Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My niece, Laura, pinned this little poster to one of her Pinterest boards. I rolled on the floor laughing when I saw it. I printed it out and set it next to Don's computer. If this doesn't describe me, I don't know what does. He said I should make it my screen saver.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ten Commonly Misspelled Words

Which of these words trips you up? For me, it is definitely definitely. I always want to spell it definately.

1.   separate
2.   definitely
3.   accommodate
4.   calendar
5.   embarrass
6.   occasion
7.   judgment
8.   kindergarten
9.   misspell
10. vacuum

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Graduation 2012

My baby graduated from high school tonight. I don't care how old he is, he's still my baby. Don't make me cry. Alright, I won't.

Since Don is on the Board of Directors at CVCA, he was allowed to hand Peter his diploma. Usually, the Headmaster, Mr. Bova, does it. Before the ceremony, Peter suggested that they practice a special handshake so it wouldn't be an ordinary handshake. They practiced in the vestibule. I was a little nervous it would all go terribly wrong.

I didn't need to worry. They pulled it off. Mr. Bova didn't mind, and his classmates got a big kick out of it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Shoemaker's Wife

I was introduced to Adriana Trigiani's books when I was part of a three-person book group in my neighborhood. Amy had read Big Stone Gap and recommended it to me and Laurie. I read it and the rest of the series: Big Cherry Holler and Milk Glass Moon.

I recommended the books to Pam, and since then, she's read more of them than I have. The Shoemaker's Wife came out last month, and I just got around to reading it.

The two main characters, Ciro and Enza, met for the first time in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. Enza's younger sister had just died, and Ciro was sent to dig her grave. Enza was fourteen years old. Ciro was a few years older.

Their fledgling relationship ended abruptly when Ciro was banished to America by a priest he caught in a scandal. Later, Enza immigrated to America with her father. Their plan was to make enough money to build a house for their family in Italy.

Enza had a career sewing costumes at the Metropolitan Opera and Ciro was a shoemaker's apprentice. Their paths crossed many times over a period of  years before they realized they were meant for each other, and they married.

This novel is an epic story, covering many years in the lives of these Italian immigrants. While I read the story, I couldn't stop thinking about how difficult it must have been for them to arrive in America with nothing but their suitcases. Trigiani wrote this book over a period of 20 years. It is based on the lives of her grandparents, Lucia and Carlo. I'd recommend all her books!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Downton Abbey

Peter was under the weather this week. So under the weather that he rarely got off the couch for six days. I felt sorry for him sitting there by himself, so I joined him.

For entertainment, I asked him if he wanted to watch the Season One Downton Abbey DVD's I've had since Christmas. They were still in the package. I was rather anxious to find out what it was all about.

Being captive, he said he would join me in the viewing. We watched Episode One, then Episode Two, Three, Four, Five, etc. until we were all through. This happened over the course of three days.

May I say we are now addicted? I went to Target to find Season Two. Happily, I brought it home, and we watched Episode One this afternoon.

Peter is finally on the mend, but I have a feeling we will be joining each other once a day to continue the saga.

Highly Recommended!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Riley Photo

This is my favorite Riley photo. He had just gotten into my wastebasket AGAIN, and when I caught him, he sat down and looked at me like he didn't know why I yelled at him. He's really good at pretending he didn't do it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Daniel moved to Kalamazoo. Not permanently...just for the summer. He will be working for Eaton, Corp. at their Galesburg, Michigan office. There will be 16 other interns staying in the area for the summer, so he won't be all alone. Plus he is living in a Western Michigan University apartment complex, so there are plenty of students his age running around.

His apartment is the one on the bottom with the brown fence.

This is the kitchen.

This is the living room

and the bedroom

and the bathroom...but you probably didn't really need to see that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

All You Can Do Is Laugh

Yesterday, I came home from the grocery store without my groceries.

Heinen's is one of those stores that makes you take a number for your cart and leave it inside. When I pulled into the garage, I saw the number sitting on the seat beside me. It was my first clue that something was dreadfully wrong.

I could have cried. I could have screamed, but I just laughed. I went in the house and announced to my family that I was losing my mind. This was nothing they didn't already know.

Peter laughed. Don said, "well, go back and get them!" So I turned around and went back.

Fortunately, the young man who was guarding the grocery carts had just come on duty, and he didn't know how long my cart had been sitting there. Unfortunately, I told him how stupid I was. To make me feel better, he said it happens all the time. Ha, ha!

I could blame my brain fog on old age, but I don't buy that. When I was much younger, I almost left Daniel at the grocery store. He was in the child seat when I rolled my cart up and took a number. I walked out the door with Katherine. She was four. I would have gone all the way to the car if she hadn't piped up, "mom...aren't you going to bring Daniel?"

That time, I screamed!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On Ironing

I did some ironing yesterday. It was soothing. It was relaxing. It took the stress away from my neck and shoulders. It was better than a massage. I had forgotten how much I liked standing in front of an ironing board, daydreaming as I pressed out the creases in a cotton blouse.

When I was a young teen, my Aunt Dororthy paid me to babysit her three girls. She also paid me to do her ironing.  I didn't mind taking those wrinkled shirts and pants, placing them on the board, steaming the living daylights out of them, then hanging them, crisp and clean on the other side of the room. It gave me a sense of accomplishment as well as an escape into dreamland. Ironing is one of those mindless activities that can be done while thinking happy thoughts. I have pleasant memories of standing in Aunt Dororthy's living room on hot summer days pressing, pressing, pressing.

Back then, almost all the laundry needed to be ironed. Most everything was 100% cotton. This was before the invention of the polyester leisure suit and Permanent Press.

Slowly, ironing has gone by the wayside. Most brides now don't even think about putting an iron and ironing board on their registry. Who needs that? What is that? Clothing doesn't wrinkle like it used to thanks to fabrics such as lycra, spandex, polyester, and cotton treated with chemicals to keep it wrinkle free. 

I've rediscovered an activity better than yoga. I guess I need to start buying all cotton clothes and ironing my towels and sheets. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miniature Peanut Butter Treats

Peter's senior class trip begins today. He and his classmates will stay at Maumee Bay in cabins for three days enjoying fun activities like Cedar Point, Paint Ball, cabin competitions, etc. There will be eight boys and one lucky teacher chaparone in his cabin. The boys were responsible for planning their meals, shopping for food, and eventually making breakfast, lunch and dinner for themselves. I baked two batches of cookies to send along. One batch was regular chocolate chip cookies. The other was a special treat:

Miniature Peanut Butter Treats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
42 miniature peanut butter-chocolate cups (Reece's)

Combine butter, sugars, egg, peanut butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture. Cover dough and chill 30 minutes- 1 hour.

When dough is cold enough to handle easily, roll in small (walnut-sized) balls; place each ball in greased miniature muffin tin. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

Remove tin from oven; gently press one peanut butter cup into each cookie. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool on a rack. Store in a cool place until serving time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

It kills you to see them grow up. 
But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.

- Barbara Kingsolver

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kick Up Your Heels 5K

Today was the big day. It was race day at Lock 3 in Akron to benefit Access Homeless Shelter. I didn't sleep much last night. I was a bundle of nerves.

My running buddy, Nancy, met me there. We pumped each other up with all kinds of "you can do its".

My nephew, Patrick, also joined me for the race. He's 13, so I told him to run at his own pace. No need to stay with his old auntie.

Peter ran the race to support me. When he asked me if I wanted him to run with me, I told him he couldn't possibly run that slow.

That's me in the crowd before the race. I look a little worried.

That's me coming over the finish line. I look happy.

Our happy group after the race: Peter (came in 7th place overall and 2nd place in his age group), Me (finished with a time of 42:20), Patrick (2nd place in his age group), Jeff Hojnacki (Nancy's son who decided at the last minute to enter the race...came in 2nd place overall!), Nancy (finished with a time of 37 minutes).
A big thanks to my son, Daniel, who got out of bed early this morning to take all the great photos.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just My Luck

We all know how much I love to golf. I love it so much, I spent most of last summer trying to avoid the golf course. To humor Don, I played a handful of times.

One of those times, the female assistant pro, Karen, approached me with some raffle tickets she was selling to help fund her pro golfing certification process. Being the nice person I am, I bought five, not really thinking about the prize.

Yesterday, I got a call from Karen. She left a message telling me to get back to her. She said she had a surprise for me. I called back, and guess what the surprise was. I won the raffle! How exciting. But the prize?

A year's worth of free golf lessons with her. Just what I've always wanted!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's For Dinner?

I get this call every day around 5:00 p.m. It's Peter on the line. He doesn't say, "Hi mom, how was your day?" He asks, "what's for dinner?" as if he's not coming home unless it's something good.

It keeps me on my toes. I try hard to make food that is appealing to a starving teenage boy. His favorites are steak and potatoes, grilled chicken, pepperoni bread, beef stew and tacos.

I'm going to miss those phone calls next year when he's away. I sure hope the Grove City College cafeteria has down-home cooking.

In order to make grocery shopping more efficient, a weekly meal planning chart is handy. Don't get me wrong, most weeks I fly by the seat of my pants.

But if you want a nice looking planning sheet, print out The Eat Sheet from the  http://www.mommytracked.com/ .

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Did You Do Today?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder if anything significant got accomplished? I wonder this all the time.

Today I was supposed to help a friend all day, but she didn't need me after all. My whole day was open for accomplishing other stuff. So what did I do?

I took Riley to the vet. He's been favoring his back right leg for a week. He's been hopping and running on three legs half the time. The vet said to give it another week. He may have pulled something. If not, he probably has arthritis. He's only three years old. I hope it's not that!

I helped Katherine find a pair of shoes to wear with her wedding gown.  They are lovely shoes. The heel is not too high, not too low. I don't think I could dance in them, but I'm not 23.

I shouted "Woo Hoo" when the lizard went out the door. Peter found a friend to take him home. I can't tell you how relieved I was to see it go. I even threw in a few remaining meal worms. I know this whole lizard situation should not have caused me so much stress, but I'll sleep better tonight knowing it is no longer in my house.

I cooked a really nice steak and potato dinner. Too bad Don was out of town.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pony Ride

Don's aunt Pat just sent me some very old photos of his dad. Dave is the one in the back. His brother Ken is in the front. I plan to print them out, but I thought this one was the cutest.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Senior Prom 2012

Peter went to his senior prom tonight with his friend Jessi.

We met for pictures at Daniel Criswell's house

I like how this picture came out.

What a handsome guy!

Lovely dress.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Managing Mail

My mail is sometimes piled high on my desk, but I try to keep it organized. The method I use to sort it is pretty simple. Take the pile that's about to tip over onto the floor and ask yourself which container the piece of paper should belong in.

Junk Mail - Half of our mail ends up in the trash can. I don't even open it. Junk mail is pretty easy to spot.

Bills - Don and I made a deal when we first got married. I would spend the money, and he would pay the bills. It has worked out quite well. Checks and balances in action. All bills go directly into his mail container. I don't even open them.

Magazines - These go directly into my reading pile in the family room. Once a week, I take a couple of hours to relax and read them. I'm rather fond of magazines. I get great ideas from them. Reading all those articles helps me be a better writer. I rip out the articles I want to save, then the magazine is immediately recycled or passed on.

Catalogs - Fortunately, we don't get as many of these as we used to. I only save the ones I really want to look at. Online shopping is much more efficient. Recycle promptly.

Keepers - This is real mail...envelopes other than bills that are worth opening. Wedding invitations, graduation party invitations, money in the mail, good coupons, appointment reminders, cards and letters from friends, school information, insurance reports, baby announcements, etc. This type of mail gets sorted into one of three baskets in my cupboard: File, To Do and Calendar. Items I want to save but need no action go into the File Basket. Items that need action get entered onto my Master To Do List and go into the To Do Basket. Items that have a date associated with them get entered into my calendar then put in the Calendar Basket so I can refer to the details  later.

I think I've covered everything. That's how I manage my mail.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Uncle Albert

Uncle Albert doing the splits
Just when I thought we had experienced every pet imaginable in our house, Peter came home with a lizard. Of course, he didn't tell me he was bringing it home. Before I knew it, my kitchen island turned into a terrarium viewing station.

How could the pet store sales people send a 17-year-old boy out the door with a lizard in a cardboard carrying case and nothing to go with it?

I've taken care of guinea pigs, mice, hamsters, fish, dogs and children. I refuse to take care of a lizard, and I told Peter so. He's leaving for college in three months. What then?

"He has a two week money back guarantee," Peter said.

"Good," I replied, "he's going back before two weeks are up."

I've moved him to the dining room table so I don't have to look at him. Each afternoon when Peter gets home, he digs up worms to feed him. Yuck.

I draw the line with reptiles.