Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Have I become a wimp?

Hey friends.

I worked at school three days in a row this week.  It was the loveliest school with kind, hardworking, talented teachers!  The kiddos were enthusiastic and well behaved!  I was with fourth graders most of the time, in a classroom with two teachers.  They were great!  The male teacher read out loud from Bud, Not Buddy.  I was delighted to be in on a read aloud :o)..and think I need to get the book to see how it ends.

So many children's books are so sad.  Children in such dire situations.  I mean, I will never forget how tragic Island of the Blue Dolphins was and how about my favorite, Where the Red Fern Grows.

Around here we will never forget
THE MILLERS!


I bet most of you have not heard of The Millers.
They are storybooks written by the Amish.
They are heavy on 'the moral to the story'.

A child drowns in one story....to teach, 'don't cry wolf.'
and a little boy falls in the poo pit and dies.

Patrick and Matthew started calling the series,

Death and the Millers!!




Last year I was in a classroom where a Holocaust book was being read.
The children listening were in 7th grade and had special needs.  I was actually uncomfortable with the subject matter and I don't know why I was feeling so sensitive about it for this age group.
I was thinking, this is too horrid to read to tender children.  The first time I felt this was was when Katie read the dystopian story The Giver.  She told me about the book she was reading and I was shocked. She was not reading it with a group and I felt it was way too creepy to read without some kind of discussion.  So I read it so we could talk about it. 

I don't know if books for children have changed.
We read classics; Little Women has a very sad storyline, but there is joy and hope there too.
Tom Sawyer sees some grown up things but I mostly remember adventure and humor.
(But I was terrified when he was in the cave (the movie version.)


What do you think?
Have I just become more sensitive as I get older?

Can the kiddos handle the serious topics in third grade and fourth grade?

I felt so badly for poor Bud....Not Buddy.  (I thought of poor Jane Eyre.  hummmm)

Is it important for children to read about over comers?

I'd love to hear your opinions.

Encourage one another,
Donna















Sunday, September 15, 2019

stupid comments

Hi friends!
In the previous post I have a lovely comment from Anita.
I have tried to comment on my own blog for an hour to no avail.

I followed the instructions and tested it.
I've sent feedback to Blogger.

I have only been at this for FIFTEEN years.

Ugh.
Ugh.
Ugh.

Maybe tomorrow it will work.
After all tomorrow is another day.

I love hearing from you.

Donna-the-confused




Saturday, September 14, 2019

Stay safe. Eat cake.

Happy Saturday!

How's everyone!? 

The empty-nest life is okay!  
Katie seems happy and is adjusting well to college. 
Classes are good and hard :o)
She is making friends.

What more can you ask for?

I have been slowly getting back to my little job as Special Ed assistant.
I worked one day last week and have three scheduled for next week.
It is always interesting work.  And have I told you how much I love music class?
I missed my calling.  I love taking the children to music class best of all.


Not taking a full time/part time job with the schools was very intentional.
I need to be free to visit the kids when they need me.  Especially Emma this fall.
Baby Franklin is due in November and Emma has asked me to come down!  Melinda will most likely be there too!  
Emma is doing very well and she and James can't wait to meet their little girl.
(month seven!  how fast it goes when it is not you :o)

I plan on going to see the Downton Abbey movie next weekend! I can't wait!
I think just hearing the music will make me cry!







Fat shaming has not gone away.  It's as bad as ever.
Thanks for speaking up James.  
You are more than your weight.  It is not a moral issue.
Oh, so much more.















Ginny says
Happy September
(She had a wonky eye when she was little.  I don't notice it so much now.
She is seven now and considered....geriatric. 
That's goofy.



Love and hugs.
Encourage one another,
Donna



 

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Just right.

This summer has been a summer of doctor appointments for me.
What started out as an innocent query about my painful knees, led me on a wild goose chase of mammograms and skin cancer surgery.

You know you walk in the door and they look at what tests you have not had in a while.
And they start scheduling tests.

One mammogram lead to two.
I was scared about the second as they saw something.
But, it was nothing.  Afterall.

Thankful. Me.

The mole on my nostril was very small, but it was bleeding.
It did not look like something you see in a book.
But the bleeding alarmed me and I was right.
It was a little basal cell.

The fact that it was on my nostril made me worried.
I was not worried about the cancer because it was nothing.
But I have had surgery on my face before and it was hellish for me.

The other thing I worried about was that my nostril would be cut and deformed.

So I got a medication from my GP to help me relax as I had my MOHS surgery.
The only time in my life I have had any medication was during childbirth.  I think I had Demerol with Emma.  And it made me sleepy.  (they did not do epidurals in Marinette Wi in 1989)

Because I would be taking drugs, Patrick drove me and stayed with me.

I took one pill before we left and was advised to take the second when I arrived at the clinic.

So I did.

For this surgery, they take off one layer, look at it under a microscope and then if they have all the cancer, you are done, but if they still see some you go back in for a second, third, fourth cutting until the borders are clear.  Or some other term I can't remember.

So I went in for my surgery.  I remember it being very bright.
They covered my eyes with a bandana shaped cloth.
I think I remember the shot. Which hurts like heck in your nostril.

But other than that, I was done quickly.
They but a huge bandage on my nose and sent me out to the lobby.

The lobby was very large.  There were three big sections.  TV's, couches, a puzzle table, lounge chairs, and lots of people.

After saying hello to Patrick, I made a bee line for a couch to lie down!
I took out my little folded nylon grocery bags and tried to use them for a pillow.
I fell asleep.

Right there in front of all the people.

(I never fall asleep.  Barely can sleep anywhere but my own bed.  But, I was a little Goldilocks at the clinic that day!)

I woke up and wobbled over to the woman at the front desk and asked for a blanket.  Which I then toted around the lobby like Linus.

Patrick asked if I'd like a drink from Starbucks and I said sure...
I found a reclining chair and feel asleep again.

A little while later, Patrick returned with my drink and suggested I try a chair over in a corner.
Which I thought was super.  It was just right.

Back to sleep I went.

Noon came and my cells had been examined.
I went back to the surgical room and was told that they had gotten everything in the first go.

Hooray!

I could go home and not have to have more cutting done.
They showed me the wound and I think I was seeing double and thought I had a hole in my nose.
I cried and the young assistant ran to get the doctor who showed me slides of how these wounds heel.
I remember how she rubbed my arm.

When I finally saw my wound without any medication in my system.
It was not bad at all and there was no hole in my nose.

As I look back on my experience I just have to giggle at myself.
Oblivious to all the others at the clinic that day.


Goldilocks looking for the perfect place to sleep the day away.






Yesterday I had my final derm appointment.
The rest of my skin looks fine.
My wound is just a red mark now.


When I told Emma this story she thought I had taken too much.
But you know me, just following directions.

And what a funny story I got out of it.

It was just right,
Goldi














Monday, September 02, 2019

Well loved one.



Patrick and I drove Katie to college.  We navigated well until the last few miles.
Our detour took us over and under a covered bridge so that was cool.
Bennington is in the South West corner of Vermont.  
We can tell that it will be spectacular in the fall. 






Bennington is an artsy, progressive school.  I don't know if that is how they would define themselves but that's how I define it.  





The campus is so beautiful.  The dorms are white colonials and modern buildings.
There is a mix but it's very nice.  Everything is quite appealing.  I love the colonial look.  The above building has just gone through a gorgeous interior renovation.
Bottom floor has the cafe, lounge area, book store and mail.
Middle floor has the most spectacular cafeteria I have ever been in!
The drinks at the 'fountain' are all natural sodas. 
For lunch they had stir fry beef and broccoli, pizza with shrimp (they have a pizza oven), 
they had very yummy coconut ice cream too.  They flavors were odd.  But I love coconut anything.




Two of the smaller side rooms to eat in.






While we were eating, Katie's room mate happened to be sitting nearby and introduced herself.
She is a very sweet girl from Nepal!




This is winter of course.
The view from the big red building. 
Katie's dorm is the last one.
Her bedroom window faces the mountains.




Loved this cute little building.  It's the first building you see.
And you see such towering trees and the mountains all around.








 There are no sports at Bennington.  The book store selections are sparse.  It's very different from UW. So very different.  Seems the only thing that says Bennington College is the FONT.
I'm not kidding.

Katie is entering school with an interest in International Studies and French, and Art History.
The freshmen are placed in a group called Freshman Forum.  They will meet every week.  Katie has already found a few people she likes in her group...and her room mate and house mates are getting to know one another quickly with tons of meetings and get togethers.

She is going to do great.  I just know it.
She is such a hard worker....just like her Dad.
She does not give up.  She is curious and loves learning.   She is paying for her schooling all on her own.  She will be working on campus.
I'm so glad she has such a beautiful place to work and learn and become the best Katie she can be.








I did not cry when we said goodbye.

But I cried when she sent me this text on the drive home.

May your soul be at home
where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.

~Ursula Le Guin


I learned of this poem when I said goodbye to Katie's big brother when he went to college.
Katie was an infant then.

I will always be saying it.
over and over again....

be always coming home,
well loved ones

Mom










































Monday, August 26, 2019

Not god.

The hardest thing about parenting for me has been enduring my children's choices that are different that what I would choose for them.

Since they were babies I loved and prayed for these beloved humans.
I know was flawed.
But I never didn't pray or try my hardest to make choices that were in their best interest.

And then they become adults.
Or kind of adults.
Someones idea of adults.

And they make choices that smack you in the face and thrown you to the ground in
disbelief and dismay.

And you wonder how someone could hear you preach something for their whole lives and do the opposite.

It is especially difficult for me since I have always been a rule follower and a straight arrow.
Ridiculously so.

So I don't understand someone not taking my most excellent life advice to heart.
I do not think I ever will understand this.

My husband is not as shocked as I am.
He had a colorful past.

 I suppose I was filled with pride expecting to be listened to and respected.

I know Elisabeth Elliot would say, do it as unto the Lord.
If you are doing whatever you are doing as unto the Lord, you will not fail.
(Because you had the right motivation.)

And maybe sometimes I had the right motivation and sometimes I didn't.
Obeying me would protect them from lots of woes.
Seriously.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, they have to make their own mistakes and learn from them (or not.)

But it's hard not being god...even tho you didn't actually know that's what you were up to.

And so as the last birdie flies the nest,
I will feel relief that I am off sentry duty.
But our sweet times will be missed.


When I am feeling blue I feel like I failed my life's calling.
When I am not having a pity party,
I know I did what I wanted to do and I think I would do it again,
because there is nothing I love more than being a mom.



"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:16

It's hidden in the heart.


******


"... but you can love completely without complete understanding." 
A River Runs Thru It



“No whimpering, madam! You can't have the joys of motherhood without some of its pangs! Think of your blessings, and don't be a coward!—” 
~ Kate Douglas Wiggin, Mother Carey's Chickens
Teaching me things 25 years later.



From a little poster I have in my house from Lindsey Letters;

Believe the Best
Forgive the Rest and say
I love you.



Mean it.
Donna Elsie

























Monday, August 19, 2019

World Photography Day 2019


There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all
~the Beatles








A quick moment of joy and happiness.
~credit Zach Caddy




Our beloved parents.
Happy birthday dad.
Aunt Sunnie gave me this picture.  What a gift.



Colorful slice of life here in Verona with my Katie Grace.




Canon Sureshot.
Served me well when my children were small.
film camera.









Sue, Dad, Me.  
1960



Sweet, sweet memories




Those quickly changing babies.  Oh!  You have got to capture their delightful faces!




Busy, beautiful Boucher boys.





Aunt Dorothy with Patrick.




Grandpa Glyman with Dad, Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Mel.
They are at an airport.  Our dad looks so much like Cindy's boys at this age.




I had my camera a month.  The sun came out in Paris, the shop owner put out some flowers and I took my shot on Automatic. Medium Fine.  
I didn't know how to use my digital camera very well yet but
this proves a even an amateur can take a pretty picture.





Blurry fave.





Just a simple digital camera shot.  But I will always love this Chalk-henge picture.





Grandma Glyman with Matthew.
Six weeks.










Mom and Janice in Twin Lakes.









More blur.  I like my world blurry unless I am looking at people I love.

So much touching and hugging in these favorites.
I didn't choose those on purpose.

Photos help me remember,
they bring me such joy.
I loved picture books when I was young and love that I can make my own pictures.

Pictures make my life better.
I need them.

"Send me a picture!"

Donna





Monday, August 12, 2019

Back when her room was clean.



Remember how I said it took me two hours to find the cake with the handprint picture?
Well.  In that dive into the digital files, I spotted this precious picture.
This was back when I was in charge of the room and what went on the dressers and walls. 
IT'S SO CLEAN!!!!
Katie chose the two colored walls.  
She is just a teeny tiny tyke isn't she?

We will be taking Katie to college at the end of August.  She is going to Bennington in Vermont.

A new room for a new chapter in her life.
Neat thing about Bennington, they live in houses on campus. Hers will be a white colonial.
Her roommate is from Nepal.  And we thought Katie was traveling far from home!
She's a little bit bigger now and her hair is shorter and I would never think of posting a picture of her in her undies now!

But this little slice of forgotten life....
it's worth remembering.

So much love.


Encourage one another,
Donna




Saturday, August 10, 2019

My favorite Pioneer Woman recipes

How I love Facebook memories.

This time year I vacationed a lot! We visited, Chicago in August and Oklahoma and went to see Cheryl in Rhode Island.  Oh yes, today there were pictures of me and the girls with Cindy in Wausau!

It's just the best fun!

Here is a funny comment from ten years ago.



*****

This was before Ree wrote her first cookbook. :o)
That's pretty wild!  

The other day I wrote down my favorite Pioneer Woman recipes.
Recipes I have made more than once....and thought were delicious.





Here is my list.

STEAK BITES

I pretty much only cook steak like this. 
We love them.  Everyone who tries them loves them.
Patrick eats them with ketchup and Katie and I like them with béarnaise sauce because we are fancy.




OLIVE CHEESE BREAD

I love this simple, delicious recipe.  I am the only one who eats it so I have to save it for company.
Once I brought food for a friend who had surgery.
I brought her Olive Cheese Bread and Chicken Spaghetti.
She was very happy :o)

I wish I had this right now.





CHICKEN SPAGHETTI


I love this recipe because it is like lasagne but it is not lasagne.
You know how lasagne is so yummy and easy to bring as a 'caserole'?  
Well, Chicken Spaghetti steps in when you are afraid your guests have had enough lasagne.
I buy a roasted Chicken to make it easier.






PASTA PRIMAVERA

This is the best ever. 
I do not make it often because it is hard to do.
It's a little too hard for the Easy Chef (me) but the taste is perfect.
I made it for a big gathering at my house and really everyone raved.  
But I was sweaty and worn out.

haha





MACARONI SALAD 
with the spicy pickles

Easy and different and delicious.






CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

The herbs and flavors in this dish are fantastic!!!
In fact I try to use similar herbs and spices when I make Chicken Pot Pie.
Ree makes corn meal dumplings but I make plain old flour ones. 
This is so good even Katie will eat this with me.  She leaves the vegetables in the bottom of her bowl, and then I eat them.

This is also a time consuming dish to make BUT in the winter I am more likely to...slave over the stove!






I wonder whose handprint that is???




CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE

Easy and perfect.  We all love this.
I made it with my whipped Red Cake frosting once and made Ding Dongs.





CHOCOLATE PIE

This is the French Silk pie, not the pudding one.
Katie loves it so much she chooses this for her birthday and for pie day!
YAY




Oh lordy,
It took me two house to find that picture!!!
Technology is wonderful and awful isn't it?

Encourage one another,
Donna

What is your best easiest recipe???






















Monday, August 05, 2019

The most delicious German Potato Salad ever!!!


We loved the German Potato salad our mother and grandmother made. Suzy thinks it was Grandma Glyman, I seem to think of Grandma Hansen.  Let's say Sue was right :o)

Oh how I remember peeling those boiling hot red potatoes!!
This is tangy and so delicious!  

You can not find a more delicious German Potato Salad.
Make it yourself!


Encourage one another,
Donna




Saturday, August 03, 2019

John Updike again.









August

The sprinkler twirls
The summer wanes,
The pavement wears
Popsicle stains.

The playground grass
Is worn to dust,
The weary swings
Creak, creak with rust.

The trees are bored
With being green.
Some people leave
The local scene.

And go to seaside
Bungalows
And take off nearly
All their clothes.

~John Updike


Encourage one another,
Donna

pictured above
Cindy, James and Janet, Donna, Sue and Jeff
I can't figure out the year.  




Friday, August 02, 2019

Classic Miz Boo



I grabbed the boys one by one as they were packing the car to leave on Wednesday morning.
Sit here.
Look up.

Beautiful eyes.
Beautiful skin.
Sweet faces.


Put three boys together in a picture and it's usually chaos.
But even when it's not.....
the photographer forgets to change the aperture and the children wiggle from their spot....

And you get another classic group shot by Miz Boo.


This one is the best of the bunch.
The rest have one or two boys out of focus.





Aren't they beautiful?


Happy Friday friends!



"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
-  William Shakespeare  


Encourage one another,
Donna Elsie




Thursday, August 01, 2019

MOHS surgery for Miz Boo



Sleepy Donna





This is my going home bandage.
I will leave in on for two days.  Then I have regular band aids with Vaseline.











This bandage was putting pressure on the wound.

I felt I was cared for.
She cut the outside of my nose more than I ever imagined she would.
So I cried and the assistant ran off to get the doctor.

(The Doctor got all the cancer in one try.  So I only had to wait for results once.
I was thankful that I did not have to stay another three hours. )


The Dr. showed me samples of how the body heals and she showed me dramatic pictures of before and afters.  She didn't feel I needed to see a Plastic Surgeon tomorrow.  She asked me to come back in to see her in two or three weeks.  She felt quite sure I would heal well.  And if things need help we will consult a Plastic Surgeon then.


It just shocked me and so I cried.
The Doc was sweet and rubbed my arm and tried to reassure me.



I was sleepy and wobbly from the medicine.  I did not say strange things but I did sleep in the lobby like a champ.  (I can not sleep ANYWHERE)
Patrick came with me and was very sweet.  He marveled at his sleeping wife and brought me a Pink Drink.






I feel ya Jack.
I feel ya.


Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.
I'm doing okay.  
Still a little dopey from the medicine.

Lots of love
Donna Elsie











Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The relatives came....


and Katie treated everyone to Michael's frozen custard.  




We watched the Air and Water show on Lake Michigan at Bradford Beach.  The water was icy.
There was too much traffic getting to the show and we missed our favorite jets.  But even tho the parking was insane...
The beach was a great place to watch the Thunderbirds!







Yesterday we went to Lake Wingra for a little paddle on the lake.
It was cool and breezy. I could sit under a tree and look at the lake all day. 
Matthew took the boys out on a paddle boat. Zeek cried and came back to shore.
Asher got bored pretty quickly and Malachi stayed with his daddy.  Kaite paddled around on a paddle board.  I love taking people to this little park on Monroe Street.  It's a little gem.


*****

Tomorrow is my MOHS surgery on my nostril.  Hopefully the procedure will go quickly.
I did get some anxiety medicine.  I have never taken anything like this before, I hope I do not say odd things or do something wacky.
(My dad called pot, wacky tabacky.)

I took portraits of Matthew, Melinda and the boys this week.
I'll share those soon.  
I took single shots of the boys and really....I love a singleton.


Thank you for stopping by.
Encourage one another,
Donna