Rocky Mountain Reunion

August 31, 2012 | My Jottings

In the not-too-distant future, my oldest friend Denel and I will be having our First Annual Lupi-Soo Reunion. (You can see photos and read more about Denel and our 48 year-long friendship here.)

She and I have decided that as long as we’re able, we will meet each other once a year, flying from almost opposite ends of the country, for a long weekend together…to talk, catch up, rest, read, hike, talk, sleep, laugh, reminisce, pray, eat, and talk some more.

I chose the first place we’re meeting, and I picked a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains. Yay! Denel will pick our destination next year, and I’m wondering if the words beach or ocean might play in her mind as she chooses where The Second Annual Lupi-Soo Reunion will be. My dear friend loves the beach.

The photos of the cabin below are the actual place we’ll be staying. The other pictures are just representative of things we hope to do during our long and restful weekend together.

For some very appropriate music, click here (the ad can be skipped in a few seconds).

*          *          *          *          *          *

When you’re down and troubled, and you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night.

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah,
You’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
Soon, you’ll hear me knocking at your door.

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will.

Now ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
when people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you
Yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Ah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will

You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend?
Ain’t it good to know, ain’t it good to know, ain’t it good to know
You’ve got a friend

Oh yeah now, you’ve got a friend.
Yeah baby, you’ve got a friend.
Oh yeah, you’ve got a friend.

(words and music by Carole King)

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See you soon Denel! xxoo

What’s wrong with my right?

August 29, 2012 | My Jottings

You know how no one likes to listen to an old woman recite her long list of maladies? Well, now would be your opportunity to click over to the next blog you plan to visit today, because this is going to be one of those posts.

It just hit me the other day that there is something wrong with the right side of my body. The first inkling was when I was born, and it took a day or two for doctors to reassure my mother that the eighteen red and multi-shaped spots on my right hand and arm were just birthmarks, and nothing life-threatening. Even today I get asked if there are burns on my right arm.

Then when I was seven years old it was discovered that I had very poor vision in my right eye. Adorable glasses with those delightful glittery cat-eye frames were prescribed, and my parents never had a whit of trouble getting me to wear them because I thought they were so pretty and made me look just great. Ha. My vision has deteriorated over the years and I’m now considered legally blind in my right eye.

The next occurrence of something amiss on the right side of my body was when I was in my late forties, when I stepped normally down a couple of steps from the garage into the back yard, heard and felt a lightning-fast zink in my right knee, and then had to crawl into the back door of the house because my knee would not tolerate more than eleven ounces of weight-bearing pressure on it.

It turns out my meniscus was impinged and torn, and we had to wait to see if it would heal. Sometimes there’s enough blood supply in the cushiony meniscus and sometimes there isn’t. If not, apparently it doesn’t matter how long you wait for healing. Of course my blood supply was lacking, so surgery was scheduled, to trim that little bit of impinged meniscus, so I could walk. It was that bad. The orthopedic surgeon showed me the tear in the CT scan results and said, “I’ll trim as little as possible, but this of course predisposes you to early arthritis in your right knee.” I wasn’t happy about this news, but my choices were: 1) impinged, torn meniscus, no walking; and 2) surgery to trim meniscus and have knee pain in the future. What would you have chosen? I chose the surgery because I like to be able to walk. After the surgery that horrible pain was gone and I was so relieved. Recovery time was only a few days.

A couple of years later, I was coming down the stairs and missed a step. In 24 years at that house, I had never done that. As I fell headlong the rest of the way down, I landed with my left foot bent under me, and I howled from the pain. I was certain my ankle was broken because the pain was a 17 on a scale of 0-10, and in less than three minutes the swelling on the outside of my ankle and foot was the size of half a grapefruit. Off to the Emergency Room we went, with me wondering how I was going to tend to all my duties with a cast on my foot. Well, my ankle was not broken, but my foot was. It was called a Jones Fracture, which is ortho-speak for a break in the fifth metatarsal bone.

Here’s an x-ray of another person’s Jones Fracture. See the little arrow pointing at the break? My break was higher on the bone than this person’s. Thankfully I didn’t need surgery or a cast. They said if I promised to stay off my foot for four weeks I could get by with one of those spaceman boots with several inflatable portions that stabilize the foot and keep swelling down. And in order to get up to bathe and use the bathroom, I had to use crutches. At the end of four weeks I was to have another x-ray to see if the bone was knitting, because they said Jones fractures are notorious for not healing, often due to a lack of blood supply to this part of the foot. I met one woman who told me her Jones fracture took nine months to heal and I almost fell to the floor crying when she told me that.

I was a good patient and Michael was a good caregiver, and friends and family so generous with their help. My bone healed in six weeks. Even though the break was in my left foot, I think it was the right knee with the partial meniscus that helped me fall down the stairs.

Next, I have some hearing loss in my right ear. No problems with my left ear at all.

Are you still awake? Hello?

A few years ago I noticed a bunion forming in my right foot. It’s a slight bunion and doesn’t give me much discomfort, but again, this is all happening on the right side of my body. And once this bunion started to form, I began to get calluses on my right toe that I’d never had before and actually had to start seeing a podiatrist a few times a year. A podiatrist! A place where old people go. My mother went to a podiatrist to have her calluses trimmed and I used to think it was such an elderly thing to do.

Then, over the years after having one side of my meniscus trimmed, I started experiencing knee pain, just as the nice orthopedic surgeon predicted. It was minor at first, but has gradually become fairly significant knee pain and stiffness that hisses one phrase with every single step, “You have no meniscus, you have no meniscus, hahahahaha.”  The knee pain I’ve had these past few months has made me actually think ahead to the possibility of having my knee replaced, and at age 54 I can hardly believe I’m typing those words. I just know that if I’m to walk for another 20 years, something is going to have to change.

When we moved into this house three months ago, I noticed something else that made me cringe. I was developing a plantar wart on the bottom of my right foot. Gah. I hate plantar warts. My daughters had them when they were little and we did things for years to get rid of them. In the end the only thing that worked was that we prayed and prayed and prayed that Jesus would heal them. Carolyn had about ten of them on the bottoms of her feet and one day we noticed they were finally all gone, thank God.

I know what the appearance of this wart means. Plantar warts are caused by a virus, and it means I was exposed to the virus (possibly years ago from my daughters who got their warts after swimming lessons), but that my immune system has let its guard down and let the virus come forth. I guess it’s no surprise that after the events of these past few years my immune system would be compromised, but I am not happy about this wart. It’s on the arch part of the sole of my right foot, near the heel, and it has grown in these three months. And. It. Hurts. With every step it hurts. I might sound like I’m a baby when it comes to pain, but I don’t think so. I gave birth to my three daughters without any analgesics at all, and have always had a fairly high pain tolerance.

I have done many things to get rid of this wart. And even though I know it’s a virus, sometimes when warts are dealt with topically they do go away — it’s like the body kicks in and helps do the job. I tried some of remedies I found online that made sense to me, like soaking my foot in apple cider vinegar and putting a vinegar-soaked cotton ball on the wart under a bandage each night before going to bed. Vinegar works wonders for many things, and if you google wart and vinegar you will see how many people had amazing results. That did nothing. I tried the duct tape method. No success. Then I did a very elderly thing. I went to the podiatrist. She suggested salicylic acid and said she thought if I was diligent it would take care of it. Well I did, and I was, and it didn’t. Twice a day for months, and I could tell the acid was doing the job, getting right down to the ugly roots of the wart, but it was so painful I couldn’t dig it out, which is what all the brave people who posted on online message boards evidently did. To gently touch it hurts. To dig it out is out of the question, at least while I’m conscious.

So now we bring in the subject of Walt Disney World, in Florida. Our Fosters have been wanting to visit Walt Disney World for years, and have been saving toward that end. Since it takes a lot of money for flights, WDW tickets, hotels and food, we were able to put the trip on the back burners of our minds because it seemed so far into the future, and other things like moving house and Michael’s health were on the front burners. Well, our two Fosters have now saved enough money for this big trip. And we had to make a decision about it recently. We couldn’t keep telling them, “Yes, someday we’ll go when we’ve all saved enough money,” because they knew that day had finally come. Michael and I decided that with his Parkinson’s as part of the picture, if we’re going to take our gals on this vacation, sooner is better than later. Undertaking such a daunting working vacation is not going to be easier next year, or the year after that. So we booked the trip. When the snow flies in northeastern Minnesota this winter, we will fly to Orlando and spend five days wandering The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and The Animal Kingdom.

I think I need to go take a nap after merely typing those words.

Needless to say our gals are so thrilled, and our dinner conversations have gone up a notch on the excitement scale. The Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest and Country Bear Jamboree are ever on their minds.

But guess what I keep thinking about? My knee. My wart. Warts and Walt don’t mix, I know that already.

So I’ve made an appointment to have foot surgery. I need to be as wartless as possible when we wing our way off to Walt’s. Unfortunately, they don’t do general anesthesia when surgically excising warts (is this called a wartectomy?). Instead they inject the anesthetic into the area around the wart, and then into the wart itself. With needles. Can any of you imagine what it might feel like to have injections on the sole of your foot, near the arch? I am trying not to worry about this. I don’t want to be a worry wart over a wart. But I need to have healed from the surgery when we go on our trip, so I can walk the several miles it takes to see each park.

One week from today I’ll be going under the knife, and I would so appreciate your prayers. I truly do ask the Lord that not only would I be able to bear the injections calmly, but that the removal of this wart would be the end of it, and that there would be no further outbreaks.

If I were into Chinese medicine I would say that something is wrong with the chi energy on the right side of my body, and that it has been this way for a long, long time. Perhaps a chi blockage of some sort.

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with my right.  🙂

Okay. I got that out of my system. I promise to try not to do any more old lady posts documenting all my maladies.

But I do need your prayers.

Thank you so much for always stopping by. I wish you a peaceful and wartless Wednesday….

Toiling Under the Toile

August 27, 2012 | My Jottings

I don’t know why, but I love toile (pronounced twall) things. Michael and I had black and white toile wallpaper in the first home we owned together. Then when we moved to a bigger house 25 years later I mourned the loss of the toile, and had the same wallpaper hung in our new bedroom. I know. People either love toile or they hate it, and when our house was for sale last year, I learned from potential buyers’ comments that most did not care for it.

Now we are in a different house that is more modern than our other two homes, and I didn’t think I’d ever have toile anywhere again.

But I succumbed to the pressure of the persistant, whispering Toile Elves, and very soon we will have a bit of toile in our home again. I decided not to go with black and white again.

Here’s what’s going up on the walls of my little office, in just a few days.

I spend a fair amount of time in my office — have I mentioned that there’s a lot of paperwork with foster care? I think I have. So I’ll be toiling under the toile.

And I’m shocked at myself that I’m considering some curtains that don’t really match with the wallpaper. We have a large double sliding glass door in the room and some curtains would provide some privacy.

Pretend right now that you like toile wallpaper. What color curtain panels would you choose to complement this dark red and cream toile wallpaper you see above?

I was thinking cream, I was thinking taupe, I was thinking cardinal red velvet panels, I was thinking brown.

Then all of a sudden I was thinking something completely outside my regularly matchy-matchy box.

Very light aqua, also known sometimes as robin’s egg blue.

No! That wouldn’t go at all!

I’m going to try it anyway.

Yearning Music, Yucky Movie

August 24, 2012 | My Jottings

Yesterday was a low-key day, the kind I like best. No appointments, no place or person desperately needing our presence. I don’t think Michael enjoys these kinds of days as much as I do, and I feel badly for him. He has always been a high-energy man, accustomed to building and remodeling and then planning out his next building and remodeling project. That’s not the way it is anymore, and if you’ve been around my blog for a while you know why. And since he doesn’t drive now, he’s dependent on me to take him places, which I am happy to do 99% of the time.

I cleaned the kitchen yesterday morning and straightened up the house, and then sat down to go through the workbook of the James Bible study I did with a group of dear friends this summer. We all agreed to re-read what we’d completed, to seal in our memories and hearts what we learned. After a while I could tell Michael was slightly restless, and by 1:00 I asked if he wanted to take a drive up the north shore of Lake Superior. He did.

We drove to Two Harbors and had an exceedingly high-fat and delicious lunch at Culver’s. They don’t call them ButterBurgers for no reason at all. A big lunch like that is enough to last me until past dinner time, and then ideally I would eat a piece of fruit before going to bed. But I have to make sure good food is available three times a day, seven days a week, so as soon as we got home I started on something to put in the oven.

As we drove home along the beautiful shore of Lake Superior, we listened to some music that always makes me yearn and causes my eyes to fill with tears I can’t explain. This song, in particular, seems to plunge a knife in my heart each time I hear it. You can click on the link and it should open in a different window, start the video (which is just so you can listen to the music) and then you can read the rest of this post while having a knife plunged through your heart too!

Michael likes it when I sit down at night to watch something on television with him. Netflix has been our answer to the dilemma of “husband likes TV, wife not so much,” and we have watched some fantastic series (mostly British) over the last couple of years. “Monarch of the Glen,” “Bleak House,” “Doc Martin,” “Wives and Daughters,” “Garrow’s Law,” “Foyle’s War,” “Cranford,” and many others have come to our house in little red envelopes.

The night before last we watched a movie I chose, not knowing anything about it except that it was labeled a thriller and was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I like a good thriller once in a while. They can be a little murderous, a little monsterish, just not too much. I don’t want buckets-of-blood-murderous or demon-like monsters. I just want a little blood and/or a killable monster.

The movie we watched was “The Village.” Have you seen it? It had a couple of actors in it that interested me — I like Bryce Dallas Howard and Joaquin Phoenix — but the longer the movie went on, the more I wanted to start playing Words With Friends on my iPad. (Do you play Words With Friends? Send me your user name and we can set up a game so you can whomp me.)

Basically, the story was about a group of people living in a (supposedly) 19th century village, completely isolated from the rest of the world. The people were very colonial seeming with colonial houses and furnishings, and they were governed by a group of elders. They led happy and quiet lives, except for when the beasts in the woods would start acting up. The beasts were called “those we don’t speak of,” and were attracted by the color red, so red was completely forbidden, and all red flowers had to be plucked up and buried. The beasts were apparently repelled by the color yellow. All around the village were hung lanterns and yellow flags to deter the beasts from coming out of the woods and making horrible sounds and causing all the people to flee for their cellars while the beasts pounded on their doors in a deafening manner and left swathes of red paint across their houses. When the beasts were really upset they would skin small pigs and leave them in various places all over the village, to remind the poor people that they were still being observed, and they needed to watch their Ps and Qs.

It would take too long to go into all the details of course, but at the end of the movie, one of the elders sends his blind daughter through the woods toward “the towns” to seek medicines for a dying young man who has been attacked by the beast (or so some of them think). He believes sending her would be the best choice instead of going for the antibiotics himself. Before she heads out, the elder has to confide in his blind daughter that the beasts are really a farce, thought up by the well-meaning elders to keep the people in the village living innocent, quiet lives. After she gets over her shock, the blind young woman is able to feel with her hands the hidden beast costume which was worn by one of the elders when a Beast Attack was warranted. I’m sure she was stunned to learn that her father and all the other elders had deceived them all for so long, but she was in a hurry to wander blindly through the woods by herself so she could get to “the towns” beyond and get some meds, so she didn’t have time to process all this fully right then.

Here comes a twist in the movie that’s not important enough for me to go into depth on, but while the elder’s blind daughter was feeling her way through the cold and terrifying woods alone, falling into muddy pits and being scraped by branches left and right, a young man from the village who had some mental problems had found the beast costume, put it on, and followed the blind girl.

Up until this point all we had seen of the beast was a skeletal hand that reached ominously from the red sleeve of a robe now and then, and even then it was just a glimpse. These woods scenes were dark and flashed quickly with terrifying loud and sudden sound effects to make the viewer startle and scream.

And finally we got a view of what the beast costume really looked like.

I’m not sure how to do it justice, but to me it looks like a giant porcupine who put on his red bathrobe too carelessly.

This was the beast costume the wise and loving elders of the village created, wore, and intermittently terrorized their people with, to keep them within the boundaries of the village, to keep them obedient and in line. And to keep them from wanting to go out into the world to explore.

At the end of the movie we learn that the village elders were modern men with their wives, who had moved to a modern day wildlife preserve after each of them had suffered trauma and tragedy in real 21st century living. They had decided to go back to a simpler, more peaceful way of life, and thought an enormous porcupine in a red hooded cape would help them achieve their ideals.

If I had known that donning a getup like the one pictured above would have assisted me in raising my children, in motivating them to be scrupulously obedient and to stay within all the parameters I had set for them, and would keep them out of the scary world, I think I might have worn it myself.

Anyway, if you have “The Village” in your Netflix queue, you might want to hit the button at the right of your queue that says, “remove.”  🙂

Tonight Michael and I might watch something else together. We have this and this sitting near the TV in their little red envelopes. I’m thinking about making Chicken Piccata with a fresh romaine and red onion salad for dinner.

Have you ever seen a movie you intensely disliked? Or one that was so silly and unbelievable you just rolled your eyes and wanted to play Words With Friends instead?

Which movie/s fell into this category for you?

Wednesday Whimsy-Edition 87

August 22, 2012 | My Jottings

I like blessings, especially Irish and Scottish blessings. You have probably read this old Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I think there is great power in blessing too. Our words are more powerful than we think, and certainly God’s words are alive with such power we have nothing to compare them with. Volcanoes, hurricanes and supernovas are weak and puny things compared with God’s power.

We’ve sort of lost the practice and art of blessing in our culture, don’t you think? When was the last time someone pronounced a very intentional blessing over you? When was the last time we pronounced a very intentional blessing over our children?

I received a blessing not long ago that I love, and will keep in my nightstand always. It starts out like a familiar blessing, then ends with a tiny wry twist of humor, which made me smile hugely.

This is an English blessing, from a very lovely English woman:

May your days be contented and life send you happiness,
treats, security and peace…
As well as all the usual things like personal holiness,
absolute truth, flawless integrity, perfect charity
and a Really Good Bra.

~Penelope Wilcock

*         *         *         *         *         *

She hit the nail on the head for me, she really did. I need all of these things in the worst way.

Midwife, Mortician, Window Painter

August 18, 2012 | My Jottings

Rub a dub dub,
Three men in a tub,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick maker.
Turn them out, knaves all three.   (James Orchard Halliwell)

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I remember wanting to be an astronaut when I was about 10. I think I held onto that aspiration for about a month or so.

By the time I reached my teens I knew I should plan to go to college and get a degree, but deep down inside I really just wanted to be a wife and mother.

(Wait a minute while I go lock my doors before the feminist police hunt me down with their clubs…)

I also remember wanting to be a teacher or a nurse, and after graduating from high school I was enrolled in a local college’s RN program.

When I was in my thirties, aside from being a wife and a homeschooling mother, I sort of wanted to be three other things.

A midwife.

A mortician.

And a window painter.

I’ll talk about my midwife apprenticing another time…it was something I loved but eventually saw that it wasn’t meant to be.

I’ll talk about why I wanted to be a mortician another time too.

When I was in high school I was one of the student sign painters. Every football or basketball game, we always hung long banner-like signs with huge block letters that said inspiring directives like, “Go COLTS!” and “Tromp the Trojans!” and “Hammer the Huskies!” After a couple of years, I could pencil in the 2-foot high letters and have them painted in just a few minutes, and I liked doing it.

When I returned from living in Germany in the early 1980s, I got my first window painting job at a business in Orange County, California, painting a comic-like Christmas scene on their large front windows. I painted a long-nosed and cranky looking Ebenezer Scrooge with a top hat, a scarf wrapped around his neck and blowing in the wind, and he held two bulging bags of money in each hand. Snowflakes fell around him and above his hat in those huge, high-schoolish letters were the words “Merry Christmas.” A word bubble came from his mouth to show he was muttering, “Bah. Humbug.”

After Christmas I washed the paint off the windows as part of the window painting package, and thought about having business cards made up so I could have a little business on the side. I was an office supervisor for a large private investigating company back then. Thirty years ago it was quite common for seasonal themes to be painted on business windows, and some places also painted their sale advertisements on windows too. I don’t see that so much anymore.

Anyway, my window painting days were rather short-lived, because I was swept off my feet by a Minnesota man who asked me to marry him before we ever met. I said yes and moved to American Siberia in 1981, and was thankfully able to be a wife and a mother again for my vocation, having given up private investigating stuff and Southern California altogether.

A few years later when various friends had babies, I picked up my paintbrush again. Sometimes I painted a welcome sign or a birth announcement on their house windows, so something unique and memorable would be waiting for them when they arrived home after giving birth in the hospital.

Here is one example below. My good friend Bob King (who also worked for our local newspaper) took this photo of me as I was standing on a ladder and painting in pink and white, “Howdy Holly! Welcome!” on the front window of friends Sue and Dave’s house. Holly was their third child and first girl, and that was something to celebrate in a big way.

Holly is all grown up now, is married and has a little girl of her own, and I’m too old to climb ladders and paint windows anymore.

I don’t really want to be a midwife or a mortician at this age, either.

I like what I’m doing now, and am so thankful for my job. (Most of you know we are adult foster care providers in our home.)

How about you? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Trying New Things

August 15, 2012 | My Jottings

Awhile back Michael had an all-day appointment at The Struthers Parkinson’s Center in the Minneapolis area. It had been a few years since he’d gone through the many hour-long appointments they schedule at an all-day assessment. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until 3:30 p.m., he had appointments with a Speech Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, a Nurse Practitioner, a Social Worker, and at the end of the day, his neurologist. They all specialize in Parkinson’s, so each professional is always compassionate and a fount of helpful information. The sessions can be intense because they fit all they can into the hour slots, but each time we’ve gone (during different stages of Michael’s PD journey), we’ve come back with something helpful to try.

Since Michael is a good-natured man, he’s willing to go to something like this, which is usually quite tiring and often not very heartening for him. He would rather watch the Minnesota Twins play baseball on TV, or pick up Schnauzer poop in the yard than concentrate on all the things Parkinson’s is doing to him.

So when we drive the few hours to Minneapolis for these appointments, we try to stay in a hotel, go out for a nice meal, see a sight or two. It would be too grueling to get up at 4:00 a.m., drive down, go through the many assessment appointments, and drive home in the dark.

This last trip I was feeling like we should stay in a place outside of our regular hotel box. I surfed around online and found a place in downtown Minneapolis called Le Meridien. It’s an artsy, hip, young and edgy sort of place — the very things we are not. That’s just the reason I booked a room (that and the incredible middle-of-the-week deal they had going), and told Michael we’d be trying something different with this trip.

We had also received two recent recommendations for a place we’d never tried — Punch Pizza. Punch Pizza happened to be down the street from our hotel, so voila! our evening was planned.

When we reached our hotel I scolded myself for not having read the fine print well enough — it cost $28 to park. Ahem. Oh well, we rolled with it and handed Jason our keys to the Highlander and pretended we did not look like Jed Clampett and Granny rolling their suitcase into the lobby. (I used to say Jethro and Elly May when I’d employ this witticism, but clearly Michael does not look like Jethro and not even a person with double cataracts would mistake me for Elly May).

I’m not sure how to describe our room. What would you say? Spartan? Minimalist? Modern? Plain?

The bed was divinely comfortable, which is all that really matters when you are over 55, which I almost am. In fact, I will be over 55 in 20 days, now that I think about it. Other things matter regarding hotel rooms too, like the absence of cockroaches, quietude, and a non-smoking room.

There was a huge television on a swiveling wall mount that was a bonus for a man who wanted to watch the Minnesota Twins that afternoon, who happened to be playing at the new Target Field, which was about one mile from where we lounged in the divinely comfortable bed.

There was also a television on the wall in the bathroom. This is a man thing. I don’t know any women who take so long in the bathroom that they need a television to help them pass the time. Do you? Do you think it’s a man thing? Are men just constipated because they don’t like their vegetables or what?

I thought the sink was photoworthy.

And the shower too.

We are early to bedders, early risers, and early diners. So we headed to Punch Pizza for an early dinner, ordered our personal pizzas and a salad each, walked over to our table to set our napkins and iced teas down when they man behind the counter shouted, “NUMBER 188! ORDER NUMBER 188!” Well, our number was 188 and it hadn’t been three minutes since we’d ordered it. Sara told us the pizza there is baked at over 1000 degrees in a huge, hive-shaped brick oven, but I had no idea it would be so fast. I suppose in our internet age, people want things now. But having our pizzas ready before we could walk across the room? Hmmm.

The pizza was fantastic, my Walnut-Gorgonzola Salad unique and delicious, and Michael was ready for a nap. He knew he had about a hundred people to see the next day at Struthers, so we returned to our hotel.

I’ve been looking for some art to hang above the new mantel over our new fireplace in our new dining room in our new house. Do you think something like this should be considered? Does this canvas in the hotel lobby vibe Juliejuliejulie or Michaelmichaelmichael to you?

I’m not sure that we’ll stay at the Le Meridien again, but it was a fine experience. I think we might try Punch Pizza again someday, but maybe we’ll sit down in our booth for a while before we order so we can not have a conversation but look into each others’ eyes and smile knowingly, which is what we do a lot across dinner tables these days.

What do you look for in a hotel?

What are some of your favorite places to dine?

If you read just one thing today….

August 14, 2012 | My Jottings

…..make it this:

How To Really Live

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Pictures from my wallet

August 11, 2012 | My Jottings

I still carry around baby pictures in my wallet of my daughters. I have most of their school pictures in there too. I have Michael’s old Minnesota driver’s licenses, my first California driver’s license from when I was sixteen years old, and photos of friends’ children given to me decades ago.

As I joined Ember this year in tossing or donating 365 things to help simplify our house, I threw out many pictures. Pictures of blurry landscapes and duplicate photos went in the trash, and there were hundreds.

I’m also not posting my weekly photo of This Week’s Seven Things anymore, because in the process of moving, we far surpassed donating or disposing of more than 365 things. The number of books, pieces of clothing, tools, pictures, doodads, mugs, toys, and other miscellany that went out from our old house totaled over 500, I am certain. And what a difference that made when we moved on May 31st into this smaller house!

But I don’t think I’ll ever part with the photos in my wallet. I may take them out someday and store them in another place, but the thick pile of little pictures will always be with me, Lordwilling.

Here are two old photos from my wallet. The one on the left is of me and my little girls when I was 23 years old. Sharon, on the right in the same picture, was almost four years old, and Carolyn was just over two years. I’ve been teased many times about this photograph, because I chose a dress for Sharon and a turtleneck for Carolyn. I can honestly say that at the time I was just going through our closets looking for color combinations that would match for the picture, and settled on red, white and blue because we all had something that would go. I never thought that I was causing my littlest daughter to look like a boy. Bad mom.  🙁

The picture on the right is of Sharon when she had only two children, several years ago. On the left is Mr. McBoy, who I think looks remarkably like his mama in the other photo when she was a similar age. On the right is Mrs. Nisky, who people have said looks like my Carolyn in the other photo.












Probably in no time at all, Mrs. Nisky will have her picture taken with her two children on her lap, and she’ll be pulling photos from her wallet and showing someone how much they resemble the picture of her and her family when she was very little.

I know I say this a lot, but I can’t help it. All of this happens so quickly. We get to the autumns or the winters of our lives and we think, “Agh! What happened? Where did all those years go?”

It’s the way it’s supposed to be, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

The passage of time is not my cup of tea.

Fantastic Fruit Fly Finisher

August 10, 2012 | My Jottings

All summer long we haven’t seen a fruit fly, until this week. I try to be careful about our fruit because I know all it takes is one bunch of bananas with the right hitchhikers on them and in no time those little brown flies will be taking over the kitchen.

I saw the first fruit fly a couple of days ago, and immediately wrapped up all the fruit. Some of it stayed out and some went in the fridge, but all of it was washed and/or wrapped. The fruit bowl was washed and dried before returning the (wrapped) fruit to it.

I was able to swat a fly or two that first day, but yesterday I saw at least five buzzing around. Sara noticed that I had my head down on the counter weeping (well, not quite), and she trotted off to the computer for a few minutes, then returned with a remedy she’d found.

“Put a small glass or bowl of apple cider vinegar out on the counter,” she instructed, “and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to it. It should attract the flies and kill them.”

I am sorry that I’m admitting to killing flies in such a cruel way, for those of you who ponder such things. I would have preferred their quick demises with a merciful swat, but that wasn’t working for me. I did what Sara suggested, and within two minutes the first fly had succumbed.

Michael and I went grocery shopping and when we returned an hour and a half later, there were at least 10 fruit flies at the bottom of the little bowl with apple cider vinegar and Dawn dishwashing liquid in it.

I put out a fresh batch last night before I went to bed and lo, this morning there are none in the dish. The fruit flies are gone.

Perhaps all of you already know this information. I might be decades behind in the household hints department and 8 out of 10 homes in America (and England and Australia and Canada and Switzerland and Ireland) have already been employing this method for battling fruit flies for years now.

But just in case you have a fruit fly or two and you hadn’t heard of this strategy, I thought I would pass it on. There’s a teeny part of me that feels bad for the kind of end the flies are meeting in my home, but oh well.

The Georgia peaches, Pink Lady apples, Anjou pears and the Hawaiian bananas and pineapples take priority.

How do you deal with fruit flies?