Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walking the Talk: Virtual {Iced} Tea

There you are.

I thought that was
your sweet face,
next to the trail, where 
we agreed to meet.
I'm a few minutes
late, with Elizabeth,
William and Gracie in
 tow.  {Sorry for the delay!}

I brought us some
iced tea to sip as
we walk....and talk....

William is going to
ride ahead on his
bicycle.  He's all
about his bike these
days, finding walking
to be so boring.

See ya, son.

Anyway, Elizabeth
and Gracie are going to
blaze the trail ahead
of us, so we can chat by 
ourselves.  Before we
start out, though, she
wants to thank you for
your kind thoughts and
wishes when she was
in Italy!  {GRATZIE!}

As I was driving my
brood over here, 75
degrees, dry and 
sunny.....Blue skies
with puffy white clouds
like the sort that is often
drawn by a child....And
the lake, sparkling and
flags fluttering....I had
an Oh my! moment.

I was blooming where
I was planted.

Yes, you've heard me
bandy that phrase around
here, before.  Growing up, it
was my family's motto; another
 brood that moved around.
A lot.

And I'd convinced myself
with each move as a grown up,
that I was doing exactly that.  But
I realized just.this.week that I
was finally walking the talk.

Because in the past ten years
that we have been planted
here in Minnesota, I had staked
 a big BUT next to my blooms.

I am blooming where I'm
planted.....but I'd rather live
near my parents.
I am blooming where I'm
planted.....but we won't be
here that long.
I am blooming where I'm
planted, but I'd rather be
closer to the ocean.

But....this week ~
THIS week ~
As I passed gorgeous old
farms when we drove out
into the country to pick
THIS week ~
As I walked this very beautiful
paved trail that parallels 
the lake.....

A peacefulness settled on
my heart and I realized it.
That stake.....that but....
has been plucked and 

I AM blooming where I'm planted.
I am home, for as long as this
patch of earth keeps us here.

And why not?
Minnesotans enjoy the second
longest life expectancy in the 
U.S., behind Hawaii.  {!}

Minnesota is known for its
great schools; in the most
recent ranking, our students
scored third highest on SATs.

According to,
their latest liveability index
ranked Minnesota as the second 
best place to live in the U.S., 
behind New Hampshire.

Minnesotans grab each
season by the lapel and shake
out every.last.bit.  Our lake
is dotted with ice houses and
skiers all winter long, but as
soon as those paved trails
are clear, you will see the first
 bicyclists out for a spin....
even if there are still snow banks.
And, docks go into lakes as soon
as the edges have melted, even
if the middle is still frozen solid!

That my friends, is blooming.

I know.  Heavy stuff, eh?
{See, that Minnesota-speak
has rubbed off on me after
all of these years!}

Ooh, I see the bridge,
up ahead.  One of my favorite
resting vistas, with water on
both sides.  I see that my girl
has stopped to take it in.  Even
Gracie likes to stop and look.

Here, I've brought a few
raw energy bars, home made
by my friend Emily, for us
to nibble on as we enjoy
 the view.

Do you think that sense that
one is truly at home, deep in
the bones, transcends a roof
over our heads and family 
around the table?

I just finished a memoir written
by an Alaskan author.  She wrote
about a close friend who arrived
in Alaska at age 19 and confided that
for the first time in his young life,
I finally feel like I'm home.

Is it DNA or simply how we are
wired, that makes a specific geography
 seem to fit better than another?

Hey, there goes William, whizzing 
past us on his bicycle.  Break's over....
Let's turn back.  I want to hear all 
about the place that makes you feel most 
at home.  Are you living there now or 
are you hoping to live there in the future? 

Are you blooming 
where you are planted....



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear GiGi

You were always crazy for zinnias.

Dear GiGi,

I have been missing you.

There is so much that I
wish we could share.
You loved margaritas
and I wish that we could
sit on Mom and Dad's
gliders and sip our frozen
drinks and talk and talk
and talk some more, the
way we used to.

But you aren't really here.

The view from your room.

Physically, you live in a
cozy group home with five
other residents in a little
neighborhood 15 minutes
from your daughter, my
mama.  And you still know
your precious girl, which is
really wonderful.

You just forgot the rest of us.

You didn't mean to.  When you
are nearly 94 it is quite common.

But still.....I miss you so.

View from the gliders.

If we were sitting on those gliders,
back and forth,
back and forth,
frosty margaritas and the sun
dipping low on the horizon,
I would share all kinds of
news, because you were 
always the most appreciative

I'd tell you that our Elizabeth
arrived home on Saturday night
from Italy!  Did you ever think that
your great-granddaughter would go
to Italy when she was only 16?  
Maybe.  After all, you were only
17 and freshly graduated from 
high school when you auditioned for
{and made} a dance troupe that travelled 
across the Midwest and up into Canada.

You had the time of your life.

Gallery of your dancing days, in your room.

You confided that you didn't succumb
to bleaching your hair platinum like 
so many of your troupe friends.  Or 
smoke like they did, even though it
 was considered glamorous in the 1930's.  
Your daddy thought it made a woman
 look fast and you never wanted 
to  disappoint him! 

You never did.

I'd fill you in on our William, who is 
getting so tall; just 12 and a half,  he has big
 hands and feet like an overgrown puppy.
He is a teddy bear, a lot like your son
was, GiGi.  Remember your Doug?  He got
polio when he was seven, but you
were so strong and so brave and luckily
 you'd purchased polio insurance
at work,  just in case, so all his treatments 
were covered.  Gosh, you loved your boy.

Your boy and mine.....age 12  : )

I'm glad you don't remember that
he died 15 years ago.  I was with
you just before he went to heaven
 and GiGi,  you were so braveagain. 
 Which is really amazing when you 
consider what a softie you'd always
been; how you managed after such
a loss was a testament to your 
ability to stay positive, even in
the face of great sadness.

If we were gliding and sipping and 
 laughing....and you were nodding
and listening....I'd fill you in on my
blog and the special friends that 
I've made, all around the world....
and, in my own backyard.

Last week with my BFF bloggy buddy.

GiGi, you'd love them.  So 
many dear, fascinating people!

And you'd love that I'm writing.

Which is why I'm missing you, today.
Even though you are here.
I will see you in less than a month.
I will lean down to hug and kiss you 
and you will smile and say Well, hello!
but you're just being polite as you
let this kinda-sorta-familiar stranger
bestow her affections upon you.

And that's okay.

Because I know you.
And I love you.

I always will.

With your beloved daddy.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kitchen, Love Thyself

I love design blogs and 
home and garden magazines....
Etsy and HGTV.

The cool thing about
this age that we are
living in is the countless
Something for everyone,
be it traditional, modern,
bohemian or any kind
of mix that you could
want or imagine.

While I'm no expert on
 interior design,  I do know 
what I like and it's been 
fun collecting ideas in my
Pinterest files and on
Houzz and of course
the old tear and file
system, too.

But when I was asked
to join in a linky party
featuring what I love about
my kitchen, I stopped
in my tracks, uncertain
whether or not to participate.

We live in a society that
is preoccupied with those
things we want to change
when we look in the mirror ~
Use Botox! Lose weight!
Color your hair! which can
spoil the view sometimes.

And {at least for me},
magazines and HGTV
and YES, design blogs,
create wants.  And that can
also focus my lens on lack....
As in, my house lacks
beamed ceilings or wide
plank floors or a sweet

Wants all the way.
So far, far from needs.

I know you get it.

When I consider my kitchen
these days, I do tend to think
of the changes that I'd like
to make, since we are living
a 2011 life in a 1996 house,
one where we've been
 planted for over 10 years.  

But this invitation helped me
to set aside the magnifying
glass that enlarges flaws and
hone in on those things that
I do, indeed, love about my
kitchen.  To refocus the lens
on gratitude, a word that
seems to keep appearing on
my radar this year.

Because it's not, in fact, the 
things in my kitchen that 
melt my heart.

It's the people who have
graced the stools around
the island or the chairs
around the table....And
this little dog beneath my feet
 as I stir or chop, wash or dry.

It's their dear faces that 
come to mind first and what 
makes my kitchen a place to 
love and to be truly grateful for.

If you'd like to see what
others love about their 
kitchens, stroll on over and
say hello to the lovely Sarah.


PS:  The name drawn by for the
Shabby Apple Giveaway 
is {drum roll}:
Mimi-Toria's Designs

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Few Kind Words

What a difference
a few words can make.

~ My William

As the only child
since his sister
flew the coop
with her school
group to Italy 
last week, my
son and I have
been spending a lot 
of time together.

Like the State baseball
tournament, where
we cheered our
varsity team on to
win the consolation

And our bicycle ride with
the bigger boy ~
aka his dad and my
hubby ~ on Father's

A few meals out.
Table for three.

And errands together.
A two-some.
Like the old days,
when his sister was
in school and he was 
the little brother,
longing to be there
with her, but also
happy to be my
co-pilot as we cruised
through days that were
gone in a heartbeat.

6AM Smiles

After we dropped his sister off 
last week in the wee hours of the
morning, we celebrated
her travel adventure over
breakfast at our local
mom and pop establishment.
Our waitress was a
real grump.

Today we
took ourselves to 
another local eatery,
where we felt like
royalty, simply because
we were thanked
several times for visiting
 and also told by at least 
two employees to have
a great day.

And that brings me back
to William's quote....

He noticed.

Which is saying something
when you are 12 and a 
half and your head is
filled with baseball and
X-Box and wanting to
start your own business.

{He plays a mean
Hotel California, too!}

Last year I happened upon
a small but powerful little
 book, titled Silver Boxes.  It 
was about the importance of 
positive words; how they 
are really like wonderfully 
wrapped gifts for those who are 
lucky enough to receive them.

When William noticed the
silver boxes that had been
eagerly handed our way
at the pancake house this
morning, it got me 

Thinking about you and
all of the wonderful silver
boxes that I receive with
each and every comment that
 you leave here for me.

Words that lift.
Words that sing.
Words that edify.
Words that humble.
Words that bless.

And I am certain that 
you are the type
of person who also gives
silver boxes ~ those few
kind words ~ to others that
you encounter every day.
{And probably don't even
realize it!}

Thank you for that.

I truly, truly
thank you.

Now I'm off to finish
laundry and do some weeding
and pay bills that are due
and book plane tickets
for our summer holiday.  
We are still grasping
bit to find our new summer 
normal around here, especially
with our girl being gone.

But we're getting there.
Things ramp up over the next
month starting Monday, when
I'll become reacquainted 
 with my chauffeur's cap.

Until then, I'm going to
enjoy cheering at my son's
baseball games and listening
to tween boy conversation
in the car as we head to the
DQ with his buddies afterwards
for a Blizzard or a Mr. Misty : )

And if I can inject a few kind 
words along the way, I'm going 
to try my darnedest to do 

Kind words are a creative force,
a power that concurs with the
building up of all that is good,
and an energy that showers
 blessings upon the world.

~ Lawrence G. Lovasik


Be sure to enter
my Shabby Apple giveaway,