Monday, November 30, 2009


Home is the best place. Yep. So glad we made our trip up north and back without any problems. Traffic wasn't bad due to some excellent timing by our driver....we even made it through Chicago in short order as no one was on the road at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. We got home early enough so that the laundry is done, we were able to have dinner together, the kids finished their homework and we watched a movie. So glad to be home.

The highlight of the visit for me was seeing my buddy, Cindy. We have been friends for getting close to 30 years now. How freaking scary is that?! And the neat thing is our kids are friends...they may not see each other for two years, but when they get together, they just click into place and act like they just saw each other the day before. I know it makes us both so happy to see them having fun.

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we start looking forward to Christmas. The tree will be hauled out of the attic today and the Rubbermaid bins full of holiday decor will make their appearance as well. I'm a bit afraid to open them as every year some ornaments have to be junked as the glue is brittle and broken, the fabric is dried out and fraying or something has been broken into pieces in some other way. I haven't peaked in those boxes let alone unpacked them for the past two Christmases because we weren't home.

Even though we were in Europe last year, I think everyone will be glad to wake up in their own bed on Christmas morning this year. The day after will see us hitting the road to make the trip to Florida and hopefully some sunny weather, nice beach time and a good visit with my folks and my sister in law and the nieces and nephew.

It is hard to believe that the year is winding down. And we have such busy days ahead. The kids have already requested Christmas cookies! I better get myself organized, take a good look at the calendar and decide how best to get it all done.

I love being home for the holidays!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Our suitcases are out and some of them are even packed. Yep. I have to run to the store this morning and get some food for the trip, and once the kids arrive home from school, we will be loading up and heading out.

This will be my last post until after T-day, so best wishes to everyone for safe travels, good food, better company and an enjoyable holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

heard around the table yesterday

The kids helped me clean house yesterday after church so that I could focus on making our pre Thanksgiving turkey dinner. We are traveling this year and I won't be the one cooking. So, I made a smaller version of what I usually make and we sat down and enjoyed turkey, green beans, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy along with pumpkin pie and apple pie. It was so yummy and such a nice day all the way through.

The youngest suggested we go around and list what we were thankful for while we ate. The usual items were listed, but then a comment was made that tied back into the homily we had heard earlier in the day.

Our pastor has begun to deliver a four part talk on Hope. His premise is that Hope, one of the virtues, is often misunderstood. If you look at the opposite of Hope, which in his opinion is isolation, hope is best understood. He used three examples to help illustrate his point: marriage, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and then a personal memory of a day he spent at St. Jude Children's hospital.

Hope is basically being truly WITH someone. You are WITH them on the journey, you may not have the cure, solution, answer, but you are WITH them physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. By our presence we are Hope to each other.

I don't often enjoy this priest's homilies, but I thought the idea he was putting forth was a good one. Community, friendship, family, your spouse....that is Hope.

So, when it was my turn at dinner to say what I was thankful for I said I was thankful for my husband and the youngest said, "Yeah Mom, just like in church today, he is your without him you'd be hopeless!" Which of course had everyone laughing.

Good dinner, good conversation, lots of laughter and love....guess our house has Hope.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ready, set, friday

Stopped in Target yesterday to pick up one of the youngest's Christmas gifts. Going to take the plunge into technology and get the kid the cheap iPod. Darn, the thing is as small as a thumb drive for a computer. Tiny. Wish it had a book size carrying case with a transmitter to notify me on my cell phone of its location. I fear, already, that it will be lost in the hurricane that is his room, within a few days of it being unwrapped.

I'm slowly making progress and checking off items on the Christmas list. I'd love for this Christmas to be one of those where the boxes are big, plentiful and piled knee deep and half way across the room. Not going to happen. The older they get, the smaller the gifts become! Not to mention they get increasingly more expensive.

I do need to make a Costco run to pick up the middle kids contacts and drop off her glasses for new lenses. Will get a few more gifts while I am there for the Wii and perhaps a leather purse for one of the girls. Good prices and I have coupons!

Finished the Dan Brown book. Now I can say I've read it and we can move on from there. All the talk right now is about the New Moon movie. The oldest is threatening to clock anyone who swoons over it as they go on and on and on about the storyline. The middle one just wants to see the actor playing the werewolf, sans shirt, of course. We all agree the actors from Vampire Diaries are WAY better looking and as one said in a clip last night...."I'm glad I don't get old, I like being the eternal stud." We all laughed and said, yep, got that right buddy!

So, with that, we are ready for the weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

when what is old is new again

I started reading Dan Brown's latest thriller, "The Lost Symbol" yesterday and am already two thirds done with the novel. My neighbor loaned me the book, and I am very glad I didn't have to wait at the library for it or shell out any money to purchase it.

I'm not going to bash the book. Hey, his writing may not be stellar, but he tells an entertaining story that millions of readers enjoy. I've read better and I've read worse.

He doesn't break any new ground here. If you've ever watched the History channel, you know all the Masonic ties built into Washington D.C. He takes the same 'conspiracy' approach in this story that he has used so successfully in his other novels. The story has a cast of characters very similar in type to his other stories....psychopathic villain, scary government officials, serene mentors etc.

So, what do you do when what is old is new again? Well, you read the book, return it and be happy for a writer who is making millions entertaining people. It may be formulaic, but he sells and he sells BIG.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I think I've read six Dresden Files books at this point and I have to say I'm addicted to them now. As soon as I finish this post I will be logging on to the library's website to request two more titles from a neighboring library. Can I just tell you how much I hate it when our library doesn't own the complete series and has piecemeal portions of it?!


Well, "Small Favor" was a fun read. Butcher puts together one Gordian Knot of a plot to enjoy. Harry is in debt to Mab, yep, the genuine Queen of Air and Darkness, the big Winter Fairy herself. When she comes to collect what is owed her Chicago suffers a blizzard of the century and puts Harry smack dab in the middle of two kidnappings and a war between the agents of Heaven and Hell. Not to mention with him now on Mab's 'payroll', Titania the Queen of Summer has sent the Gruffs (as in three billy goats) out to eliminate him from the picture.

Inventive, funny, action packed and filled with a buffet of supernatural creatures...I just loved this book.

Going to dive into Dan Brown's latest today....hard to leave my new buddy Harry alone, but I have to wait until those requested books arrive before I can immerse myself in Jim Butcher's wizardly Chicago world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

taking notes

As much as I've learned to use the computer, I still enjoy using a notebook for certain things. I need to go through two different websites today and make notes about things that need to be updated. A notebook comes in handy for that even though I could open up a word doc and flip back and forth between the two screens. I'd rather write down on paper the changes and then type them into a word document. Yes, it is an extra step, but the slower process helps me think through exactly what I am doing and trying to say.

I remember reading an author comment on how it was too easy to delete his work now that he was writing on a computer instead of typing on a typewriter or handwriting his fiction in notebooks. He feared that some good stuff was being lost to spur of the moment decisions to hit the delete key.

The middle of the day is going to be occupied by an expensive but necessary purchase and installation of new tires for my Honda. My beloved mini van is now three years old and has close to 40K miles on it, so some new 'shoes' are in order before we do our holiday traveling.

I will be taking the Dresden Files book I am reading with hopes of finishing it sometime today as I have another book waiting in the wings. The neighbor has loaned me the latest Dan Brown book to read, and I need to finish that one before her inlaws arrive on Friday. Her mother in law is a big reader and will want to have a chance to enjoy the book during their visit.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

in the groove

Last week wasn't one of the more productive weeks I've had, but I managed to make a to do list on Friday and check every single item off as I completed it. Yes, I waited until Friday to get going, but once I did, I was glad I buckled down and worked.

It always feels good to finish several tasks. Makes you wonder why you procrastinated in the first place.

I have some long term projects that need work now. These aren't the types of things that go easily on a to do list. They are the projects that take days and even weeks of steady effort to finish. Of course, with the calendar showing we are entering the holiday season, perhaps now isn't the time to begin such efforts. I'm going to do it anyway.

So, watch out long languishing WIP and heads up to the unfinished genealogy project. Both of you are in my sights and it is time to pull the trigger.

I'm getting back in the groove.

Friday, November 13, 2009


What a strange week it has been with the kids having a day off on Wednesday. I sort of feel like I've already had a weekend and now I'm getting ready for another. Which, I guess, is a good thing!

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner and then Christmas. I'm excited to get into the attic and pull the holiday stuff out. It has not seen the light of day for two full years now as we've not been at home for the last two Christmases.

I watched a depressing movie yesterday, "Revolutionary Road" starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a visually stunning movie in some regards, lots of theme laden cinematography, but all in all, very depressing. I'm reading a Jim Butcher Dresden Files book. I have an end of year soccer season recap article to write. I also have a variety of other chores to complete both on the computer and off. Just not feeling the motivation to get ANY of it done.

So, I better just make up my mind, hold my nose, and dive in as I don't want to have to even think about any of it over the weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

good week for soccer

Hey! The middle kid's team won their first game of the season last night by a score of 4-1. She played so well and had several assists, great passes and through balls. Goooooooo Cougars!!

And that victory on the heels of the oldest kid being given a Coaches Award for her leadership on and off the field. Yippee!! At the start of the season she truly felt she'd been handed some 'lemons' but as we discussed she made lemonade all season long. She told me last night that she drank the whole pitcher and enjoyed every drop.

Hope the goodness continues for the rest of the week as I have several 'things' going on with family and friends

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

on the plate

Try a new recipe.
Get middle kid new specs and contacts.
Walk the dog.
Soccer game.

Mix together, bake at 62 degrees for 14 hours and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

mixed bag

Nothing is better than a shiny new project. Energy runs high. Excitement bubbles over. And that all lasts for a few weeks, if you are lucky, then reality sets in. I have a few shiny new projects that are waiting for me as well as some projects that are quite a bit older and the luster is long gone.

In the meantime, normal every day stuff waits to be done. The stuff that keeps the household running and the inhabitants clothed, fed and happy. What a mixed bag of late, a real hodge podge of activities and events.

Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely 2 hour meeting with the current president of the Friends. I am so lucky to count her a friend and know she will be there to support me as I get use to my new role.

I have a soccer banquet to attend tonight with the oldest. This is always an interesting affair, lots of dynamics going on, people to watch and such. I often feel very out of place at these events, for a variety of reasons, but will soldier on and plant the smile on my face.

Before that I will be attending the visitation for the husband of one of our Friends of the Library. His wife is a delightful woman and I have always enjoyed chatting with her and hearing stories about our Town 'back in the day' as well as discussing topics ranging from history to politics to religion.

It is going to be a very diverse day and I think the walk I will take with Duke may just be the best part of it or at least the one part of it that I need to be able to get through the remainder of the day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

an echo in the bone

I finished the latest book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series last night. So sad to turn the last page and know I will have to wait up to three years for the next installment in the Jamie and Claire Fraser Family saga. I loved this book from start to finish, and there isn't much more to say than that. Gabaldon is a pro at weaving together multiple plots, characters and history into a singularly spectacular read. I will now be leaving the 18th century and heading back into the world of the Dresden Files.

Lots of bits of this and that ahead for the week. I'm beginning to jot down things that I will need to address, change, update etc come January regarding my new role in the Friends. A meeting this morning will help begin that process.

Soccer banquet this week for the oldest kid. Soccer game for the middle kid and who knows what is in store for the youngest kid.

Hubby is headed off to a funeral in the middle of the week. His 97 year old great aunt passed away on Saturday and he is going north into Illinois for her service and burial.

Feels like a Monday! Full steam ahead.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Guess the cash register at the bookstore is being a bit fussy, so off I go to meet the new manager this morning and see what we can do to fix it. At least I hope I can fix has been over 2 years since I programmed the thing, and I know that the manual wasn't the easiest set of instructions to work with then.

I hope to be home in short order and look forward to cleaning up the front and side flower beds. Lots of plants to cut back and lots of weeding to be done before winter sets in.

Up next, the kids will all roll in from school and while the boys are camping tonight, the girls are working. Hoping Netflix delivers the next movie from our queue so I can spend the evening watching some entertainment. I think by that point I will be more than ready to sit and put my feet up.

I've also been fussing around with making notes about what things need doing for the Friends. It is always best to act quickly when I get these ideas in my head, so, maybe I can spend some time formalizing these thoughts and getting them into the computer into some sort of document.

So.....Fuss with the cash register, fuss with my flower beds, fuss with the laptop...Just a fussy Friday ahead!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

crunch, crunch, crunch

I took our dog as well as the neighbor's greyhound for a long walk yesterday. The two get along amazingly well and actually walk together in harmony. With the dry weather we've had, the leaves are nice and crunchy along the greenbelt paths that wind through our neighborhood. Each step taken resulted in a symphony of sound between the leaves, the acorns and the twigs on the sidewalks and paths. Three miles later, all three of us were tired, but what a glorious stroll it was. Crisp, cool air, bright blue skies and falling leaves. Perfect way to spend the morning.

I was honored yesterday to be named the next president of our Friends of the Library group. This group has become such an important part of my life and their mission is one that continues to be dear to my heart. I've always loved libraries and to be able to help our local library through the Friends is very rewarding. My mind is already turning with ideas for what I want to give to the group; how I'm going to follow in the footsteps of our past two presidents, two very active and insightful women in our community. I have BIG shoes to fill, but am excited to serve. And I have a group of great gals to serve with me...which makes it very fun!

I'm up to the 300's in my book and the story continues to roll out with gusto.

Tonight our oldest is honored as she is inducted into the high school Beta Club. Looking forward to seeing her 'moment'.

But, first up, a doctor's appointment this morning and then a visit to the bookstore....Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

when you have 800 pages to read

I started Diana Gabaldon's latest installment in the Jamie and Claire Fraser saga yesterday afternoon. This novel, "An Echo in the Bone," clocks in at 800 pages of smaller than normal font sized type. I'm savoring every single word.

Something special happens when you pick up a book peopled with characters who have been in your head for over a decade. It is sort of like going home. A sense of belonging happens, a happiness settles in your soul. A continuity exists in that unique relationship between the reader and the world the author has created and shared.

I enjoy these books on so many different levels: multilayered plots, unforgettable characters, loads of history and interesting historic detail about daily life in the colonial period.

So, for the next several days, I will immerse myself in this novel and everything else will have to is Fraser time!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Read an interesting article in our paper today about babies being named after cities. I've never quite understood the need to saddle a child with an unusual name. Perhaps this is because my mom has a very unique name and doesn't like it. I'm much more intrigued by family names, names with some history, names that surpass a certain moment in time.

My oldest daughter has a slew of friends named "ashley" all spelled in a variety of ways, but pronounced the same. Both girls have friends with what would pass as a surname for a first name. Very trendy and very stuck in a 'moment.' I would guess that because of the Twilight phenomena we will see a boatload of Bellas and Edwards in the years ahead. Ugh.

Names do come in and out of style....we don't see too many Marilyns, or Lucys or Agnes names these days, but other names from years gone by are still around. Some names are timeless and hence we still see babies being named Sara, Claire, Anne and Elizabeth!

One of the things I like about fiction writing is that I get to come up with names for my characters and I love to hear stories about how authors select names for the people in their novels. But, feel sorry for the poor folk who end up sharing a name with a famous character, like Harry Potter. I'm sure that poor man gets his share of clever jokes lobbed at him. He probably wishes he had a magic wand and could turn the jokesters into toads!

Monday, November 2, 2009

busy week

From the looks of the calender on the wall, this week could shape up to be a very busy one. Lots of soccer practices, one game, two doctor appointments, one Beta club induction ceremony etc. The list goes on and on! The first week of the month always seems to be overloaded.

So, today, I'm off to restock the pantry. It is all too tempting during weeks like this to eat out and not cook. I will be looking for some quick fix items.

I picked up the latest Diana Gabaldon book, "An Echo in the Bone," yesterday from the hold cart at the library. I need to hurry and finish the Jim Butcher book I'm reading and dive into Jamie and Claire Fraser's world yet again. I started reading the Outlander books when the girls were toddlers! Now they are teens and I'm still reading can take Gabaldon three years to write one of her novels, long stories with lots of good stuff between the covers.

Happy Monday!