Monday, February 20, 2017


We ate.

We drank.

We reconnected.

We held babies.

We sang Happy Birthday.

We held more babies and ate some more.

It was an especially wonderful day to celebrate my mother-in-law's 84th birthday. See that kid with the big holes in his jeans? That's Justin, home from Texas. I don't know how long he'll be here or where his next adventure will take him, but I sure loving having him home!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cooking Day

Monday is my mother-in-law's birthday, and it might be a big one. John thinks she is turning 83; one sister-in-law says 84, and the other is sure that she's going to be 85. Whatever her age, the weather is cooperating and the stars have aligned for a big birthday celebration tomorrow. It was planned on the spur of the moment as we're never quite sure whether my mil will be in the hospital or not, but it's all come together for almost every family member to be there tomorrow, except for those west of the Mississippi, and they will be with us in spirit.

Celebrating for the Becker family means food, so today is a cooking day for me. I'm making my mil's favorite cherry cheese pie, two crockpots full of creamy chicken and wild rice soup, and ten pounds of potato salad. We had lots of fun planning what everyone was going to make and I'm wondering how we managed this before group texts.

I'm hungry already, because the kitchen smells like warm and sugary graham crackers from baking the pie crust. I'm sure I'll have to taste the pie filling after I put it together and then there will be a tempting pound (or two) of bacon for the potato salad. It will most certainly be a cooking, peeling, chopping, mixing, and sampling day!

Hopefully I will remember to take photos to share on Monday, and I hope that all of you have something good to celebrate this weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Someday ...

Today's Think Write Thursday prompt is to write about something you’ve been putting off doing. We all have those tasks, projects, phone calls and more that we find excuses to avoid. What are you procrastinating about? And why? And, finally, how are you going to address it?

I wasn't going to write a post today. Not because I don't procrastinate (I do procrastinate - plenty!), but more because I didn't want to address any of the things I put off doing. But reading Carole's post about cleaning out her closet because she has a new mattress and box spring being delivered struck a chord with me. Cleaning closets comes relatively easily to me, but I have been having trouble with the buying a new mattress and box spring thing.

About 15 years ago, John and I did buy a new bed. It seemed perfect in the store, but the mattress was way too soft once we had it. We exchanged it for a different one which turned out to be way too hard. What we really needed was a Sleep Number bed because John and I want different things in a mattress, but they were a bit too much for our bed budget. We had already exchanged the mattress once, so we were stuck with the second one.

We tried to deal with the too-hard bed issue by putting a soft featherbed on top of it. That made it better, but still not the Goldilocks level of comfort we wanted. It bunches up with lumps of feathers, and the sheets barely fit. I've said that we're going bed shopping almost every month for the past two years, but it seems that something always happens and the bed-shopping budget gets spent elsewhere. Justin has an accident and needs help buying a vehicle, our exorbitant property taxes are due, our even more exorbitant car insurance bill has to be paid, or Justin cuts his thumb and we're faced with a $5000 bill from the hospital. 

So we are going mattress shopping. I'm hoping we'll find something affordable and comfortable for both of us so I can quit grumbling and swearing every morning when I make the bed and especially when I change the sheets. I'll write a post about my new sweet slumbering spot someday by the end of April. 

Read other Think ... Write ... Thursday! posts here, and sign up for Carole and Kat's great idea here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I've been lucky enough to receive some very nice gifts lately, from friends and the universe, and I want to be sure and express my gratitude.

The first gift comes from friends. Joe and Vicki are well into their 90s with lots of age-related infirmities and health problems. They rarely let these slow them down and joke that between them, they add up to one person that is able to both see and hear but still not get around very well. Vicki was having sewing machine issues so after a bunch of mishaps and some help from me, we finally got it working.

Vicki wanted to pay me, but when I refused, she went to her window sill and gave me this lovely hibiscus. Her brother came to the United States from Poland about 90 years ago, and brought the original plant with him. Vicki inherited the original when her brother passed away and has been starting new plants from cuttings for the last 20 years. I'm proud and honored to have this gift from a dear friend, especially because it's also a descendant of an immigrant. No immigration ban here!

The next gift was from the universe. During my walk, I spied something interesting on trash day. When I took a closer look, it turned out to be a discarded Norfolk Island pine. I didn't think it would survive freezing temperatures that night, so I heeded its quiet calls for help and carried it home. Many curled and brown branch tips showed that it had been deprived of water for quite a while, so I repotted it, cut off all the dead, dried parts, watered it well, and am now hoping it makes a recovery. So far, so good! It was sprayed with glitter (glitter on living plants is a terrible idea in my opinion), but I'll take care of that with a good shower when I can move it outside in warmer weather.

The universe presented me with another nice gift on a walk a few weeks ago. In our neighborhood, people often put unsold items out on the curb after they have a garage sale. Many times, one man's junk also looks like junk to me, but I found some treasure in the form of four pink pressed glass plates.

I've been using them as plant saucers, but they also work well as doughnut plates.

Thanks to friends and the universe for some lovely gifts!

Monday, February 13, 2017


This weekend, I made sure to get out and enjoy the beauty of the snow we got while it was still around.

Snow-covered trees blended in with the gray sky before the fierce winds stripped them of their white blanket.

The day after the storm, I got to enjoy a brilliant sunrise contrasted with the gray whiteness of the snow.

Blue skies even made an appearance.

And there was a road less traveled. I couldn't resist making the first set of footprints on this woodland path.

Back home, a delicious mug of hot chocolate provided the perfect warm-up.

Hope your weekend included some beauty and warmth!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nevertheless, She Persisted

By now, you've all heard and read about what happened on the Senate floor Tuesday evening. During a session debating the nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, Senator Elizabeth Warren (tried to) read a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986 to Strom Thurmond, then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, detailing her opposition to Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship.

Senator Steve Daines interrupted Warren, citing Senate Rule XIX which states that "No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator." The Senate voted along party lines, Warren was silenced, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell gave his now-famous explanation, 
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

Despite being told to be quiet by a bunch of men, Senator Warren did read Mrs. King's letter outside the Senate chambers, did not sit down and shut up in the following days, and Mitch McConnell unwittingly gave women a rallying cry that we will be remembering, shouting, and taking to heart for years to come.

I would be willing to bet that every single woman has been told to be quiet at some point in her life; I know I have. Sometimes it's a direct interruption, "Here, let me explain that" from a colleague at a meeting; sometimes it's a more subtle aside like, "Things would be so much better if you could just try to be a little more agreeable" spoken by a male. Women have heard these messages innumerable times, for much of their lives, which is why McConnell's words spoke to all women. He was so very clueless that I don't think he even understood how or why his own words about a woman reading the words of another woman would be used against him.

Luckily for all of us, Senator Warren persisted, as she always has. Unluckily for all of us, Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General, which is just one reason why all of us can not let this rallying cry become just a meme or simply words on a protest sign. There is nothing wrong with those, but I think it has to mean more. We've all been resisting, without much change to show for it so far, but "Nevertheless, she persisted" could not have come at a better time. Persist we must.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Think Write Thursday

The Think Write Thursday prompt for today is to write a love letter. It could be a letter to a person, an idea, a project, a dream, a wish, a relative, a famous person, an ancestor or anything (or anyone) else you can think of.

Of course I love my husband, my kids, and my family, but my letter is addressed to some things that hold a very dear place in my heart right now ...

Dear Augmentin, Albuterol, and Codeine, 

Since all three of you are so important in my life right now, I just can't choose between you, and want to proclaim my deep and sincere love for each and every one of you. After feeling awful for 11 days, I finally went to the doctor, and once she and a chest x-ray diagnosed pneumonia, you entered my life with brilliant rays of sunshine and an angelic chorus, and made it so much better. 

Augmentin, I had high hopes for you from the first, and you did not let me down. After just a few doses, you began to help with my fever, chills, chest pain, trouble breathing, wheezing, and fatigue. For the first time in quite a while, I feel as if I can go on. You picked me up when I was at my lowest, and I love you for it. 

Albuterol, I've never used an inhaler before, but you were new and surprising. A couple of puffs and within 15 minutes you began to relieve my difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness. I wish everything in my life worked that quickly. My bronchi and I love you for all you do.

Codeine, I've heard that a relationship with you can become addictive, and I can begin to understand why. You dealt with my constant coughing and finally allowed me to get some sleep. My husband doesn't even care that we're involved, as he is also able to sleep when I'm not coughing all night. I know we can't be together forever, but I love you and promise not to operate heavy machinery. 

Loving you with all my heart (and lungs),


Read other Think ... Write ... Thursday! posts here, and sign up for Carole and Kat's great idea here.