don't look symmetrical.  They don't seem to be complicated at all.  When truthfully, they are amazing individuals with stories to tell and lessons to teach.  Instead of sloughing them off as no big deal, we probably should look a little deeper and find what they have to teach.  And perhaps, it is we who should look in the mirror!  Know you are loved!