Reflections on Thanksgiving weekend.

On this day we call Black Friday, a day upon which approximately 347,892,491 people will be out practicing capitalism in my suburb alone…a day upon which, if you venture outside your home you will wait through 15 changes of each stoplight before getting through any intersection (**note: this may be an exaggeration, but only a slight one**), I offer these thoughts:

The weather outside is frightful.


Note the change from balmy (yesterday) to frigid (today). No snow yet, but the salt trucks have been zipping past our house regularly, indicating frozen roadways. I’m not complaining. I’m staying home today, and frigid weather is perfectly appropriate for the first day we break out the Christmas music.

Vegan-sensitive Thanksgiving dinner was a success.

Witness Middle’s work of art, the vegan pecan pie. Beautiful and delicious. It must be stated that the credit for the success of the vegan dinner largely goes to her willingness to dine solely upon roasted brussel sprouts, whole wheat rolls, and mashed potatoes containing rice milk and fake butter. She was a real sport, and, as always, great fun to cook with.

Pride and Prejudice makes for a perfect amusement post-Thanksgiving dinner.


The Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle version, obviously. We’ve read and watched this masterpiece often enough that we quote along with most of the dialog – even The Boy, who was quite an anomaly in his senior English class, as the only male who appreciated the brilliantly subtle humor in the novel. And, as this film version is a 5 1/2-hour extravaganza, we’ve got a couple hours to look forward to yet today.

“Good God, Darcy, I wouldn’t be as fastidious as you for a kingdom.”

Silent Football. 

If you’ve never played this cross between hot potato, charades, and parliamentary procedure, I suggest you find a group of people today and do so. No equipment necessary, other than a delight in the absurd and the ability to both follow rules and talk your way out of having not followed them. Do a Google search for the rules, which are as arbitrary as each individual group makes them. Our nephew introduced us to this delight last evening at our traditional “turkey leftovers and ridiculous games” night. It was so much fun I didn’t even notice that I was miraculously awake and laughing at 9:30 pm.

Hoping all my blogging friends are enjoying this weekend as much as I am!

Happy times.


What is that odd contraption in the upper right corner?!?

Our boy is home, and I couldn’t be happier.

This image, though, is a pretty accurate representation of what life seems to be like when the kids come home. Constant chaos.

Seriously, the only difference is the tails and pointy ears. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Holding it.

Yesterday I got stuck in a nasty flashback from the past…

The pelvic ultrasound.

I had four or five of them during my pregnancy years. Ab-so-lute-ly excruciating. Moms, you know why, right? Because at a time when a little, extra human hanging around in your body forces you to run for a pee four times an hour anyway, you’re forced to drink 32 ounces of water in a short period of time and HOLD IT for an hour or so.


Compounding that joy, for me, was the fact that I was prone to bladder infections, and at one point was even diagnosed with something called interstitial cystitis, which is basically chronic bladder pain/discomfort.

**As an aside, I feel confident that if there were more women in the field of medical technology, there would shortly be an instrument invented that would perform a pelvic ultrasound without requiring the torture of the subject.**

Anyway, it was all brought back to me yesterday when Middle had to go in for an ultrasound to check out suspected ovarian cysts. She came to my office straight from school, to hang out while she forced down a gigantic bottle of water. Then she went to the hospital for the procedure and I went home.

And waited, squirming, for an hour and a half. Remembering that horrendously painful experience. Worrying that she was in the same kind of misery. And, of course, concerned about what we’d find out about the cysts that were being imaged.

I think I ran to the bathroom at least four times in that hour and a half. Sympathy pee.

Thankfully she finally got home, perfectly cheerful. No big deal, she said.

HUGE sigh of relief. And I didn’t have to pee again for hours.



Clean house? It’s overrated.

Let’s see…

This past weekend I didn’t

  • dust
  • clean the bathrooms
  • finish the laundry
  • scrub the floors
  • vacuum the basement

By no standards could one say my house is clean.

But tomorrow night my boy comes home for the first time in 2 1/2 months. Our middle girl finally gets a break from her student teaching and mountains of papers to grade. This weekend we will put out our beloved Christmas decorations, fill the house with the scent of fir, and delight our ears with our favorite Christmas music from around the world.

This is a good life, clean house or not.

For your own safety.

These may not be earth-shattering “Good Things To Know,” but if you live around here, they might come in handy:

  1. When hanging out in this house and attempting to do anything on the internet, PLEASE: FOR YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND, PUT A POST-IT ON THE MICROWAVE WARNING OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD NOT TO USE IT. It is an utter mystery why our microwave makes our router shut off. But you should hear the cussing when someone’s trying to complete a form, pay a bill, or undertake research and they’re suddenly cut off by some fool warming up a piece of banana bread.
  2. If you happen to be driving down the six-lane road on which Holy Cross Lutheran Church is located on a Sunday morning, innocently trying to get to work at 7:45, and the person in front of you is driving at 30 mph – completely ignoring the posted 45 mph speed limit – do not, repeat DO NOT race around them. The likelihood of them being oldsters on their way to the 8:00, traditional service is 100%. You will have to hide from them when they pull into the parking lot one full minute behind you. Every. Damn. Time.

Thank you. That is all.

Who we are.

There are so many things to say about the world events of the past week, all of which have been said before by someone, and all of which are inflammatory to some group or another.

As I have mentioned recently in this space, I LOVE the fact that blogging allows us to connect with people all over the world. Those perspectives are invaluable to me.

At the same time, the fact that I have those global connections makes me uncomfortably aware of how extremely badly the U.S. is coming off.  In the arenas of ISIS, refugees, and generally being a nation of decent, reasonable human beings, too many people who hold power in our nation are showing themselves to be xenophobic, ignorant fear-mongers. I’ve read polls this week that show a majority of citizens agree  with those leaders. I am ashamed.

I suppose what I want to say is that there are still many of us here who empathize with the plight of refugees. Who are not afraid to open our arms to those in need. Who have great respect for the real Islam. Who learned from the sins of our past (remember Japanese internment?). Who recognize and honor the humanity of those who are different and yet so similar to us.

On the behalf of a nation which, at its purest level, is meant to stand for freedom and justice, I extend my most sincere apologies.

Holding them close.

My first thought upon waking this morning was of our son. In my heart I was hugging him tight, though he’s three hours away at his university.

In the night, during one of several hours of wakefulness, I had looked at Facebook to pass the time. Scrolling through the posts, it took me a moment to process one in particular: a photo of a young man who was a classmate of our boy, captioned “RIP, November 16, 2015.”

Though there were many young friends who hung out at our house, came over for rehearsals, sat down with us for dinner, this was not a face I knew well. In fact, I only knew this young man by name, because our boy has mentioned him fairly often, even after he’s gone away to college. Right in the middle of a conversation: “Hold on, Jacob just texted me. I need to answer him.” A phone call in the car: “Oh, it’s Jacob. I have to pick up.” After supper: “I’ll be busy tonight – Jacob wants me to play <insert name of online game here> .”

Over time, I gathered that Jacob was somewhere on the ASD spectrum. That he really only left his house to go to school. That he was in a difficult place emotionally.

I don’t even know how The Boy knew this young man. I assume they had classes together in middle school, but according to reports, none in high school. Our son didn’t say much about Jacob. Just “He’s a good kid.” And “He kind of needs a friend.”

And now Jacob is gone. I don’t know any details, but I can guess.

I texted my boy the moment I woke up. He replied immediately. I ended with “Love you times a million.”

He’ll be home in a few days for Thanksgiving break. Until then I’ll be hugging him as tight as I can, every moment, in my heart.

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving.

I’m trying really hard to get excited about Thanksgiving, but it’s a little tricky this year.

For one thing, Oldest won’t be with us. I’m happy she’ll be having a lovely holiday with her boyfriend in Chicago. But we’ll only be at 4/5 capacity in the house and around the table, and that’s just a bit sad.

And then there’s…the menu. Middle (the vegan) and I have been working on plans for a meal that she can eat some part of. I’m still making a turkey, because…THANKSGIVING. But we’re compromising on a green bean casserole of her devising, two separate batches of mashed potatoes (with and without butter and milk), a pan of stuffing moistened with vegetable broth, and some sort of pecan pie sweetened with dates rather than corn syrup. Corn syrup is out because corn is killing the world. Yes, I really do get that, but sometimes I just want to eat without trying to save the world while I chew and swallow.


So this is what tofurky looks like. Ummmm…I actually like tofu, but I don’t want to eat this next Thursday.

So tomorrow we’ll do our major shopping for the holiday dinner, and next week the cooking adventure begins. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun with it.

But I think I’ll be kind of glad to move on to Advent and Christmas.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

Consider the evidence:

  • I’m working from home today.
  • It’s dark, cold, and gloomy outside.
  • I woke up with a headache, full ears, and a cough.
  • I’ve been re-reading all of Jane Austen’s works.

So the question is…why is there not a servant in this house to bring me a cup of tea in bed?!?  


Playing at work.

Mondays take a lot of abuse from those of us who work outside the home. But my Monday got this week off to a great start.

I spent the first ninety minutes of my day playing with toddlers and preschoolers while their mommies got some grown-up time. Reading books and driving trucks figured heavily into this play time. And then I established myself as the world’s greatest comedian when a couple of my two-year-old friends brought me play food to taste – I pretended it tasted terrible and spit it out all over the floor. High comedy, I’m telling you. Belly laughs all around, over and over again. And then a sweet, round little six-month-old needed a bottle and a nap, so I got to cuddle and rock and feed her. What a day!

It’s actually kind of a weird week at work. We’re having a new sprinkler system installed (word to the wise: don’t have your sprinklers installed on the cheap – I promise you’ll regret it), and much of the staff is unable to work in the building. Our weekly staff meetings will happen at an awesome coffee house near my home. And since the church building is pretty much a ghost town, I’m choosing to do most of my work from home all week.

So here I am, all comfy under a fleece blanket on my bed, writing a post while taking a break from creating Sign-Up Geniuses, sending emails, and organizing a Christmas program.

Playing at work, and working at home. It’s nice to turn things upside down every now and then.IMG_7200-1024x704