May I Please Speak to Miss LeeAnn?

That’s what the early-morning caller asked my daughter.  Yes, indeed, I’m in the gracious state of South Carolina and the caller was an employee of the service that picks up yard waste.  While yesterday was pickup day, I missed it, and through a series of phone calls, located the right people who offered to come back today and gather the leaves I’d raked up to the street.  Ya gotta love it 🙂 They were just calling to verify the location.   I’m in a special (to me) part of the country where manners  matter and mommas raise their children to say ma’am and sir and you wouldn’t dream of addressing an adult female not related to you by just her first name.

Not only that, but the truck just arrived and they have workers out there manually putting the leaves into the truck.  Holy beans! as my Meghan would say.  I had anticipated a utility vehicle with the hose in front moving slowly and vacuuming up the leaves.  No, ma’am, these guys were out there with rakes and a broom, mind you, pickup day was yesterday.  I walked down the driveway a bit ( being in a robe at 9 a.m.) waved to get their attention, called out, “Thank you,” and gave a thumbs up.  In unison I heard, “No problem, ma’am.”  They’re done and gone and it’s another beautiful morning in South Carolina.


I’m here!!

An uneventful flight; actually, travel was very good.  This Delta/Northwest merger has resulted in a very classy airline.  The service was excellent, personnel very professional, very helpful. Compared to some of the service we’ve experienced in the last year, this rates very well!

A year ago on Dec. 23, I was sitting at O’Hare, full of folks who’d been stranded for up to two days by Midwest weather on a busy holiday.  This year I changed two things:   I’m traveling earlier, December 20th instead of the 23rd and I avoided Chicago.  The plane change in Detroit was a walk in the park and we arrived in Columbia EARLY!  That’s a nice change of pace for air travel.

I’m comfy at the Barnes & Noble where Meghan works part-time, a stack of cookbooks on Southern cooking at my side.  This is about as good as it gets, my child within reach, bright blue skies, people wearing light jackets as opposed to the four layers I had on when arriving.  The only thing better would be having my ErinLee here as well, but I’m thankful for what I’ve got.

We’ve been to Meghan’s house, so I’ve finally seen her new home.  I teased her that not only is she a homeowner, she has landscaping, something called monkey grass, ivy and a flowering plant I’ll have to investigate.  We’ve already identified a couple projects to do together and I offered to put her new rake to good use when she’s at work.  I’ll need the exercise as we’ve already eaten well and are planning our next meal 🙂

It doesn’t look like Christmas outside, but there’s Christmas music in the air and decorations all around.  While it’s weird not to have snow, this is pretty awesome.

So it’s almost Christmas.  I hope you’re all where you want to be, with those you love and who love you.  I’ll be back in a bit.



My last post of 2009 from my home.  In 12 hours I’ll be arriving in Green Bay to catch a bit of sleep before flying out  at 6:30 a.m.  And in 28 hours I will be hugging my beloved Meghan and seeing her new home for the first time.  Am I excited?  You have no idea!!!  As my cousin Jane reminded me, this will give me the energy I need to get everything done.

So what’s the TA DA for?  I have completed another term in school.  I have done battle with algebra and am still standing.  More logical than ever?  I’m too tired to say right now, but I’ve done it, it’s history.  Will I dance around my kitchen as mentioned in a post back in August?  Very likely as I’ve got to keep moving through this day, checking off the list.    Sounds like time for a song, one that contains two of my all-time favorite song lines – check it out and sing with me.

Quickly, what are the two lines?   “Just remember this my girl, if you look up in the sky you can  see the stars and still not see the light.”  Amen to that.  The other is, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”   It’s time for me to get on my feet.

Blessings to you all in these last pre-Christmas days.  And while I’m anxiously awaiting the gift of time with my Meghan, I’m mindful of the reason behind this celebration – the best Gift ever.  Hope you have it in your life.

Merry Christmas, 2009.  Cherish your friends and family; reach out to those in need.  Coming to you next from the warmth of  South Carolina …


I’m so cold you should put on a sweater

Memories…  My girls and I have been talking about memories, fun things, funny sayings.  The title of this post is an example of a line that makes us smile.  I’m known for always being cold, well before any surgeries or health challenges – I’m just cold-blooded.  The girls would say with eyes rolling, “Mom’s cold, we have to put on a sweater.”  That’s a favorite.

The other day I saw a saying about dancing in the rain.  Reminded me of my girls.  In a text to  ErinLee, I shared the line and reminisced about how she loved to play in the rain.  She reminded me of the time she went  into the backyard to play in the rain in her underwear and accidentally locked herself out.  Big smile at that memory 🙂

There are so many.  Last year at this time I was posting a Countdown, counting down the days until I was in warmer climes with my Meghan for Christmas.   This year I haven’t been counting down until today, when Meghan reminded me that it’s only five days till we’re together.  Five crazy busy days during which I’ll clean my house – another whole set of memories from my own childhood, carried  into my children’s  lives and  into the present day.  Thanks, Mom –  a story in itself.  I will take two final exams, and as promised back in August, finish the dreaded algebra.  Not to mention laundry, packing, paperwork, banking,  a Merry Christmas hug for my favorite Auntie Arlene before I go, so many things to finish.

It won’t be long now.  Temperature here in the North Woods is heading toward a wind chill of 20 below tonight. So as I get back to the business of finishing a semester and  preparing to be away for a couple weeks, I’m telling you, I’m so cold, y’all get those sweaters on, you hear?



It got ugly out there.  I have a friend who’d call it “wicked cold.”  She’s from the East and apparently that’s a colloquialism and her adjective of choice.    I call it BRUTAL and realize all-caps equals shouting in cyber-English, but that’s my way of letting you know that it did indeed get ugly.  As so often happens, along with the ugly, we get a flash of awesome!!  Reference my posts last year about Sparkles, here in Wisconsin and on the beach in South Carolina.

What I got the other day was much more than a sparkle – it was a most spectacular opportunity!   I saw the wind. Yep, I said that I saw the wind, first time ever, and I’ve seen lots of weather in lots of places.  This was a most beautiful upside of a most ugly weather day.

It was so cool, so awesome, breath-taking actually.  I wish I’d been able to photograph it, but my memory  will have to serve.  I was watching the weather out a window, facing north, snow  blowing like crazy.  All of a sudden what appeared to be a huge wave of snow, came around the corner of the big shed.  As I described it to my daughters, it was bigger than anything we’ve seen live in the ocean,  like those huge waves you see on television in the surfing competitions.

I swear, this wave of snow came around that building and moved  across my yard, into the field.  It was incredible, taller than the shed and wide, so very wide.  I watched this wave moving along and I was stunned by the force that could do that and hope I’m even close to portraying the sight.

Those who know me well will understand, knowing my fascination with “big” weather 🙂    This spoke volumes to me.  Two days later as I write this, I’m still thrilled to have been watching at the right time.

Were there other gusts of wind?  I’m sure there were seeing as that’s one of the criteria for blizzard. But I choose to believe that this was a gift to me, a reminder of this amazing creation  in which we live and even more, of the gift to me of this place, this homestead that means so very much to me.

The lesson here – you know there’s got to be one – is thankfulness.  In the darkest of times, there is always something for which I’m thankful.  This has been a week of blessings despite the weather and I’m going to close here, a very thankful woman.



There’s a warning here, with good reason.  Started last night, made for interesting travel home from a Christmas party in a nearby town.  There’s a warning here, blizzard no less, serious weather, dangerous conditions, zero visibility.

There are warnings everywhere, aren’t there?  They don’t all come with flashing lights or that annoying signal used on radio and TV or ribbons scrolling across your television screen or  a yellow light.  But they’re warnings just the same.

How do you react to warnings?  Fear?  Doubt? Skepticism? Do you logically come up with a Plan A and a Plan B as well?

I’m heeding the weather warning for now and am bundling into serious winter gear to head outside.  Thanks to a neighbor, the bulk of the plowing is complete, but wind is wicked and walls of snow are blowing around, changing the landscape.  Anyway, while I’m outside doing clean-up with the snow-thrower, I’ll be finishing this post in my head.  So think about the many warnings we receive in our daily life and how we handle them.  I’m off to the great outdoors.


Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part I

Some of you know I’m a musician.  That affects how I remember things and how I learn.  No to mention that I’m a child of the 60s and 70s so it should be no surprise to find music throughout these pages.  Today we borrow from Bowie – David the musician, as opposed to Jim, of knife fame.
I’ve been thinking about change a lot these days.  Its been a  subject of discussion in my humanities class, which I’m loving, by the way 🙂 I had to respond to a statement by my professor as to how people view and  respond to change.

Coupled with the letters I sent my girls for St. Nick’s and the memories that brought up, change has indeed, been on my mind.  As I wrote for my class: change is life and life is change.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Pain-free, stress-free, just like change itself.

Not so?  I look at how my life has changed and how I’ve dealt with it; how my girls have changed – independent young women now, living far away from me and each other, yet remaining close thanks to technology.  Ch-ch-ch-changes.

And while I speak easily about my girls being so far away, much of the time  I do not like it one bit!!!  St. Nick comes tomorrow and I didn’t unpack the Christmas stockings, two years running now.  Those stockings I made – love and anticipation sewn into every stitch.  I didn’t grow up with St. Nick, but my girls discovered him the year ErinLee came home from preschool in tears because St. Nick didn’t like her.  He only skips the children who’ve been bad, she said.   So St. Nick became part of our lives.

Talked to ErinLee moments ago – we laughed about how  very often I got it wrong.  St. Nick came a day early or a day late; for whatever reason I struggled with that one.  When they were of an age to understand, we shared many laughs over St. Nick.  But it was always special because that’s when the stockings came out.  We’ll talk about those another time.

In the meantime, in this  pre-Christmas season, give some thought to the many changes and the many benefits you’ve reaped because of them.  Change isn’t always comfortable, but it often precedes dramatic growth. Ch-ch-ch-changes.                                                    Later…