Friday, October 31, 2014

Today, I am a hedonist!

I had to look it up. It said pleasure was an intrinsic good.  I can think of no better way to describe a massage than one hour of true hedonism.  Of course, the pleasure was heightened as my masseuse arrived in a white tutu, long green "hair", and a set of white wings!  Okay, the ultimate hedonism is a massage on Halloween!  When finished, I asked her if she could feel me smiling!  She said no.  I was.  I still am.  Intrinsic.  Pleasurable!  Know you are loved!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The devil is in the details

As I sit here in my well equipped, second floor penthouse kitchen at Hy-vee, watching the smoke from the ethanol plant head south before it can head up, I am reminded that cooking is not so much about cooking as it is about the preparation!  The thirteen people in class tonight will see about one and a half hours of cooking.  To facilitate this time frame, we've been working off and on since 9:00 this morning.  Understand this is NOT a complaint.  It is what I love to do!  And the amazing thing is, I believe it is possible to be too prepared.  Last class, I had everything pre-measured and combined for its intended purpose.  I then proceeded to grab the crumb topping ingredients and try to make pie crust out of them. Didn't work so well!  Tonight, the ingredients await, but there has been NO pre-mixing.  Fool me once....  And I believe tonight will go smoothly, because the devil is obviously pre-occupied...with the wind!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That time of the year

Should we turn the heat on?  Should we bundle up?  Heat?  Bundle?

We choose bundle! The tiger Biederlach is 30 years old, and yet one of my favorite fuzzies.  Some how it just feels right!  Find what keeps you warm and know you are loved!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This old house

As I was trying to quietly move from the kitchen to the basement to the kitchen to the front porch to the basement to the kitchen to the front porch, (something about memory and what I was after/and what I forgot to get!), I realized how futile my premise was.  It simply is impossible to move quietly in this house.  As I descended to the basement, the stairs each sang out the burden they were encountering.  As I moved from the kitchen to the front porch, a cacophony of creaks, moans, and groans eminated from the floor boards.  Even the chair announced my presence as I delicately lowered myself into it.  Now this is the point.  You may think I'm complaining.  Not so.  We have been in this house for over 38 years.  With minor adjustments along the way, we have made it ours.  It's comfortable.  It has character.  It's sturdy.  And it's ours.  Cath laughs at me when I frequently sit in the front porch and say "I like our house!"  (Of course that's not the only time she laughs at me!). But I do!  It is a blessing in my advanced years.  And truthfully, it would seem that all the creaks are in the floor boards.  This old house I've had for almost 65 years creaks and groans also!  I think I'll keep them both!  Love where you are, and know in turn you are loved!

Monday, October 27, 2014


When I started this blog, I truly did it selfishly.  Okay, it was precipitated by a challenge at an AARP workshop, but where else could I say anything I wanted to say and exercise a little literary practice at the same time?  I never expected that my pages would be visited 29,965 times (and hopefully, by the time this is one day old, the magic 30,000 will happen!).  Now granted, that probably (definitely!) doesn't mean that 30,000 people have read what I have to say.  It means they opened the blog.  By mistake?  Out of boredom?  Because you're my friend?  It really doesn't matter.  30,000 is in my estimation worthy of celebrating.  In your honor, I will drink a glass of wine in thanks!  Maybe two.  Maybe there won't be a blog tomorrow?!  If I'm here, there will be!  But for now, you have to know that I am appreciative, and YOU are loved!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

philosophical quandry

As I sat waiting for today's inspiration, I held in my hand a smooth, pointed stylus.  I think it was used for scratching things off a Valentine's card last February (who says I don't put things away?).  It had a great feel--smooth and gliding past my fingertips.  I then started to think.  If I had to give up one of my senses, which would it be, and if I had to keep only one of my senses, what would it be?  In sixty-five (almost) years, I've seen a lot, but don't want to quit.  My olfactory senses are directly related to my sense of taste, and we know I wouldn't want to lose those.  Obviously, based on the stylus, my sense of touch is a blessing.  That leaves hearing, and I've seemingly started to lose that.  Couldn't hear music?  Ouch.  Couldn't hear the laughter of a child?  Ouch.  But if I had to lose one....  (I probably would change that on a daily basis.)
Now to the flip side of the coin.  If I had to lose every sense but one, what would it be.  Trick question designed to get to today's point.  The only sense I pray to god I never lose is my sense of humor.  What a difference it makes in my life.  The ability to laugh with others and at myself has more than once retained what little sanity I have.  To put it as succinctly (not exactly one of my traits) as I can, I would quote you the magnet on the refrigerator door.  "Life is too important to be taken seriously."  Psychologically speaking, I think you could say I definitely have come to my senses!  And you are loved!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rechargable batteries

I have always been enamored with rechargeable batteries.  The very thought that you could use things up. regenerate them and use them again seems almost impossible.  And yet, my camera is working, even though those self-same energy sources were completely depleted only yesterday.  Miraculous!  If it works for batteries, why not for human beings?  And you know what?  It does.  Don't get me wrong. At the end of a long day, I don't plug myself in and recharge.  It happens all day long.  When I have the opportunity to spend time with friends...recharge.  When I remember how lucky I am to have mi esposa...recharge.  When I see someone do something nice for someone else and expect nothing in return...recharge.  When I take time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us...recharge.  When a former student says thanks...turbo charge!  All I have to do is plug in to my surroundings, and I'm ready to take more pictures.  I understand that rechargeable batteries will eventually lose their ability to regenerate.  When that happens, I'll get new ones.  And when my internal batteries refuse to regenerate, I think I'll probably leave for a while...and come back...I've always wanted to be a standard poodle!  Sleek!  Classy!  But please, no haircuts!  Rejuvenate when you can, and know you are loved!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It was a Thursday afternoon, not so different than the hundreds of Thursday afternoons that had come before.  Oh, it was unusual in that it was the 23rd of October, the sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the temperatures were hovering in the lower seventies, but other than that, a pretty ordinary day.  We were faced with one of those seemingly omnipresent choices.  With company coming, we needed to prepare food, to clean bedrooms, and to scrub toilets.  Or, we could act on an impulse (provided by descriptions from a friend) and simply get in the car and head to LaBolt to see the dam and walk around the lake!
Enjoying the ride there, noticing the trees bereft of their leaves and the unusually green grass for this time of the year, we come into town enticed by the only thing we know about LaBolt
The LaBolt Farmers' Elevator.  How could you listen to any local radio station and not be aware of the existence of this iconic structure?  It was during our extended tour of main street (?) that we discovered
Not having had lunch, we stop.  The two proprietors meet us at the door.  They have just shut down the noon special, but we can order from the menu display.  I opt for a piece of fresh pumpkin pie.  Cath has a hamburger with a toasted bun.  Good food.  Sustenance to carry us onward to the siren that called us there.
Never have we felt so welcomed!  Not deterred however, (we had no fireworks, we weren't going to start a fire, the alcohol was to come later, we don't carry guns, we didn't go swimming, and we never stood still long enough to loiter!) we proceeded.  Imagine our surprise to discover not only the lake, but
The path around the lake was actually a disk golf course, with holes that were difficult and yet, absolutely beautiful.  But I get ahead of our walk.  We actually started toward the dam, and found a way down to the trail that invited us.
Our meanderings took us through trees, around bends, over bridges, and as a side trail, to an amazing
under one of the walkways.  The shadow of the tree pointed the way through.  Another day, we thought, and went back to the main trail.  Emerging from the forest primeval, we were greeted with yet another South Dakota biome
The colors and the contrasts immediately caught my eye, and just beyond the tree lay true South Dakota gold.
From forest to prairie in one short walk! 

I have neglected to mention that up until this time, we had the park completely to ourselves.  Imagine our chagrin when a car pulled up, and from it two disc golfers.  Nice kids.  We let them stay.  In fact, I caught them in the act!

The whole concept of the game was heightened by its surroundings!
 In fact, I was especially drawn to what I have dubbed the pretzel tree
The trip round the lake was about a mile in length, and was truly an amazing way to spend a Thursday afternoon.  But, the cleaning called, the pie crust had to be made, the fudge needed to be cooked, and there was bridge to play (after all, it is Thursday), so back into the car we go and head for home.  Smartly we had asked the proprietors of our dining establishment how we should go home.  There answer was quite succinct.  Head south on the paved road.  When the paved road seemed to end, turn left onto the next paved road.  Always turn left.  What the hey, the tasks could wait a little longer.  Voila.  We end up in Strandburg.  We have never been to Strandburg.  It was here that the only disappointment for the day occurred.  Rivens General Store was not open!  Somewhat despondent, we headed south (on the paved road) and eventually ended up on Hiway 212.  Familiar territory.  Passed Bren's corner.  Passed Goodwin.  Passed Kranzburg.  Wait.  We've never really seen Kranzburg, so we do the tour, coming out just by the Tip Top.  Of course, we had never done the Tip Top before so we HAD to stop.  One beer later (and an order of amazing Chislic) (and the greeting when we walked in of  "Oh, two teachers out for an afternoon") (You can't go anywhere without being noticed!) we sadly bid adieu to the wandering wayfaring and hello to the mundane.  But oh, what a delight we have had!  Beauty surrounds us.  We need but look.  And the chores?  Well, they were still there, but so much more fun to do!  Know you are loved!

From my recliner

 comfortably ensconced in my recliner, I happened to look out at our tenacious maple trees (you know, the ones that refuse to shed their leaves until there's snow on the ground and they make a horrendous mess) and winking at me was this slash of green amidst the gold.

Intrigued, I went to the tv stand where my camera was supposed to be stored...and it was there!  Braving the typhoon like weather (slight breeze with three-four raindrops) I snapped the picture.  Of course, I immediately thought of the rule of thirds and knew my photography mentor would roil, so I took several more photos...none of which I liked as well.  Frustrated and somewhat disheartened, I headed back inside, and on a whim, changed the settings and took one more.  I like it!

No prizes, I'm sure, but like those leaves, a little tenacity made me feel better!  Hang in there, and remember you are loved!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sometimes a walk is just a walk.

Today's was a little over five (!) miles, and existed for no other purpose than to wear off the breakfast/brunch we were going to have on our way home.  Of course, other than being the precipitor and the reward for the agony, um, er, energy exerted, we spent it with friends (it was at this point that I was going to try and describe these friends, but simply couldn't come up with apt descriptors) getting caught up on their latest travels, the state of the world, the political climate, and our amazing luck at having been raised by unique parental units.  I would gladly have walked five more miles for the opportunity to spend time with them.  With a full heart, a full stomach, and a full realization how blessed we are, we walked the last mile home and now are preparing for the rest of the day.  Pick up pheasants for chowder.  Pick up the repotted plant.  Enjoy a piece of pie with aunt Edith.  Dine and play bridge.  Come to think of it, my "walk" is pretty darn enjoyable, and will NEVER be considered just a walk!  Enjoy the amazing things in your life, and know you are loved!

Monday, October 20, 2014


It's been a while since I've talked food!  Let me fix that.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, is it pumpkin or pecan?  Pumpkin?  Pecan?  The answer is yes!  This is the best of both worlds, and what a nice way to say "I love you" to your guests!  And by the way, I do love you!  Enjoy!
Pumpkin Pecan Pie(Preheat oven to 350 degrees)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
3 Tbs. cold vodka
In a food processor, combine the first six ingredients.  Add the cold butter and the crisco and pulse until well blended.  Transfer into another bowl.  Add the vodka and stir until you can form a ball.  Roll out on a floured surface and transfer to a 9" pie plate.  Arrange so it looks the way it should look, trim where necessary, and flute the edges.
Pumpkin layer
one egg
1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
dash of salt
Mix together and pour into prepared crust.
Pecan layer2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
2 Tbs. melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Mix together and carefully pour over pumpkin layer.  Place on a baking sheet to catch the spills and bake 50 - 60 minutes until filling is set around edge.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Ps...if you really want to make it special, add some finely chopped pecans to the crust.  Just blend them in with the flour!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

For God and Country

Walking is good for the body.  Walking is good for the soul.  Walking is good for the thought processes, and, as we passed this juxtaposition of God and Country this morning, my processes kicked in.  The brilliance of the blue sky shining through the orange and yellow leaves was to me, breathtaking.  Then, there was the flag.  Truly one of my favorite "colors".  The mind started working.  What an amazing dyad of similar imagery.  The underpinning of each?  Care for those around you.  Each teaches us (well, some of us) to accept the equality of inequalities.  Acceptance for and agreement with are not the same.  Both, however, teach us that differences (and the right to celebrate them) are the things that make us unique.  Tolerance is the thing that makes us human.  Or would that be humane?  In the name of God and Country, amazing atrocities have been committed and continue to be committed.  Your God is different than my God.  Your country is worse than my country.  And we justify our actions thumping our chests and averring, it's our God and our Country!  Do NOT misunderstand.  I recognize there is evil in the world.  I recognize and appreciate the need to protect our rights.  And I admire and love the men and women who do that.  What I don't understand is how concepts of peace and joy and love can instigate war, despair and hate.  Maybe everyone needs to take a walk!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

If I were a tree

it was in our walk today that I formulated this game.  As winter nears, the trees in the area prepare for its onslaught.  Some are completely naked.  Some have quit producing their chlorophyll and are displaying their underlying colors.  Some seem unwilling to yield, and retain both their green color and their raiment.  And of course there are the evergreens.  It struck me that we humans are much like the trees.  As we approach the winter of our existence, some of us just give up and accept the inevitable.  Some of us become a lot more colorful in both our mien and our apparel.  Some just refuse to change, waiting for the ultimate freeze to take everything we have.  Like most things in life, there are certain genetic situations over which we have no control.  The length of our growth season, for the most part, is out of our hands.  Oh, we can tend to it, fertilize it, water it, and get as much growth as we can, but in the end....  Thankfully, like the rest of life, we are also given choices that can impact the quality of our growth period.  And my move in the game?  This will come as no surprise.  I'm going for as much vibrant color as I can produce, and believe me, my leaves will hang on as long as they can.  What tree are you?  Whatever is chosen for you, and whatever you choose, know that  you will be loved!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, David

As I was attempting to find the bottom of the top of my computer desk, I came across a photograph.  Really.  A printed photograph.  Memory served me well, and I immediately recognized it for what it was.  I was impressed.  I was even more impressed when I discovered it was actually a photo of me.  I had dark hair.  Two surprises there!  I was amazingly thin.  (My memory doesn't go back that far.)  I still had my coke bottle glasses.  And I am holding a cake I had just made and decorated in the shape of a guitar.  It was, (insert drum roll here) for David.  (See, the titles do actually mean something!)  I turned the picture over and discovered it was from 1988.  David was 8.  I wasn't.  Oh, the memories that came flooding back.  The 60+ cake pans I had.  Butter cream icing everywhere.  Worse, powdered sugar everywhere.  But the cakes were good.  The decorations were good.  The times were good!  And those cakes resulted in my very own kitchen in the basement...with running water and everything.  And there's another memory.  My mother-in-law, slyly smiling and saying "Isn't running water wonderful?"  Then it was the joke about the Dairy Queen, the first time (only time?) I ever heard my father-in-law swear, the wedding when the candles "plopped" onto the plastic, the "just put it all in your mouth at once" exhortation about the little pepper that I was hesitant to try, the 14000 wonderful children, the amazingly supportive family, and the friends who have and continue to change my life!  Tears in the eyes.  Tears of thankfulness, of loss, of love.  All from one photograph.  David is a happy and successful adult.  He still has birthdays.  Maybe next year, I'll bake him a cake!  Know you are loved!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

There's no place like

The plan was to visit a beautiful state park and enjoy the leaves and a short hike.  1 1/2 hours to get there.  30 minutes to hike.  1 1/2 hours to get home.  Plan B.  Take the car out to The Prop (an iconic Watertown location!), park, and look at all the beautiful homes along the lake.  We walked.  We gaped.  We were impressed.  Note--I did stop walking when I gaped, so no injuries to report!)  It was a gorgeous morning, and the work that has been done at the inlet blew our socks off.  Then of course, there were the trees in many hues, the white capped waters, and my best friend with whom to enjoy it.  We earned it, and we did it!  Lunch at the Prop.  If you have not had one of their garlic burgers, you need to do that.  Pair it with an ice cold Chilada, and the day is complete.  Too often, we just forget how beautiful home can be!  Enjoy your home, get out and see it, and know you are loved!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Resetting the parameters of an I-pad resulted in...

A new screen saver...and a reminder of Robert Frost.  Perhaps the pavement is a bit off-putting.  After all, when one mentally sees two paths in a wood, this isn't what you would expect.  And yet, the concept holds.  If you take the curve to the right, you come to the gate of this community, and on into the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Absolutely gorgeous!  You couldn't go wrong.  But where will the path to the left take you?  Time allowing, it would make sense to me to find out.  I've been lost before and always found my way home.  And there's that Frost thing....  May you be all the better for the paths you take and know you are loved!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'll give you...

A daisy a day, dear...  For some reason, this song has been dancing around in the chasm of my mind today, and maybe by writing about it, it might find another home?  Perhaps it has to do with how amazingly lucky I was in my selection of life partner.  Perhaps it has to do with how lucky I have been in my selection of friends.  Perhaps it's because I heard it first thing this morning to remind me about that luck.  I will wait 'til rivers run still and the four winds all blow away to complain about my life!  And I will love you!  Now, it's your turn to hum the song!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's really sweet!

That would refer to the fudge I just finished.  Elmer Fudge rides this Wednesday, and I wanted to be sure to have a variety of the world's best fudge ready for the winners!  It amazes me the number of businesses in town that participate in this promotion!  What a positive way to showcase our hamlet to all those out-of-state hunters who grace us with their presence!  And what amazing effort some businesses exert!  This is one of my favorite times of the year to be involved with this community of caring, progressive people!  Here's to you, participants! I toast you with chocolate, Mounds, peppermint crunch, raspberry, and pineapple!  How sweet you are.  Know, my peeps, that you are loved!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What's for supper?

I never understood my mother...on several levels...but especially when she would comment on how hard it was to cook for us.  We ate everything.  Rarely did we complain (well, there was that one time our main course was chunky beef soup from a can, but other than that...).  She was an exceptional cook.  So what was the problem?  I think I now know.  It's not in the cooking.  It's not in the shopping.  It's not in the clean up.  It's in the bloody "what?"!  Coming up with an idea is the hardest thing in the world.  We had beef yesterday (and this morning, and at noon)!  Chicken graces our table more than it does a coop.  Pork is so lean, it becomes amazing dry and hard to eat.  Chinese and Mexican are possibilities, but we're trying to lower our carb intake, so not so much.  I'm open for any suggestions.  Now.  You see, it's supper time and...
Know you are loved!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The picture of tenacity

It was the day to clean out the garden!  Following a couple frosts, foliage lacked luster, and let's face it, we don't have that many shorts and shirtsleeve kinds of days to do the cleaning!  As Cath attacked the day lilies, she came across this little devil, nestled deep in the browning leaves.  Undaunted by the temperatures, it wasn't ready to give up!  Despite amazing odds, it held on to "strut it's stuff"!  And we are the beneficiaries!  Not to be outdone, I attacked the back half of the garden, and was likewise rewarded!

The leaves are a bit shop worn, the blooms less than perfect, but oh, how it reminded me that even when things are not at their best, we can find a way to survive and thrive...a little worse for wear at times, but survive none the less!  All it took was a little yard work!

And then, there are the asters!  Like you, they make me smile.  Enjoy them, and know you are loved!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sex, money, and Rock and Roll

Jeopardy question?  What are three things on which most everyone has a point of view?  In my case, as I would guess in most Y chromosomal units, I like them.  That being said, I really believe all three are personal and do NOT need to be discussed ALL the time.  I quickly tire of television programs that seem to believe my intelligence level is akin to a bull elephant in heat.  A HINT of something to me is far more entertaining than being hit over the head!  Call me old fashioned.  As far as money is concerned, like some people, we have enough to survive, a little for play, and a little to share with those that don't.  Amounts shouldn't be the concern of anyone but the two of us.  Call me old fashioned.  And as far as R&R is concerned, Bob Seeger says it best.  Call me old fashioned.  In fact, if I see one more graphic bedroom scene, get asked once more how much we have saved, or hear M&M rap, I'm going to have an old fashioned!  Of this you can be sure.  This old fuddy duddy does love you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The power of the pen

Fair is fair.  If you read Monday's blog, you were privy to my rant about the high cost of wellness.  If you recall, they suggested I send a letter (in writing!).  I did.  I also copied my doc (read that with awe and a slight suggestion of a halo attached!).  He called me this morning.  The excess charges have been dismissed.  He was dismayed that they appeared in the first place.  Result?  Approximately $500 reduction!  Now you understand the halo on the doctor!  I am, of course, still a bit perturbed.  What percent of customers would have just payed that bill?  For that matter, how many of us don't bother to question, to fight when necessary, to decrease our out-of-pocket expenses?  If I had not copied my doc, what might have been the outcome?  So tonight, well as I am, and a bit more affluent than I thought I was, I'm taking my bride out to supper!  Then it's bridge with the ladies and a bit more restful sleep.
Allow me a step up on my soapbox.  Please check billings.  There may be an error.  There may be an adjustment. And you could save some money!  Question!  Fight!  And know you are loved!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's late!

It was a fun class.  Don't ask about the crusts!  But the soups were good, the bread was good, and the pies were good.  There is nothing egotistical about me!  Now, if I had any energy left, I'd get tomorrow's pie ready.  But alas, my donkey is dragging.  I'm not as young as I used to was!  Time for a quick nap before bed.  The pie can wait!  Take care of you and know you are loved!

Monday, October 6, 2014


I know this will surprise you, but there have been days in which a topic on which to write has eluded me.  But you probably figured that out if you are a consistent reader.  Tonight is not one of those nights.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Shall I write on the high cost of wellness?  I just received my bill for my yearly physical.  Shall I write on the practice of sending flowers to a funeral?  Two funerals this weekend had to significantly increase the florists' work load.  Or shall I respond to the request for recipes from yesterday's blog (Thanks Colleen for asking!!!!!)? 
From back to front, the recipes will be posted on my web page sometime this week (if the dam don't break and the creek don't rise!), so....  Flowers at a funeral.  Good topic, but hardly worthy of a dissertation.  Why on earth don't we send the ones we love flowers while they are alive?  Just makes more sense to me.  That leaves the high cost of wellness, and since my blood pressure was significantly altered by the bill I received today, it was a winner hands down!
Because I want to live a long and productive life (no snide comments about how long I've already been here!), every year I get a physical.  This year, my doc gave me an A+.  Healthy as an ox--a young ox at that.  Good news, right?  I had two things to discuss with him.  I had something on my nose.  He froze it off.  I had a pain in my knee.  He gave me a shot.  I said thank you.  I expected my insurance to cover the cost of the physical.  Fool that I am, that all men are.  The bill came today.  The office visit?  $287.00.  The nose job?  $420.00.  The shot?  $234.00 to administer.  (The medicine administered was an additional $40.00!)  Insurance payment?  $000.00!  Total cost (before discount by my insurance company [yet another thing I just don't understand!]) $981.00!!!!!  If I believed that my doc were going to get the majority of this money, I would be less incensed.  I think that is not the case.  So then, where does it go?  Being Billy Consumer, I immediately picked up the phone and spoke with the billing department at the clinic.  They informed me the cost of the office visit was to cover services performed.  Okay, I can live with that.  Then, when I asked why the services performed cost an additional $694.00, the answer I received made no sense to me.  Since I have learned my lesson (almost--See the Think Long entry) I somewhat calmly asked to whom I should address my concerns.  The answer?  The administrative personnel.  A letter.  In writing.  (Is there such a thing as a non-written letter?)  Fine, says I.  Give me a name to whom I should write.  The answer?  Administrative personnel.  I almost asked if that were Mr., Mrs., or Ms., but discretion won and I just said "thank you".  (Sometimes I just see no benefit in killing the messenger for a message I don't like!)  The letter is written.  The letter is sent.  I expect a quick reply, since the last thing I asked the messenger to do was note on the bill that it won't be paid until I get some answers that make sense!!!!!  Of course, that leaves the matter of the insurance company's non payment....  But that, my friends, is grist for yet another milling!  Right now, I have bread to make...and there's another topic...the number of students who survived my class because I bake bread!  Now don't you wish I had chosen recipes?  Thanks for the vent, and know you are loved!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

all sports Sunday

In what can only be described as the pinnacle of sports participation, the Zubke's Sunday was a testament to perseverance, muscle coordination, and team play!  Whether one was involved with baseball playoffs, football games, or kitchen Olympics, it was all about scoring!  Even the dog did the high hurdle, clearing the fence (well, actually, sneaking around it) and making her way to the top of the platform!
In the upstairs, amazing finger dexterity and quickness of adaption stymied the writer.  Who knew it was possible to watch two football games and a baseball game at the same time?  The seamless switch from on to another was stunning.  Having ascertained that all was well in the Zubkedome, I attacked three new recipes in the kitchens (and yes, I managed to get them both exceedingly messed up!)  In the order of presentation, the first was a 3 and out!  The second was a home run.  And the third?  The third placed me on the gold medal platform!  Squash soup didn't have the punch to make it to a first down.  It's cooling its heels in the refrigerator, waiting for divine inspiration to hit the coach telling him what to do to make it better.  The second, a pecan crusted soy flour chicken was amazing, and with the substitution of soy flour for regular flour, it raised the protein and lowered the carbs.  Not a bad combination!  But it was the pumpkin pecan pie that took the gold medal.  With a pecan and pumpkin flavored crust, the filling was smooth and crunchy, and what a nice blend that is.  P squared may become my new second favorite pie! 
Needless to say, a good time is being had by all.  Wish you were here to enjoy!  Time for the tip-off for all-American napping!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Think long...respond slowly

There are few things that upset me more than when someone finds a button to push, pushes it, and instead of taking time to think, to reflect, I rapidly respond.  I probably should be used to regretting this type of action, as I am apparently a slow learner in this regard.  As I have aged, I think I have become better at least trying to implement this titular stratagem, but sometimes, the tongue (or fingers) rush to right a point of view.  This particular button stemmed from praying on a bad situation to advance a personal point of view.  Wham.  Bam.  Here's what I think of that.  Understand, I do not regret my reaction.  I regret the rapidity of the response.  I might have been far more eloquent and logical in my rebuttal had I thought slowly.  I might have given reason to consider.  Instead, I probably alienated, and changed absolutely nothing.  As I do my motivational shtick, I ask if anyone in the audience is a time traveler.  Some say yes (I do speak to some interesting groups!), but the point is, going backward just ain't gonna happen.  So I will do what I tell them.  I will attempt to correct my behavior and learn from it.  And here's to being a speedier learner.  Enjoy the wonderful things you have, and know you are loved!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Sometimes, one simply needs to release pent up do something that requires very little thought, some degree of physicality, and in the end, destroys nothing and perhaps even increases the cache of one's surroundings.  Let me put it another way.  Sometimes, it is necessary to clean the shower!  Let me set the scene for you.  My shower is in the basement.  It's been there over 30 years.  It sits right next to the washer and adjacent to the dryer.  When the washer drains, it sometimes backs up into the shower floor.  That's the bad part of its proximity to the laundry.  The good part is, whenever I take a shower, I throw my towel in the dryer so I always have a nice warm towel with which to dry the body beautiful!  But I digress.  Having a Y chromosome, the concept of wiping down the shower (you know, the one that only I use?) is foreign.  Scrubbing the floor?  Almost unheard of.  Washing the shower curtain?  Why gets washed every time I take a shower.  Well, today I was somewhat frustrated with the weather, so I was in the basement doing some laundry when I glanced in.  It was time.  I took down the curtain and threw it in the washer with a copious amount of bleach!  I poured more of the chlorinated substance in a wash pan, added some hot water, and scrubbed down the walls.  That left the floor.  I took the scrub brush and had my way with it!  Understand, one can only remove so much of what has seemingly calcified in one cleaning.  I stood up.  I looked around.  I was pleased.  One might even say proud.  I would gladly let someone else use my shower...and they might even accept now that it doesn't look like they might catch some horrific communicable disease just by stepping in.  My spirits were lifted.  My frustration lessened.  My god, I had catharted!  And think.  It's done for another 5 years!  May you find a positive way to release your pent-ups, and know you are loved!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I wish I had thought of that!

I am a teacher.  Translation:  when I find an idea that strikes my fancy, I immediately steal it, adapt it, and call it my own!  Such is the case with today's concept.  Coming from an impeccable literary source, and being published in the most up-to-date format (translation number two...I saw it on Facebook), it truly struck home.  The concept simply is this.  When life doesn't go according to plan...when concepts don't yield expected results, the initial response is either disappointment, or worse, anger.  Both emotions, although normal and unfortunately for many of us, rehearsed, are utterly and completely useless!  Disappointment is a fact of life, and anger puts control of your life into someone else's hands.  Here's the literary part.  Instead of useless, why not respond with a simple but powerful phrase..."Plot twist!"  I wasn't going to be a teacher.  Plot twist.  The very thing I was born to be.  I was ready to be married.  Plot twist.  I didn't, and celebrate every day that the plot went the way it did.  I was going to walk this morning.  Plot twist.  It's raining.  Breakfast at Original Pancake House.  See what I mean?  Like a good novel, I didn't see them coming, and oh, how much more interesting it has been.  As you write the book of your life, I hope there are a few twists that take you in a different direction.  In the rear view mirror, you will probably find they help you toward a happier ending!  Have an "unusual" day and know you are loved!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

At the end of the day

I think I have heard this new catch phrase used at least 25 times in the last few days.  If it hasn't been on television, it's been in normal conversations.  I believe I may even have fallen into the trap.  So tonight, I want to examine the end of the day!  It started with a trip to Huron, where we were graciously hosted by an amazing group of retired teachers (and if you are an ontheroadophile, you know how impressed I am with the vitality that exists in such a group!).  We did our thing and headed for Sioux Falls for an appointment tomorrow morning.  We did spread a little money around in various places, encouraging little businesses in S.F. to grow.  Then it was off to our home in Sioux Falls, owned and kept up by the Larson's but always available for our use (The suite in the basement is ours!).  Out to a rather disappointing October Festival meal at the new Minerva's in the Western Mall followed by an absolutely delightful dessert, courtesy of the new gelato bar at Scheels (and of course, the Larson's!).  Then home for a little computing with their pictures and a quick game of bridge.  Now, the only thing between me and the sandman's visit I is the light I am about to turn off.  At the end of the day, it's all about thanks...for the health to travel, for the retirement system that gives us the wherewithal to travel (and spread a little around), for the friends who graciously welcome us into their home, for sustenance (some less than exciting, some to be tried again) and for cards good enough to win at bridge!  Oh, and for readers like you who are loved!  And there goes the light!