summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Monday, January 31, 2022

very interesting!!!!

 ....I wanted to title this "BREAKING NEWS!"   56 year old local woman slept well the night before a trip!  What did she do right to accomplish this?

Well, I don't know.  I didn't take anything, except for my usual vitamins...magnesium, potassium, fish oil, apple cider vinegar, vitamin D and K2....but I slept so well, the first time I woke up to roll over, I was so excited at how fast I had fallen asleep, I almost woke myself fully up, just thinking about it.  I woke up again, and it was only 4:30, woo hoo, I had time to fall back to sleep.  The beautiful thing is...I actually did.   Even in my sleep I knew it was a beautiful thing that I could actually sleep....

Anyhoo, I have to be out the door in a mere half hour, yet my comfy chair called and I answered.  I took care of the pups, and washed up dishes, cleaned things up, then decided what the heck, and here I am.

I'm excited about the trip down to Florida, but the older I get, the more anxiety I seem to have about things, even fun things.  As much as I fight those thoughts, my body has a mind of it's own, and my tummy will get all out of sorts, and I'll get a little shaky.  It's just a little trip!  It's NO BIGGIE!  But, my body is going out of it's comfort zone.  

A bit of anxiety, but also excitement, as I'm going somewhere I've never been, and I'm going with some really good friends:  Emily, Abigail, and Mariel.  (Evelyn was supposed to go to, but she just started a new job, and didn't want to ask for the time off.  She works from home, but the travel time today and Friday would have messed things up.)

The good thing is there are direct flights to Florida now, board the plane, and dang, three hours later, you're plop in the middle of summer!  Abigail came over last night to pick up the suitcase, and asked me if I was packing any sandals.  I am going to WEAR my sandals.  She was horrified, it's too cold here for sandals.  I'll wear boots to the airport, and change to sandals when I get dropped off.  But it's too cold to walk into the airport in sandals, she said.  n-aaaah.   It'll be fiiiiine.  

So off we go....

Sunday, January 30, 2022

two boys in a box....


Wulf and Tennyson came over last night with their mama, Margaret, and auntie Evelyn (their daddy, Adrian, went snowboarding with Jonathan)...we made a feast: Paul made chili, they made pizza, and wings with their famous "sticky sauce", it tastes just like the Chipotle Chicken Crispers sauce....the boys had some rides in the box, too cute.

Wulf will be four in a few months, and he talks like a miniature adult.  He's so sincere, so kind and caring, but also has tons of energy.  Tennyson is more laid back, only 16 months old, more low-key...but he's starting to get more of a will, as even the nicest of us has, ha.  Last evening, he thought the place to be was on top of the dining room table.  He thought it was a funny game to be scooped down from it.   :)

Yesterday was bitterly cold....below zero again in the night, but today is milder, and the sun is shining on the snow.  I finally got my act together and packed.  I gathered up all possible clothes, tried some on (oh dear, that wasn't fun!), washed two loads (darks and lights), then jettisoned half of them.  The airbnb has a washer and dryer, so I plan to travel there and back in the same clothes, a comfy dress with pockets, and some leggings...

We went to church today, and it was good to see everyone, good to have some coffee afterward and talk.  The girls run a mini coffee bar, and some of us bake things they sell, money goes in their conference travel fund.  (Since traveling isn't really a thing right now, many of their conferences have been local, but we try to make them fun and adventurous!)

I have chicken soup in the crock pot, but Miss Cam simply can't wait until dinner, and is eating ravioli.  She loves frozen cheese ravioli, boiled up, with just butter, salt, and pepper.  I don't get it.  (late lunch).  What?!  She's #16, so yeah, a little spoiled.  The last four, the final 25%, are all a bit spoiled...and I'll try to explain why....

I have learned a few things through the years.  Kids are all different, but they ALL need to be treated with respect, and it takes more patience sometimes than a human being is capable of, but when I've asked God for more, He's never let me down.  Kids are rebellious, they can't help it, it's how they're wired, some more than others, and some stages more than others, like the terrible twos, and threes, and fours, ha....but teenagers, oh dear.  It's like they're victims of this contrary nature, they can help it but they can't, if that makes sense.  

So dealing with them requires mama to take a deep breath, and don't take the bait.  If they're itching for an argument, do not engage!  Mom doesn't have to win anything.  It's not about winning arguments!   It's about putting your foot down as little as possible, only on the most important of things, giving them freedom to be themselves, express themselves, but also being an example in what you teach them to do.  I can't scream my head off, and tell them to be patient!  So I have to live the life that I encourage them to live, and that's a true, genuine, and difficult thing, you can't fake it.  So meet them with warmth, and let them know what you expect of them....and be humble and think about it when they give YOU an exhortation, ha.  (No one wants to be talked down to, no one wants to be yelled at...I remember being in the store a few years back, and this guy just YELLING, not even loudly, but harshly, at a kid who looked to be around 13...the kid was hiding behind his hair, but he glanced at me and looked absolutely mortified. I wanted to hug him, I wanted to slap the guy for humiliating this boy....).  Respect goes both ways, you have to respect your kids if you want them to respect you.

(Just in case anyone wanted any unsolicited parenting advice, ha...)

Anyway, the years of having little children fly by, and I supposed I'm holding on to being mommy.  I'll always be their mother, but you know what I mean.  It changes, they grow up and into their own lives, and I become a friend, which is a good thing...but it's not the same.  So I'm holding on to it, and enjoying the mommy days, with all of my heart.  

These two younger girls of mine love anime, and they watch it with subtitles.  (It helped Miss Char become a good reader, really fast, when we discovered shows with subtitles, several years ago!). It rather drives me batty, but I learn to tune it out.  

So the car is driving better, still some icy wheels, but not nearly as bad.  How many years have I lived in the land of frozen, and I'm just learning about the shaking because of deep snow?  One teenage son did drive it down some unplowed roads, and was quite impressed with how it handled.  I was quite unimpressed that he drove MY car through deep snow.  And he is a really good kid, but they just don't seem to always think things through.

So tomorrow, heading to the airport....then to Fort Lauderdale!  The airbnb has a pool...we'll go to the beach once or twice, but are thinking of mostly just getting some sun by the pool....I also plan to go to Publix a few times, mm hmm.  I wish I had take pics of every single far-away grocery store I've been in while traveling, but no one would care, except me, because I am a genuine grocery store nerd.  Safeway, Piggly Wiggly, Fred Myer, Sprouts, WinCo....such fun!  

Ah well....hopefully I'll be able to fit the laptop in the backpack, and bring you all along on my little vacation!  Have a really good afternoon!

Friday, January 28, 2022

checking in....

 There's a break between snow bands, so I should get a-movin', but oh my chair is comfy and it's so cold out!  But, there are things to do and places to go...I need to get a few things from the store, drop off some things to some who are quarantined.  One of my older kids who tested positive had to go into the E.R. last evening, but is home again, and doing better.  Many are experiencing mildness with the new variant, but it can be harsh too...and it can be scary.  

Also there's something wrong with my was shaking like crazy last evening...not sure what's wrong, yet.  So I'll be driving the truck today, thankfully we have two vehicles.

I think it's a good time for some random thankfulness:

1.  Having pets is a giant pain in the rear.  Suri ate her food too fast yesterday, and yakked.  On the floor.  So I'm thankful we have those plastic gloves I stocked up on when I thought we would need them for the pandemic, which is hilarious now.

2.  Having pets is also a huge blessing.  They are hilarious, the kitties randomly pounce on each other, cuddle up together, and the way the pups greet the kitties, sniffing and giving them a lick on the nose, wagging the tails...and there's nothing like a dog who is happy to see you....and they always are!  Run down the hall to use the bathroom, come back to the living room, and wag wag wag!

3.  Coffee, although I'm  trying to cut back, make it less strong, because I think it really bothered my stomach when I was sick, drinking it black like that.  Now it also seems to make my heart pound harder, so less is more, wah, I do love it though.  Decaf will be my friend ha.

Off I go....before the snow comes again....

Thursday, January 27, 2022

dreaming the dreams....

 ...last night, I had a dream....when you say this in person, to perhaps your teenagers, their eyes may glaze over, but I have a blog!  So we had mice, in my dream, getting into everything.  I spied one in the big container of oats, and announced that I was going to keep it.  I pulled it out of the oats, and oh my goodness, it wasn't a mouse, it was a baby!  A newborn baby girl!  I cuddled her up, and said I'm keeping her.

Okay, it made no sense, but the heaviness of that newborn head against my shoulder,  I just loved her already...I do miss those days.  

Back when were we having babies, you didn't know the gender (until my younger ones), so you got out all of the baby clothes, ditched the worn/stained ones, tenderly folded the others, holding up like every other on, exclaiming just how little it was.   Even when we didn't have much money, I always made sure I had some new things for the baby.   Don't even ask about the strollers and prams...because they each certainly had a new one or two or three of those.  

Oh dear, I sound like an old lady, talking about way back when.

Today, I have honestly not done very much.  Miss Char was running late, but she made the bus on time, phew, I was already envisioning going out in the one degree morning to drive her, but she scrambled.  I swept and mopped today, talked to my oldest grandchild, Anya, on the phone for a while, cleaned and bleached the sinks and counters, did my twenty push ups and other exercises...then I pulled something out of the cabinet and it fell on the steaming cup of coffee I had just finished making, the last cup of the good coffee Sonja brought home from Oregon...I jumped out of the way, and spilled the cat's water....oh dear.  That coffee cup must hold ten gallons.  What a mess, dripping down all over the white cabinets.  I did have the thought:  I'm glad I'm the one who did this...   but dang, I had just mopped the floors.

I didn't start packing yet, but I did get out the sunscreen and set it on the counter, and I made a mental note of what I need to get out...we are only bringing a personal item, and sharing a checked bags, so I have to pack lightly.  I am planning to bring the laptop though.  It's vacation, and I can't go without blogging on vacation!!!!  So yes, you all get to go to Florida!   I can't even believe it.  Sand, sun....aaaah.  

Today, the sun is shining on the snow.  It's a lovely day to go out and about, and I do have some things I would like to go do.  I have $10 Kohl's cash, and don't want to spend $35 to get free shipping, and rarely what I want is free store pick up.  I want to get a few things for a family who is home quarantining, and maybe some more coffee....I have become so picky about coffee.  

Sonja just came in the door from nursing school, so the dogs were barking their heads off.  It's a good thing they're cute.

Suri is nine and a half, her beard is getting white.

Orange Guy is all about staying warm and cuddly.  Sunny tolerates.  Maybe she secretly likes it.

Last night, we had chicken soup for dinner, it turned out really yummy.  I cubed up chicken breast, tossed it in flour, salt and pepper, browned it up, added chicken broth, and simmered it with some chopped celery and carrots.  I added a bag of frozen mixed veggies later.  The egg noodles were served separately, as I don't like how they hog all the broth, and I don't want to eat them, either.  I had mine over cauliflower rice.  

So yesterday as I searched the freezer for the pork chops I KNEW were in there, I ended up pulling everything out.   It gets so disorganized!  It's the side-by-side refrigerator, and the freezer design is...well, it's hard to get things organized!  After washing the shelves, removing the door storage thingies and washing them all up, putting everything back in some semblance of order, I felt like I had accomplished something.  I am so lame.  Paul was getting more coffee, and I announced, I cleaned out the freezer!  Charlotte came home from school, I cleaned out the freezer!  

I did find the chops, I froze them in marinade, they're in the refrigerator thawing, for tomorrow night.  Tonight we're having pizza because the dough is rising in the fridge, looking ready to use.  I'll also make some wings in the air fryer.  Turns out we have lots of them, ha, don't go shopping, just rearrange the freezer!  

Has anyone read anything about the trucker rebellion in Canada?  It's quite awesome, they are protesting mandates, and 50,000 trucks are headed to Ottawa.   Trudeau dissed them, of course. (He called the protesters "a small fringe minority who are holding unacceptable views."  (who is HE to say what are unacceptable views??!!!!)  I've read that truckers are refusing to supply the Quebec Quebec, the unvax-ed are allowed to go into Walmart, but only to buy essentials, with a store employee accompanying them.  They're not allowed to buy crayons, or clothes, or washcloths, or vacuum cleaners.  Does this make any sense to anyone?  Of course not!  

Ah well, Sonja is relaxing here after a busy day of class, so I am going to chat with her...this post has been interrupted no less than ten times, it's disjointed...but it's getting published can't overthink it on the blog, or nothing would ever get published...have a very good day, everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

....the calm after the storm, before the storm....

 ...I'm the first to admit that I'm not really very busy these days, just in fits and starts.  Yesterday was busy. After putting away the groceries, having a cup of afternoon coffee, and making dinner, it was time to get out the door again.  I brought dollhouse stuff,  a lot of it, to Activity Club.  (They LOVED it).

It snowed at least 3-4 inches while we were at AC, the drive  

It wasn't snowing so much in this one, but so much snow on the road!

When it's really coming down, you can't tell where the road even is!

But ahh, we made it home, safe and sound, and shh, I had a few Hershey Kisses...and my comfy chair, in my sweater and slippers, just like an old gram-mah.  

Today is cold.  I stole this pic from Emily:

-18.8C, pretty chilly.  

(hint:  if you leave the cover off your grill in the winter, it will freeze on the ground next to the grill, and you won't be able to cover that grill again until it thaws....we do use the grill sometimes though, and when it's covered, good luck getting it uncovered to use it...)

Anyway, we're having a break from the snow today, with blue skies, and temperatures going up to about 13.  Tonight, even colder than last night, then perhaps...a nor'easter this weekend.  

But really, who cares about the weather?  It's winter, it's January, it's typical.  

One thing I'm trying to do is move more.  I walk around and around the kitchen/living room circle, walk backwards, do leg lifts, a few push ups here and there, just move.  I don't WANT to, but I know it's good for me.  Oh, I am lazier than the day is long, and I would like nothing more than to just stay in the comfy chair...ha.

We did go to the library the other day, and when I have library books, look out.  

One thing I have to do is start thinking about what I'm going to pack for Florida.  I'm looking SO forward to the vacation, but not looking forward to my blindingly white jiggles being on display.  I need to try on a few things, and throw them in the wash, as they haven't been worn since last summer, so I can't wait until the very last minute.  

I try to look at things like this:  I'm the lady who makes the other ladies feel not so bad about themselves!  

Ah well, at the end of the day, who really cares?  As long as I can keep up with my girls, as we aren't renting a car, there will be a lot of walking involved.  Shh, I'm not going to be a big complainer, either, I don't want them to think that Mom is too old and rickety to bring along ha.  

Sad thing:  I ordered four different dresses for this trip, and all of them went back.  Two were hideous on me, sleeveless dresses with gaping armholes, snug around the belly, horrid.  Two were lovely, I absolutely loved them, except for they were scoop necked, scooped like a greedy scooper just got carried away and scooped down too much fabric.  I loved them so much, that I tried on four different bra-lettes/sports bras, to wear underneath, bought one, tried it on at home with a dress, and nah, still looked PG-13.  Woe to all if I had to lean over in it.  

Online all looks so nice, and then you get to wait, anticipate the delivery...then try it on, and....oh.  dang.  

It can be addicting though, and I'm ashamed to say I love that thrill of knowing something is coming for me in the mail.   (Calvin and Hobbes:  Calvin sent for the beanie on the back of the cereal box, checked that mailbox every day, then it came...and it was just an ordinary hat with a little propeller on it.  It didn't make him fly.)

New stuff, such a snare.  

Today is a chicken soup day.  Pot pie would also be good, but we have a fresh baguette they need to eat, so chicken soup it is.  I'm defrosting some pork chops that are marinating in lime juice, salt and pepper, they'll be on the table tomorrow night with some roasted veggies and apple sauce.  Friday, pizza...and a few chicken wings in the air fryer.  

Ah well, one of my other older kids who doesn't live here anymore has Covid, and just to hush hush the one lady from the peanut gallery who blamed me for my grandkids getting sick, this one is fully vaccinated.   But it doesn't matter if I include that little snippet, because she's had it with me, and is done, so she doesn't read my blathering anymore....sorry for the snark!  But apparently not sorry enough to erase it, you're thinking!    These days it's become public info: vax status, Covid status, and sometimes people still want privacy.  My blog, but not always my story.  But please, pray for this older child of there are special circumstances.

They grow up and move out, and still have full possession of mama's heart.  How I can love each one of them with my whole heart is beyond me, but God can do amazing things.  

Betty, I've been praying for your brother, I hope he's faring okay...what times we live in!  Every day is a fight of faith!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

driving through the bands....

 When you live south of Lake Ontario, the snow can be very unpredictable.  If you drive straight south for 15 miles, chances you'll go from a blizzard to sunshine, then back to a blizzard.  The roads were treacherous, with low visibility, then wait a minute, it's clearing:  ahh, sunshine.  Tonight it's dropping down to one degree Fahrenheit, -17C.   

This fine morning, Miss Elise joined me for a few hours while her mama went to an appointment.  We played dollhouse, we played miniatures (Calico Critters/Little Woodzeez), then we played Candyland.  She's good company for being four years old, I enjoyed it.  

I also like playing with the toys, so it was a win/win.

Camille and I had to pick Miss Charlotte Claire up from school, and off we went to the dentist, later in the day.   Two little girls with nice clean teeth and no cavities, and new toothbrushes.   We decided to go into Wegmans while we were in the city, because...Wegmans!  I always get my paper towels from Wegmans...their brand is good.  Well, $15.99 now for the big pack!  Ouch.  I decided to change the way we clean things up around here.  I'm going to weed out some old towels, cut them into sixths or so, and create a special hamper for them, just wash them with bleach every few days.  We can still use paper towels for some things, but just try to use fewer.  We got ginger seltzer, pasta sauce, parchment paper, Ezekial raisin bread, and the girls picked out a muffin.  

Home...ah home.  I browned up some burger and made taco meat, cut up peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and got out the sour cream, salsa, and Mexican cheese....taco salad!  

In a little while, I am leaving for Activity Club!  phew.... 

Monday, January 24, 2022

to be one of the girls....


Evelyn, Emily, Abigail, Mariel, and me!  We celebrated Emily's birthday with a beer tasting at a small local brewery.  What actually happened was I heard them talking about it, and invited myself.  Shh, I felt better when they said they were going to ask me anyways.  

I had a coconut stout that was out of this world, but my favorite was a peanut butter s'mores, a dark beer with only a hint of those flavors, mmmm.  I cannot tolerate much alcohol, good thing you can get really small glasses!

At home, there was pulled pork simmering in the crockpot, with lime juice, salt and pepper, and brown smelled amazing when we got home.  I mixed some with a bourbon bbq sauce, a little bit of hot sauce, and put it on a tray of tortilla chips, added shredded Mexican cheese, and jalapeƱos on half...into the oven...opened some black olives, sour cream, salsas, ect., and dinner while we watched some football.

This was actually from Friday night...Jon, Abigail, Camille, Sonja, Charlotte Claire..
...and last evening, Mariel, Emily, Abigail, Evelyn...
Jon way in the background, Paul, Mariel, Camille, Emily, Abigail, Evelyn...
and Sonja...Char and Cam had gone to see an anime movie with their friend Carmen...they came back in the door, and eight kids were here...

Sunny, because she's cute.

Suri was NOT cute this morning.  We usually put the kitchen garbage can in the laundry room at night, because we know that Ms. Suri is a piggy pie.  Well, last one out here last night didn't remember to do that, and although I've narrowed down the suspects, what good does that do?  I looked at the mess this fine morning, garbage from one end of the kitchen to the other...I had cleaned out the refrigerator yesterday, of course I had!  Just as no one randomly stops over when your house is clean, that's the way it goes.  I'll spare the details of the goodies, but when I surveyed the mess, here are the thoughts I had, in no particular order:

1.  Suri, I hate you.
2.  rrr, who was the last one up?
3.  Where do I even start?
4.  I'm thankful for disposable plastic gloves, which I bought at the beginning of the pandemic...
5.  I'm thankful for paper towels, too...
6.  "Let the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight..."  You know that song, based on Psalm 19? (By The Rivers of Babylon?)

Well, no one likes a big mess, but it had to be cleaned up, so I cleaned it up.  Coffee grounds mixed up with all of it made it challenging....I mopped with bleach after, and cleaned off the bottoms of my slippers.  Now the floor is nice and clean!  

So I don't actually hate Suri.  I don't care for garbage, but I totally understand being tempted by yummy smells and having a little feast.  She gets rumbly in her tumbl-y, just like Pooh bear.  

Oh my goodness, last night, for some reason, my phone alarm went off at midnight!  I was dreaming that it was Paul's alarm, until he started nudging, and saying, "turn it off!".  It is SO hard to fall asleep sometimes, and I had to do it all over again....ugh.  So when 6:30 rolled around, I was not ready to get out of the warm comfy bed, but who ever is?  

Today, I am going with Miss Sonja K., she has to get her booster.  Now, no matter where you stand on these vaccinations, you have to admit, they don't allow for any personal leeway.  A medical procedure should not be one size fits all.  She has already been vaccinated, and had Covid...and when we were sick here recently, she had some slight symptoms, so she's probably one of the most immune people out there...she doesn't need more immunity, but in NY state, all college students are required to get the booster, and also all healthcare workers, so she has no choice, unless she were to totally drop out.  It's absurd, but there's nothing I can do but pray for her, and be supportive.  

One week from today, I'm going to Fort Lauderdale!  I've never been to that area in Florida, but the girls found a really nice airbnb with a pool, and walking distance to Publix...I'm a weirdo, part of the fun of going to Florida is Publix!  The weather forecast looks fair enough, seventies and partly sunny...I would rather 80 and full sun, but hey, it's 12 right now, and everything is covered in fresh snow...looks like sparkly diamonds, but some sand and sun, I'll take it.

My girls are kind to include me in their little get-away.  They work very hard, as Em is a nurse practitioner  working in pulmonary care, seeing patients in the office and in the hospital...Abigail just started her own accounting business, and Mariel works in oncology.  Their vacations are simple and relaxing, and full of spontaneous's encouraging just to be with them, as they have good attitudes and know that all that befalls them is for their very best.  Emily is a super relaxed traveler, one of the best travel buddies. She just doesn't get worked up.  

And, in April I'm going to California for a week!  It's hard when your kids grow up and move across the country, but it's sweet to visit them!

We'll be going to the library so Camille can stock up on books, and to Aldi to stock up on essentials.....time to get dressed and head out into the cold...brrr!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

sunshine and happiness in the land of frozen....

 Last night was cozy time.  Abigail came over and we watched one of the Psych movies...

(Jonathan, Abigail, Camille, Sonja K., and Charlotte Claire...)

We made pizza, even homemade dough for the crust...I made almond flour/mozzarella cheese crust for a keto pizza...we cubed up chicken breast, tossed it in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and air fried it...they used some in barbecue sauce to make their bbq chicken pizza, with red onions.  I put some in hot sauce and butter for my pizza, with bacon, pepperoni, and red onion.  It smelled so good in here, and believe me, I do not take that for granted....

Sad story, but kind of funny:  Emily, Mariel, Camille and Paul were going to the symphony last night.  Emily and Mariel were staying in the city after work, went out to dinner, then Paul and Cam were meeting them there...well, they drove all the way there, paid $15 to park, and oops, the symphony is TONIGHT.  They stopped at the store on the way home (Paul and Camille) and brought a heater cake, also known as a Pepperidge Farms layer cake, and a Marie Callendar's coconut cream pie.  I did NOT have any, but they put it out on the coffee table, candles lit, so fun!

Yesterday morning, bright and early, Abigail had an eye appointment, 45 minutes away.  She asked if Cam and I wanted to go, and yes, we did.  We went to the "far-away Target", and it was fun.  Cam and I spent a lot of time walking up and down the aisles, and even tried things on, during Abigail's appointment.  I ended up with a pair of black jeans, and we bought a few springy throw blankets, clearanced pumpkin spiced chai tea latte, and tea, and a half priced doctor doll for one of the granddaughters.  

Paul and Jonathan are ice fishing today, brrrr!  Emily came and picked up Miss Charlotte Claire, and brought her up to the north country to go cross country skiing.  I made them pbjs, and packed some snacks, and off they went.  So it's just Sonja K. and Miss Cam here.  Camille used to love cross country skiing, but cannot participate, since her knee has dislocated three times now.   (Her next appointment has been postponed until the middle March, no "unnecessary" surgeries these days in central NY state...)

So we're home, the sun is shining, but it's like two degrees out, brrr.  It's so cold in here, too.  We're trying to decide whether we want a cozy day at home, or if we should venture to the big mall and walk around...I would be happy to walk around Walmart, but they aren't sold...I think we'll end up staying home...but it's a good day.  

Camille and Emily will be going to the symphony tonight...not sure what we'll do...

But brrrrr.  I know so many friends who have moved to warmer climates...I won't be doing that, as Paul loves ice fishing, and fall hunting, and we have older kids here...I couldn't leave them, nor the grandkids.  We will have to be content just traveling to warmer places, and embracing the winter...

One thing I am super looking forward to is camping in the summer.  I hate tenting...last year, on one of our weekends, Paul and I had a super small tent, and with the air mattresses in it, there was only a small strip of floor to stand in to get dressed, stooped over, and I thought I was going to lose my balance and fall, it was not fun.  The rest of the trip was fun, but tenting, ugh.  My huge-0 princess-and-the-pea air mattress sprung a leak when the kids used it in the living room, so last year I had to use a regular $15 Walmart mattress, and oh dear, getting up in the morning, I felt like an eighty year old.  And of course Sunny didn't sleep on the little rug on the floor next to me, no sir, she slept on the air mattress with me, she's a bed hog.

So, with all that said, we are hoping to get a small camper...translation:  I am hoping to get a small camper.  A used camper, light, clean, no leaks, cheap, with a small refrigerator that runs on propane, a stove, sink, and a teeny tiny bathroom for those pesky night time wee-wees, which are NOT fun when you're tenting...the tent zipper goes ZZZZZZZZ, the dog's ears perk up, and no way are you snapping on the leash and getting dragged around the camp ground, risking that doggie barking at night time shadows and waking up the whole camp ground...anyway.  A camper is one of my mid-life dreams...I picture Paul and I at the pups going off and enjoying weekends away when all the kids are grown and busy...but in reality, they'll be camping too, and our site will be the cooking site, the gathering site, and I would have no complaints!  (Ben and Ashley have a small camper, it really does change camping!) I go...I bought some things online at Target when they had 30% off, and if I don't love them, they're going back...they always look so good on the models online, then I put it on, and wah!

The days are getting longer, and January is winding down.  When we get back from Florida, February 4th, then we'll only have 24 days of February, and part of March, and part of April, and part of May, ha, of winter...:)

Thursday, January 20, 2022

here in the snow globe...

 ...Lake Effect snow bands seem very random...the sun was shining, then it wasn't!  We were trapped in a beautiful snow globe, now the skies are blue again.  

Well, would you believe that the sun is shining, and it's snowing?    

I am not sick of winter, I am not sick of winter...dang, it's not working.

Since I don't have much going on, I'll tell you a story that I might have told before...

A long time ago, we were on food stamps.  SNAP.  See, I was pregnant, and Paul changed jobs.  Under our new health insurance, the doctor who had delivered several of our babies was now out-of-network, which meant I had to pay more for coverage.  I decided to see if I qualified for supplemental government health insurance.  The appointment was enlightening, we qualified, and the lady who worked there offered that I get SNAP benefits too.  Oh no, I said, we don't need that.  She said the paperwork was all the same, we would just get a little card, and several hundred dollars a month towards, I don't like to rely on the government, but...I did it.  We had a lot of kids, and money was always tight, so it was like a dream come true, although I did feel guilty sliding that card.  

About a year later, one busy morning, there was a knock at the door.  I shouldn't have answered it, shouldn't have let Lisa in.  I don't know if that was her name, but she seemed like a Lisa.   She identified herself as a Cayuga County social worker/government employee, and sort of barged right in.  

Let me set the scene...the toddler was in yellow footie pajamas, and had just pooped.  That alone, ugh.  But there's more.  There were two beer bottles on the kitchen counter.  There were grocery bags here and there, because I hadn't gotten around to put away the non-cold stuff from the shopping trip the day before. There were toys strewn around.  But the worst part was me:  I had on a floral knit button down dress, and I was pregnant...and a few of the buttons were missing, as this was just around-the-house.   Oh yes, barefoot and pregnant, gaping openings on my big tummy...    Mortified can't even begin to describe it.  Lisa looked around in distaste, sat at the table , and opened her official notebook.  She had been checking records, and according to the DMV, we had the correct number of automobiles, but also a camper, which wasn't reported in our assets.  Oh dear, I never ever realized that our camper, which is at our church property, too old to tow anymore, was an asset, I wasn't asked about it, and honestly, didn't withhold anything!  But this was a moot point, as ignorance is bliss but won't hold up in court.  Lisa asked a million questions about the camper, determined it was worth $2,000, so she informed me that I was out of the program.  

If being "out of the program" meant that Lisa was never coming to my house again unannounced, then YAY, I was out of the program! ! It was the most humiliating thing.  And I shudder to think that in my file, somewhere, is that information, who knows what her notes said?  If we ever fell on hard times, and had to apply for assistance, the first question is probably:  Have you ever been kicked out of the program?

(I just remember wondering to do about the poopy toddler, I mean, do you just leave the room and go change a diaper?  Change it in the living room, it would be awfully stinky!   I didn't change it, nor mention it, but it was the elephant in the room, or rather the OTHER elephant in the room, first one being the pregnant lady with gaping missing buttons on her dress...)

Yes, I was glad to be out of the program.  

I think it was good for me, to be so humiliated.  I did cry, when Lisa left.  I had always tried so hard not to be a big slobby family...the kids were always dressed nicely (matching!), and cleanly, whenever we went out and about.  If you have one child, and they have on two different sized boots, it's funny and cute, but if you have TEN, and one has two different sized boots, wow, you're in over your head, ha.  (Yes, that happened of the older kids needed wisdom teeth pulled, and in the waiting room, I realize that the toddler (Sam!) had on one of his boots, and one of his older brother's boots, same boots, different sizes).  

People would always look, no matter where you went, when you brought a passel of kids.  So they HAD to be clean and neat, and they also had to behave, which they really did.  I'm not saying they never played catch with rolls of paper towels or sang songs to the tops of their lungs or sneaked huge numbers of things into the cart, playing when will mom catch on...and I've mentioned before how the Walmart greeters used to give out those little smiley faced stickers.  My kids would do their own smiley faces as they yes, please!, then deviously played who can stick a sticker on Mom's butt without her noticing.  I would notice here and there, but there was always a kid who succeeded in getting one on that I didn't notice until I got home.  

Getting home...I remember pulling into the driveway in that big van, and praying for it wasn't THAT bad, but it was definitely an exercise in patience.  The baby, the toddler, the two year old, the four year old...if it was during the school day, we were on our own...if it was when the school kids were with us too, it may have been easier, may have been harder....ha.  By the time we got everything and everyone in the house and put away, oh my goodness, time to make dinner?  

Anyway.  It's snowing away here....and I am not sick of winter, I am not sick of winter....

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

hither, tither, and yon....

 Yesterday, my son Joseph and his wife Bethany came over for a visit with Bella and Bucky, their two pups.  Bella is 2 or 3, a black Lab/mix, and Bucky is half Mastiff, half St. Bernard.  She is huge for five months old!  They ran around with Suri and Sunny in the snow for a while, then came inside for a bit.

So Bucky at the top (she is SO sweet!), then Bella with her Batman ears, Sunny, and Suri...

Bethany, giving them a treat...

After our visit, we picked Miss Charlotte Claire up from school, and went to the thrift store.  She found one t-shirt, I found some grandchildren clothes, and a nice Bruder snow removal truck for them.  We went to Aldi for a few things, and came out with a set of magna-tiles, because I love toys, and shh, the grandkids will like them too.  (I totally opened them and played with them last night...)

Home, ahh home.  Camille made barbecued chicken pizza, her favorite kind, while I heated up stew, which is the third time I've had was still good, are we spoiled, ha.  Paul had leftover steak in a low carb panini, the kids ate the pizza.  Stew is gone, I am glad I did my fair share of not wasting it, now tonight it's on to a new meal:  stuffed peppers.  Hot sausage and burger and a chopped onion, all browned up, with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and a can of diced tomatoes, with onion powder, garlic, oregano, Italian seasoning, simmering...rice in another pan, will heat up some cauliflower rice too, then add it to the pepper halves, cover with cheese, and bake...covered, right Billie Jo?  At least until the peppers soften...I wouldn't probably have thought of this, as this is new to me, and I don't usually follow recipes, so I'm glad for the tip!

This fine morning, I was sitting in my comfy chair, drinking my coffee, when my second oldest daughter, Abigail, called.  She has recently started her own accounting business, and she had to drive to the small city to check her mail and do a few things, and would I like to go with her?  I'll be ready in five, I said.  

Just to ride along and catch nice.  We went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond:  they're closing!  wah!  I've loved that store through the years, especially when I was a member and got 20% off everything, even clearance...when they started to not include clearance, I stopped renewing my membership.  Anyway, it's closing, and everything is 20% off or more.  The shelves were stripped, not totally bare yet, but oh my goodness...the cashier said they couldn't believe how quickly everything went, it's as if there's a supply chain issue, and people can't really get things anymore, then they go on sale, and wow.

I bought two candles, that's it.  Ab got some really nice slippers and curtains for her office.

We stopped for coffees, mmmm, (which I brought home with me, and Sunny toppled when she jumped up to bark at spilled all over the floor but thankfully not on my computer, which I do keep in the case, just in case)...the first third of it was good though. 

Home...ahh, home.  Samuel had called me while we were out, and asked me if I would watch Grant...for a week to ten days!  Oh, this Covid stuff:  one of the kids in his daycare tested positive, so Grant was in close contact, and has been booted for ten days (which they still have to pay for).   Samuel does not get paid time off, and Grace has no time off left, as she had a baby at the beginning of the year, ect. ect., so they thought if they drove him up to me, and of course I said YES!  Then, they picked him up from school, and he had a fever, so....he's staying with his mama and papa, and they're taking time off unpaid.  It's rough, but I hope Grant is okay.  His parents just had Covid a few weeks back, so maybe he has something different, but who knows.  So I feel bad for Sam and Grace, it's so hard to get ahead these days, but Sam seemed to be taking it all right.  

Sonja was due back in the morning, from Oregon, but her flight was rescheduled, she gets in at midnight, blah.  My favorite, driving in the night in the winter...but I'm glad she's coming home...:)

Friday night, we have plans to watch one of the Psyche movies here, as Paul and Camille are going to the symphony with Emily and Mariel....(wait, why am I not going to the symphony?  hmmm.). 

Here's some good news, interesting news, wait-is-there-a-catch news:
I looked it up, seems to be true.  Next Thursday, mandatory face coverings in public places, and Covid passports both dropped...Boris Johnson believing the Omicron wave has peaked.  The health secretary said, "..."we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we live with the flu."  

I'm wary, what's next?   

I got a few new dresses in the mail today from Target...yes, I love to online shop.  I put things in the cart, see the total, and nope, usually don't order.  But sometimes, there is 30% off!  The dresses fit so nicely, are so lovely, but the plunging neckline, ugh.  I would need to add something, and I'm not that clever....I cannot see wearing a tank top underneath, I'd get so hot, and be pulling and tugging on the tank top, oh dear.   To be fair, on a normal person with a normal chest, it wouldn't look so bad, but when you have cleavage up to your chin, which is NO FAIR, it looks trashy, at least to me.  And Lord help us if I lean over in it.

Ah well, dinner isn't making itself!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

you think THAT'S bad!!!!....

 As Betty stated, there are others who have had it so much worse, so you feel bad complaining about losing the taste and smell.  This inherent goodness, and empathy, makes us humans, good humans.  However, when we DEMAND that others not complain because there are others worse off, well, no.

Rambling incoherently right from the start this morning, aren't I?  Comparing our circumstances and judging what others should think and feel is never good, but we all either do it, or are tempted to do it, on occasion.  

I've totally lost my train of thought, but here are some cute animal pictures:

(and a cute husband pic, too!  see all the train stuff in the background?  We have to find a place for it...)

Orange Guy likes to be warm and cuddly, so he gets as close to the dogs as he can.

Yesterday, we had our snowy weather, and stayed home...Paul had taken the day off of work to go ice fishing, but it wasn't ice fishing weather, which makes very little sense, but apparently it's not good when it's windy on the lake.  

Today, the snow will be tapering off, and the afternoon should be cold and clear.  I'll be picking Miss Char up from school at dismissal, and with Miss Cam, we'll go to the thrift you believe I get a senior discount on Tuesdays?  I missed a whole year of it not knowing it started at 55.  The lady asked me if I was eligible, so tentatively...ha, I was tempted to say, EXCUSE ME, no, I'm only 39!  

Here's the latest update from our county:

It's raging through everyone, and I do feel bad for the older folks.  I've read a lot of people feeling relief when they "finally" get it, and recover, when it's milder...for older people with other health issues, though, it's rough.  The numbers from our county still seem to swing towards more vaccinated getting sick, half and half on the hospitalizations.  I think our fully vax rate is around 50%, with maybe 60% having one or more shots.  If this variant is evading the vaccination, time to end the mandates.  You can still get as many jabs as you want to, if you feel safer, or trust in it, go ahead, but stop the forcing.  

Well, I TRIED to behave myself and not write controversial stuff.  Isn't it frustrating though, when things seem so clear, and they're such heated topics?   

Anyway.  We had leftover stew last night for dinner, it's just so good.  Now it's time to make a new meal plan, and check what we have, what we need.  Sonja K. will be back on Thursday, it seems so empty here with only three kids.  I am not sick of winter/cold weather meals yet, but grilling on Sunday was fantastic, such a veer from what we've been eating.  It helped that I could actually taste the food, too.  My goodness, I swear I will never every take for granted one single bite of delicious food!  The taste and smell is still a bit dull, muted, but I'll take it!  I can taste the coffee, so yeah, I'm good!

I'm really craving stuffed peppers...with cauliflower rice, I think.  Will I be the only one here who enjoys them?  Probably.  Also, chili, which I love, but I have to eat around the beans, as I cannot tolerate them at all.  Meatballs again, maybe, they were so good.  I am not tired of chicken soup yet, either.  Maybe we can make bread bowls...or just bread sticks...not that I will eat them, but it'll warm up the kitchen, and the kids like them.

Camille and I have a noon date to get some school things done, she's working on math and violin in the mean time.  We might sneak into the library quick today, as we can always use more books.  I've just read Firefly Lane and Fly Away by Kristin Hannah...good reads.  (The girls and I watched Firefly Lane on Netflix, then I realized they were based on novels, so...)

Ah well, off I go to do some things around here...enough laziness, at least for now...

Monday, January 17, 2022

guess what's sneaking back into my life?!

 Mmmm hmmm, I can taste my coffee!!!!  It's much more subtle, but it's there!  I sniffed the Tide the other day, as I go around sniff-sniff-sniffing everything, and I could detect a hint of that lovely laundry freshness, and yay!  I ground up those coffee beans, and got a whiff of yum, yay!  

Tasting things is back too, but not glaringly so.  It's different, it's muted.  I hope it comes blaring back, full strength, but hey, even if it doesn't, I'm pretty happy here, enjoying the coffee!

It was so bad, when it was gone, I couldn't even detect a hint of mint with toothpaste, there was the menthol feeling in my mouth, but no smell at all.  So it's a joy to have it back, subtle as it is.

Yesterday, we had last minute plans to have some of the older kids over...some we haven't seen since Christmas, because of the sickness we had here.  (We've been hanging out with Margaret and Adrian and Wulf and Tennyson right along, because they got it at the same time as we did, and Evelyn, too).  So Emily and Abigail and Mariel were coming over, and Molly with her little girls, Lydia and Ophelia.  Yay, I was cleaning the house and humming some happy songs, then Jonathan tried to start his car...he has a Volkswagen with closer to 3k miles than 2, and it wouldn't start.  He determined he needed a new battery, and had to go to the suburbs...well, I had looked at grocery ads online, and one of the stores had sirloin steak for $3.99 a these days of inflation, burger costs almost that much!  Perfect, I could go with him, he could drop me at the grocery store, get his battery, and pick me up!

I was able to get nine pounds of steak, a giant cookie birthday cake marked $5, some fresh donuts, a loaf of pheasant bread, fresh from the oven, for $2, and some fresh broccoli and cauliflower.  (I cut up potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper, roasted in the oven, added the broccoli and cauliflower to roast a bit, and mmm.)

Emily's birthday is tomorrow, so we decided last minute to celebrate it!  I had gotten her a few things already, so why not?  She brought her guitar, Margaret her violin, Evelyn her flute, and Camille got out her violin, Paul his mandolin, and they played music's so nice.

The flaw in the grilled-steak-in-January idea:  the cold wind!  It was freezing out!  I threw it all on the grill, cranked the flames for a bit, flipped it once, then piled it all on one side with the top closed, burners on low, other side on high, then went back in the house for a few minutes...Abigail casually said, "Wow, the grill is on fire!"...oops.  I managed to get them all off, and would you believe they came out perfect?  There was some well done, for those of us who don't like to eat it still mooing, and plenty red and rare, with some in between.  It was truly a feast, we don't eat steak very often, it was tender and good.

I didn't take an after picture, but it came out beautifully.  

We sat around the table solving the world's problems and laughing about times past.  The grand kids were busy playing with dollhouse stuff, blocks, and ride-ons.  The living room was absolutely strewn and littered with toys, and I said, it's like days goneby.  This is how it looked ALL THE TIME, way back when...

I didn't take enough pictures, of course...

Happy birthday Emily, my sweet girl, the one who made me a mama 37 years ago...
Ophelia...Molly and Josh's little girl.  Lydia was here too, and oops, I didn't get a pic of her.
This is blurry but I like it,  Paul and Molly looking at a silly dog cartoon.
Adrian, and Abigail with Tennyson...Tenny is such a happy little guy!

And, we had a snowstorm last night, and are staying put at home today.  It's very cozy.  Paul took the day off to go ice fishing, but I guess there's such a thing as it being too windy and snowy to do that.  So he has a fire going in the furnace, and it's nice and warm in here.

The problem with having my taste back is that now I want to taste everything, just what I need, ha.  I made a huge crockpot of beef stew on Saturday, and the girls had gone out and about with Evelyn...came in the door with food from Chik-fil-A, so they weren't hungry.  I couldn't really taste yet, but there is so much left, and it's what's for dinner tonight, so I'm looking forward to dinner, oink oink ha.    

My son-in-laws who are brothers, Adrian (Margaret's husband), and Darius (Kathryn's husband) lost their grandpa yesterday, he joined their Grandma in heaven, she had just passed a few months ago.  Their grandparents had seventeen kids, and I don't even know how many grandchildren.  They lived in Winnipeg, (Canada), where Adrian and Darius are from.  Adrian was quite sad, as his grandpa was as quiet and meek as a lamb, but had faith like a roaring lion, he was tender and good and patient...he's obviously in a better place now, but it's still sad to say goodbye.

Sonja is having a nice time out in Oregon, we miss her though.  Emily is planning to bring Charlotte Claire on a trip out there sometime soon.  I don't like having the some of the kids so far away, but I am so thankful that we can at least stay in touch so easily, and I can see the grandkids on the screen.  

Ah well...thank you all for being so nice to me, so encouraging and supportive.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever know....

Saturday, January 15, 2022

not really feelin' it today....

 ...just being honest, I rarely get in a "funk", and I'm not about to...but I am tempted...the feeling sorry for myself feelings are coming on strong today, out of nowhere.  There's not usually a good reason for these moods, but I know that I am not going to wallow in it.  On the one hand, I can't help that I'm feeling this way, but I sure as heck can help whether I settle in, agree with the thoughts, and become one with it.

I have suspected that for me, the whole getting Covid has brought a roller coaster of emotions, I've felt just ragingly hormonal lately.  Look at me wrong, I'm whimpering.  So this has brought me into some need, you know, a Coming-To-Jesus need.  I don't want to be bound by what anyone thinks, and I want to be thankful for all that God sends my way.  My feelings however, don't always line up.

This fine morning, I talked to one of my daughters on the phone.  She is an absolute gem, one of my best friends:  she's smart, and dedicated and faithful, true and kind and good.  She also has a lot of trust in the vaccine, which is fine, she is in medicine, and knows more than I do.  I told her that I'm thankful that I have gotten through the dreaded virus with minimal/no damage done, that we know of, without having the even more dreaded vax, at least that's how I see it.  I am thankful for this.  I acknowledge that I do my reading and my poking around, and it's what I've had peace for.  

But, when your own kid sounds disdainful of your choices, ouch.  This morning, I just found myself in tears...because what if I had gotten really really sick?  It would have been because of that choice I made, and no one could convince some people otherwise, even though here in my county, more than half of people testing pos are vax, and the #hospitalized has been about equally split.  

I don't mean to sound like she said anything rude, because she didn't.  But a mom knows her girls, and I can sense these things.  

This isn't meant to be a debate, as I totally respect each person's choices, and this has been a very rough few years to navigate, trying to figure out what's true, and what's political, and what's for each one's best.  There are things to weigh, decisions to make, and I don't believe that people have been given all the info on side effects, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

In any case, I've just found so many reasons to cry today, and since I'm home all alone, I've just cried a little...

1.  I can't seem to lose weight, even drinking black coffee.  I tried on some shorts in Kohls, and my legs!  Oh, cottage cheese married peach colored jello and moved into my thighs!

2.  I cannot taste my coffee.  I know, nothing to cry about, but wah anyway!

3.  This morning, I started thinking about all the people being cold, if they cannot afford heat, or if their pipes froze, or little kids not having warm enough blankets, and it just made me so overwhelmingly sad for all the people everywhere who suffer, and I cannot bear it.  With energy prices, and food prices...oh dear.

4.  I've had to do some soul searching about caring what people think of me.  Some of the harsher comments I've had here recently hurt, made me almost cringe at the thoughts of viewing the comments, which has never been an issue here, for years and years...I mean, I've had the off rudeness, I've had comments with bad language I haven't printed, and a few really off colored random ones, but overall, only goodness from very nice people.  At the end of the day, of course it doesn't matter if someone doesn't like me, there are a lot of people in this world, we cannot each live to please every single person, and I honestly don't want to try to please any person.  I know that each thought, each action, how I use my time, all of my choices, I will answer for, I will stand before God.   This knowledge brings me to judge what I say and do, and how I react, and I know this is the only thing that matters, in the long run.

I feel a bit better already, but honestly, I can't even let myself think of the sufferings in this world.

I think I'll move on to happier thoughts...we went to visit Margaret and Adrian last evening.  Margaret and Camille played their violins, Evelyn her flute, and Paul his mandolin and guitar...

Wulf is feeling lots better, enough to ride around on his little four wheeler.
Tenny-Ten is doing better too...he's such a snuggle bug.
I sneaked this pic from the sounded lovely.

Today is beef stew day.  I browned up the beef with coarse ground pepper, flour, salt, onion powder, and a dash of garlic, then cut up potatoes and carrots, simmered it for a bit while I cleaned up the mess, then put it into the crockpot.  It's interesting, because I can get these little whiffs of smell, little hints, and it's so exciting, so hopeful! 

The meatballs were so good last night!  I couldn't really taste them, but there is a bit of something there, more than before, and the consistency was nice, ha.  Margaret made bread sticks and pasta, and had made cookies (none of these things were consumed by me...)But:  I brought some melt-away mints, little white chocolate, chocolate chip shaped non-pareills, minty flavored pastel candies...I could taste the mint!  I was so excited about that, I ate WAY more than I should have! 

No, I don't have anything to complain about, but life isn't always can please some of the people some of the time, but I do aim to live a life pleasing to God, and that's a serious thing, the most important thing. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

singing songs about winter..., it's cold outside!  Tomorrow we'll be lucky to hit five degrees Fahrenheit.  brrrr.  But, we're not staying home and hunkering down, no, we're going to visit Margaret and Adrian, and little Wulf and Tennyson, and Evelyn, who lives with them.  I've made a crockpot full of meatballs, and am bringing up some pasta, Margaret is going to make breadsticks.  I asked Wulf if he wanted chocolate milk, and he said he did, imagine that, so I'll be stopping at the store....they live up north of here, in the city right on Lake Ontario, it's lovely there, but brrrr.

Wulf is allowed to have chocolate milk, as the poor boy has been sick off and on for the last few weeks.  He had some good days, then got feverish again, is okay now, but still rather worn out.  It's not fun to see your grandchildren sick.  (It's also not fun to be blamed for your grandchildren being sick, but that's water under the bridge, now isn't it?  I decided that I am NOT going to let naysayers ruin my blog, nor rain on my happiness, nor make me feel guilty for enjoying my God-given remind me if I forget, okay?)(Let it Go, songs of winter, right? (Frozen)). 

Today, I vacuumed several rooms, washed dishes, changed the bedding in my room over to the winter bedding...I liked the summer stuff so much, I wasn't going to, but the flannel sheets match the black comforter, so what the heck...when it gets warm again, the pink stuff can come back out.  (I usually just take the sheets off, wash them, put them back on...but today I had to wash the flannels first, and I changed the duvet cover, ect.)

The girls are all ready to go to Margaret's house, they are having a sleepover off we go!  Into the cold...

Thursday, January 13, 2022

well, I'll take one of those!

 Scrolling through the intern this morning, I found a listing for a house, I think in Wisconsin, with a bathroom with...three toilets in a row, and three sinks.  The comments were hilarious, because who would want a bathroom like that?  Well, not too long ago, I'd have taken one ha, although I would prefer to make privacy stalls around them.  I would have liked a huge-0 bathtub too, and one of those giant showers with a few shower heads...and a few more washing machines and dryers, although for several years we had that washer that wouldn't spin out half the time, so at that time, just one that worked would have been nice.  A double oven, I'd have taken that, a second refrigerator, sure!  

It all happened so fast...the babies year after year, the house filled to the brim...our kitchen tables packed full at dinnertime, three pounds of pasta with the meatballs, barely enough...nine or ten kids at a time in school, with their homework, and projects, and permission slips to sign.  Lunches, snacks, supplies (you need a poster board TOMORROW?!  WHAT?!  I TOLD you, Mom!   oops.  Yes, you did.).   

It seemed like it would always be like that, knee deep in small children, dreaming about the elusive five minutes of peace and quiet.  

I remember calling my mother while I made dinner one evening, as per usual, and it was noisy and crazy in here, it was my little break, as the kids got semi-used to me talking on the phone.  My mother said, "Some day you'll miss having them all there, and the chaos."  ha.  ha ha ha.  I did NOT believe her, no, not one little bit.  I thought of her sitting there in her house in her comfy chair, with just my dad there, and their two dogs, and I couldn't picture it for me, no way, no how.

But here I am.  Yes, there are still four kids at home, but they are quiet, mostly, and so responsible.  They all do their own laundry, and help with things...and yes, I have ten grandkids, when they come over it can get a bit noisy and crazy in here, with toys strewn about (I love it!).  

But, here I am.  I am turning into my my big comfy sweater, in my big comfy chair, with my slippers, shuffling out for more coffee...oh dear.

Okay, so here's a thing:  for Christmas, we got Paul a smoker.  When he and Adrian took it out of the box to assemble it, the top was bashed in, so they sort of pounded it out, said the door still closed, and were heck-bent on using was Christmas Eve, and we had Christmas dinner to smoke!  So, we used it.   Since then, I took pics, sent an email to the company, and they're walking me through the process of removing some things from the body of the smoker, including cutting the cord, so they can send a new body, and we can put our original "innards" into it, and use it.  Now, don't you think that's a lot to ask of us?  I'm glad they ARE sending us a new body, but jeepers, if Paul wasn't involved, I'd be saying NO WAY, I can't assemble this thing!  But then if it's less waste, I guess we can put aside our laziness and grumbling and be thankful we'll have a shiny new dent-less exterior....harrumph.

I've been trying really hard to smell things.  It's awful but it's hilarious.  I can clean the entire kitchen with the bleach based cleanser and not smell a tiny whiff of it, put together a pumpkin pie the other night, nary a hint of the cinnamon, ginger...but I think I can detect just a tiny bit of aroma from the coffee beans, all ground up...just a tiny hint, but shh, it might just be that I really want to smell it.  (I've been drinking up the older coffee we had in the cupboard, don't want to waste all of our good fresh Christmas gift coffee, since I can't taste it anyway....)

We are leaving for the airport in a few hours, as Miss Sonja K. is going out to Oregon for a week.  She's brave to travel by herself, 19 years old, but then she traveled back from Germany alone when she was 16, so she certainly is capable.  I told her to make sure she tells everyone she's traveling alone, ha.  No, I do worry, and I remind her to keep track of her things (she lost AirPods on a trip to California last year, she did the track my AirPods  thing and they were in Chicago, but the airline couldn't find them...)...I tell her to walk straight up tall and confident, and watch her surroundings, and be smart.  

It's hard to let your children go.  

Ophelia's birthday presents came in the mail, I'm excited to wrap them...a toddler scooter, so cute, a 3 wheel-ed thing, all pink and sparkly...and a Care Bear...I didn't know they still made those, I guess they're trying to bring them back?  It's Tender Heart bear, so cute...I got her a little sweatshirt and matching pants, and a little gift for Lydia too, as it's hard to be the big sister when little sister gets presents.  

I'm planning to make a nice beef stew for dinner.  Beef prices are ouch, and I think they'll be getting worse before they get better, but I only paid $4.49 a pound for this...shh, I could've bought the beef roast for $3.99, and cut it up myself, but I decided to splurge a dollar fifty, and get it all cut up and ready to brown and make a stew.  It's not much more expensive than hamburger right now, and I've been craving stew...stew that will be steaming good, and I won't even be able to taste, ha, what am I thinking!!?  Can you believe it?  I keep forgetting that I cannot taste anything!

Oh dear....

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

....I'm back!!!!

 We are doing much better, thank you for the kind thoughts and words, and prayers.  I still can't taste or smell, but the cough is much much better, and the stuffiness is improving each day.  I haven't had a fever in several days, and have slept quite well.  Paul only got a bit of a scratchy throat, then got better, probably because he was sick last March.  

Over the last few days I've thought a bit about the blog, and have decided a few things, so in no particular order, as usual:

1.  If you don't leave your name, I won't print your comment, last names are not necessary, just a first name. (unless it's a nice comment, ha!)  One reason for this is if you've been exasperated with me and stated you are done with me, then you certainly don't want to be commenting anymore!  

2.  Comments that are not nice will not make it through moderation.   You can disagree, state the other side, or point things out that I've not noticed, but be nice.

3.  One of the problems some people have had with the blog is that it has become "increasingly political".  This is complicated, because our lives have become increasingly political.   I've never liked unnecessary rules or infringements on rights, this hasn't changed.

4.  One commenter insists that I "might have spread this virus around to other people"...but you cannot spread a virus that you do not have.  This commenter also stated how I've been insensitive to those who have lost loved ones to Covid, by stating all the "fun" that we're all having at home while sick with Covid. If you've read here for any length of time, you'll know that no matter what befalls us, I try to make it fun.  Through the years of being a mama, I've discovered that most of life is doing what you really don't want to do...the appointments, waiting in lines, driving here and there, and the work!  The endless work!  But having a positive attitude, making the most of the little trials in life, in the mundane, in the drudgery of life, that's what brings happiness.  In the beginning of the lockdown, when the world was shaking in fear of the unknowns, I battled that fear as well, but I also decided that we were going to make the most of our time.  The fact that we did puzzles, played endless games of Catan, watched new shows together, went for drives around the different Finger Lakes, went on walks and hikes, and yes, trips to Target didn't mean we were disrespecting anyone.  It's known now how mental health declined when people were isolated from each other, especially in children.   I was determined that even if my kids couldn't go to school, or be with their friends, we were going to enjoy our days, because:  this is life.  There is only the one ride through it...and each day matters.   

   (My mother had breast cancer when I was in high school. She never got a driver's license, so either my grumpy dad drove her for her chemo, or she took the bus...I went with her  when she took the bus.  We had to walk several blocks to catch the bus, then got off in downtown Syracuse, and walked several blocks, up a huge-0 hill, to Upstate University hospital, where she got her treatments.  I don't remember a tiny whiff of complaining from her.  She made it all into a huge adventure.  She never got bored, in fact she didn't allow us kids to be bored, it was sort of crime, in her book.  So even waiting at the bus stop in the cold, when she must have felt horrible, she played games with me, like, What Do They Do For A Living.  She could whip out an entire life story for a lady who walked by, it was great fun to, who didn't actually realize how much she must have been suffering.  She simply didn't believe in complaining, she liked life, and she liked to live life.  This is Off On A Tangent on steriods, I win Off On a Tangent!!!!  Anyway, this is how I choose to live my life too, in thankfulness for each day....)

5.  Hands down, the best thing about this blog is the goodness and kindness of the readers.  

6.  Writing without thinking about anyone reading it is very therapeutic, and I try to just forget who reads, while I write, so I can write freely.  When I offend, it's not meant to offend, as I wouldn't purposely hurt anyone.  But also, I don't want to be restrained by caring what people think of me.  I do not seek to please man, because then I could not please God.  Does that make sense?  

7.  Our health, our bodies, and what we choose to put into them should NOT be a political issue.  You know me, I dither and hither just to take a Tylenol, cannot tolerate nasal spray (my heart races!), alcohol in any but the smallest quantities, even antibiotics have given me trouble (heart issues with Ciprofloxen).  I can't take Sudafed, or Benadryl.  I don't take heartburn meds because of the side effects, nor the Naproxen the dr. gave for my arthritis.  I do not like side effects, I don't like putting things into my body.  I take my vitamins, and yes, I take the Tylenol or ibuprofen when I absolutely have to, because:  migraines.  

8.  My little granddaughter Ophelia has turned two years old!  I hope to visit with her this weekend and give her some birthday presents.  

9.  Kathryn and Darius and little Achilles and Rhys will be coming for a visit next month!!!!

10. Sonja K. is going to Oregon tomorrow, to visit Kathryn and Darius and the kids.

11. Our quarantine is officially over!  Yay!

12. No matter what anyone says, this does not make sense:  in NY state, the unvaccinated nurses and healthcare professionals were fired, now if you're Covid positive and you're needed at work, well you had better get yourself in, sick or not!   

There is definitely a huge uptick in cases here in our county.  I think the fully vaccinated here are about 50% of the population,(about 60% with at least one jab).  It's very contagious, but it generally seems to be more mild, which is something to be thankful for.  (...and I did not "make up" these numbers, you can look them up yourself at Cayuga County)

13. We are getting some extremely cold weather this weekend.  Paul is ecstatic, the lakes are freezing, so ice fishing!  

14. I am glad to be recovering so well, because less than three weeks until our Ft. Lauderdale vacation!  You have no idea how nice it is that my older daughters think to bring me along on their vacations!  To raise children, and have them grow up and be your actual friends, wow.  I am super thankful for this.  Of course when you have 16 kids, you can't bring everyone all the time, if I were rich, we'll, we'd all go.  We have been talking about having all eleven of the girls (and me!), and the sister-in-laws go on a weekend away sometime...that'd be fun!

15.  The other day, dreaming about summer, I checked out one of my favorite campgrounds on Lake Ontario, for a random weekend in August, and what?!  A water site was open!  I reserved it for three nights, then Emily reserved a site too.  Now we have one for June (also a water site), July, and now August.  Now we just have to find a nice camper, small enough to tow with our Nissan pick up, big enough for Paul and I and a few kids, and two Labradors...or we survive in tents for a bit longer, ha.


The two kitties (Orange Guy and Kettler) know that people = warm.  Charlotte Claire was taking a pic of Cam's zoo-y lap too.

17. Paul is playing his mandolin, the girls are watching anime, Jon is just chilling here, and the dogs are snoring.  I can't say that I'm tired of winter yet, but when I booked that campsite, I started thinking about sunshine...sunshine on my skin.  There is nothing like it, it's healing and delicious and relaxing.  Hopefully our Florida trip works out...lots of flights getting cancelled.   

18. Ben and Ashley will be having a new baby boy in a few months, this will be our #11 grandchild, and their third child...Anya, Elise, and baby brother.  This is exciting stuff!

....and I'm tried enough to wind down for bed.  My feet are cold, even in my new Christmas slippers, and when I think we still have the rest of January, then February, March, and chilly April...usually get some snow in May....eeks!  Have a really good evening...