Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Stress relief

Stress seems to be hovering over me like that dark cloud that follows cartoon characters.  Between Katie’s surgery and her cone of shame, my shoulder which is requiring physical therapy three times a week, and our Aunt’s move to a nursing home, it feels like the days are filled with concerns and difficult decisions.



Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming.

I don’t remembered even noticing the sky the past few weeks, but as I left the house yesterday  the clouds struck me as kind of pretty.  The weather was changing fast, the wind blowing the clouds around and the sun popping out for brief moments of brilliant light which moved like a spotlight across the yard.

Grabbing my camera I knew I didn’t have time to go far before the sky would be totally cloud covered and we’d be sunk once again into the grey that is often  a Michigan December afternoon.  I headed toward the closest wide open country around here, not sure what I’d find, but hopeful.

And I was right.  Barns, clouds, fields, all pretty in the changing light.



I haven’t been on a barn hunt in months….maybe even a year.  It seems fitting that I get one more mini adventure in this year and that it revolve around barns.


And a church.



I was only out there an hour, and the weight of the camera made my shoulder ache, but it was wonderful.  Recent problems fell away and it was just me chasing the light through crisp air and skies filled with heavy navy clouds.

I guess it’s worth remembering to do something you love as often as possible.  It helps to deal with all the other stuff if you give yourself a break now and then.



Happy New Year everybody!  May we all work through the problems that will inevitably come along, and may we balance those out with moments of pure joy doing the things that make us happiest.






Weekends with Katie

Last weekend Katie helped me pack up Christmas.

She wasn’t very comfortable with all these boxes on the sofa, especially since they made funny noises when I put ornaments in them.

But she was curious enough to come back and sit on the sofa and watch each time.  She didn’t, however, provide much advice about how to get all the ornaments packed away.

This weekend Katie helped me fill the bird feeders.

She thought this was a lot more fun.

Then we went out into the back yard to play.

That was the most fun of all.

She’s napping now.  All this work wears a Sheltie out.


93 meets 2 weeks

Christmas weekend we had my husband’s extended family here for dinner.  More than thirty people, including 2 newborns and the oldest member of the family, the 93 year old aunt, arrived the day after Christmas to celebrate family.

After a big meal of roast beef, ham and all the fixings we sat around the living room in a big circle while the two oldest members of the family told stories about their history.  Most everyone, except the little kids playing with new toys,  listened and asked questions about what it was like to grow up on a cold, rural Minnesota farm more than 80 years ago.  Though my husband and I have heard many of these stories before most of the younger generation, those we only see once a year, have never heard them.  One of the young fathers videoed the discussion because we all realize as family members get older our chances to hear these stories first hand become more rare.

So this holiday weekend we prompted them – drawing out the stories that made us laugh, made us think, made us grateful for the lives we have now.  It was a magical evening, one we’re lucky to have shared.

And as I watched my husband’s aunt that evening I wondered what it felt like to be 93 and spending an evening with young people and their even younger children.  What does it feel like to have 93 years of history in your head?  Are you wistful when you hold a newborn?  Are you transported in time when you watch a toddler more entranced with the box than the new toy he unwrapped?  Are you memorizing new memories or are you overwhelmed with thoughts of times gone by?

When the youngsters became too tired to play and started to head out for home, they each gave the eldest among us a hug.  Four generations sitting in one room telling stories, laughing, talking, remembering.  A special evening during a special weekend with special people.  Priceless.



The holidays are almost behind us.  This year everything seemed more stressful than usual.  I don’t know why.  It’s not as if I  haven’t done all of this before.   But I don’t remember being so very tired after.  The kind of tired where you come home from work, skip dinner and go to bed.  Where even after a long night of restless sleep you drag yourself out of bed to navigate the icy streets back to work thinking only about how many hours it is until you can go back to bed again.

Maybe it’s an aging thing.  Maybe I just get myself involved in too many things for my age.  Maybe I should say no more often.  Or maybe not, because everything I did this holiday season was fun, and I wouldn’t want to skip any of it.  The shopping and wrapping and visiting family, the holiday concerts, the cookie making, the planning for the big family dinner, the decorating and the hosting…it was all wonderful.

But now I need a nap.  Maybe a four or five day nap.  Oh yea, I forgot about that job I have to go to.  And this week we have to work all five days!  What were they thinking?  So that’s why this hostess gift we received at Sunday’s big holiday dinner will come in so handy.  The name of the wine says it all.

That is just what I’m going to do this New Year’s Eve…RELAX!  If I stay up till midnight to see the ball drop in Times Square, well, that’s cool.  But the odds are stacked against me, and really, how many years do I make it awake till midnight?  Not so many.  And I think I’m not alone, judging from the cubicle chatter today.

So maybe it’s not an age thing.  Maybe it’s just an over committed thing.  Maybe I’m just like everyone else.  And maybe we all need a four day nap.  Makes me feel less old to think of it that way.

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve, and that we all get a little more sleep in 2011!


Merry Christmas !

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  And to say thanks for all the kind comments so many of you have made over the years.  You are all part of our blogger family and we hope each of you has a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Enjoy a moment of peace, eat some good food, laugh at old jokes, remember good times.  But most of all take this opportunity to slow down, look around, and recognize the moment.  Today is special.  Enjoy!


Missing Mom

During all the hustle and bustle of this holiday season I’m taking a small quiet moment to miss my Mom.  I know I’m not alone.  Many of you out there are heading into another Christmas season without a Mom.  So I feel bad whining about missing my own.  Still, it’s my blog and I can whine if I want to.

Last night I was putting ornaments on the tree.  Husband was off to a big box store looking for plumbing parts – no, he wasn’t Christmas shopping for my gift – so I was alone with the tree and a big box full of memories.  So much of what we hang on our trees are memories.  The ornament from childhood, the one that was a gift from family.  As I contemplated the perfect spot on the tree for each I smiled.  Mom would have liked these birds in nests…a cousin gave me this box of ceramic ornaments years ago…I remember when my sister and I shopped for these glass stars.

Then I found a box filled with tissue paper, the only ornament inside a glass santa.  And suddenly I remembered the last time my Mom was here, just before Christmas in 2003, when we went up to  Bronners giant Christmas store and I saw this little Santa ornament.  I told her I thought it was like one that her mother always had on the tree years ago.  So Mom bought it for me.

This year as I put the little glass Santa in a prime spot, high up  on the front of the tree, I felt that old familiar pang.  I miss my Mom.  And I think about how she must have missed her own Mom all those years after Grandma died, though I never asked her about it.   I wish I had.

So this Christmas I hope they’re hanging ornaments on a tree together, reminiscing about Christmas days gone by.  And eating Mom’s famous cranberry jello, the one with the big globe grapes and crunch celery.

Merry Christmas Mom.  I’m making that cranberry jello again this year.  And I’ll be thinking about you.


Can I help?

We put the tree up last night.  Though I grew up with fresh cut trees and I miss the smell, I don’t miss the mess.  Ours comes out of the basement in a big bag.

While husband and I were setting up the tree Katie thought she’d help. Silly dog.

Later in the evening we found her curled up in the bag taking a nap.  It’s hard work to be a helper dog.


Are you ready?

Ready or not Christmas is coming!  My husband and I were in a retail store the day before Halloween this year and were shocked to see it all decorated with Christmas trees and enormous ornaments.   I meant to go back and get a picture, but I didn’t.  Time just slips away.  Now the big day is just a couple of weeks away.  Are you ready?  I’m not!

Today we put some lights up outside.  I love to see houses all decked out in lights.  I love to drive through neighborhoods after dark and look at all the colors.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy; sort of  Norman Rockwell-ish.  Here in Lower Michigan we’ve had lots of warm early winter days when we might have completed this task but our holiday lights didn’t venture up from their basement bins.  Today, with a big snow storm headed our way we couldn’t put it off any longer.

Remember last year when I put everything away in their holiday bins?  I was so proud of us, being so organized, everything in it’s red and green bin, labeled and ready for next year.

We packed all the lights and outdoor cords neatly away, so as to make this year so much easier.  I don’t know what happened.

Somehow the Grinch must have gotten into those bins over the summer, because the lights and cords were a tangled mess this morning!

But after much work I got most of it sorted out.  Katie helped.

And now I’m anxiously waiting for the evening to fall so that I can enjoy my very own holiday lights.  This year we put some on the smaller trees in the backyard. Can’t wait to see what the neighborhood deer think about that!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend everyone!  Katie sends hugs.