Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feeling regal

Well of course I am.  I just was crowned!  I believe it was number 16.  That would be the number of the tooth, not the number of crowns.  Decidedly poorer, but happier with my chewability factor, I look forward to exercising both sides of my molars!  I am amazed at artisans.  My doc is, as mentioned earlier, one.  His PA is likewise.  My dentist is one.  His assistant is one.  In fact, she is amazing.  Who else could make a visit to the dentist something to which I look forward?  Perhaps the overarching factor in each of these people is their humanity!  They all seem to care about me!  And for that (along with an amazing number of other things), I am thankful.  And you!  You are loved!

The things you learn at 4:00 am!

So, having done this some 459 times, I decided to check out the fun things one can do with formatting one's blog.  Surprise, you can highlight!  Pretty annoying, isn't it!  Perhaps it would be better to simply change text color.  Or not.  I would guess strikeout might even be more disconcerting!  I'm not completely sure of a couple of other options, but I don't want to overload you with my technical expertise!  Suffice it to say, sometimes simple and straightforward presentation is the best.  You are loved!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's just a little blue flower!

When this is the way you start your day, how could it possibly be anything but spectacular?  And it was.  Spent a little time eliminating lily residue for the upcoming season.  Then it was off to brunch with three of the most delightful people with whom you would be privileged to ingest comestibles!  I have long ago given up trying to trace the path of friending.  It would be serpentine at best, filled with detours and construction at its worst, but in this case, the destination is more important than the route.  These three hold an amazing space in my heart, and spending time with them was my noon glory.  Then it was off to the kids for an afternoon of this:

You need to understand, I can trace this friendship!  One of the all day glories is spending time with former students who have grown into very present friends!
To call the day spectacular would be an understatement.  So let's just call it glorious!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I find myself in an unusual situation/mood this evening.  First, for September, it is a gorgeous day.  I'm celebrating the work we got done and the work there is to do.  The very fact that we can work is worthy of celebration.  Second, and this will seem strange to you, I celebrate the fact that simple beauty can still give me goosebumps!  Don't ask me how I discovered this link, but if you google Collabro (the winner of Britain's Got Talent) and listen to their encore performance, you might just get matching goosebumps!  I also celebrate tonight the life of a man who at 97 is in an epic battle for his life.  A truly unique man, who in his very approach to life inspires most everyone he meets.  He may not win this battle...but he has made this world so much the better.  After my ostrich day yesterday, it's only fair to recognize the reasons for pulling one's head out...of the sand.  Oh yes, and I celebrate each of you!  Know you are loved!

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's an ostrich kind of day

I'm headed for Menards,, the latest tune on the radio resonating in my head, and the news comes on.  Someone was beheaded, and the perpetrator shot.  Someone set fire to an airport building.  Someone was arrested for assault.  I turned the radio off.  What was an anticipatory mood turned into a holy crap mood.  And I wanted to bury my head in the sand.  If it doesn't directly affect me (no one has attacked me or set me on fire), I can ignore it, right?  Wrong!  I buy into the fact that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.  So here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to go out of my way to be nice to people.  I'm going to listen more and talk less.  I'm going to model the behavior I would expect from everyone else.  And I'm going to let people know they are loved.  Perhaps we can adjust "The Circle of Life" (the tune on the radio!).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gray day

My good friend Scott talks about the impact of black and white photography.  On this particular morning, I thought nature was pretty much in agreement with him.  While there are tinges of color here, the pattern in the clouds, offset by the proximity of the trees, captured my attention and imagination.  Sometimes, there are many shades of gray between the extremes of black and white!  And on those shady days, there is beauty!  May you find yours, and know you are loved!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I love to cook.  This comes as a surprise, right?  This usually means I cook for thrashers, or so it would seem.  This results in copious amounts of leftover foodstuffs.  Here's the irony.  I'm not a huge fan of leftovers...even when I know they are good (who says I'm egotistical?).  This results in a sharing situation.  Thankfully, the neighbor to the north greatly appreciates any tidbits offered!  I believe this is called a symbiotic relationship.  We enjoy the original run.  She enjoys the rerun!  There are limits to my generosity, however.  She might have had two pieces of the blueberry pie.  She had one.  I turned aside my aversion to leftovers and forced it down for breakfast.  In fact, it took great restraint not to force it down when nature called at 3:00 this morning!  My self control has to be admired, right?  When you put blueberries together with sour cream, almond flavoring and egg in a crust flavored with blueberry extract and made with vodka, covered with a pecan crumb topping, force may not have been the right word!  I may have to adjust my fan level!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's a good tired.

There are days when I'm mentally tired; when putting one foot ahead of the other is a challenge..not because it's physically trying, but because I simply don't feel the need.  Tonight is not like that.  Since five this morning I've been working on a dinner for 19 women, and it's done.  The food was good, the ladies appreciative, and the body, exhausted.  It's off to the couch for a little R & R and a chance to enjoy being tired!  Strange, huh?  Know you are loved!

Monday, September 22, 2014

As I sit here

In the clean front porch, looking out through the clean windows, enjoying the dust free atmosphere (yup, I cleaned and I want the whole world to know it!) I am greatful!  The brilliant blue sky surrounds us.  The woman I love sits next to me.  Our remaining puppy snores contentedly.  We wait to go play bridge with the young old people.  Having just returned from our second funeral in too short of a span, I realize that all these things are gifts that can be taken away.  And I solemnly swear I shall enjoy them while I can.  May you do the same in the knowledge that you do them as loved individuals

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Technologically ept...periodically inept

I'm putting together a menu for an upcoming dinner.  Okay, it's a group of 19 women called the Drama Study Club, and we will be hosting them in the Hy-Vee club room Tuesday evening.  Clever that I am, I had this wonderful idea of random seating.  Picture this.  Four tables, spoking out from a small round table with a fall centerpiece.  Each table has a different colored table cloth.  Each table is set with place mats and napkins, none of which is repeated.  (We've done things like this a lot and you'd be surprised what we can find in our little storage places!)  Scene being set, we have to find a way to seat them.  Here's where the clever comes in.  Little Billy takes a picture of each place mat and napkin, and wants to copy and paste those pictures to the backs of 19 printed menus.  As each member comes in, they will simply draw a menu and sit at the matching place mat!  As I said, clever, huh?  Pictures?  A breeze (remember, I had that photography workshop this summer!).  Transferring them to the computer, not so much.  The internal card reader doesn't work on my desktop.  There is no card reader on my lap top.  Can't use publisher on the I-Pad.  So, option two.  Get out the USB card reader.  Plug it in to the desktop.  Lights up!  No response.  Plug it in to the lap top.  Lights up.  No response.  Scatological invective! Not to be outwitted by said technology, I head to my camera case and get the $1.95 card reader from Wal-Mart.  Won't fit in the desk top.  Fits in the lap top.  Eureka.  Reads the pictures.  Set up the Publisher document to print four clevernesses per page.  Save to the laptop.  Now to transfer them so I can print on the printer attached to my desktop.  Get a pen drive.  Eventually save to the pen drive.  Place pen drive in desktop.  Bowdle (a small town near Eureka!)!  And all this only took about one hour.  It would have been easier to have them draw a color from a box and put a matching color on the table.  Now it comes to me!  Oh well.  As I said, periodically, I am inept.  But continuously, you are loved!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eclectic...after all these years

At some time in my life, I put together a combination of songs on a CD.  In my perambulating the basement, I discovered it, and it is playing in the background.  On it, I have so far heard "Love Potion Number Nine", "I Love You So", "YMCA", "The Macarena", Queen Latifa singing "Chicago", and currently, "A Little Bitty Piss-ant Country Place" from "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."  I'm open for any interpretations!  All I know is, for the last nine songs, I've been whistling, humming, and singing along...especially to the last one--  "And as for pimps, pimps ain't something you need to get your daily business done."  Somehow, I think the collections is apt...I can usually find fun in whatever I hear!  And it reminds me how much you are loved!

Friday, September 19, 2014


As I get older, there are more and more!  Go figure.  And every time I attend one, I realize they are needed by some for closure.  Me?  Not so much.  When someone I love dies, a part of me goes with them.  While I love hearing and singing Amazing Grace and pretty much all the usual funeral songs, I am quite sure they won't do it for me.  I'm thinking "Running Bear", with a rousing back up of "um pah pah pah!"  There probably should be adult beverages involved, and if anyone suggests that any part of my remains should be buried, I'm coming back, and that WON'T be a pretty sight.  Cardboard box...cremains...someone sitting on the back of a convertible...let the wind do it's thing.  Or maybe, the back of a speedboat cutting across the waves.  It's always been a wish of mine.  Let me fly!  Then find a place to sit around and tell off-colored jokes and laugh (you'll feel better and you'll be healthier!).  And if you must find closure, look up into the sky and utter the only epitaph that would make me smile.  "I miss him."  Hopefully, it will be a long time in coming!  Enjoy every single minute, and know you are loved!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The joy of long time friends

I promise, this is the last blog about how blessed we are with friends...until the next one.  Today, however, a different twist.  Today, I speak of the children of two of those long-time friends.  Understand first, these friends happen to be married, and have two amazing sons.  We got to spend time with each of them this week, and as Miss Loosewheel would say, these parental units done good!  The boys are polite, caring, gentlemen...as different as they can be in their choices of careers, locations, and goals, but as alike as they can be in their ability to be human beings.  The elder is a school teacher (god knows from where that comes?!) in a private school dealing with students who have not been blessed with economic or social benefits! {That may very well be an overt understatement.)  And yet, this young man dedicates his time and talents to provide them with structure, with learning, and with love.  He hears the siren call of the "everyone can learn philosophy", and proves it on a daily basis.  A new father, he sees perpetually the ability to learn, and adapts that to his students.
Then, there is the younger.  He is a free spirit, following an inner drive to be his own person.  He has been an amazing example of how inner strength can take you to amazing places.  Having survived illness, injury, and god-knows-what-else, he has seen parts of the world most people read about and learned amazing things.  He is currently involved with being a ship captain, and looks forward to his own "boat".  An hour a year is really not enough time to truly catch up with him, but we celebrate each moment we get! 
Parenting is a skill I only get to practice mentally.  But if I were looking for the "right" way to raise children, the friends we have would be the mentors I would seek!  Thanks to them, our friendship has truly become generational!  From this we derive smiles and the assurance that when we are in the home, good people will come to visit.  Got that, boys?
Enjoy all whose contact changes your lives, and know you are loved!+

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guess the number, win a...

So, I was cleaning up a corner of the maelstrom we laughingly refer to as our basement, and noticed my collection of t-shirts has NOT been dwindling!  And here's the thing.  These are the ones for which there is no room in the inn.  The two dressers are also filled to capacity.  Understand, they do have a size range, but they all could be worn in a pinch!  Granted, some would do their own pinching, but what can I say.  I suppose I should have done a better job stacking them, but there were more important tasks at hand.  Like the rest of the mess!  Should you ever need to borrow a t-shirt...I probably have the color!  Enjoy the things you have, and know you are loved!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A successful failure

Don't you just hate serialized posts?  The brownies were a monumental failure...and success.  Either I filled the cups too full, or I didn't follow directions, or luck was not on my side, but the chocolate "cups" turned into chocolate blobs.  They looked nothing like the plan.  Of course, they WERE brownies, and WERE delicious when covered with Zesto ice cream, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles!  My kind of failure...start with a win/win situation!  If you're feeling adventurous, give it a try.  If not, just make those brownies and smile!  Know you are loved!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Food fanatic fundamentals

Find two 12 compartment muffin tins of the same size.  Spray each compartment of the nicest one with Pam.  Prepare a boxed brownie mix according to directions.  Fill each muffin cup 1/2 full.  On the second muffin tin, spray the outside of each cup with Pam.  Carefully place the second tin on top of the filled tin.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until brownies are set.  Remove from oven.  Let cook for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove each brownie basket.  Allow to cool.  Fill with soft ice cream and add sprinkles.  Party on. 
Now understand, this is a true experiment, as the brownies are still in the oven.  They look interesting.  I'll report back tomorrow!  How's that for a tease?  Know you are loved!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Take time to...

Look at the flowers!  Of course, you can also smell them, but in the instances below, the aroma may be non-existent, or worse!   Yet somehow, as September wanes, they remind me of the beauty that constantly surrounds us!  They may well be gone in a month, and I want to revel in them for longer!  They come to you with the realization that like them, you make the world a better place to be!  You are loved!

For me, I saved the best for last!  Something up close and personal.  The dahlia, in it's magnificent orange...there just to inspire me!  Hopefully, you will find it's message equally appealing!

It was an experiment!

After yesterday's early morning post, I decided to be social and communicative and eschew the mini for the full day.  I can proudly say, I did it!  On occasion, the little devil and it's siren call would lure me into the bedroom, but I was able to resist the temptation to run into the bathroom, shut the door, and check to see if I could connect.  I'm so proud!  In fact, I made it until this morning, and I am psychologically unimpaired...well, no more than I was yesterday!  Let's see if I can do it again?  Maybe not today, but someday in the future.  For now, however, it's breakfast with people I love and a full day realizing how truly lucky we are!  Find those you love today, tell them, and realize you are!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday morning...wish you were here!

Arthur Miller had his View From a Bridge!  We have our view from the beach!  We win!  And you are loved!


...at least foolish in nature, according to Emerson, is the hobgoblin of little minds.  I would argue today's consistent is neither foolish nor referring to little minds.  It refers, instead, to the concept of friendship.  While the Amazon Temptress celebrates her last day of this natal year, we are ensconced in a delightful lake home with gracious friends for a weekend of relaxation, too much food, a little adult beveraging, and conviviality!  Allow me to characterize these friends.  The first couple we have known since they moved to town, some 40 years ago.  We have watched their kids grow up into amazing individuals.  We have commiserated over everything from our jobs to a Vikings loss.  He has  the privilege of the best line describing my behavior (Bill, it's time for your medication!").  She provides grounding, intellect, and most importantly, a quick appreciation of my "humor"!  They help us through the morass called life, freely and completely give their love, and let us occasionally care for Mac!  The second couple?  Well, that would be the brother of the first couple's wife and his wife.  (Confused yet?). For years they have graciously opened their home and their hearts to us, making us feel special and at the same time, part of the family!  A real trick!  And that brings us to the seventh guest this weekend.  She is a force of nature.  Not only is she the mother of two of the aforementioned friends, she is a gracious, witty, generous lady who makes us smile!  If we didn't know the children, we probably wouldn't know the mother, and that is a special gift from these friends!!!
Understand, this is the fifth incarnation of this blog.  And even though it's been a pain in the butt to retype it due to poor connectivity, the connection to these people is amazing!  You've no doubt figured out we are in hog heaven with a weekend of fun!  And we've more to come!  Consistently, we love them them and love you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Amazon Temptress

Saturday is her birthday.  She has reached the age of maturity (several times!), but it is only a number.  We have been friends for 42 years...over half our lives!  It was not an immediate connection.  Apparently, like a fungus, I have to grow on you.  But it has been forever enjoyable.  We share commonalities in so many things.  We see eye to eye politically.  We enjoy the arts.  We love to read. She is an amazingly intelligent woman (the exception to the common share!).  During the years, we have laughed with the same people, cried over the same people, honed our tongues about the same people, and consoled each other when things just seemed endless.  She has been my confessor, my psychologist, my "other eye" when things are not clear, and a person (other than my wife, who is one of her best friends) I would candidly trust with my secrets, my hopes, my life.  They say a person is blessed if they have one great true friend in their life.  I have been blessed...and blessed..and blessed..and blessed...over and over again.  However, longevity rests with the Temptress!  To the Jungle Stud, her husband, I say thank you for sharing her.  You are loved.  To my life partner and the best of my life, I say thank you for knowing friendship has no gender.  And to you, Ms. Temptress, I say happy birthday on Saturday.  And thank you...for the best gift I receive over and over again!  I love you!  And for you, the rest of my blessings, I love you as well!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If keeping busy keeps you young...

I may be in diapers soon!  Oh wait.  That's a different problem altogether!  It's been an amazing month of go and do and fix and go and do and fix and go and do.  The joy of it is we can.  The pity part is, we're ready to rejuvenate!  A blank calendar day sounds good!  Of course, when they're filled with play bridge, present opinions with which we heartily concur, and spend the weekend at the lake with amazing friends, one does question the sanity of complaining!  I've got it!  I'll just sleep a little!  Good night!  And know you are loved

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As warned...

Somewhere behind me, my derrière is dragging!  Just got home from doing a private cooking class at HyVee.  What a delightful group of 20 women.  They laughed at the jokes and they seemed to enjoy the food!  It makes the night go so quickly when we can have fun!  Go figure!  You would almost think that would be a general life rule, wouldn't you?  But now I'm ready for a nap!  I must be.  There's a World Cup soccer match on and I haven't changed the channel yet. I must be tired!  Have a time having fun, and remember you are loved!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm not sure I'm ready.

The tomato plants are history, as are the cucumbers.  The first fall squash is on the supper menu.  When we were coming home from Rapid, several trees were harbinging the season to come.  When I wake up from my first nap of the evening, it's close to dark.  The Vikings are playing a regular season game.  The weatherman used the "f" word.  Nature is conspiring to put an end to summer, and quite simply, I'm not thrilled.  I had just gotten used to sweating.  I like being able to enjoy the outdoors after a quick evening nap.  And I enjoy not worrying about football outcomes.  But somehow, every year, the same thing happens.  Go figure.  But here's the thing; the change brings new adventures, new excitement, and new locations.  That attitude thing?  It works.  Enjoy the seasonal menopause, and know you are loved!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Who speaks for uncommon courtesy?

It was a disappointing day for the son of Miss Loosewheel. First, there was the gentleman ahead of us as we left the hotel and didn't have time to hold the door open so we could get out with our luggage cart.  I'm sure he was in a hurry to get to a very important meeting...or something.  Then there was the clerk in the convenience store who simply couldn't find it in her heart to be affable, much less courteous.  Next was the young lad at the gas station who didn't even acknowledge our presence until I caught his attention by trying to pay for a soda.  When I received my change, I thanked him.  His reply?  "Yeah, no problem."  And of course, there were those two gentlemen this morning that truly irritated Miss Cathryn as they left just before I spoke because they were sure I had nothing worthwhile to offer.  Had I done anything like any of these examples, Miss Loosewheel would have gently reprimanded me (yeah, right!) and taught me the error of my ways and the gentlemanly way to treat others.  Some lessons never leave you.  My wish?  Everyone had had a Miss Loosewheel in their life!  One should never be in such a hurry they can't spend 10 seconds to help another through a door.  Everyone who buys something from your business (and in truth is paying your wages) deserves to be treated with good humor, not to mention an occasional "thank you".  And while I have my soapbox out, the answer to "thank you" is "you're welcome", not "no problem"!!!  And finally, I have discovered that I can learn amazing things from people I don't know.  All I need to do is be polite enough to give them a chance!  Don't get me wrong.  There are amazing, polite people out there.  They simply weren't where we were today, and they appear to diminish each day.  I speak to the cause of courtesy, of chivalry, and common decency.  Prove to me they are not dead or dying.  Please?  Thank you!  And know you are loved!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thoughts from my side of the car

As one travels west to east in South Dakota in the passenger seat, one is allotted a great deal of time for reflection.  You may well guess that as Cathy drives, I might be wondering why it is she rather than I driving?  You would be wrong.  She is the better driver of the two of us.  Actually, she is the best driver I know!  I feel much safer in the passenger seat.  There is also the fact that she is extremely motion sensitive, and could well be sick if she were riding, so win for us!  Then, there is the question, how much farther can we go before my bladder actually bursts and I flood the car?  As we have aged, we (read that, the driver) is much more understanding about the need for frequent stops.  This was not always the case, and I would happily share with you the Kansas City experience, but it's really heightened by facial expressions in the telling, so I'll pass for now.  Where do those gravel roads go to that we frequently pass by?  Do sunflowers always follow the sun?  Is it unusual to see a Norwegian flag flying in a cemetery?  (The answer is obviously not in this area!). How is it possible for the Cheyenne River to make that many twists and turns.  Will we ever get to Pierre?  As I said, a LOT of time.  Of course, there's time for counting my blessings (directly related to the driver!), contemplate what to fix for supper, and when I can start drinking again?  Hello, Midland!  Be safe in wherever life takes you, take time for cogitation, and know you are loved!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A lot!

That would be my description of how closely we actually meet the terms of this blog's name!  We are currently in the car, once more with feeling, heading once again to Rapid City.  It's beginning to seem very familiar.  Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will try to titilllate the state association of truck drivers.  I checked out the "jokes" on the net and have decided to go with the ones that I think work...although I did get a chuckle or two out of the story of the trucker and the priest...taste, however forbids me from sharing it in this venue!  We are about to hit the Wall, leaving just about an hour to go!  The fudge is cooling, the giraffe is grazing, the golf ball teed up, and the prayer waiting to be delivered!  ALL is prepared to give 'em L!  Wish me luck and know you are loved!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When I was six...

and starting school, the school nurse suggested to my folks that they have my eyes tested.  Off to Fargo we go.  Home with glasses.  According to the urban legend spread by Miss Loosewheel, I made them feel absolutely terrible on the way home.  All I could do was marvel at the colors, at the sights, and at all the things I didn't know I wasn't seeing.  For the next 50 years, glasses were the norm.  In fact, I frequently fell asleep with them on because A) I forgot I had them on and B) I couldn't see without them.  Then the miracle of Dr. Vance Thompson and eye surgery.  No glasses.  Second best decision I ever made.  Then, age, and cataracts.  Well, no more.  In at 6:30, out by 8:00, and bright colors, sights, and all the things I hadn't been seeing clearly.  Amazing.  Even this morning, I shut one eye and can see and read with the "bad" one.  Thank god for teachers, who had the ability to see in Dr. Vance and his talented staff the gifts that would create a better world for so many people.  Thank god for Dr. Vance and staff, who recognized and shared this gift.  And thank god for you, because you can and do read this!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The eyes have it!

Early morning post.  At 6:30, I'm scheduled for cataract surgery.  I have the utmost faith in my surgeon, and expect to have a "normal" outcome.  Of course, there's no breakfast until I am done.  And no coffee!  NO COFFEE!  There are degrees of foreswearance to which no one should have to accede.  But this too is survivable.  Guess I just wanted to let you know that you are loved, and I'll see you (much better) soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor day

First.  To all who work to allow me to live as I choose, I salute you.  You keep me safe, you maintain our infrastructure, you cook, you clean, you provide.  In short, you make it possible!  To my way of thinking, if you are working, you are supporting.  Unless you work for that insidious, nefarious call center wanting me to reduce my credit card debt.  I realize you too have to work, but your labor is NOT appreciated!  Just sayin'!
Being retired, today I get to look back at how I labored.  Early mornings.  Late nights.  Weekends.  LOUSY pay.  Summer jobs.  Administrivia.  The dreaded and consistent "in-services" where I had to listen to "motivational speakers".  (Oops, I mean those were great!). The kids.  Short.  Tall.  Thin.  Thick.  Brilliant.  Brilliant in their own way.  Loved and cared for by a supportive family. Not so much.  Well fed.  Hungry.  Well groomed.  Not so much.  And every single one of them living in a small piece of my heart!  Labor?  You bet.  Love!? Outweighs any labor involved!!!  Shakespeare had it wrong.  Love's labors are never lost!  For each of you has found the way to make celebrating my labor easy!  Be safe.  Be careful out there, and know you are loved!