Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Prayer

Merry Christmas!!

May the Reason for the Season bless you with contentment, hope, health and Joy! May He grace you with strength, patience and courage in whatever trials you are facing or may face in the future.

And may you know Peace, in all things.

God Bless You!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old Things, New Things

It's been a crazy month. I apologize for the long gap between posts.

One of the reasons was that we had a new laminate floor put down in the living room.

WHAT a PAIN! Mostly the removing of furniture and "things" we've accumulated since we were married. That and all the stuff we had to combine. People sure do acquire stuff.

Anyway, the installers had to remove the old carpet and padding first. The carpet was here before I bought the house. I was talked out of removing it before moving in. I should've done it anyway. It would have been a whole heck of a lot easier then. Oh well, live and learn, right?
This house was built in 1883, a nice cream city brick bungalow. The boards under the carpet are wide plank pine, a typical sub-floor choice. The floor was not in good enough shape to sand and refinish, so we went with Mountain Pine laminate, in a finish that was reflective of the time and era of the house. And it does look beautiful.
When they finished pulling up the carpet padding, we found two things. An old sheet of linoleum, in a hideous pattern, but what must have been all the rage back then.

It seemed to have a tar paper backing, black and flexible. We pulled it up in large chunks, very easily. It was not tacked down, but did sort of "stick" to the wood floor. I kept a 3 x 3 scrap, just to do a little research.

Under the linoleum, we found some really old newspaper pages. You could still read most of the ads, and a couple obituaries. It was from the obits that we figured out the age of the paper. The interesting part about the obit, below, is that the death occurred that morning. This was the afternoon edition. That could not happen now, unless you are a celebrity and have a public relations firm, oh, and a website.

The gentleman's birth was listed (1867), and his age (75). From that, we figured the paper was from 1942. Year of birth and age was not listed for any of the ladies...even in death a lady never revealed her age!

Here's an ad from Porter's of Racine furniture store, which is still selling fine furniture. Porter's opened in 1857. Not too many retailers can boast that kind of longevity!

Can you imagine buying the top-of-the-line range for $119.50!
There was another clue in the ad: "Note: You can still buy gas stoves. Providing you can meet the new government rules and regulations. You do not necessarily have to be a defense worker. Stop in for details."

Only defense workers were allowed to have gas stoves? What, did cooking with gas require a defense contract or special security clearance? Just kidding, I wonder what the new rules and regulations were at the time, as opposed to now when gas or electric ranges are a matter of choice.

Porter's of Racine does have a website and some of their history is featured. Go to: for some historical tidbits. When you look at the ads and picture cards, you'll notice "Undertakers and Embalmers" under the name; back then furniture makers also provided caskets, and in the earliest days, mortuary services.
They don't do that anymore.

Anyway, this old house has a few stories in it; a Bone in the Basement; an old Axe in the Attic; bloody Garments in the Garage, sounds like a scary book series, doesn't it? With all that, I'm hoping there is NOT a Corpse in the Crawlspace, but I haven't had the nerve to explore it ... yet. However, I am up for Money in the Mousehole, or maybe Cash in the Coffee Can, a little Gold in the Garden, perhaps? Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming.....

Right now, I'm enjoying the new floor, and my husband is happy to have the big dust catcher gone.

It's our early Christmas present to us and to our future health!
Be well.....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What happened to Summer???

It's October. We are facing the coldest temps for the season tonight. I am not happy about this. It's too soon for such cold weather. But I do love the brilliant colors of fall. I took this picture last fall, one early morning, when I was returning from an early morning pet-sit job. The gorgeous color just radiated in the sunlight and stopped me in my tracks. I wasn't the only one either, another motorist stopped just as I finished shooting.

Fall has so many things to offer, the colors, the mild temps (usually) and the bountiful farmers' markets with so many good things to eat! I have been a gardener for years, and love when the tomatoes are warm, right out of the garden. It's like candy to me. I also grow many herbs for cooking and the plants are at full, lush growth. Apples and pears that taste like wine, sweet corn on the cob, and the pumpkins, of every size and shape and color.

But just when you can really see the fruits of your labor, you have to start thinking about cutting it all down for the winter. I have to cut the herbs to start drying. In October, the tomatoes are done, along with most other vegetables. The dried corn stalks start appearing, and gourds are everywhere. The garden has to be cleared, and the last flowers are finishing their blooming season. The color is quickly falling to the ground, if you aren't fast enough to get the pictures, you'll have to wait for next fall.

So, I'm done now, since we are expecting 20's tonight. The garden is empty, the yard art is brought in, the hose put away. The container plants are in the basement, or in the garage. The ceramic bird bath too. The yard looks naked, and forlorn. I can feel the chill in my bones, and worry about heating bills. My hubby is still getting acclimated to the coolness after the TDY in Texas, where they broke records for consecutive days over 100. In Wisconsin, we never hit 90. I hope we have an indian summer, because it doesn't feel like we had a summer here, and if we did, I was too busy to appreciate it. I promise to stop and enjoy the last of the warmth, if it deigns to visit.

Because, you know darn well what is lurking just around the corner:

Oh well, it will happen again, and again, so I guess we just suck it up and enjoy it anew. Or you could try hibernating. Hmmm, kinda like that idea, now that I have someone to hibernate with!

Be well......

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Milestone

It's my birthday today. I've crossed over into the dark side. I am no longer a "junior" American.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Homecoming...finally!

He's finally coming home.

For how long, we don't know. There can be, at any time, another tour of duty at another base.

After a year of being gone, I wonder how it feels to be coming home, and seeing the changes in things once familiar.

I have a case of nerves about readjusting to having him home everyday. I know that other military families have the same concerns. I keep telling myself that everything will be fine, that we're adults and being older, we should be able to compensate until we "find our groove" again. I also know that I'm kidding myself.

We've only been married 28 months, and 12 of them have been while he's been "away." We barely had time to sort things out before he left, much less build a foundation to sustain and support us when, as every married couple knows, we hit those "bumps in the road" that cause friction and upset. During the brief time we had in our first year, we had the added burden of both of us being out of work. Talk about trial by fire!

On the other hand, we've been blessed that he has served stateside. I cannot imagine the uncertainty that other families have when their husband/son/father or wife/daughter/mother is serving overseas. I don't think anyone can. No movie can depict the emotional strain, the daily trials, the lost opportunities and/or the celebrations/sorrows that every family experiences and the soldier misses.

The two separate life experiences create a chasm that some cannot bridge, and the divergence becomes two roads that never meet again. Yet some couples make a new channel that creates an island, the place where that separation is allowed to rest, and they move forward, rejoining like a river, becoming stronger because of, or in spite of it.

Marriage is a promise to each other that we will work hard to bridge the chasm that sometimes opens up before us. We can either allow it to create two roads and let it separate us, or we can work at building levees and dams that will shepherd us back together, creating a stronger union.
The levees and dams are called faithfulness, love, compromise, love, integrity, love, communication, love, charity, love, hope, love....see where I'm going?

So, the separation is nearly over. One of our nightly prayers is this, "We thank you (God) and pray for each other, that we continue to grow in love and understanding, patience, kindness and forgiveness." I hope that whatever separates you from your loved one, whether distance, conflict, confusion or (fill in blank) will not create two roads, but a new channel, that you can continue to grow in love, understanding, patience, kindness and forgiveness. Nothing else in the world matters.

I love you FHB, see you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Facts from My Hubby

Just for fun, here are some random facts about my husband (who I might add, insisted I publish this after going through it for fun, he didn't want to "waste" his answers)

A - Age: older than I was yesterday
B - Bed size: Queen
C - Chore you hate: anything that gets me dirty
D - Dog's names: don't have any
E - Essential start your day item: Coke
F - Favorite color: yellow
G - Gold or Silver: both (and lots of it)
H - Height: 6’2.5”
I - Instruments you play: piano, recorder, xylophone
J - Job title: Chaplain's assistant
K - Kid(s): None
L - Living arrangements: one woman, our two cats, and three foster cats
M - Mom's name: Rita
N - Nicknames: PretzelBoy, Hal, Howie DaBold, Honeybunny
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: a couple different ones; tonsils, hernia, gall bladder
P - Pet Peeve: stupidity
Q - Quote from a movie/tv show: "Pyle, you knucklehead!" (Gomer Pyle)
R - Right or left handed: ambidextrous, left handed for writing
S - Siblings: 3 sisters, 3 brothers, all younger
T - Time you wake up: 6:30 am, except on weekends then maybe 12noon
U - Underwear: briefs
V - Vegetable you dislike: lima beans
W - Ways you run late: too much to do before I leave
X - X-rays you've had: you could probably see my entire skeleton if you assembled them all
Y - Yummy food you make: anything I make
Z - Zoo favorite: penquins

Disclaimer: I did not coerce any answers, however, I did have to explain the concept a few times. Sometimes he overthinks things - LOL!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Miscellaneous info - from Boomer Randomness

Just for fun, here are some random facts about me:

A - Age: old enough to know better, young enough not to care

B - Bed size: Queen

C - Chore you hate: dishes, that's why I have a dishwasher

D - Dog's names: don't have any

E - Essential start your day item: any fruit juice

F - Favorite color: Sapphire Blue

G - Gold or Silver: both

H - Height: 5’4”

I - Instruments you play: none - tried guitar lessons when I was a kid, didn't take

J - Job title: Business owner - pet sitting

K - Kid(s): None

L - Living arrangements: one man, our two cats, and three foster cats

M - Mom's name: Joan

N - Nicknames: Harolds1, Lydia,

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: a couple different ones, 1-4 nights

P - Pet Peeve: drivers who fail to signal, those who drive into the pedestrian walk

Q - Quote from a movie/tv show: "Don't call me Sugar!" (Gone with the Wind)

R - Right or left handed: ambidextrous, right handed for writing

S - Siblings: one sister (deceased), one brother

T - Time you wake up: early for pet sitting; if no bookings - whenever (usually 7-8am)

U - Underwear: yes

V - Vegetable you dislike: anything overcooked/soggy

W - Ways you run late: when I underestimate how long it takes to get anywhere or if I check the computer one more time......

X - X-rays you've had: you could probably see my entire skeleton if you assembled them all

Y - Yummy food you make: raspberry chip brownies

Z - Zoo favorite: all big cats

What are your A-Zs?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sad Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of my sister Lora's passing. It has not been an easy year. We had a Mass said for her today to commemorate this sad day.

We are still working out the disposal of her "estate" such as it is. The house is the biggest asset and liability she had. With the housing market being "soft" people are more interested in getting a bargain.

More importantly, is how her death has affected us. My brother is angry. Mom is prone to absentmindedness. She feels disconnected, the same as after my dad died. Me, I feel abandoned, first by my dad, and then my sister.

We all know how our parents influence and interfer in our lives. Influence because when we are young, we absorb what they say and do, its how we learn things. Interfer, because when we are grown up and out of the house, parents sometimes cling to the need we had for them when we were small. It didn't matter that I was in my 40s, because I was not married, my dad felt the need to tell me what to do or how I was "supposed" to act. Never mind that I worked in a different industry, and had been on my own since I was 18. My experiences meant little to him. My comments, even when he asked for them, were suspect and lacked credibility because I wasn't a man. Yes, its true. If I offered a comment, it was dismissed. But if one of his friends made the same comment, then suddenly he took note of it. It was hurtful and laughable at times.

When my dad died suddenly, all of us lost one of our anchors. Our little boats spun around in the current for awhile. My brother and his family had each other to help move them forward. My sister and my mom were always close and were also closer in distance. She had both her daughters and son to anchor her, to help with decisions, get things done around the house, etc. She has wonderful neighbors who helped distract her by taking her to dinner, and plays. I had just met my husband-to-be, so I had a roller coaster ride, the up of the romance, and the down of the loss really wreaked havoc on my person. But I thank God for him, because I believe that things would have been quite a bit different for me otherwise, and he is the one who became my anchor.

When my sister died, it was even more shocking to our systems. No one could have guessed the outcome, no one had a chance to reconcile themselves to her death. Not like when a parent dies, its always in the back of your mind that they will not always be there, especially as they get elderly, you resign yourself to that fact. My sister was in early middle age, decades before her yet. My mom counted on her to be the one to care for her as she aged, because they were such good friends. There is still a hole that can't be filled by anyone else, especially for mom.

As for me, I feel like most of my childhood memories have left. Lora was there for most of them. Siblings have long memories, and aren't shy about making sure you don't live down some of the funny or embarassing moments in your life. And even during some of those times when we were at odds with each other, we always knew the other was there, one of the anchors of our lives. The touchpoints that helped shape us, and identify us.

The funny thing is, I think she left me even before she passed on. She decided not to come to my wedding. She's not in any of the pictures with the rest of the family. The wedding was a little more than a year before she died. Isn't that heartbreaking?

Rest in Peace, Lora.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Would you ride in a car with your head hanging out the Window????

Would you ride with your head hanging out of a car window? Eyes wide open, nose in the wind? Probably not. So why do people risk the health of their dogs? Oh yeah, because the dog likes it. Yeah, children also like to touch the shiny pot on the stove. You know the outcome of that scenario.

Dogs have the mental capacity of a two-year old child. They will always have the mental capacity of a two-year old, because they are dogs. Let me re-emphasize that, they are DOGS. They are not human children with the capacity to learn as they mature and gain the ability to reason and increase their mental capacity. They don't know about the dangers of hanging their heads out the window. Children don't know that the flickering yellow and red lights in the camp or grill are dangerous either and run right for it until some adult screams and scares them away from it and explains the what and why. You are the parent, or responsible adult. And that includes protecting your dogs from dangers that they have no experience with, or concept of.

Dogs are reactionary, and will jump out of a window to chase a squirrel or rabbit, they will jump after another dog. They cannot grab onto the edge of the window if you have to slam on the brakes, not to mention what happens if you are in an accident through no fault of your own.

Dogs also live in the moment. They don't learn like humans, unless they are consistently and repetitively are told "NO." And because they are reactionary, even that training can go "right out the window" along with the dog with the right (or wrong) stimulus.

I have never yet seen a dog with goggles on while hanging their heads out. The bugs and dirt can seriously injure their eyes. The stuff that flies around can be imbedded in their eyes especially at speeds greater than walking speeds. Do you drive at 2mph? No? Well, think about winds at 35 or 45 mph, driving dirt into your eyes. Ever been in a duststorm, or how about sand? Not so much fun, huh.

Does your dog wear a safety belt while riding? No? How silly of me. Ever been in a car accident, or seen the results of one? Things unrestrained fly around a car, and slam into windows, dashboards, and out of the car. What do you think will happen to your dog? Especially small lap dogs. Remember the circus where the man is shot out of a cannon? I don't recall there being a whole lot of big soft air cushions that are conveniently placed along the roads to catch flying bodies.

The sad fact is that we over-indulge our pets. We treat them like furry versions of humans and then jeopardize their health and lives by failing to protect them. It's okay to crack the window wide enough to let bigger dogs stick their noses out, but no more. Even their noses can be injured by flying debris. As for heads or more, (I've seen dogs leaning out the window with half their bodies), unless you want to kill them, don't do it. Let's face it, dogs are not smarter than humans.

Check out the article at: and this excellent personal account of an owner whose dog fell out of the car:

I'm sorry I have to put such scary images in your head, but being involved with animals as I am, it needs to be stressed that this is a responsibility you should take seriously.

For the sake of your dog, please, PLEASE don't risk their health & life because "they like it". "They" don't know any better. Crack the window a couple inches for fresh air and interesting smells for the dog, but keep them inside the car for you. Your dog deserves your best care and protection. I hope they are your best friends, and you treat them as treasures, just like your human best friends.

Have a great week!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Born Again American

My wonderful husband, who has been on TDY for 2 months now, sent an email to me that has a link to a great website. I think it captures what many of us are feeling right now, in light of the economy, job losses, foreclosures, and rampant greed on the part of our leaders in government and industry.

Check it out for yourself:

Sign your name, print the document, and remember what made this country great, its people. You and me, whom our government has forgotten. Let's remind them.

Have a fabulous week, and stand tall!