Burden Bearers

May 24, 2012 | My Jottings

I’m interrupting my blog hiatus to say thank you to two men who have just unloaded a huge burden from Michael’s and my backs.

As we’ve been packing up our house and carrying boxes out to the storage pods in our driveway, getting ready to move 1.1 miles west, there’s been a disquieting thrum in the background of my thoughts.

The garage.

The garage is Michael’s domain, and over the past years as his Parkinson’s has advanced, the garage has been harder for him to keep organized. And any time I considered doing it myself, I started hyperventilating and would just push the thought to the back of my mind. But it would always crowd to the forefront again, and I kept thinking, how in the world am I going to go through the garage and decide what needs moving, what needs donating, and what needs trashing?

Last week, I came to the realization that I could not possibly do it.

So I emailed my two sons-in-law, Chris (left) and Jeremy. I sort of whimpered in print that I needed their help. They put their heads together and set a date where they could both work together, and they came over two days ago and cheerfully began the daunting task.

Here is one example of what they had to deal with:

Chris and Jeremy showed up with smiles and started dividing everything up in groups of what to keep and what had to leave the premises. They loaded the storage pods with the most essential things we will need (who needs eight shovels, six levels and nine hammers?) at the new house. They took truckloads of broken or worn-out things to the dump. They did things I’m not even aware of — I just know it resulted in happy, relieved tears from their mother-in-law.

It’s raining today and I don’t have a picture yet of the finished result, but it’s almost miraculous. The garage looks like a garage we can happily present to the new owners of our home. I will put some more photos up soon.

Today I will attend our two Foster care meetings and continue the work on our packing with the feeling that a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders.

Thank you, thank you, Chris and Jeremy!


May 17, 2012 | My Jottings

We are moving in fourteen days (are you tired of hearing about this yet?), and I’m trying to stay calm. There is still so much to do, even though I’ve tried to make steady progress each day. Screaming tendonitis in my right elbow tells me I’m doing too much; the cupboards and closets still not packed tell me I’m not doing enough.

So I’m going to take a little blog rest. I will be back when we’re all moved into our new house, and I’ll have pictures and brilliant anecdotes about how the movers carried this chair, and the electrician hooked up this wire, and how the Schnauzers adjusted to the new yard, and how the view of Lake Superior looks from a stone’s throw away, and how Michael and I like sleeping on a new king-sized bed — things you’ll be so very anxious to read about. 🙂

Thank you again for stopping by my little blog, dear friends and family.


Wednesday’s Word-Edition 84

May 16, 2012 | My Jottings

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Wendell Berry

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In 1984

May 15, 2012 | My Jottings

In 1984, the Apple Macintosh computer was introduced.

In 1984, the Space Shuttle Challenger flew three Space Shuttle missions.

Also that year, Ronald Reagan was re-elected to his second term as President of the United States, defeating Walter Mondale.

Geraldine Ferraro was the first female candidate for the Vice-Presidency.

A gallon of gas cost around $1.21.

“Jump” by Van Halen and “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson were hits that year.

Erma Bombeck’s Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession was on the New York Times Bestseller List.

In 1984, Jordache jeans, legwarmers, and shoulder pads were the fashion trends. I wasn’t into legwarmers, but I sure liked shoulder pads. I was under the impression that they would make me look slimmer. You know, sort of like those slim linebackers that play for the NFL.

In the year 1984, the PG-13 rating was begun, to cover the middle ground between movies that were rated PG and R.

The Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles that year.

“The Cosby Show” premiered on television.

In 1984, Michael and I bought our first house for $27,000. It was almost uninhabitable and I cried on the day we moved in, because I had no vision for what it could be. Michael was a builder who looked at the house and saw good bones and great potential. By the time he was finished with it I loved our home and never wanted to leave.

And in 1984, our family had our picture taken for our church directory.

Sara, Michael, Sharon, Carolyn and me. We were 2, 35, 7, 5 and almost 27.

As we clean out closets and weed things out of armoires, I keep finding old pictures and doodads from long ago.

Do you remember what was happening in your life in 1984?


May 12, 2012 | My Jottings

Our house is starting to look more and more like this.

So we decided to do something we’ve never done before when moving.

The premise is that we can pack up a little bit every day, and then carry the packed boxes out to a storage container in our driveway.

This way we wouldn’t have to move all the contents of such a big house (4500 square feet) all at once on moving day, resulting in a possible commitment to an institution of some sort.


A little bit every day. You know, climbing a mountain begins with one small step and all of that.

Oh, here the delivery man is again! Two storage pods!

Then the movers will come on May 30th and carry the boxes I couldn’t manage, and all of our furniture out to these pods. Then the big truck will come and load them up, and deposit them in the driveway of the new house, where the movers will unload everything.

Hopefully, this will make the whole process a little less stressful.  Hopefully.

Michael was taking everything in stride. Or in chair.

Mildred and Edith never take anything in stride. They barked and whined at the front door and could not figure out what those two huge, dangerous white things were in our driveway.

Then, Michael’s friend Steve picked him up to take him fishing on Boulder Lake. It’s fishing opener weekend in Minnesota, and the cabin and the boat were waiting. (I had the bed to myself last night, which means the covers actually stayed in place all night long.)

I admired the storage units, changed my clothes, and drove off to a local church where my adorable granddaughter Lil’ Gleegirl was going to sing in her pre-school program.

If you need help picking her out, she’s the most beautiful little girl there dark haired sweetie in the plaid dress.

She quickly scanned the crowd of parents and grandparents to make sure we were there. Why does a simple smile and a wave make me cry? Can anyone explain that to me?

After the singing, which was fantastic, we went back to her school, which is Preschool-5th grade and will be where she and her sister and brother will attend next year.

Lil’ Gleegirl was anxious to show me her own cubby, her favorite play area with big blocks and puzzles, and below, how she can take out a rug and then roll it back up after she has worked a puzzle or two.

There were snacks for everyone. Lil’ Gleegirl’s teacher told me she was one of the most cheerful and enthusiastic children she’d ever known. I told her I completely agreed, and that she was definitely the most cheerful and enthusiastic member of our entire family.

Then, because it was Grandparents’ Day, the children got to go home with their grandparents. Lil’ Gleegirl wanted to take a tubby, have a sliced apple, and watch part of Lady and the Tramp. I worked on applying new badges to Mr. McBoy’s new Boy Scout uniform, and soon I had to take her home in time for her brother’s big to-do for scouts.

When I dropped her off, her daddy reminded me that a mother robin is nesting on a downspout next to the house by their front living room window, so I got out to see. Little baby robins have hatched and the mother is busy feeding them, and scolding anyone who comes too close. The three children have named the robin Avery.

But before Lil’ Gleegirl got out of the car, I told her how much I loved seeing her sing, visiting her preschool classroom, and how fun it was to just be with her at any time. She casually answered, “Yes Grandma. I think it’s really fun to come and stay at your house for fifteen days.”

More Google Giggles

May 4, 2012 | My Jottings

It has been a long while since I’ve looked at the stat counter on my blog to see what search terms people are Googling that lead them by accident to www.JustJulieB.com.

So today, since I really should be packing boxes because we’re moving in less than four weeks, and because there’s a load of laundry in the dryer that needs folding, and because there’s a mountain of paperwork to tend to, I thought I’d check for some Google giggles instead. (And while I can see Google searches, I cannot see who searches for them, in case you’re wondering.)

Below in bold are some of the exact words of recent Google searches that brought people here:

Beaver teeth braces – I remember my brother calling me Bucky Beaver before I had braces, so maybe there’s another tortured youth out there wondering if there’s orthodontic hope for her.

Just Pee Blog – I am not aware of a blog about “Just Peeing,” but I am fairly certain I would not want to visit it.

Tallest girl in class – This always brings back memories for me, because with rare exceptions, I always was. Except this year.

Men in diapers – Once again, I’m just not sure I would visit a blog that specializes in this. For me, this could be hilariously funny or heart-wrenchingly sad.

Julie Plumage – I suppose there could be worse last names. Sara and I are always asking each other questions like this: “If you had to be Sara Boop or Sara Beep, which would you choose?” and “If your name had to be Julie Gweeble or Julie Maneeble” which would you choose?” and then we laugh our heads off and think what a relief it is to have the names we do after all. I might just have to ask Sara soon, “If your name had to be Sara Plumage or Sara Feathers, which would you choose?”

Baroness Schraeder eyebrows – “Aha!” I thought…so I’m not the only one who can’t stop watching this woman’s multi-tasking eyebrows when viewing The Sound of Music!

Does Nancy Drew like peanut butter soup – This one made me laugh out loud. To think that someone wanting the answer to this question would happen upon my little blog seems so odd! And does anyone know if Nancy does or not? I read all these books when I was young, and don’t remember anything about peanut butter soup.

Just Julie matters – Sometimes I wonder if it does.

Penny Proud’s grandma bunions – Poor Penny Proud.

A squirrel with no nut – Yes, if you’re doing a report on starving squirrels, this is the blog for you.

When did I get so gray – I’m not sure, friend. Could it have been over the last few years or so? That’s when it all happened for me.

Men with sideburns broke down – Oh, dear…did the men with sideburns break down mechanically or emotionally? I’m sure my blog talks about this somewhere deep within its pages…I can’t remember where, but it must be here if Google says it is.

Tiger hairstyle – You’ve heard of the Bob, the Wedge, the Pixie – soon men and women everywhere will be asking their stylists for the Tiger.

Piggeth – How did people know that Evil Piggeth (our Schnauzer Edith’s evil twin) lives here? I try not to speak of it too often. If we even quietly say the word “Piggeth” when Edith is within hearing distance, she instantly transforms into a maniacal dog who lunges at the oven door or the glass doors in front of the fireplace, snorting and pawing at her evil twin, whose reflection she sees there.

Shy bladder CDs like Bold Bladder Work – I had no idea there were CDs out there for shy bladders. I had no idea there were shy bladders in the first place. Or bold bladders for that matter. Do you have a bold bladder or a shy one?

Why does water come out of my eye when I use a Neti Pot – Yikes…that sounds like a question for your brain surgeon to help you with. We hope your recovery goes well.

Phobia of muskrats – I think my friend Jessica T. must have typed this phrase on Google.

Middle aged mother – Yes, this one I completely understand. I am one.

Today I will be spending some time with Mr. McBoy as he and I continue our Swiss adventure in the wonderful book Banner in the Sky. Then I will be taking one of our dear Foster gals to her new home, to see her new room there and to spend a little time with her new Foster mom before she moves in late May. I am also behind a little on my Community Bible Study lesson and hope to spend some time on that. And dinner, oh yes, I have to feed people around here. I had a request for chili recently so maybe I’ll make that since it looks to be a cold and rainy day. And I have more things to drop off at the Goodwill, and more boxes to pack. And tomorrow morning, an old friend will be coming by so we can start a Bible study together – this one.  I’ve never done a study by Stormie but I look forward to this one. And oh, has anyone out there ever seen “Bleak House”?  Michael and I just finished watching every episode (took us a while) and I loved it. (You can see the trailer here.) Now I’ve downloaded this Dickens book to my Kindle and started reading. Yesterday I took Michael for a follow-up appointment with our family doctor, and we both left there in slightly less cheer than when we arrived. Michael was very (understandably) resistant to the word walker and did not want to have his blood drawn, and I quickly fell prey to my icky default mode of thinking which is never good, the kind with self-focused ruminations like, Ihatethisthisistoohard and Iwishsomeonewouldtakecareofmeforachange, which is never, ever productive.

Anyway, checking once in a while to see what people are Googling usually brings a smile. If times get really hard, it helps to remember that I belong to Jesus Christ and He (wonder of wonders) belongs to me. And I don’t think He would mind that along with the scriptures I sometimes meditate on to keep me focused on what is good and true, I might also be pondering what a beaver with braces would look like, or whether or not Nancy Drew likes peanut butter soup.

Wednesday’s Word-Edition 83

May 2, 2012 | My Jottings

To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where seems no hearing; to see the machinery of the world pauselessly grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life nor shifting a hair-breadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail–such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed.

George MacDonald

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