Monday, August 31, 2009

Choose Kindness

Oh my! The first day of school is so stressful and exciting.

I dreamt that I would be 45 minutes I woke up all riled up.

Katie and I left at 7:30 to get to school by 8:00. (Her new start time, now that she is in 4th grade.)

I am not sure where to drop her off so I let her out at the front door.
She reaches over to tug on her backpack and grabs the brown paper bag loaded with supplies.
And the the handle tears off.
And her supplies fall into the street.

She starts to cry.

We start picking up her supplies and replace them in the bag.
Almost everything has fallen out.

I start to laugh.

It is a brilliant start to the school year.

It can only get better after this, right?

So I tell Katie to carry the bag from the bottom and tell her that someone will hold the door open for her.

I park the car and come in the building just to check if she had figured out where to go.

But the building is virtually empty. And I am quickly informed that school doesn't start until 8:30.
All school Mass will start the day.

I know about the Mass, but I didn't know that meant we weren't suppose to have the children at school until then.
(This is different from the regular school Mass schedule. I am confused.)

I spot Katie coming down the stairs and by now I know where she is suppose to put her giant bag of supplies.
In the friary.

So we go down there together and she sets her things down.
Since she doesn't see any girls she knows in the friary we head back upstairs to the church to pick our seats. hehehehe

We settle into one of the first pews and wait. It's a calming place to wait and Katie is happy to see teachers and students file in to building.

The final song of the service was Shine, Jesus, Shine and the packed church sings it loudly and with cheerful clapping.

It is a wonderful way to start the school year.

I get all teary and Katie scoots off to find out who she will have as a teacher and which girls will be in her class.

As we gaze on your kindly brightness.
So our faces display your likeness.
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story.
Shine on me. shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the fathers glory
Blaze, spirit blaze,
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord and let there be light.

How I love that song. Especially when it is sung with children's voices.


This years school theme is Choose Kindness.

I can do that. I may not be able to do much right, but I can choose kindness.

Encourage one another,


Here she is on her way home from school today.
Happy. Not crying.
Her teacher says they should bring a snack to eat while he reads to them every day.
That is a very good thing. Snacking and reading. We like that guy already.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

24mm fun.

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.
Dr. Seuss



Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
~Dr. Seuss

Thank you all for sharing your favorite books and movies from this summer! What a wonderful list!
thankyouthankyouthankyou for sharing!

Since many of you are new readers lately I wanted to direct you to a wonderful reader/thinker/writer that I know and love.
I link her on my sidebar but I wanted to introduce you to her.

Meet Mentalmultivitamin

She is a no-nonsense, smart-cookie, fabulous person and champion reader.

And I am sure she will just love that introduction.

heh heh


One more thing. My daughter in law, Melinda is giving away Barnes and Noble cards this weekend.
She wants to see who is coming to her blog. She likes to watch her stats.
If you leave her a comment you will be entered in the give away.

She's a pretty cool go over and leave her a comment...and win one for the gipper!

Put on Love

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
-- Dr. Seuss

Happy Weekend!

Hey! Did you see the Packer's last night?
Didn't they look fantastic???

Superbowl.....Here we come!!!

Encourage one another,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Imagine this.

Ree and Miz Boo and Katie are driving along in a feed truck, or was it standing in the lodge kitchen.

I think it was in the kitchen. We were chatting away. Ree likes to ask questions: What are your favorite movies?
What do you like to cook?

And then Ree asked Katie, "Katie, what is your favorite thing to eat?"

Without a moments hesitation Katie answered, "Ravioli in a can. I eat it all the time."

Imagine the horror. Here I am standing with an extraordinary cook. A tireless, wonderful, fantastic cook.

And I am outed by my Katie.


I rock the Ravioli in the can!

"When I was a young girl Grover Cleveland was the president." said Ree.

No. She didn't say that. Well she did...but it was a little earlier in the conversation.
You'd have to be there. And you'd have to be a movie nut.
Can you guess the movie?

What she really said was, "I use to come home from school and have Ravioli in the can almost every day."

The girl is quick. She didn't miss a second to quell my self-loathing.

It's one of her finest qualities.

I really don't want to do a Friday Five today.

I'd love to know what you read this summer!
Do you have a book you highly recommend?

What was the best movie you saw this summer?
I have still not had a chance to see Julie and Julia...but I know I will like it.
Last year I read My life in France by Julia Child and I like her very much.

See you in the comments!

Encourage one another,


I miss you Emma. Phone home.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Last night I finished reading Anne Lamott's book Plan B.
I found some of her stories engaging and some hilarious, some were so sad and some were irritating.
But they are her stories told with her remarkable way of putting words together. She is self-deprecating and honest.
She is all about the love, baby. It's important to her to love.

It's just that....she has a real hard time loving her mom. She loves her by taking care of her when she is sick and dying.
But she really resents her for being the person she is. For her flaws and weird ways and inability to be a more normal/better mom.

It made me wonder if my children would only see my stupid flaws and weird ways and focus on those when I die.

And I suppose they will. At first. Parents have a way of hurting us when they are not perfect.

My parents were not perfect. But time has rinsed the pain away. What is left is the love.
I let those bad memories fade. I let them go. Way far way...into the fog.
The good memories, I draw near. I embrace them. I cherish them.

I think we need to be gentle with those who have died.
Not for them. But for us.

Learning to forgive people for being the broken people they were is a balm to our souls.
Learning to have mercy heals our hearts.

Time heals.
Forgiveness heals.
Mercy heals.

And then what is left?
The good parts.

The good parts of them. The good parts of us.

The love remains.
Like the cat's water bowl with the hard caked on lime. That lime that will not come off, no matter how hard you scrub.

That's what you want to be stuck with. That kind of stuck on love.

It's what remains.

Love one another,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

They were quiet as little mice for the first hour and a half...

And then. An idea was hatched.

"Mom, can we play blind-folded makeovers?"

And I hesitated. Oh that sounds perilous and messy.
An eye could get poked. Leonie and Sophia's mother might not like it.

But the girls convinced this nervous Nelly that, it would be just fine.

And so I helped them pick out the make up they could use.
(I had to be sure no Sharpies were being used. I have been around the block a few times, you know.)

And I let them have fun.


"Let the wild rumpus start!"



Within this bowl is my very favorite summer salad.


It was wonderful.


My mouth is actually watering right now.

Here's what I put in my summer salad.

one large tomato
one half a cucumber
large slice of sweet onion
feta cheese
splash of apple cider vinegar
splash of lemon
lots of salt
shake of garlic salt
big pinch of oregano

Oh my gosh....I just have to say,

Get in my belly!!!

It was a very good day.
Happy girls and my favorite salad.

Yes. I am that easy to please.

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swimming-pool eyes.


When Katie was younger, when she was six or seven, and we would go to the pool, she would migrate to the other children. She would stand real close. She would ask them if they wanted to play. She would say "hi". She would be turned away over and over.

She has learned not to try to befriend every small person she sees now.

( She did however have a very long detailed discussion with the lifeguard who was working the snack stand, now that I think about it.)

This makes me so sad.
But, it doesn't seem to make Katie too sad. So I will be happy about that.

I watched as she bobbed and jumped for over an hour.

She has learned to play alone. She has learned not to feel lonely without a friend along. As my mother would say...she has learned to entertain herself.

I watched as Katie walked like a crab in the shallow end of the pool. She wove herself around mothers and toddlers.
Scooting like a crab. All the way around. Then up the steps. Leading with her feet, I watched her climb the steps.

Out of the pool she scooted. Short little crab steps. Right toward me. Smiling and clacking along. (Well. She wasn't making the sound of a crab. I think I imagined that.) She maneuvered right up to me, not saying a word.

And I smiled at her and laughed and marveled at the ease in which she covered the deck.

When she reached me, she smiled and turned back to the pool.
She jauntily crab walked back to the pool and slipped right back into the warm water.

My happy little crab I love her.


My tweezers are missing.

This is a crisis.

I called Emma last night at 11:10 and said, "I think you took my tweezers. Why O why did you take my tweezers?"

She was lying in her bed, studying Hebrew and didn't jump up immediately to search for them. Cause my tweezers are not important to her. But they are VERY important to me. I love them. They work just right. I have three other tweezers that just do not work. But the old pair works just right. And now they are in Chicago.

I have this obsession. I confess.

I have little white hairs on my chin. No one would ever notice them.

But I do.

I don't notice that my hair in unbrushed or that I have forgotten to put on mascara for two weeks.
I do not notice the stain on my shirt or the sag in my pants. I do not notice the unkept eyebrows or the
extra weight.

But a hair on my chin. It can not be.

In 1999 I noticed the downy hair on my chin for the first time. I asked my quilting friends if they had little hair on their faces. Was this a sign of aging? My question was met with stares. No one had given it a thought. I felt alone.
As God is my witness, I'll never be hairy again....

I remember a lady who ran a knitting store up north. She had lots and lots of big huge whiskers on her face.
I think she scared me for life. That's what it must be. Her hairs were epic.
Hollywood material. Hollywood-scary-movie material.

Yes, that's the source of my fears, my obsession. I have just worked it out right here on the blog.

Dear Bearded Lady,

You have scared me straight. I will never be the same.

Your hairless friend,

And so the oddest blog entry comes to an end.
Sorry bout that.

Encourage one another,

Monday, August 24, 2009


On the way home from Chicago Katie said, "I miss Emma already."

We handed her Patrick's cell phone and she texted Emma to tell her.

And so they chatted back and forth a little bit.

Texting: It's a good thing. For little sisters.


Do you ever feel like when you go away for a few have been gone a month?

That's how I felt last night.


Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home.
~Henry Drummond

Life's a voyage that's homeward bound.
~Herman Melville

Oh! Auntie Em, There's no place like home."

Encourage one another,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fresh Tomatoes.


I love fresh, home grown tomatoes more than anything food in the whole world.
Really. I think.

If you have been around here in summers past you have seen my pictures of sliced tomatoes and tomatoes in a bowl.

But I don't have any tomato plants this year. The spring was so cold I delayed in buying a few plants.
Then when it finally did warm up (for a week) the plants were sold out.

So I will rely on the farmers market for my home grown tomato plants.
And I sure hope they come thru for me.

The other night I made hamburgers for dinner. This is my new thing. I make the most delicious hamburgers.
(I buy 80/20) But I didn't have a tomato to put on it. And I wanted a tomato so bad, I was determined to drive to the store to get one. Just as I was about to leave for the store, Patrick told Katie to go and ask the neighbor if they had a tomato.

Boy was I glad Patrick thought of that because Katie came home with a yummy little home grown tomato.

My dinner was complete.

Delicious and complete.

I ate two slices on my hamburger and two slices with salt on the side.

So juicy and delicious.

This morning we will go to the big farmer's market on the square in Madison.
My purpose is to find home grown tomatoes.

I hope they are ready.
I really hope they are ready.

Tomatoes may have a tough time turning red around these parts this year.

Cold summers are not the best for ripening tomatoes.

And just so you get the idea of what I mean by cold summers..... it is currently 53 degrees here in sunny Wisconsin.

So I have my fingers crossed that a farmer somewhere, somehow has a bumper crop of tomatoes.
My summer won't be complete without them.


On second thought...


When I first looked at Lexi's pictures I thought to myself, there is no way I would ever want to make these black and whites.
The colors are so glorious. Nope. I don't think I will be showing any black and whites.

And then last night as I edited her whole session.

I gave it a try. Just one little black and white.


My goodness, gracious!!! I couldn't believe my eyes.

So amazingly gorgeous!


For my black and white edits I use Sesame Ellis' black and white photoshop action from The Basics set.
I thought some of you might be curious :o)

Sesame Ellis Actions

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

I'm off in search of a tomato.

Encourage one another,

Friday, August 21, 2009


Emma jeanie jelly beanie goes back to college on Sunday.

I will miss her very much. She is a joy to be around.
She is a thoughtful girl.
A girl with a true heart for God.
A sweet sister and a great daughter.

But go, she must.

I shall bear it bravely.

Be always coming home.


Hey! That's my belt. Give it back.

Nevermind. It FITS you.


Let's do a Friday Five about College...

Did you go to college?
Do you recommend your alma mater?
Who was your favorite prof?
Did you get along with your room mate?
Were you in a sorority?


Words for Emma as she goes on her way....

Something beautiful for God

What I can do, you cannot. What you can do,
I cannot. But together we can do something
beautiful for God.

Yes, you must live life beautifully and not
allow the spirit of the world that makes gods
out of power, riches, and pleasure make you
to forget that you have been created for
greater things-to love and be loved.

Mother Teresa

Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

You are loved.


Encourage one another,


The whole poem for Di...and so that I always know where it is....

Initiation Song from the Finders Lodge by Ursula K LeGuin

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be your mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This and that and a Sneak Peek

I have a reoccurring dream.

It is so real to me, I think it is real. In fact, when I am dreaming it, I think it is so real, I plan on blogging about it.
Then when I wake up I ponder and feel confused. So. I think to myself. That is not real, huh?

And I really have to think hard to convince myself that my dream is just that, a dream.

And you will never guess who is stopping by our house chatting with my family members at the curb while I am inside on the computer.

Brett Favre.

In my dream, he lives nearby. He paints, watercolors and he looks at cast off junk in front of peoples houses.
He stops and talks. I never see him. I just hear that he stopped by for a visit again. It's perfectly natural.

It truly baffles me.

Our minds sure do have a mind of their own.


Rick Bayless won Top Chef Masters last night.
I know he is a chef from Chicago, but I have never been to his restaurant; Frontera Grill.

Has anyone been to this restaurant?
Would you recommend it?

Now that Patrick has eaten a steak taco my dining world has opened up :o)


Sneak Peek for Stephanie


I can not tell you how much fun I had photographing this little family.







I have never enjoyed looking thru a set of pictures as much as this one. I just shot like crazy and didn't know what I would come up with....and man! what a delightful, beautiful bunch of pictures.

It is kind of an out of body experience. Working with a very active three year old is exhilarating, challenging and rewarding!
Mom and baby were relaxed souls. Big sis was the life of the party :o)

I don't know how Steph and her hubby will choose. I'm having a hard time narrowing it down to forty for the gallery.
(I guess that's a good kind of problem to have ;o)



That was fun!!!

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hey! Katie! What did you learn on your summer vacation?




DSC_8513-2 copy

The one eyebrow raise.

Don't ask me why? or where? or how come?

It's a mystery to me.

Happy Wednesday!

Encourage one another,

"No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I've been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I've learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won't stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed."

— Madeleine L'Engle

I found a whole, wonderful bunch of quotes by Madeleine 'LEngle.
I have wanted to share this one with you for a few days.

She is a wise, honest woman.
I pray her words encourage one or two of you this day.

Encourage one another,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Donna and Patrick's most excellent adventure.


Just this week we saw this restaurant featured on Diner's Drive-in's and Dives.
I wrote the name down and googled the address.

Guy is so enthusiastic, he makes us want to eat at all of the fab places he dines!!!


However, Guy had duck when he visited Cempazuchi's.
I just could not risk it and get duck.
Would you have gotten the duck taco?

Anyway. I did try perch tacos. They were different and tasty. The guacamole was wonderful.
Patrick ate his very first mexican food. Steak tacos. Plain.


I don't know Milwaukee very well at all. But this was a cool neighborhood.
Lots of people and flowers and Italian restaurants, bakeries and bars.

Hey! Restaurants, bakeries and bars.

That has a nice ring to it. Think I have an idea for a Food Network show.

My sister Cindy will have to come along for the 'bars' portion of the show. hehe

Cindy....are you there?


A real family bakery.
A real Italian family bakery.

They sold ham at this bakery too. And gelato.
And lots of little powdery cookies.

With a pound of sliced ham you got six free buns.

Such a deal.


After lunch we searched for the Milwaukee Art Museum.
And found it at the end of Wisconsin St.

I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I think Milwaukee is Wisconsin's best kept secret!
I don't know if it was the weather, the empty streets, the wonderful situation of this museum...
but I kind of feel in love with this area.

I have been to Milwaukee a handful of times. But this museum. This spectacular museum, on the waterfront, in the summer.

It was amazing!





This painting enchanted me.


If you can decipher the name of the artist, will you let me know in the comments.
I forgot to take pictures of the "nameplates" and came home with paintings with no names this time.



I love getting super close to art.
It awes me.


This palette slays me.

So long Milwaukee...


already looking forward to our next visit!

DSC_8496-2 actually is all around

Encourage one another,