Category Archives: birthday

Friday 5: birthdays, chocolate chip cookies, and Rod Stewart

me with my dad in May 2008

1. Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. True to form, his card is late (what happened? I used to be so good about mailing cards on time!) but I will call and wish him a happy birthday.

2. Today is also my nephew’s birthday. How can it be that the little 2yo boy who stuck his fingers in our wedding cake is now a husband and father?

3. I finally took the cat in for her annual appointment (only running 4 months late on that one). The veterinarian and the technician and I all agreed that she is part-Abyssinian, which explains her gorgeous caramel coloring. I doubt it explains her perfect behavior throughout the exam, but I was glad for that, too.

4. This morning my friend ~P~ is coming over to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a national treat in China).  Last Saturday, I was at her house learning how to make a few easy, healthy dishes. I think I have the better end of the deal!

5. I’m in love with the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook CD collection. Unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for buying CDs just because I like them.   😦   But at least the next time someone asks me what I’d like for a gift, I can actually name something!


It wasn’t that long ago that we were watching this together:

Happy 20th birthday, MusicMan!

I’m proud of you, and I’m glad you are bringing The Girl with the Magic Hair to spend the summer with us.



“We’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself”
Not pain? Not failure? Not fatal tragedy?
Not the faulty units in this mad machinery–
Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry–
~Neil Peart

Fear. It strikes at inopportune times. Worry is the shadow that steals its way into my brain. It is late at night and I’m trying to sleep and wondering, is that a pain in my shoulder?

My paternal grandmother had a heart attack at the age of 45. I’ve been told that she was lucky to live through it. Today is my 45th birthday.

Fear has my head in a vice grip as I consider what the beginnings of a stroke might feel like… is that a headache or just my imagination?  After more minutes of worry, I get up and take an aspirin — just in case.

Fortified with reassurance that my lifeblood is now going to be flowing more easily, the shadow of worry slips away, defeated. I look out the window at the stars and realize that sleep will have to wait. I have to write.

I didn’t know my paternal grandmother very well. She lived on the complete opposite end of the country from me when I was growing up. In fact, I only remember one visit when I was about the age of ten. She was full of love and laughter and stories of the cousins I didn’t know, and more importantly, stories of my father’s childhood.  I didn’t know her very well at all, but I loved her.

I have precious few photographs of my grandmother; I also have a packet of her writings. She wrote prose and poetry. If she were 45 years old today, I suspect she would be blogging.

And now this stream of consciousness brings me to a place of peace, for I have moved from fear (quite reasonable fear, as we share more than a love of writing — we share genes and body type) to warm memories. I hear the ticking of the clock, but it no longer sounds like the ticking of a time bomb.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
~Psalm 23:4

My husband is retiring this summer. He is going to become my personal chef and trainer, and together we are going to accomplish what I have been unable to accomplish on my own: successful weight loss, increased health and fitness. He might even blog it.


1. Last Friday night was Humorous-Juniorous’ birthday party. It was the first time we had met most of his friends from school (H-J is a bit of an introvert). It was a successful geekfest. Who else would talk about math and wish for a video game called Orchestra Hero? (Admittedly, that WOULD be very cool!) They partied with DDR, snacks, Mario Kart racing, snacks, stick fighting outside in the dark, S’Mores at the firepit, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, cake and ice cream. And did I mention snacks?
If you needed party ideas for a 15yo boy, you’re welcome! 😉

2. We live between 2 towns; the smaller one has a population of 600, the larger town is ten times that size. The town with the traffic lights (FOUR!) had its annual Christmas parade last Saturday. More photos here and here

3. SnakeMaster would gladly own a horse.

4. This is what the dining room credenza looked like on Monday. Procrastinator, who??

5. MusicMan, my college son, is flying home today. We haven’t seen him for over 4 months, so I’m sure you will understand if I’m absent much of the next few weeks.

Suddenly, nothing… and fifteen

The entire month of November, I managed to post something every. single. day. And truthfully, there were only 2 days that were really challenging. I was in the groove of posting every day. I enjoyed it. I almost didn’t want NaBloPoMo to end!

But now? I find myself floundering.  My camera has sat untouched for an entire week. Prose and poetry escape me.

I gave myself the first few days of December “off” to pay attention to family needs and household responsibilities. It was good and important, but in the process I seem to have lost my writing mojo.

Oh, I’ve got plenty of little vignettes I could be writing about — how I had to lie to my 19yo on the phone this evening so that he wouldn’t know he would be opening a surprise gift from us within the hour; or how cold and blustery the wind has been here, with snow flurries seeming to come from miles away; or even what it is like to have my dad back in assisted living care and trying to joke with him and cheer him up while hearing him gasp for breath.

Fifteen years ago today, I held a newborn son in my arms; today that same son wouldn’t let me post his baby picture on facebook.
To my credit, I asked permission and honored his feelings… of course, it’s been in my archive album on my profile page for the past year [not tagged], and you could find it here one year ago today… but we won’t mention that to him!
Fifteen is the magic year when boys stop talking to their parents. At least that has been my experience with his older brothers. I am dreading the silence from this happy child and I fear it will come at the same time as a cross-country move.  How will I know what is normal sullen teenage boy behavior and what is sadness over loss of friends and familiar activities?

So while I wallow in responsibilities and the thoughts spinning ’round my head, I will probably be posting rather infrequently.
I’ll still be doing my best to read your blogs and hopefully even be a semi-faithful commenter.


I did it!

I managed to post something every single day this month.

However, that is not normally what I think of when I see November 30th on the calendar.

Today is Slim’s birthday — or rather, it would be if he were still alive and turning 102 years old. But he isn’t. He died 9-1/2 years ago.

Slim was an interesting character. He was my husband’s grandfather who threw himself a “kick the bucket” party and made a grand entrance riding a mule into the party hall (this was about 4 years before he actually did “kick the bucket). He was also a farmer for his entire adult life, growing and harvesting wheat and lentils (among other things) in the Idaho panhandle. Slim was 100% Swedish American who dunked his bread in milk and his cookies in coffee.

Hay rows on the Ridge

1989, Idaho farm
Turning hay rows in the field — like Grandfather, like Grandson

When we visited as newlyweds and I watched my husband working alongside his 82-year-old grandfather on the farm, I could see what kind of man I had married.  And then last night, I looked across the dinner table to see SuperDad dunking his bread into his milk.
The mule can’t be far behind.

forty six

2009 June 018

This man, the love of my life, is just as handsome today as he was 23 years ago.  ♥

Happy Birthday to SuperDad! 😀

Today isn’t all sad

Speaking of raising children to adulthood…

Encyclopedia Blue is many things:




He is eating a smoked scorpion. A friend from China sent us a jar full of them, but EB was the only one in the family who dared to try one.

Water lover


He was the only one of us who would ride the Hades roller coaster at Wisconsin Dells in 2006. I took this picture between his first and second rides.



For a boy who has had to share his birthday with a national tragedy for the past 9 years, I think he has turned out pretty well.

Happy 18th birthday, Encyclopedia Blue!

Happy Birthday, America!

We are busy enjoying all that small towns have to offer this weekend: parades, picnics, music in the park, and fireworks!

You’ll have to turn your head to the left….

Can you hear what my BIL says toward the end?
“I’m gonna tell you guys right now: when you’ve got an old stand and a 5-gallon bucket and some fireworks, you’re in Virginia.”
Welcome to Hicksville.

Have fun out there, y’all!

Hey, Nineteen

Time flies…

archive pic

SuperDad with MusicMan, April 1991

When I posted this picture on facebook last year, my adult niece thought it was a picture of MusicMan holding a baby!

MM started out 21.25 inches long; he now measures in at 6’2″:

Hey, Nineteen

We’re very proud of the young man he has become.