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my valentine

February 14th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

He is the least romantic person I know, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
{{and he knows that I feel this way about him. Funny thing is, he agrees}}

And Valentine’s Day is not a holiday that we pay any particular attention to in our marriage. After nearly 11 years together, there is that deep and abiding understanding that what you do every day of the year means far more than some silly gestures, a box of chocolates or a pink frilly heart on only one of those days.

This man…. he makes every day worthwhile.


After every day of those near 11 years, despite the inevitable ups and downs of marriage, he STILL makes me burst out laughing on a regular basis with his silly jokes and comments.

He married a woman with an 8 year old son, and has been the kind of Dad that every boy needs. Especially mine.

He brings me coffee six mornings a week, while I lay in bed. {{on the 7th, I wake before him, letting him sleep}}

He makes sure my car runs smoothly, because quite frankly, I have no idea how to do it.

He gladly cleans up even the worst of my kitchen messes, with a smile on his face. As he puts it, it’s the payback for having such good things to eat in our lives.

He is a willing participant in our striving for good health. He cares about what he eats, and encourages me in the kitchen even moreso when he’s happily, and gladly, eating the food I create.

My computer runs beautifully. And he makes sure he backs up all my important files.

He makes this blog shine because he just ‘gets’ my crazy and often vague ideas on how I want it to look.

He treats my friends with amazing grace.

He encourages me to step away from my life once in a while, to get out of the house, to go hang with a friend, to get out and socialize. He knows when I’m being crushed, when I need a break and he makes me do it.

But more importantly, and likely the best thing of all…….

He loves me, for me. He has no expectations of what I should be, and his unconditional acceptance gives me wings to be free and explore the me that I was created to be. This has been, far and away, the finest thing any human being, outside of my mother, has ever done for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Mike,  the love of my life. Marrying you was the best decision I ever have made. Thank you for helping make it so incredibly blessed and for making me feel so deeply loved.

crazy highs and lows

October 24th, 2010 | 12 Comments »

Do you ever have one of those days that re-define crazy? Do you ever experience something that both jars you senseless, yet lifts you to the highest high? Ever tried to reconcile the two? It isn’t easy, my friends.

I did. And it was so weird that I can’t NOT talk about it. This blog has never been the kind where I recount the experiences of my day to day life. I don’t post that regularly, but like I said, this day begs to be shared. It’s how I can decompress from something so odd, yet so exhilarating.

Curious? I hope so. Oh, and a fair warning. This day involved swearing, which I might recreate here. You have been warned.

I spent a few days at our lake home, Loveless Lake in Wisconsin, taking advantage of maybe the last of October’s glorious and awe-inspiring weather. I gathered food that I love, my hiking shoes and a few good books and took off. It was nice to get away, and even in the throes of Autumn, with trees stripped bare of leaves and nothing but rust and brown for as far as the eye can see, the lake is still utterly enchanting. Especially when you can capture a sunset like this:

I know!! How amazing is that? And then there was this, but 10 minutes later:

The clouds reflected in the water are stunning, yet this photo doesn’t even begin to capture the true beauty that happened, right before my eyes. I was humbled. I felt small and yet so blessed that I could stand there and see it with my own eyes.

The next day I was excited to be participating in a Twitterview with Joel E. Carlson. Basically, it’s an Interview on Twitter, and Joel does them every week, and Friday is when he likes to talk to a local food lover for Food Friday. I had to be at the computer at 2:00pm, ready to talk food. I’m always ready to talk about food.

But I need to digress. Just a little, because when I was getting my lunch ready around 12:30 I heard a terrific commotion outside under our deck. And lots of terrified squeaking. We have chipmunks galore around our place. I thought a hawk had swooped down to grab one, but stepping outside, I heard even more noise and ruckus going on under the deck, which meant whatever was chasing that chipmunk had to be able to get under there too. We’d seen a stray cat around the property before, and sure enough, she eventually came out with a large rodent in her jaws. I say ‘Her’ because we know that for certain; Mike saw her a few months back and she had a big round belly. But now there was no belly, so that meant there were babies somewhere. I watched her walk off across the back yard, over the road, up a hill and disappear behind a shed about 50 yards from our property. I took my lunch onto the deck, and sure enough, she came back. No chipmunk, thank goodness. She was friendly. And hungry. I did the only thing I could do for her at that time; I scrambled her some eggs. It was all I had and she ate half of them, filling her belly tight. And after some time exploring our place, she went back out and walked off. I half-jokingly said to her as she disappeared “Bring back your babies!!”

Yeah. I’m sure by now you see where this is going. But wait, and keep reading. Because it gets really weird, I promise.

By now, it’s 2:00pm and I am on Twitter, talking with Joel. I hear something though, outside our screen porch. A crunching of leaves, and it’s too steady to be a squirrel. I go to the door and look out, and there is Mama Cat sitting with a tiny gray and white kitten. Upon further exploration, I find another kitten under the steps. Bear in mind, my Twitterview is going on at this very moment. I need to be on the computer and be focused and a whole world of cute had just showed up at my door. Mama brought her babies inside and led them straight to the plate on the floor with the remaining eggs. Which they ate while she watched. I’m Twittering, trying to keep an eye on the babies, and even running outside trying to see if maybe there were more. Seriously. How weird do you think it was for me? Likely it was weirder than anything you could conjure up. I was so darn glad that this Twitterview wasn’t being conducted through video. How would THAT have looked? Sheesh.

But hey…. it’s not over yet.

The interview ended, and I contacted the closest animal shelter because, you see, this isn’t the first cat we’ve found abandoned around our lake home. It’s the third. In fact, earlier this summer we found a male cat, in all likelihood the father of this litter because he was gray and white like one of the babies. So I call the shelter and tell them I am coming with a Mama Cat and two babies. I boxed them up and got them in the car, and in my distracted state of trying to find the street to turn on once I got to town, I made a horrible mistake.

F–k!!  And double f–k, like pounding my hands on the steering wheel F–K!  I couldn’t believe it. I felt so stupid! For reference, and why the double F-bomb is even necessary, folks I have NEVER had an accident in my entire 30 years of driving experience. None. Nada. Zip. I have never even been in a car that was involved in an accident. Double F–K!!!! Aaaargh! And here I am, in small town America, Wisconsin to be exact (in a car with Minnesota license plates) and I just plowed into a woman because I was looking for an animal shelter to try and help these homeless babies. Who were so stinkin’ cute that just moments before the accident I remember thinking “I want to take their picture!!”

Yep. Double F–K! I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had been given a citation for being certifiably insane.

But I guess if there is a good side to an auto accident, it was the fact that I was able to react enough to swerve and avoid hitting her head-on, potentially damaging the car so badly that we would need to tow it from SmallTown USA to our service garage 60 miles away. Because I drive an Audi. There was not a foreign service station anywhere within a 50 mile radius of where I was because these folks are from the Heartland through and through, born and bred pick-up truck people. They do farm chores, haul wood and boats and they don’t do Audis. I crushed the left headlight and the side panel, decimating the washer fluid reservoir but otherwise sustaining no engine or radiator damage. The fender was pried away from the tire and I was able to drive off. That is, after being delivered to the animal shelter with a box of cats in a squad car. A squad car, people. And for the record also, that was the first time I have ever ridden in a squad car. And I carried cats on my lap. Cats. In a box. In a squad car.

Well, if that wasn’t weird enough- and believe me, THAT was way weird- it got weirder.

Mike had come to my rescue, jumping into his car at home and driving to where I was, and by the time I arrived back at our lake home, he was there and I was able to wrap my arms around him and let the tears flow over what I’d done to my beautiful car. I’d been able to control those tears up until then, but could hold out no longer. He helped me gain a better perspective though; no one was hurt, thank God, and it was just a car. And I saved three lives in the process. So we sat down on our screen porch and I was telling him the story when I heard the unmistakeable sound of a tiny cat meowing.

You really didn’t think the story was over, did you?

Sure enough, our neighbors, who blessedly happened to be there, had found three more kittens.

((Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue Committee))

Don’t let my smile fool you. I was a sloppy, freaked out mess- puffy eyed, pink cheeks and nose messy. But look at those baby faces! How adorable are they? The sad part was, they were all much too thin. It was clear they were in a pretty dire situation. The gold and white kitten was so emaciated that I could feel every bone in it’s tiny body. And I think that the stuff around their mouths was dried blood. But I won’t go there….. (remember the chipmunk?)

Mike and I had no idea what to do with these little creatures. The shelter was closed, and wouldn’t re-open again until noon the next day. I had a wild hair to call the officer who assisted with my accident, who had kindly driven me and my box of homeless cats to safety, and she contacted the shelter and made arrangements for us to bring the kittens there- so back to SmallTown USA we went- where they were placed in a night drop cage. She assured me that a volunteer would be along shortly to get them reunited with their Mom and siblings.

And yes, I did get a photo of them……

So the day ended with me and our neighbors daughter (who was mostly responsible for finding the other three babies) saving the lives of six creatures who would have all surely perished with the coming cold weather. I just shudder to think of it, that poor Mama, who was barely even grown herself, trying to do what she could for five babies, living under a shed and eating rodents to survive. And November right around the corner. And my car…. well, it’s all cosmetic damage really. A blessing in disguise because I know that it could have been much, much worse, for both the car and for me. As Mike said while holding me tight, soothing my pounding heart  “I can handle a wrecked car but I wouldn’t be able to handle a wrecked wife.”

Truer words were never spoken. All of it turned out well. For car, and for cats. Oh yeah- and if you’re interested in reading the transcript of my chat with Joel, please go here to do that.