Sunday, May 31, 2015

I haven't a clue!

Sunday night.  Supper done, time to veg.  And lucky me, "Clue" is the movie of choice!  While it is anentertaining farce of the highest order, it reminded me of an earlier time...a time when board games were the main form of entertainment.  An easier time...a younger time....  The games of "Pit".  The hours of "Monopoly" and "Tripoli".  "Blackjack" for match sticks.  And cards.  Cards of all kinds.  Sociability.  Time with friends and family.  I miss those days.  Of course, I wouldn't want to go back to them.  But the memories are good!  And the movie?  Mindless fluff.  Just the thing for Sunday night!  Enjoy your trips down memory lane, and know you are loved!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Because we can.

There are so many things that we will never have time to try--to see--to do--we have decided to do what we can, while we can.  If the house doesn't get cleaned, so be it.  If on occasion there are dishes sitting in the sink, so what?  If we can laugh, if we can learn, we shall, for it is the stuff of life.  The rest?  We can let it go!  So can you!  Know you are loved!

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's cold. It's windy. It's raining. This sucks...

And then, this

As we walked home in the rain from our Swiss Ball class, I was concentrating so hard on the less than amazing elements on this, the 29th of May, I almost walked past the begonia that greets us as we walk in.  Not yet denuded of its label, it seemed so intent on providing a respite from the gloom and doom that I had to stop...and think...and smile.  Life in its essence has good days and bad days.  And that's a good thing.  One would never recognize how amazing life can be without a comparative.  And today, upon closer scrutiny, I found the good.  

Unaffected by the cold.  Resistant to the wind.  Embellished by the rain.  Life is...beautiful...and you are loved!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New shorts

If you were to say, "Bill, there's one thing you don't need, and that would be shorts.", you would be right.  But I just can't pass up a good deal, and there was this red pair of shorts that shouted at me as I walked by.  Hmmmm, says I.  I don't have any red shorts.  Now I do.  In my own defense, the excess poundage I have found since I've quit running makes some of my shorts questionable, some of my shorts too tight, and some of my shorts just as ugly as the day I bought them!  Now, it's on to packing.  (And by the way, there is a requisite ugly pair going along!)  Life is good when your primary concern is what to take on vacation!  One week from today, it's "Don't cry for me Argentina" time!  There's room in my suitcase...if you're under two pounds!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The first

It happened by mistake.  It was the perfect day for outdoor activities...temperature in the low 80's, minimal wind, bright sun.  Took Aunt Edith out for lunch and an airing.  And of course, there was gardening.  Most of the plants have been assigned both a pot and a location, and as I was walking back to hook up the hose to water the new plantlings, it caught my eye.

Peeking out from its cloak of green, the first spring bloom!  What a delightful juxtaposition of bright colors!  Of course, I couldn't let it go.  If mother can provide the impetus, little Billy can manipulate the parts to emphasize the flower.

And let the season bring forth beauty and love!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ain't what it used to was

Following a day of mowing, planting, weeding, and eating, I took a vote and it was unanimous.  The hips voted;  they ain't what they used to was.  Getting up from the ground is now a challenge.  Of course, the good news is I got down without falling, so I count my blessings.  The thumb voted.  Well, it ain't what it used to was, either.  Arthritis residually  lets me know I pulled the grass that was growing where it was not wanted.  Stubborn stuff, that grass.  Can't understand why some people want to legalize it?!  The knees voted.  They abstained.  Surprisingly, they are good.  Makes the aforementioned challenge doable.  But they didn't want to press their luck.  The teeth voted.  The three molars in the upper left quadrant on the top cast absentee ballots.  They ain't even there!  Know what is there?  The smile at being able to do what I can.  The amazement at what things look like after the work.  The absolute joy of another day with the people I love.  Truly, it ain't what it used to was.  It's better in so many ways.  And you are loved!

Monday, May 25, 2015


It's a new recipe weekend.  If you're a Facebook reader, you will know we now can make zucchini noodles.  I would strongly recommend the following recipe!

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 lb. of chicken tenders, diced
  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 2 zucchini, inspiralized
  • 1 red pepper, julienned 
  • ¼ cup of red onions, diced
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)
Spicy Peanut Sauce:
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ground ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add coconut oil and chicken tenders. Saute until fully cooked.  Set aside
  3. In the same large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbs. coconut oil and the zucchini noodles.  Flash stir fry for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove noodles and place in large bowl along with chicken, red pepper, onions, and spicy peanut sauce. Toss till all noodles are coated.
  5. Serve and garnish with sesame seeds.
Now understand, the original recipe called for far more work and cilantro, which is banned from entrance into this house, so adjust as you wish.  My only two suggestions would be to add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper to the coconut oil before you saute the chicken, and perhaps a little more red pepper flakes.  Oh yes, and be sure to drain the zucchini noodles after flash frying. 

We were going to share this with the neighbor, but she wasn't home so we ate it all!!!!!

And of course, one need use the rhubarb one has on hand, so this is tonight's dessert.  I don't think you'll find it in the "" page from whence we stole the Pad Thai recipe!

Rhubarb custard bars

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks of butter

2 cups sugar
7 Tbs. flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten
5 cups finely chopped rhubarb

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream

For the crust, combine the flour and sugar in your food processor.  Cut the butter in pieces, add to the mixture, and pulse until blended.  Press into a greased 9X13 baking pan.  (Or do what I did--skip reading the directions, pat it into a pan that I hadn't greased, and then grease a pan and transfer it!)  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

For the filling, combine the sugar and flour in a bowl.  Whisk in the cream and eggs.  Stir in the rhubarb.  Pour over the crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the  custard is set.  Let stand until cool.

For the topping, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Spread over the filling.  Chill, covered, until set.  Cut into bars and serve.

According to the recipe, makes 3 dozen.  Yeah, right!

And we anticipate it will be good.  Give them both a try, and know you are loved!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The circle of life

Sometimes, a warm blanket, a comfy place to nap, and people who love you is really all you need!  Enjoy your rainy day and know you are loved!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

cemetary yesterday, rebirth today. Somehow, appropriate!

From this

to this

As we were planting today, I happened upon this miniature iris.  For me, it was an exquisite trigger.  First, it came from an amazing pair of friends...all the way from North Carolina.  It survived the trip home.  It has survived the years, and it continues to remind me of how friendship starts, blooms, and luckily lasts!  Second, it contradicts the y chromosomal belief that size matters.  This tiny little gem holds every bit as much power and beauty as the larger, showier iris that may or may not bloom this year.  Third, and most important, it reminds me that despite our surroundings, despite our circumstances, despite our disappointments and or successes, our job is to bloom where we are planted!  And that's my shot for the day!  Know you are loved!

Friday, May 22, 2015

cemetary run

It's Memorial Day Weekend.  That means it's time to put plants on grave sites.  Also time to reflect on the inevitable--where they have gone, so I will go.  Hopefully not soon.  However, there are a few things I'd like to put on the record.  Cremation.  Ashes spread to the wind by someone sitting in the back of a convertible or a speed boat--preferably when you won't be caught for littering.  If anyone decides it would be better to put me in the ground, let me tell you straightforward, I will come back and it won't be pretty.  Can you imagine an eternity of claustrophobia?  Should anyone want to send flowers in my memory, please send them instead to someone you love who can enjoy them.  Don't tell them why.  Let them enjoy the beauty without strings.  If there is a memorial service of some kind, do what you need to do, but it CANNOT end without singing Running Bear!  In memorium?  Make the world a better place because you are in it.  Help a needy student advance his/her education.  Help a needy teacher advance his/her education.  Do a daily mitzvah.  Love one another...and exclaim that love.  Laugh a lot.  Learn something new everyday.  And everyday, through all eternity...know you were loved!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reflections on "the theater"

  1. "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts..." 
    Give credit where credit is due, I always say.  Or is it, take credit whenever you can? I get confused some times.  Anyhow, the statement is pure B.S. (That would be how many of us referred to Bill Shakespeare during my summer incarceration in Jerry Ipolito's class some 44 years ago!)  Why bring it up now, you ask?  Well, I'm embarking once again onto the stage to offer direction to the Drama Study Club, who will be doing a production this summer of THE WOMEN, by Claire Booth Luce.  Great show.  Great women.  Great reminder of times gone by, when acting, scene design, and directing were my path in life.  I was obviously, at least in my mind, the next Orson Wells.  I was going to make my way in the world doing all things dramatic.  Then I student taught...and exit that thought.  Enter the most wonderful experiences that could be imagined.  No regrets.  None.  And now, the chance to revisit my youthful role!  Life is good.  And so have the parts I've been offered.  
    And now, to sleep, perchance to dream...
    Know you are loved!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The impact of carbohydrates

I happen to love chicken.  Of course I do.  With the bird flu at epidemic proportions, the cost is bound to increase exponentially.  Eggs have already taken a hit!  That being said, last night was a Chester Chicken night, which of course means, today was a Chester Chicken lunch.  Usually, that entails a piece (or two) of cold chicken and cole slaw.  Today, I was on my own, and rebel that I am, I thawed four little rounds of home made French bread, slathered it with mayo, and put Chester between.  Heaven...I'm in Heaven.  The scale will undoubtedly tell on me, but it was worth it!  I'll be good tomorrow...if the chicken is gone!  Treat yourself to something outrageously decadent, think of me, and know you are loved!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Piles...of stuff

I don't know where they come from.  There is, in this house, a gremlin whose sole purpose (or soul purpose!) is to find ways to pile stuff on the computer desk!  My wireless keyboard is somewhat claustrophobic and gets upset when there is barely room for him to sit, much less move his friend, the mouse.  So I clean the piles, and an almost audible sigh comes from the keyboard.  The desk (a 40" beauty), now has 36 inches of space in which the keyboard and mouse can breathe easily.  The external hard drive, modem and router rest comfortably on the back left corner.  The printer sits comfortably on a semi-circular stand on the back right, with note pads, an I-Pad mini cord, and a deck of playing cards resting comfortably underneath.  In the in-box, located between the printer and the monitor, sits a plethora of scratch paper and a picture of an older gentleman giving a graduation address to the class of 2005--before removing his pants.  For some reason, there is also a gynormous black paper clip-like thingie and a number 18 star tube for cake decorating(!)  My gremlin obviously has a sense of humor!  But I can quite literally sit back, wave my arms over the keyboard, and not hit a thing.  There's that sigh again.  I believe I shall have a glass of wine to celebrate, for the next time I return to this venue, I'm sure I shall find the piles once again.  Oh well.  Another chance for wine when I deplete them!
Be kind to your peripherals, and know you are loved!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

technical writers needed

In an amazingly foolish ego trip, we purchased two things yesterday at Menards that needed assembly.  Two.  After two hours of frustration, a concentrated deluge of language of which Miss Loosewheel would not approve, and a constant questioning of who allowed the sadist to write the directions, we have a outdoor utility cart put together, with all the pieces being used...somewhere.  One Masters degree in communication;  one BS (I know, I know...appropriate!) degree in English...and between us, we were flummoxed.  We usually can make heads or tails out of directions if there are pictures.  There were pictures.  I'm convinced that the photographer was the Marquis de Sade's mentor.  I usually revel in conquering such a project.  After all, I refuse to share my mechanical reasoning score on the ACT.  Suffice it to say, if it were a child, it would have acne and probably be entering high school!  Ept, I am not when it comes to such things.  Ergo, the reveling.  Today, it's just shake the head and wonder how I can be so stupid!  Oh yeah, and of course, there's the second thing waiting!  Imagine the vocabulary that will prompt!
May your "put together" moments be well explained, and know you are loved!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Say goodbye...

To clean hands that are knees that are ever completely skin colored...and hello to the smile that comes with the first foray into the dirt and fades just a tad following the first hard frost.  Somewhere in my DNA rests a burrowing animal, a horticulturist, and a little boy who revels in playing outdoors! I only got 1/2 of the south bed cleaned.  I only got 5 dahlias planted.  And it took two hours.  But I be happy and reveling in the moment!  And you be loved!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Just for you, Jane!

I have extolled the joys of friendship on various occasions.  They are the "stuff" of life.  They round out the corners and fill the edges.  We had the opportunity to join a friend for coffee between flower runs to the north and south, and as always, it brightened our day!  She asked for a recipe.  Well, babe, you've got it!  Get out the magnifier and enjoy.  And for each of you reading, enjoy your recipe for joy, and know you are loved!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

There must be some reason...

it 's referred to as "pie plant"!  And I am in the process of discovering again what that reason is!  The very first rhubarb pie of the season is so many ways.  First, it obviously signals a return to a humane season, where number of items of clothing apparel does not need approach my age.  Second, I have yet to find the perfect pie recipe, so I continue to experiment...or is it I can't remember what recipe I used last year?  Third, pie crust continues to present an indescribable allure.  Will it turn out?  Will it fall apart?  No matter how accurately I measure, there is no certainty, and I love the challenge!  The aroma emanating from the oven suggests it's almost time to attack the second "if"...the meringue.  While separating the eggs, a drop of yolk hit the separated whites.  Did I get it all out?  Will the meringue represent bz or Miss Loosewheel, who no matter how many whites she used would get a resultant flat meringue!?  Will it fit in the pie carrier to take to bridge tonight?  Oh, the true joy of rhubarb!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


The world will not end.  The planets will not stand still in their orbits.  The tides will continue to and from the shore.  The IRS will continue to collect taxes.  The television networks will continue to dummy down their new seasons.  But Derrick and Nastia not in the finals?  NO!  Unfortunately, it's true!  Alas!  Oh will go on, and you will be loved!

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's all about contrast

I love spring.  It's when colors pop.  And no color stands out quite like white!

Take that white and stand a little farther away...

But says I, why stop there.  Think what contrast could be found in a can of spray paint!

Okay, so it's a little extreme.  But contrast does make a point.  And the point is...I love spring!  And you!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The blame game

It's your fault,
Mom, that I have this desire to achieve, coupled with a dogged determination that it be fairly, and recognize the humanity in others.
Esther, that I understand that attitude is everything.
Linda, that I recognize the power to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and face them with inner strength.
Hazel, that I realize the power of love in the classroom.
Linda-in-law, that I know that when forced into a situation that is hard to comprehend, one places family above all else.
Rosemary, that I could teach Moby Dick!
Annette, that I learned that kids will react to expectation and a love that is unending.
Kim, that I know the need to find a center that includes care of self.
Deb, that I'm aware that leadership can come from in front, in back, or in the middle.
Ruth, that I learned that friendship is the most important thing you can give away.
Bev, that I know that death does not diminish a relationship.
Sarah, that I enjoy the knowledge that spelling isn't everything.
Cathryn, that I know there is only one truly important choice in life, and that is my choice of partner. Every day I thank the gods that be that I chose so very well!
Oh, ye myriad of women out there--some mothers--some not--you have made me understand the joy that's around the corner, the expectation of sorrow and glee, that strength need not always be strong handed, and that life has been so amazingly good to me!
It's your fault. 

Today as always, know you are loved!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Tale of One City

Let me begin by apologizing to all Dikensian scholars.  This is a rip-off...a blatant misrepresentation of an amazing novel, and I'm sorry.  Let me add, however, that because I had to read Great Perspirations in ninth grade, I'm not really sorry.  This is pay back!  With that in mind, read on!

It is the best of times; when a school is endowed with phenomenal leadership (have I ever mentioned the superintendent and the president of LATI are former Zubkes' students?), exceptional tutelage, amazing programs, and wonderfully successful students; when a community not only supports that school, but when asked to go above and beyond, simply asks how high and how far; when faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, everyone pulls together and shows a sitting president just what a tiny school in a tiny town can do; when political differences are set aside for the good of those students; when asked to provide a seamless entry and departure do so with grace; when (as I hear the last transport plane leaving) the after-glow of the national spotlight does indeed show that his sobriquet was right on:  he saved the best for last.  Well done, Lake Area Technical Institute.  Well done, Watertown.  As Miss Loosewheel would say, "You done good!", and as her son would say, know you are loved!

Friday, May 8, 2015

a first

This morning we were greeted with the sad news that our nephew's father had died.  He and our niece had to leave town, and their two children got to come to Uncle Bill and Aunt Cathy's to wait for school.  Following a breakfast of bacon and pancakes, we delivered them, pretty much on time, and now I sit and wait to pick up the pre-schooler and her friend to take to day care.  Thank god, we have a mini-van!  (I NEVER anticipated putting those words in print!)  At least I will look like a car-pooling expert!  Is 65 a little late to experience your first car-pool event?  Ah well.  If I can stay awake until 11:00, I think I can handle it.  Just a quick reminder based on the morning's start...remember to tell the people you love that you do when you can!  And I love you!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

AT&T 1, Neo Luddites, 0

Neo-Luddism or New Luddism is a philosophy opposing many forms of modern technology. The word Luddite is generally used as a derogatory term applied to people showing technophobia,  The name is based on the historical legacy of the British Luddites, who were active between 1811 and 1816.

Or so says Wikipedia.  While not usually averse to new technology (having taught computer for X number of years), I have always been a hold-out in one particular area.  Nothing bothers me as much technically as seeing smart phones growing from people's hands (although we probably could have anticipated it with the advent of the "palm" pilot!)  Therefore, in a show of absolute defiance, I have steadfastly held on to my flip phone.  That is, when I could find it!  Well, the earth moved, the planets aligned, and I succumbed.   I am the somewhat apologetic owner of my very own smart phone.  Of course, I hate it.  So far, I have been able to make a call, accept a call, and most importantly, get my AT&T bill on my phone (thanks to James, the AT&T tech who sold me the phone and who thought it would be nice!)  But isn't that what a phone is for?  I haven't set up a voice mail box.  I haven't downloaded more than one app.  (The temperature is 67, the humidity is 75%, and it's cloudy.)  And other than a cursory "hi" to my bride at the store to see if it worked, I haven't sent a text.  I know how to plug it in.  I know how to turn it on.  And at least right at this moment, I know where it is.  That's enough!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The past three days...

I give no excuses--only reasons.  You missed me yesterday.  I was in transit...from insanity to sanity.  This week has been exciting, rewarding, rejuvenating, and enervating all at the same time.  Sunday, we baptized a great nephew and got to see family.  Came home to set up for Monday's project.  Monday, we helped prepare 586 sack lunches, boxed them, and headed for Pierre. Tuesday morning I spoke to the department of revenue at 10:00, jumped in the car, headed to Brookings, and spoke to an ICAP awards banquet at 6:30.  Home in time to prepare for my presentation to the United Way directors here in Watertown at 9:00 this morning.  We each have luncheon meetings today, and then I'm thinking perhaps a little wine tasting is in order.  Or, A LOT!  And in all this, not one complaint...just the realization we have the ability and fortitude to do it!  Should you forget, let me remind you that life is good, and you are loved!

Monday, May 4, 2015


We're on our way to Pierre.  We get a phone call.  The news is less than impressive.  My stomach immediately does a dive to my toes.  I have screwed up, yet again.  It is a COSTLY mistake.  After wallowing in "poor me" for a few miles, a solution begins to form.  With the support of my spousal unit, we discuss that solution.  It makes sense.  Problem exists, problem can be solved.  No one is the worse off.  I've discovered that is often the case.  Problems exist.  Solutions exist.  It takes time and love to solve them.  But, as my speech tomorrow will purport, problems are but learning experiences, and I have indeed learned!  Life is amazing, and you are loved!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

a new week--sweet

Following the baptism of our newest great nephew (and the chance to hug the rest of my siblings progeny!) we headed home, stopping at Hy-Vee to set up for tomorrow.  This is national teacher appreciation week, and the retired teachers here in Watertown will recognize all staff at all public schools with a brown bag lunch.  Tomorrow morning at 8:00 am, we will meet in the club room at Hy-Vee and pack.  Then, Tuesday morning, bright and early, volunteers will deliver a multitude of boxes containing lunches to each of the public schools.  And on top of those boxes?  Why, a little sweet reminder of the amazing things teachers do for our society. 

If you can spare the time, why not thank a teacher this week.  Maybe it's one who made a difference in your life.  Maybe it's one who is making a difference in your child's life.  Or maybe, it's one you don't even know, but want them to know they are appreciated.  What a sweet thing to do.  And remember, you are loved!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Miss Loosewheel would have been in her glory!

Triggers.  They come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.  For me, there is one that is so remarkable.  Mom loved daffodils.  These are for you, mom.  I miss you!

Tell the ones you love that you do!  I love you!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mea Culpa, with an excuse

Sorry I missed you yesterday (and I did miss you!)  For the next few days, our lives are governed by things of our own doing, but time consumptive none the less.  I was going to write when I got home from my cooking class last night, but morpheus descended before I got it done.  Had I spoken to you yesterday, I would have extolled the weather, the community, and the fact that accomplishments are often the result of much ado prior to completion!  And yet, the feeling of something done is amazing!  As you contemplate life in your universe, be sure to include one question.  How can I do something for others.  I guarantee you will feel better when it is done!  And you are loved!